Media outside their comfort zone

They tend to be fine with insulting and finding fault with
Christians. But everyone else’s beliefs are out of the bounds
of serious scrutiny in our diverse and multi-cultural society.

Good thing for the corrective of ‘alternative media’ and the better reaches of the blogosphere. GetReligion has some interesting scrutiny and commentary.

Especially this clip from NYU’s Irshad Manji on the media attempt to whitewash the Muslim identity of a terrorist:

MANJI: Understanding requires analyzing, not sanitizing.
I’m not interested in hysteria. It’s clear that we have to be careful
not to reduce this story to Islam but the corrective to that is not to
whitewash Islam from public discussion of the story altogether. It’s to
put the role of religious conviction in its proper perspective. And by
the way, we won’t know what that proper perspective is until all the
details have come in. But in and among those details has to be the
detail that Major Hasan visited radical Islamist web sites, that he had
email exchanges with an extremist preacher, that he reportedly shouted
“Allahu Akbar” before he opened fire on comrades, that he told fellow
community members that he did not wish to fight fellow Muslims. So my
point simply is that this is a complex case but complexity is not
served by, you know, excising certain factors out of the equation
merely because you’re uncomfortable with them.

Time’s Nancy Gibbs has some good analysis on the equation, and how it presents us a whole new set of problems.

For eight years, Americans have waged a Global War on
Terrorism even as they argued about what that meant. The massacre at
Fort Hood was, depending on whom you believed, yet another horrific
workplace shooting by a nutcase who suddenly snapped, or it was an
intimate act of war, a plot that can’t be foiled because it is hatched
inside a fanatic’s head and leaves no trail until it is left in blood.
In their first response, officials betrayed an eagerness to assume it
was the first; the more we learn, the more we have cause to fear it was
the second, a new battlefield where our old weapons don’t work very
well and our values make us vulnerable: freedom, privacy, tolerance and
the stubborn American certainty that people born and raised here will
not reject the gifts we share.

Even as the President weighs how to fight the wars he inherited, he
and the entire U.S. security apparatus will have to figure out how you
fight a war against an enemy you can’t recognize, much less understand.
In that sense, the war on terrorism has left the battlefield and moved
to the realm of the mind.

The nature of terrorism is changing, says one of Gibbs’ sources, and
this Time article is a hopeful sign that at least some of the media are
willing to look at that and talk about it.

Soldiers sacrifice to keep us safe; somehow we failed to
keep them safe. It would be grim news for the intelligence community
and the Army if they just missed all the warning signs. It would be
worse news if they saw but chose to ignore them.

Everyone learned big lessons from this horrible event. Everyone can
see we have to change the way we do things. Even some of the media.


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