by Daniel Greenfield
The media coverage of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has one theme and one tack. Like 30 of the 31 men on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, they were terrorists who just happened to be Muslim.
While the New York Times dispatched its best and brightest lackeys to Boston to write sensitive pieces on how hard it was for the two Tsarnaevs to fit in, it fell to a UK tabloids like The Sun to conduct an interview with the ex-girlfriend of the lead terrorist and learn that he wanted her to hate America and beat her because she wouldn’t wear a Hijab.
There are all sorts of jobs that Americans won’t do. Like pick lettuce, bomb the Boston Marathon and report honestly on the motives of the bombers. The only news network that operates outside the media consensus is owned by an Australian mogul who also owns The Sun.
Americans like to think of their press as freer, but it’s only free in the sense that it voluntarily puts on its own muzzle. European tabloids get into bloody brawls with regulators. American newspapers have nothing to brawl about. They will gleefully report anything that undermines national security at the drop of a hat, knowing that they won’t be touched, but there is a long list of subjects that they won’t touch with a million-mile pole.
In Europe, editors risked their lives to publish the Mohammed cartoons. In America, on the rare occasion that they were depicted, they were usually censored. CNN, which could show Kathy Griffin trying to molest Anderson Cooper, without the benefit of pixelation or a suicide button, blurred out Mohammed’s face; assuming that Muslims would appreciate the sensitivity of treating their prophet’s face like an obscene object.
The American media does not need to be censored. It censors itself.
Did the New York Times really fail to come across Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ex-girlfriend while they were busily interviewing every single person in Boston who ever ran into the future terrorists? The New York Times may be incompetent, but it isn’t that incompetent. If it could track down Tamerlan’s old coach, it could track down his old girlfriend. It chose not to.
So did every other paper.
Either The Sun is staffed with crack journalists who could do what no American newspaper, news channel and network news program could, or The Sun got the scoop on Nadine Ascencao because no newspaper on this side of the ocean wanted to touch it. And it’s easy to see why.
Nadine talks about being beaten in the name of Islam, forced to memorize Koran verses and being taught to hate America. Most journalists on this side of the ocean want quotes on what nice boys the two Tsarnaevs were and how, in true liberal fashion, no one could have expected them to do something like this.
The only newspaper besides The Sun to do an interview with Nadine Ascencao was the Wall Street Journal; which just happens to be owned by the same tabloid mogul. But there is an interesting difference between The Sun and the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ piece doesn’t mention Hijabs, Koran verses or hating America. It doesn’t mention Islam at all.
Co-written by a Pakistani journalist, it emphasizes only that Tamerlan was a bully of no particular religion. That reporter’s twitter feed features a retweet from another Muslim WSJ reporter who broadcasts that the plans of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to head to Times Square amounted to nothing. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Instead of wasting time on a dead end like Islam, the media has spent its time chasing down every other possible angle.
Did Tamerlan turn terrorist because he took too many blows to the head while boxing? Could the Boston Marathon bombing have been prevented if only we had let him win?
The New York Times assembled a touching story of an aspiring immigrant boxer radicalized by the petty restrictions of a government that wouldn’t let him apply for citizenship because of his history of domestic violence and appearance on a terrorist watch list. But how does that jibe with the Tamerlan from five years earlier who beat up a boy that his sister was dating because he wasn’t Muslim?
When the media must deal with Tamerlan’s theology, it keeps him in the category of the troubled man who turned to some wacky extremist version of Islam propounded by a YouTube convert. The man who beat his sister’s boyfriend because he wasn’t a Muslim and beat his ex-girlfriend because she wouldn’t wear a Hijab wasn’t some brainwashed drone who had his mind stolen by YouTube videos. He was a Muslim.
That angle is the most terrifying one that the media can think of. If they have to mention the “I” word, they will sandwich it between “extremist” and “radicalization.” But it’s not Tamerlan who was the radical extremist. Among Muslims, his views were mainstream. The Wahhabis are in ascendance in most parts of the world, including the United States. Islamist parties roundly won the Arab Spring.
What was the difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and any of the Syrian Jihadists held up by the media as the epitome of courage and bravery? What is the difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the Hamas and Fatah terrorists that the media peevishly contends Israel must make peace with? What is the difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and any of the tens of thousands of Muslim terrorists fighting in conflicts around the world?
While the European media, for all its faults, occasionally grapples with the incompatibility of liberal values and Muslim values; on this side of the ocean the topic is all but untouchable.
A story about a future Muslim terrorist beating his girlfriend because she wouldn’t wear a Hijab creates a sneaking suspicion that Muslim multiculturalism is incompatible with liberal values. The incompatible Muslims, like Mohammed’s face, have been pixelated out of existence in the reports on terrorist attacks by disgruntled boxers, doctors and perfume salesmen who just happen to be Muslim.
These are the Muslims that the media doesn’t see. And it is doing everything possible to make sure that we don’t see them either.
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