That's why one needs to mix it up, perhaps by suggesting that they're akin to the radical Islamic clerics that inspire terrorism.
Just ask MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
During the "Political Sideshow" segment of his June 1 program, the "Hardball" host compared Sarah Palin's Facebook page posting about author Joe McGinniss renting the house next door to a "fatwa" aimed at "rev[ving] up anger at the author" from amongst her "mob" of followers [MP3 audio available here]:
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has a bad habit of inappropriate flippancy, and it's on display in his review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new memoir "Nomad," introduced with the headline "The Gadfly," that efficiently captures Kristof's condescending tone.
Hirsi Ali is a feminist intellectual born Muslim in Somalia, raised in Saudi Arabia, escaped an arranged marriage, fled to the Netherlands and began speaking out against Islam's treatment of women. She now lives in the United States and is a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which is perhaps why her story does not delight liberals like it should on the surface.
As historian Andrew Roberts wrote in an attack at The Daily Beast, Kristof sounded condescending. Hirsi Ali's brave fight for women's rights against fundamentalist religious bigotry certainly sounds like something to be admired without reservation by any sincere liberal. Yet liberals often seem too afraid of sounding like anti-Islamic conservatives to applaud Hirsi Ali without criticism. Kristof makes it sound as if Hirsi Ali shared the blame for the threats on her life because "she has managed to outrage more people...," as if her goal is to provoke anger, not to expand freedom for women under Islam.
If there were a "Ms. Globalization" title, it might well go to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who wrote the best--selling memoir "Infidel." She has managed to outrage more people -- in some cases to the point that they want to assassinate her -- in more languages in more countries on more continents than almost any writer in the world today.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Viacom's Comedy Central is developing an animated show practically designed to offend Christians. But the network's handling of recent controversy over depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad illustrates a stark double standard in how the entertainment media deal with issues of religion.
Comedy Central announced it is developing the script for an animated show tentatively titled "JC." According to the network's release, the show is about Jesus Christ "wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow to live life in [New York City] as a regular guy." The announcement described God as "all-powerful yet apathetic" and said the show would be a "playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb."
The show promises to stand in sharp contrast to the network's treatment of another religious figure: Muhammad. In 2006, Comedy Central censored a segment of "South Park" that depicted Muhammad. In April of this year, the network added audio bleeps to the second of a two-part episode to cover any mention of the prophet, as well as an end-of-show speech about freedom of expression and giving in to intimidation. The first episode of the story arc featured Mohammad hidden inside a moving truck and a bear costume.
This censorship came in response to a threat from a radical Islamic website, based in the United States, which warned that "South Park" creators would face violent retribution for "insulting" Muhammad by featuring (although not showing him) on the episode.
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).
NPR’s All Things Considered aired a long report on Thursday night on nasty Internet commenters – but reporter Laura Sydell’s examples centered on anti-Obama and anti-Muslim commenters (including one who wanted Obama shot), and no one from the left (like the Huffington Post people regretting Cheney wasn't shot in Afghanistan). She began with a sympathetic sick family that favored ObamaCare:
LAURA SYDELL: If you want to know what it's like to get attacked online, just ask Miki Hsu Leavey. She wrote a thankful letter to the editor of the local paper when the health care bill passed. She has lupus. Her 24-year-old son can't get health care because of a preexisting heart condition and her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Ms. MIKI HSU LEAVEY: So my thank you note was really about the relief I had mentally.
SYDELL: When Leavey looked at the site the morning it was posted, she got comments like this one.
Ms. LEAVEY: Oh, my poor baby is sick. Only the great Obama can save him. Makes me sick just reading it.
President Barack Obama's statement just before he signed the Freedom of the Press Act on Monday painfully avoided reality to the point of giving offense. If it became widely known, it would likely become very problematic.
And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.
Two key administration-protecting original news disseminators picked up on the need to keep the bolded words out of their news coverage of the event. The Associated Press, which usually (i.e., almost always) quotes the president in related stories, provided no quotes in its terse five-paragraph report, the first four of which follow (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course):
The government of Pakistan has blocked social networking site Facebook due to a page encouraging users to "Draw Mohammed." The page, and the larger movement, have outraged Muslims, who believe it is blasphemous to physically depict Islam's prophet.
"Death to Facebook!" shouted protesters in Karachi, demonstrating against a group called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," designed to further the cause of "free expression." The movement was a backlash against recent threats of violence against, among others, the creators of the popular animated show South Park, which showed Mohammed in a bear mascot suit.
