Over the weekend, "Fox News" had two stories about how Abu al-Baghdadi, the violent leader who started the military group ISIS that has been rampaging its way through Iraq, was released in 2009 by President Obama. As you might imagine, the two reports were scathing, with one of them, by host Jeanine Pirro, calling the president
"feckless" and railing about his socialist designs on the America. The other had host Megyn Kelly interviewingCol. Kenneth King, who described being present when Baghdadi was transferred from U.S. custody to the Iraqis, right before he formed ISIS.
The blasts were powerful, harsh, pointed, and...well, wrong.
Not wrong in opinion, mind you, a gray area open for debate and nuance. But this is one of those pesky "fact" things.
You see, Abu al-Baghdadi was released in 2004. That's when George W. Bush was president. Really, he was president then. You can look it up.
Here's what PolitiFact writes, before declaring the report "False" --
“Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, also known as ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was held as a ‘civilian internee’ by U.S. Forces-Iraq from early February 2004 until early December 2004, when he was released,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “He was held at Camp Bucca. A Combined Review and Release Board recommended ‘unconditional release’ of this detainee and he was released from U.S. custody shortly thereafter. We have no record of him being held at any other time.”
Clearly, the far right and "Fox News" felt that they had another swell issue on which to slam the president for acting irresponsibly in fighting terrorism. But if they stand by how terrible the acting was to release al-Baghdadi was, then by all fair-and-balanced reason, they must now direct that anger to George W. Bush.
(In fact, even if it had been Mr. Obama who released al-Baghdadi -- which isn't wasn't -- it would have been done under an agreement previously negotiated by...George W. Bush.)
I don't think most people expect "Fox News" to not only correct their error, but to also address their scorn at former President Bush. That's why such things transcend the normal whimsical reaction to such "errors." Things like this have horrible consequences. Because their viewers go away with the false-knowledge and certainty that what is wrong is correct. And their misplaced hatred of Barack Obama is given more weight. Made all the more galling since it's the Republican president who did what they're so infuriated by.
I've had people who ask me why I put "Fox News" in quotes. Well...it's because my keyboard doesn't have a key that types an exploding head.
One wonders why Fox evens makes the surface effort to appear diligent. Think of all the manpower and time it wastes. Why not just have a division that simply sits around making up the worst stories about President Obama and report them as "news" on the "Terrible Things About Barack Obama Hour"?
Then again, for all I know they already do that.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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