MSNBC's Ronan Farrow Lamely Tries to Tie MMA to Boston Terrorist Brothers

MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily wasn’t exactly in Reverence Mode for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. About 40 minutes before the memorial ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, Farrow aired a segment about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and how it somehow may have led to his radicalism.

How is the “robust martial arts culture” of wrestling a better “scene” for Tamerlan’s radicalism instead of radical websites or  mosques? Farrow somberly promised “a look at the people behind this tragedy: the Tsarnaev brothers.” Was it just a tragedy, or a crime? Farrow turned to his partners at Vocativ for a report. (Video below)

FARROW: Before he died, Tamerlan paid a visit to their native Dagestan. Tamerlan, like many young men there in Dagestan, studied mixed martial arts. It's a robust martial arts culture there, and that’s part of what drew him into the scene there. We're going to take a closer look at the collaboration with the data mining start-up Vocativ.

Vocativ's unnamed female reporter began: “In America kids play basketball, football, and baseball. In Chechnya and Dagestan, were Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent part of their childhoods,  they wrestle and do martial arts. Fighting is a way of life. For few people here so is extremism.”

But they don’t find anyone at the gym who’s an aspiring terrorist. They do find a man who says wrestling is in the locals' blood, or genes.

The reporter added: "It was in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s blood as he trained to box. Named for the infamous conquerer who killed millions in the 14th century, Tamerlan allegedly descended into radical Islam after his Olympic dream ended. Was one outlet replaced by the other? We don’t know. What we do know is for many people here, MMA is a religion. " A promoter then says a wrestling place is "the holiest of holies."

This all misses the notion of radical Islam as an inspiration -- including the point that Tamerlane was known as  "The Sword of  Islam."

The reporter even tried to tie terrorism to MMA in training girls to wrestle: "In this place that gave rise to the infamous Black Widow suicide bombers, even the little girls learn to wrestle too."

Vocativ.com was also Farrow's source for the bizarre Bronycon puff piece.

PS: Late in the video, a wrester literally named Muslim (Muslim Makhmudov) says the Tsarnaevs are innocent scapegoats: “I feel sadness and pain for the people in Boston who suffered, but at the same time I feel sadness for the Tsarnaevs, who are used as scapegoats. I don’t think the act was carried out by the guys who are blamed for it.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis