Firebombing Time Magazine, NPR and AOL/HuffPo

I have been trying to figure out what and how to write about something that TRNL loyalist, Kellsbells, flagged to me earlier this week. I have to admit that I did see it earlier and was aware of it. I guess my issue with this was not really with the content of the article, it was more disgust at my own casual dismissal of it as nothing remarkable – when it really is. I realized that I’ve become so sensitized to events like this that it simply merited a “heh, just business as usual”, casual thought as I read it. Allahpundit at Hot Air had a similar take, writing:

Is this worth posting? I’m not sure if this attitude qualifies as “news” anymore, even when it’s held by a journalist.

The situation of which we speak was the fire-bombing of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and the response to it by a “journalist” at Time Magazine.

Being sensitized to situations and events like this can cause us to rationalize deviant behavior into something – and I mean anything – to avoid addressing the uncomfortable fact that trouble is brewing.

This piece by Bruce Crumley is so paradoxical in construction, so catastrophically flawed in reason and so whimpering in submission that it is almost comical, a farce complaining about a satire. On the one hand, Crumley claims that we just can’t give up freedom of the press and speech to satisfy violent fringe groups – we must speak truth to power:

Its obvious free societies cannot simply give in to hysterical demands made by members of any beyond-the-pale group. And it’s just as clear that intimidation and violence must be condemned and combated for whatever reason they’re committed—especially if their goal is to undermine freedoms and liberties of open societies. But it’s just evident members of those same free societies have to exercise a minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their rights and liberties—and that isn’t happening when a newspaper decides to mock an entire faith on the logic that it can claim to make a politically noble statement by gratuitously pissing people off.

Then again, on the other hand, upon deep reflection (actually not too “deep” as this is in the next paragraph), Crumley asserts that maybe we can and should give up that freedom if it offends people who are willing to do violence in an open society:

The reasons for such concern were as obvious as the suspicions about who had staged the strike: the coarse and heavy-handed Islamist theme of the current edition of Charlie Hebdo. As part of its gag, the paper had re-named itself “Sharia Hebdo”. It also claimed to have invited Mohammed as its guest editor to “celebrate the victory” of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia’s first free elections last week. In addition to satirical articles on Islam-themed topics, the paper contains drawings of Mohammed in cartoons featuring Charlie Hebdo‘s trademark over-the-top (and frequently not “ha-ha funny”) humor. The cover, for example, features a crudely-drawn cartoon of the Prophet saying “100 Whip Lashes If You Don’t Die Of Laughter.” Maybe you had to be there when it was first sketched.

Crumley’s cloyingly apologetic tone is the journalistic equivalent of the old gag where someone purports to want to fight another person while yelling “Stop holding me back!” while retreating. The crowd knows that the screamer never intends to fight, he is content to simply  run away – as is Mr. Crumley. “How dare you Muslims attack free speech! but please, please just don”t hurt me, Mr. Mohammed, [Peanut Butter be Upon Him], I beg you!”

Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you.

Isn’t this is essentially equivalent to telling a rape victim that the violation of her body was justified because she was wearing a miniskirt, a low cut top and heels to a bar? You know, she just should have known better, men just are animals, they can’t control themselves…or something like that. In Crumley’s mind, just like the rape victim, Charlie Hebdo was asking for it. It is their fault that they were fire bombed, like what with the short skirt, thong and all…you know…right?

This defense of rape  doesn’t work in open court and it shouldn’t be an effective defense in the arena of ideas either. In yet another F.A. Hayek moment, we harken back to Lenin’s “Who, whom?” question. Who decides what is offensive to whom? The sheer idiocy of attempting to control “offensive” expression is found here:

A Texas Christian University student government candidate recently was asked to make some changes to his campaign signs after someone pointed out that his nickname had some negative racial connotations.

Graham McMillan is running for Student Government Association’s vice president of external affairs. But his self-given nickname is already teaching him some hard political lessons.

“Hi my name is Graham, like the cracker,” he said.

So calling himself a “cracker” is offensive? Offensive to whom? He is calling himself that – unless it is yet another raaaaaaasisttm “code word” to let everybody know that he is a honky. As the #Occupy[yournamehere] crowd would say “OMG and down twinkles!”…at some point everybody is going to be offended by something. That is a given when there are over 7 billion individuals on this planet.

The only way for expression to truly be free is for it to be without restriction. Period. Get offended and get mad – but get over it.

I was willing to let this pass without remark until I saw Tim Graham’s piece at NewsBusters chronicling the “progressive” echo chamber at NPR and AOL/HuffPo coming to the same conclusion as Crumley. Graham relates:

At the tail end of  the second hour of the Diane Rehm Show on many NPR stations Friday, defense reporter James Kitfield of the National Journal broke out his outrage about the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was firebombed this week. Like Time’s Bruce Crumley, Kitfield saved his outrage for the “irresponsible” satirists and all his sensitivity for the Muslims of France.

