source: Media Matters April 28, 2010
Last week, Fox Business announced that it would begin airing senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano’s FoxNews.com show Freedom Watch. Given the show’s history, the move raises questions about whether the channel will allow Napolitano to mainstream and promote fringe guests and radical anti-government conspiracy theories.
In contrast to his Fox News colleagues, Napolitano has used his FoxNews.com show to praise and promote two of the most visible leaders of the 9-11 Truth movement, Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura. On Freedom Watch last month, Napolitano called guest Ventura a “champion of exposing government fraud and lies,” and promoted Ventura’s belief that the government either “participate[d]” in 9-11 or “knew it was going to happen and didn’t do very much to stop it.”
Napolitano also hosted “the great” Jones to push anti-government conspiracy theories about one-world government and his DVD The Obama Deception, which describes Obama as a “hoax” by the New World Order to impose “forced National Service, domestic civilian spies, warrantless wiretaps, the destruction of the Second Amendment, FEMA camps and Martial Law.”
Napolitano is a regular guest on Jones’ radio program. Napolitano has called the self-described 9-11 Truth “founding father” a “dear friend” who “we go to” because of “your zeal and your courage and your fearlessness in exposing” the government. Napolitano does not discuss 9-11 Truth conspiracies with Jones in available online videos, and Napolitano indicates in his book Lies the Government Told You that he does not believe the government carried out the 9-11 attacks. However, the Fox News analyst has pushed other anti-government conspiracies about “one world government,” seizure of firearms, the suspension of elections, and the creation of a “war” or “crisis” to help President Obama. Napolitano even told Jones’ anti-government listeners that if the Founding Fathers were alive today, they’d “probably want to take up arms against” the government.
Napolitano’s mainstreaming and praise of the 9-11 Truth leaders is in direct opposition to his Fox News colleagues. While Glenn Beck has promoted numerous anti-government conspiracy theories, he’s opposed the 9-11 Truth movement. Beck criticized Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for associating with Ventura because he is a “9/11 Truther” and “off the deep end.” Beck heavily criticized former Obama administration official Van Jones and those associating with him after his name appeared on a 9-11 Truth petition (Van Jones has stated that he believes Al-Qaida caused the attacks and that he was lied to about the petition, which was “something that I never saw and never signed onto”). Despite Beck’s denunciations of 9-11 Truthers and those associated with them, Napolitano is a frequent guest host for his Fox News program.
In September 2007, Alex Jones and his “9-11 was an inside job” followers protested Geraldo Rivera’s live Fox News program; Geraldo in-turn told the “anarchist” and “nut job” protestors to “get a life.” In May 2007, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin criticized Paul for appearing “on radio shows like 9/11 conspiracy nut Alex Jones.” Just last month, FoxNews.com reported that the “government is investigating dozens of death threats to IRS employees” that “were posted in response to an incendiary story on infowars.com, the radical far-right Web site owned by radio host Alex Jones.”
Napolitano “admire[s]” 9-11 Truther Ventura
Napolitano used his March 22 FoxNews.com show to showcase the book and conspiracy theories of Jesse Ventura, who Napolitano said is a “champion of exposing government fraud and lies” and “uncover[s]” the government with “passion and zeal.” At no point did Napolitano dispute or challenge Ventura’s 9-11 conspiracy theory “that if we didn’t participate in it, we certainly knew it was going to happen.” To the contrary, Napolitano wondered if “someday we will look on 9-11 the way we look on the JFK assassination today, that is, where people who question the government’s involvement will be mainstreamed, rather than looked upon as an extremist fringe.”
After Napolitano’s fawning introduction, Ventura said: “Judge, hey, how do you get away with doing an introduction like you did there?” Napolitano replied: “Because I believe in my heart what I’ve said about you. I’ve admired you from afar, and I must tell you, we don’t do books on Freedom Watch, but this kept me awake over the weekend.”
In the latter half of the segment, Napolitano asked Ventura for his opinion on what “really happened on 9-11.” Ventura replied:
VENTURA: Well, everything I’ve learned leads me to believe that if we didn’t participate in it, we certainly knew it was going to happen and didn’t do very much to stop it for political reasons because all indications are that they’ve wanted to go into Iraq for decades so they needed an excuse to do it, so they had multiple excuses that they deceived us on.
In his book American Conspiracies, Ventura writes of 9-11: “Our government engaged in a massive cover-up of what really happened, including its own ties to the hijackers. Unanswered questions remain about how the towers were brought down, and whether a plane really struck the Pentagon. The Bush administration either knew about the plan and allowed it to proceed, or they had a hand in it themselves” [Page 142].
Ventura added that 9-11 conspiracy theories are more plausible because the government has a history of deceiving the public (“It isn’t the first time”). Napolitano supported Ventura’s assertions about past government deceptions and added that he believed that “FDR either caused Pearl Harbor or looked the other way because he needed an excuse to get us involved in World War II”:
VENTURA: Let’s remember too, judge. It isn’t the first time. I was teaching at Harvard, 2004, when McNamara came to and admitted that the Gulf of Tonkin incident didn’t happen. Well, this is what got us into the Vietnam War, where 58,000 of my generation were killed and probably a million Vietnamese killed. So we have to understand, this is stuff has not been done before. The Reistag fire of Germany, where they thought that they burned down the Congress of Germany. Hitler blamed it on the Russians to get the Germans into war with Russia —
NAPOLITANO: Correct. Correct.
VENTURA: When it turned out he did it himself.
NAPOLITANO: Correct. I’m of the view that FDR either caused Pearl Harbor or looked the other way because he needed an excuse to get us involved in World War II. When I told people about my book, Lies the Government Told You, and probably when you told people about your book American Conspiracies, and they said how long is it, and I said 4,000 pages, and everybody laughed, it’s because we believe that the government lies to us and it would take 4,000 pages to explain all of those lies. Why do we come to a culture in our society where we expect the government to cheat and lie and break its own laws?
Napolitano also asked Ventura if he thought “that someday we will look on 9-11 the way we look on the JFK assassination today, that is, where people who question the government’s involvement will be mainstreamed, rather than looked upon as an extremist fringe”:
NAPOLITANO: Before I let you go, do you think that somehow — there’s your book on the screen, Jesse Ventura, American Conspiracies, do you think that someday we will look on 9-11 the way we look on the JFK assassination today, that is, where people who question the government’s involvement will be mainstreamed, rather than looked upon as an extremist fringe.
VENTURA: I hope so, because there’s sure a lot of unanswered questions, and the part that bugs me the most, Judge, is this. You’re not even allowed to ask them.
Ventura further told Napolitano that New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is refusing to answer his question about 9-11. Napolitano replied: “Wow … I wonder why he wouldn’t answer.”
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