Since Friday's massacre at Fort Hood, NewsBusters has been covering the efforts of several news outlets, including the New York Times, to warn of Muslim persecution in America.
This is quite a departure from the treatment offered other religious groups by the Times, particularly the paper's disgraceful coverage of Mormon persecution at the hands of rabid protestors in California.
Back on November 4, 2008, when gay marriage was outlawed for the second time by popular vote in the Golden State, angry protestors stormed the streets. Word quickly spread that Mormons had played a big role in getting the ban to pass prompting gay activists to attack Mormon citizens in fits of rage.
Unlike now, the Times wasn't worried about protecting a religious group from an angry backlash. Quite the contrary, when rumors of the Mormon influence on the proposition grew, the Times was more than willing to actively build the case against them.
On November 15 of that year, the paper used prominent space on its front page to print a hit piece titled "Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage."In the middle of a literal culture war on the streets of California, the Times thought it wise to convince gays and lesbians angered by the proposition's passage that Mormons were single-handedly responsible:
The Radio Equalizer blog is hot on the trail of left-wing talk radio bringing out the weirdest scenarios to shift the blame for the Fort Hood shooting onto the Islamophobic prejudice of the American people. Montel Williams is really starting to fit into the ludicrous Air America radio family: he suggested on Monday that the Fort Hood backlash against Muslims could be so great we would put Muslims in internment camps like the Japanese under Franklin Roosevelt:
WILLIAMS: We pulled something like this back in World War II when we decided to round up all Japanese Americans and put them in internment camps. This is something that I think before we can blink, the [anti-Muslim] rhetoric, Doc, could get out of hand. What do you think?
On 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.”
Interviewing Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cited a cause of the shooting at Ft. Hood: “...the Iraq war, the escalation in number of cases of post traumatic stress disorder...the more people go back to these fields, these theaters of war, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, it multiplies the incidence of these kinds of things occurring.”
Smith went on to ask Shinseki: “Is the Army and is the Veterans Administration really equipped to deal with this flood of a problem?” The VA secretary responded: “Veterans Affairs employs 19,000 mental health professionals to address things like PTSD and TBI and depression. And some of the other mental health issues that come up from time to time with exposing people to the high stress, high dangers associated with combat.” The shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, never served in combat nor had post traumatic stress disorder.
Liberal talk-radio hosts are finding other reasons why Major Nidal Hasan would shoot up Fort Hood, other reasons than glorifying Allah. On Tuesday, Stephanie Miller suggested it could be because "George Bush made many people around the world feel like this was a war against Islam by using words like crusade."
Does this accurately reflect the words Bush routinely offered on Islam?
In the first week after September 11, Bush made an off-hand remark that "this crusade, this war against terrorism, is going to take a while." When Europe "cringed" in revulsion, Bush tried to avoid the word going forward. It was much more common for Bush to call Islam a "religion of peace."
Also high on the list, naturally following from Bush's alleged Islamophobia, is the bullying of Hasan and other Muslim soldiers: "the fact that he apparently was taunted for being Muslim because of the attitudes that developed here." Even if this was true and not just hearsay, it doesn't excuse mass murder.
Dobbs, on his Nov. 10 radio program, didn't reserve judgment and criticized President Barack Obama for telling people to do so in a speech following the tragic event. Dobbs played a clip from the speech Obama gave last week in which he warned, "We don't know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts."
"Isn't that remarkable, telling the American people not to jump to any conclusions?" Dobbs said. "Not to speculate, not to be curious about what is happening to our men and women, who should be the center of all of our attention and concern and care. Let's compare that statement by our president to what he said at the end of a press conference about health care shortly after the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, his good friend."
Tuesday night ABC's Brian Ross highlighted how in a 2007 presentation mass-murdering Army Major Nidal Hasan exposed his radicalism and adherence to Islam over the U.S. Army as he charged “it's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” and declared: “We love death more than you love life.”
But neither CBS nor NBC cited those quotes for their viewers as they gave short-shrift to Hasan's remarks in “The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military,” a slide show disclosed by Dana Priest in Tuesday's Washington Post (click on “Launch Photo Gallery” for Hasan's entire presentation at Walter Reed in June of 2007).
On the NBC Nightly News, Pete Williams just briefly noted how Hasan asserted that “releasing Muslim soldiers as conscientious objectors would increase troop morale and, quote, 'decrease adverse events.'” Bob Orr, on CBS, at least characterized it as “a shocking presentation to colleagues,” and related only how “Hasan argued forcing Muslim soldiers to fight wars in Muslim countries puts them 'at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly' and he ominously warned of 'adverse events.'”
As we survey the horror of the Ft. Hood massacre, it might be useful to remember that we’ve been here before, with another shooting 16 years ago. The circumstances were very different, but the reaction of the media and other elite – the excusing, the spinning, the slight regard for the victims – has been eerily similar.
On Dec. 7, 1993, aboard a crowded rush hour Long Island Railroad train from Manhattan to Hicksville, N.Y., a Jamaican immigrant named Colin Ferguson pulled a gun and began firing at fellow passengers. He killed six and wounded 19 before being subdued by three passengers.
The story of Ferguson’s trial is bizarre and tragic, played out against the backdrop of a “Bonfire of the Vanities” New York in the pre-Giuliani era. When the Nassau County commissioner quite sensibly called Ferguson “an animal,” Jesse Jackson parachuted in to condemn the comment as racist. Al Sharpton took time out from inciting arson and murder long enough to warn of a backlash against blacks.
On Dec. 13, the New York Times quoted one Doris Perkins, who, when she first heard about the crime, had hoped the shooter wouldn’t turn out to be black. “‘I figured if he was black, there was going to be hell to pay,’ said Mrs. Perkins, a black nurse from Jamaica, Queens. ‘I told my two teen-age sons to stay in the house and off the streets until this thing blows over.’”
CNN misquoted a soldier at Fort Hood who was wounded in last week's shooting to suggest that the soldier's recollection that Major Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before firing was in doubt. Many in the media have been doing their best to downplay evidence suggesting Hasan was acting in accordance with radical Muslim beliefs.
"I was sitting in about the second row back when the assailant stood up and yelled 'Allahu Akbar' in Arabic and he opened fire," Pvt. Joseph Foster recalled yesterday on CNN's "American Morning" (Video below the fold - h/t Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit).
Of all the things that might give you comfort in the wake of Nidal Malik Hasan's murderous rampage, where would you rate the news that the military's commitment to "diversity" endures? Down there, dare I guess? Ah, but you're probably not part of the MSM elite.
Chrystia Freeland is. And on today's Morning Joe, the Financial Times editor did indeed announce that she was "comforted" by that very fact of the military's unflagging devotion to diversity.
Joe Scarborough countered Chrystia with a tough question. And--sacré bleu!--Mike Barnicle, not normally an NB fave, made some very blunt and on-target observations . . .
As is seemingly tradition, the media is once again playing that classic game known as ‘How Can We Blame Bush?' It's the party favorite where liberals take the biggest headline of the day, and immediately link Bush to the cause in one fell swoop, eliminating all facets of rationale.
Now, syndicated columnist Gwynne Dyer has introduced his own version, something that is only surprising in the length of time it took for this kind of diatribe to crack the pages of the media: ‘Fort Hood = Bush's fault'.
In his latest column, Dyer makes the tired argument that it is the War on Terror which breeds Muslim resentment, and by extension, is an obvious explanation for the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan. It was President Bush who popularized the War on Terror phrase, delivering a speech shortly after the attacks of September 11th which would outline his future plans.
As Dyer states (emphasis mine):
The one explanation that is excluded is that America's wars in Muslim lands overseas are radicalizing Muslims at home.
Dyer's revisionist history also explains that the War on Terror itself was not in response to escalating attacks by jihadists - rather, it was part panic, part ignorance, and a heaping portion of racism.
