Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 31, 2002 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Robert W. Tracinski

Tracinski
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The rush from judgment


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Like many people, it crossed my mind early in the Beltway Sniper case that this might be a terrorist attack. I reserved judgment, realizing -- unlike the armchair experts who flocked to fill airtime on cable news channels -- that I did not know all of the facts available to the police. But the moment I heard the suspect's name, John Muhammad, the conclusion was obvious. These killings were motivated by a version of the same Islamic ideology that has inspired mass murder around the globe.

So why are the government and the mainstream media rushing to avoid that judgment?

The evasion of Muhammad's Muslim connection is brazen. The Los Angeles Times speculated that the sniper may have been motivated by such momentous causes as a "stormy relationship" with his family. For a while, CNN even stopped using John Muhammad's Muslim name, which he legally adopted a year ago, calling him by his former name of John Allen Williams. Reuters, continuing its work as the European branch of Al-Jazeera, gave this case the most brazen spin. Ignoring the sniper's Muslim beliefs altogether, Reuters suggested that his U.S. military training was to blame.

Meanwhile, the facts continue to pile up. John Muhammad was known to acquaintances as an especially devout Muslim; he was a member of the Black Muslim separatist group Nation of Islam, whose leader is famous for touring the Middle East to show his admiration for Muslim dictators; Muhammad praised the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington; and now, investigators have connected him to a shooting in May at a synagogue in Tacoma, Wash. It doesn't require an FBI profiler to see what pattern this fits.

For the left, which includes the mainstream media, ignoring such patterns is an article of faith -- a secular faith known as "multiculturalism" and peddled under the slogan of "diversity." This is the dogma that it is "racist" to judge cultures -- except for the "white European" culture of America, which is judged to be hopelessly racist and oppressive.

This double standard is the basic pattern of mainstream reporting and analysis of Islamic terrorism.

First, reporters must be uncritically accepting of the culture, ideas and customs -- no matter how barbaric -- of any group of non-whites. Thus, the fact that Islam is linked the world over with bloodshed, tribal warfare, religious intolerance and dictatorship must be pasted over with the empty bromide that Islam is "a religion of peace." And the fact that American Muslim leaders -- who insist that the snipers "weren't motivated by any religious or political agenda" -- have a history of supporting Palestinian terrorism, is not considered worth reporting.

At the same time, acts of violence by white Americans, especially if there is any conceivable connection to the political right, must be trumpeted as an indictment of American values. Does anyone remember the press coverage of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber? Washington Post columnist Carl Rowan was typical, rushing to blame McVeigh's killings on such far-right firebrands as Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole. In fact, McVeigh's few statements of his motives, later on, included his outrage at America's supposed brutality against Iraq -- a view shared by today's anti-war left.

In keeping with this bias, the media must regard America as the world's real source of racial and religious intolerance. Hence the suggestion that the U.S. military is responsible for making John Muhammad into a killer. This is also why the media's main concern, every time a new Arab or Muslim killer is caught, is to prevent the supposed persecution of Arab and Muslim Americans -- despite the actual absence of an anti-Muslim pogrom.

The conservatives have done a good job of documenting this bias -- yet the right is itself partly responsible for the whitewashing of Islam. They stick their heads in the sand and proclaim, in the words of Bush adviser David Forte, that "Nothing this evil can be religious."

More than a year after Sept. 11, we face a continuing terrorist onslaught. The killers strike as groups or as individuals, in large attacks and small, from Bali to Moscow, from Kashmir to Maryland, from Jerusalem to Los Angeles. But they are united by one thing: the religious ideology of Islam.

To refuse making that judgment is to blindfold ourselves at a moment of mortal danger.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




Comment on JWR contributor Robert W. Tracinski's column by clicking here.

10/23/02: The grand illusion
10/17/02: Loose lips in the pressroom
10/10/02: Permission to speak
10/03/02: The bear market makes the case for privatizing social security
09/27/02: Enron vs. Atlas Shrugged
09/19/02: Bush loses the war, again
09/11/02: What have we lost?
09/05/02: The case for "destabilization"
08/29/02: "Sustainable" development's unsustainable contradictions
08/22/02: The photographing of public art and architecture has apparently been deemed a threat to the Republic
08/14/02: Talk vs. ideas
08/12/02: Blood for oil
08/06/02: The welfare debate we're not having
07/30/02: Newsflash: Hauling CEOs away in manacles makes market soar!
07/23/02: Clearing the way for real airport security
07/16/02: The war on CEOs
07/09/02: Small-time crooks
06/27/02: Martha and the tall poppies
06/21/02: The post-colonialist famine
06/12/02: America's Maginot Line
06/07/02: Time's up for Pakistan
05/28/02: Freedom's defenders
05/22/02: What they knew and when they knew it
05/16/02: The mixed-economy monster
05/08/02: Conference in Cloud Cuckoo Land
04/25/02: The 'Palestinian" victims?
04/18/02: Why Israel must not withdraw
04/09/02: LIVE FROM RAMALLAH: The Theater of the Absurd
03/26/02: Campaign finance corruption
03/21/02: Who is George Bush?
03/14/02: The prophets of defeatism
02/21/02: The war on terrorism and the war on reality
02/14/02: Multilateralism's one-way street
02/05/02: The Powell Problem
01/29/02: A profligate and irresponsible distortion of congressional priorities
01/22/02: Liberal conspiracy theories
01/15/02: Fading shock and fading resolve
01/08/02: Argentina's intellectual collapse
12/31/02: The real person of the year
12/26/01: With friends like us ...
12/19/01: Ending the "peace process war"
12/11/01: The ruthless grip of logic
12/04/01: War powers without war
11/27/01: An Afghanistan Thanksgiving
11/20/01: The end of the beginning
11/06/01: The phony war
10/30/01: A war against Islam
10/23/01: The economics of war
10/16/01: A culture of death
10/11/01: An empire of ideals
10/01/01: Why they hate us
09/24/01: The lessons of war
09/20/01: What a real war looks like
09/17/01: America's war song
09/12/01: It is worse than Pearl Harbor
09/11/01: Out of the fire and back into the frying pan
09/05/01: The UN Conference of Racists
08/28/01: Waging war on profits and lives
08/20/01: The Bizarro-World War
08/08/01: The death toll of environmentalism
07/31/01: Where does America stand?
07/25/01: Barbarians at the G8
07/17/01: The carrot and the carrot
07/11/01: The real Brave New World
07/03/01: The child-manipulators
06/19/01: The scientist trap
06/11/01: The National Academy of Dubious Science

© 2002, CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.