Too much of a "good thing"? Fox suggested media "made up" Iraqi "civil war"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Following Fox News' February 23 suggestion that a civil war in Iraq might "be a good thing," Neil Cavuto switched gears on the March 1 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto and displayed an onscreen caption that asked: " 'Civil War' in Iraq: Made Up by the Media?"

Following Fox News' February 23 suggestion that a civil war in Iraq might "be a good thing," Fox News host Neil Cavuto switched gears on the March 1 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto and displayed an onscreen caption that asked: " 'Civil War' in Iraq: Made Up by the Media?" However, Cavuto's suggestion that the media improperly -- or prematurely -- labeled the recent surge in sectarian violence in Iraq a "civil war" ignored the fact that his own network contributed to the supposed farce.

From the March 1 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:


However, in the days preceding, a variety of Fox News anchors, reporters, and pundits fed the idea that Iraq had devolved into civil war:

  • From the February 23 edition of Special Report with Brit Hume, with Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes and Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke; earlier in the program, a clip aired of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, deputy chief of staff for Multinational Force Iraq, denying that civil war was breaking out:

BARNES: I don't think it's so much the Iraqi army. That's what needs to be continued to be built up as a battle ready force, because I think there is a serious risk of a civil war here. It's a lot -- I think we're a lot closer to it than either General Lynch or General Kondracke said.

KONDRACKE: I'll stick with General Lynch, actually.

BRIT HUME (host): Appropriate. I think it should be General Lynch and Ambassador Kondracke.

  • From the February 23 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

BILL O'REILLY (host): Will there be civil war in Iraq? That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." This is a big story. And some are even ignoring it. But the attack yesterday on the Golden Mosque in Iraq, a holy Shiite shrine, could ignite a civil war in that country that this country, America, would not be able to control.

Here is the deal. It looks to us like Al Qaeda now understands it can never defeat the U.S.A. in Iraq. Now, the only strategy the terrorists have is to ignite a civil war between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority. If that happens, no one be able to control it, and Iraq would descend into bloody chaos.

[...]

The frustrating thing about it is that the U.S.A. can't control this kind of religious violence. No country could. So, there is little we could do except pray things don't get worse. "Talking Points" believes America's cause in Iraq is noble. We have liberated millions of people and trying to give them a chance of freedom. Also, if Iraq does become a free nation and helps in the war on terror, it would be a huge victory for the U.S.A. But those are huge ifs. And right now, Iraq is tottering.

It's a shame because we've spent billions and lost thousands of lives in this effort. At this point, the only hope is the Iraqis themselves, both Shiites and Sunnis, will understand Al Qaeda is their enemy and wants them to kill each other. That understood, maybe the Iraqis will begin to unite against the terrorists. Maybe. It's a long shot, but at this point, it might be the only shot because the situation in Iraq is definitely on the edge.

  • From the February 24 edition of The Big Story with John Gibson:

CARL CAMERON (chief White House correspondent): The president today said the Iraqi people face a time of choosing, all a reference to what the administration believes is an opportunity. They view this current violence, the uprisings as a result of the attack on the Golden Mosque, an opportunity for Iraqis to reject the violence and embrace a peaceful unity government.

It's a-cup-is-half-full-way of looking at what many in the world have said is the brink of civil war in Iraq. The administration's not willing to go anywhere near there. They call it a very delicate time. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that it's very hard and very delicate.

  • From the February 24 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: All right. You know, I know you have emotion invested in Iraq, since you've been there a number of times. Civil war: I don't think anybody can control that if it breaks out, do you?

GERALDO RIVERA (host, Geraldo at Large): I think that the situation in Iraq has gone from pessimistic to deadly grim. This attack on the Golden Dome at Samarra [Iraq] was -- was a profound and effective one. It's as if someone took out the Vatican or the Western Wall [in Jerusalem]. This is a big deal. Shiites are calling it their 9-11. I think the fuse is now ignited for widespread sectarian violence.

  • From the February 25 edition of The Beltway Boys:

KONDRACKE: Hot story number two is "On The Brink." And this is about Iraq. You know, ever since we toppled Saddam Hussein, President Bush's enemies have been saying two things: Is it Vietnam yet? Or, when's the civil war going to start? And up to now, there hasn't been a civil war, but after last week, when the -- the golden shrine in, the Golden Mosque in Samarra, was destroyed and -- and -- and Shiite militias started attacking Sunnis in -- in retaliation, the possibility of civil war has -- have -- has become ever more threatening.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Neil Cavuto
Show/Publication
Your World w/ Neil Cavuto
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