On Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, as host Keith Olbermann and NBC News correspondent Richard Engel discussed the apparent murder of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan by Iranian government forces as part of the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, and the possibility that she will become the visual symbol for her country’s pro-democracy movement because her death was recorded, Engel brought up the infamous Mohammed al-Dura video clip from September 2000 and claimed that the Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli troops – as if this story were not in dispute – even though many who have examined the case closely over the years believe not only that the boy was not hit by Israeli bullets, but that the video purporting to document his shooting and death was likely a hoax.
The exchange from Monday's Countdown show, in which both Engel and Olbermann assumed the al-Dura story to be undisputed:
KEITH OLBERMANN: To the point of Neda Soltan, I don’t know that there’s ever been a revolution, or even a near revolution, that did not have an identifiable face, a martyr, you think of everything from Tiananmen Square to Lexington and Concord-
RICHARD ENGEL: I was thinking more, remember Mohammed al-Dura, the boy who was shot in Gaza-
OLBERMANN: Yes, yes.
ENGEL: -in his father’s arms-
ENGEL: -and who became a symbol of injustice? I think this is a similar moment.
"Obama's intelligent speech in Cairo has had a big impact in the Muslim world, and it is obvious that it is his presence in the White House – far more than any BBC broadcast – that is giving hope to the demonstrators in Tehran...I do not believe it could possibly have happened had John McCain been elected...Who knows whether [the Iranian protestors] will succeed, but we can safely say that the BBC and Barack Obama have done more to change Iran than Fox News and George W Bush."
So wrote London's mayor in an astonishing display of Obama Derangement Syndrome Monday.
Contrary to the claims of many liberals, at least some of Iran's anti-government protesters are anxious for Barack Obama to lend American support to their cause. An Iranian student interviewed on CNN’s American Morning on Monday pleaded for the world, and President Obama by name, to become more active in assisting the protests against the Islamic regime in Tehran: “International community....especially, I ask President Barack Obama directly...this government is a huge threat to global peace....We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.” [Audio from the segment available here.]
Near the end of the interview, anchor John Roberts asked the student, who went by the first name of Mohammed alone, for the specific demands of the protesters: “Are the students seeking regime change? Are they looking to bring down the Ayatollah and completely change the form of government there in Iran, or are you looking for- as has been suggested- more civil rights, more freedoms, within the context of the existing regime?”
Without any sort of prompting, Mohammed first addressed some of the major controversies involving the Iranian regime: “For about three decades, our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime....We are peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of international community. We don’t want to be isolated....We don’t deny Holocaust. We...do accept Israel’s rights. And actually...we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.”
On Thursday evening, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News presented opposite takes on whether Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is really a moderate, or whether he is actually about as extreme and dangerous as current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. CBS’s Mark Phillips argued that Mousavi is merely more moderate in "tone" than Ahmadinejad while taking similar policy positions, while NBC’s Richard Engel played up Mousavi as a real alternative to Ahmadinejad. CBS News substitute anchor Maggie Rodriguez introduced Phillips’s report: "Mir Hossein Mousavi insists he won the presidential election there, only to have it stolen from him. He's been cast as an outsider, anxious for reform. But as Mark Phillips reports, that's not exactly the case."
After beginning his report contending that "Mir Hossein Mousavi is neither a champion of democracy as we know it, nor an advocate of great change within Iran's mullah-dominated government," Phillips further argued that Mousavi would bring little substantive policy difference to the presidency:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann slammed Jonah Goldberg of the National Review during the show’s "Worst Person in the World" segment because Goldberg complained about the treatment of neoconservatives by liberals, as the National Review Online editor recently charged that "mainstream liberalism and other outposts of paranoid Bush hatred have portrayed neoconservatives – usually code for conservative Jews and other supporters of Israel – as an alien, pernicious cabal."
Olbermann, who has a history of blaming conservatives like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly for violent acts by extremists, accused the "far right" of "enabling" recent murders, and then claimed not to have ever heard the term "neocons" associated with a particular "religious or ethnic group." He went on to suggest that the word "neocon" may really be code for "belligerence, pig headedness, stupidity, wasteful, indifference to human life," and "paranoid."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that President Obama’s speech in Cairo may have been responsible for the defeat of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections which occurred a few days after the speech. But as Olbermann discussed the possibility that Obama had a hand in the results, he neglected to inform viewers that the apparent 71 out of 128 seats won by pro-Western candidates in 2009 is nearly identical to the 72 won in the last such round of elections in 2005.
During the show’s opening teaser, Olbermann brought up Obama’s speech: "The Cairo effect: Did this already pay off practically?"
After a clip of Obama’s speech, the MSNBC host continued: "Three days later, voters in Lebanon elected an American-backed coalition instead of a Hezbollah-backed coalition."
Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine reading a New York Times column not written by a conservative that claimed "the forces for decency, democracy and pluralism" in the Middle East "have a little wind at their backs" due to the policies of former President George W. Bush?
Neither did I, but much to my surprise, such was said by Thomas Friedman in his most recent piece entitled "Winds of Change?"
Readers are strongly advised to fasten their seatbelts tightly across their waists, for you are about to enter an alternate media reality:
On Sunday, White House correspondent Chip Reid gave a glowing review of President Obama’s overseas trip: "A trip laden with symbolism and elegant words, asking the world to look beyond old hatreds and wounds. In doing so, he hopes to create a world where there never has to be another D-Day." [audio available here]
During CBS Sunday Morning, Reid reported on Obama’s trip to the Middle East and Europe, highlighting the President’s speech in Cairo last week and marking of the 65 th anniversary of D-Day in France on Saturday. On the subject of Obama addressing the Islamic world, Reid cited left-wing New York Times columnist and Obama sycophant, Roger Cohen, who declared: "He went out there, he spoke movingly...He spoke in a way that convinced Muslims that he is sensitive to their view of their suffering, to their culture, to their religion. And that's a new message from an American president."
In March of 2008, Cohen jumped aboard the Obama campaign, using his column to praise then candidate Obama’s speech on race: "It takes bravery, and perhaps an unusual black-white vantage point, to navigate these places where hurt is profound, incomprehension the rule, just as it takes courage to say, as Obama did, that black ‘anger is real; it is powerful’...Can an inquiring mind actually explore the half-shades of truth? Yes. It. Can...The clamoring now in the United States for a presidency that uplifts rather than demeans is a reflection of the intellectual desert of the Bush years."
Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas appeared on this weekend's edition of Inside Washington and lauded President Obama as a "brave," "great teacher" who "stands above everybody." These comments were only slightly less hyperbolic than a gushing assertion on Friday's Hardball. On that program, the journalist cooed, "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Moderator Gordon Peterson prompted Thomas to expound on Obama after asking him and other panelists for their critiques of Obama's speech last week in Cairo, Egypt. Thomas extolled, "We're understanding what Obama is. He is the great teacher. He is this guy that stands above everybody." He did allow that "there's some condescension" in this attitude. However, the Newsweek editor continued, "But, he stands above everybody and says, 'Now, listen. You people have to stop blaming each other unreasonably. You have to get along here and I am going to show you the way.'"
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift seemed flabbergasted on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group as fellow panelists Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley and Mort Zuckerman all criticized President Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of her Newsweek colleagues, Clift exclaimed: “Until I came on this set, I heard nothing but rave reviews for this speech. I feel like I’m in a total parallel reality.”
The McLaughlin Group tapes on Friday afternoons, which means that for the better part of two days Clift was completely insulated from the various criticisms of Obama’s speech which were easy to discover on talk radio, many newspapers, and the Internet. She seemed particularly enraged by the group’s consensus that Obama has been “badmouthing” the United States by repeatedly emphasizing past misdeeds and ignoring America’s valuable contributions to the rest of the world.
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: "I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility...The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world."
Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: "Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?" Thomas replied: "Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial."
It must have been a while since David Gergen dropped his resume in the hopper for Team Obama, so it’s no small surprise that it was about for him to turn on the rhetorical firehose and gush some love the White House’s way.
On the June 4 “Anderson Cooper 360,” Gergen was asked by the host to give his initial reaction to President Obama’s speech in Cairo. Gergen immediately mugged for the camera:
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, there was no way he could quite reach the summit with this speech. He couldn't please everyone. We're hearing a lot of nitpicking on aspects of the speech.
But, overall, it was the most powerful and the most persuasive speech any American president has ever made to the Muslim populations around the world, perhaps back of his background.
