Radio's Janet Parshall claimed terrorists prefer Kerry; distorted number of Al Qaeda leaders captured
Research ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
Appearing as a guest on FOX News Channel, nationally syndicated conservative radio host Janet Parshall repeated speculation that terrorists would prefer Senator John Kerry over President George W. Bush in the November 2 presidential election. Parshall then appeared to echo the unsupported claim that the vast majority of Al Qaeda's leadership has been captured or killed, saying, "45 of the 52 bad guys we've already got."
From the October 19 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes:
PARSHALL: [Osama] Bin Laden is in a cave saying, "Boy, I'll tell you what. Maybe if John Kerry is in there, they'll run to the United Nations and say, 'Mother, may I?' before they come after me." And then never do it because so many of those guys in the UN Security Council --
As Media Matters for America has noted, there is a conspicuous lack of evidence to support Parshall's suggestion that terrorists prefer Kerry; however, there is some evidence suggesting that terrorists would prefer four more years of the Bush administration. Further, there is strong evidence that America's invasion of Iraq has served as a powerful recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. As Reuters news agency reported in an October 15, 2003, article, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank that focuses on political-military conflict, stated in a 2003-2004 report titled The Military Balance that the "war in Iraq has probably inflamed radical passions among Muslims and thus increased Al Qaeda's recruiting power and morale and, at least marginally, its operating capability."
Nonetheless, conservative members of the media have echoed prominent Republicans -- including Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) -- who have said or suggested that terrorists favor Kerry.
Parshall's claim that "45 of the 52 bad guys we've already got" appeared to echo a misleading claim Bush made in the second presidential debate that "three-quarters of Al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice." That figure is based only on a CIA estimate of the terror group's known leaders as of September 11, 2001; as MMFA has noted, not even the administration knows how many leaders the 75 percent they are claiming represents. In addition, The Christian Science Monitor reported on October 5 that as Al Qaeda's pre-September 11 leaders have been killed or captured, a "new wave" of Al Qaeda leadership has emerged from Pakistan, with numbers of new recruits on the rise since the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003.
According to James R. Edwards, Jr., adjunct fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, the nationally syndicated radio program Janet Parshall's America "reaches 3.5 million listeners five days a week."