In the Huffington Post, French journalist Romina Ruiz-Goiriena complained that while “For many, the publication has been an iconic soapbox for the far French left since its creation in 1960,” it failed to achieve what freedom should: “The issue was not thought-provoking; it simply contributed to burgeoning anti-Muslim sentiment. What it should have been doing was pushing the conversation forward to confront the seemingly dormant but rampant institutional bigotry. After all, is that not the point of having a free press tradition in the first place?”

Kitfield felt the pain of Muslims that do not want their religious prophet depicted in any way. Like many journalists, he displays no sensitivity for the satirized Christian in France or anywhere, and somehow fails to be upset by a firebombed newspaper:

JAMES KITFIELD: I mean, that was very, very objectionable to, you know, a majority of Muslims to see their religious leader depicted in any way, but certainly not in sort of a satirical, laughable fashion. You know, I heard a comment from a French Muslim who I think got it exactly right, which is that just because you can do this thing because you have a First Amendment right or you have a right to free expression in Western societies doesn’t mean you should do them. So I think I would hope we get to a place where we condemn this constant provocation. Why these provocations to a vast minority group inside of France? I think it’s irresponsible.

KATTY KAY, guest host: Particularly when you already have tensions with those…

KITFIELD: Right, and people can die. I think it’s irresponsible, but, you know, I would defend to the last straw to do it. I just hope we get to a place where the people who do do this get condemned by society for constantly provoking crises that we don’t need right now.

This being NPR, Kay could only agree, and not ask how satire is irresponsible and “provokes crises” and violent Islamists are somehow not responsible for what they do at all.

Somehow I don’t remember Christians firebombing the Brooklyn Museum of Art for displaying Chris Ofili’s painting, The Holy Virgin Mary – the painting that depicted a Black Madonna surrounded by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines and elephant dung.

Nor do I recall members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) burning the theater on Broadway where the hit musical –The Book of Mormon – by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker – is currently running. I must note that I find Stone and Parker to be true satirists because they spare no one – as the recent skewering of the #OWS movement, the media and Michael Moore indicates.

When Christians do physically respond to anti-religious effrontery, they hardly get the same sympathetic (or cowardly) treatment from the vaunted Fourth Estate that is afforded Islamists.

In Avignon, France, in April of this year, people that the media helpfully described as “Catholic fundamentalists” destroyed the sacrilegious “art” of Andres Serrano (he of “Piss Christ” infamy) at an exhibition there. It probably skipped the museum’s notice that Avignon is a heavily Catholic area of France – it was the seat of the Papacy during the Catholic schism from 1309 to 1423 – so no possibility that Catholics might be provoked by a picture of a crucifix in a bottle of urine, is there?

Instead of blaming Serrano for being the provocateur, the blame was placed squarely on the Christian “fundamentalists”, where in this case, the blame lies. Serrano broke no laws by exhibiting, the protestors did by destroying the “art” (or in this case, a photo of the aforementioned “art”).

Far from being something that should be dismissed as “business as usual”, this biased reportage in the mainstream media and the exculpatory attitude of government toward Islamic violence  is being institutionalized and as such, something that we must be keenly aware of. The infiltration of the government and the press by leftists, the anti-religious and secular humanists render them incapable of honest reconstruction of events. As such, far too much of the “news” that we hear, read and see today is not “news” at all – it is the opinion of the reporter, the news outlet and/or the government.

One of my co-bloggers here, Black3, properly calls it by its name: propaganda – and propaganda it is.

29 thoughts on “Firebombing Time Magazine, NPR and AOL/HuffPo

  1. This really goes hand-in-hand with your polipundit article. I’m so glad you wrote on this.

    “This piece by Bruce Crumley is so paradoxical in construction, so catastrophically flawed in reason and so whimpering in submission that it is almost comical, a farce complaining about a satire.” Pefection….

    I wish all your boys/gals would put their 2 cents in. I’m the reading sponge…

    Dang! I think Guy’s getting Christmas trees…..

  2. Your ‘rape victim’ parallel brings the lunacy of Crumley’s piece into focus. Well done, sir! I support the 1st amendment the way the NRA supports gun rights. Popular speech needs no protection; Hebdo does.
    I wonder if the French law has anything like the 1st. If so, they need to come down hard on violators.

    I quit visiting the HuffPo site because they were countering inaccurate hysteria from the right with own hyperbole and lack of perspective. I have always loved Arianna, even when she was handing liberals their hat liberals on Buckley’s show. She is a devastating debater. But her spawn has gone off the rails.

    • And I hate it when you generalize. There are over 600 posts on this site, there is not one word written that is disrespectful to mainstream Islam…only to radical Muslims who aim to use Islam as a political tool.

    • True, because MOHAMMED advocated much the same thing that has been done in his name.

      It would sort of be like claiming Jefferson would object to those who have advocated for individual rights and liberty in his name.

  3. Has there ever been a religion without a split? Here is a favorite joke of mine, as told by Emo Philips
    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?” He said, “Baptist!” I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?” He said, “Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?” He said,”Reformed Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off. — Emo Phillip

    There are two main sects, Sunni and Shia, and then there are the Sufis, they are the happy and peaceful ones, they dance to praise their Lord. A Sufi jihad would be a ‘last couple standing’ dance marathon.. The NYC Muslim Center is in the main a Sufi project, I believe..

  4. Utah, I’m sorry. I should have stated that I do not consider this site as a HuffPo of the right. I disagree with your position, but you are not hysterical, and I don’t think you are looking to start a pogrom or any such thing. I would not be here if you weren’t running an honest and open forum.

  5. Welcome to the United States of the Offended folks. I got a solution if you’re offended by something…ignore it. Things have got so bad now, you can’t even tell a good WASP joke anymore. Oh wait, those are the only types of jokes that ARE acceptable anymore.

    As far as Mohammed goes…may a thousand camels defecate on his grave.

  6. And to clarify my clarifying comment, what I disagree with is not that there are radical muslims, but the assertion that the religion itself advocates killing us for being unbelievers. Or am I misrepresenting your position?
    And even it did, most muslims in America are like Christians in regard to their Holy book; they don’t follow it, ummm, religiously.

  7. We have ’em all, kells. They’re everywhere.
    I met a second-generation Muslim the other night, but I would not have known either his religious affiliation or ethnicity had I not been told, although his wife’s hijab (her choice, btw), I think it is called, may have given it away. We left their house with our heads intact.

  8. Greg, which head?

    Sorry! I’ll stop! Truly, I really like my Muslim friends here…..I suppose it’s the Atteral they’ve been putting in the water….

    Sorry!! M. and his wife tied me up and forced me to say that!
    Just think of me as Patty….not Peppermint Patty… Patty Hearst.. I’m just a victim of that syndrome…Dang! I want to call it the Swedish Syndrome, but I know that’s not right….M. and his wife have been depriving me of food….at least Guy brought us a Christmas tree…..wish it would”ve been bigger than this Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Oh, well, it’s the thought that counts…

    If I knew how to bring youtube over here, I would give you a taste of who you remind me of, Greg… Unfortunately, with my luck, I’m liable to hack into a top-secret govt. agency (yes, it’s happened) or turn a site into italics(uh-huh) As much as I would love to be James Bond, I am, unfortunately, Clousseou…I think that is misspelled….c’est la vie……je faim….

  9. You teach Sunday school? With that mouth? J/J … your students are lucky to have someone as intelligent and fun as you. If my Sunday school teacher had been less of a hell-fire and Sit-Still, Mr. Famy’ type, and more like you, I might have been less indifferent to the teachings in the Bible.

  10. Stockholm! Well, I was close. I’m in the Panhandle, and I was teasing about your trees. I know they must be beautiful…..but are they as beautiful as Charlie Brown’s….????

    Greg, Do you know I’ve tasted every soap on the market? Potty-mouthed as a child and still not cured…. Oh, and yes, kids like me. I think because I’m a little naughty. This morning, I pilfered some brownies for all of us, and when a little boy told me they were actually selling them, I gave him money and told him to put it in the basket. We had a good laugh over it. Today’s lesson was about Joseph. And so Kelly must break out into the musical Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat…. “It was red and yellow and blue and brown and purple and orange and green and white and…(let them finish the color) So Greg, if you ever wanna hang with me and some first graders; I can assure you I have a different approach to the law and the prophets:)
    I’ll chalk it up to being Lutheran..

    • Charlie Brown’s tree had it’s own unique beauty. But our Frasier Fir live Christmas trees are called the “Cadillac” of Christmas trees for a reason. 😉

      Ahhh, a Lutheran…that explains a lot. I like to go to the Communion services. We use MD 20/20 for the “Blood of Christ” shed for you.

  11. And so now you understand my affinity for beer…FYI: Luther married the nun that was the best “beer- brewer”

    Guy, You’re full of crap! MD 20/20…..but I’m still gonna hunt down your Fraser Fir…..

    Greg, You’re a member of Thrivent?

    • Seriously KB, our church used Mogen David 20/20 for Communion wine. What does yours use? Granted, I haven’t been in a while, but I used to help with the Communion service.

  12. I was invited by a friend to chat, and they are some nice folks. Luther was a character, he was a cusser, and he had a big pair. The anti-semitism he evinced, not so cool, but it was not uncommon at the time

  13. I’ve listened to that show. I never saw the movie. We shall have to discuss Luther.

    Now, Guy’s got me thinking of the wine…I hate wine, so I don’t know what they use. Could it actually be MD 20/20? Mein Gott! I’ve offered to bake the bread (as theirs is choke-worthy)….but I’m normally relegated to cooking something after church. Yes, Lutherans LOVE to eat 🙂 Here”s the other beauty part: I can usually get away with singing whatever I please. I sang this fabulous German art song during communion…it’s not a religious piece, but a love song. However; because I was allowed to sing it in German, only a few members knew that I was being a little naughty. I say a little because I believe God appreciates all forms of music. Perhaps I take too much liberty in my own beliefs of God…..I suppose I’ll chalk that one up to being Lutheran, as well 🙂

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