By now, there's no question in anyone's mind that the tragic Norway shootings are the work of a right-wing extremist who appears to at least have been influenced by web sites like StormFront.org, among others. But watch these Fox talkers avoid it completely, even in the beginning, where they open up by asking if this can "really be compared to the Oklahoma City bombings." Not only do they deny it, they manage to turn everything on its head to portray the guy as someone with a deep fear of Islamic extremists.
By far, the most intellectually dishonest and insidious part of this report is the characterization of Anders Behring Breivik as a "domestic extremist." I defy anyone here to explain exactly what the hell a domestic extremist is. Seriously.
Taking apart this silly video step by step, let's begin with who they decided to put on as an "analyst". Fox News "correspondent" Catherine Herridge, author of the book "The Next Wave: On the Hunt for Al Qaeda's American Recruits". Just to give you a flavor of her thought processes, here's a small snippet from her book from a section recording her thoughts during the KSM tribunal:
So Janet fixes the sketch to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s satisfaction. Within minutes, the sketch is carried to our live shot position on the tarmac about 50 yards from the courthouse. It is filmed by the pool TV crew and then broadcast to millions.
Later in the evening, I sit on the equipment box near the live shot position. The sun is dropping like a red, hot ball into the Cuban hills.
"Who's in control," I say under my breath. "Us or the terrorists?"
There you go. Typical Fox News them-or-us thinking, resplendent with lots of fear of the brown guys. Now, on to the transcript:
ANCHOR: Many comparisons made to the Oklahoma City bombing. Are they valid?
HERRIDGE: Well, I think they are valid. I spoke with a US official last night in Oslo and I said "Hey, is this Oklahoma City comparison appropriate" and they said absolutely because on the face of it, based on what we know from the investigation, it's a case of domestic extremism and there do not appear to be any known links to an outside terrorist group. We've had a series of arrests this morning but it really does appear to be an act that was driven by a single suspect or lone wolf operative, Dave.
DAVE: And it's this guy, Anders Brevik who was not hiding his extremism, he had this video online, he was very active in social media. How was this missed and is that the takeaway?...
Can someone please tell me what a "domestic extremist" is other than a euphemism for Fox News avoiding their responsibility to report the truth to their viewers? As Dave pointed out yesterday, this is part of the reason these people get away with what they do. As you can see, the host is getting away with blaming social media, Norway's law enforcement authorities for not monitoring social media more closely for people like this, and just about everything but coming out with the truth: Brevik was not a "domestic extremist." He is a radical right-wing cultural warrior who has been influenced by many different people, including Tim Phillips, director of Freedomworks, apparently.
Herridge, instead of discussing the fundamental problem here, spends an inordinate amount of time blaming the Internet for his views. There is some truth to what she says. It's easy to turn social media, blogs, and other content into an echo chamber which then magnifies anger and hate. Just have a look at Andrew Breitbart's timeline sometime for an example. He specializes in that kind of tactic. Still, it's beside the point. The point here is that Brevik espoused extreme right-wing political positions and acted on them to inflict political mayhem on his countrymen.
Let's not forget that he didn't just target a random group of people. He chose to target the youth movement of the current political party in power, which is further evidence of just how far he was willing to go to eradicate opposition.
Unfortunately, deluded Fox News viewers will just go on thinking he was some sort of amorphous 'extremist' deluded by social media. Business as usual.
More like this
- Vagabond Scholar
- Politics TV
- James Wolcott
- left coaster
- Juan Cole/Informed Comment
- A Tiny Revolution
- Taylor Marsh
- The Aristocrats
- Brad Blog
- Steve Benen at MaddowBlog
- Jesus General
- Glenn Greenwald
- Nicole Sandler - Radio or Not