While covering the attempted murder of the attendees at the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s (AFDI) draw the Prophet Muhammad contest, MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart made sure on Monday morning that his audience was familiar the group’s "controversial" character.
In fact, the word "controversial" appeared no less than five times while the story was featured. Controversial NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, the former al-Jazeera staffer who implied that American Sniper hero Chris Kyle was a racist who conducted "killing sprees" in Iraq, called the assembly a "very highly controversial event" which was organized by "highly controversial figures."
Jacob Rascon described the Muhammad contest as a "controversial event."
Díaz-Balart narrated the heroic actions of the police as follows: "Police quickly evacuated people at a nearby shopping center, as well as people attending the controversial conference."
He also recounted the demise of the terrorists in similar terms, "They were shot and killed by police, who were on hand to provide extra security to the controversial event."
Jim Cavanaugh explained that the extra security was necessary because the AFDI "is a lightning rod for this kind of stuff because they try to provoke with their rhetoric, you know, they don't believe there's any moderate Muslims, they attack all Muslims as one, as terrorists, so they’re a lightning rod for this kind of stuff."
While the AFDI was no doubt provocative in its actions, the objectivity of this report is vulnerable considering a former al-Jazeera journalist with a history of critical commentary of American heroes was sent to help cover a story about a group mocking the Prophet Muhammad.
One also wonders how Díaz-Balart, Cavanaugh, and Mohyeldin would have reacted if the AFDI was shot at for making blasphemous pictures of Christ.