You may think that the worst thing the liberal mainstream mass media does is putting national security secrets on the front page, a stunt most notably pulled off by The New York Times. Well, there's worse.
In my opinion, it's how the liberal mainstream mass media downplay the threat of terrorism and Islamofascism. This is discussed at length in Dick Morris's book Fleeced and most recently in a must-read by Bruce Bawer titled Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom.
You might fit the mainstream media's love affair with terrorists under the broader rubric of its general anti-Americanism. In any event, it is a national security threat of the first order, as it lulls the American people into a false sense of security when it comes to the terrorist threat and gives aid and comfort to the terrorists. The mainstream media sanitizing, humanizing, euphemizing, rationalizing, legitimizing and otherwise perfuming and downplaying terrorism is even more dangerous than its betrayal of national security secrets.
It betrays national security secrets only on rare occasion, but everyday it is covering up the terrorist threat. Mr. Morris writes, "Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, the liberal mainstream media have been dedicated to assuaging our worries about terrorism and minimizing — and even deriding our fears."
Mr. Morris has three motives for this treasonous approach to the coverage of terrorism by the mainstream media and its partner, the Democratic Party (the two are party of the radical left and for all intents and purposes are joined at the hip):
1. To elect Democrats. The mainstream media know the Republicans take a tougher stance on terrorism. Consequently, if the threat of terrorism were adequately reported, it would drive voters away from the weak-on-terrorism, weak-on-national security Democratic Party.
2. To protect their idea of "civil rights." The mainstream media and the Democratic Party follow the American Civil Liberties Union, in viewing almost any reasonable attempt to protect us against terrorism as an infringement on civil liberties. The Democrats, the mainstream media and the ACLU would turn the Constitution into a suicide pact and make it impossible to fight terrorism.
3. To tip toe around minorities. The mainstream media and the Democrats think that full reporting on the threat of terrorism would increase racism and hate crimes directed against Muslims. This is nonsense, as after 9/11, Americans showed again what America was all about and there was none of the expected explosion of hate crimes against Muslims or others viewed responsible for 9/11. It also shows the Democrats do not hesitate to put political power ahead of national security.
I'd add a fourth motive.
4. The mainstream media and the Democratic Party, as part of its anti-Americanism, view America as the oppressor and aggressor and tends to view all those allied against America as somehow liberators and freedom fighters. This seems like utter nonsense beyond belief. I can only remind those that liberalism is a mental disorder and this perhaps is one of many manifestations of it.
This approach of the mainstream media to terrorism was illustrated again in the contrasting coverage of the liberal The New York Times and the conservative New York Post, when it came to their coverage of the connection between Islam and the radicalizing of prison inmates. This came into focus again after the recent terrorist threat in New York City that came to light on May 20 with the arrest of four alleged terrorists.
The New York Times ran an extensive news story headlined "Imams Reject Talk that Islam Radicalizes Inmates" (May 24, 2009). The article in every imaginable way tried to find there was nothing to worry about. In fact, the article suggests that Islam has nothing to do with jihadism and terrorist attacks but is a "moderating influence on Muslim felons." This is not an unusual article for The Times, as it has a long history of painting anything connected to the Muslims as sort of another Boy Scout pack at work. One of the noteworthy aspects of The Times article is that it made no attempt to get the views of those who have been documenting the history of prisons as breeding grounds for terrorism and jihadism.
In fact, as Bruce Bawer points out in his book, Surrender, The Times has a clear policy of ignoring the books and ideas of those who understand the threat that Islamists and terrorists pose to the United States.
One of the nation's foremost authorities on counterterrorism and the threat of Islamofascism is Steve Emerson, author of the classic on the subject, Jihad, Inc., and head of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
That project is viewed by many as having more know-how on terrorism than our own CIA or FBI. The Times did not consult with people like Mr. Emerson, not because they didn't know of their existence, but because Mr. Emerson's view would not fit their pro-terrorist, hard-left, liberal positions, which totally infect their news coverage.
In contrast to The New York Times' approach to this issue, the New York Post ran an op-ed piece by Mr. Emerson titled "Scourge of Our Prisons: How to stop the Muslim radicals recruiting inmates" (May 24, 2009).
He writes, "Amid all the shocking details in the disrupted plot to bomb Bronx synagogues and fire missiles at American military aircraft, one component of the case should come as no surprise — three of the alleged culprits converted to radical Islam in prison. Radical Islamists have targeted prison populations for recruitment for years."
Mr. Emerson demonstrates he actually investigated what was going on in prisons while The Times demonstrates it is only interested in perfuming, humanizing, euphemizing, sanitizing and legitimizing all those involved in the prisons and mosques in question. Take the treatment of the Imam that is the chaplain of the prison where the terrorist plotters were imprisoned. His name is Salahuddin M. Muhammad. He is also the Imam of the mosque in Newburgh, N.Y., that some of the plotters attended.
The Times paints Mr. Muhammad as someone who has never seen any prisoners becoming radicalized behind bars. And Mr. Muhammad says if he did hear "wild stuff" he would "stomp it out."
The Times holds out Mr. Muhammad as one upon whom Islam was a moderating influence. He served a 12-year term in prisons for robbery including time in Sing Sing, "where he obtained a master's degree in theology and counseling from New York Theological Seminary." He says compared to his prison days, "there's more Islamic knowledge available, the correct Islamic knowledge."
Mr. Emerson went beyond Mr. Muhammad's public relations materials that The Times digested without analyzing. First, Mr. Emerson checked on the man who hired Mr. Muhammad. He turns out to be Warrith Deen Ulman, the man who spent 20 years working with New York prisons hiring Muslim chaplains and leading prayer survivors.
He considered those responsible for 9/11 to be martyrs. Mr. Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism taped one of Mr. Ulman's sermons, during which he said, "Brothers, be prepared to fight, be prepared to kill. It's a part of the deen, and this ain't your brother just saying this, this is history, this is the Quran, nobody can deny it, and we need to let the enemies know it." (The audio clip is available at
investigativeproject.org, Mr. Emerson's Web site.)
The Wall Street Journal reported a protégé of Mr. Ulman, was the Imam and prison chaplain discussed by The Times, Mr. Muhammad. Mr. Emerson reports that the first conversation about the plot took place between one of the plotters and a government informant at Muhammad's mosque.
Mr. Emerson also reported on a Department of Justice Inspector General's report with a host of recommendations relating to radicalism in prisons. The Times says the problem, according to the report, was not radical chaplains but unsupervised inmates leading their own worship services.
Unlike The Times, Mr. Emerson noted that despite a host of recommendations to end "infiltration by religious extremists," there's little sign that any action has been taken to halt the infiltration by religious extremists.
Mr. Emerson also warns that if the Guantanamo jihadists are transferred into U.S. prisons, they will "serve as emissaries and proselytizers of Jihad to the thousands of prisoners they are exposed to." Mr. Emerson says this will result in thousands of converts to jihadism. And he adds that FBI agents he has talked to say the transfer from Guantanamo to the U.S. is insane.
Contrary to the claims of The New York Times, Mr. Emerson — who actually investigates what he writes about instead of producing the kind of fiction that appears in The Times — says the prisoners still have access to all kinds of radical literature that would lead them to jihadism and terrorism: "Wahhabist literature, Muslim Brotherhood tracts calling for Jihad, Saudi produced Qurans that exude hatred of Jews and Christians — all of this continues to flow into federal and local prisons unhampered."
Mr. Emerson also says that prison chaplains should be more carefully vetted. Mr. Emerson found in 2004 that when the New York Bureau of Prisons wanted to find if a chaplain was a radical, they would ask him if he supported terrorism. If they said no, they were granted admission.
Mr. Emerson also says prison officials should also start collecting intelligence on inmates who belong to radical groups and who talk about carrying out violence once they get out. He said that without such intelligence law enforcement has to depend on informants. And he adds that without the lucky appearance of a confidential informant in the most recent Bronx case, the terrorist attack might have been successfully carried out.
Until law enforcement completes its investigation, we will not know the whole story. But we do know this. If you rely on The New York Times — or other outlets of the mainstream media such as The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, ABC, CBS, NBC — you will get something closer to terrorists' public relations material rather than news.
You will not get the invaluable insights of experts like Mr. Emerson, and you will have no idea where our government is going wrong and how great the terrorist threat to us is at this very minute.
You have to decide where you should get your information on terrorism and jihadism. Should it be the treasonous, anti-American, anti-military, biased, dishonest and fraudulent New York Times or others in the mainstream media? Or should it be people like Mr. Emerson, who early on saw the threat of terrorism and jihadism, who investigates the problem so effectively that some consider him ahead of the FBI and CIA on the subject, and who has a track record of getting it right.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.