The huge, unanswered questions post-Boston
Why did some seem giddy that suspects were Muslim? Will good police work change our treatment of public employees?
By David Sirota
But events suggest history may already be repeat itself. Indeed, in the last few days, we’ve seen reports of hate crimes against Muslims (before the suspects were identified, by the way) ; Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) call for mass surveillance of all Muslims; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) demand that the suspect--an American citizen--be deemed an enemy combatant and denied due process; the Obama administration deny Miranda rights to the suspect; and New York State Sen. Greg Ball (R) call for the use of torture. Notably, these kinds of affronts to civil liberties and the constitution are almost never seen when terrorism suspects are white non-Islamic Americans.
All of this underscores my argument about why I had hoped the suspects ended up being white non-Islamic Americans. It also begs the aforementioned question: knowing the differences in how we react to Muslim terrorism and non-Islamic white American terrorism, why are so many conservatives gleefully cheering the possibility that the suspects are the former? Could it be that some Americans actually want to see the kind of bigoted, violent, civil-liberties-trampling reaction we tend to see when terrorism suspects end up being Muslim?
Only Acts Of Violence By Muslims, Not Far-Right Extremists, Warrant Collective Blame
By Eric Boehlert
When local police descended, Page opened fire and shot one officer nearly ten times. When the authorities returned fire and shot Page in the stomach, he took his 9mm pistol, pointed it at his own head, and pulled the trigger.
According to acquaintances, the 40-year-old killer hated blacks, Indians, Native Americans and Hispanics (he called non-whites "dirt people"), and was interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan. Immersed in the world of white power music, Page's band rehearsed in front of a Nazi flag.
Note that back in August 2012, Fox News didn't care very much about Wade Page and the wild gun shootout he unleashed in an act of domestic terror in the Milwaukee suburb, nor did Fox suggest the event was connected to a larger, more sinister terror trend. In fact, in the days that followed the gun massacre, there were just two passing references to Page during Fox' primetime, one from Bill O'Reilly and one from Greta Sustern. No guests were asked to discuss the temple shooting, and after one day the story was completely forgotten.
In one rare occasion when the conversation did turn to Page's motivations, Fox's opinion hosts were quick to criticize the notion that he was a far-right extremist. (He clearly was.) On The Five, after co-host Bob Beckel referred to Page as "right-wing skinhead," he was quickly shouted down by his colleagues. Co-host Andrea Tantaros stressed that the killing was an isolated event that didn't have any larger implications. "How do you stop a lunatic?" she asked. "This is not a political issue."
Fox's guarded response to an extremist's murder spree was striking, considering that in the wake of the Boston Marathon bomb attack Fox News has gone all in (again) with its war on Islam as the channel fights its latest bigoted chapter in the War on Terror. It's striking as Fox tries to blame a larger community for the act of two madmen because it's the same Fox News that often can't find time to even comment, let alone report, on what's become regular, and often deadly, right-wing extremist attacks in America.
From neo-Nazi killers like Page, to a string of abortion clinic bombings, as well as bloody assaults on law enforcement from anti-government insurrectionists, acts of right-wing extreme violence continue to terrorize victims in the U.S. ("Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists.") But Fox News is not concerned. And Fox News does not try to affix collective blame.
It's clear that Fox is only interested in covering and hyping a single part of the War on Terror; the part that targets Muslims and lets Fox wallow in stereotypes. The part that lets Fox accuse Obama of being "soft" on Islamic terrorists and perhaps sharing a radical allegiance. The part that lets Fox advocate for bugging mosques and eliminating other Constitutional rights, and lets it unleash a collection of anti-Islam crusaders onto the cable airwaves.
Most importantly, Fox covers a War on Terror that lets it uniformly blame Muslims.
Should we profile, lock up, and torture Muslims? If you ask conservatives, the answer is yes.
For more on Islam, see The Logical Conclusion of Extremism and "Why Do They Hate Us?" 2012.