Over the past few weeks, news has come out that the White House and Pentagon are somewhat at odds over the detention of the remaining 116 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Recently, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said that while he agrees with the assessment of President Obama that the detention facility needs to be shuttered, and a number of those housed there are eligible to be freed to other countries, he feels that roughly half of the detainees need to stay there while awaiting military tribunals. This has led to discussions regarding the use of federal prisons within the United States to hold the remaining prisoners so Gitmo can be closed for good.
Of course, hard-line conservatives absolutely detest the idea of Obama placing dirty, filthy, radical Islamists in locked facilities within the United States while they await trials. In their minds, these pieces of human filth should be tortured and held indefinitely in an off-shore facility, regardless of the objections of the international community. A couple of Republican Senators, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Pat Roberts of Kansas, penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed objecting to the possibility of detainees being moved to prisons in their respective states.
With that as the backdrop, Fox News aired breathlessly hyperbolic segment on Wednesday morning claiming that President Obama was planning on moving hardcore terrorists into smalltown America. Speaking to Fox News analyst and Roger Ailes surrogate Peter Johnson, Jr., Hasselbeck made sure to set the tone right away by exclaiming, “Is President Obama going to be sending terrorist prisoners into your town and is it even legal to do so?” From there, she and Johnson took turns shouting at the top of their lungs over how dangerous the Obama Administration is and how he’s putting Americans in evil’s way just so he can keep a promise he made at the beginning of his presidency.
Johnson spent most of the short Fox & Friends segment blathering on about how it was absolutely illegal for the President to move prisoners from Gitmo to facilities in the United States. For those who’ve watched more than a few minutes of Fox in the past, you obviously already know that he didn’t say anything to actually back up that assertion. However, he said it very loud and forcefully, and repeated it a few times, so it must be true. Hasselbeck made sure to also be over-the-top with her faux outrage about the possibility that a few dozen people might be transferred from one prison facility to another.
The main thing to take away from this piece that aired is that Johnson is essentially Ailes’ mouthpiece. Whenever the Fox News chief wants to make his opinion known on a particular subject or issue, he sends Johnson to deliver it on air, usually on Fox & Friends as the morning program typically sets the narrative for that day’s programming. Therefore, we know that Ailes is going to push this story as a big deal and get the other pundits and hosts to fall in line opinion-wise. Expect more Islamophobic fearmongering over the coming days regarding Gitmo.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Fox News: