Fox News host Bob Beckel tried to compare an alleged rise in acceptance for Islamic extremism in France to tolerance for interracial dating in the U.S., Media Matters reported on Thursday.
“I think it’s sort of like in the United States where younger people today, it’s not at all unusual for people to see multicultural dating, for example,” Beckel told his co-hosts on The Five. “Back when I was young you didn’t date out of your own ethnicity. But in Europe and other places, this mingling that’s going on here, younger people are beginning to find this acceptable. And that’s the thing that is sort of scary because they’re getting exposed to it on a daily basis.”
Beckel alluded to a poll he said showed that young people “were much more predisposed” to supporting radical Muslim groups than their elders. Co-host Greg Gutfeld specifically mentioned a Russian news agency survey reportedly showing that 27 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 “have a positive opinion” of the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS).
However, the Washington Post determined that some of the survey’s findings don’t “add up.”
According to the Post, if one considers that “Sunni Muslims with extremist views” would be more likely to indicate support for a group like ISIS, then one must also factor in that only an estimated 7.5 percent of the French population is Muslim. Comparatively, the Muslim populations in the United Kingdom and Germany — which were also covered by the survey — were an estimated 4.4 percent and 5 percent of those countries’ respective populations.
“There are margins of errors in surveys and polls. However, even after taking these few percentage point differences into account, for these results to be accurate the vast majority, if not all, of the Muslim population of France and Britain would probably need to support the Islamic State,” the Post’s Adam Taylor wrote. “The diverse nature of the Islamic communities in these countries makes that very hard to image: Why would Shia Muslims support a movement that would kill them, for example?”
Following Beckel’s statement, Gutfeld and co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle appeared to try to cover for him.
“I don’t know if you can compare affection for radicalization to mixed dating,” Gutfeld said. “You don’t mean that.”
“I didn’t mean that,” Beckel responded. “It was a stretch but I was trying to find something we could relate to.”
“I think he messed up,” Guilfoyle added.
Co-host Eric Bolling complained later in the segment that conservatives were being unfairly maligned for their response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France on Wednesday.
“Here’s the thing that I find baffling: when we all call for moderate Muslims to push back on these types of crimes, we’re called racists,” Bolling said. “We’re called Islamophobic because we’re accusing them of not being able to do it by themselves. That’s ridiculous. If it were Christians doing it, believe me, the Pope would be out there saying, ‘Enough of that.’ But it’s not Christians. It’s Muslims, it’s radical Muslims.”
Bolling did not mention that several Muslim organizations and individuals have already denounced the attack against the French satirical newspaper. Nor did he mention his own network’s lack of coverage regarding beheading attacks carried out by Christians.
Watch the discussion, as posted by Media Matters on Thursday, below.