On his Nov. 9 broadcast of "Hardball," in an interview with Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Matthews compared the incident of Maj. Nidal M. Hasan at Ft. Hood to Sirhan Sirhan's 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
"You know, I have a hard time with this because people like Sirhan Sirhan, who is still serving time for killing Bobby Kennedy, didn't like what Bobby Kennedy had said on television," Matthews said. "Bobby Kennedy had made political statements saying we're going to sell arms, fighter planes directly to Israel, not under the table. We're going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Those are the things that triggered his killing spree. He killed one person - Bobby Kennedy, horrifically. But did he become a different religious person because he committed the crime? And when did this happen?" [Audio: Part I here (925 KB), Part II here (1.18 MB)]
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer offered commentary on the cause of the mass shooting at Fort Hood: “That doctor [Major Nidal Hasan] should not have been at Fort Hood. I don’t care how hard-up the Army is for mental health professionals....sadly, this shows the Army still does not take protecting soldiers’ mental health as seriously as it does training them to shoot.”
Schieffer went on to argue: “And then there is the other part that often happens in government. Don’t deal with the problem, shuffle it off to somewhere else. When he had problems at Walter Reed hospital, the doctor was just packed off to Fort Hood.” In similar fashion, Schieffer “shuffled off” the responsibility of an overly politically correct media that continually denounces profiling of criminal suspects or terrorists.
Earlier in the broadcast, Schieffer asked Congressman Ike Skelton: “Do you think this is a sign that the military is simply overextended?”
Two-and-a-half years before Army Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim medical doctor, murdered 13 at Fort Hood in Texas in what more-and-more looks like a jihadist terrorist attack given his anti-American rants and ties to Islamic extremists, ABC's since-canceled Boston Legal drama ridiculed the idea a doctor could be a terrorist.
A scene in the episode first aired on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 -- meant to show the silliness and incompetence of the military for detaining obviously innocent men -- concluded with a released terror suspect being asked in courtroom about a colleague who had committed suicide to avoid the mistreatment: “Was your friend a terrorist?” The man replied with these words, dripping with disgust, which dramatically ended the scene: “No, he was a doctor.”
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN’s Carol Costello highlighted a column on the “right-wing” Pajamas Media website during a report on a possible backlash against Muslim soldiers, but omitted how the author of the column is a noted feminist, and that her only “right-wing” credential is her focus on Islamic misogyny.
Anchor John Roberts introduced Costello’s report, noting that apparently “many people [are] fearing a backlash against America’s Muslim soldiers” after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood on November 5. The CNN correspondent featured the mother of a Muslim army corporal who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq during the segment.
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer tried to provide some perspective on the Fort Hood shooting, committed by an Islamic extremist: “It’s looking more and more like he was just, sort of, a religious nut. And you know Islam doesn’t have a majority – or the Christian religion has its full, you know, full helping of nuts too.”
Schieffer made the comments while speaking to Senator Lindsey Graham, who agreed that Muslims do not have “a corner” on extremism. Schieffer went on to wonder what role political correctness played in the shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, not being held accountable for radical comments he made prior to the attack: “Do you think the fact that he was a Muslim may have caused the military to kind of step back and be reluctant to challenge him on some of this stuff for fear that they’d be accused of discrimination or something like that?”
Graham replied: “I hope not. I hope – I hope that’s not the case....his actions do not reflect on the Islamic – Muslim faith” Schieffer added: “Well, I’m not suggesting that they do.” Promoting the very political correctness that Schieffer asked about, Graham argued: “But some people are. Some people are, and I want to say, as a United States Senator, that I reject that....Let’s don’t accuse people of basically giving him a pass because he’s a Muslim. Because I don’t think there’s any evidence of that.”
ABC's Brian Ross reported Monday that suspected Fort Hood shooter Nidal Halik Hasan tried to contact people connected to the terrorist group al Qaeda.
Even worse, U.S. intelligence officials were aware of this months ago, and "it's not knownwhether the military was ever told by the CIA or others that one of its majors was making efforts to communicate with figures under electronic surveillance."
