In January 2007 -- in what can only be described as a stunning display of race baiting, religious bigotry, and outright dishonesty -- the hosts of Fox & Friends spent a substantial portion of a broadcast repeating an obviously false online claim that then-Sen. Obama had attended a radical Islamic madrassa as a child in Indonesia.
The madrassa lie was quickly debunked by CNN. Fox & Friends was forced to "clarify" its report. John Moody, who was a Fox News executive at the time, reportedly said that the Fox News hosts who ran with the false story "violated one of our general rules, which is know what you are talking about. ... They reported information from a publication whose accuracy we didn't know." Separately, Moody also reportedly wrote of the madrassa incident: "For the record: seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC."
But almost three years later, the madrassa smear has returned to Fox. On two shows this week -- both guest-hosted by Fox News' Eric Bolling -- frequent Fox guest Ann Coulter has claimed three times that Obama attended "madrassas" as a child. Bolling has yet to challenge Coulter's false claims.
Mediaite posted video of one of Coulter's comments here.
From the December 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor (as transcribed on Fox News' website):
COULTER: And I also would like say, especially with a former Obama advisor on the program, I mean, this is - this was part of the selling point of for Obama liberal. Andrew Sullivan pointed out, you know, what are these radical Islamists going to do when they look and see the president of the great Satan. And you know, he has brown skin. And he attended madrassas. And he talks about how he's so moved by the call to prayer five times a day. He used to hear in Indonesia. If anyone can say we're going to look for radical Islamists, it ought to be President Obama. If he does that, if he institutes racial profiling at the airports, I'll vote for him.
BOLLING: Matthew, would it be so bad?
From the December 30 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck (as transcribed in the Nexis database):
BOLLING: Ann, let me just talk to you about this for a second.
Since Obama has been in office June 2009, the Little Rock soldier was killed, August 2009; U.S. citizen born in Brooklyn, he's going to fight for the Taliban; in September, Talib Islam born Michael Finton wants to go fight for the Taliban; the Zazi brothers in Denver, they want to blow up the New York City subway; Nidal Hasan, the Army major at Fort Hood; and then this attack on Christmas.
You know, these incidences have definitely stepped up in the last 11 months.
COULTER: Right, I think they have. And that isn't a very long time for three actual attacks on U.S. soil. And I think the point is, these are two competing ideologies of how you deal with our enemies. And if anything, I mean -- I mean, they kept using it as a selling point that Obama would throw Islamic radicals on their hind legs when they look up and they see someone who studies with [sic: studied at] madrassas and they see the "Great Satan" has a president with a brown face and the world is going to love us.
Well, that clearly has not come to be the case. And moreover, you know, he is in a position even stronger than George Bush to do what ought to be done and that is to start looking for passengers who look like the last three dozen terrorists to attack airplanes. He could engage in -- whatever you want to call it -- racial profiling, ethnic profiling, looking for young Muslim males, foreign-born Muslim males. But no, to the contrary, what we have is his homeland security coming out and saying the system works.
BOLLING: Andrew, you're in the west coast. Are feelings changing a little bit? It's been a liberal left coast for a long, now they see all these attacks and potential attacks going on. Is the sentiment changing?
BREITBART: In Hollywood -- well, look, the thing is, what's happened over the last few years in Hollywood and as being a critic of Hollywood at large, I have to make an apology to the FOX audience because, for years, I thought it was a monolithically left-centered town. It's not. There are tons of right-of-center libertarian-leaning conservatives. It's just that there's a certain Stalinist bent to leftist where if a person were to peep, a conservative peep were to comes out of a Jon Voight, these people are merciless in getting rid of them.
There are a ton of people who would love to make movies that portray the threat of terrorism, to use Hollywood like Hollywood was used in World War II, to be part of the war effort, but Hollywood continues to still make anti-war movies at a time of war even with Obama in power.
BOLLING: Ann, what -- is it going to take a successful attack where, you know, a lot more Americans die for the sentiment to change? I mean, this whole, you know, it's a culture. This whole culture has to change. It has to be more -- hey, we better err on the side of safety, because if we don't, people die. If we err on the side of political correctness, people's feelings get hurt, right?
COULTER: Right. Right, well, I happen to think sentiment has changed. Maybe it didn't need to change. I think if you polled Americans after 9/11, they would have said drop the political correctness when it comes to boarding airplanes.
And like I say, Obama can be doing more than Bush. He is specially situated that way, as having gone to madrassas as a child, not being a white male, which is, you know, the height of political incorrectness, but just the contrary, we're moving in exactly doing the -- making -- repeating the worst mistakes of the Bush administration.
The response to this attack is -- is for Obama to take the bull's move, not to allow people to read magazines for the last hour of a flight, not to go to the bathroom for the last hour of a flight. I mean, the way of objective of airport security seems to be to just make it more and more unpleasant for Americans to fly and to make it easier and easier for radical Muslims to fly to the point that now they're talking about doing these full nude body scans for everyone boarding an airplane.
BOLLING: And, Andrew, Ann makes a good point. Have they won? Have they won? If they haven't won the war, has al Qaeda won a small battle just making, you know, our lives miserable every time we step into an airport?