Glenn Beck's temporary replacement in the 5 p.m. slot on Fox News, Eric Bolling, has started out with a bang. On the July 13 edition of his new show the Five, the host declared: "America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008. I don't remember any attacks on American soil during that period of time."
After Bolling's error, erasing 9/11 and several other deadly terrorism attacks from the Bush record, was pointed out by outlets including Media Matters and Huffington Post, the host returned to the air Thursday to issue a correction that sounded more like a retaliation against those who dared correct him. Bolling denounced the "radical liberal left" and accused Media Matters of pettiness for pointing out the error, in an emotional tirade in which he exclaimed:
No, I haven't forgotten. I happened to be standing there, watching in true terror as radical Islamists slammed planes into the towers that morning. I remember the towers collapsing, killing 3,000, including 16 of my close friends. And I really remember trying to comfort the kids of my friends at their memorial services.
Bolling's temporary amnesia about the September 11 attacks puts him in company with many conservatives who have distorted the Bush record on terrorism (Extra!, 3/10). But even the correction part of Bolling's tirade was in error:
Yesterday I misspoke when I said there were no U.S. terror attacks during the Bush years. Obviously, I meant in the aftermath of 9/11.
Among the terror attacks Bolling's revised position erases from the Bush record: the September/October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five, the December 2001 "shoe bombing" attempt, the July 2002 attack on the L.A. airport's El Al ticket counter that left two dead, the "D.C. sniper" attacks in October 2002 that killed 10, the March 2006 SUV attack on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus that injured nine and the July 2008 murder of two at a progressive Knoxville, Tennessee, church, which were carried out by a gunmen who said he was inspired by Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg.
According to the Huffington Post, none of the panelists on the show challenged Bolling's initial error about 9/11. But should we be surprised? Among those panelists was former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino, who is on the record insisting to an unfazed Sean Hannity, "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."