Under Bush O'Reilly & Fox News Did Not Blame Him For Beheadings
By: Steve - September 7, 2014 - 10:00am

After terrorists kidnapped and beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, while releasing gruesome videos of the act, Fox News focused much of its anger on President Obama, portraying him as a source of troubling weakness.

"The president stuck his head in the sand, and now we've seen two Americans have lost their heads," insisted Fox analyst K.T. McFarland.

Colleague Ralph Peters claimed of the president's foreign policy, "We have a president who has a real physiological problem: that he can't face responsibility and certainly not the responsibilities of his office," while Sean Hannity wondered if Obama's "radical indoctrination" had clouded his judgment.

On and on it goes, as the blame-America finger pointing takes up hour after hour of programming on Fox News. The conservative Charles Hurt on Wednesday wanted to know when Obama would stop acting like a community organizer and start hunting down the killers.

Charles Krauthammer condemned Obama for not rising to the occasion, while former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on Fox to claim world leaders see the president as "weak and ineffective" in the wake of the most recent beheading.

But they never said any of that in the spring of 2004, when Cheney was vice president and the stupid war he championed was raging in Iraq, two American citizens, Nick Berg and Paul Johnson, were also kidnapped by Islamic terrorists and were also beheaded for the world to see. But of course, Cheney didn't see that as a sign of President Bush's weakness and ineffectiveness, and neither did the White House's loyal band of professional defenders at Fox News.

Six years into Obama's presidency, it's stunning to see how radically different Fox presents the news and frames its commentary based entirely on which party controls the White House. When Bush was president, Fox talkers urged that Americans come together and support the administration as it battled lawless killers ("murders," "sadists," "savages") who decapitated Americans.

In 2004, Fox hosted long conversations about the beheadings and Bush's name was usually never even mentioned. He was a non-player in the story. But today, the beheadings revolve totally around Obama.

With a Democratic president, many of those same 2004 talking heads now turn their wrath, to Pennsylvania Avenue and use the deaths as a hammer to bash the president as being impotent, saying this: "He didn't prevent the deaths!"

Of course neither did Bush, but the Fox rules of propaganda were different for him.

Nick Berg was working in Iraq as an independent contractor fixing antennas. He disappeared on April 9, 2004. His decapitated body was found near an overpass in Baghdad, and soon a video of the beheading appeared on a website associated with al Qaeda.

Four weeks after Berg's murder, terrorists abducted Paul Johnson, a Lockheed Martin engineer who lived in Saudi Arabia. They demanded the Saudi government release all its al-Qaeda prisoners. Days later, on June 18, Johnson was murdered on tape. (After the beheading news broke, Bush made a brief public statement and then boarded a plane to attend a Bush-Cheney '04 campaign rally in Nevada.)

That day, Fox News host Oliver North appeared on Hannity & Colmes and announced that the media and Democratic politicians, including Sen. Ted Kennedy, "had blood on their hands" because they had been denouncing the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib by American soldiers; torture that Johnson's killer's cited in his death video.

Unlike today, the Republican president Bush was completely blameless in the beheading deaths, according to Fox News. Democrats? Not so much.

Obviously, news of Americans being beheaded by terrorists ran counter to Bush's 2004 re-election claim of being able to protect citizens in the War on Terror. O'Reilly and Hannity at the time, who can't stop criticizing Obama today, were adamant that Democrats stop criticizing Bush.

In fact, O'Reilly and Hannity both used news of Johnson's death as a reason Democrats should stop attacking the president politically while the country was engaged in "World War III":
HANNITY: Richard, the shrillness of the rhetoric, a vice president of the United States screaming that -- Al Gore screaming Bush betrayed America. Are we taking limited resources and the president and his cabinet have to spend all that time fighting politically when they ought to be focused in on World War III?

It's time that we now unite a country, using this as the latest example that we have been warned. They want to kill us all?

RICHARD MINITER: I completely agree. I think politics should stop at the water's edge. We should go back to the Scoop Jackson Democrats where they would argue like heck about domestic policy, but during a war they would not attack the president or the military.
On that point, Hannity and colleague Bill O'Reilly were in complete agreement. From The O'Reilly Factor on June 18, 2004, commenting on Johnson's execution:
O'REILLY: It is becoming readily apparent that the United States, we, the people, have to unite. And if we don't unite, we're going to see this happen more and more, and then on a mass scale.

We've got to stop with the partisan garbage, because that's what it is, and we've got to stop with the selfishness and understand that this is a war. This is something we have never faced before. And stop the grand standing. And the politicians who exploit this for partisan benefit on both sides have got to be voted out of office. We have got to unite.
Contrast that with O'Reilly on the 2014 Wednesday night program when he urged Obama to "stop his confused posture, his stammering, stuttering" in the wake of the beheadings. O'Reilly attacked the president for wanting to "punt" on the crisis and said he would be doing Americans a "great disservice" if he refused to "formally declare war on Muslim terrorism."

Something Bush never did either, but O'Reilly did not care then because it was a Republican President.

Today, good luck finding calls on Fox News for unity -- the network is too busy trying to use the tragic murders to damage and destroy the Democratic president.

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