Elisabeth Hasselbeck Uses Sydney Hostage Crisis To Defend CIA Torture Program

Yesterday, as a siege in Sydney, Australia unfolded at the hands of a lone gunman who took over a cafe and held over a dozen people hostage, “Fox & Friends” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck jumped at the chance to use the situation as a jumping off point to defend the CIA torture program — as if the two are in any way intertwined. After the show provided an update on the scene in Sydney (which has since resulted in the death of two hostages), she suddenly changed the subject:

“Meanwhile, the actual individuals here at home who have been looking into and trying to stop attacks like this and perhaps future hostage situations, as we are still at war indeed with ISIS and terrorism, are the CIA, and they have been painted as the bad guys at home.”

Oh, and then they cut right to a clip of Dick Cheney defending the torture program on “Meet The Press,” as if that has anything to do with anything.

Afterward, Hasselback continued:

“When you see what’s happening in Australia, today, right now, in a chocolate shop and you understand the real war with ISIS that we’re in, and the sharp contrast with the CIA trying to do their job and keep America safe for the past 13 years, startles you, any day.”

Tragedies like the Sydney crisis can and should spark important conversations, both in the media and elsewhere, but instead of starting a meaningful discussion, “Fox & Friends” used those hostages to make a pretty nonsensical point — while it was still unclear whether they would even survive. It’s worth noting that there’s also still dispute as to whether the situation should be classified as a terrorist attack. There’s no doubt that it was a tragic event whether it’s considered terrorism or not, but a disturbed gunman needlessly murdering innocent Australians has nothing to do with rectal feeding at Guantanamo Bay. The connection Hasselbeck’s trying to make is weak at best, and it’s woefully disrespectful to the people who are hurting as a result of the attack.

Look, I want to “keep America safe” too — and I want the same for every other nation that feels vulnerable to terrorism, which is just about all of us these days. Everyone in this country wants to keep it safe, and nobody wants to lose any more innocent lives to terrorism, regardless of where they stand on political issues. Making the debate surrounding the torture program (or any other similar issue, for that matter) a morality argument that implies that some people care less about the murder of innocent terror victims than others is just vile. It’s fear-mongering and guilt-tripping Americans into telling themselves that torture (which by any account is not moral) is okay because they’ve been taught by people like Hasselbeck that dismissing torture is the same thing as dismissing the pain of terror victims and their families, though that’s not remotely true. You can be opposed to CIA torture and still be fully against terrorism, I promise. They’re not mutually exclusive. Using random international crises and incidents  — in this case, using the Sydney victims’ personal tragedy while the crisis was still in the midst of unfolding — to manipulate emotions and push one’s own unrelated ideology is just egregious. [Mediaite]