The "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" page has been taken down -- though Facebook categorically denies any attempt at censorship or involvement in its removal -- and Facebook has been "indefinitely" blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. All in all, it's been a rough couple days for the social network.
In his column in the Los Angeles Times, Jonah Goldberg covered a free-speech front that our politically correct news media do not want to touch: when "free expression" supporting a new Holocaust of the Jews in Israel is granted respect on campus. Goldberg was shocked by how one campus circled the wagons when David Horowitz spoke at an event on May 10 sponsored by Young Americans for Freedom:
Horowitz recently spoke at UC-San Diego. You can find an excerpt from his appearance on YouTube. In it, a young Muslim student from UCSD, Jumanah Imad Albahri, asks Horowitz to back up his attacks on the Muslim Students Assn. Horowitz turned the tables on her. In less than two minutes, she revealed herself as a supporter of the terrorist group Hamas. Horowitz then noted that Hezbollah, another terrorist organization, wants all Jews to return to Israel so they can be more conveniently liquidated in one place. Horowitz asks Albahri whether she's for or against that proposition. She is "for it."
I asked UCSD, via e-mail, whether the woman in question was censured in any way for endorsing bigotry and genocide, or if the video was somehow misleading. In response, I received boilerplate about how, in the tradition of Aristotle, UCSD treasures "discourse and debate" and how "the very foundations of every great university are set upon the rock-solid principles of freedom of thought and freedom of speech."
While viewers might have expected to see the latest on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or Tuesday's electoral primaries, CNN's Campbell Brown devoted the first two segments on her program on Monday to highlighting the apparent religious bigotry inside the U.S. Army - specifically, the upcoming lawsuit of a Muslim who alleges he was harassed and ridiculed due to his religion.
Brown played the interview of the soldier, Specialist Zachari Klawonn, during the first full segment, which began 2 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Klawonn was joined by his lawyer, Randal Mathis, as well as the commanding officer of his battalion, Colonel Jimmy Jenkins. As she introduced the segment, the anchor emphasized how the specialist is "a model soldier," "exactly what the Army says it is looking for," and how he "has an exemplary service record, and has earned the praise of both his commanders and his Army buddies."
From Uppsala, Sweden comes the news that cartoonist Lars Vilks was attacked and head-butted by an angry Muslim at a university lecture. A group of Muslims surrounding him shouted “God is great!” in Arabic as the cartoonist laid on the floor, his glasses broken. Ever since Vilks impolitely drew the prophet Muhammad's head on a dog, he’s been a wanted man. Even the American terrorist wannabe nicknamed “Jihad Jane” plotted to kill him.
This explains why Comedy Central’s “South Park” has been censoring images that might offend Muslims. The executives at Comedy Central (and their parent company Viacom) regularly pledge allegiance to freedom of expression, but don't really believe it – not when they ponder someone cracking their skulls at a Beverly Hills restaurant.
It's not just “South Park.” Jo Piazza of Foxnews.com reports that after the failed Times Square bombing, Comedy Central's “The Daily Show” told their “senior Islamic correspondent” Aasif Mandvi not to comment further on it. One writer for a scripted drama told Piazza that in one of his show's final episodes there had been a minor plot involving a Muslim extremist. Last week, “it was removed and the script was rewritten.”
It’s clear that Mohammed is off limits – and it’s just as crystal clear that Jesus Christ remains the juiciest of targets.
Dan Gainor, Vice-President of Business and Culture at the MRC, appeared on the May 7 broadcast of Fox News's "America Live" to discuss the double standard at Comedy Central when it comes to mocking religious figures.
Two weeks ago, Comedy Central banned "South Park" creators from mocking the prophet Mohammed because network executives didn't want to offend Muslim followers. This week, the network announced a new show, "JC," which according to the Hollywood Reporter, features Jesus Christ as a son "wanting to escape the shadow of his ‘powerful but apathetic father' and live a regular life in New York City."
Gainor told host Megyn Kelly that this newest program shows "how out of touch Comedy Central and Hollywood are" and that "Hollywood is running scared of radical Islam."
