September 24, 2013

What Bob Beckel said yesterday on Fox News’s excellent roundtable program “The Five” won’t surprise those who’ve followed the show’s resident liberal talker. He ignited over this weekend’s attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya, perpetrated by the Islamist terror group al-Shabab. Beckel was apparently chagrined that he wasn’t hearing the proper condemnations from the Muslim world:

You moderate Muslims out there — now listen, I know I’ve been on this thing for a long time, but the time has come for you to stand up and say something. And I will repeat what I said before. No more Muslim students coming here with visas, no more mosques being built here until you stand up and denounce what happened in the name of your prophet . . . The point is that the time has come for Muslims in this country and for other people around the world to stand up and be counted. If you can’t, you’re cowards.

Beckel, a good-humored and curmudgeonly operative who worked on Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign, may not be too conversant with Google. “Muslims condemn Nairobi attack” yielded this story, for instance: “Minneapolis Islamic groups condemn the attack in Nairobi.” The Minnesota connection is important because al-Shabab is based mostly in Somalia, and Minnesota has a sizable Somali population. Another story: “Kenyan Muslims condemn Nairobi hostage-taking saga.”

Who knows — perhaps that level of condemnation doesn’t meet the Bob-Beckel-Muslim-Terror-Denunciation Standard. Since he’s sitting in judgment of Muslims’ reaction to terror events, he might consider stipulating precisely what level and volume of denunciation will prompt him to cancel his calls for yanked mosque building permits and the like.

Following the April Boston Marathon bombings, Beckel expressed similar feelings, suggesting that the United States consider cutting off “Muslim students from coming to this country for some period of time so that we can at least absorb what we’ve got, look at what we’ve got and decide whether some of the people here should be going — be sent back home or sent back to prison.”

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly at the time promoted those asinine comments by Beckel: “As you may know, one of the co-hosts of ‘The Five,’ Bob Beckel, is a big-time liberal guy. But on Monday he surprised a lot of people.” A similar dynamic appeared to be bubbling up among Beckel’s co-hosts on “The Five” yesterday after Beckel’s outburst. “All-right,” said co-host Greg Gutfeld, giggling at the monologue.

Beckel’s back is sure to be red today, following all the friendly slaps he has doubtless received at Fox News headquarters since trashing Muslims around the world. A few more such loony meanderings should earn him a good raise when contract times comes around. Heck, for all the Erik Wemple Blog knows, Beckel’s current contract contains a provision stating the following:

Pursuant to this contract, the undersigned shall, consistent with his curriculum vitae, advocate and defend progressive or liberal viewpoints on the issues that come before him on “The Five.” This contract, however, binds the undersigned to occasionally embrace a position so extreme, nonsensical and tyrannical as to cause general disquiet among the Fox News audience regarding the sanity of liberals and to cast conservative Fox News commentators in a reasonable light.

(h/t Politico, Media Matters for America)

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.