Given media's discomfort with discussing Hasan's Muslim ties, as well as their desire to never point fingers at the Obama administration, it's going to be very interesting to watch how Ross's exclusive report on "Good Morning America" Monday will be covered in the coming days (video embedded below the fold with full transcript):
Check out the headline from on the front page of the hard-copy New York City edition of today's New York Times:
After Years of Growing Tension, 7 Minutes of Bloodshed
The article reports that Nidal Malik Hasan began feeling disgruntled with the Army as far back as 2004.
Let's see, there are 525,948 minutes in a year. If Hasan's been feeling "tension" for about five years, that makes about 2,629,740 tension-filled minutes. And during that entire period, he only engaged in a homicidal rampage for seven minutes. I mean, come on, he was only a murderer for some tiny, tiny fraction of 1% of the time!
On CNN Saturday Morning News today, anchor Betty Nguyen interviewed a psychiatrist about Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 and wounded 30 others in a shooting spree Thursday in Fort Hood, Texas. She began by delving into possible reason for Hasan's actions:
NGUYEN: Dr. Paul Ragan, a psychiatrist who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder joins me now from Nashville. Dr. Ragan, let me ask you this. Are the Ft. Hood shootings the action of someone who might have suffered from PTSD?
DR. PAUL RAGAN, SPECIALIZES IN POST-TRAUMATIC SYNDROME: I think actually that's fairly unlikely. Dr. Hasan just finished a two-year fellowship at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress and he had only been an independent Army psychiatrist for about four months. That is at an operational base. So for him to have been suffering from PTSD I think is highly unlikely.
Newsweek's Evan Thomas regretted the Fort Hood mass murderer, Major Nidal Hasan, is a Muslim because of how that reality will be abused by conservatives. On this weekend's Inside Washington, Thomas, now Editor at Large with Newsweek after stints as Assistant Managing Editor and Washington bureau chief, rued:
I cringe that he's a Muslim. I mean, because it inflames all the fears. I think he's probably just a nut case. But with that label attached to him, it will get the right wing going and it just -- I mean these things are tragic, but that makes it much worse.
NPR's Nina Totenberg soon chimed in with agreement: “It really is tragic that he was a Muslim.”
ABC doubled the length of its evening newscast on Friday night and World News used its second half hour to suggest an exculpatory reason behind Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan's mass killing at Fort Hood -- as anchor Charles Gibson reasoned “treating the mentally wounded can be stressful” -- then to devote a story to the plight of Muslim soldiers: “It's not easy for anyone serving in the armed forces these days, but with America fighting Islamic enemies overseas, Muslim troops face a unique burden.” Reporter Bill Weir despaired:
The Pentagon has made a real concerted effort to create a military that is culturally sensitive and religiously tolerant, but Muslims in uniform today face a challenge not seen since Japanese-Americans fought in World War II. They taste suspicion from some fellow soldiers who question their loyalty and resentment from fellow Muslims opposed to both American wars.
Weir featured a Muslim soldier who lamented “our religion teaches better,” before Weir painted Muslim soldiers as victims of intolerance, highlighting the experience of one Muslim soldier who “began his overseas deployment on 9/11, and taunts followed him throughout his four-year enlistment.”
Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan on Friday appeared uncomfortable discussing the faith of the Muslim shooter who killed 12 people in Texas. In a tease for a segment on the subject, he noted that Major Nidal Hasan is being "described as a devout Muslim, mortified at being deployed to Iraq. Did that drive him to allegedly commit murder?" Ratigan quickly added, "And who cares what his religion was?"
Talking to Corey Saylor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ratigan offered a tortured, run-on question about the importance of Hasan’s Muslim faith: "Corey, it's very easy, considering, sort of, the history of the relations between our country and some nations- and some individual, really, of a Muslim faith. There's a very quick response or higher levels of anxiety for no reason other than because of the lesser familiarity."
Meandering his way to the end of this politically correct query, Ratigan concluded, "Is it appropriate to be looking at the- any sort of religious signals in a situation like this when you're clearly dealing with an American soldier, born in America, who enlisted again right out of high school?"
