PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler on Tueday addressed Tavis Smiley's claim that Christian terrorists commit far more violence than Muslim ones. Smiley also issued a statement that defended his comments, though it misrepresented what those comments actually were.
"I don't think he made his case, or even came close," Getler said. He rightfully noted that the 2000 Columbine massacre, Smiley's only example of supposed Christian terrorism, "had nothing to do with Christianity." In fact, as Brent Bozell noted in his column today, the shooters even "mocked students who cried out for God to save them."
Though Getler should be applauded for noting Smiley's total failure to offer a convincing argument, he seems to suggest that a convincing case could be made, but simply wasn't in this instance. "One would think," Getler states, "that Smiley would have been better prepared to make what was certain to be a controversial case."
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
With the release of the Department of Defense's report on the November Fort Hood massacre, two trends are becoming increasingly clear: the administration does not want to talk about Islam's violent elements, and the mainstream media is more than willing to play along.
The administration's position clear to anyone examining official documentation. The Fort Hood report, the FBI's counterterrorism lexicon, and the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy do not even use the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, or Islam. The original 9/11 Commission Report, in contrast, used those words a combined 632 times.
The media's attitude towards radical Islam's role in this particular attack is evident in its reluctance to attribute Maj. Nidal Hasan's motives to jihad. The members of the media who share this attitude obfuscate the threats facing the nation.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Believe it or not, CNN - the same CNN which has recently dismissed the Fort Hood terrorist as lonely, has featured a member of ‘Jihad U' as a teacher of the ‘nuts and bolts of Islam', and which has run three separate stories interviewing the father of radical jihadist, Anwar al-Awlaki - has actually taken interest in a jihadist threat of physical violence upon the creators of South Park.
It seems that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have raised the ire of a radical, pro-jihad Web site known as RevolutionMuslim.com, for the egregious crime of portraying the Prophet Mohammed disguised in a bear suit. A posting on the Web site does what most jihadists do - makes a direct threat and calls it a warning.
The outstanding citizens of RevolutionMuslim.com, an organization based in New York City, had this to say:
"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
Van Gogh was murdered partly because of another man's ‘religious conviction', and partly because of a controversial film he directed about the abuse of Muslim women.
The posting puts an exclamation point on the threat, by showing a photograph of Van Gogh's corpse with a knife driven into his chest, including the caption, "Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?"
There are other factors however that make this posting more than just a simple ‘warning' as the author states...
The progression of Anwar al-Awlaki – if not the most influential force in terror operations, certainly one of the more popular faces – from simple cleric to proud member of the ‘kill or capture’ list, has sparked little interest in the MSM from a threat aspect. Instead, it has prompted yet another interview from CNN with his father, begging the United States to call off the military.
Imagine Osama bin Laden being treated with kid gloves shortly after serving as the influential and inspirational leader of the 9/11 attacks. In contrast, presenting bin Laden’s side of the story was an overwhelming goal of the liberal media shortly after 9/11, with CNN leading the charge – so much so that it prompted Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center to write a column concerning the network’s willingness to ogle the Al-Qaeda leader.
According to Bozell, CNN’s desire to interview bin Laden (through Al Jazeera) clearly demonstrated that “it does not matter to them if their offer ends up harming the American war effort on terrorism by giving this terrorist an international forum to promote his propaganda.”
Curiously, that exact scenario is being played out in the current media as well – in reverse...
Upon further research and examination into the Army's complete findings on the Fort Hood shootings, in a February 22 report, the Boston Globe's Bryan Bender conceded that politically-incorrect conservatives were right all along - just not in those words of course.
Immediately after Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 U.S. soldiers November 5, major news networks and publication bent over backwards to omit Hasan's Islamic identity or to excuse the killing of 13 soldiers as a result of stress or psychosis.
Report after report, interview after interview, and press conference after press conference, reporters, politicians, and government officials warned against jumping to conclusions - in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Update - 1/28, 10:25 AM | Lachlan Markay: Law enforcement officials have clarified that O'Keefe is not being charged with an attempt to wiretap phones. Will Shuster issue a retraction?
