Ed Driscoll

Midatlantic Shock And Mock

Of England’s far-left Guardian, Norm Geras asks:

Whether George Bush actually said what he was reported on the front page of the Guardian as having said seems to be in some doubt now. But, whatever the case, there it was on the front page – as also of the Independent – and yesterday the Guardian readership was following up. It’s a case of shock and mock, isn’t it (the headlining and then the quips)?

What’s behind it? Is it just that, for secular liberals and leftists, all those invoking a line to, or about, God in decisions and actions in the public realm, with far-reaching effects on others, are to be seen as laughable, grotesque, or worse? I guess that must be it. But hold on. This seems to apply only sometimes. Like to the US President; or to Republican voters of devoutly Christian outlook; or to fundamentalist Jews in the occupied territories. It seems not to apply so much, or at all, when Islamists appeal to religious sources as a basis for blowing up themselves and, more particularly, others. Here, what is often urged upon us from the same quarters, from the pages of the same newspapers as have just carried the shock-and-mock stuff, is an understanding of the grievances that accompany the appeal to religious motivations. And what is most certainly urged upon us is the avoidance of any disrespect towards widely-held religious sensibilities.

Why the contrast? Requirements of consistency would seem to suggest that the shock-and-mock responses can’t be due to the expression of devout religiosity as such, in support of political decision and political action. So why is it that, for some people, a more understanding approach is less relevant towards US Republicans than it is towards radical Islamists? I’m at a loss.

England’s Guardian is far from alone in this. As I wrote about America’s legacy media during Newsweek’s fabulist Koran in the can scandal:

There could be a pretty nifty opportunity awaiting a politician or other prominent figure who wanted to point out to the media that their hyping of Koran abuse stories is hypocrisy squared.

In other words, it’s hypocrisy that hasn’t been seen on this level since the left and the media (sorry to repeat myself) turned on a dime from claiming that Clarence Thomas trying to hit on Anita Hill was a Crime Against Humanity, but all of the charges that emanated from Bill Clinton’s trousers was just between consenting adults.

If the media wants to claim that defacing the Koran in a POW camp full of captured terrorists is the crime of the century, then it needs to follow its own logic to its natural conclusion: no more claiming that “art” such as Piss Christ is a bold artistic statement. No more episodes like this on Law & Order and other TV shows, unless they’re roundly condemned by the press. An article such as Rod Dreher’s “The Godless Party” should be a multi-part investigative feature in the New York Times. There should be regular articles condemning the attacks of the ACLU against religious Christians or Christmas celebrations.

Because without a similar tone to coverage of religion in the US, Koran abuse stories at Gitmo looks exactly like it is: grandstanding hypocrisy of the worst order.

So how ’bout it, MSM? We now know how ardently you’ll defend a religion which is practiced by about three million Americans according to Daniel Pipes, and roughly double that from other sources. Ready to start defending the Judeo-Christian faiths practiced by–or at a bare minimum, respected by–the other 290 million people in this country?

No? Then your vaunted claims of neutrality should require to step back a bit–maybe a couple of hundred miles–from hyping this story.

I expect a fair amount of reactionary hypocrisy from the nostalgists at the Guardian–who at least open about their biases. It’s amusing to also see it in the American media, who are a bit more schizophrenic when discussing their own worldview.

Update: Instapundit, where I originally discovered Norm’s post, just linked to my post regarding Newsweek. Welcome InstaReaders!