The Left Outfoxes Itself

Just when you thought certain factions of the left couldn’t get any more paranoid, along comes this: on March 17, the "progressive" website Media Matters for America attacked the Fox News Channel for its March 16 report on the beginning of Operation Swarmer. In the story, Fox accidentally showed footage of the September 11 attacks. According to Media Matters, "Fox News aired the World Trade Center footage during [anchor Brigitte] Quinn’s interview with [retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas] McInerney. Neither Quinn nor anyone else actually referred to the footage, and an onscreen caption bore the date ‘March 21, 2003’– the same date shown on the ‘shock and awe’ footage of Baghdad aired earlier. But the World Trade Center footage clearly depicted the wreckage of a portion of the steel exterior of one of the center’s twin skyscrapers, as well as onlookers at the scene, one of whom remarked–in English–‘Oh my God.’"

Instead of dismissing the incident as a simple production mistake, members of the site’s far-left readership posted comments insisting that the Fox used the footage deliberately: one poster claimed that "…the misled Americans who believe–courtesy of the deceptive Bush administration–that Iraq was involved in 9/11, watched this Fox report, saw the WTC footage, and thought, ‘yep, that’s why our boys are over there,’" another asserted that "…anyone would be a fool for assuming it was an accident," a third declared that "…[Fox News] has committed another shameful act in its endless quest to help the Bush administration. I’m sure every 9/11 family really appreciated it," and a fourth proclaimed, "Fox News is beyond shame."

The far-left posters seem to operate under the notion that Fox and other entities that have expressed support for our three-year-old effort in Iraq have engaged in a surreptitious campaign to link Iraq to 9/11, and that this footage was intentionally used in order to further that goal.

However, those who support this war have never been duplicitous about their reasons for endorsing the effort. Iraq and 9/11 were linked, in the sense that the primary reason for going into Iraq was to remove a dictator with known ties to terrorism who, the Bush Administration believed, would have either committed, or aided in the commission of, another 9/11-style attack. (While we were frustrated in our efforts to locate the stockpile of weaponry that we believed Saddam Hussein would use to commit, or aid in the commission of, another 9/11-style attack, it must be noted that there was a general consensus that he still possessed such material, which he had used in previous years.)

Backers of the war effort have made quite clear their reasons for doing so. Thus, there’s no rational justification for the theory that Fox "slipped in" the WTC footage as some sort of subliminal message. It wouldn’t make any sense for Fox to be subtle, when numerous Fox personalities have been fairly straightforward about the principal rationale for this war.

It’s funny to see how hatred of Fox’s success has blinded some progressives to the possibility that the WTC footage was a legitimate accident. To be fair, some posters did understand that the footage was a mistake and not mendacity: one poster noted that "…It looks like a production mistake to me. The date at the beginning of the WTC video is shown as March 21,2003. I think they grabbed the wrong file footage. Still bad work, but I don’t believe it was intended to link 9/11 with this week’s action," another noted that "…assuming that Fox is purposely slanting every story just leaves you crying wolf too much of the time," and a third poster stated: "…I think it’s foolish and ignorant to see evil behind what may likely be just a stupid mistake. To win back control of the government liberals need to convince swing voters that we aren’t a bunch of crazed, paranoid conspiracy nuts."

It will be hard to do that if there are a significant number of people on the left who believe that Fox intentionally spliced in WTC footage, don’t you think?

Cross-posted at Notes From D.R.