Cooper, to his credit, was immediately incredulous:
On Tuesday's Hannity show on FNC, while interviewing author Brigitte Gabriel, host Sean Hannity suggested that, rather than make apologies for America in the Muslim world, that President Obama should point out that Muslims have benefited from America's assistance in various countries, and Gabriel pointed out that the United States sided with Muslims against Christians in the former Yugoslavia.
Hannity posed the question: "Shouldn't the President be highlighting, for example, the sacrifice of America to help save some Kuwaiti Muslims and in Somalia and in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in other parts of the world?"
On Thursday, CBS Early Show co-host Julie Chen declared: "President Obama seeks to reset Mideast relations in a historic speech in Cairo." Co-host Harry Smith gushed: "Powerful, far-ranging speech this morning...he was not only presidential, he was also professorial. He was very much a teacher this morning. He was giving Americans and Muslims a history lesson."
In a later segment, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer shared Smith’s description of Obama as a history professor: "I mean, one thing I didn't know, he pointed out that Morocco, a Muslim country, was the first to recognize the United States. He also pointed out there is a mosque in every state in the United States of America. This was, as you say, this was Professor Obama...during a lot of this, and I think that will have an impact."
Smith got reaction to Obama’s speech from CBS analyst Reza Aslan, who praised the President’s criticism of Israel: "...some very frank talk about issues, about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict... there were some words that Obama used that had never been used before by any American president, including the word ‘occupation,’ and the word ‘Palestine.’ I think this is going to be really remarkable, the way that the Muslim world reacts."
"Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo reported live from Egypt on Wednesday and informed viewers that students at a university in Cairo are "given hope, just by the fact that a brown-skinned president named Barack Hussein Obama exists." The news anchor, who was in the region to cover the President's speech on Thursday, provided a decidedly different tone than that of many journalists who avoided using Obama's middle name during the 2008 campaign.
He later speculated that people in that area are excited "not just because of the color of his skin, or of his name, Barack Hussein Obama." This is the same Cuomo who, on the December 20, 2007 GMA, worried that American racism could derail the then-Democratic candidate's campaign. Speaking to Obama, he fretted, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?"
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Lara Logan described President Obama’s upcoming speech in Egypt’s capital as if it were a campaign stop: "...everywhere you go in this city it's what everybody is talking about...The one word that keeps coming up over and over is excitement. There is definitely a lot of anticipation about this visit...very excited that he chose Cairo."
Logan was responding to co-host Harry Smith asking about the speech during a segment outlining Obama’s trip to the region: "Is there a way to measure the anticipation there for this speech?" Logan did acknowledge some opposition: "And I mean, although there are the detractors, there are extremists, they are small in number. Most of the people that we've encountered, everyone we've spoken to, says that people have great expectations." Logan fretted those "great expectations" would be Obama’s biggest challenge: "...the only concern is that there may be too much expectation riding on the shoulders of one man, because hopes here are extremely high."
In an interview excerpt aired on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, from the NBC News special, 'Inside the Obama White House,' set to air at 9 PM EDT/PDT tonight (Tuesday) and Wednesday, Brian Williams used President Barack Obama's upcoming speech to Muslims in Cairo to take a dig at former President George Bush, as he contended: “It's a speech that your predecessor perhaps could not have given constitutionally, given who he is, and could not have given because the attack came on his watch.” Obama rejected Williams' premise: “I'm not sure that it's true that President Bush couldn't have given a speech in the Muslim world.”
NBC provided a platform Friday for President Obama to fire back at conservative critics of his Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, as Brian Williams cued him up to agree her comment that a Latina judge would make better decisions than a white male one, is “one of those she'd rather have back.” Obama naturally agreed as NBC Nightly News aired his response for an uninterrupted two-plus minutes -- an eternity on TV news.
It's the new "C" word according to Melissa Francis, co-host of CNBC's "The Call." Using the word "cartel" to describe OPEC is officially a no- no.
Francis, who was on location in Vienna, Austria at the OPEC summit, reported on an exchange between herself and Ali Al-Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia during the May 28 broadcast of "Squawk on the Street." In an interview, Al-Naimi took issue with Francis using the word "cartel" to describe OPEC:
Francis: When do you think we'll hit that $75-to-80 range that seem like almost everybody in the cartel agrees is sort of the equilibrium price?
Al-Naimi: You have to be careful calling OPEC a cartel. I resent that.
