CNN Considers Political Correctness as a Factor in Ft. Hood Shootings?

Brian Todd, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgOn Wednesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Brian Todd actually considered that political correctness prevented earlier action against Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. Despite referencing “a senior investigative official who...said he has never heard any indication...that Hasan got any favorable treatment...before this shooting,” Todd also cited three others who were certain of the political correctness factor.

The CNN correspondent did not lead his report with any mention of the possible PC treatment the Muslim army major might have receive, a graphic on-screen hinted what was to come later in the report: “Hasan’s Contacts & Behavior Examined: ‘Political correctness’ a possible concern.”

After mentioning the investigation into Hasan’s e-mail conversations with a radical cleric in Yemen, Todd noted that “[q]uestions continue over Hasan’s behavior while in medical training and the response to that behavior, specifically presentations Hasan gave on Muslims in the military, when, according to one classmate, he was supposed to be talking about health issues. The classmate...tells CNN, despite the discomfort of others in the room, he doesn’t believe Hasan’s superiors counseled him about it, and the classmate says he believes it was because they didn’t want to alienate a Muslim soldier.”

The correspondent did try to downplay this allegation from Hasan’s classmate by stating that “while this was his strong belief, he [the classmate] didn’t provide evidence of that.” But Todd continued that “a retired military lawyer, familiar with such investigations, says political correctness does factor in these situations,” and played a sound bite from this former JAG officer.

Near the end of the report, Todd played a sound bite from former Bush advisor and CNN advisor Frances Townsend, who also was convinced that political correctness prevented any further action against Hassan. But he continued that “a senior investigative official who we spoke with said he has never heard any indication, seen any allegation that Hasan got any favorable treatment along the line any time before this shooting because of the fact that he’s Muslim.”

Despite highlighting this statement from the “senior investigative official,” and how Hassan’s classmate’s “didn’t provide evidence” of his political correctness allegation, it is definitely noteworthy that a correspondent for a mainstream media outlet was willing to consider the possibility of a PC climate towards Muslims in the army and played two clips from those who believe it exists.

The full transcript of Todd’s report, which aired 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER: More questions about the suspect in that shooting, 39-year-old Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan.

CNN’s Brian Todd is joining us with the latest on the investigation, and it gets more complicated each day.

BRIAN TODD: It certainly does, Wolf. We’re getting more information now on what investigators say are communications from Nidal Hasan to a Yemeni cleric, and also more information about other leads being followed in this case.

TODD (voice-over): A source familiar with the investigation tells CNN, Nidal Hasan not only contacted a radical cleric in Yemen, but it’s believed he also got communications back from that cleric. Investigators say, during that time, that cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, was the subject of a federal probe, but the source says all the communications seemed innocent in nature, and says officials are following other leads- leads on connections Hasan may have had with other people who would have been of concern to investigators.

Questions continue over Hasan’s behavior while in medical training and the response to that behavior, specifically presentations Hasan gave on Muslims in the military, when, according to one classmate, he was supposed to be talking about health issues. The classmate, who witnessed one of the presentations, tells CNN, despite the discomfort of others in the room, he doesn’t believe Hasan’s superiors counseled him about it, and the classmate says he believes it was because they didn’t want to alienate a Muslim soldier. While this was his strong belief, he didn’t provide evidence of that. A retired military lawyer, familiar with such investigations, says political correctness does factor in these situations.

CAPTAIN THOMAS KENNIFF, FORMER ARMY JAG OFFICE ATTORNEY: In a post-9/11 world, there are a lot of forces in the military that may be very hesitant to give the appearance that they’re singling out Muslim soldiers, even when that individual Muslim soldier may be making statements that are looked at as very incendiary and very questionable.

TODD: A Defense Department official wouldn’t comment on that, and there’s no specific information that Hasan’s superiors didn’t address his presentations with him or that they avoided doing so because he’s Muslim.

I asked former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend, a CNN contributor, if political correctness could have inhibited investigators looking into Hasan’s communications.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND: There is no question in my mind that investigators, when they looked at this material, understood very well that, if they decided to pursue this investigation, they’d have to justify why they were- they chose to pursue one of the few Muslim Americans inside the U.S. military, and perhaps alienate him.

TODD (on-camera): Now, a senior investigative official who we spoke with said he has never heard any indication, seen any allegation that Hasan got any favorable treatment along the line any time before this shooting because of the fact that he’s Muslim, Wolf.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center