Only a few short hours after a terrorist attack in Paris that killed 12 French journalists, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer questioned White House spokesman Josh Earnest over his language change-up in the aftermath of the attack.
Earnest appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (at 7:35 a.m.) and CNN’s “New Day” (at 8:45 a.m., see above) prior to his appearance on “America’s Newsroom.” In both interviews he referred to the barbaric attack as “an act of violence.”
On Fox (see below), however, Earnest changed his tune completely, telling Hemmer that what happened in Paris was indeed “an act of terror.”
“This is an act of terror we condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Earnest told Hemmer. “Right now is a moment where we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies over in France as they face down these, this terrible act of violence.”
“Just 30 minutes ago he called it a terrible act of violence, as you just mentioned there, and now you call it terror. What changed in 30 minutes, Josh?” Hemmer asked the White House flack.
“Well you know, Bill, this is still something we’re looking into,” Earnest said. “I know the French president has called this an act of terror. It does seem to be that’s exactly what this is. And, again, this is an act of violence against innocent civilians, and this is newspaper that has been targeted in the past.”
“We’re still waiting to see actually who is responsible for this and what the motivation may have been. If it is what it seems to be, this isn’t just an attack on innocent civilians,” Earnest continued, “this seems to be an attack on some basic universal human values, human rights: freedom of the press, freedom of expression, free speech. These are values we hold dear in this country. These are values our allies over in France hold dear.”
“As you rightly point out, the French president called this a terrorist attack, without a doubt. Last hour, you called them perpetrators. I’m trying to figure out why the language changed,” Hemmer told Earnest. “Did you get different information, are you characterizing in a different way, Josh? What is it?”
“What we’re seeing here is an event that just occurred a couple hours ago,” Earnest said “We’re still learning details exactly what happened. But what is clear this is an act much violence, an act of terrorism, that we condemn in the strongest possible terms and we’re going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies in France.”
“These are allies who have been stalwart in our international coalition that this president has built to take the fight to ISIL, to degrade and ultimately destroy them,” Earnest explained. “We’re not exactly sure who is responsible for this. This is something we’re looking into and look to the French to figure it out.”