Mitt Romney's statement yesterday evening slamming the Obama administration for the U.S. embassy in Cairo's attempt to appease the Islamist protesters was "naive," MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Time magazine's Rana Foroohar agreed in a segment on the September 12 edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
While Wagner said the initial statement condemning the anti-Muhammad movie was intended to calm tempers and save lives, Foroohar went into an odd analogy that compared Islamist hatemongers with conservative radio host Glenn Beck (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break):
The statement was naive in so many ways, one of the most important ways is that he seems to be missing the point about how events like this happen. This wasn't a matter of you know one farmer on the Nile Delta sort of going to YouTube and downloading something.
There is an industry of outrage that fuels events like this. The Arab world has radio stations and television networks that have their own Glenn Becks. There are clerics and mullahs that look for things like this and then fan the flames.
So that's very important and I think handling that delicately and understanding it is something that he's completely missing the ball on.
It is true that's there an Islamist "outrage" industry that whips up uninformed masses into hysteria, but that only bolsters Romney's point that it is fundamentally to disregard American principles to try to appease that radical fringe by agreeing with them that speech that is critical of Islam is somehow so patently offensive as to be abusive of the freedom of speech.
Furthermore, it should go without saying that Foroohar's Glenn Beck analogy was completely uncalled for and patently ridiculous. Beck has turned out massive crowds for his political rallies and, even if you disagree with his politics like Foroohar, there's no disputing they've been peaceful affairs that have not been destructive to property much less threatening to life and limb.