Ed Driscoll

The 'But Brigade' and the MSM's Week of Epic Fail

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“I’m a First Amendment absolutist. But…”

As Salman Rushdie told an audience in January, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, I’m tired of the free speech “But-Brigade.”

They were everywhere this week, as you can see by the above compilation by the Media Research Center; this was “The week that cable news failed free expression,” Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post:

There’s no justification for violence. But…”

“I’m a First Amendment absolutist. But…”

“You have every right to do what you did. But…”

Though perhaps not verbatim, those are the sentiments that have spilled from cable airwaves — and, for that matter, non-cable airwaves — in the days since Sunday’s violent incident in Garland, Texas. Two gunmen were shot dead by a police officer as they attempted to mount a terrorist attack on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest — an event whose by-product is offensive to many Muslims. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for targeting the contest, which was organized by Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).

Authorities are investigating ISIS’s claim of responsibility; they’re checking the electronic communication histories of the attackers, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi; the White House has called the episode an “attempted terrorist attack.

And who’s being treated as the public enemy on cable? The woman who organized a cartoon contest.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in speaking with a guest: “This is problematic to me, because I wonder whether this group that held this event down there to basically disparage and make fun of the prophet Mohammed doesn’t in some way cause these events. Well, not the word ‘causing’ — how about provoking, how about taunting, how about daring? How do you see the causality factor here?” (Taunting is a form of expression)

To paraphrase John Nolte at Big Journalism, Geller isn’t the first to taunt and dare savages:

Was Martin Luther King “asking for it?”

When Chris Matthews and the rest of the media single out for criticism only those  who offend Islam, they are enforcing Sharia Law, caving to tyranny, and inciting violence by making the threat of violence an effective tactic.

At the risk of his own life, King set mousetrap after mousetrap to expose the savagery of those who demand others curtail their rights.

Pam Geller did the same thing.

The only difference is that the national media was on King’s side.

Today the national media are on the side of appeasing racist, sexist, gay-murdering, theocratic barbarians.

One way or another, that’s probably not going to end well; at the Fiscal Times, Ed Morrissey sends up a flare warning of “The Coming Demise of Free Speech in America:”

As Damon Linker (a supporter of same-sex marriage) wrote earlier this month, the religious have become the new secular heretics to be shunned and destroyed. Those demanding not tolerance but surrender and forced participation may think they are the Enlightenment, but in reality, they are becoming cut-rate Robespierres. They act “more than a little like bullies distressingly eager to treat millions of their fellow citizens like heretics — and to use government power to force them to conform, at least in public, to the dogmas of a contrary, and in some ways incompatible, faith.”

Given the broad and consistent response to the Garland event, and even to an extent the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it’s impossible to believe that it’s simply benign ignorance of the breadth and necessity of First Amendment protections. The most pernicious problem isn’t that the elites in the media and academia don’t bother to inform themselves on issues of free speech and religious liberty, or even that they’re misinforming us on them. It’s that they’re not interested in preserving the values of individual liberty, and want to control the culture rather than inform and educate it.

Exit quote, from, appropriately enough, Pam Geller:

[M]ake no mistake: If it weren’t for the free-speech conference, these jihadis would have struck somewhere else — a place where there was less security, like the Lindt cafe in Australia or the Hyper Cacher Kosher supermarket in Paris.

So, why are some people blaming me? They’re saying: “Well, she provoked them! She got what she deserved!” They don’t remember, or care to remember, that as the jihadis were killing the Muhammad cartoonists in Paris, their friend and accomplice was murdering Jews in a nearby kosher supermarket. Were the Jews asking for it? Did they “bait” the jihadis? Were they “provoking” them?

Are the Jews responsible for the Nazis? Are the Christians in the Middle East responsible for being persecuted by Muslims?

As Ace writes in response, “According to Islamists: Yes to both questions.” And increasingly the MSM would answer those questions in the affirmative as well, since they’re currently acting, wittingly or otherwise, as the enablers to ISIS and other example of what Mark Steyn dubbed last year as “fast-track Nazis.” Goodnight America! It’s been a fun ride, hasn’t it?

Update: The “objective” “unbiased” Associated Press reaches a new low, even for the But Brigade:

The amount of fail there is endless, as is the moral equivocation, all of which begs this question, among many others: