On Sunday and early Monday after word broke of the church shootings in Sutherland Springs, Texas, NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin took to Twitter and sounded like a liberal activist as he tweeted out several comments suggesting that U.S. government agencies discriminate against Muslims in applying the word "terrorism" to so many acts of mass violence by Muslims, but not so much with white non-Muslim men.
By contrast, on Monday's New Day, CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd explained to viewers that the main factor that categorizes a violent act as "terrorism" is that it has to be politically motivated -- a fact that Mohyeldin could easily have taken the time to learn before rattling off suggestions of discrimination by law enforcement agencies.
At 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, Mohyeldin made his first relevant tweet as he vaguely hinted that there was some untoward reason that law enforcement were not labeling the church attack as "terrorism." Mohyeldin: "Federal officials say while the gunman's motive is unclear, there's obvious sign of a connection to terrorism... you know what that means."
The tweet received a number of responses from Twitter users who got what he was hinting at they more directly stated that the shooter must be "white" or not "Muslim."
About two hours later, Mohyeldin followed up with a second tweet:
Officials after NY attack:
- Driver was 'middle eastern"
- Shouted Allah Akbar
- Supported ISIS
#Texas shooter kills 26: "its not terrorism"
Then, in a third tweet time stamped as going out at 4:27 a.m. ET this morning, the NBC correspondent ridiculously made an equivalence between restricting the constitutional rights of citizens living in the U.S. to putting limitations on immigration policy -- as if non-citizens residing in other countries had an constitutional right to enter the U.S. Mohyeldin: "Would govt ever prevent white men from buying guns based on actions of a few? No. But it's ok to change immigration policy for acts of few?"
But at 7:16 a.m. ET this morning on CNN, New Day co-host Chris Cuomo, to his credit, inserted worthwhile culturally relevant information into the mass shooting discussion as he set up Mudd to inform viewers on the definition of the word "terrorism." Cuomo posed:
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There are cultural questions that just matter, that we avoid that we just don't have good answers to. One of the things that ends up being prickly here is how we define. People say, "Well, when the brown guy did it in New York City, it's terror, but when the white guy does it, it's not."
People misunderstand, I think, the legally -- that the contextual relationship between the word "terrorism" and investigations. I've asked you this before -- I'm asking you again now -- what does it take for something to be terror to investigators?
Mudd made clear the rationale for how "terrorism" is defined as he responded:
Pretty straightforward. If he's motivated by a political motivation -- that is, he's protesting, for example, U.S. engagement in Iraq or Syria, he's protesting racial issues in the United States -- which is political -- that goes into terrorism. If he's simply angry because of something that's happened in his life -- maybe similar to what we saw in Las Vegas -- that's not terror.
That's simple violence, and that's insanity. I'm guessing in this case we're going to find that he -- as the President suggested -- had some mental issues. That doesn't necessarily take me to terror.
Cuomo then followed up: "I mean, I think people confuse who does it with why they do it, and you guys are focused on why it's done and how you can make that manifest in terms of agenda."