The media freak-out this weekend was the funniest thing on TV (as last night’s SAG awards proved). It was the latest episode in the Trump-says-something-slapstick-ensues series that’s enthralled comedy fans since the election. Trump puts a temporary hold on immigration from a handful of really messed up countries that may or may not care who they’re shipping here and journalists turn every international airport in the country into Marx Brothers Stateroom Scene in A Night at the Opera.
It would all be a lot funnier except that the Three Stooges – ABC, NBC and CBS – have ignored a deadly serious component of the story, and they’ve been doing it for years. The Middle Eastern Christians Trump has promised to give immigration priority to once the hold is resolved have been facing genocide at least since the rise of ISIS, and in some cases before it.
Last March, Obama Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared the persecution of Christians (and other minority denominations) in Isis-held territory a genocide. The networks barely covered the declaration then, and they haven’t mentioned it since then. In fact, as MRC research shows, since January 2014, ABC, NBC and CBS have only used “genocide” six times, even when they were reporting on Muslims committing atrocities against Christians.
Kerry’s designation only covered ISIS. But the situation for Christians in dozens of Muslim-majority nations is dire. From Pakistan to Libya to Yemen to Indonesia, Christians have faced murder, forced religious conversion, mass displacement and cultural destruction. Groups like Open Doors and the Knights of Columbus have documented thousands of instances. The networks don’t like to report those facts at all, but when they do, they’re careful not to add them up to genocide.
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At best, this is laziness or incompetence. At worst, they’ve been reluctant to highlight the victimization of Christians in case a weekend like this one came along. When your narrative demands you paint Muslims as victims (in this case of a measured, temporary immigration hold), it doesn’t do to be on record admitting there are other, perhaps more deserving, victims.
If Trump’s word is good, Christian refugees are going to receive priority escaping their tormentors. When they arrive, it’s going to be awkward explaining to them why the networks didn’t give their story much priority. But they’ll just have to learn that the media’s hierarchy of victimhood is rigid, and they’re stuck near the bottom. But at least they’ll have comedy to watch.