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent David Martin reported on the "soft approach" to terrorism in Saudi Arabia: "Each time the United States releases Saudis from the prison at Guantanamo, the kingdom dispatches a 747 to Cuba to pick them up...the Saudi government is paying for cars, homes, even marriages for these reformed jihadists."
After explaining that "...more than half the so-called 'detainees' will probably never go before a jury because the U.S. government does not have a case that will stand up in court," Martin went on to describe a Saudi Arabian program for released detainees: "What we found is a rehabilitation program that attempts to make solid citizens out of holy warriors by convincing them Bin Laden has it all wrong."
Not only did Martin highlight the Saudi efforts to "rehabilitate" terror suspects, but he explained: "Some Saudis have been in Guantanamo for seven years, and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hadlaq believes the longer a man is there, the harder he is to treat." Martin then asked Hadlaq, a Saudi psychologist who runs the program: "They come out of Guantanamo hating Americans?...Is there evidence that Guantanamo has made them more radical?" Hadlaq replied: "I think so, yes. Because, in their journey, you know, from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, they have faced a lot of torturing. It's so important to deal with this, you know, issue of torture."
In response, Martin added: "‘Torture’ is, of course, a loaded word, but at the very least, the treatment en route to Guantanamo was rough, and provided the raw material for Al Qaeda propaganda videos to drum up new recruits."
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran on Wednesday committed an act of snide and unnecessary moral equivalence, connecting video of torture occurring in the Middle East and the political debate over how to handle enemy combatants captured by the U.S. ABC correspondent Brian Ross filed a report on video of a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family filming himself as he brutalized a man, accused of stealing grain, with a cattle prod, hit him with a nail and then proceeded to drive over the victim with his Mercedes.[audio available here]
As the segment ended, Moran drew a comparison, "Brian, that is a shocking investigation on so many levels, especially as our own country is engaged in a wrenching debate on torture." Now, whatever one thinks of waterboarding, sleep depravation and putting an insect in with someone afraid of bugs, such tactics certainly don't equal this barbaric act, described by Ross: "The tape ends with what appears to be attempted murder. The victim is left semi-conscious as Sheik Issa drives over him back and forth with his Mercedes SUV."
Andrew Bolt has a fine takedown of The Age newspaper in Australia's Herald Sun today, April 17. It details quite nicely that not just the U.S. media is wallowing in leftwing "group think." His is headlined "Picture is kiss of death for George Bush prejudice" and lays out the complete lack of historical research of even recent events perpetrated by The Age newspaper in its unthinking assumptions of what President Bush did or didn't do over the last eight years re foreign policy. Naturally, The Age falls all over itself in support of the leftist messiah, Obama.
Bolt details the erroneous claims by The Age and refutes them with the facts. The Age claimed it was "unimaginable" that Bush could ever have "kissed" any Muslim foreign leaders, as Obama recently did to the Turkish leader, appearing to imagine that such an intimate gesture would have solved all the world's problems. Bolt points to the photo of Bush kissing the current King of Saudi Arabia to prove The Age wrong.
Slackman managed to write an entire story on the anti-Israel terrorist group Hezbollah without a single mention of the word "terrorism," preferring to euphemize the group as a "military, political and social organization in Lebanon with strong ties to Iran." And it's not the first time the paper has avoided the term.
Egypt released new details on Monday of what it said was a Hezbollah plot to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, to attack Israeli tourist sites in the Sinai Peninsula and to fire on ships in the Suez Canal. Officials said the police were hunting for 10 Lebanese suspects believed to be hiding in the mountainous terrain of central Sinai.
In the brief "Closing Arguments" segment on Wednesday's "Nightline," ABC's Terry Moran credulously repeated the White House contention that Barack Obama didn't bow to the King of Saudi Arabia last week at the G-20 summit. As video of the incident played, Moran narrated, "He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waist. But was it a bow?" [Audio available here.]
He then recited, "The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President." Inviting people to respond on his Twitter page, Moran wondered, "So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care?" A search of @TerryMoran responses on Twitter shows a healthy number of people somewhat incredulous at the host's lack of skepticism. DesigningDi instructed, "Are you blind? Of course he's bowing. Don't play stupid!"
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to rationalize the actions of the Chile-based Marxist terror group MIR, as he compared one of the group’s followers who helped kidnap a Spanish businessman, and who is currently attempting to have Bush administration members indicted in a Spanish court on war crimes charges, to George Washington.
In response to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who last week pointed out that Gonzalo Boye, the attorney in Spain who is trying to have Bush administration members prosecuted, himself spent eight years in a Spanish prison for assisting the MIR, Olbermann suggested that the attorney’s involvement with the Chilean terrorist group was justified because the group's aim was to topple former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
But Olbermann did not mention that the crime Boye was convicted of being involved in was the 1988 kidnapping of Spanish businessman Emiliano Revilla, who was abducted outside his Madrid home and held eight months for ransom in a collaborated effort between the Chile-based MIR and the Spain-based ETA, another left-wing terror group which has perpetrated bombings and killed many in Spain. Olbermann responded to O’Reilly’s complaint that it was a "big omission" for a New York Times article not to mention Boye’s history by rationalizing Boye’s terrorist history. Olbermann: "Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist."
On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists," referring to the Chile-based MIR, and the Spain-based ETA, both left-wing terrorist groups. During his "Talking Points Memo," O’Reilly related: "The action is being driven by a man named Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, the New York Times reported Boye's beef, but did not report this: Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now, that seemed to be a mighty big omission by the New York Times, does it not?"
But on the same night’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann informed his viewers of the possible indictment in Spain without mentioning Boye and his terrorist connections. Introducing a discussion with George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, Olbermann announced: "The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials."
CNN latched onto two separate poll results on Monday that indicated that about half of Americans view the Islamic world negatively or don’t trust Muslim allies as much as other allies, and indicated that President Obama and others in authority need to be “educators” for the public about Islam. The network brought up the polls’ results on seven different occasions during their programming that day.
During the 8 am Eastern hour of American Morning, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour first brought up a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 55 percent of Americans “concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam” and that 48 percent “hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam.” After she read these results, substitute anchor Carol Costello responded, “I think the difference is that many Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of -- kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.”
Later, near the end of the noon hour of the Newsroom program, Amanpour appeared again, this time with anchor Tony Harris. He asked the correspondent to “talk us through some recent polling in The Washington Post that suggests that the president is going to have to play the role of educator-in-chief when it comes to explaining Islam to many in America, even as he works for better relations with the Islamic world.” Amanpour first answered that President Obama was “trying to smooth...over and correct” the “terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world over the past eight years.
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday conducted a leading interview with children at a school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. While he discussed a large number of topics, he also seemed interested in eliciting praise from the students about Barack Obama's middle name. Cuomo speculated, "Does it matter to you that the President's name is Barack Hussein Obama? Does that make him more familiar to you?"
After one little girl deemed the name Hussein to be "good," Cuomo followed up by cooing, "Does that make you trust him more?" Cuomo, who had traveled to the region earlier in the week (the segment was taped) for GMA's sweeps series on "big" locations, also asserted that the children "see promise in Barack Obama." He then prompted, "Is Barack Obama a good president? Do we like him?" Of course, it should be pointed out that members of the media were quite upset during the 2008 campaign when anyone would dare use Obama's middle name. Now, apparently, it creates trust.
During the 3:00PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell discovered the source of sexism in the Middle East was not Islamic fundamentalism, but rather, capitalism: "And to another big story, is oil behind sexism in the Middle East? It's a provocative new theory out there today, suggesting the real culprit of the lower status of women in the Middle East is because of the region's oil wealth."
O’Donnell then turned to Sally Quinn of the Washington, who wrote about the theory on the newspaper’s On Faith blog: "This is a hot topic, Sally. Do you believe that oil is behind sexism in the Middle East?" Quinn replied: "Well, I do think that it has a lot to do with it...when you have an oil-rich country, there's much less manufacturing, so that there are fewer jobs for women. But also because the country is so rich that women don't need to work and therefore they're comfortable and they stay home."
Later, O’Donnell concluded: "But it's a very interesting question, it's not necessarily Islam, it may be more, and you would know this better than I, as -- because of what you're doing -- it may more be the wealth of that country." Quinn replied: "Well, it is the wealth. The -- part of it, too, has to do with culture. I mean, that they come from a culture where women don't work. And so, because the oil-rich countries, all of the jobs that are involved around oil are much more male-oriented jobs."