On Sept. 11, 2012, riots erupted in Egypt, Libya and now Yemen, ostensibly over what the media call an anti-Muslim Youtube video made in America. In Benghazi, militants murdered the United States ambassador to Libya and three U.S. diplomats.
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.
In each case the establishment media is quick to tell audiences the violence isn’t representative of Islam, and to explain how sensitive Muslims are about symbols of their religion. Eager to find moderate Muslims, reporters seldom look into the statements of Imams or fact-check the claims of Islamic organizations.
Instead, acts of Islamist violence are met with hand-wringing about fragile “diversity,” and backlash, the New York Times did earlier this year with a jihadi massacre of French children. Reports ignore the terrorist designations of militant groups like Boko Haram and fawn over supposedly moderate Islamic religious leaders who end up as leaders of Al Qaeda.
Now that a U.S. ambassador has been killed and U.S. assets in the Middle East attacked, it would be a good time for reporters to start reporting the facts about Islamist violence. But their track record doesn’t give much hope. And so far, liberal journalists are playing true to type.
Mike Barnicle from MSNBC suggested on the Sept. 12 “Morning Joe” that American pastor Terry Jones be prosecuted for Ambassador Stevens’s death at the hands of Libyan extremists. Jones supported the media desginated “anti-Islamic” movie that sparked the riots. Fellow Morning Joe panelist Donny Deustch said he “thought the same thing” as Barnicle.
And merely one day after the Libya tragedy ABC journalist Christiane Amanpour blamed extremists in America for “whipping up hatred” and called the media proclaimed anti-Islamic movie a “deliberate provocation.”
Hope Springs Eternal
The media desire to explain away or change the subject from Islamist violence is almost pathological.
On March 27, 2012 New York Times reporter Scott Sayare focused on Muslims as “victims” after a professed Jihadi killed seven children in France.
“Sayare focused not on the victims, which include Jewish children, or what the killing signifies about Islamic integration into French society -- only the fear that the killings would foster ethnic "tensions" against Muslims,” MRC’s TimesWatch wrote.
Often, journalists refuse to acknowledge the avowed terrorist ideology of the perpetrators. For example, Boko Haram is a Nigerian “Muslim sect that seeks to abolish the secular system of government and establish sharia law in the country.” In June the group bombed several churches in Nigeria.
In a June 17 article about the bombings both the Associated Press and Reuters failed to name Boko Haram as a terrorist group, instead opting to label the group as “attackers” and “militants.”
Such anti-Christian violence is too common in the Muslim world, but journalists rarely call it what it is. Masses of peaceful Arab Spring Christians were massacred in Cairo by the Egyptian Army last year. Media reporting rarely linked such incidents to Islam.
The assurances of explicitly militant groups like the Muslim Brotherhood – now the governing party in Egypt that allowed the attack on the Cairo embassy – are reported at face value. Journalists still hold out hope that the Arab Spring will thaw more than latent Islamist violence, and they’re reluctant to part with nostalgia about it.
In October 2011 NBC’s Chris Jansing featured a man who pronounced Occupy Wall Street to be “America’s Arab Spring.”
The network’s Ann Curry even asked on December 14, 2011, “Are there links between what had happened in the Arab Spring and also what's happening now on Wall Street and all across this country?"
Even in the face of horrible evil, journalists looked for ways to change the subject from Islamic violence. In 2011 CBS’s Lara Logan was raped and beaten by a crowd in Cairo’s Tahir Square while she reported on Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.
The media declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be "relatively peaceful," "non-violent" and responsible for "charitable works," concluded a CMI report.
“For more than 17 years, since the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the news programming on ABC, CBS, and NBC have treated the Muslim Brotherhood with kid gloves, giving the radical Islamic group a passing mention here or there, but hardly ever exploring on air its fundamentalist religious connections and extreme ideology. “
NBC’s Richard Engel reported the Muslim Brotherhood was “not al-Qaeda and not the Taliban” and they were “much more similar to Hamas.” Engel must have forgotten Hamas is a known terrorist group that likes to lob rockets into Israeli neighborhoods.
Similarly, The New York Times buried facts that the Muslim Brotherhood is an ally of Hamas.
Despite clear association with terrorist cells, the Muslim Brotherhood maintains a friendship with President Obama. The president extended official invitations to Muslim Brotherhood members to attend his speech in Cairo in 2009.
And he’s extended an invitation for an official visit from Egyptian president Mori, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in the country’s recent elections.
Christiane Amanpour is not the first reporter to excoriate Americans for being outraged over Islamist violence. According to the mainstream media America views Muslims too harshly, and reporters howl that America is overrun with “Islamophobia.”
On the same day the U.S. embassies were attacked, Salon.com accused Fox News of being at the “at the heart of the public scare-mongering about Islam and that [the network] has become the home for a slew of right-wing activists who regularly inhabit its airwaves to distort the truth to push stereotypes about Muslims.”
In 2009, after Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army major and self-described “soldier of Islam” fired more than 100 rounds into a Ft. Hood military processing center, Foreign Policy magazine declared the Ft. Hood tragedy happened because Muslims weren’t comfortable.
As CMI reported at the time, “According to [authors] Simon and Stevenson, Major Nidal Malik Hasan was simply another American Muslim that was the victim of ‘innumerable stresses, including discrimination and the strain of divided loyalties in their country's eight-year-long war against Muslims in the Middle East and Central Asia.’"
The New York Times claimed the FBI “sowed anger and fear among Muslims” in the wake of Hasan’s attack.
And the assertions of Islamophobia aren’t just reactive. In 2008, ABC lied and distorted American views on Islam in a fake documentary titled, “Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?” The network pretended all Americans hated Muslims and decided to create their own “prejudice.”
ABC hired “an actress to put on Muslim dress and get ‘confronted’ by a Muslim hating coffee store server -- also an actor hired by ABC. Then, they rolled the cameras, opened the doors to the public and, viola, ABC "found" prejudice in America.”
Even worse, the entire charade was staged at the request of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The media frequently goes to bat for CAIR, an organization which touted the Ground Zero Mosque, and raged about Islamic discrimination in America.
Looking for Imam GoodBar
Before and, especially, after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the media were desperate to find and highlight moderate Muslims. A favorite in those days was American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, who preached at a Northern Virginia mosque. NPR, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun were among those to hold up the imam “as a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West,” in The New York Times’ formulation.
In Nov. 2001, just two months after the 9/11 attacks, the Post did a video profile of Al Awlaki and hosted him in an on-line Q & A session with readers.
By 2009, Al-Awlaki was the head of Al Qaeda in Yemen, and played some part in radicalizing Major Hasan. Al-Awlaki praised Hasan for the Ft. Hood massacre and called him a “hero.” By 2011, Al-Awlaki was the first U.S. citizen ever killed by executive order.
The media celebrated imam Anwar Al Awlaki as a “bridge-builder” between the West and Islam. A U.S. drone attack killed Awlaki last year in Yemen, where he was an Al Qaeda chieftain.
Many of the same outlets fooled by Al-Awlaki’s pose as a moderate went to bat for another imam in 2011. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque,” was painted in nearly identical terms to Al-Awlaki, despite having called for Islamic shariah law in the U.S.
Apologists Not Accepted
For a variety of reasons, most of them having to do with its not being a product of Western Civilization, lefties are smitten with radical Islam, and are happy to paint a pretty picture around a religion that approves of killing females for disobedience, and protect its followers from the slightest “offense” with bloody outrage. It continues even after the death of a U.S. official.
The media’s deference to and defense of radical Islam is inexcusable, and deadly.