By Hayes Brown/Think ProgressFox News is sounding the alarm about Muslim extremists in the aftermath of the Boston bombings and is using the tragedy to argue that President Obama is too weak or afraid to confront the threat.
A day after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wondered why Obama refused to condemn radical Islam before the Boston bombers’ motives were known, the network suggested that Obama’s middle namemight provide the answer. Radio host Bill Cunningham implied, while appearing on Sean Hannity’s program, that Obama’s upbringing in Indonesia prevents him from opposing terrorism:
CUNNINGHAM: Sean Hannity, maybe his middle name is a clue, as well as the fact that he spent his childhood practicing the Muslim faith. I think — of course he’s a Christian now, but we have to understand where he came from. He says the sweetest sound he ever heard was prayers at sunset. So with that orientation, I think it’s hard for this to say anything other than “Muslim jihadist terrorist” because it runs contrary to what he was taught as a boy in Honolulu and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Conservatives have long used Obama’s middle name to suggest that he is a secret Muslim sympathizer, but Fox’s Islamophobia following Boston extends beyond the president. Media Matters has gathered a sampling of the network’s immediate pivot to inviting on a slew of Islamophobic guests to comment on the attack. In addition, several Fox hosts and guests — including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — have called for limiting the number of Muslims entering the U.S. on student visas as a response to the attacks, despite the fact that the Tsarnaev brothers were not in the country under such conditions.
Fox host Erick Bolling referred to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) as a “Muslim apologist” during a segment calling for greater profiling of Muslim Americans. And just hours after the bombings hit, Fox News contributor Erik Rush was calling for the death of all Muslims. Sadly, Fox’s targeting of Muslims isn’t anything new, given their long and sordid history of doing so.