The White House does not like Fox News. In fact, their dislike is much more akin to an obsession, and the administration is really annoyed by Fox. While speaking to the media on Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said Fox News “obsesses over the terminology used to describe terrorists.”
It seems that the administration obsesses over Fox as much as Fox obsesses over terminology.
It isn’t the first time that high-ranking members of the Obama administration have expressed their anxiety over the messenger rather than the message.
The Wit of Eric Holder
While at the National Press Club in Washington, Holder told those assembled, “We spend more time, more time talking about what you call it, as opposed to what do you do about it, you know? I mean really. If Fox didn’t talk about this, they would have nothing else to talk about, it seems to me.”
There is a confrontation going on, but Fox News did not start it, The White House did. They refuse to label the ISIS fighters “Islamic extremists,” instead using the vanilla interpretation “terrorist,” that doesn’t describe the enemy at all, in Fox’s view.
Holder Ignores Islamic Extremism
Pushing his own point, Holder said, “Radical Islam, Islamic extremism, I’m not sure an awful lot is gained by saying that. It doesn’t have any impact on our military posture. It doesn’t have any impact on what we call it, on the policies that we put in place.”
In that case, why change it into a harmless candy-floss statement?
If it was only Fox News saying this, Holder might have gotten away with his play on words, but there are others concerned over the weak labeling of ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Mara Liasson, the liberal National Public Radio journalist has grilled White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about their weak naming convention.
White House Neutral On Terror Groups
The White House thinks that by remaining neutral in their labeling of terrorist groups they gain some kind of advantage, and that being more specific only worsens the situation.
Journalists from the left to the right are applying pressure on the Obama administration, asking them to come clean, and tell it like is, and not sugarcoat it so it becomes an unrecognizable message that fails to protect us.
Egypt’s al-Sisi Disagrees
Egypt’s al-Sisi says you have to call it what it is, so do a number of Democrats, including Hawaii veteran Tulsi Gabbard, Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta.
Fox News commentator Dana Perino suggested Eric Holder stop waffling and that he “go out on a high note.”
Eric Holder, being Eric Holder, did not go out on a high note. He did the opposite, as many people expected.
Guide to the Drivers of Violent Extremism
In “Guide to the Drivers of Violent Extremism,” Guilain Denoeux and Lynn Carter, of Management Systems International looked at extremist profiles. The publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development.
Here is what part four of that report says:
Extremist Profiles and “at-Risk Populations”: Historical Trends, Recent Patterns, and Implications for Development Practitioners
Both the scholarly literature and policy-oriented research have paid much attention to whether or not there is a distinctive “terrorist profile,” and to the related issue – critical to development practitioners – of whether seeking to identity “at-risk” or “vulnerable” populations is a productive endeavor. Some of the questions involved have been answered decisively, based on available empirical evidence; others remain the subject of much controversy, largely because one can reach very different conclusions depending on the data samples one selects.
The current state of research suggests the following conclusions, which are developed below:
A. There is no single “terrorist personality.”
B. Until recently at least, most terrorists have shared some basic attributes in terms of socioeconomic background and educational achievement. These similarities have tended to cut across cultures, regions of the world and time periods
C. The socioeconomic and educational profile of that particular sub-set of violent extremists represented by Salafi jihadists has experienced significant changes since 2003. The trend toward increasing diversity in the socioeconomic background of global jihadists is likely to intensify in the years ahead.
D. While violent extremists do not share a single profile across countries and time periods, they may do so in a specific country and at a particular historical juncture. That situation has important analytical and programmatic implications for development practitioners.