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On the April 12 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, Richard "Bo" Dietl, a private investigator and former New York City Police Department detective, repeatedly referred to Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) middle name while discussing controversial comments by Don Imus on the April 4 edition of Imus in the Morning. Referring to Obama's call for Imus to be fired, Dietl, who was a regular guest on Imus' program, stated: "Obama Hussein. Barack Obama -- what's that guy's name? The three names? The full name?" Fox News business correspondent Rebecca Gomez answered, "Oh, I'm not even sure," and Dietl said: "Hussein. Hussein's his middle name."
Later in the discussion, syndicated columnist Dick Morris responded to Dietl's smear, saying, "His first name is Senator, his next name is Barack, and his last name is Obama, Bo." Dietl responded by asking Morris, "What's his middle name, though? What's his middle name? What's his middle name?" Morris then told Dietl that he was "attempting the same racist garbage that you do all over the place" and that "[y]ou're injecting that because you know it's prejudicial."
As Media Matters for America noted, The Washington Post in a January 28 editorial described the needless use of Obama's middle name as a "sleazy tactic." The Post noted that Obama does not use his middle name and argued that people "who take pains to insert it when referring to him are trying, none too subtly, to stir up scary images of menacing terrorists and evil dictators." The editorial stated that using Obama's middle name "would be merely juvenile if it weren't so contemptible," adding that those who employ it "embarrass only themselves."
As Media Matters documented, on the February 2 edition of Imus in the Morning, executive producer Bernard McGuirk claimed that Obama has a "Jew-hating name."
From the April 12 edition of Fox News' the Big Story with John Gibson:
DIETL: It just seemed like when my friend there, Obama Hussein. Barack Obama -- what's that guy's name? The three names? The full name?
GOMEZ: Barack Obama's?
DIETL: No, what's his middle name?
GOMEZ: Oh, I'm not even sure.
DIETL: Hussein. Hussein's his middle name. And when he came out -- when he knocked Don Imus, all of a sudden, everybody fell in line. Maybe, just maybe the network says, "Well, if you supported -- you don't go against Don Imus, you're not going to come onto my network."
MORRIS: And by the way, I ought to indicate that the guy who's done this is Senator Barack Obama. His first name is Senator, his next name is Barack, and his last name is Obama, Bo.
DIETL: What's his middle name, though? What's his middle name? What's his middle name?
MORRIS: And -- Hussein, which is --
GIBSON: Bo, come on, look.
DIETL: Well, why don't we just say it as it is.
MORRIS: You're attempting the same racist garbage that you do all over the place.
GIBSON: Dick is making a point, Bo.
DIETL: No, that's not racist. Hey, let me explain something. That's not racist. The truth is the truth, the fact is the fact.
MORRIS: You're injecting that because you know it's prejudicial.
DIETL: Well, it is. Why is that prejudiced?
MORRIS: The fact is --
DIETL: My name is Alfredo. Is that prejudiced?
MORRIS: Excuse me. Excuse me. The fact is that this man stood up when the other presidential candidates, including my guy who I like best, [former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani [R], chickened out and instead called for him to be bounced.