Taking a strange, hostile stand toward free expression, the journalists at the New York Times assumed an amateurish YouTube video sparked deadly riots in the Muslim world, and asked the imprisoned director if he had any regrets for making the movie.
Monday's front-page report from Los Angeles came from Serge Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes and appeared in print under the guilt-assuming headline "From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret." The headline on the front of nytimes.com: "After Fueling Deadly Protests, No Regret."
Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller provided a reality check:
No, a stupid YouTube video did not “fuel deadly protests.” The NYT knows this, and later in the story there’s the usual “some say otherwise” equivocation, but telling the truth outright would be bad for Obama.
The self-styled Newspaper of Record just asked a guy if he regrets exercising his right to free speech.
The NYT devoted six reporters to a 2,400-word piece on a guy who made a YouTube video, based on the underlying assumption that he’s the bad guy in all this, just like Obama said. If only they cared that much about the actual murder of our ambassador to Libya, and the Obama administration’s neverending stream of lies about it.
Kovaleski and Barnes left no doubt they had no sympathy for the anti-Muslim filmmaker, serving prison for a purpotedly unrelated reason, while spreading unflattering personal details about Nakoula and also spreading the story that the film "fueled deadly protests across the Islamic world." They asked the jailed director if he was sorry for what he'd done (but what had he done, exactly?):
Fuming for two months in a jail cell here, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has had plenty of time to reconsider the wisdom of making “Innocence of Muslims,” his crude YouTube movie trailer depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty, philandering thug.
Does Mr. Nakoula now regret the footage? After all, it fueled deadly protests across the Islamic world and led the unlikely filmmaker to his own arrest for violating his supervised release on a fraud conviction.
Not at all. In his first public comments since his incarceration soon after the video gained international attention in September, Mr. Nakoula told The New York Times that he would go to great lengths to convey what he called “the actual truth” about Muhammad. “I thought, before I wrote this script,” he said, “that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in.”
In explaining his reasons for the film, Mr. Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt, cited the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Tex., as a prime example of the violence committed “under the sign of Allah.” His anger seemed so intense over the years that even from a federal prison in 2010, he followed the protests against the building of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero in New York as he continued to work on his movie script.
Nakoula, a shady fellow, indeed tricked participants into believing his movie was to be a sword-and-sandal epic. But did those "deadly protests across the Islamic world" include the ones Americans remember: The deadly assault on four Americans in Benghazi? The Times obliquely suggests maybe not -- in paragraph seven.
There is a dispute about how important the video was in provoking the terrorist assault on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the United States ambassador and three other Americans. Militants interviewed at the scene said they were unaware of the video until a protest in Cairo called it to their attention. But the video without question led to protests across the globe, beginning in Cairo and spreading rapidly in September to Yemen, Morocco, Iran, Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Times is far less unforgiving, even supportive, of offensive anti-Christian artwork.