One of the Washington Post's front-page stories on the Boston bombing had this headline when the story turned to page A7: "After a decade of plots foiled or botched, one success." That's a strange headline that seems to forget the "successful" terror attack at Fort Hood. Six paragraphs below that headline, reporters Scott Wilson and Peter Finn recall 13 dead and 30 wounded by Major Nidal Hasan.
After noting the failures of Omar Abdulmutallab (the unsuccessful "underwear bomber") and Faisal Shahzad (whose Times Square van bomb didn't detonate), Wilson and Finn unspooled six paragraphs of publicity for the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to underline America's "far right" domestic threat:
It's not often that media outlets ignore their own scoops, but that's what ABC is doing. The network has (thus far) relegated to its website the latest details on the decision by the Obama Defense Department to deny Purple Hearts to the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. The rest of the networks have also skipped this story. ABC "obtained" a Pentagon position paper on the subject, but still failed to give it network coverage.
It was ABC alone that highlighted the story back in February. On February 12, Brian Ross explained the impact of the decision to deny Purple Hearts: "...Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who still has bullets lodged in his body, says he has lost almost $70,000 in benefits otherwise available to those with combat-related injuries." So far, World News, Nightline and Good Morning America (as well as NBC and CBS) have failed to cover the newest details of the story. In fact, ABC has done nothing since February.
CBS's Bob Schieffer made a comment Sunday about the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that's likely to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
During a Face the Nation panel discussion about the incident, Schieffer said, "If [shooter Adam Lanza] had had an Arab name, people would be going nuts about what we ought to do right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
He may be playing hide-and-seek from drone missiles in the caves of Yemen, but Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki is still attempting to poison the minds of young Muslim Americans through the use of YouTube and other social media.
The extent of Al-Awlaki's reach on the internet is outlined in a new report released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Aug. 28. The report describes the millions of views garnered by Al-Awlaki's YouTube video clips and the online networking of his rabid fan base.
A former imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, the American-born Al-Awlaki has increasingly been using social media as a recruiting method for would-be jihadists, leading terrorist watchers to dub him the "[Osama] bin Laden of the internet" and the "sheikh of YouTube." Al-Awlaki has been tied to the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood shooter. This past spring, President Obama ordered that the cleric be killed on sight, but the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on Aug. 30 to prevent the military from targeting the U.S. citizen without a trial.
According to MEMRI, after Al-Awlaki's personal website was shuttered in 2009, YouTube became the "largest clearinghouse of his online videos."
Defenders of controversial imam Feisal Abdul Rauf have been touting his past efforts in offering counterterrorism advice to the FBI as a way to illustrate his bridge-building intentions. Much like other reports, they tend to gloss over the more controversial aspects of Rauf's statements. But, as is typical with the Ground Zero mosque imam, it can be demonstrated that he is frequently speaking with a forked tongue.
There is no doubt that Rauf has made some questionable and incendiary comments regarding America and her role in the Muslim world. Perhaps these statements fit the imam's overall rhetoric involving U.S. complicity in the attacks of 9/11. As does the following statement to the FBI, which is conveniently omitted from media reports defending Rauf.
Bridge-building imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was giving a crash course in Islam for FBI agents in March of 2003. When asked to clarify such terminology as ‘jihad' and ‘fatwa', Rauf stated (emphasis mine throughout):
"Jihad can mean holy war to extremists, but it means struggle to the average Muslim. Fatwah has been interpreted to mean a religious mandate approving violence, but is merely a recommendation by a religious leader. Rauf noted that the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks could be considered a jihad, and pointed out that a renowned Islamic scholar had issued a fatwah advising Muslims in the U.S. military it was okay to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Opening Tuesday's World News with the workplace shooting in Manchester, Connecticut, anchor Diane Sawyer saw it as one in a long line of incidents involving a “worker with a gun and grudge” as she described the nine killed as “the worst rampage since 13 were killed last November at Fort Hood, Texas.”
Army Major Nidal Hasan's business cards identified him as a “Soldier of Allah” and his actions at Fort Hood, clearly motivated by Islamic jihadism, hardly fits in the same category as an aggrieved worker with a gun who has gone on a rampage. Nonetheless, Sawyer's led the August 3 newscast:
Good evening. Another American tragedy tonight, another worker with a gun and a grudge. This time, nine people are dead, the worst rampage since 13 were killed last November at Fort Hood, Texas. In the normally quiet down of Manchester, Connecticut, this morning one shift was letting off, another was starting the day at a beer distribution center.
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.
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...
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...
It looks like the PC Police will have to put out an APB for Time Magazine's Bobby Ghosh, his layers of editors, and his managers.
First, Ghosh had the unmitigated gall to write an item called "Domestic Terror Incidents Hit a Peak in 2009." In it, he notes that the "2009 saw an unprecedented surge in terror 'events' on U.S. soil." Clearly Ghosh doesn't understand that we're in a new era where the rest of the world reflexively loves us, thanks to our ever-apologetic president.
Ghosh compounded his error by saying that the November killings at a U.S. military base were t-t-t- .... terror-related:
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:
Rachel Maddow wants you to stop referring to Nidal Hasan as a terrorist. Please. You know what short fuses they have.
Responding to Republicans' condemnation of Hasan's actions as terrorism, Maddow furrowed her brow and played devil's advocate, as befitting an honorary member of the al Qaeda Legal Defense Foundation --
MADDOW: Remember this one? Yes, it is the old paint-the-Democrats-as-soft-on-terror routine. But in order to play that politicizing terrorism, anti-Democrat greatest hit, the Fort Hood case has to be terrorism. 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. And the charges today didn't include anything related to 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.”
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.”
On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, during the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment, host Bill O'Reilly and Fox News Analyst Bernard Goldberg discussed media coverage of the Fort Hood massacre and the political correctness of some who were hesitant about discussing the role Nidal Hasan's extreme Muslim beliefs played in his decision to attack fellow troops. Whilte ABC News was given credit for covering this angle early, a quote by Newsweek's Evan Thomas expressing fear that Hasan's religious beliefs "will get the right wing going" was also discussed.
O'Reilly began the segment by playing the offending clip of Newsweek's Thomas:
I cringe that he's a Muslim. I mean, because it just 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, these things are tragic, but that makes it much worse.
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.’”