Since President Obama’s announcement last week that he would shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center within one year, Fox News has done its best to frighten its viewers about the rule:
SEAN HANNITY: That’s somewhat frightening, you’re going to close Guantanamo Bay, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know where you’re going to put these people. [1/23/09]
GLENN BECK: Somebody told me that if this goes through and we put 200 people into this system, that it will shut down our justice system. Our justice system just won’t be able to do it.[1/20/09]
BRIAN KILMEADE: You’re talking about the worst of the Taliban, the worst of al Qaeda, and we have to let them go, give them trials? Why do we need to do this and compromise the CIA and our intelligence bureau — a lot of the intelligence was built on these guys, was done using our clandestine operations. So we have to expose that for these trials? [1/22/09]
Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) said last week that the U.S. could hold the detainees in federal prisons, just like we hold thousands of other dangerous inmates. This morning, Fox and Friends responded by sending a reporter to Murtha’s district to flash photos of suspected terrorists — their only identification being Muslim headgear — and ask residents, “Would you want a guy like this living in your backyard?” Watch it:
Despite Fox’s suggestion that detainees could be pitching a tent in your backyard, Guantanamo detainees transferred to the U.S. for trials would be housed in federal prisons — where dozens of dangerous terrorists are already held. In fact, the United States has already successfully prosecuted 145 terrorism cases in federal court, a sharp contrast to the series of debacles in Guantanamo prosecutions.
Later in the segment, the Fox hosts repeated some of the right wing’s favorite myths about Guantanamo. They endorsed the “great idea” conservatives have been pushing of sending detainees to Alcatraz or a “haunted” prison in West Virginia:
CLAYTON MORRIS: We’ve got Alcatraz that exists. We give tours out there. Put them out on an island on Alcatraz, which is under our jurisdiction. What about Moundsville State Penitentiary? Someone from West Virginia wrote me and said it’s a haunted prison. It’s vacant.
In other words, Fox News and the right wing would prefer to send Guantanamo detainees to theme parks rather than to maximum-security federal prisons.