After showing viewers of the May 7 "Fox & Friends" a montage of network news coverage portraying Times Square bombing suspect as a down-on-his-luck family man, Fox News anchor Steve Doocy interviewed Media Research Center President Brent Bozell for his reaction about the media's portrayal of Faisal Shahzad (MP3 audio available here; click play in embed at right for video):
STEVE DOOCY, Fox News anchor: Brent, when we put those little clips together, it sure makes it sound like they're trying to find, you know, rationalize why that guy did it, and obviously, it's because he lost his house, and he was down on his luck, they say.
BRENT BOZELL: It can't be terrorism, and it's not just television. Here's an AP story: "Faisal had a pretty enviable life. He earned an MBA, he had a well-educated wife, he had two kids and owned a house in a middle-class suburb of Connecticut. In the past couple of years, though, his life seemed to unravel."
Here's the headline from Newsweek: "Did the economy make him do it?" Here's the headline from AOL: "New York bomb suspect cooperates, but motive a mystery." This is unbelievable! It's not a mystery, folks.
Guess who said this: "In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable." Nope, it wasn't Lenny Bruce or George Carlin. It was Comedy Central's head of original programming Kent Alterman, who was defending the network's new animated show, "JC," which centers on (read: mocks) Jesus Christ.
This, of course, is the same Comedy Central that two weeks ago forbade the show "South Park" from even speaking the name of the Muslim prophet Mohammed for fear of offending that faith's followers. So at Comedy Central, apparently, making people uncomfortable by poking fun at their beliefs is fine. Unless those people are Muslims.
This is nothing revelatory -- the double standard has existed at least since the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published depictions of Mohammed, sparking worldwide protests. But Comedy Central's unveiling of "JC" a mere 15 days after a heavily censored "South Park" episode went on air serves to drive home just how absurd and offensive to the values of a free society this double standard is.
NewsBusters contributor Scott Whitlock's May 4 item, "MSNBC's Contessa Brewer 'Frustrated' That Times Square Bomber Is a Muslim" was noticed by Fox News Channel "Special Report" anchor Bret Baier, who included a reference to the story and the underlying controversy in his May 5 "Grapevine" segment.
Near the top of Tuesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan fretted over American Muslims being harassed in the wake of the failed Times Square bombing: "how do you deal with these types of crimes without resulting in racism, effectively, towards people of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent?...is there not a natural backlash to this?" [Audio available here]
Ratigan asked that of Sofian Zakkout, the director of the American Muslim Association of North America, who replied: "We should calm down, it's – thank God nobody got hurt. We all know – and also I spoke today, this morning, with CAIR and other Islamic organizations....we denounce what was going to happen." Zakkout's organization has had links to questionable Islamic organizations on its website and has voiced support for the terrorist organization Hamas.
Ratigan seemed to be following the lead of his MSNBC colleague Contessa Brewer, who appeared on Tuesday's Stephanie Miller radio show and lamented the ethnicity of the would-be bomber: "I get frustrated...There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country."
On Friday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez revisited a story he did on Tuesday where he forwarded Islamic group CAIR's publicity stunt about a Virginia license plate that apparently contained racist messages. The Washington Post, as well, updated their story on Friday, pointing to the driver's apparent Facebook page, which contained white supremacist messages, but CNN was unable to confirm their report.
Schulte followed through with an article on Thursday, after the owner of the truck, Douglas Story, contacted The Washington Post to claim that the numbers actually represented his favorite NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who race under those respective numbers. Story was forced to get a new license plate after the Virginia DMV recalled his plate.
While the story of the South Park death threats may not specifically constitute bias in the media per say, it does highlight an embarrassing pattern that has sent Big Media the way of the dinosaur, and a disturbing pattern that has people kowtowing to aggressive threats from radical Islamists.
We'll start with the MSM. Zachary Chesser, or Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee as he is known on the Revolutionmuslim.com Web site that hosted his death threat, recently garnered serious attention from major networks such as CNN and Fox. But the fact remains that these networks only came upon Chesser after an egregious threat was made, and after several blogs had already covered it. And they certainly hadn't done their homework as the blogs had, documenting the history of his disturbing radical statements.
The Jawa Report has been able to highlight several instances of odd behavior from Chesser, including a statement regarding the recent plane crash that killed the President of Poland and his wife, along with 96 others. The statement, as highlighted here, includes a celebration of the tragedy:
On April 22 and 27, CNN and The Washington Post both helped forward Islamic advocacy group CAIR's publicity stunt which demeaned an anonymous Virginia motorist as a racist. The Post finally found the driver on Thursday – and apparently, both news outlets jumped the gun, as the owner claimed that the numbers on his license plate were a tribute to his favorite NASCAR drivers, not secret code for “Heil Hitler.”
