Truth and Hate

A few remarks on media coverage of the Armanious / Garas family murder in New Jersey.

Welcome to readers looking for more information on the killings of Hossam Armanious, Amal Garas, and their two daughters in Jersey City last week. Before you scroll down to read my original post on the killings, I want to share a couple of thoughts on how the mainstream media like AP/CNN and the New York Times have whitewashed the hate-crime aspect of these killings.

First of all, notice that, most glaringly, neither account makes any mention of the fact that the victims had received death threats prior to the murders.

CNN, which finally deems the story newsworthy (now that there's some juicy stuff to report about a religious hostility at the funeral), daintily says that "a theory that a Muslim angry over Internet postings was responsible for the slaying of an Egyptian Christian family is just one of several under investigation." Their story goes on to say:
But the theory -- embraced as fact by some -- has touched off a new round of anti-Muslim sentiment in a city still stinging from a post-September 11 backlash.

So now we have one of those handy vague quantifiers - "some" - to suggest that "some" irresponsible people have "embraced as fact" the possibility that religious hate played a part in this brutal killing. The real problem, and the ONLY problem as CNN sees it, is the "anti-Muslim backlash".

If you read the reports carefully, the investigators are saying that the killings definitely occurred "in the course of a robbery" because a robbery did in fact occur - money and valuables were taken (although initial reports said otherwise). They are NOT saying that robbery was the motive. It is entirely plausible to suspect that the robbery was incidental to the killings - or even a deliberate "red herring" - especially in view of the death threats that Armanious had received, and especially in view of the fact that investigators were known to be examining the transcripts of his chatroom disputes with Muslims. But if you relied on NYT and CNN, you'd never know any of that.

The media are right to refrain from jumping to conclusions, they are right to reject anti-Muslim prejudice, and they are right to call attention to the brave, good-hearted Muslims and Christians who are refusing to listen to the message of religious hate. But they are profoundly, fatally wrong to whitewash the evidence for a religious hate crime in New Jersey.

By deliberately obscuring important evidence of religious hate, the media are not doing anyone any favors. Not the Muslim world, which must honestly confront this evil in its midst. And certainly not the American public, which deserves to be kept informed of the threat from islamist violence - which has not grown less real since September 11.

"Are non-Muslims censoring themselves?" asks Irshad Manji in The Trouble with Islam (p. 189). She goes on to recall a newspaper article about Islamic extremism in Denmark, which a well-meaning non-Muslim friend had at first criticized as "stereotyping all Muslims". Manji writes that she responded, "I think they're bringing really troubling stuff to light."
There's more than one way to exploit Islam. Some Muslims exploit it as a sword, and they're goons for doing so. But just as many - or more - Muslims exploit Islam as a shield, and that's destructive too. It protects Muslims from self-inquiry and non-Muslims from guilt. (The Trouble with Islam, p. 190)

This is exactly why the MSM is destroying its own credibility. By deliberately ignoring the reality of islamist violence, it is giving credence to the suspicion that it is at best tolerating, and at worst actively abetting, religious hate.