09 Nov 2009

Reporting an Islamically-Motivated Massacre

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Tim Blair describes the mental acrobatics performed by the MSM worldwide in order to avoid identifying Islamic fanaticism as the motive behind Nidal Malik Hasan’s deadly attack.

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)’s first significant report on the atrocity, presented at midday on Friday by Washington correspondent Lisa Millar, avoided any mention of the killer’s faith beyond references to his “family background”.

Somehow, Millar kept this up for nearly eight minutes. With those dodging skills, you’d back her to emerge bone dry after walking the entire length of a car wash.

By this stage, we already knew, via US television interviews with the killer’s cousin, that Hasan was “a pious lifelong Muslim”.

This minor point was quickly shoved aside by force of media consensus, which quickly settled on another, apparently more obvious, cause of Hasan’s deadly rage.

“A link to PTSD?” asked the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Thursday’s deadly rampage raises a red flag over the issue of combat stress.

“The most common disorder linked to combat stress is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can develop after exposure to one or more traumatic events that threatened or caused great physical harm.”

Media worldwide grabbed hold of this helpful non-Islamic excuse with the same gasping desperation as a chain- smoking asthmatic reaching for his Ventolin inhaler.

One small problem: Major Hasan hadn’t spent a single millisecond in combat. Instead, he’d been based for his whole military career in the US, where lately he counselled troops returning from combat. He had no traumatic stress to be post of.

This technicality was dismissed by London’s Guardian newspaper, which invented a malady: post-traumatic stress disorder by proxy.

“Someone listening day after day to troops describing the tension and carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan could end up as damaged as those facing combat at first hand,” the Guardian claimed.

This is an interesting theory, especially considering Hasan had been in that role only since July.

Agence France-Presse signed on to it, too, reporting that Fort Hood was rife with speculation “as to whether the alleged shooter had snapped under the pressure of his job counselling thousands of war-weary troops”.

I don’t buy that for one minute, unless the report refers to certain journalists gathered at Fort Hood. Soldiers tend to be more sensible.

All of this served to minimise, for whatever timid purpose, the possible role of Hasan’s religion. Sadly for trauma theorists, his history of agitated Islamism soon began to seep through the media filter.

According to various accounts, Hasan had been cautioned for promoting Islam while dealing with patients when stationed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center , some time before he’d begun duties at Fort Hood. A classmate during a public health course in 2007 recalled Hasan’s claim to being “a Muslim first and an American second”.

He complained about being harassed over his religion. He wrote on the internet of his admiration for Islamic suicide bombers. He was upset when someone scratched the “Allah” bumper sticker off his Honda Civic.

Hasan described the war on terror as a war on Islam. He was under investigation for six months following jihad-themed ravings. Last week, he gave his landlord a Spanish-language copy of the Koran.

On the morning of the murders, he fronted up at the local 7-Eleven in full Islamic gear.

Then he yelled “Allahu Akbar!” as he slaughtered 13 people (including pregnant 21-year-old Francheska Velez) and shot dozens of others (including teenager Amber Bahr).

By late Sunday, the media were cautiously exploring the possibility Hasan’s faith may have played a role.

They’d have been speedier about it if the case involved a suspected Christian shooting up an abortion clinic, of course, but all religious motivations aren’t considered equal.

Hat tip to the Barrister.

2 Feedbacks on "Reporting an Islamically-Motivated Massacre"

Scott D

There is an old joke about the fan in Boston who said, “I root for the Red Sox and anyone currently playing against the Yankees.” Much of the media feels the same way. Who they’re “for” may not be the same, but who their “against” is.

Maggie's Farm

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