Anchor Rick Sanchez devoted a brief on his Rick's List program on Tuesday to presenting CAIR's side of the story on the controversy. After showing a picture of the pickup truck and the plate in question, as well as the anti-Islamic message on the truck's tailgate, Sanchez explained that "CAIR...also noticed the vanity license plate. It reads '14CV88.' CAIR says that is a coded hate message. We're told the number eight is for the eighth letter in the alphabet, 'H.' Two eights equals 'H.H.' for 'Heil Hitler.' Fourteen represents imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's motto about securing the future for white children." The anchor didn’t mention the owner’s side of the story.
Did anyone at CNN or the Washington Post consider the possibility that the story was underbaked until they communicated with the driver? Did they consider someone might find the driver and his truck and be spurred to angry talk and/or violence based on the media’s incomplete accounts? The Washington Post, at least, printed an update on Thursday to their initial article from the 22nd (the ball, obviously, is also in Sanchez's court now, as well, especially since he went after NewsBusters for not calling him before we took the "cheap shot" at him). The Post's Brigid Schulte returned to the scene of her incomplete story and provided the driver’s perspective in her Thursday article, "Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message."
On Tuesday's Rick List, CNN's Rick Sanchez unquestioningly forwarded Islamic advocacy group CAIR's admitted speculation about a Virginia license plate containing a supposed coded message of white supremacy/neo-Naziism, which they found on a pickup truck that also had an anti-Islamic message on it [audio clip available here].
Sanchez devoted a brief to the controversy over the Virginia license plate 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Earlier in the hour, the CNN anchor gave a teaser on the issue, summarizing CAIR's take as their publicist might: "Take a look at this: what's wrong with that license plate? Opponents say it has a message of nothing but bigotry and hate. I will take you through it. There's more there than meets the eye." He showed a picture of the pickup truck in question, which had a large Confederate flag on the back window of the cab and the message "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" on the tailgate.
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.
A recent episode of Comedy Central's animated comedy show "South Park" caused an Islamic group to send a veiled death threat to show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, accusing them of insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Comedy Central reacted by censoring a later episode that also had scenes involving the cartoon version of the Islamic prophet.
Two New York Times stories on this free speech issue by Arts reporter Dave Itzkoff were buried on the inside pages of the paper's Arts section, under whitewashed headlines alleging that the "South Park" creators were being "warned" by Muslims, not having their lives threatened.
The issue first came up in Thursday's "Arts, Briefly" column under the lame headline "Muslim Group Warns 'South Park.'" (A more accurate headline would have been "Muslim Group Sends Veiled Death Threat to 'South Park.'")
On last night's "Daily Show," Jon Stewart noted the blatant censorship his employer Comedy Central exercised against its popular show "South Park" by banning it from showing, and even uttering the word "Mohammed" in this week's episode after a threat came forward from an Islamic group.
"The censorship was a decision Comedy Central made I think as a way to protect their employees from what they believe was any possible harmful repercussions to them," Stewart stated, adding, comically, that "after forcing many of these same employees to work on [Comedy Central shows] "Mind of Mencia" and "Crod Mandoon" … damage done. But again they sign the checks."
Stewart is one of the few left-leaning media figures to note a glaring double standard: in popular culture, religions of all kind are regularly mocked but Islam mostly gets a free pass. "Comedy Central decided to censor the episode. It's their right," Stewart stated. "We all serve at their pleasure." But his extensive recap of all of the religions the show has made fun of over the years was clearly a critique of Comedy Central's decision.
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."
The elite gatekeepers of American pop culture huff and puff about freedom of speech. But when political correctness actually threatens that right, Hollywood's stalwart defenders of free expression are nowhere to be found.
Last night, Comedy Central gave into threats of violence against the creators of the animated sitcom "South Park" and not only censored the image of the Muslim prophet Muhammed -- as it had last week and in one previous episode -- but even censored every verbal mention of the the prophet's name (see the video below the fold).
The decision came days after a radical New York-based Muslim fundamentalist group warned that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show's creators, would be killed for supposedly mocking Muhammed.
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...
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;It is virtually impossible to separate economics from politics, and politics from a society's culture - but is economics inherently intertwined with religion as well?
