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March 23, 2012

Media Pretty Sure of George "White Hispanic" Zimmerman's Racist Motive, But Not Quite Sure What Might Have Motivated Mohammad Merah

I'd like to propose a new category of bias to cover this.

Merah’s motivation seems blindingly clear. Apparently not. “Mohamed Merah stands before us like an overgrown adolescent, unemployed, at loose ends, soft-hearted but at the same time disturbed and incoherent,” Tariq Ramadan, professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University, wrote on Friday. If only the “soft-hearted” jihadist had a job and higher self-esteem. Paris-based writer Diana Johnstone, who previously wrote a book doubting the Srebrenica massacre, told an interviewer that France’s “chickens were coming home to roost” because of its foreign policy. Britain’s Stop the War Coalition, fronted by Labour Party grandee Tony Benn, argued on its website that shooting children was “the terrible and disastrous outcome of the West’s war policies and anti-Muslim racism.” The article made no mention of anti-Semitism.

While those inhabiting the left-wing fringe apportioned blame to France and Israel’s policies, many mainstream media and political figures—lazily assuming this was an Anders Breivik-style terrorist attack—blamed the violence on the rhetoric employed by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s faltering reelection campaign.

Before Merah was fingered as the killer, centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou argued that murders in Toulouse “had their roots in the current state of French society,” referencing recent debates over immigration. The New York Times speculated that the shootings “were somehow inspired by anti-immigrant political talk,” arguing that Breivik’s mass murder in Oslo was provoked “in some way by too harsh a debate in Norway about immigrants and foreigners.” A column by The Guardian’s former opinion page editor (and two unsigned editorials from the same paper) also implied the murders were the work of far-right terrorists, stirred to action by Sarkozy.

And now, not so much.

Now -- who knows why he did it. One cannot speak intelligently of the motivations of the clinically insane, you know. A madman's motive is madness, that's all.

The bias here is Whoopie Goldberg's favorite stupid dodge -- "You don't know! We don't know!" and variations thereupon. A false claim of perfect ignorance is used as an excuse to avoid the topic entirely -- we don't know anything about this Madman's Motives, so let's ignore them entirely.

Ooh, look! George Zimmerman! His motives we know!

(As we knew the Duke Lacrosse Team's motives for gang-raping putrescent nightrcrawler Crystal Gayle Mangum. Or we knew the motives -- wannabe cop! -- for Richard Jewel's bombing of the Olympics. )

The media is very inconsistent about when it "knows" things and when the picture is just too darned fuzzy to say anything.

And then it justifies plainly agenda-driven decisions about coverage on the basis of just not knowing enough to say.

Well, let's say, hypothetically, that we don't know Mohammad Merah's motive. Isn't that a reason we should therefore be discussing this, to ferret out this elusive motive?

Nope. It's a reason to ignore the story.

And what could be the motive here?

Well, we can't talk about that. Only British papers are reporting a crime committed in America.

Could it be that inflaming racial hatred of whites by blacks is actually not some consequence-free, victim-free pastime, but actually results in actual harm to people? Could it be that a steady dehumanization of anyone -- whites included -- as scary oppressors just might result in some people taking this seriously and acting according to what they've been relentlessly told?

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posted by Ace at 05:51 PM

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