Fort Hood Shooting
If someone decided to commit mass murder after hearing hot talk on the radio, NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr wouldn’t really suggest blaming the talk radio host. He’d suggest blaming the radio itself. That’s the weird tone of his Wednesday commentary, titled "Was the Internet Complicit in Fort Hood Shooting?"
On Nov. 18, Foreign Policy's Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson wrote an article titled "The Real Shock of Fort Hood." If you thought that the shock of Fort Hood was that an Army Major fired over 100 rounds into a crowded processing center on a military base - killing 13 and wounding 29 - you're wrong. "It's not that the massacre occurred," said the article. "It's that it hadn't occurred before."
According to Simon and Stevenson, Major Nidal Malik Hasan was simply another American Muslim that was the victim of "innumerable stresses, including discrimination and the strain of divided loyalties in their country's eight-year-long war against Muslims in the Middle East and Central Asia."
The authors argued that such circumstances would be "enough to inspire conflict in the minds of even the most patriotic of American Muslims in the U.S." So much so that it should be "no surprise" that "one unstable member of this community finally erupted in violence."
It's our fault. Americans aren't making Muslims "comfortable." And the article specifically cited "Christian right-wing rhetoric" as a catalyst in the "Muslim alienation" which led to Hasan's shooting spree.
Smith began the interview with the former New York City Mayor by skeptically wondering: “You said yesterday that this was a political decision. How is it – do you think it’s a political decision?” Giuliani responded: “Well, it’s a political decision because I believe that this is being done to satisfy left-wing critics....After all, it was lawyers in Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm that challenged the military tribunal, challenged the habeas corpus, fought these cases all throughout. So I think this is a political agenda.”
After Smith was taken aback by the charge that liberal politics was involved in the decision, Giuliani began to explain: “Of course. Because they could be tried in military courts. As everyone else was up until now. And it would add-” Smith cut him off: “So as the attorney general yesterday, ‘we need not cower in the face of this enemy’” Giuliani shot back: “Please let me finish what I was saying. I didn’t get a chance to complete my thought.”
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, presumably picking up on a posting by the far left ThinkProgress.org -- one of his regular sources of information to attack conservatives -- made the arguably inaccurate claim that FNC political analyst Bill Kristol had on the Thursday, November 12, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, called for Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan to be convicted and executed without trial. After calling the FNC analyst's words "anti-American," and quoting a portion of Kristol's words, Olbermann lectured:
But seriously, the men and women that this man killed – however you define him – those men and women of the U.S. military, Mr. Kristol, were fighting for the right to trial, due process, justice. Thanks for spitting on the dead of Fort Hood, William Kristol, today’s “Worst Person in the World.”
“The Culture & Media Institute noticed something about the news coverage,” said host John Scott said of the Ft. Hood shooting. “Until President Obama spoke on Tuesday at a memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood attacks, 29 percent of evening news reports mentioned that Major Nical Malik Hasan was a Muslim. 93 percent of the stories ignored any terror connection. But after the president hinted at what ABC called ‘Islamic extremist views,” all three networks mentioned terrorism.”
In case you missed the media coverage of the Fort Hood shooting for the last several days, let's sum up the main theme: Nidal Malik Hasan is not a terrorist.
CNN continued that theme early Thursday morning with an interview from a profiler who claims that Hasan is nothing more than a lonely, wifeless, psychopath in the midst of a midlife crisis.
Criminologist Pat Brown states that:
"He was simply a lone guy who had issues, problems, psychopathic behaviors that escalated to the point where he wanted to get back at society, and he took it out on his workmates like most of them do."
What does Brown base that assessment on? During a correspondence with her (outlined in full at the end of this post), CNN's profiler of choice had very little to say about the radical Muslim ideology in the Hasan case. You'll be amazed at what follows:
In his first question to Hasan’s attorney, retired Army Colonel John Galligan, Smith wondered: “First things first, you met with Hasan at some point yesterday. Is he coherent?” Galligan replied: “He’s coherent.” He then lamented: “I learned from, actually members of the media, that apparently he was going to be charged yesterday. I was surprised by that and I was saddened by the manner in which it occurred, because I – I received belated notice.”
Smith seized upon that statement: “How unusual is it for a case as important as this one is, for the suspect to be charged with a crime and for his attorney not to be present?” Galligan admitted: “Well, there’s no legal requirement that I have been present when the charges are preferred, under the manual.” He then added: “I was extremely upset to learn that they were going about this important step in the pre-trial procedural process without formally notifying me....my first five minutes with the client were spent almost apologizing for the manner in which it went down.”
Back in June, liberal columnists at the New York Times lined up to link conservative talkers Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh to James von Brunn, the 88-year-old man who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum, and the murder by Scott Roeder of abortionist George Tiller.
Columnists Paul Krugman and Judith Warner both weighed in on June 12.
Krugman’s “The Big Hate” blamed Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s rhetoric (“Tiller the baby killer”) for the Tiller murder, as well as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, for contributing to the dangerously toxic atmosphere.
Warner’s online entry, “The Wages of Hate,” read: “You can't accuse Beck or Limbaugh of inciting violence. But they almost certainly do stoke the flames.”
Frank Rich also blamed O’Reilly for the Tiller murder in his Sunday column, "The Obama Hater's Silent Enablers," two days later.
It's one thing to avoid the "terrorist" label when reporting on Ft. Hood suspect Major Nidal Hasan. It's quite another to say that those who do use it are making a political calculation to "paint the Democrats as soft terror." Yet that's what MSNBC's Rachel Maddow insisted on her Nov. 11 broadcast.
Maddow launched into a minute-and-a-half soliloquy on why it is bad for the Democratic Party when commentators label Hasan a "terrorist." She even attempted to make the case on Hasan's behalf against a terrorism label. Who needs a legal team when you have friends like Maddow and Chris Matthews, who fretted over the legality of Hasan's al Qaeda communications?
"Remember this one? Yes, it is the old ‘paint the Democrats as soft on terror' routine," Maddow said. "But in order to play that politicizing terrorism, anti-Democratic greatest hits, the Fort Hood case has to be terrorism. Now, regardless of how you feel about the political issue of politicizing terrorism, it's worth asking was Fort Hood, technically speaking, terrorism? It's not just a political question. It's not just a judgment call. It's not just a matter of taste. It's a question to which there is an answer, a legal answer."
Given the incomplete and contradictory reports about Hasan’s activities and statements before the shooting, that seems wise. But rather than leave it at that, Miller ended up reinforcing aspects of the politically correct approach to issues of Islam and terror, and blaming Americans to boot.
Miller cited New York Times’ David Brooks in particular, and partially agreeing with those on the right that complain of the media’s politically correct desire to explain away Hasan as just a lone psycho (or even better: a psychological victim of Bush’s wars).
“Major Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill,” Miller wrote. “But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community.”
Time magazine appears to be throwing caution to the political correctness wind by placing a picture on the cover of its soon to to be released November 23 issue with the word "Terrorist" written across the face of alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.
Straddling the fence slightly, the magazine chose to put a question mark after the word.
Even so, given media's discomfort portraying Hasan as anything more than an overwrought, over-worked soldier petrified of heading to Afghanistan, Time's "The Fort Hood Killer: Terrified ... or Terrorist?" was so uncharacteristicly un-PC you could almost call it a Mac.
Just count the references to Islamic extremism in the first paragraph alone: