Helen Thomas Asks Why U.S. Fighting ‘So-Called Terrorism,’ Hints Moral Equivalence w/ U.S. Airstrikes

On Thursday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly used the show’s regular "Reality Check" segment to highlight comments made by Hearst columnist Helen Thomas in which she questioned whether terrorists really should be called "terrorists," and seemed to express a view of moral equivalence between the United States and the terrorists with which America is at war.

When asked in an interview with Mediaite what her point was in repeatedly asking Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan at a January 7 press conference why al-Qaeda terrorists are trying to kill Americans, as if to suggest that such behavior was provoked by wrongdoing by the U.S., Thomas responded:

I was trying to find out why, why, what’s, look, we’ve been in this war, eight, nine years, against this so-called terrorism. And I do say "so-called" because in the newspapers, if you read, you read about the militants, you don’t read about us bombing everybody, and never really explaining why, and going into three, four different countries, Middle East, Africa, and so forth. Who are we? And why are we doing this?

On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, the FNC host had previously highlighted Thomas’s bizarre exchange with Brennan from January 7:

HELEN THOMAS: What is really lacking always for us is you don't give the motivation of why they want to do us harm.

JOHN BRENNAN, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has perverted Islam and has corrupted the concept of Islam.

THOMAS: And you're saying it’s because of religion?

BRENNAN: I'm saying it's because of an al-Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.

THOMAS: Why?

BRENNAN: This is a long issue, but al-Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.

THOMAS: But you haven’t explained why.

Below are transcripts of the relevant portions of FNC's The O'Reilly Factor from the Thursday, January 14, show, followed by the Monday, January 11, show:

#From January 14:

BILL O’REILLY: "Check" three, our pal Helen Thomas was asked by the Web site, Mediaite, about her hectoring of Obama terrorism guy, John Brennan.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN CLIP: You asked John Brennan about, you said, "Why are they trying to attack us?" A lot of our readers had questions about that, were critical. What were you trying to get at with that question?

HELEN THOMAS CLIP: I was trying to find out why, why, what’s, look, we’ve been in this war, eight, nine years, against this so-called terrorism. And I do say "so-called" because in the newspapers, if you read, you read about the militants, you don’t read about us bombing everybody, and never really explaining why, and going into three, four different countries, Middle East, Africa, and so forth. Who are we? And why are we doing this?

O’REILLY: Once again, "Check" will try. Helen, there are bad people who want to kill you. They lived in Afghanistan before 9/11, which is why the USA went in there. Saddam was also a very bad man. He killed hundreds of thousands of people, and defied the United Nations on weapons inspections. So we took’em out. Now, you may disagree with those policies, but you should understand them. I hope.

#From January 11:

BILL O'REILLY: "Check" six, 89-year-old Helen Thomas still working full-time at the White House and still very curious about al-Qaeda.

HELEN THOMAS: What is really lacking always for us is you don't give the motivation of why they want to do us harm.

JOHN BRENNAN, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has perverted Islam and has corrupted the concept of Islam.

THOMAS: And you're saying it’s because of religion?

BRENNAN: I'm saying it's because of an al-Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.

THOMAS: Why?

BRENNAN: This is a long issue, but al-Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.

THOMAS: But you haven’t explained why.

O'REILLY: Okay, Helen, here's why, all right? Here it is. These people are haters. They are like the Nazis. Remember the Nazis? Heard about them on NPR. They hate Jews, Americans, infidels of all kinds. There is no reasoning behind it, Helen, none. "Check" hopes that is settled once and for all.