Fox Business Network (FBN) anchor Stuart Varney thinks so. On FBN's April 14 broadcast of "Varney & Co." Father Jonathan Morris joined the show's panel and explored the question.
"Do you think that Europe's paganism - it's turn away from Christianity - has anything to do with Europe's economic decline?" Varney bluntly asked the priest. "Can you link this secularism - what I call ‘paganism' in Europe- directly to economic decline?"
"Certainly Europe is much more secular than the United States, and all of a sudden you lose hope," Morrison said. "If you lose hope in what life is all about, you're not going to work very hard. On the other hand, if you have hope that what I'm doing today matters tomorrow - and I'm building a life and I'm building my family and we're going places - and there's something beyond this life? You're going to be hopeful, you're going to make money - you're going to build the culture of life and goodness."
Why is the legacy media so reluctant to note the possibility of a radical Muslim faith leading to violence? On numerous occasions, the mainstream press has refused to note even a potential connection.
The latest such example concerns a recent quadruple homicide in Chicago. A Wisconsin man, James Larry, allegedly shot and killed his pregnant wife, his 7-month-old son, and his two nieces. Why? Well, according to the Associated Press, Larry was "hearing voices telling him to kill his family."
But according to one source cited by the Chicago Tribune, Larry told police that "he needed to take his family back to Allah and out of this world of sinners." That conspicuously escaped mention in both the AP piece published Wednesday -- the day the Tribune reported that fact -- and another short article on Friday (h/t Robert Spencer).
The Associated Press was the only American major media organization (as of 4 pm Eastern on Friday) that picked up on a March 31 altercation in the world-famous Catholic cathedral in Cordoba, Spain (at right, taken from The Builder blog), where over 100 Muslims responded with violence after security guards ordered them to stop praying inside the building, which once served as a mosque. Two of the guards were seriously injured.
The UK's Guardian reported about the incident in an April 1 article. Correspondent Giles Tremlett noted that "half a dozen members of a group of more than 100 Muslims from Austria had started praying...when security guards ordered them to stop....Cathedral authorities said the guards had invited the visitors to continue viewing the inside of a 24,000 sq metre building...but without praying. 'They replied by attacking the security guards, two of whom suffered serious injuries," the bishop's office said.'" The statement from Bishop Demetrio Fernández's office stated the Muslims "provoked in a pre-planned fashion what was a deplorable episode of violence."
"Let's just get it out of the way right off that bat that Al Qaeda madmen don't actually want to blast through bridges, skyscrapers, and subways in righteous protest of the First Amendment," an exasperated Katie Paul began her March 23 tirade about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"It's mind-boggling that politicians still consider this nonsense an effective enough talking point as to employ it in their keynote speeches to national audiences--until, that is, you realize they usually only bring it up when they're after something else," the Newsweek reporter added in her The Gaggle blog post, going on to argue Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was just red meat tossed out to a pro-Israel audience to bolster his closed-door meeting with President Obama over the Middle East peace process.
To be fair, it is true that politicians can and do simplify complex matters into sound bites that don't do justice to the issues at hand, but in this case, Paul is far too dismissive of the argument that al Qaeda's real complaint is not just with particular foreign policies of the United States and/or Israel but with the whole Western concept of secular, pluralistic liberal democracy.
Indeed, Paul doesn't have to take any politician's word for it, she need only look at al Qaeda's own pronouncements. From a February 4, 2005 Congressional Research Service document entitlted "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology" (emphases mine):
Here's a story the liberal Hollywood and media establishment should love:
A remote rural community; a beautiful, innocent woman betrayed by her husband, falsely accused of immorality and condemned to horrible death by a cruel male power structure that hides behind religion; her only ally a courageous, dignified older woman who, when she cannot stop the tragedy, bravely determines to tell the world.
If you're an entertainment maven in Los Angeles or New York, what's not to love? Except that it's not set in Puritan New England or contemporary Texas. And the dignified aunt isn't played by Susan Sarandon. The dialogue is mostly in Farsi, so it lacks the southern drawl that helps liberals identify the bad guys.
"The Stoning of Soraya M." is set in an Iranian village in 1986. The woman is the victim of Sharia law. It addresses misogyny, injustice, human rights abuses and narrow religiosity. It is anti-violence and deeply pro-life, in the broadest sense of the term. In short, as The Weekly Standards Stephen F. Hayes wrote, "it is an important film," and it should have received attention from the people who like to think of films as important. But the people who control Hollywood's most prestigious awards ignored it.