The Innocence of Muslims trailer that has sparked deadly protests overseas is crass, intentionally offensive, and grossly inappropriate. That much is clear. As crude as the video may be, however, Google did the right thing in not removing it from YouTube because its content is not, in itself, what the law would call an “incitement to violence.” Its message did not urge others to participate in violent conduct, but was used by a violent and irresponsible faction as an excuse for more violence.
Furthermore, new media giants like Google, Facebook or Apple should not censor content on their platforms because of pressure from the government, or because of groups that might be offended by controversial yet lawful viewpoints.
Anne Gearan of The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama administration paid $70,000 to buy ads on Pakistant television disavowing the “Innocence of Muslims” video on YouTube in an attempt to defuse street protests. “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation of respect, that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” Obama says in the ad, which is stamped “paid content.”
This is a different kind of political ad, with an important U.S. government goal. But will it draw scrutiny from Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler, a former State Department correspondent for the Post? It can’t be accurately stated that Obama and his financial supporters (ahem, Bill Maher) have rejected “all efforts to denigrate” Christians. [Ad below]
While the Innocence of Muslims is still being blamed for the riots and murders in the Middle East, the national news media has no problem running a speculative story that disrespects the teachings of the Christian faith. New "evidence" now suggests that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene after all, but the artifact in question dates back to the 4th century A.D.
This all began when Harvard historian Dr. Karen King received a tiny strip of papyrus from an anonymous collector. After translating the Coptic script thereon, she found two phrases, one which reads, "Jesus said to them my wife. Elsewhere on the paper it continues, "She will be able to be my disciple."
ABC and CBS News brought it up on Thursday evening, but could only afford to allot a few seconds of coverage. NBC Nightly News did not mention it at all. All three network morning news broadcasts devoted significant attention to the story, and predictably worked in references to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code novel.
This week we learned what really gets the liberal media in a ... well ... rage. It isn't the act of perpetrating violence upon the innocent. No, it's calling out that rage for everyone to see. In Liberal Land, words speak louder than actions.
The media on the left side of the aisle took more umbrage with a Newsweek article titled, Muslim Rage, than they did with the incidents that demonstrated that rage - the killing of four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the hoisting of Islamist flags on sovereign U.S. soil. Outlets like Think Progress called the Newsweek cover, which featured an image of a group of obviously agitated Muslims, Islamophobic. Newsweek for their part did not apologize for their portrayal of events in the Middle East saying:
One would hope that "free speech" would emerge the clear winner with a Times journalist covering the story. But Kirkpatrick played the "context" card, sidestepping the clear attacks on free expression demanded by Islamic extremists to the point of sounding apologetic for free expression.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday recounted protests in Beirut, Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, only the CBS Evening News noted that the U.S. government considers Hezbollah to be a "terrorist group," while ABC called it a "militant group" and NBC gave the organization no label.
As he listed Muslim countries where protests against the United States had been occurring, CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted:
The caption accompanying a September 13 TIME magazine photo slide tags the filmmakers behind "The Innocence of Muslims" as "Islamophobes" while those rioting in the Arab street supposedly in reaction against said film are merely "orthodox Muslims.":
Acting on the premise that the trailer for the low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims" was one of the causes of rioting and anti-American protests across the Middle East this week, the Obama Administration has asked YouTube to "review" whether the two-minute preview "violates the Website's terms of service," a phrase that usually means the government wants the "offending" item deleted.
That move led the blogger at the conservative Ace of Spades Website to charge that the federal government is "now acting as the censorship arm of Islamists."
Discussing the violent anti-American demonstrations erupting across the Middle East outside U.S. embassies in Arab capitals, MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson put a share of the blame on, well, "horrible" Americans.
It was the "demonization of a predictable minority," in this case Muslims, that was the spark that light the conflagration, Dyson argued on the September 14 edition of the noon Eastern program Now with Alex Wagner. "It's not as if, oh in America, we've resolved this with equanimity and grace," he added, seeking to conflate isolated incidents of hate speech against Muslims inside the United States with the violent response of the Arab street to an obscure low-budget YouTube video. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.
On the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the horrendously liberal website Salon published a piece with the truly absurd headline, "Fox News’ War on Muslims: Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have stoked Islamophobia -- and encouraged right-wing ignorance."
The contents - excerpted from Nathan Lean's book “The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims” - were stocked with misinformation about America's leading cable news channel:
Mitt Romney's statement yesterday evening slamming the Obama administration for the U.S. embassy in Cairo's attempt to appease the Islamist protesters was "naive," MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Time magazine's Rana Foroohar agreed in a segment on the September 12 edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
While Wagner said the initial statement condemning the anti-Muhammad movie was intended to calm tempers and save lives, Foroohar went into an odd analogy that compared Islamist hatemongers with conservative radio host Glenn Beck (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break):
Mike Barnicle has suggested that the Department of Justice consider prosecuting Florida pastor Terry Jones in the death of the American ambassador to Libya and deaths occurring during riots last year in Afghanistan. Hat tip readers Melody, Jonathan R., Ray R.
