That Was the Week That Was
As someone tweeted today, "This week is so bad that an Elvis-impersonating conspiracy theorist sent poison to Obama and THAT'S LIKE THE TENTH BIGGEST STORY." The world's longest week concludes with a spectacularly bad series of performances by the MSM. Let's review a few of the lowlights, via James Taranto:
• NPR's "All Things Considered" aired a segment in which the tax-subsidized network's counterterrorism reporter, Dina Temple-Ralston, declared: "April is a big month for anti-government, and right wing, individuals. There's the Columbine anniversary. There's Hitler's birthday. There's the Oklahoma City bombing. There's the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. And the FBI right now is comparing this to the Eric Rudolph case." Rudolph is the fringe right-winger behind the Atlanta Olympics bombing in 1996.
• National Journal's James Kitfield wrote: "The timing of the attack on 'Patriot's Day," which coincides with the April 15 deadline for filing federal taxes, suggests a possible link with right-wing, antigovernment extremist groups." Kitfield quoted an expert Philipp Mudd, who claimed "right-wing extremists . . . have been growing in numbers and power in recent years." (In fairness, Kitfield's report also explored the possibility of a jihadist attack.)
• A CNN.com article by Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank asserted without evidence that the use of pressure cookers in bomb construction is "a recipe that has been adopted by extreme right-wing individuals in the United States." (As an aside, does this mean we now have to worry about culinary profiling? That would be good news for Eads Appliance Technology, whose Sous Vide Supreme has only nonviolent applications.)
• MSNBC aired an interview with Harvard's Jessica Stern, who observed that a recipe for a similar bomb was published in an al Qaeda magazine--and on that basis speculated of a fringe-right connection! "It's also important to recognize that the recipe was shared and lauded by Stormfront, which is a neo-Nazi website. And the whole idea of leaderless, which comes out of the far right neo-Nazi patriot movement, also spread over to al Qaeda-related groups."
• The day of the bombing, MSNBC aired an interview with Adam Lankford, a criminal justice scholar, who said of the bombers: "We don't know whether they're trying to complain about abortion, about taxes. This did happen on tax day in Boston, the place of the Tea Party. Or are they trying to protest, you know, foreign wars or something?"
In the latest edition of his weekly G-File email, Jonah Goldberg writes, "we now live in a climate where there's a ghoulish appetite to transform every act of terror and murder into a useful plot point in a political narrative. This is a bipartisan phenomenon, and while I think you could make the case that the Left is worse (in fact, I will in just a minute), it's silly to deny that we don't do the same thing:"
Moreover, given where we are as a country, it is unavoidable. This sort of thing is too seductive. The Left desperately wants every terrorist attack to be conducted by Rush Limbaugh's biggest fan, so it's impossible not to cheer when the Left is disappointed. And given the outrageous double standards that the Left -- and the elite "responsible" media -- use to demonize the Right, the urge to throw it back their face is irresistible.
* * * * *
Which brings me to this week's most popular buffoon, David Sirota. Everyone is making fun of this fairly obscure left-wing gadfly for writing a ridiculous piece titled, "Let's hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American." Now, saying ridiculous things is what Sirota does for a living, so I think people are overreacting a little (in fairness, literally tens of people think Sirota is a genius). I'm sure as we speak, he's trying to figure out how to find solace in the fact that the culprits technically were two Caucasian males.
Sirota's core complaint is that because of "white privilege" white non-Muslim terrorists are described as "lone wolves" while Muslim terrorists are cast as part of something larger and more sinister. In his own words:
Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as "lone wolf" threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters. Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats -- the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.
It's difficult to improve upon the stupidity of this. In case he's reading this I will type slowly so he can keep up. The reason why most Muslim or developing-world terrorists are treated as representative of something larger is that, wait for it, they are representative of something larger. And to the extent white non-Muslim terrorists are usually cast as lone wolves, the reason is: That is what they are.
And, as far as I can tell, those white guys that are part of larger conspiracies, ideologies, and religions are pretty much always associated with them. In fact, there's far more evidence that lone wolves who don't have such associations are routinely cast by the media -- and certainly by people like Sirota -- as if they do. Jared Loughner was a deranged isolated individual. That didn't stop the Left from immediately associating him with the tea parties, Sarah Palin, etc. (By the way, have they found Sarah Palin's Facebook map of Chechnya yet?) Timothy McVeigh is still treated as a leader of the militia movement, even though he didn't belong to any militia movement. And President Clinton was perfectly happy to associate mainstream conservatives with McVeigh.
