Fort Hood Shooting
The Pentagon has made a real concerted effort to create a military that is culturally sensitive and religiously tolerant, but Muslims in uniform today face a challenge not seen since Japanese-Americans fought in World War II. They taste suspicion from some fellow soldiers who question their loyalty and resentment from fellow Muslims opposed to both American wars.
Weir featured a Muslim soldier who lamented “our religion teaches better,” before Weir painted Muslim soldiers as victims of intolerance, highlighting the experience of one Muslim soldier who “began his overseas deployment on 9/11, and taunts followed him throughout his four-year enlistment.”
Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan on Friday appeared uncomfortable discussing the faith of the Muslim shooter who killed 12 people in Texas. In a tease for a segment on the subject, he noted that Major Nidal Hasan is being "described as a devout Muslim, mortified at being deployed to Iraq. Did that drive him to allegedly commit murder?" Ratigan quickly added, "And who cares what his religion was?"
Talking to Corey Saylor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ratigan offered a tortured, run-on question about the importance of Hasan’s Muslim faith: "Corey, it's very easy, considering, sort of, the history of the relations between our country and some nations- and some individual, really, of a Muslim faith. There's a very quick response or higher levels of anxiety for no reason other than because of the lesser familiarity."
Meandering his way to the end of this politically correct query, Ratigan concluded, "Is it appropriate to be looking at the- any sort of religious signals in a situation like this when you're clearly dealing with an American soldier, born in America, who enlisted again right out of high school?"
Appearing on the Dr. Nancy program on MSNBC Friday, NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey warned against labeling the mass shooting at Ft. Hood as terrorism, despite the apparent radical views of the shooter: “We’ve heard some family references that he was being criticized for his Muslim faith, that’s all we know right now....It’s still premature to draw the terrorism conclusion.”
Prior to Cressey’s assessment, host Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke with Dr. Stevan Hobfoll, director of the Traumatic Stress Center at Rush University Medical Center and asked about the mental health of the attacker, Major Nidal Hasan. Hobfoll made no hesitation describing the shooting as a terrorist act: “Strangely enough, terrorism is not in itself an area – an act of mental illness. I think this was a Jihadist act, it’s certainly psychologically abnormal what he did, but that doesn’t mean that he had any psychological disorder, per se.”
CBS and NBC both omitted the shooter's faith in their East Coast feeds last night, as reported by Brent Baker. The Los Angeles Times left key facts out of its report, published at 9:46 EST (which has since been edited), even though other other media outlets had reported them. Among these was that shooter Nidal Malik Hasan was Muslim, and that he had previously expressed on an Internet forum affinity for suicide bombers.
The Associated Press reported at 8:15 EST that Hasan had "come to the attention" of Army officials at least six months ago for these Internet posts.
All three morning shows on Friday identified the man who killed 12 at an Army base in Texas as a Muslim. However, Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer repeated a concern from Thursday’s World News: "...We heard Martha Raddatz say last night that the wife of a soldier said ‘I wish his name had been Smith,’ so no one would have a reflexive question about [a religious motive]."
In comparison, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News and NBC’s Nightly News both programs failed to reveal the religious faith of Hasan. GMA, as well as CBS’s Early Show and NBC’s Today, did not shy away from politically incorrect details, such as the surveillance footage of Major Nidal Malik Hasan in full Muslim garb in the hours before the shooting. Correspondent Brian Ross dug up information and informed, "In this internet posting earlier this year, Nadal Hasan compared suicide bombers to G.I.’s who saved their colleagues by throwing themselves on a grenade."
The Early Show’s David Martin explained, "He is an American citizen said to be of Jordanian decent and a life-long Muslim." He then added, "However, there’s a retired colonel who served with Hasan, has been quoted as saying that he heard Hasan react with glee to a news report that several American soldiers had been killed by a suicide bomber."
Cryptically, ABC's senior foreign affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, concluded a story on reaction at Fort Hood: “As for the suspect, Nadal Hasan, as one officer's wife told me, 'I wish his name was Smith.'” So, a concern this will lead to groundless fear of Muslims?
The CBS Evening News avoided any mention of Islam or Muslim faith as Katie Couric provided this benign description: “Today, according to the Army, a soldier opened fire....He's identified tonight as Army Major Nadal Malik Hasan, a licensed psychiatrist and drug and rehab specialist from Bethesda, Maryland.” NBC anchor Brian Williams: “The soldier, identified as the initial gunman here, is an Army psychiatrist, Nadal Malik Hasan. He's an officer, a Major, and he was apparently armed with two handguns.” NBC's Pete Williams insisted, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, “everything about his background is rock solid, and nothing extraordinary stands out about his background.”