On Tuesday, The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill went on CNN and accused the network's terrorism experts of being "frauds."
“CNN and MSNBC and Fox are engaging in the terrorism expert industrial complex, where you have people on as paid analysts that are largely frauds who have made a lot of money off of portraying themselves as terror experts and have no actual on-the-ground experience.”
I don't watch enough cable news any more to know for sure whether this is totally true. Over the years, however, I've seen some analysts who are reasonable and smart, while others are totally unhinged crackpots cynically pretending to lean on the panic button in exchange for too much cash. So, Scahill's partly correct, I suppose, yet I don't subscribe to the idea that you're only an expert if you've been embedded in AfPak or if you've dodged Hellfire missiles on the ground in Yemen. This is like saying you can't be an expert on space unless you've spent time on the International Space Station, or that you can't truly know anything about filmmaking until you've actually directed a movie.
Anyway, there's one specific host on Fox News Channel who absolutely falls into the fraud category. She also falls into the unhinged-crackpots-cynically-pretending-to-lean-on-the-panic-button category. Real-life judge and Botox victim Jeanine Pirro hosts a Sunday night show on the network during which she delivers what are arguably the most ridiculously unglued monologues in all of cable news, perhaps second only to Nancy Grace. No one at Fox News even comes close to Pirro's master-classes in obnoxious fire-eating, hack writing and poop-flinging, at least not since Glenn Beck bailed out several years ago.
You might recall the last time we covered Pirro here at The Daily Banter. It was shortly after ISIS hit the news and Pirro ball-shamed President Obama and offered up her expert solution: "Air strikes. Bomb them! Bomb them! Keep bombing them, bomb them again and again. And I don’t care how long it takes. Just take out ISIS. Take out their convoys, and take out those troops."
At the time, I described Pirro's rant like so: It’s a cocktail of Obama Derangement Syndrome delivered with laser-like precision directly into the outrage cortexes of typical Fox News viewers, likely inducing octogenarian white-guy erections with tensile strengths not experienced since Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn splashed around in that magical swimming pool in Cocoon.
Pirro returned to the issue of terrorism during her most recent telecast and the results were generally the same.
1) "We need to kill them. We need to KILL THEM. The radical Muslim terrorists hell bent on killing us." Okay, she clearly seems to think we're not killing terrorists. Statement of fact: we've been killing "them" for quite a while now, so I'm not sure who she's saying this to. But she's pretty clear with this prescription: we need to "kill them." We'll circle back to "we" in a second.
2) "I'm in danger, you're in danger. We're at war and this is not going to stop." Right, again, I get that there's a war on terrorism, so doesn't its existence suggest we are killing them? This is nothing but verbal masturbation, a word salad with a bottomless side order of fear-mongering. Obviously we need to continue to track terrorist threats and take action when necessary, but Pirro's strategy it totally incoherent and hamfisted. And it gets worse.
3) "Our job is to arm those Muslims to the teeth, give them everything they need to take out these Islamic fanatics, let them do the job, and when they do, we need to simply look the other way." Hold on, hold on, I thought "we" were supposed to "kill them." But then she said the "only way" to do this is to arm Muslims "to the teeth" (hack writing) and letting them fight the war. Because it totally worked out when we armed the Mujahideen. No blowback there. But, all right, we've armed Muslims to kill other Muslims en masse. What could possibly go wrong?
4) "Force Arab nations to choose: they're either with us or against us." And let's smoke those evildoers out of their holes!
5) "The Muslim Brotherhood, the mother of all terrorist organizations." Wait, I thought that was ISIS. In September, Pirro said ISIS is the "single biggest threat in [America's] 200-year history." But okay. Let's say we muster an army of Muslims to kill the entire population of the Muslim Brotherhood. If Pirro and her regular viewers knew anything about anything, they'd know the "mother of all terrorist organizations" includes actual mothers as well as children, and, as Amanda Taub noted, there are 100,000 members in Egypt alone. That's a lot of corpses.
6) "This surrender is nothing but a coward's response to the fear of this fanatical terrorism." An estimated 2,400 targets were killed in UAV strikes during the Obama administration alone. We continue to be engaged against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and we just wrapped up a 14 year war in Afghanistan. I'm not sure "coward's response" means what she thinks it means.
7) "This political correctness will be the death of us. They can kill us, but we can't hurt their feelings? I'm surprised the president hasn't signed an executive order that says 'don't offend Muslims.'" Set aside the idea that peaceful or even non-practicing Muslims might be offended by various bigoted slurs; didn't Pirro just recommend that we should arm Muslims "to the teeth" in order to do our killing for us? Are we sure it's a smart idea to load them up with state of the art American-made weaponry then act like total dicks to them -- calling them ragheads and savages? Galactically stupid.
8) "As sure as I'm talking to you [hack writing again], there will be efforts to limit our First Amendment, our free speech, to comply with Sharia blasphemy laws." And when the chemtrails come, just spritz them with vinegar until the Illuminati scurry off to Bilberberg where they'll secretly inject more gay-inducing chemicals into our juice boxes.
9) "Muslim groups like CAIR and the Nation of Islam have been integrated into our society, Muslims invited to worship at our National Cathedral in Washington, DC." Wait, I thought she was pissed off at Islamic terrorists. Now she's going after CAIR? Wow. For the record, does she believe CAIR, too, should be targeted when we "kill them?" I don't think she's really thought this plan all the way through. Shocker. By the way, Pirro might want to roll back her teleprompter and read again the line about the First Amendment (see #8). There's a clause in there about freedom of religion; Islam being one of many religions.
10) "Our president can't even say the words 'radical Islam.'"Via Tommy Christopher, here's Fox News Channel quoting Obama saying "radical Islam."
Clearly, Pirro doesn't watch her own network.
If I were a regular Fox News viewer, I'd be embarrassed by this quack. Then again, too many Fox News viewers mainline this diarrhea like heroin. Pirro is a parody of a parody of a cable news screecher, but this format of reciting 8th-grade-level writing while engaging in O'Reilly-esque performance art is what passes for discourse on too many shows across all of the cable news networks and, tragically, Americans are learning how to talk about politics by watching Pirro and the others -- humorless, crazy-eyed, super-serious yet totally superficial rave-outs without thought, reason or -- gasp! -- compromise. Somewhere in her "opening statement," Pirro asks, "Are we morons?!" Increasingly yes, yes we are, thanks in part to shows like Pirro's.