March 31, 2004
Fox News and the Iraq War: Fact vs. Fox-tion
BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
One of the leading media corporations that advocated for a U.S. invasion of Iraq was News Corp and its subsidiary Fox Television. Rupert Murdoch's Fox News acted as a megaphone for the Bush Administration's march to war. Over and over Fox News' hosts and contributors made misleading comments -- many of which have been proven to be 100% false. The question now is whether or not Fox hosts and contributors will admit they were wrong and apologize to their viewers for giving them unfair and unbalanced information.
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Fox Host - Sean Hannity
FOX-TION: (November 13, 2002 ): "We can handle the situation in Iraq, which I think needs to be dealt with and in fairly short order, and we can still finish the job of protecting against al Qaeda and another attack. I don't see why you think we're incapable really of doing both and doing both well."
FACT: Afghanistan remains unstable. Last February the UN released a report stating that opium production in Afghanistan is contributing to the instability and terror campaigns in Afghanistan. [Scoop.co.nw]
FOX-TION: (December 9, 2002): "And in northern Iraq today, this very day, al Qaeda is operating camps there, and they are attacking the Kurds in the north, and this has been well-documented and well chronicled. Now, if you're going to go after al Qaeda in every aspect, and obviously they have the support of Saddam, or we're not."
FACT: "Sec. of State Colin Powell conceded Thursday that despite his assertions to the United Nations last year, he had no 'smoking gun' proof of a link between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and terrorists of al-Qaeda. 'I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection,' Powell said." [NY Times, 1/9/04]
FOX-TION: (January 29, 2003): "Iraqis are not going to be bombed by the United States. The United States will use pinpoint accuracy, like we always do."
FACT: "But nonprofit groups in Iraq and the United States say
there were thousands of civilian casualties, many more than in the
recent conflict in Afghanistan or the Persian Gulf War of 1991." [NY
have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998
steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile
FOX-TION: (August 20, 2003): "Mr. Speaker, did you notice that not only were all the predictions of liberals and Democrats in this country wrong on every front leading up to this war about environmental disasters, thousands of people would be dead, innocent civilians murdered by the thousands and thousands, we'd so anger the Arab world we'd have problems for decades and all this."
FOX-TION: "Saddam Hussein has harbored, promoted, helped, sheltered al Qaeda members. We know that." [Ann Coulter, Hannity&Colmes, (September 17, 2003)]
FACT: Senior US officials confirm that they have found "no provable connection between Saddam and al Qaeda." [Miami Herald 3/3/04], The bipartisan September 11th commission report "undercuts Bush administration claims before the war that Hussein had links to Al Qaeda." [LA Times, 7/19/03]. [Miami Herald]
FOX-TION: "I think we have done it well, despite the complaints. And I've mentioned at this point after World War II, when we had American troops in Germany. They were complaining. They wanted to come home. They were being attacked by young Nazis." [Ann Coulter, Hannity&Colmes, (August 4, 2003)]
FACT: Insurgent attacks on allied troops in post-war Germany were almost non-existent. There were no guerilla campaigns or coordinated efforts at sabotage. There were zero combat casualties in post-war Germany. [Slate.com]
* * *
Fox Host - Brit Hume
FOX-TION: "We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that [Saddam Hussein] has been pursuing aggressively weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons." [Fred Barnes, Fox Special Report with Brit Hume, (August 9, 2002)]
FACT: The Iraq Survey Group has reported that inspectors have found no evidence that Iraq was pursuing or stockpiling chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. As lead inspector Dr. David Kay concluded: "I'm personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction. We don't find the people, the documents or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on." [NY Times, 1/26/04]
FOX-TION: "There has to be substantial chemical weapons, manufacturing plant someplace. Now, maybe it is a brewery or something like that." [Mort Kondracke, Fox Special Report with Brit Hume, (January 24, 2003)]
FACT: Lead inspector of the Iraq Survey Group, Dr. David Kay reported in October 2003 that "Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new [chemical weapons] munitions was reduced - if not entirely destroyed -during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions and UN inspections."*
*Statement by David Kay on the Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Oct. 2, 2003).
* * *
Fox Contributor - Bill O'Reilly
FOX-TION: In March of 2003, O'Reilly told Good Morning America viewers that "if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."
FACT: No WMD have been found. According to Reuters on 9/15/03, the Administration's hand picked weapons inspector has come up with no WMD on his visit to Iraq. "A draft report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq provides no solid evidence that Iraq had such arms when the United States invaded the country in March." (Note: the chemical weapons Bush was referring to at the time never materialized.)
FOX-TION: "However, once the war against Saddam begins, we expect every American to support our military and if they can't do that, to shut up. Americans and, indeed, our allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway will be considered enemies of the state by me. Just fair warning to you, Barbara Streisand, and others who see the world as you do." Fox News - Feb. 26, 2003
FACT: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. -- U.S. Constitution - 1st Amendment
FOX-TION: "The fact that a load of weapons grade plutonium has disappeared from Nigeria should send a signal to all Americans that a nuclear device could be planted here. It is possible. And those with the mindset to do that have to be confronted…But you will not refute. You cannot refute, and neither can anyone else, that we have plutonium missing in Nigeria, we have two rogue governments, North Korea and Iraq, who are certainly capable of aiding and abetting people who will plant an atomic device, a nuclear device in a city in this country." [Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, March 4, 2003]
FACT: FACT: After the Nigerian government reported that a quantity of radioactive material had been stolen from a foreign oil company operating in the Niger Delta, the International Atomic Energy Agency sent a team to ascertain the nature of the problem. As it happened, the company which had lost its radioactive material was Halliburton. The missing materials were radioactive elements (beryllium and americium) used in locating cracks in oil pipelines. None of this material can be used to make a nuclear weapon. None of this material is plutonium. Nigeria has no known nuclear weapons program, and no means of producing weapons grade plutonium. Halliburton has no known nuclear weapons program, and no means of producing weapons grade plutonium. Neither beryllium nor americiums are lethal. [LA Times, 3/1/03; Houston Chronicle, 3/7/03; AP 2/21/03] [EPA.gov]
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