The attacks in Paris by the Islamic State (ISIS) last Friday have dominated the news cycle around the world. As each news station attempts to carve out their niche and talking points, a heated exchange took place between a conservative host and the White House press secretary.
After the massacre in Paris, the reaction from the around world has been mixed in how to respond. President Obama referred to the attacks as a “setback” in the fight against ISIS, just days after saying the group was contained. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the U.S. embassy in Paris on Tuesday, commenting about the attacks on the the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this year. Kerry noted that the Islamic terrorist attacks on the magazine’s headquarters were understandable in their “rationale” because the terrorists were offended by cartoonists that were published. During the Nov. 18 edition of “Fox and Friends” on Fox News, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck and White House press secretary Josh Earnest got into a heated exchange over the issue.
“Do you understand at this point how the verbiage needs to change a bit?” Hasselbeck asked Earnest. “To call this ‘understandable’ as it relates to Charlie Hebdo and call this a ‘setback’ seems awful, at least to the American people.” Earnest responded, noting that Hasselbeck was taking Obama’s words out of context, and suggested that she “spend just as much time focusing on the president’s actions as you do his words.” Hasselbeck then cut off Earnest, firing back with anger.
“His words matter, Josh! I have to stop you there; the President of the United States’ words matter. I will focus on my president’s words, Josh.”
“If you have me on your show to talk about a serious issue, give me an opportunity to answer the question,” Earnest said, looking obviously frustrated. “Elisabeth, if you want to have me on the show to talk about something serious as national security, ask me a question and I’ll answer it.”
Hasselbeck brought the focus back to Obama’s comments that referred to the Paris attacks as a “setback,” noting that it “seems cavalier” for Obama to use that term. Earnest continued to spar with the former co-host of “The View,” reminding her once again that Obama called the attacks “sickening” and “expressed profound sorrow of what precisely had occurred.”
Since the attacks on Friday, there have been other incidents of reported ISIS-related terrorism in France. French authorities conduced a raid on an alleged ISIS hideout in Paris on Wednesday, which resulted in two suspects being killed, while another eight were taken in by officials. Another report out of the city of Marseilles later in the day detailed that a teacher at a Jewish school was stabbed by ISIS sympathizers, with one reportedly wearing an ISIS t-shirt.