It’s almost stupid to spell this out, but Brian Kilmeade’s inane proclamation on Fox & Friends this morning demonstrates exactly the syntax problems that his network has with Muslims. “There was a certain group of people that attacked us on 9/11,” he said. “It wasn’t just one person, it was one religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” (Co-host Steve Doocy can be heard saying “Mmm hmm!” emphatically right after.) Obviously, not all terrorists are Muslim. There are terrorists of all religions, including Kilmeade’s own Christianity. But the presentation of Muslims as enemies in the larger Fox News story line excludes any nuance. Which is why, just before Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked off the stage on The View the other day, Bill O’Reilly said “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” Ignore the Muslim part for a second. It’s the “us” part that is really telling. If O’Reilly was used to telling this story with anything other than broad strokes, he’d remember that Muslims are us. There were Muslims killed in 9/11. There are millions of Muslim-Americans living here.
Of course, that’s not the “us” that Fox News usually refers to. That “us” is a category that’s distinctly … narrower. Here’s the Kilmeade clip from today:
“Brian was talking about the events on The View yesterday and was referring to the radical extremists who killed Americans on 9/11,” Fox News SVP Bill Shine told the Huffington Post this afternoon. “Obviously, not all terrorists are Muslim and Brian will clarify this point on television and radio on Monday.”
That’s cute, he’ll “clarify.” He definitely won’t “say something completely different than what he originally said.” The fact that a Fox News exec is using the old “Oh, you know what we mean” shouldn’t be surprising — much of the audience that Fox plays to knows full well what Brian meant, and agrees with the sentiment.