Ed Driscoll

The Views We Kept To Ourselves

Mark Steyn writes “Media shockingly ignorant of Muslims among us“:

A fellow called Mohammed mows down a bunch of students? Just one of those things — like a gran’ma in my neck of the woods a couple of years back who hit the wrong pedal in the parking lot and ploughed through a McDonald’s, leaving the place a hideous tangle of crumbled drywall, splattered patties and incendiary hot apple-pie filling. Yet, according to his own statements, Taheri-azar committed an act of ideological domestic terrorism, which he’d planned for two months. He told police he was more disappointed more students in his path weren’t struck and that he’d rented the biggest vehicle the agency had in order to do as much damage to as many people as possible. The Persian car pet may have been flooring it, but the media are idling in neutral, if not actively reversing away from the story as fast as they can. Taheri-azar informed the judge he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah,” and it was apparently the will of Allah that he get behind the wheel of Allah.

Meanwhile, a new Washington Post/ABC poll finds that, in the words of the Post, “nearly half of Americans — 46 percent — have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when Muslims were often targeted for violence.”

“Often” targeted? Want to put some hard numbers on that? Like to compare the “violence” Americans perpetrated on Muslims after the slaughter of thousands of their fellow citizens in the name of Allah with, say, the death toll perpetrated by Muslims annoyed over some itsy-bitsy cartoons in an obscure Danish newspaper? In September 2001, 99.99999 percent of Americans behaved with remarkable forbearance. If they’re less inclined to give the benefit of the doubt these days, perhaps it’s because of casual slurs like the Post’s or the no-jihad-to-see-here-folks tone of the Times.

Ronald Stockton of the University of Michigan doesn’t see it that way: “You’re getting a constant drumbeat of negative information about Islam,” he told the Post. By “negative information,” Professor Stockton presumably means the London bombings, and the Bali bombings, and the Madrid bombings and the Istanbul bombings. But surely it’s worth asking why in 2006 the Washington Post needs a man with a name like “Ronald Stockton” to explain Islam to us? The diversity bores in the media go out of their way to hire writers of color, writers of gender, writers of orientation. Yet, five years after 9/11, where’s the New York Times’ Muslim columnist? Where’s the ”Today Show’s” Islamic weather girl? Why, indeed, are all the Muslim voices in the press broadly on the right — Amir Taheri in the New York Post, Stephen Schwartz in the Weekly Standard, Fouad Ajami in the Wall Street Journal?

Considering the media’s utter obsession with diversity and multiculturalism beginning in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it’s a great question. Look at how quickly politicians on the left, most of whom have identical views on multiculturalism, and who ordinarily (with the possible exception of Al Gore from time to time) are the media’s biggest backers, glommed on the Dubai ports deal to score cheap political points, as the Wall Street Journal noted:

So the same Democrats who lecture that the war on terror is really a battle for “hearts and minds” now apparently favor bald discrimination against even friendly Arabs investing in the U.S.? Guantanamo must be closed because it’s terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That’s all sure to play well on al Jazeera.

Both sides are guilty on this, of course. But if I was an editor at the New York Times, and listening to Hillary and Chuck opposing a Muslim-run business, I’d wonder seriously what went wrong.

Update: Somewhat related thoughts from Jim Geraghty and Jack Kelly.