May 9, 2015

ASHE SCHOW: It’s okay to victim blame if the perpetrator is a Muslim extremist.

Ever since two gunmen were shot dead in Garland, Texas, on May 3, the media’s focus has been not on the radical men who intended to kill some 200 people at the “Draw Muhammad” event, but on the woman who organized it.

The Washington Post ran the most egregious headline in this regard, writing “Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas.” Seriously, WaPo?

The Associated Press came close with this gem: “Activist: No regrets about cartoon contest ended by gunfire.”

In both instances, the blame is clearly laid on Pamela Geller, who organized the event, and not on the murderous men.

But blaming Geller is akin to blaming any other victim or near-victim of a violent crime. Let’s rewrite those headlines to correspond with rape.

“Woman wearing short skirt offers no apology after thwarted rape attempt.” (Credit goes to Twitter user Sister Toldjah for this tweet.)

Or how about: “Victim: No regrets about night of drinking that ended in rape.”

No one would ever write an article with such headlines because that would be victim-blaming. But when the perpetrator is a Muslim and the victim is someone who organized an event that offended the Muslim’s religion, then somehow it is the victim’s fault.

It’s impossible to see how this would fly in any other situation.


Related: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Defends Pamela Geller.

And here’s that Erik Wemple piece from the WaPo.

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