Appearing on the Dr. Nancy program on MSNBC Friday, NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey warned against labeling the mass shooting at Ft. Hood as terrorism, despite the apparent radical views of the shooter: “We’ve heard some family references that he was being criticized for his Muslim faith, that’s all we know right now....It’s still premature to draw the terrorism conclusion.”
Prior to Cressey’s assessment, host Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke with Dr. Stevan Hobfoll, director of the Traumatic Stress Center at Rush University Medical Center and asked about the mental health of the attacker, Major Nidal Hasan. Hobfoll made no hesitation describing the shooting as a terrorist act: “Strangely enough, terrorism is not in itself an area – an act of mental illness. I think this was a Jihadist act, it’s certainly psychologically abnormal what he did, but that doesn’t mean that he had any psychological disorder, per se.”
As reports of the Fort Hood shooting began to pour in yesterday, numerous news outlets neglected to mention that the shooter is a Muslim. Either the potential import of this fact was completely lost on these journalists, or they omitted the shooter's Muslim affiliations out of a concern for political correctness.
CBS and NBC both omitted the shooter's faith in their East Coast feeds last night, as reported by Brent Baker. The Los Angeles Times left key facts out of its report, published at 9:46 EST (which has since been edited), even though other other media outlets had reported them. Among these was that shooter Nidal Malik Hasan was Muslim, and that he had previously expressed on an Internet forum affinity for suicide bombers.
The Associated Press reported at 8:15 EST that Hasan had "come to the attention" of Army officials at least six months ago for these Internet posts.
All three morning shows on Friday identified the man who killed 12 at an Army base in Texas as a Muslim. However, Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer repeated a concern from Thursday’s World News: "...We heard Martha Raddatz say last night that the wife of a soldier said ‘I wish his name had been Smith,’ so no one would have a reflexive question about [a religious motive]."
In comparison, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News and NBC’s Nightly News both programs failed to reveal the religious faith of Hasan. GMA, as well as CBS’s Early Show and NBC’s Today, did not shy away from politically incorrect details, such as the surveillance footage of Major Nidal Malik Hasan in full Muslim garb in the hours before the shooting. Correspondent Brian Ross dug up information and informed, "In this internet posting earlier this year, Nadal Hasan compared suicide bombers to G.I.’s who saved their colleagues by throwing themselves on a grenade."
The Early Show’s David Martin explained, "He is an American citizen said to be of Jordanian decent and a life-long Muslim." He then added, "However, there’s a retired colonel who served with Hasan, has been quoted as saying that he heard Hasan react with glee to a news report that several American soldiers had been killed by a suicide bomber."
Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News, in their East coast feeds Thursday night, noted the Muslim religious beliefs of the mass killer at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, but ABC anchor Charles Gibson wasn't cowed by political correctness as he teased World News, “Fort Hood tragedy: An Army officer, a Muslim convert, is the suspect in a shooting spree...” Introducing his first story, Gibson referred to how Major Nidal Malik Hasan “an army officer, a Muslim, opened fire with handguns...” (With a range of frequency, during late afternoon/early evening coverage, CNN, FNC and MSNBC all identified Hasan as a Muslim.)
Cryptically, ABC's senior foreign affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, concluded a story on reaction at Fort Hood: “As for the suspect, Nadal Hasan, as one officer's wife told me, 'I wish his name was Smith.'” So, a concern this will lead to groundless fear of Muslims?
The CBS Evening News avoided any mention of Islam or Muslim faith as Katie Couric provided this benign description: “Today, according to the Army, a soldier opened fire....He's identified tonight as Army Major Nadal Malik Hasan, a licensed psychiatrist and drug and rehab specialist from Bethesda, Maryland.” NBC anchor Brian Williams: “The soldier, identified as the initial gunman here, is an Army psychiatrist, Nadal Malik Hasan. He's an officer, a Major, and he was apparently armed with two handguns.” NBC's Pete Williams insisted, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, “everything about his background is rock solid, and nothing extraordinary stands out about his background.”