It's not enough to read the transcript. You really need to view the video to appreciate the depths of Christopher Dickey's world-weary, dismissive, preening political correctness. Asked on today's Morning Joe to comment on Muslim preachers inciting violence from their pulpits, Dickey of The Daily Beast sniffed that the problem is "exaggerated," claimed that the number of violent Muslims is "infinitesimally small" [down even from the "minuscule" number he cited last week], and engaged in the most fraudulent form of moral equivalency, saying that there are also crazy Christian, Jewish and Hindu preachers who incite their congregations.
To his credit, Joe Scarborough later condemned Dickey's pusillanimous palaver for what it is: "nonsense" and "political correctness." NBC terrorism expert Michael Sheehan agreed, saying "the strategic threat to the United States is clearly Islamic, jihadi extremism and those other ones are minor to nothing here in the United States."
What drives Dickey and his ilk to deny the obvious and engage in this kind of disgusting dismissal of reality?
Note: Dickey is, after all, just a rather minor journalistic figure. What is much more troubling is that his form of moral equivalency has been embraced by President Obama and his administration. As you'll note from Joe Scarborough's comment below, Obama's AG, Eric Holder, is organizing a task force not on Islamic extremism, but on "extremism" in general.
Note Deux: some kudos to Barnicle for having the chutzpah to raise the matter of Muslim preachers inciting violence.
Note Trois: Our Scott Whitlock caught Dickey last week blaming the "extreme right" for supposedly making matters worse.
MIKE BARNICLE: Within the Muslim community, not only in France, but throughout the Middle East and perhaps here in the United States of America, they have yet to come to grips with the fact that nearly every Friday night in one pulpit or another, in one mosque or another, there is an incitement to violence that occurs too often. What do you hear about that strain of thought?
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY: Well, I think there is a lot of that that goes on but I think it can also be exaggerated. I think when it comes to freedom of expression and Charlie Hebdo and their level of provocation, I think there's a couple of contextural things that are good to keep in mind, particularly here in France. One is there is a lot of talk about Charlie Hebdo's freedom to insult Mohammed, it's an equal opportunity attacker of religious and political figures. But you know, here in France there are certain things that you cannot say because they're against the law. You can't deny the Holocaust here. You can't deny the Armenian holocaust here. It's against the law to do it. Now, the Muslims will say, not all Muslims but some of them will say, so why isn't there a law against defaming Mohammed? Why are there laws against some kind of speech and not laws against other kinds of speech? And it comes down to a political issue. And I think that's understood here in France, particularly by the Muslim community.
And in terms of incitement to violence, I think that's generally exaggerated. But of course there are a lot of, you know, what would you call?, fundamentalist preachers in the Muslim world, just as there are crazy fundamentalist preachers in many other relgions: Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism who will try to incite their congregations. I think it's an exaggeration here in France and indeed certainly in the United States to believe that they are finding a lot of followers who are embracing violence. The number of people who actually embrace violence, not just talk trash, but try to actually carry out terrorist events is infinitesimally small. And I think we have to differentiate between anger and violence because there is a gap there, and actually that's part of what keeps us as safe as we are.
. . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Michael Sheehan, I'm concerned. I understand that the Muslim faith has well over a billion adherents who are peaceful and so many Muslims came out, were shocked and outraged by what happened this past week. But I had somebody on this show earlier this morning say there's really no difference between Muslim extremists and Hindu extremists and Christian extremists. And we've heard a lot of that nonsense since last week. I'm just wondering, are we going to be grappling with political correctness as we try to identify this threat? Even the White House is talking about general "extremism," that they're going to, Eric Holder is going to put together a task force and talk about "extremism." Do we need to focus on where this threat actually comes from?
MICHAEL SHEEHAN: Well Joe, the strategic threat to the United States is clearly Islamic, jihadi extremism and those other ones are minor to nothing here in the United States. And we need to get rid of this political correctness. We can't be complacent.