Fox News host Brian Kilmeade will soon “clarify” his repeated assertion Friday that “all terrorists are Muslim,” but that’s not enough for many critics who argue there’s a media double-standard in the treatment of reporters who make anti-Semitic comments and those who are perceived to slur Muslims.
“Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim,” Kilmeade said on his radio show. “You can’t avoid that fact. And that is ridiculous that we got to keep defining this — the people that equate Timothy McVeigh with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which is growing and a threat that exists.”
In asserting this, Kilmeade either ignored or was not aware of the long history of terrorism outside of the Muslim world, from anarchist terrorism in 19th-century Russia, to Zionist terrorism in the 1930s and 1940s, to the Irish Republican Army, to the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka (who are considered pioneers of suicide bombing), to right-wing extremists in the US, from the Ku Klux Klan — considered by many to be a terrorist organization — to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who — despite Kilmeade’s protestations to the contrary — is largely considered a terrorist.
Kilmeade made similar comments on Fox & Friends Friday in a discussion of Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walking off the set of The View over Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s claim that “Muslims killed us on 9/11.”
“They were outraged that somebody was saying … there was a certain group of people that attacked us on 9/11. It wasn’t just one person, it was one religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims,” Kilmeade said.
“Brian was talking about the events on The View yesterday and was referring to the radical extremists who killed Americans on 9/11,” Fox News senior VP for programming Bill Shine told the Huffington Post. “Obviously, not all terrorists are Muslim and Brian will clarify this point on television and radio on Monday.”
But that’s not enough for some critics who point out that any similarly inaccurate accusation against other minority groups would be cause for firing.
“Rick Sanchez was fired by CNN this month within 24 hours of his sort-of suggesting that Jews run the media,” writes Justin Elliott at Salon.com “Compare the response to that episode to the non-reaction of the media today” to Kilmeade’s comments, he added.
“There are terrorists of all religions, including Kilmeade’s own Christianity,” writes Chris Rovzar at New York magazine. “But the presentation of Muslims as enemies in the larger Fox News story line excludes any nuance.”
The following audio was broadcast on Kilmeade and Friends, Friday, Oct. 15, 2010, and uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters.