The New York Times descent into pure advocacy journalism continues apace. Increasingly, the news stories in the once respected Grey Lady serve only to set up the talking points for the paper’s editorial page.
Reporter Scott Shane’s July 24 news story, “Killings in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.,” provides a case in point. The only spotlight is one of Shane’s own imagining. He describes Robert Spencer, who was cited 64 times in Anders Behring Breivik’s 1500-page manifesto, as having been put on the “defensive” by Breivik’s murderous rampage. Yet he does not quote one statement from Spencer or anyone else sounding the slightest bit defensive. Nor does he argue that Breivik’s actions somehow demonstrate that the warnings are overblown or based on incorrect facts — i.e., that those quoted have anything about which to be defensive.
Shane cites unnamed “critics” who supposedly used the Norwegian tragedy to demonstrate the manner in which “the intense spotlight on the threat of attacks from Islamic militants has unfairly vilified Muslim Americans, while dangerously playing down the threats of attacks from other domestic radicals.” Yet he offers not one shred of evidence about the comparative threat. As for the impact of the alleged vilification of Muslims, the 2009 FBI crime statistics included only 107 anti-Islamic “hate crimes” against Muslims in the entire United States, about one-ninth the number of anti-Jewish “hate crimes.” And that was the year of the Ft. Hood massacre and a number of other Muslim terrorist plots uncovered in time by the FBI.
Shane also attempts to use the Norwegian tragedy as an argument against the hearings on radicalization of American Muslims currently being conducted by the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Cong. Peter King (Rep.-N.Y.). “Despite the Norway killings,” he intones, the hearings will go on as scheduled,” as if there were some logical inconsistency between the two events or the Norwegian tragedy somehow proved that there is no radicalization of American Muslims taking place.
King was not impressed, and began the third round of hearings with a firm denunciation of the Times.
First published in Mishpacha, August 5.