Monday, March 13, 2006

Avoiding the obvious

If I told you that a man had committed a crime in full view of multiple witnesses and that this man had been quite vocal about his reasons for committing the crime, would you be surprised if the news media omitted this detail in their reporting of the event? I mean, if the guy robbed your local bank and was spewing on about stealing the money because he thought all you rich bastards just had too much money for his liking, wouldn’t you expect your newspaper to carry a family-friendly version of that comment? (Maybe not so family-friendly, either...) Sure you would. The reason for his actions is an important part of the story and a story like that would most surely be news.

So why is it that a man can go out of his way to plan and execute an attempt to mow down as many people as he can with a rented SUV, speak plainly about his reasons and background to the cops and anyone else who’ll listen, and the news media won’t pass those details along? From Mark Steyn’s latest:

This week's Voldemort Award goes to the New York Times for their account of a curious case of road rage in North Carolina:

"The man charged with nine counts of attempted murder for driving a Jeep through a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last Friday told the police that he deliberately rented a four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could 'run over things and keep going.' "

The driver in question was Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar.

Whoa, don't jump to conclusions. The Times certainly didn't. As the report continued:

"According to statements taken by the police, Mr. Taheri-azar, 22, an Iranian-born graduate of the university, felt that the United States government had been 'killing his people across the sea' and that his actions reflected 'an eye for an eye.'"

"His people"? And who exactly would that be? Taheri-azar is admirably upfront about his actions. As he told police, he wanted to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world."

And yet the M-word appears nowhere in the Times report. Whether intentionally or not, they seem to be channeling the great Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali, who died a millennium ago but whose first rule on the conduct of dhimmis -- non-Muslims in Muslim society -- seem to have been taken on board by the Western media:

The dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle. . . .

Are they teaching that at Columbia Journalism School yet?

A fellow called Mohammed mows down a bunch of students? Just one of those things -- like a gran'ma in my neck of the woods a couple of years back who hit the wrong pedal in the parking lot and ploughed through a McDonald's, leaving the place a hideous tangle of crumbled drywall, splattered patties and incendiary hot apple-pie filling. Yet, according to his own statements, Taheri-azar committed an act of ideological domestic terrorism, which he'd planned for two months. He told police he was more disappointed more students in his path weren't struck and that he'd rented the biggest vehicle the agency had in order to do as much damage to as many people as possible. The Persian car pet may have been flooring it, but the media are idling in neutral, if not actively reversing away from the story as fast as they can.

Try as they and their supporters might to deny it, the glaringly obvious fact is that they’ve decided to report this terrorist attack as anything but so they can avoid giving any support to the notion that terrorists do, indeed, want to attack Americans here on American soil. If the story gives any credence to that idea or might be construed to offer support to the Administration and/or the concept of recognizing where the greatest threat for terror attacks lies, they’ll scramble for the cover of downplaying or ignoring outright critical details of a story. If they can work in a reference to Abu Ghraib, so much the better.

The fact of this case is a matter of police record now: this guy decided to kill Americans because he felt Muslims were due their lives. And why’s that? Why, because any offense to a Muslim is a terminal offense in his eyes and that’s just the way it goes. Someone thousands of miles away you’ve never heard of gets “wronged” in the eyes of an American muslim who feels that “American” is the lesser part of his citizenship and next thing you know he’s aiming a 4x4 at you and praying to Allah almighty that you go down in a bloody heap under his tires. But CNN, the NY Times, and the Washington Post would prefer you not dwell on the facts and, therefore, they decide you don’t need to read about them.

This isn’t an isolated incident in the media, either. Readers of this blog know that I’ve spoke about this several times before. The sad fact is that I hardly ever need to repeat my examples, there are so many of them. Take this one, for example, covered by Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

More than 8,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have deserted since the Iraq war began, USA Today reported Tuesday.

"Some lawyers who represent deserters say the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service and that the Pentagon is cracking down on deserters to discourage antiwar sentiment," wrote reporter Bill Nichols.

" 'The last thing (Pentagon officials) want is for people to think ... that this is like Vietnam,' said Tod Ensign, head of Citizen Soldier, an antiwar group that offers legal aid to deserters."

Mr. Ensign is full of horse manure, as Mr. Nichols demonstrates in his story. The data show desertions have plunged since 9/11, and are much lower than during the Vietnam war.

The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in the 2001 fiscal year, but only 3,456 in 2005, Mr. Nichols noted. In 1971, the Army reported 33,094 desertions, 3.4 percent of its total force. In 2005, desertions represented just 0.24 percent of 1.4 million of active service members.

Daily Pundit mentioned the same item:

Why is this the lede:

At least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began, Pentagon records show, although the overall desertion rate has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Instead of this?

Desertion numbers have dropped since 9/11. The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in 2001, compared with 3,456 in 2005. The Marine Corps showed 1,603 Marines in desertion status in 2001. That had declined by 148 in 2005.

The desertion rate was much higher during the Vietnam era. The Army saw a high of 33,094 deserters in 1971 - 3.4% of the Army force. But there was a draft and the active-duty force was 2.7 million.

Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.

Probably because the real story sounds too much like good news, so the objective DNC whore who wrote this "news" piece decided to twist the lede graf into something that sounds more damaging.

Dead on accurate. The real story in that set of statistics is that desertions have gone down significantly, and during a time of war, as opposed to the other way around. If the military were losing heart the way the media’s been trying to pound into your head it is then you’d expect desertions to be rising not falling. It’s way, way down and that’s a sign that our soldiers aren’t losing faith in their mission. There’s simply no other reason to reverse the implication of this story by running the lead paragraph the say it was except that the news, unfiltered, doesn’t match the authors desired narrative.

If the government was caught so blatantly burying critical pieces of their story in an effort to change public opinion and undermine the press, you’d never be able to outrun the coverage. Hell, the media and the Left are still harping on that “Bush lied!” without any proof of such a thing. Imagine the firestorm if they actually could show that he had. The media’s got a “do as I say, not as I do” approach, however, and it’s coloring the coverage of almost every news outlet in the nation.

Here’s the real question: with such examples as these where the media is clearly intentionally distorting the truth in an effort to generate the declining poll numbers (which they then gleefully report as proof of their previous distortions) how are we to trust anything they say? And if we cannot trust them, who do we go to for the real information we need, as citizens, to make the informed decisions we must in a system of governance such as ours? Once upon a time, the media filled that role and they were proud to do so. Ever since Watergate, they’ve been stuck on the notion that the only “good” reporting is the earth-shattering, scandal-uncovering, Administration-killing, blockbuster kind that makes a reporter’s name a household word. And so long as that’s the goal, then truthful reporting of the facts cannot occur. The media need a serious adjustment and I hope they make it before their credibility tanks so badly that they foster the very environment they fear: a citizenry so pessimistic that they’ll never learn the truth that they figure there’s no point in trying.