It's often said that bias shows through in what journalists decide to cover or not cover. So it was telling when Politico's Michael Calderone tweeted today, "@DavidShuster just said he's off to New Orleans to report on the O'Keefe arrest." "He's giddy," added Mediaite's Steve Krakauer.
Shuster's Twitter account, meanwhile, was lighting up with scorn for activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, who was arrested yesterday after an alleged attempt to tamper with phone lines in an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). After O'Keefe tweeted, "I am a journalist and the truth will set me free" yesterday, Shuster responded: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
So Shuster is personally invested in O'Keefe's fate and convinced not only that he tried to tap Sen. Landrieau's phones--a contention that the affidavit does not support, not that that has stopped others in the mainstream media from reporting it as fact--but that he is, without a doubt, guilty.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty blasted the Defense Department’s report on the Fort Hood massacre as a “joke” on Thursday’s Situation Room, singling out how there was “no mention in the report of the suspect’s [Major Nidal Hasan] views of Islam.” Cafferty also highlighted a recent Gallup poll that found that “43 percent of Americans admit to feeling at least a little prejudice toward Muslims.”
The CNN commentator wasted no time in criticizing the 86-page report released by the Pentagon on the Fort Hood shootings: “The Pentagon report into the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas that left 13 people dead- it’s a joke. No mention in the report of the suspect’s views of Islam- none- in fact, the 86-page report doesn’t even once mention Major Nidal Hasan by name. It lumps in radical Islam with other fundamentalist religious beliefs, and instead, focuses on things like military personnel policies and the emergency response to the November shootings.”
Cafferty later read a quote from 9/11 Commission member John Lehman, and continued his attack on the report: “Lehman...told Time magazine the Pentagon’s silence on Islamic extremism- quote, ‘shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become,’ unquote. What a shame....The Pentagon acknowledges it did not focus so much on Hasan’s motives, as on what it called ‘actions and effects.’ The report says they didn’t want to interfere with the criminal probe into Major Hasan. Garbage.”
Representative Pete Hoekstra recently indicated that the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 should be a clue that helps the Obama Administration ‘connect the dots' on terrorism.
While that remains unlikely with an administration more obsessed with right-wing extremists, man-caused disasters, and the impeccable success of our counterterrorism systems, perhaps it's time to start holding the main stream media accountable for their own inability to connect certain dots.
Such is the case of the media's handling of Anwar al-Awlaki...
On the CBS Evening News on Saturday, correspondent Kimberly Dozier reported on a recent rise in homegrown Islamic extremism in the United States and explored the motivation behind it: “... terrorism experts agree militant Islam is becoming an American problem....the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make potent recruiting tools. They’re portrayed by the militants as America’s war on Islam.”
Dozier went on to cite American bigotry as another cause: “Muslim community leaders here say young people are also being driven to extremes by post-9/11 anti-Muslim propaganda like this.” An obscure anti-Muslim video was played as she continued: “And rising incidents of genuine anti-Muslim discrimination. Civil rights complaints have jumped 10 percent in just the past year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
While using C.A.I.R. as a credible source, Dozier only briefly mentioned the organization’s radical ties: “There’s been tension between the FBI and the Council over alleged links to militant groups which it denies.” She then offered a dismissive statement from C.A.I.R.: “It says U.S. authorities should start using the Muslim community as a resource, not an adversary, to help it police its own.”
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Considering the condition of most of the media in this country, I can't say I'm surprised at their reaction to the murder of 13 and wounding of 30 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.
They are trying to blame Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan's terrorist act on the stress of being in the Army and harassment by other soldiers because of his religion. In other words, trying to blame it on anything besides what it is. The fact is that he is a radical Muslim who hates the United States of America and wants to destroy it.
Hasan had never been to war anywhere, so that dog won't hunt. He was a major, and if he was under such heavy persecution why didn't he simply resign his commission?
People are going to say that the Army knew about his disapproval of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his radical Muslim beliefs, so why didn't they simply put him out of the Army?
The answer to that is simple; it's the accursed policies of political correctness. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Army had gotten rid of an officer because he was a Muslim? It would have been the biggest news story in the country. The justice department under Eric Holder would have ruined the careers of anybody who would have been a part of it.
Anthony Stevens-Arroyo of the Washington Post’s On Faith blog took left-wing moral equivalency to new lows in a November 24 post where he compared Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hassan to General Patton and World War I hero Alvin York. What does this mass murderer have in common with two American heroes, in Stevens-Arroyo’s view? All three recited what he labeled “bad prayers.”
Matthew Archbold of the Creative Minority Report blog devoted an entire post on Monday to picking apart the Washington Post writer’s arguments. Before Stevens-Arroyo compared Hassan to Patton and York, he cited other examples of such “bad prayers.”
On the Fox Business Network's Nov. 30 "Imus in the Morning" program, host Don Imus conveyed this concern, suggesting it exposed potential weaknesses in the U.S. Secret Service's protection of the President (h/t Tim Graham of Newsbusters.org).
Bill Cathcart, Clearing Away the PC Clutter Bill Cathcart, Vice President and General Manager for CBS affiliate WTOC in Savannah, Georgia, took to the airwaves on November 9th with a blistering video editorial excoriating the hold political correctness (PC) has on our society (video and transcript below the fold).
It is certainly refreshing to hear and see a news executive say these sorts of things, given the prostraters to PC that so thoroughly inhabit his profession.
Cathcart began by speaking of the horrific Fort Hood, Texas murders by Islamist extremist Nidal Malik Hasan, and pointing out how it was political correctness (PC) that cowed everyone from talking to anyone about this obviously dangerous man.
Cathcart rightly points out that this oppressive PC regime dominates not just the Army, but the nation. "We've become so ridiculous with our political correctness. So afraid of offending, despite the truth. So overly tolerant and self-effacing, pandering and apologizing to be liked. Putting up with absurd challenges to our Constitution, laws, traditions and freedoms, that we've become a nation of enablers for those with evil intent."
Leading the charge on this are, of course, Cathcart's media cohorts. There are no greater PC enablers and enforcers than the men and women who allegedly deliver us the news.
If someone decided to commit mass murder after hearing hot talk on the radio, NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr wouldn’t really suggest blaming the talk radio host. He’d suggest blaming the radio itself. That’s the weird tone of his Wednesday commentary, titled "Was the Internet Complicit in Fort Hood Shooting?"
Schorr explored blame for that mysterious "series of tubes" that is the Internet: "From what is publicly known about Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused killer of 13 in a rampage at Fort Hood, he had no accomplice — unless you count the Internet in which he communed, exchanging sinister thoughts with an extremist cleric."
This is the kind of analysis that would inspire humor, if it wasn't already odd: if we can blame the Internet for Fort Hood, does that mean Al Gore is somehow responsible for the tragedy?
The long-time CBS correspondent didn’t really want to rush to blame a radical imam for Major Hasan’s violent turn:
On Nov. 18, Foreign Policy's Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson wrote an article titled "The Real Shock of Fort Hood." If you thought that the shock of Fort Hood was that an Army Major fired over 100 rounds into a crowded processing center on a military base - killing 13 and wounding 29 - you're wrong. "It's not that the massacre occurred," said the article. "It's that it hadn't occurred before."
According to Simon and Stevenson, Major Nidal Malik Hasan was simply another American Muslim that was the victim of "innumerable stresses, including discrimination and the strain of divided loyalties in their country's eight-year-long war against Muslims in the Middle East and Central Asia."
The authors argued that such circumstances would be "enough to inspire conflict in the minds of even the most patriotic of American Muslims in the U.S." So much so that it should be "no surprise" that "one unstable member of this community finally erupted in violence."
It's our fault. Americans aren't making Muslims "comfortable." And the article specifically cited "Christian right-wing rhetoric" as a catalyst in the "Muslim alienation" which led to Hasan's shooting spree.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, after Rudy Giuliani suggested the Obama administration was trying to “satisfy left-wing critics” by trying 9/11 terrorists in civilian court, incredulous co-host Harry Smith saw no such connection: “But Hang on. So it’s – so the idea of them being tried in open court is a left-wing political agenda?”
