Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley attacked the "million-dollar nincompoop television news stars" for poorly covering President Bush's October 6 speech on terrorism and the Iraq war. Specifically, Blankley attacked the media for reporting that Bush's speech contained "nothing new," even though, according to Blankley, Bush "named the enemy" in the war on terror for the first time: using the terms "Islamofascist" and "radical, militant Islam." Bush, however, has used similar terminology in past speeches to describe terrorists and their ideology.
Blankley wrote in his October 12 Washington Times column:
What brings this melancholy observation to mind was the grotesque non-reporting of President Bush's arguably historic remarks last week concerning the nature of the enemy in the "War on Terror," that until last week was the enemy of which we dared not mention the name.
For the first time the president of the United States named the enemy: "Islamofascist" and "radical, militant Islam." He compared it to the Nazi and Communist ideological threat of the previous century.
But million-dollar nincompoop television news stars led with the absurdly ignorant observations that there was "nothing new" in this speech, and that the President was not likely to improve his reduced 35 percent public support for the Iraq war.
Having decided that the speech (which they manifestly did not substantively understand or report) was not going to make the president immediately more popular, their reporting trailed off into a rehash of his other current political problems.
But Bush's October 6 speech was not the first time he has described terrorists in such terms. In his September 20, 2001, address to a Joint Session of Congress, Bush remarked that "[t]he terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam." At a September 10, 2002, press briefing, Bush said:
All Americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true faith -- face of Islam. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. It's a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It's a faith based upon love, not hate.
As we mourn tomorrow, we must remember that our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, not a religion; that governments which support them are our enemies, not faithful Muslims who love their families, who yearn for a more peaceful and safe world for their children.
In an October 11, 2002, speech Bush said: "Our enemy don't follow the great traditions of Islam. They've hijacked a great religion. But it's important, as we lift that veil, to remember that they are nothing but a bunch of radical terrorists who distort history and the values of Islam."
Blankley ended his column by taking a broad, derogatory swipe at "mainstream journalists," writing: "One doesn't mind, so much, mainstream journalists being b*st*rds. It's being such dumb b*st*rds that one finds so irksome."