Not how I'd mark an anniversary, but MSNBC is flexible in its alleged standards.
On Sept. 8, Rachel Maddow told viewers it was two years since her cable show started on MSNBC. And what better way to enter her third year of televised liberal polemics than with Maddow's trademark melding of smarm and deceit.
The following night, Maddow railed at Newt Gingrich and Citizens United for producing and marketing a documentary warning Americans of the threat from radical Islam, after she complained about Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck charging admission to a meet-and-greet on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (first of four parts in embedded video) --
Do you want to know who else has realized the merchandising potential of the 9/11 anniversary this year? In partnership with Citizens United -- yes, the same Citizens United that won the Supreme Court case that says corporations can pour limitless cash into American elections -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has put together a very scary new movie. It's called 'America At Risk' and they have decided to give 'America at Risk' its national launch date on (pause) 9/11, whereupon it can be yours for the low, low price of $19.95 plus $4 shipping and handling. Act now, operators are standing by.
The trailer for the new launched-on-/9/11 movie is already up online. Here's an excerpt and I actually should tell you up front that I admit to modifying this excerpt to be able to put it on this TV show in a way that allows me to live with myself. For the first few seconds of this video, I'm not actually going to show you the video part of what Newt Gingrich decided to put on screen while making the argument you will hear him making here. Because the video in the original, the video that he shows while making this argument, the images he chooses to use to sell this stuff, what he is showing is graphic video, graphic video from the real 9/11. And I am not going to help him market that. So, I will show you this clip so you know what this is, you will hear what he says, but I am not going to show the 9/11 'sploitation video that he shows while he says it.
Ah, how noble. And the "graphic" images Maddow couldn't bear to share with viewers? There were two, blurred out of focus by Maddow (and both can be seen at the trailer here, starting at 1:01) -- the towers from a distance of about a half-mile, the north tower burning, the south tower not yet hit. The second image is of a man giving his coat to a female traffic cop at a dust-clogged Ground Zero and the woman quickly putting the coat to her face to help her breathe or cover an injury. The fleeting images are seen for all of three seconds, if that.
One could make the argument that every image from 9/11 is graphic and painful to witness. What Maddow claims here as especially graphic is a stretch, to put it kindly.The first of the two images is smoke billowing from one of the towers, from a distance, with not a single person visible in the frame. Given the brevity of the footage of that follows, of the woman holding a coat to her face, it is difficult to determine if she had been burned or otherwise injured or was gasping for breath.
What Maddow does here is a version of what liberals have done for nearly a decade -- airbrushing 9/11 from our history. Toward that end, they stake a proprietary claim to any and all images from the atrocity, at least when cited by conservatives, and proceed to deem the images too graphic for public consumption. Why? To avoid the most awkward question of all -- why did it happen? Such discourse leads inevitably to Iraq, as liberals are keenly aware. Not to Iraq as complicit in the planning and execution of the attack, of which there is no evidence. No, Iraq as the rationale for al Qaeda attacking to begin with, due to the jihadists' towering twin grievances of infidel troops in the Peninsula of Muhammad and UN sanctions on Iraq for flouting Security Council resolutions to disarm in good faith.
Maddow also talked on Sept. 9 about the controversy surrounding Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones's vow to burn copies of the Koran on the 9/11 anniversary. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., notorious for their obnoxious protests outside the funerals of American soldiers, claimed to have burned a Koran in public in Washington, D.C., in 2007, and garnered scant attention. Here's Maddow's take on then and now (second clip in embedded video, starting at 2:24) --
What's different now, the reason no one paid attention to crazy Fred Phelps' Koran-burning antics and almost literally everyone in the country is paying attention to the Koran-burning antics of this equally crazy Florida guy, is because today the sentiment behind I'm-a-crazy-guy-who's-gonna-burn-me-some-Korans-on-9/11 is being carried into the mainstream by a current of extreme anti-Muslim, we're-at-war-with-Islam rhetoric. You really want to know why we're all suddenly paying attention to one lunatic in Florida who's been threatening to burn copies of the Koran? This is why --
... whereupon Maddow shows an excerpt from the "America at Risk" trailer again, starting with remarks by Newt and Callista Gingrich -- as if the Gingriches and this documentary warning of radical Islam motivated Jones in his vow to burn copies of the Koran. For anyone not in a coma over the last month, a more obvious explanation comes to mind -- Jones was responding to Imam Rauf's proposal to build an "Islamic community center" near Ground Zero, and doing so in an equally odious, constitutionally protected provocation.
