Fox News Watch: Eric Burned For Criticism of US Airways Removal of Imams

How do you know when you've gone overboard with political correctness? When even the liberal panelists of Fox News Watch chide you for it. Host Eric Burns normally stays above the fray. But for some reason, on this evening's show he chose to criticize US Airways for removing from one of its flights six imams whose actions had made other passengers uneasy.

Said Burns, introducing the segment: "There were two stories in the news this week about religion. First, Pope Benedict in Turkey tried to encourage tolerance between Catholics and Muslims. Second, a story of tolerance of U.S. Airways and Muslims - there wasn't any - as six Muslim religious leaders, or imams, were recently yanked off a US Airways flight for no apparent reason other than that a passenger thought they were behaving strangely. Jane, I wonder if the moral of these two stories is first that the media are not at all captivated by this Pope . . but they are captivated by stories that seem to show that anti-terrorist policies sometimes go too far."

Liberal panelist Jane Hall took polite exception: "I'm not sure I would agree. From what I read - and my source is the [conservative] Washington Times and Cal Thomas - so let's stipulate that, the reports I read said that these men were sitting in the back, went to the back, and the configuration was like the September 11th hijackers, praying very loudly and that they were speaking about al Qaeda. I mean, my shoes, 83-year-old grandmothers are searched, and so I'm not so sure this is a story of intolerance, frankly."

Jim Pinkerton was less forgiving: "Yeah, Eric, I think you misstated the argument there badly on the U.S. Airways flight."

A rueful Burns: "Couldn't you just disagree?"

Pinkerton: "I tried to say that graciously."

Liberal Neal Gabler chimed in with a laugh: "I was thinking the same thing!" It wasn't clear whether he was agreeing with Pinkerton, or with Burns' suggestion that the criticism could have been offered more gently.

But one thing was clear: Burns' allegation of US Airways anti-Muslim bias got shot down in flames.

View video here.

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Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.