Barnicle made his suggestion on today's Morning Joe, during a discussion of the attacks on the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the American ambassador died after an attack by a Libyan mob. Fellow panelist Donny Deutsch responded by saying he was "thinking the same thing" as Barnicle. View the video after the jump.
Earlier today, an angry Cairo mob stormed the U.S. embassy, ripped down the American flag, and flew in its place a black al Qaeda banner. The mob is reportedly angered about a documentary film that supposedly offends Muslim religious sensibilities with critiques of the Prophet Muhammad.
While CNN and Fox News have both mentioned the developing story, MSNBC has not as of the time of this publication, a review of our DVR systems shows.
How little we know about holy Islam! When those poor wretches who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib were pictured for all the world to see naked with underpants on their heads, we were told that the naked male Islamic body must never be seen in public. Yet we have been seeing naked male Islamic bodies for years — often with their hands tied behind their backs and their heads chopped off. Their assailants were devotees of Islam, often very zealous. Few Westerners committed these atrocities, and if they were caught, they were punished. Then too we were told that mosques were revered places of worship by Islam, and they must not be subject to attack or used in acts of violence. Alas, for years, mosques have been blown up. Their inhabitants have been gunned down, even impaled on sharp blades. These were not the acts of unbelievers or of warriors from the Godless West. Rather, they were the acts of the faithful, often members of the same sect or tribe.
Just this weekend in Libya — now freshly liberated from Moammar Gadhafi, his body perforce treated roughly — ancient and venerated shrines of the majority Sufi persuasion were destroyed. In Tripoli at the crack of dawn on Saturday, the centuries-old Sidi Al-Sha'ab shrine was flattened by bulldozers. Two separate government security forces idly stood by. The day before in the city of Zlitan, Libya's most revered Sufi mosque was vandalized, and an adjoining library had its priceless collection of theological treatises torched. The attackers were fellow Libyans. No Westerner was in sight.
The Washington Post's "On Faith" blog network has joined the chorus of media outlets extolling the virtues of Islam. Kathleen Duff of the Religion News Service, in an August 17 post, expressed her newfound admiration for the holy book of Islam. In a glowing piece titled “What Catholics Can Learn from the Quran,” Duff wrote: “This year during Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims believe the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad – I was in solidarity with my Muslim sisters and brothers throughout the world by reading the Quran. But here’s the thing: I am a Roman Catholic.”
Duff waxed eloquently in her praise of the Quran, writing: “The Quran encouraged me to continuously be aware of a gracious and merciful God who cherishes humanity and cherishes all of creation. I came to believe more firmly during my humble Ramadan experience that being cherished by God is an example of divine love beyond the limitations of any one language, symbol and imagination.”
Let's see if this story gets any meaningful attention in the U.S., or if the Associated Press expands the brief unbylined item currently seen at its national site. I wouldn't bet on it -- and even if that occurs, I don't expect the U.S. establishment press to give what is contained therein much notice.
The AP's four-paragraph blurb tells us that independent columnists in Egypt are alarmed at what they see as the newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood's "attempt to control the state-owned press":
Despite admitting no direct evidence of Islamophobia behind the recent Wisconsin Sikh shooting, CNN's Carol Costello still tried to connect Islamophobia to the shooting and hype it as a national problem that needs to be discussed.
"No one knows why Wade Page allegedly chose the Oak Creek Sikh Temple," she began before adding "maybe" the shooter mistook the Sikhs for Muslims. Then she took this hypothesis and tied it to America's national scandal of Islamophobia. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Eight days after playing the song "Stupid Girls" before a story about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the scoring geniuses at CNN were at it again.
After coming out of a break following a long segment about the Sikh temple shootings in Wisconsin, viewers of Monday's Starting Point were treated to Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Well, it looks like Democrats in a Southern state have embarrassed party officials once again. Back in 2010, it was Alvin Greene in South Carolina, whose victory in that state's U.S. Senate primary so infuriated Palmetto State Congressman James Clyburn that he accused Greene of being a plant and called for a federal probe. Greene refused to step aside; incumbent Republican Jim DeMint defeated Greene in a landslide.
