Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homegrown jihad and the MSM

After the shooting of George Tiller, the media was full of dire warnings about right-wing terrorists committing acts of terror directed against abortion clinics. Granted, there haven't been all that many such acts in the recent past, but that didn't stop the talking heads from wringing their hands over the possibility.

Few would-be providers of public opinion said any such thing about the shooting of the Army recruiter by an Islamic convert, though. That guy, the pundits declared, was clearly an isolated nut. There were a few "lone wolf" references scattered throughout the handful of restrained pieces on the topic.

But not everybody, apparently, thinks we should be more worried about the Tiller shooting than about the killing of Private Long:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Carlos Bledsoe's transformation from Tennessee youth to an American-born Islamic extremist charged in a bloody rampage outside an Arkansas military recruiting station may signal an ominous new wave of violent homegrown jihadists, counterterror officials say.

National security officials have long feared the emergence of a new breed of American militants who would raise little suspicion as they move in and out of the country carrying out the aims of terrorist groups like al-Qaida.

''It's the manifestation of a problem that the counterterrorism community has been worried about all along,'' said Juan Zarate, a top counterterrorism official in the Bush administration. Their worries center on ''a radicalized individual who decides to take matters into his own hands.''

Abdulhakim Muhammad, who grew up in Memphis, Tenn., converted to the Islamic faith, changed his name from Bledsoe, and traveled to Yemen in 2007. He was later arrested for overstaying his visa and deported back to the U.S., where he slid quietly into life in Little Rock, Ark., apparently unnoticed by U.S. law enforcement.

Muhammad was charged with killing Pvt. William Andrew Long, 23, of Conway, Ark., who had just completed basic training and was volunteering at the west Little Rock recruiting office before starting an assignment in South Korea. He was shot dead on June 1 while smoking a cigarette outside the building. A fellow soldier, Pvt. Quinton I. Ezeagwula, 18, of Jacksonville, Ark., was wounded. And an FBI-Homeland Security intelligence assessment document suggested Muhammad may have considered targeting other locations, including Jewish and Christian sites in several eastern U.S. cities.
You would think that after this Associated Press article came out (and was carried in the New York Times, among other places) that some of the mainstream media's opinion voices would have said something along the lines of, "Oh, yes, there's a chance that homegrown Islamic terrorism might be a problem in the near future," before going back to warning people that the elderly couple with the rosaries in front of the abortion clinic could snap into violent action any second. But you would be wrong. Oh, sure, the MSM voices linked the Holocaust Museum shooting to the Tiller murder, because it gave them the opportunity to talk about "right-wing hate," as if the average pro-life American is also a neo-Nazi white supremacist just slavering at the thought of killing anybody they disagree with. No caricature of pro-life Americans is ever too absurd for the mainstream press to promote.

But counterterrorism experts appear to be more concerned about the possible advent of homegrown Islamic terrorism than they are about the lone-nut variety resposnible for both the Tiller shooting and the Holocaust Museum attack. Both perpetrators of those two events were clearly on the fringes of fringes, and had all sorts of missing marbles which in retrospect might have been clues to their ultimate intentions.

And it may be that Private Long's killer belongs in the same category, that there's not going to be a surge in violence among members of America's Islamic community--but the fact that counterterrorism experts raise the possibility makes it seem like the mainstream media might discuss it for a second or two.

It may not be bias that's responsible for their failure to do so, though. Those shootings happened, in media time, a looooong time ago. Meanwhile, they've had other things occupy their...oh, look, a fly!

1 comment:

LarryD said...

Good post, Erin. Guess how long before the MSM starts reporting on the death threats received by Fr Pavone and Jill Stanek?

Probably right after they report on the story you cited.