After the "America at Risk" trailer is shown again, Maddow says this (starting at 3:24 in video) --
Not just crazy guys who scream at house plants, like the Florida pastor, but supposedly serious political figures like Newt Gingrich have been banging this drum on the right that we in America are at war with Islam. Not with terrorists, with Islam, with an entire religion, with anybody who is a Muslim. And that's why we're all talking about the Koran-burning kook in Florida.
Sorry, no. The actual reason "we're all talking" about this is due to allegedly moderate Imam Rauf, the one who describes America as "sharia compliant," and who humbly seeks to build a Muslim shrine -- in a building damaged on 9/11. (In other words, at Ground Zero) That's the context here, Ms. Maddow, your grasping contortions to the contrary.
For Maddow to say Gingrich claims America is at war with "Islam", with "an entire religion," isn't just a stretch, it's dishonest. Gingrich -- as he has since well before 9/11 -- is warning of the peril from radical, militant Islam, not Islam itself.
It's not just in the trailer to "America at Risk" where Gingrich makes this distinction. While the documentary was being made, Gingrich spoke at the American Enterprise Institute in late July on the same subject and said this (link to transcript here; first quote on page 10) --
Let me just say I believe that it is very important to draw a distinction between radical jihadis, which I define simply (as) those people who seek to impose sharia, and those Muslims who seek to practice their religion within a framework of the modern world. I would allow each Muslim to define themselves in that sense, but I would be unequivocal about the fact that radical Islamists are not compatible with the modern world and not compatible with civilization as we know it and therefore we are engaged in a long struggle.
To Maddow and her ilk, any criticism of radical Islam becomes condemnation of all Muslims, just as any criticism of a (liberal) person of color is immediately deemed racist.
Later in her show Sept. 9, while talking with New York Times columnist Gail Collins, Maddow make this telling remark (third part of video, starting at 3:50) --
MADDOW: I made the case in the opening segment, in which I yelled and I'm sorry but I feel a little emotional about it, that the reason that this is getting driven the way it is, and sort of why this kook guy without a congregation who otherwise would be very happily ignored by everybody involved in the creation of news in this country ...
... which is how Maddow sees her role, "happily" involved in the "creation of news" -- as opposed to "coverage" of news. You know, the sort of thing done by actual journalists. "Creation of news," for example, taking the form of ignoring actual threats to this country -- from jihadists -- while manufacturing alleged threats, from those warning of jihad.
Maddow revisited the "America at Risk" documentary the following night after showing remarks from President Obama at his press conference that day, juxtaposed with those from President George W. Bush after 9/11 (final clip in video, starting at 4:11) --
MADDOW: It sounds like all-American rhetoric when a president, any president, makes the case that Muslim-Americans are Americans too, that we are at war with terrorists, we're not at war with Islam, that religious freedom wasn't just a founding principle of this country, it is a living principle of this country.
Yes, you heard right -- "we are at war with terrorists." Mark your calendar, it's not often you hear a left winger acknowledge this. And hitting high above her average, Maddow gets it two-thirds' correct. Yes, we're at war. Yes, it's with terrorists. What she can't bear to point out is that we're not at war with Basque or Tamil Tigers or any of dozens of other terrorist groups around the world -- it's with Islamic terrorists. Such is the practice of useful idiocy.
As Gingrich also said at the American Enterprise Institute in July (transcript here, page 10 for following quote) --
The left's refusal to tell the truth about the Islamist threat is a natural parallel to the 70-year pattern of left-wing intellectuals refusing to tell the truth about communism and the Soviet Union. If you go back and look at all the years of disinformation, all the years of denial, that were the left's response to communism, why would you think that the next threat to Western civilization will be more accurately studied? This is why the secular-socialist system is itself such a threat. It is the natural pattern of secular-socialist intellectuals to prefer our opponents to us and to accept their lies over our truths. If you doubt that, go look at any study of the 70-year pattern in which the left consistently apologized for the Soviet empire, and look at the shock of the left when Ronald Reagan described the evil empire.
Or the pattern of the last decade in which the left demanded that jihadists were spared from harsh interrogation, and condemned Bush and Cheney as greater war criminals than bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.