A similar script is playing out in Tennessee, where relative unknown Mark Clayton defeated seven other challengers in the Volunteer State's Democratic U.S. Senate primary. It turns out that Clayton is vice president of an alleged "hate group." If that characterization really fits Clayton's Public Advocate of the United States (there's ample reason to doubt that), then Associated Press reporter Lucas L. Johnson II "somehow" forgot to notice that a couple of national Democrats apparently agree with the group's supposedly "hateful" positions -- as well as, it would appear, President Barack Obama himself. Excerpts follow the jump:
When CBS This Morning co-host interviewed the Obamas earlier this month, Matthew Balan revealed it was mostly personal goo and political softballs. So it was more than a bit shocking on Friday morning when Rose interviewed House majority leader Eric Cantor and whacked him with four questions hammering him about the "intolerance" of the Republican Party -- like the networks do every four years around the conventions.
Rose was playing off an interview Cantor gave to the website BuzzFeed in which he said "absolutely" the Republicans should do more to accept Republicans who differ from party orthodoxy. That could make conservatives queasy, but the media bias point is this: When are Democrats ever asked about their tolerance of Democrats who support traditional marriage, gun rights, or the pro-life cause? Here were the attack questions:
One of the most embarrassing yet telling exchanges (using the term loosely, as will be seen) in the history of presidential press secretaries occurred on Thursday. Connie Lawn, described here as longest-serving White House reporter, asked Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney what should have been a really easy question: "What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel -- Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?"
Carney wouldn't answer it, and accused Lawn and relentless national treasure Les Kinsolving of WND.com of asking about something they already knew. Carney's contemptible behavior has been virtually ignored in the establishment press. Here is the complete exchange as relayed at the White House's web site, complete with an asterisk, which I will explain (I have added names of the questioners where needed; a YouTube of part of what follows is here; bolds are mine):
Seizing on a handful of Republican members of Congress questioning Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's supposed tenuous family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell used the incident to fawn over Clinton's "second daughter": "Abedin is Hillary Clinton's dear friend, closest senior aide...Elegant, glamorous, profiled in Vogue."
O'Donnell labeled the charges against Abedin – outlined in a congressional letter sent by Michele Bachmann and five other Republican House members to the State Department – as "what some are calling a sinister attack on the patriotism" of the top Clinton aide. She then hyped Republican Senator John McCain denouncing the obscure letter to what a front-page Washington Post story admitted was an "otherwise empty Senate chamber."
So here's how it appears to me and I suspect many other news readers, never mind the real motivations. At the Associated Press, when you're covering situations like suicide bomber attacks on Christian churches in Nigeria yesterday, you hold out as long as you can in speculating about who is responsible, even though Islamist Boko Haram terrorists (and only Boko Haram terrorists) have claimed credit for previous attacks in that country, and even though no other religion on earth generates large numbers of people who claim to be its adherents who are willing to blow themselves up so they can kill as many infidels as possible.
Then, once the inevitable claim of responsibility arrives, you treat it as old news (the bombings were a whole 24-36 hours ago, y'know), focus your headline and coverage on "Christian" reprisals instead (even though there is no element of Christian doctrine which sanctions random reprisals), and identify who carried out the attacks as late as you possibly, so it will end up not making most broadcast and many print reports. Here are excerpts:
It would appear that the establishment press is determined to portray a "both sides are at fault" equivalency as much as possible in Nigeria where almost none exists.
Earlier today, Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler pointed out that a brief initial Associated Press item from Lagos would cause a person, in Poole's words, to "come away mystified as to why these churches were subject to apparently random 'violence.'" He specifically objected to the vagueness of a sentence claiming that "Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria." Later more detailed dispatches from Reuters and the AP aren't much more helpful, especially as they both fail to tag the principal perpetrators of the violence, the Boko Haram, as the terrorists that they are.
Donald Trump on Monday had some harsh words for Bill Maher's incessant attacks on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Mormonism.
Appearing on Fox News's On the Record, the real estate mogul said, "If a conservative Republican made a like statement about somebody else's religion, there’d be hell to pay. It’ll be all over the place. It would be the end of that person's career as you know it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chalk another one up for media anti-Catholic bigotry.
Syndicated editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich, working for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, created a cartoon bashing the Catholic Church for controlling women. The cartoon features a wizened old bishop in a confessional, saying to a woman that “The contraception debate’s about controlling you.” The cartoon has the caption “Confession” at the bottom.
Barber’s asserted that “economic development is the key factor responsible for secularization.” His argument is simple: “The basic idea is that as people become more affluent, they are less worried about lacking for basic necessities, or dying early from violence or disease. In other words they are secure in their own existence. They do not feel the need to appeal to supernatural entities to calm their fears and insecurities.”
On Saturday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, NBC correspondent Richard Engel conveyed that the reform advocates who led the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt are distraught at the kinds of candidates that Egyptian voters are choosing to replace Mubarak, with both major presidential candidates likely to curtail freedom if elected. Engel recounted: (Video at bottom)