MSNBC host Joy Reid closed her January 8 program with a commentary that explored the question of whether the news media have consistent, objective criteria for labeling violent and destructive acts as terrorism. Reid's commentary was pegged to the difference in news coverage between the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris and a botched bombing of an NAACP chapter office in Colorado.
A military jury sentenced unrepentant Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan to death on Wednesday. But if another murderous Muslim soldier's case is any indication, Hasan may be sitting in the catbird seat for years to come. And our men and women in uniform will remain endangered by Islamic vigilantes in their own ranks.
Remember Sgt. Hasan Akbar? On March 23, 2003, this hate-filled soldier with the 326th Engineer Battalion lobbed stolen hand grenades and shot his M-4 automatic rifle into three tents filled with sleeping commanding officers at the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade operations center in Kuwait. The grenade attack claimed the lives of two American patriots: Capt. Christopher Seifert and Maj. Gregory Stone.
Two reporters at the Associated Press covering the trial of the alleged (but really confessed) perpetrator of the Ft. Hood massacre still believe there is a "key but difficult question" which needs to be answered: "Why did Maj. Nidal Hasan attack his fellow soldiers in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base?"
Although the narrative of Nomaan Merchant and Michael Graczyk is couched in the context of what prosecutors will allow themselves to say in the trial itself — after all, the government claims that the murders represent an incident of workplace violence, and therefore not one involving terrorism — the pair's opening, which is what will get most readers' attention, still makes it appear that Hasan's motives remain vague (bolds are mine):
Finally. Four years after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and perpetrated the bloodiest massacre ever on an American military base, the self-confessed jihadist's court martial proceedings began this week. Have you forgotten?
Americans obsessed over the O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias trials. Gun-control lobbyists turned Newtown, Aurora and Tucson into national awareness-raising, fundraising and legislation-promoting campaigns. But where are the celebrity lobbyists and high-profile advocates for the victims of bloodthirsty Muslim vigilante Nidal Hasan?
A federal judge has finally selected a trial date for accused Fort Hood mass-murderer Nidal Malik Hasan – July 9. We’ll see if it actually happens. If you’ve forgotten that mass shooting, then the media had scored a point for President Obama. The Pentagon dismissed the terrorist attack as “workplace violence,” the Obama media nodded in agreement and the massacre vanished from public memory.
Hasan went on his deadly rampage, killing 13 and wounding another 32, on November 5, 2009. By the beginning of 2010, the networks were already in “sleep” mode. On the one-year anniversary, only NBC filed a story (that completely avoided the word “Obama”), while CBS had a single anchor brief. Amazingly, ABC offered nothing.
One of the Washington Post's front-page stories on the Boston bombing had this headline when the story turned to page A7: "After a decade of plots foiled or botched, one success." That's a strange headline that seems to forget the "successful" terror attack at Fort Hood. Six paragraphs below that headline, reporters Scott Wilson and Peter Finn recall 13 dead and 30 wounded by Major Nidal Hasan.
After noting the failures of Omar Abdulmutallab (the unsuccessful "underwear bomber") and Faisal Shahzad (whose Times Square van bomb didn't detonate), Wilson and Finn unspooled six paragraphs of publicity for the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to underline America's "far right" domestic threat:
It's not often that media outlets ignore their own scoops, but that's what ABC is doing. The network has (thus far) relegated to its website the latest details on the decision by the Obama Defense Department to deny Purple Hearts to the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. The rest of the networks have also skipped this story. ABC "obtained" a Pentagon position paper on the subject, but still failed to give it network coverage.
It was ABC alone that highlighted the story back in February. On February 12, Brian Ross explained the impact of the decision to deny Purple Hearts: "...Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who still has bullets lodged in his body, says he has lost almost $70,000 in benefits otherwise available to those with combat-related injuries." So far, World News, Nightline and Good Morning America (as well as NBC and CBS) have failed to cover the newest details of the story. In fact, ABC has done nothing since February.
CBS's Bob Schieffer made a comment Sunday about the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that's likely to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
During a Face the Nation panel discussion about the incident, Schieffer said, "If [shooter Adam Lanza] had had an Arab name, people would be going nuts about what we ought to do right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The extent of Al-Awlaki's reach on the internet is outlined in a new report released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Aug. 28. The report describes the millions of views garnered by Al-Awlaki's YouTube video clips and the online networking of his rabid fan base.
A former imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, the American-born Al-Awlaki has increasingly been using social media as a recruiting method for would-be jihadists, leading terrorist watchers to dub him the "[Osama] bin Laden of the internet" and the "sheikh of YouTube." Al-Awlaki has been tied to the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood shooter. This past spring, President Obama ordered that the cleric be killed on sight, but the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on Aug. 30 to prevent the military from targeting the U.S. citizen without a trial.
According to MEMRI, after Al-Awlaki's personal website was shuttered in 2009, YouTube became the "largest clearinghouse of his online videos."
There is no doubt that Rauf has made some questionable and incendiary comments regarding America and her role in the Muslim world. Perhaps these statements fit the imam's overall rhetoric involving U.S. complicity in the attacks of 9/11. As does the following statement to the FBI, which is conveniently omitted from media reports defending Rauf.
Bridge-building imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was giving a crash course in Islam for FBI agents in March of 2003. When asked to clarify such terminology as ‘jihad' and ‘fatwa', Rauf stated (emphasis mine throughout):
"Jihad can mean holy war to extremists, but it means struggle to the average Muslim. Fatwah has been interpreted to mean a religious mandate approving violence, but is merely a recommendation by a religious leader. Rauf noted that the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks could be considered a jihad, and pointed out that a renowned Islamic scholar had issued a fatwah advising Muslims in the U.S. military it was okay to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Well, wait a minute.
The administration's position clear to anyone examining official documentation. The Fort Hood report, the FBI's counterterrorism lexicon, and the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy do not even use the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, or Islam. The original 9/11 Commission Report, in contrast, used those words a combined 632 times.
The media's attitude towards radical Islam's role in this particular attack is evident in its reluctance to attribute Maj. Nidal Hasan's motives to jihad. The members of the media who share this attitude obfuscate the threats facing the nation.