This is an old and truly disgusting game for Democrats. FDR played it relentlessly. Going so far as to claim -- in a State of the Union message! -- that anyone who wanted to restore the "normalcy" -- i.e. peace, prosperity, and liberty -- of the 1920s under Republicans was in fact seeking to install the very fascism we were fighting abroad. [Harry Truman, FDR's successor said the same about his GOP opponent in the last days of the '48 campaign -- Ed] Lyndon Johnson and the mainstream media did everything but declare Barry Goldwater a Nazi on national television. Oh wait, they pretty much did that too.
Here We Go Again
In many ways this is a replay of the smug anti-American asininity of the Left during the Cold War. The idea that the Soviet Union was a threat was often treated as a paranoid delusion, while the "real" threat from the domestic American right was a grave danger. Hitler was dead. Germany and Japan were U.S. allies. But Communism, which was killing and enslaving hundreds of millions before our eyes, just wasn't something to get worked up about -- at least not compared with the super-scary John Birch Society.
It's important to realize that this remains a venerable American cottage industry. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Morris Dees, for example, has gotten rich off exaggerating the threats of the Klan (See this excellent Weekly Standard cover story for more on that). When Liberal Fascism came out, some of the most vituperative attacks came from people deeply, deeply invested in perpetuating the idea that a right-wing fascist takeover is around the corner. They greeted my book the way Luddites would react to the publication of Why the Mechanization of the Textile Industry is a Good Thing.
Or as Investors' Business Daily summarizes, "Sorry, Media, No White Tea Partiers Were Involved:"
Leftists such as Sirota bemoan "profiling" and "stereotyping" while they engage in a variety all their own. Sirota complained that the likes of Timothy McVeigh are treated as lone wolves while Muslim terrorists are treated as existential threats, that "white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted" for their acts.
Islamofascist terrorists, and the regimes and groups that support them, do constitute an existential threat. There have not been many Swedish terrorists; and what Sirota calls profiling we would call a description of the suspects. We wonder what part of "death to America" Sirota and his colleagues do not understand.
Those who scoured Tea Party rallies for signs of racism had no qualms about blaming Sarah Palin for the shooting of Rep. Gabriel Giffords or Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing. Recall how ABC's Brian Ross incorrectly suggested there might have been a link between the shooter in the Aurora, Colo., theater killings and the Tea Party. Ross rushed before the cameras after finding a man with the same name listed on the site of the Colorado Tea Party.
Given that much of the above happened on TV, perhaps we should put things into simple visual terms:
Will the Democrat-Media Complex act as shamelessly as they did this week once again? Count on it, writes Kevin D. Williamson at NRO:
The unpleasant fact is that the Left has been for many years attempting to use the acts of terrorists and other criminals to discredit legitimate domestic political opposition. Timothy McVeigh, to take one example, was omnivorous in his nuttery, his political and religious views all over the map, with interests ranging from Area 51 to what he viewed as U.S. war crimes during Operation Desert Storm. But Bill Clinton blamed the allegedly incendiary rhetoric of his own political opponents for McVeigh’s crime, and then on the fifteenth anniversary of the bombing updated his remarks to suggest that Tea Party rhetoric was a likely source of terrorist violence. We all remember Brian Ross’s gleeful attempt to link the Aurora shooter to the Tea Party. The list goes on. The tangible desire of the Left for their political rivals to descend into violence is grotesque and unseemly.
As Williamson writes, "What we ended up with in Boston is familiar: suspects with a fondness for Islamic radicalism and sympathy for worldwide jihad, roots in a jihadist hot spot, etc. None of which is of any use to David Sirota. Or Barack Obama."
Update: This rather nicely sums up the week that was:
Honest journalist? Brian Williams apologizes after NBC cuts to reporter admitting we 'don't know sh*t' bit.ly/YABNxa
— TwitchyTeam (@TwitchyTeam) April 20, 2013
Related: PJM's Dave Swindle spots "10 Depressing, Morally Confused Reactions to 4/15/13, the Boston Jihad."
And speaking of misfires by the leftwing overculture, as I mentioned in the previous post, "Robert Redford Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Sniffing Glue."