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Is the Leftist Media ‘Fair and Balanced’ on Christian Persecution?

Isn't the MSM supposed to be out to help the “underdog”?

by
Raymond Ibrahim

Bio

January 23, 2011 - 12:00 am

The leftist media has just provided another blatant example of how they ostracize those who fail to tout their party line. Context: the Washington Post’s On Faith blog posted an article by Elizabeth Tenety dealing with Muslim-Christian relations, in light of recent attacks on Christians in the Muslim world. Regular contributors were invited to respond. The response of one of these, Willis E. Elliott, a retired dean of exploratory programs, New York Seminary, was rejected (PJ Media published it here). Up till then, for over three years, Elliott had been publishing almost weekly on that blog; this is his first contribution to be rejected in all that time.

So what was so terrible about it to compel the Washington Post to jettison it? You see, the nonagenarian Elliott called it as he saw it, making black and white — as opposed to postmodern, “there-are-no-truths” — observations. Consider some of his comments on the differences between Christianity and Islam:

Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Islam, to the contrary, is essentially hostile to “the infidels.”…  Jesus was anti-violent, Muhammad was violent. … Muslims become violent, or threaten violence, when they feel offended: when we Christians feel offended, almost never do we become violent, and almost always we suffer the disrespect in silence.

Inasmuch as Elliott’s assertions are empirically demonstrative — scripturally, historically, and in current affairs (a la Koran-waving jihadists and persecuted Christians) — so too do they go against the one unwavering dogma clung to by the leftist media: cultural relativism. Hence, the need to suppress them.

No doubt the blog’s editors were expecting the usual boilerplate responses when discussing attacks on Christians in the Muslim world: acknowledge their existence, yes, but be quick to point out that, “in their own way,” Christians are equally responsible. That is essentially how most other contributors responded: one found Christian fundamentalism as troubling as Muslim fundamentalism; another bemoaned how scriptures can incite violence, while not mentioning any particular religion; yet another counseled suffering Christians to “turn the other cheek” and forgive their persecutors, cloyingly adding that all violence “can be overcome with our radical love” — easy sentiments to preach living in distant America.

Consider the leftist media’s approach to Egypt’s Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian minority: whenever they are attacked by Islamists, the media refers to it as “sectarian strife,” eschewing the more accurate, if old-fashioned, term, “Christian persecution.” (What else does one call it when a vastly outnumbered Christian minority suffers at the hands of a Muslim majority — including its government — for nothing less than being Christian?) “Sectarian strife” suggests two comparable forces fighting one another — hardly an accurate way to depict the situation.

Likewise, when Islamists bombed an Egyptian church on New Year’s Eve, leaving over 20 Copts dead and dozens maimed, the leftist media reported it — but under headlines such as “Clashes Grow as Egyptians Remain Angry After Attack” (New York Times) and “Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21” (Washington Post), as if the fact that beleaguered and frustrated Christians are lashing out against persecution is as noteworthy  as the persecution itself. When earlier this month an Egyptian policeman boarded a train, identifying Christians by the small tattooed cross on their wrists, and opened fire, killing one and wounding five to the distinctly Muslim war cry of “Allah Akbar,” the Los Angeles Times deemed it suitable to relate the story under the headline “Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say.”

This latter headline is indicative of how the leftist media will rarely, if ever, report on Egypt’s institutionalized anti-Christianism, such as how the Egyptian government makes it next to impossible for Copts to build, or even repair, churches; or how state security uses live ammunition on Copts who demonstrate, in one recent instance, killing four unarmed Christians, including a child, for protesting the state’s seizure of a partially completed church. Imagine the field day the media would have if the government of a predominantly Christian country stormed and desecrated a mosque, opening fire on unarmed Muslim protesters, killing several including children, wounding and incarcerating hundreds.

All said and done, leftist media bias is nothing new; one need only look to how Israel is constantly demonized for defending itself. There is a curious difference, however: when the leftist media provide biased coverage on behalf of the Palestinians, they probably rationalize doing so under the pretense that, because the Palestinians are militarily weaker than Israel, they need more media “representation.” Yet, if that is the case, if the leftist media are simply out to help the “underdog,” why do they take the opposite approach in their coverage of underdog Christian minorities suffering in the Muslim world?

Simple: the leftist media are quite indifferent to the suffering of the “weak”; that’s just a cover, when suitable. Rather, their overriding impulse is to delegitimize Western civilization. And what better way to do that than suppress its Judeo-Christian heritage — hence, the bias against anything Judeo (Israel) or Christian (persecution).

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.
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