On Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin blasted the media coverage of the alleged massacre in Haditha, claiming that there are "puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times." Malkin suggested that there be "a ratcheting down of all the hyperventilation and treat this incident with the seriousness and sobriety that it deserves."
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On the June 1 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin blasted the media coverage of alleged killings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops in Haditha, claiming that there are "puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times." Malkin suggested that there be "a ratcheting down of all the hyperventilation and treat this incident with the seriousness and sobriety that it deserves." Malkin went on to complain that "there is a large antiwar contingent that is willing to believe every last lie about our troops. And I think that our troops deserve at least as much deference and attention paid to their rights and the presumption of innocence as, oh, say, [suspected 9-11 mastermind] Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or O.J. Simpson or [Crips gang co-founder] Tookie Williams."
In a May 28 editorial, The New York Times described the Haditha incident as "the latest indication of what terrible things can happen when soldiers are required to occupy hostile civilian territory in the midst of an armed insurrection and looming civil war," and that questions surrounding the incident "have awful resonance for those who remember Vietnam, and what that prolonged and ultimately pointless war did to both the Vietnamese and the American social fabric." In a May 31 editorial titled "What happened at the Iraqi My Lai?," the Los Angeles Times wrote: "If Marines 'avenged' the killing of a comrade by terrorizing and killing innocent Iraqis, they disgraced their uniform and must be punished. The same is true of anyone higher in the chain of command who helped conceal what happened on November 19, 2005, in Haditha in western Iraq." The editorial added: "If the allegations of a massacre are corroborated -- and a full disclosure is overdue -- the debate about the wisdom of the U.S. mission in Iraq inevitably will become even more inflamed. But in Iraq, as in Vietnam, larger 'explanations' for atrocities cannot be regarded as excuses."
Other right-wing pundits have also complained about media coverage of the Haditha incident on Fox News. For example, on the May 31 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that the "left-wing press" and others are "rejoic[ing]" over Haditha, as Media Matters for America noted.
From the June 1 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
GIBSON: The U.S. military is conducting at least two investigations into claims that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in Haditha last year. President Bush is promising a full investigation and so is the Iraqi government. And now, those crying "cover-up" are seeing some sharp criticism. Joining us now is one of the critics, Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin. So, Michelle, it seems that there was clearly some kind of -- I don't know if you would call it a cover-up, but the correct story wasn't told in the first case because a couple of commanders had been relieved of duty, so why go after the people crying "cover-up"?
MALKIN: Well, what I really want to get across, John, is that we don't know exactly what happened, and I am very dismayed by a lot of our colleagues in the media who pretend that they do know what happened. And there are puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times, whose columnists and editorial writers are screaming, "Iraqi My Lai, My Lai, My Lai," and when they get tired of living old history, invoking Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo Bay with ultimate confidence about what happened here. Yes, there are some very disturbing allegations about what happened on that day and also a possible cover-up, and the Bargewell report will tell us exactly what happened, and I'm glad to hear the Bush administration say they will make all of these findings public. But in the meantime, I think there should be a ratcheting down of all the hyperventilation, and we should treat this incident with the seriousness and sobriety that it deserves. We're not getting that.
GIBSON: Do you sense that people are trying to make Haditha into the entire war?
MALKIN: Yes, of course. And I think that that context is so important that this incident did not happen in a vacuum, and the media treatment of it didn't either. Now, I have to say that I think actually that Time magazine did a good service in bringing this forward and showing us that the original story that the Marines gave apparently was not true, that the 24 civilians -- upwards of 24 civilians did not die in a roadside bomb attack. And we have to commend, and the Iraqi people themselves in this neighborhood commend, the NCIS for how they are conducting this, and I think it's interesting to note that the Iraqi government itself, not a single one of their politicians had bothered to go visit these survivors until this media thing played out here.
So, you know, I just think that you have to keep in mind that there is a large antiwar contingent that is willing to believe every last lie about our troops. And I think that our troops deserve at least as much deference and attention paid to their rights and the presumption of innocence as, oh, say, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or O.J. Simpson or Tookie Williams.
GIBSON: All right. Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin. Michelle, thank you.