Over at the NBC Nightly News "Daily Nightly" blog, NBC "investigative producer" Robert Windrem relates how at the 2:30 pm editorial meeting on Wednesday, "we had a lively discussion of what the context should be" about the Muslim cartoon jihad. For his part, Windrem agreed with local liberal academics, who somehow can link cartoonists to police brutality:
The bottom line for me was that this can't be dealt with as a story about cartoons or even about Islamic prohibitions about the depiction of Muhammad. It has to be about the simmering pot that went to boil, as Shibley Telhami, the University of Maryland scholar, said this morning on Washington radio. He noted that this is the Islamic version of the Rodney King verdict. In that case, it wasn't just about the verdict against four Los Angeles policemen. It was about African-Americans' belief, whether based on reality or perception, that they had been the victims of decades of racism and thuggery by the LAPD.
On a larger scale, there seems to be in our culture an ability to deny that, in spite of all our good intentions, we are returning to the clash of civilizations that defined most of world history. And that to ignore how a significant portion of the world feels denies us the opportunity to understand what is going on. One of the things I tried to point out was the Islamic belief that they feel they are being targeted, personally, as well as politically.
Muslims feel that they are victimized by the West, and even putting aside the conspiracy theories that rattle around the Middle East, a cursory survey of what has been happening to them in the past 25 years would give anyone some cause for concern. Over the past quarter century, the number of Muslims killed by "infidels" of all kinds approaches 3 million.
Why, in the aftermath of 9/11, do liberal media types still insist that America's enemies always have an understandable grievance that we Americans are failing to understand because we're not trying to be as sophisticated as liberal academics? Liberal academics who make bizarre comparisons on the radio? Clearly, Windrem is telling us that he argued in the NBC news room that the riots against some innocuous Muhammad cartoons were completely understandable, that somehow we (or the Israelis? or the Armenians?) are the "monkey-slapping" bad cops in L.A., and that the problem lies with us, not them.