Glenn Beck makes a habit out of shocking people… but not usually his colleagues at Fox News.
Following the arrest of a suspect in the failed Times Square bombing, Beck surprised the hosts of Fox & Friends Tuesday by saying, as a U.S. citizen, Faisal Shahzad should be Mirandized.
Once again, the argument over reading suspects their Miranda Rights has been polticized, even though the questioning of Shahzad really isn’t so different than how most suspects are treated by the authorities. Until they are charged, police often question suspects before Mirandizing, and very few Republicans are actually advancing the notion that terrorist suspects should never be given lawyers.
However, on Tuesday, even John McCain seemed to disagree with Beck. “Don’t give this guy his Miranda Rights until we find out what it’s all about,” the Arizona senator told Don Imus Tuesday. This led Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart to note that even Glenn Beck was more “reasonable” than McCain.
Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade started the day on Fox & Friends by recalling that the so-called “underwear bomber” was read his rights soon after being apprehended. “Remember the crotch bomber ended up being somebody that was talking immediately but he was injured, he was hurt. He had to be brought to the hospital but when they started sedating him, they said let’s read him his rights and get him a lawyer,” Kilmeade lamented.
Kilmeade called in to question any decision to afford the same rights to Shahzad. “Do you hold him as an enemy combatant. Do you not read him his rights because he’s a naturalized citizen but he’s indeed a threat. Clearly, if they got the right guy, clearly a threat to our well being as Americans?” he asked.
“Do you sit there and find a way to put additional pressure on him through our most sophisticated interrogators or do you read him his rights and say well, he’s an American citizen, what do we do?” Kilmeade wondered.
“Exactly right,” agreed Fox News’ Steve Doocy.
Less than an hour later, Glenn Beck and Judge Andrew Napolitano joined Kilmeade and Doocy to discuss the arrest. “Will they spend enough time interrogating him?” asked Doocy. “That’s what happened with the crotch bomber. They talk to him for 50 minutes and then they go show’s over,” said an exasperated Doocy.
“If he hasn’t been Mirandized — and I know this will upset a lot of people — he will be Mirandized as soon as he sets foot in federal court this morning,” Napolitano coolly explained.
“Here’s the tension between the two sides. There’s the natural desire on the part of the public and the government to know more about him. Are there other plotters out there? Who sent you? Who dispatched you? Who paid for this? There’s also the oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws that says you have to give him his Miranda warning the minute he’s in custody and the minute you ask him a question. Where they give him the Miranda warning between the moment of incarceration and the time he sets foot in court this morning is something we may never know,” said Napolitano.
Beck seemed to agree. “He’s a citizen of the United States so I say we uphold the law and the Constitution on citizens,” said Beck.
Kilmeade quickly tried to correct Beck. “He’s a threat to the country. That’s different,” he said.
Beck stood his ground. “So are a lot of citizens of the country. If you’re a citizen you obey the law and follow the Constitution. He has all of the rights under the Constitution.”
At the same time on the Fox Business Network, McCain was telling Don Imus that a Miranda warning would not be appropriate until the interrogation was finished.
“Obviously that would be a serious mistake…at least until we find out as much information we have,” McCain said during an appearance on “Imus in the Morning” when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan.
“Don’t give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it’s all about,” McCain added during an appearance on the Imus show, which is broadcast by the Fox Business Network.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann blasted McCain Tuesday night. “You shame yourself in the eyes of American patriots,” said Olbermann, “and in the eyes of your fellow veterans who sacrificed, and the honored dead who gave their lives to protect the freedoms and the laws you have today suggested should be optional.”
Olbermann continued, “We also look back with horror at how a man who thinks America is some kind of brand name, who does not respect the laws and honor of this great nation, could have come so perilously close to becoming its leader.”
McCain, once a darling of the media, also took some heat from Jon Stewart.
“I didn’t want to do this, Senator, because I do still have a little love for you,” said Stewart. “This next clip is going to hurt me as much as it is going to hurt you. Chuck, roll tape of someone being far more reasonable about reading the rights.”
The Comedy Central host then sang the Broadway song “Memories” to pay tribute to the “old” McCain, before the 2008 race when he was considered more of a maverick and independent, and was viewed by many as holding more “reasonable” views.
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast April 28, 2010.
This video is from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast May 4, 2010.