“Amusing Ourselves to Death”: News media and the public’s desire to be entertained vs. its need to be informed
Murdoch is the proxy State Media for the LNP government “No questions asked” as long as you slash the funding to the ABC. Today our public media has been reduced ti the equivalent funding it had in 1984. This Government rode into power on the promis of No Cuts to the ABC. (ODT)
Any decent journalist would have asked basic questions such as:
How and when did the extraordinary surge in asylum seekers come about?
How big is the problem, really, given the Government is saying it is no big deal?
Is the Government really getting on top of the problem or are they just spinning a line?
What is the surge costing the economy and the budget?’
Does the Government actually have an effective plan to get on top of the problem?’
But no, Chambers and Kelly just happily ignore such basic questions.
Spurned on by extremist and biased Islamophobic media globally. The largest in the English speaking world being Murdoch Media. In Melbourne alone in 2018 some 2850 anti- Islamic articles were published in the Herald Sun alone with Andrew Bolt an obsessed and leading contributor via his columns, radio, blogs, and Sky presance. He played a part so much so after the Barcelona bombings he was imploring the Christian youth of Australia to have the guts and fight back. A reminder of Alan Jones during the Cronulla Riots. (ODT)
The emergence of cold-blooded psychopaths and murderers who harbor plans to slaughter Muslims is becoming an alarming trend not only in Europe, but in the rest of the world.
Without its legacy film and television business, Fox Corp’s most-high-profile division is Fox News, which is in a symbiotic relationship with the president of the United States. That relationship is already challenging Lachlan to deal with what one Hollywood executive called “the elephant in the room” for Fox – the toxic identity of Fox News in a mostly liberal entertainment industry.
On the other side of the political spectrum, several Fox News staffers said they are distrustful of Lachlan’s devotion to the cable news channel, and some call Lachlan “Fredo” behind his back, an unkind reference to a weak-willed son in “The Godfather.” The opinionated, conservative faction of the company that supports Trump is already testing his authority.
Trump became president, giving Rupert unprecedented access to a sitting US president – a relationship he has long coveted. The two men talk weekly, according to people close to them, and sometimes more often than that.
Lachlan doesn’t like to talk to the politicians. Rupert, however, has always has been attuned to political realities.
This is what Murdoch has always been about THE ART OF THE DEAL something Trump could never finese. (ODT)
“Rupert understood all along that governments care about media and that they meddle in it, and they have rules and you have to have a rapprochement to be successful,” said Reed Hundt, a former FCC chairman in the Clinton administration.
The Murdochs agreed to the Disney offer as the Justice Department was fighting AT&T’s $US85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. In contrast to the hostility Trump displayed toward that deal, Trump spoke to Rupert the day the Fox deal with Disney was announced and “congratulated him,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
(In another sign of the Murdochs and Trumps having close ties: When Ivanka Trump joined the White House, she relinquished her role as trustee of the fortune of Rupert Murdoch’s two youngest children.)
“It’s Lachlan versus the president,” said the 21st Century Fox film executive. “Who do you think is going to win that?”
How tight are Murdoch’s strings on Trump? (ODT)
A 50-year-old driver injured Syrian and Afganistan migrants and shouted racist comments as he was being arrested.
A 50-year-old man has been arrested after driving his car into a crowd of people in Germany in what police say appears to be a racist attack.
A group of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan was attacked in the town of Bottrop, an area of western Germany. According to official reports, the driver shouted xenophobic and racist comments while he was being arrested.
In the early hours of January 1, the driver had first tried unsuccessfully to hit a pedestrian. He then headed downtown, driving into a crowd of Syrian and Afganistan migrants, injuring four.
This is despite the fact that, its then-editor, Chris Mitchell, said eight years ago: “for several years the paper has accepted man-made climate change as fact”.
But last week, the paper gave columnist Michael Asten more than 400 square centimetres, for an article of well over 900 words, to argue there are massive divisions about the science.
To be fair, he probably did not write the headline:
And why does The Australian continue to publish articles designed to raise doubts about anthropogenic climate change and the urgent need to tackle it when it does not provide similar support for tobacco lobbyists and flat-earthers?
In the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning, Justice Lesley Taylor said the case was a “very serious example” of contempt and fined Nationwide News Pty Ltd, the publishers of The Australian, $155,000. Justice Taylor also ordered the company to pay court costs of $45,000 on an indemnity basis.
As a young man I remember back in 1964 the American government announcing that one of their battleships has been attacked by North Vietnam and this led to their mass bombing and full-scale war leading to the deaths of over three and a half million people. Twenty years later the truth came out that there had never been an attack on that American ship.
The earliest lie I remember was when I was just eleven years old and Britain and France announced they were invading Egypt to stop the war between Egypt and Israel. All the politicians behind that lie were dead long before the truth emerged that Britain and France had asked Israel to invade Egypt so that this would give Britain and France the chance to overthrow Nasser’s Egyptian government and take back control of the Suez Canal.
Always be careful about what you believe.
Greg Sheridan Political Editor for Murdoch’s economically bleeding Australian clearly stated his confidence in the Israeli courts and the IDF to be able to carry out objective investigations into the deaths of Palestinians killed by Israel’s forces. on Q&A (ODT)
Israeli soldiers shot 16-year-old Samir Awad eight times in the back, killing him. After a two-year delay, they were finally indicted. Now the prosecution has announced that it is dropping the charges against them.
The inaccurate notion that abortion is an unsafe or “risky” medical procedure was put to rest this month, with the release of a new report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the United States. But as usual, Fox News didn’t let facts stand in the way of a sensationalist segment attacking abortion as unsafe.
Australia’s key institutions – government, business and not-for-profit organisations – are among the least trusted in the world. Our trust in the media is now the second lowest in the world, behind only Turkey, at 31 per cent.
And when did we start assuming guilt on the basis of an anonymous and unsubstantiated complaint, while denying the alleged defendant any access to due process and natural justice?
This entire situation stinks like a dead cod left in the sun.
Or, as Shakespeare more eloquently put it:
‘Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides …’
~ King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1.
This is certainly not the first time Israel Hayom has targeted people, and government employees in particular, for being insufficiently Zionist, for being too left-wing, or for being Palestinian. Netanyahu’s confidants as well as his supporters are busy the cleansing civil service of those whose views do not match the prime minister’s. This is especially true for teachers who dare to express opinions seen as left wing, and that do not conform to the idea that militaristic education and violence are morally justifiable. Employees in the Education Ministry are legally allowed to express political opinions. However, as the list of persecuted teachers grows longer, the message is clear: some opinions are legitimate, others aren’t — and you better think twice before writing words like “peace” on your Facebook page.
Fox’s Erick Erickson: “Mass shootings in this country are actually so rare”
This is what Sean Hannity’s Fox News show is like on a daily basis. It’s pure propaganda, an effort to support the president at every turn, while castigating his enemies — particularly the press. His viewers are living in an alternate reality — one that he’s carefully crafted to benefit Trump.
Mix nukes with a healthy dose of Fox News war hunger, and it gets ugly fast.
Fox Business host Stuart Varney allowed a coal mining company CEO who previously said President Donald Trump couldn’t bring back coal jobs to walk back those comments, while Varney himself pushed the myth that environmental protections are to blame for the loss of jobs in the coal industry.A March 27 article in The Guardian reported that
We are facing a monstrous, growing crisis of credibility and we cannot be complacent
Bill O’Reilly ignored the fact that Donald Trump’s campaign May financial report showed the campaign paid his own businesses and family for campaign events, instead choosing to debunk a controversy regarding a payment to what some initially believed to be a fictitious advertising firm.During a June 22 discussion with Fox contributor Martha Ma
There is no point in pussyfooting around. An election victory whereby Abbott remains capable of rallying his supporters and undermining Turnbull is no victory at all.
By Kit O’Connell at theantimedia.org New York, NY — Less than half the “facts” broadcast on Fox News are even partially true, according to an ongoing analysis by an independent fact-checking project. Some recent lies told by on-air personalities and guests seem designed to stoke fears over the …
How is it the MSM is so blind to the fact that not all IS sympathisers are Muslim. Zacky Mullah is not an IS sympathizer nor is the representative of Islam in Australia. He is an Australian born citizen. We saw live on TV the tactless act of alienation by this government Minister.
Why hasn’t our MSM put any focus on the dreadful behaviour by Steve Ciobo and his responsibility for creating this furore. People who have pleaded guilty to past offences are allowed on Q&A even Prime Ministers who were found guilty of malicious destruction of public property.
What you saw was a minister who failed to communicate and in simple terms an articulate lawyer who had a tin ear disparaged a young less articulate Australian kid. Tony Abbott with the assistance of Newscorp have turned a human being into a Kafaesque cockroach for nothing other than political advantage.
Tony Abbott is the bovver boy he’s always been and he marshall’s ministers in his image. Zacky Mullah is innocent he’s not a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer. He spreads the anti IS message and he’s right this Abbott government with Ministers like Ciobo and the help of Newscorp 2GB and other main stream media simply help to alienate and radicalize most of us because their description of what’s happening is the antithesis of the reality we have and are now experiencing. Some but an extreme minority are motivated by youth possibility of change, So no you don’t need to be marginalized but you sure do need to be increasingly alienated from our government’s view of reality which is becoming an extreme facist overreach.
The techniques of successive governments to disparage citizens in this 2 lacked Cultural Capital and are still being deomonised
Abbott and Murdoch Media turning Zacky into Kafka’s cockroach
US media turning Jane Fonda into Kafka’s cockroach during the Vietnam War
John Howard and Murdoch Media turning David Hicks into Kafka’s cockroach the photo was a lie
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly parroted a previously debunked claim that President Obama raised taxes more than 442 times since taking office — a claim rated “Mostly False” by PolitiFact in 2014.
During the April 20 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly pointed to federal tax revenue to dismiss political rhetoric on income inequality, lamenting the tax rates of “Americans earning more than $400,000” and noting that “the U.S. has the highest tax rate on business in the world.” O’Reilly complained that President Obama has imposed “punishing taxation,” claiming that “since taking office, President Obama has proposed a whopping 442 tax increases” and asking, “how much more can the government take from the affluent without crashing the entire free market economy?”:
But O’Reilly’s claim that Obama raised taxes comes from Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax group headed by Grover Norquist, and was rated as “Mostly False” by PolitiFact in 2014. According to PolitiFact, Americans for Tax Reform “overstate[d] the total number by a significant amount,” noting that “removing duplicates eliminates about 159 of the proposals” and “failed to account for other tax cuts that are part of Obama’s record, including nearly $220 billion in tax cuts that were part of the federal stimulus.”
NEW YORK – (CT&P) – Insecure horse’s ass Bill O’Reilly went berserk again last night on his Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor after more evidence surfaced that he exaggerated his personal exploits during the Falklands War. Mr. O’Reilly reportedly got so agitated that he was treated for dangerously high blood pressure shortly after the show aired.
O’Reilly has been playing defense since an article in the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones last Thursday claimed that, not unlike NBC News anchor Brian Williams, the Fox News host embellished accounts of his wartime experiences. In response to the story about O’Reilly’s reporting on the Falklands war between the U.K. and Argentina in the early 1980s, penned by Mother Jones editor David Corn, O’Reilly blasted Corn as a “liar,” a “left-wing assassin” and an “irresponsible guttersnipe.”
O’Reilly has maintained that he never said he reported from the actual war zone, in the Atlantic Ocean off Argentina’s coast, but did cover violent protests in Buenos Aires at the close of that conflict. CBS broadcast those clips at the request of O’Reilly, who featured them on his show Monday evening.
However, that didn’t satisfy Mother Jones, which said the protest footage does not really support his claims. Nor did it convince the New York Times, which quoted former CBS News staff members who had taken issue with O’Reilly’s accounts of those protests.
What O’Reilly referred to as a “very intense situation where people got hurt,” was played down by CBS veteran Eric Engberg in the New York Times story. O’Reilly maintained the veracity of his account on Monday night’s show, pulling out additional reports that described the disputed the protest scenario that he confronted in Buenos Aires.
O’Reilly claims that the whole situation is the result of a left-wing conspiracy against him by Keyser Söze, a Turkish criminal mastermind personally responsible for the demise of hundreds of people. O’Reilly dedicated his last segment to a desperate plea for help from his viewers.
“I know it’s Söze that’s after me,” whined O’Reilly. “No one else would dare question me. He’s enlisted the help of almost all the members of the liberal media to tarnish my good name and say that I’m lying about being a war hero.”
“Söze’s henchmen are all over the place. Liars, left wing assassins, and ‘scruffy and badly behaved children who spend most of their time in the street’ are following me everywhere,” said a sweating O’Reilly.
“You, my loyal viewers, know damn good and well I’ve never lied and have never been wrong about anything in my entire life. I’m begging you to come to my defense in my time of need.”
“I want to stop this now. I hope we can stop this. I really do,” said a tearful O’Reilly as he closed the show.
Members of the media were not impressed with O’Reilly’s pleas. David Corn of Mother Jones told the New York Times that “As a despicable guttersnipe who seeks the truth, I must and will continue to uncover the lies told by this giant bipedal penis.”
On Tuesday, media organizations around the world wrestled with whether to show either the still images or the video of Islamic State militants burning a Jordanian pilot alive in a cage. Within hours, Fox News posted the entire video on its website.
The clip was offered with no preamble, though a short text accompanying the video warned viewers that it was extremely graphic. Most other news organizations used photos or video clips showing the moments leading up to the execution.
“Fox is putting itself in the position of airing an unedited ISIS propaganda video,” said Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.
“Not just the fact that they posted it,” Mr. Shapiro said, “but the way in which they posted it. Without explanation, without context, without editorial purpose, as just another extreme video.”
In a statement, John Moody, the executive editor of Fox News, said that after careful consideration the network felt that giving its audience “the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video. Online users can choose to view or not view this disturbing content.”
Bjorn Lomborg‘s latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal resurrects repeatedly demolished distortions of fact to downplay the real and increasingly documented threats of climate change. His trademark tactic is to acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, only to then dismiss the solutions — reducing emissions and promoting clean energy now — as unnecessary or infeasible.
Fortunately, his longstanding fight against climate action is failing to persuade the public, as an overwhelming majority of Americans understand that climate change is a serious threat and that we’re already feeling the impacts. More to the point, they support action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, especially through continued expansion of clean energy and new rules for coal-fired power plants.
Mr. Lomborg has relied on similar distortions for his arguments many times before, even drawing censure from the Danish government for his “perversion of the scientific method.”
After the release of Lomborg’s “deeply flawed” book The Skeptical Environmentalist, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science remarked that Lomborg’s work was a testament to the “vulnerability of the scientific process … to outright misrepresentation and distortion.” One researcher decided to fact-check Lomborg’s claims and had so much material that Yale published it as a book: The Lomborg Deception. In the book, Lomborg’s many sloppy citations and misleading myths are thoroughly debunked, but that hasn’t stopped him from repeating the same general arguments in years since. When it comes to climate, he insists over and over: Don’t worry; be deceived.
- Climate change is happening now, and current temperature trends are in line with projections — with 2014 the latest year to break a record for average global temperature.
- Poor communities and developing countries are at higher risk from the impacts of climate change than are developed countries.
- Climate change has exacerbated extreme-weather events; adaptation is expensive. The influence of climate change on extreme weather is not measured by extrapolating from costs but by changes in the weather itself.
- Clean energy is the fastest-growing energy sector; the IEA predicts clean energy will receive nearly 60 percent of the $5 trillion to be invested in new power plants over the next decade.
Models accurately projected current rising temperatures. Lomborg cites the long-debunked notion that scientists and models have overestimated the rate of warming since the especially hot El Niño year of 1998. While Lomborg says the period from 1998 to 2012 saw “90% less temperature rise than expected,” this is simply false. From 1998 to 2012 temperatures continued to rise within the range of expected increase, by 0.05°C (0.09°F).
The difference between model estimates and observations is completely accounted for by natural variability and fits within the range of modeled uncertainty. The reality is that there is no inherent bias in climate models that make them overestimate the effects of human activity. A recent study that combined 114 possible 15-year trends since 1900 found there was nothing statistically biased in the way that model data differed from observed measurements of global mean surface temperatures. According to the study’s co-author, Piers Forster, “cherry picking” the most recent 15-year interval to refute climate-change modeling is misleading and obscures the long-term agreement between the models and measurements.
What’s more, short-term variation does nothing to change the fact that we are experiencing a dangerous rate of global warming, with nine of the 10 hottest years on record occurring since 2002 and NOAA and NASA officially declaring 2014 the warmest on record. So Lomborg’s insistence that we not worry about climate flies in the face of the record temperatures we’re experiencing.
Poor people and developing countries are at greater risk and will benefit from mitigation. While Lomborg attempts to sound well-meaning and concerned about poverty, it is difficult to find any evidence that his work does anything to alleviate poverty aside from critiquing climate-change policy. There is no contradiction between lifting poor people out of poverty and cutting carbon emissions. In fact, many developing countries have created their own mitigation plans in response to a growing understanding of the acute threats they face.
Developing countries are also at greater risk because weather can gravely affect their economic activities such as farming and tourism. So any effort to help reduce the negative impacts of extreme weather on these basic economic functions of developing countries would help their economic development.
Recent research has shown that extreme weather hampers economic growth in developing countries to a much greater degree than in developed countries. While Lomborg suggests that we should focus on relieving poverty, that’s the opposite conclusion of actual researchers, who say their study is evidence that we should limit warming to less than 2 degress C to protect developing economies. Specifically, the study author said that on a business-as-usual path (like that for which Lomborg advocates), “The average annual growth rate in poor regions is cut from 3.2% to 2.6%, which means that by 2100 per-capita GDP is 40% below reference.” Contrary to Lomborg’s claims, fighting climate change will in fact ensure that developing countries are able to grow their economy and prosper.
Extreme-weather events are worsening, and the cost of adaptation is high. Lomborg picks up a thoroughly debunked line of attack from Roger Pielke Jr. regarding hurricanes and the impacts of extreme weather. Pielke’s ploy is to first cherry-pick data, then “normalize” it for development, basically blaming the increase in losses from weather on increased wealth. That sort of analysis is so flawed that it caused FiveThirtyEight to apologize for publishing Pielke and recruit a more qualified scientist to rebut Pielke (who hasn’t written any other climate pieces for the site since his response to the controversial post).
For more details, see our previous rebuttal of Pielke on his claims regarding extreme-weather damage and costs. Why Lomborg would choose this particularly well-debunked myth to propagate is a testament to his willingness to deceive his audience in service of the “Don’t worry” mantra.
Renewable energy is cheap and growing much more quickly than fossil fuels. It is odd that Lomborg would criticize solar and wind power as being too expensive yet, in the next sentence, advocate for new battery technology to facilitate their development. In reality, clean energy is cheap and getting cheaper, and in many areas renewables have reached grid parity with fossil fuels, meaning they are no more expensive than the dirty fuels Lomborg would have us continue to rely on. Developing nations are adopting clean energy quickly — at twice the pace as rich nations. So clearly they are more than “expensive, feel-good measures,” as Lomborg claims, if they are quite literally bringing light to the most impoverished areas of the planet. It turns out that renewables are so promising that they seem to be leapfrogging fossil fuels, which is why Bangladesh leads the world in small solar-power home installations. The success story of renewables is, contrary to Lomborg’s opinion, something to be happy about.
Clean-energy growth has been booming, with strong future growth predictions. Wind, solar, and geothermal have all been expanding rapidly, with at least 17,000 megawatts of these three energy sources — equivalent to about 17 new nuclear reactors, enough to power around 13 million homes — under construction in the United States in 2013. China installed 36,000 megawatts of hydro, solar, wind and nuclear in 2013 and is on course to add more generating capacity from renewables by 2035 than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined. In 2013 more than a fifth of the world’s electricity came from renewables, and clean energy accounted for over half of all net additions to global power capacity. Twenty percent of the world’s electricity is hardly “imperceptible” in terms of climate impact, as Lomborg claims renewables will remain for decades.
Far from alarmist, the growing attention to climate change simply recognizes the facts. Yet the Wall Street Journal prefers to give its readers the same old song and dance: Don’t worry; be happy. Unfortunately, the evidence simply does not fit — unless you’re Lomborg, whose work shows a consistent “perversion of the scientific method,” and who is backed by the fossil-fuel industry.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CT&P) – Sources close to Senator James Inhofe are telling the Washington Post that the politician from Oklahoma is so stupid that he cannot find his ass even when he utilizes both hands.
“The man is as dumb as a box of rocks,” said an aide to the senator, on the condition that he remain anonymous. “He has roughly the same IQ as a tapir running around in a South American rain forest. I’m relatively new to the staff, so I don’t know how long he’s been like this, but let me tell you, the man has trouble crossing the fucking street by himself. It’s a classic case of ‘lights on-nobody home.’”
The revelation is all the more alarming because as a result of the November elections Senator Inhofe has assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“It’s like making Barney Fife secretary of defense,” said Dr. Frank Black of the Banzai Institute in Holland Township, New Jersey. “This guy actually believes that the Bible somehow refutes man-made climate change. He’s as bad as those savages in the Middle East that want to take us back to the 7th Century. He belongs in a mental institution or a third grade science class or anywhere other than the U.S. Senate. The man is a menace.”
Senator Inhofe has become famous for his idiotic statements in the past, such as the time he compared the rise of gay rights to the sinking of the Titanic. Most Americans have up to this point considered him another Tea Party type clown with the native intelligence of cement block, but many are now alarmed that he is chairman of an important committee.
Inhofe’s first act as committee chairman was to take the floor and drone on and on about how anthropologic climate change is a giant hoax perpetrated by scientists who just want funding to continue their lavish lifestyles.
“Man made climate change is just a giant conspiracy like the moon landings and the JFK assassination,” said Inhofe. “We can’t trust these scientists at all, they’re just like doctors. Everyone knows it’s better to pray to God to be healed rather than see a doctor,” raved the moron from Oklahoma.
The senator used a video made in his garage to support his arguments. The video began with a list of people who don’t agree with the vast majority of climate scientists who say human-caused carbon emissions are contributing to climate change. Inhofe said he has compiled a list of 4,000 “renowned scientists” who disagree with the 97% of climate scientists who actually have looked at the data. Inhofe’s list actually has 650 people-not 4,000, and some of whom are television meteorologists, amateur gynecologists, pizza delivery dudes, and fry cooks at McDonalds.
Conversely, one of the most recent peer-reviewed studies on the state of climate science showed that out of 4000 abstracts from peer-reviewed papers published in the past 21 years that stated a position on the cause of global warming — 97 percent of these endorsed the point that it was human-caused.
In the video, Inhofe says this is “just not true.” “Whoever heard of someone reviewing a paper on a pier?” said Inhofe. “Piers are for fishing.”
“With people as dumb as Inhofe in positions of power in the federal government, well, things don’t bode well for any meaningful action on climate change for at least the next two years,” said Dr. Black. “It really cements the image of the U.S. Senate as being ‘old, white, male, and stupid.’ One thing about it though, with guys like this and those idiots in the Tea Party on television every week, the Democrats are sure to do well in 2016.”
Whenever an act of horrific terror enrages the West, a predictable second act ensues. Furious commentators and activists on the right erupt with blanket denunciations of Islam, Muslims and their supposed plots to enslave us all under Shariah, urging that we ban the religion, stigmatize its faithful and restore the Judeo-Christian exclusivity of America. Sometimes a few even seek retribution in attacks on mosques, individual Muslims and anyone unfortunate enough to “look Muslim.”
Violent or merely loud, these are the useful idiots whose divisive blundering underscores the propaganda of al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and imitators around the world. They represent precisely the opposite of what we must do and say if we are to defeat Islamist extremism in all its manifestations.
Look behind the delusional murderers who actually carry out such crimes as the massacres at Charlie Hebdo and the Paris kosher market. What is their strategic objective? Not a military victory over the French army or even an atmosphere of fear in Paris. They seek to provoke a harsh crackdown on innocent Muslims, especially the young and unemployed, along with expressions of bigotry and discrimination—to highlight the simmering communal conflicts they hope to inflame into a “war of civilizations.”
So the extremists can only be grateful when anti-Muslim propaganda, repeated constantly in right-wing publications and broadcasts, casts them as the defenders of Islam rather than its defilers. Every time Islam is publicly defined as a religion of violence, the jihadis gain prestige. Their appeals become more persuasive to oppressed young Muslims—especially if no alternative is apparent.
Yet the narrative of endless conflict and implacable distrust is not only untrue—as we saw last week when Parisians of all faiths rallied together—but deeply destructive to traditional democratic values and strategically stupid.
Yes, we must protect the right to speak freely, including when the speech is offensive to religions and even to ethnic groups, without fear of violent responses. We must also protect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities—including the right to protest peacefully against offensive speech. That requires swift action against those who will conspire to maim, murder and terrorize—and the capacity, whenever possible, to neutralize those criminals before they act.
But Americans will need to do much more than surround ourselves with police, armies and intelligence services if we ever hope to overcome our extremist enemies. Effective counterterrorism demands a contrasting narrative of coexistence, respect, fairness and opportunity.
The elements of that political arsenal exist already—in the stories of Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim policeman who died heroically in Paris, and Lassana Bathily, the young Muslim employee who led Jews in the kosher market to safety; in the undeniable fact that the extremists murder hundreds of innocent civilians, overwhelmingly Muslim, every week; and in the secure, prosperous existence that millions of ordinary Muslim families have enjoyed in this country for decades, despite outbursts of prejudice and harassment.
We ought to note with pride that Muslims serve in the U.S. military and every branch of government, including two members of Congress, because the Constitution specifically bans any religious test for public office. (Certain figures on the religious right may need to be reminded, too.) Muslims should know that their holy days are routinely celebrated in the White House by presidents of both parties—even as all religions are subject to disbelief, criticism and even jeering satire in a free society.
The consensus among ordinary Muslims is well-known to pollsters of public opinion: By large majorities, here and abroad, they fear and disdain the violent extremists who have defamed their religion. Let’s at least stop trying to change their minds.