Smith began the interview with the former New York City Mayor by skeptically wondering: “You said yesterday that this was a political decision. How is it – do you think it’s a political decision?” Giuliani responded: “Well, it’s a political decision because I believe that this is being done to satisfy left-wing critics....After all, it was lawyers in Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm that challenged the military tribunal, challenged the habeas corpus, fought these cases all throughout. So I think this is a political agenda.”
After Smith was taken aback by the charge that liberal politics was involved in the decision, Giuliani began to explain: “Of course. Because they could be tried in military courts. As everyone else was up until now. And it would add-” Smith cut him off: “So as the attorney general yesterday, ‘we need not cower in the face of this enemy’” Giuliani shot back: “Please let me finish what I was saying. I didn’t get a chance to complete my thought.”
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, presumably picking up on a posting by the far left ThinkProgress.org -- one of his regular sources of information to attack conservatives -- made the arguably inaccurate claim that FNC political analyst Bill Kristol had on the Thursday, November 12, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, called for Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan to be convicted and executed without trial. After calling the FNC analyst's words "anti-American," and quoting a portion of Kristol's words, Olbermann lectured:
But seriously, the men and women that this man killed – however you define him – those men and women of the U.S. military, Mr. Kristol, were fighting for the right to trial, due process, justice. Thanks for spitting on the dead of Fort Hood, William Kristol, today’s “Worst Person in the World.”
The Culture & Media Institute’s report on network coverage of Major Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood murders continues to gain media attention. On Nov. 14, Fox’s “News Watch” program led off with CMI’s findings.
“The Culture & Media Institute noticed something about the news coverage,” said host John Scott said of the Ft. Hood shooting. “Until President Obama spoke on Tuesday at a memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood attacks, 29 percent of evening news reports mentioned that Major Nical Malik Hasan was a Muslim. 93 percent of the stories ignored any terror connection. But after the president hinted at what ABC called ‘Islamic extremist views,” all three networks mentioned terrorism.”
In case you missed the media coverage of the Fort Hood shooting for the last several days, let's sum up the main theme: Nidal Malik Hasan is not a terrorist.
CNN continued that theme early Thursday morning with an interview from a profiler who claims that Hasan is nothing more than a lonely, wifeless, psychopath in the midst of a midlife crisis.
Criminologist Pat Brown states that:
"He was simply a lone guy who had issues, problems, psychopathic behaviors that escalated to the point where he wanted to get back at society, and he took it out on his workmates like most of them do."
What does Brown base that assessment on? During a correspondence with her (outlined in full at the end of this post), CNN's profiler of choice had very little to say about the radical Muslim ideology in the Hasan case. You'll be amazed at what follows:
Speaking to the defense attorney for Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: “Do you think – and this is not from a scientific or even legal standpoint, but just as you’ve been able to speak with him, do you think he’s competent to stand trial?”
In his first question to Hasan’s attorney, retired Army Colonel John Galligan, Smith wondered: “First things first, you met with Hasan at some point yesterday. Is he coherent?” Galligan replied: “He’s coherent.” He then lamented: “I learned from, actually members of the media, that apparently he was going to be charged yesterday. I was surprised by that and I was saddened by the manner in which it occurred, because I – I received belated notice.”
Smith seized upon that statement: “How unusual is it for a case as important as this one is, for the suspect to be charged with a crime and for his attorney not to be present?” Galligan admitted: “Well, there’s no legal requirement that I have been present when the charges are preferred, under the manual.” He then added: “I was extremely upset to learn that they were going about this important step in the pre-trial procedural process without formally notifying me....my first five minutes with the client were spent almost apologizing for the manner in which it went down.”
Back in June, liberal columnists at the New York Times lined up to link conservative talkers Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh to James von Brunn, the 88-year-old man who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum, and the murder by Scott Roeder of abortionist George Tiller.
Krugman’s “The Big Hate” blamed Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s rhetoric (“Tiller the baby killer”) for the Tiller murder, as well as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, for contributing to the dangerously toxic atmosphere.
Warner’s online entry, “The Wages of Hate,” read: “You can't accuse Beck or Limbaugh of inciting violence. But they almost certainly do stoke the flames.”
It's one thing to avoid the "terrorist" label when reporting on Ft. Hood suspect Major Nidal Hasan. It's quite another to say that those who do use it are making a political calculation to "paint the Democrats as soft terror." Yet that's what MSNBC's Rachel Maddow insisted on her Nov. 11 broadcast.
Maddow launched into a minute-and-a-half soliloquy on why it is bad for the Democratic Party when commentators label Hasan a "terrorist." She even attempted to make the case on Hasan's behalf against a terrorism label. Who needs a legal team when you have friends like Maddow and Chris Matthews, who fretted over the legality of Hasan's al Qaeda communications?
"Remember this one? Yes, it is the old ‘paint the Democrats as soft on terror' routine," Maddow said. "But in order to play that politicizing terrorism, anti-Democratic greatest hits, the Fort Hood case has to be terrorism. Now, regardless of how you feel about the political issue of politicizing terrorism, it's worth asking was Fort Hood, technically speaking, terrorism? It's not just a political question. It's not just a judgment call. It's not just a matter of taste. It's a question to which there is an answer, a legal answer."
In a piece on Nov. 11 called “False Dichotomies,” Newsweek religion writer Lisa Miller advanced a very sensible argument regarding the Ft. Hood gunman. “The question about Nidal Hasan isn't whether he's a mental-health victim or a terrorist. He has shades of both, so let's not reduce him to a caricature.” Putting it another way, Millar quoted Georgetown professor Bruce Hoffman: “Just because somebody may be mentally unstable doesn't mean this isn't an act of terrorism.”
Given the incomplete and contradictory reports about Hasan’s activities and statements before the shooting, that seems wise. But rather than leave it at that, Miller ended up reinforcing aspects of the politically correct approach to issues of Islam and terror, and blaming Americans to boot.
Miller cited New York Times’ David Brooks in particular, and partially agreeing with those on the right that complain of the media’s politically correct desire to explain away Hasan as just a lone psycho (or even better: a psychological victim of Bush’s wars).
“Major Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill,” Miller wrote. “But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community.”
On Nov. 12, Bill O’Reilly led off “The O’Reilly Factor” by framing his “Talking Points” segment around a report from the Culture & Media Institute on the biased network coverage of the Ft. Hood Massacre.
“A new study, by the Culture and Media Institute, a conservative group, says the following: 85 percent of network evening news stories on Ft. Hood did not mention the word ‘terror,’ O’Reilly said. “In fact, in 48 reports, ABC, CBS and NBC referenced terrorism just seven times. Only 29 percent of the evening news reports even mentioned Major Hasan was a Muslim. Unbelievable. Of those mentions, 50 percent defended Islam. And before the president’s speech at Ft. Hood, 93 percent of the network evening news stories ignored any discussion about a terror connection. But after the president said that extremist views were involved, all three networks began to report a possible connection.”
Time magazine appears to be throwing caution to the political correctness wind by placing a picture on the cover of its soon to to be released November 23 issue with the word "Terrorist" written across the face of alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.
Straddling the fence slightly, the magazine chose to put a question mark after the word.
Even so, given media's discomfort portraying Hasan as anything more than an overwrought, over-worked soldier petrified of heading to Afghanistan, Time's "The Fort Hood Killer: Terrified ... or Terrorist?" was so uncharacteristicly un-PC you could almost call it a Mac.
Just count the references to Islamic extremism in the first paragraph alone:
Here is the latest episode of NewsBusters’ Notables Quotables show, featuring the liberal media’s most outrageous sound bites.
In this week’s episode we have Chris Matthews wondering what’s wrong with a quick phone call to terrorists, Matt Lauer worried about America getting a big head, and Actor Scott Wolf revealing the inspiration behind his role as a sell-out journalist in a new TV series.
Enjoy the show and to see current and past episodes in a larger format, visit the ‘Notable Quotables Show’ channel on the Media Research Center’s video sharing website, Eyeblast.