When it comes to Islam, the approach of too many media outlets seems to be to avoid questioning authority. Whether this attitude stems from fear (as in the case of Lawrence O'Donnell), ignorance, or plain old-fashioned political correctness doesn't really matter because the end result is the same: when extremist Islamic groups like the Council on Islamic Relations say "jump," far too many news organizations say "how high."
It's not asking for much, really. When, for instance, other religious groups (be they Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, etc.) make complaints, the usual procedure is to talk to the person or group being accused and allow them to tell there side of the story. It's basic journalism. It appears, however, that St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Tim Townsend doesn't believe that, at least when the complaint involves CAIR making allegations against the conservative blog Little Green Footballs. Let's take a look:
A national Muslim civil rights organization has asked the FBI to investigate what it considers threats made on the Internet against a Bosnian mosque in St. Louis.
One blog post cited by the group made reference to vandalism and another to the use of dynamite.
Zachary Lowe, a special agent in the St. Louis office of the FBI, said Tuesday that while he could not confirm an investigation, the bureau "takes all threats against people very seriously, especially religious and ethnic groups."
No mention, of course, that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a fund-raising scandal involving the funding of terrorist groups. No, it's a "civil rights" group.
Another blog, called "Little Green Footballs," linked to the "Gateway Pundit" post, and several comments on "Little Green Footballs," caused the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations to contact the FBI, said Ibrahim Hooper, the council's spokesman.
"We ourselves get these kinds of hate messages and threats frequently," Hooper said. "But you never know who's just talking and who's going to carry out some these threats, so you have to check them out."
On the "Gateway Pundit," a blogger who identified herself as Kathi, wrote: "It is really hard on us white, non-muslims to have to live with these folks taking over our neighborhood and community. Our government helping these people relocate into America's heartland is like inviting the enemy into your camp. It's totally disgusting."
On "Little Green Footballs," blogger Amer1can wrote, "Would be a shame if it were to be vandalized or destroyed. Just a shame I tell you....wink wink STL youth."
Blogger Arthur E. Hippler added: "I suppose dynamite would be considered an extreme response."
Classic liberal journalism here. Are the derrogatory remarks made in a comment or in a blog post? Townsend and his editors seem incapable of understanding the difference between the two. First he tells us they were "comments" but then identifies the posters as "bloggers," a very basic error.
Surely a quick email to LGF editor Charles Johnson could have helped clarify things (especially since some anti-jihadist blogs are making allegations of fake hate) But that would've been too fair. Much easier to just regurgitate the propaganda of a fanatical religious group.
Had Townsend bothered to drop Johnson a line, he likely would have said something similar to what he just wrote in response:
- There are more than 25,000 registered users at LGF.
- There are often more than 5,000 comments posted every single day.
- It is run by one person, and comments such as those quoted by CAIR are policed and deleted as soon as possible. But this is an open discussion forum, and comments do not represent the opinion of LGF — as the disclaimer states on every single page of comments.
- The comments quoted by CAIR were posted at LGF for less than two hours before CAIR sent out their press release, and were deleted as soon as the administrator (that would be me) became aware of them. CAIR did not contact me about the comments either—they just went straight to the FBI, and put out a libelous press release.
I look forward to seeing Townsend and his colleagues engage in similar tactics against liberal blogs, trying to hold them liable for the much greater amount of hate and vitriol you find there.
Update 16:43. Johnson dropped Townsend a line provoking a bizarre, passive-agressive reaction from the Post-Dispatch reporter. Must-see followup.