MSNBC's Alex Wagner Hints O'Reilly Believes Obama's a Secret Muslim

Ultra-liberal MSNBC host Alex Wagner may have hit a new low on the Wednesday edition of her program, Now.  Discussing the response to the Boston bombing, Wagner absurdly hinted that Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer's criticism of Barack Obama are "a precursor" to saying that "the president [is] actually secretly a Muslim." 

Speaking directly to Politico’s Maggie Haberman, who as of today appears to be suffering from Fort Hood amnesia, Wagner railed against Fox News and conservatives who call for more active surveillance of potential terrorists.   [See video after jump.  MP3 audio here.]

The segment began with Wagner raising the question of how to increase surveillance “in a meaningful way that doesn’t seem discriminatory." Howard Wolfson, a Democrat who serves as the counselor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY), summed up her question as such, but unfortunately, this was the last rational comment made during the segment:

There is a difference between someone who is a certain religion or a certain ethnicity and somebody who then independent of that professes certain beliefs, decides that they are going to move down a path towards violence that they are going to subscribe to radical Jihadism.

Wagner immediately took Wolfson’s answer as an opportunity to bring up the "secret Muslim" accusation, saying:

I mean, part of this is about part of having stringent counter-terrorism measures in the wake of Boston, is showing that you're strong on national security. I think that Krauthammer and O’Reilly going after the president and saying he’s not being tough enough on Muslims smells a little bit like a precursor to is the president actually secretly a Muslim?

Wagner didn’t stop there, instead doubling down on her comments: 

I mean, we've seen this kind of this kind of version of a conspiracy theory relating to the president and his relationship to the Muslim world is almost as old as his candidacy. And the question is how do you try and separate the politics of this from the actual policy and what makes for good politics and obviously what makes for good policy?

Wagner’s commentary stems from a discussion between O’Reilly and Krauthammer, in which the two Fox News employees argued that President Obama has been timid in not characterizing terrorists like the one in Boston as a Muslim extremist, and as a result minimizing who our enemy is in the War on Terror.  Rather than consider this point, Wagner brushed the commentary away as an example of conspiracy thinking, insisting that O’Reilly and Krauthammer believe President Obama to be a secret Muslim.

Haberman failed to challenge Wagner’s ridiculous claims and instead said that parts of the Fox News crowd respond well to the idea that Obama is a Muslim:

I think for people for whom the idea that president Obama is a Muslim resonates is a pretty specific group of viewers of Fox News, of various radio shows and so forth. I mean think that that's not going to take on the same resonance that it used to, but I do think this is going to be very difficult for him to navigate. He got some criticism initially without the word Muslim for not calling it a terrorist incident.

Haberman then falsely claimed that Boston was the first terrorist attack during the Obama Presidency, claiming that all planned attacks against the United States had been foiled:

This was the first time this has happened in his presidency. There have been other plots, many of which were here, or at least one of which I can think of in Times Square, that was foiled.

Apparently Haberman, along with much of the liberal media, has chosen to ignore the Fort Hood shooting, which left 13 members of the military dead, was in fact a terrorist attack, instead choosing to call it an act of “workplace violence.” 

 

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC

Now w/ Alex Wagner

April 24, 2013

12:08 p.m. EDT

ALEX WAGNER: Howard [Wolfson], there's a question of how you engage the Muslim population in the United States at a time like this. Right? I mean there's a sense the sort of radical elements in our society, Muslim and otherwise, kind of come out with the conspiracy theories, those of reasoned mind, of sound mind and body tend to be marginalized in times like this, as Hina [Shamsi] says, a lot of heat, not a lot of light. Avik Roy writes in the National Review not all people who look like Muslims actually are and suggesting categorically that Muslims be placed under surveillance will alienate many immigrants who are otherwise assimilating quite well into American society. These Americanized Muslims are our most crucial allies in the fight against radical Islam.

HOWARD WOLFSON: Well, I don't think anybody is seriously maybe outside of -- maybe on Fox News, but nobody is seriously talking about surveying every Muslim in America. Nobody is talking about ending immigration, so that we can review Muslims who are here. I think those are fringe ideas

WAGNER: Well, and Peter King.

WOLFSON: Right. You will find some people on the fringes on either side who will have a strong opinion. That is not what's going to happen in this country. It’s certainly not what’s going to happen in this city. This is city that’s built on immigration, it’s a country that’s built on immigration. Immigration is crucial to the future of the city and the country. We're not going to all of a sudden start surveiling [sic] every Muslim. Even if we wanted to, we wouldn't be able to. No one would have the resources to do that. It would be against the law. It's not going to happen. On the other hand, I do think we need to keep in mind there may not be a single profile of a terrorist. Timothy McVeigh obviously didn't look like or come from the same background as the people who blew up the world trade center, but in this city, anyway since the early 90’s with the first world trade center explosion, then to the downing of the towers, subsequent plots, all of the terrorists, people who have tried to commit these acts have been Muslim men. Now that does not mean we have a right or should surveiling every Muslim man. It's not possible, it’s not appropriate, it’s not legal, it's not constitutional, but we do also have to recognize that there is a set of facts and that there is a fact pattern, and we need to understand why that's happening. And we need to take steps to do something about it.

WAGNER: But how do you do that in a way that doesn’t seem like you are targeting Muslims or people of the Muslim faith. I mean that is ultimately the question, right? If there are these common threads, you're going to be looking for people who exhibit those signs. How do you do that in a meaningful way that doesn’t seem discriminatory?

WOLFSON: Well, I think there is a difference between someone who is a certain religion or a certain ethnicity and somebody who then independent of that professes certain beliefs, decides that they are going to move down a path towards violence, that they are going to subscribe to radical Jihadism, that they're going to go on the internet and begin downloading information about how to build bombs. That's obviously a tiny percentage of the population, but that’s obviously the percentage that we need to be most concerned about.

WAGNER: Maggie, I also think there's a political element here too, right? I mean part of this is about part of having stringent counter-terrorism measures in the wake of Boston, is showing that you're strong on national security. I think that Krauthammer and O’Reilly going after the president and saying he’s not being tough enough on Muslims smells a little bit like a precursor to is the president actually secretly a Muslim?  I mean we've seen this kind of this kind of version of a conspiracy theory relating to the president and his relationship to the Muslim world is almost as old as his candidacy. And the question is how do you try and separate the politics of this from the actual policy and what makes for good politics and obviously what makes for good policy?

MAGGIE HABERMAN: Right, with difficulty, and we’re not actually going to know the answer to that for another couple months at a minimum. And I think we talked about this recently. Everything is going to play into 2014 much more immediately than the president's ultimate legacy. I think for people for whom the idea that president Obama is a Muslim resonates is a pretty specific group of viewers of Fox News, of various radio shows and so forth. I mean think that that's not going to take on the same resonance that it used to, but I do think this is going to be very difficult for him to navigate. He got some criticism initially without the word Muslim for not calling it a terrorist incident. Right, and so that he then did later on, but I think that there's going to be this ongoing pushback, this was the first time this has happened in his presidency. There have been other plots, many of which were here, or at least one of which I can think of in Times Square, that was foiled. And so I think that he is going to receive some blowback. I mean some of that is just natural; it would happen whoever the president was.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.