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April 22, 2013

Media: "Please Don't Stereotype Muslims (Like We Stereotype White Males, Tea Partiers, Etc.)"

Now that the Boston bombers have been found, it's time for an after action report on press coverage of the tragedy. Mark Steyn sums up the delightfully un-selfconscious cognitive dissonance:

...if nothing else, the Boston bombing has usefully distilled the media template for such stories to its absolute essence.

Stage One:

Let’s Hope The Boston Marathon Bomber Is A White American

Stage Two:

The Boston Bombers Were Muslim: So?

Translation: stereotypes based on group identity (race, gender, faith, or socioeconomic status) are stupid, ignorant, and wrong/bad... except when they're used by Really Smart People Like Us to educate Really Dumb People Like You. Enter David Sirota (recently of "#Siroting" fame):

...There is a double standard: White terrorists are dealt with as lone wolves, Islamists are existential threats

Did we miss something? Perhaps the unifying ideology that unites "white terrorists"? Why do the press find race-und-gender stereotyping to be less dangerous than stereotyping people based on entirely voluntary decisions such as... say, joining an extremist group whose raison d'etre involves the deeply intolerant smiting of non-believers? Oh well, at least Herr Sirota had mathemagic firmly on his side:

Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings* across the country

Two involved partners (Columbine and Westside Middle School), for a total of 64 killers.

Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.

Simple arithmetic says that 19 were male shooters of color, unless Mother Jones can't identify white people accurately.

So, are white men over-represented in that group? Well, men are over-represented in this group: men are about half the total population but over 98% of mass shooters.

But once we embrace the grim reality that mass shooters are men, white men don't look so bad. In the US, whites are roughly 70% of the population today and were a higher proportion back when this time series begins in 1980 (per this chart, non-Hispanic whites were 80% of the population in 1980).

And 44 of the 63 male shooters were white, which is 70%. So whites are engaging in mass shootings roughly in proportion to their place in the population. Will that track over to bombers? Who knows?

Thankfully NPR, home to Highly Evolved Humyns who would never stoop to thinly disguised Demonization of The Other, were more tolerant and objective:

“The thinking, as we’ve been reporting, is that [the Boston Marathon bombing] is a domestic, extremist attack,” explained Temple-Raston. “And officials are leaning that way, largely because of the timing of the attack.”

Temple-Raston explained that the month of April was “a big month for anti-government and right wing individuals,” citing Hitler’s birthday, the Columbine school shooting, the Oklahoma City bombing and the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.

Ah - the joyous rites of Spring, when a pallid man's right-wing whack job's thoughts naturally turn to blowing up his fellow human beings! And if he (isn't it always a "he", the media's laudable refusal to endorse outdated gender stereotypes notwithstanding) can manage to do it on Hitler's Birthday, so much the better!

Fortunately for our national sanity, a few brave souls are still willing to abjure one-sided politicization of tragedies like the Boston bombing:

We need more restraint and less wild guessing. Free-flowing debate in the search for meaning is a part of these moments and a part of the human condition, but what I’m talking about is using tragedy for evidence shopping. That people reach immediately for their pet political theory at moments like this highlights what's wrong with a lot of political debate. But perhaps this moment also offers a useful sorting technique. If you can't shut up now, when either reason, decency, or good taste requires it, you disqualify yourself from the conversation in calmer times.

Sadly, mean spirited haters lurk in the comments sections of these Enlightened Souls, just waiting to pounce:

Sorry, Dickerson, but it'll be a cold day in Hell when I take advice for evenhandedness from a man who called for Obama to destroy Republicans.

Hmmmm... how much do you want to bet said commenter is a white male?

Posted by Cassandra at April 22, 2013 07:05 AM

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Ummmm....the Branch Davidian compound affair was a government operation compliments of Janet Reno and Slick (Cigar) Willy!!! Granted they *were* melatoninally-disadvantaged....
And I find it telling in the extreme that a great many talking a$$es on the left know the month of Hitler's birthday by rote.

Posted by: DL Sly at April 22, 2013 12:46 PM

I find it telling in the extreme that a great many talking a$$es on the left know the month of Hitler's birthday by rote.

Someone Left Hitler's Cake Out in the Rain...
All that sweet, green icing pouring down
Someone Left Hitler's Cake Out in the Rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe agaaaaaaaaaaaain

Posted by: Richard Harris at April 22, 2013 12:50 PM

Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me:
it is a wise father that knows his own child.
Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son: give me your blessing: truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long;
a man's son may, but at the length truth will out.

-Wm. Shakespeare Merchant of Venice

Posted by: spd rdr at April 22, 2013 12:51 PM

Let's not have a rush to judgement.

I mean, it was 1979 when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as the Supreme Leader of the (ahem) Islamic Republic of Iran, exhorted his people that they were at war with the "Great Satan" (that's us, kids). And we have been told at various times that people of Islamic persuasion were going to wreak revenge on us.

World Trade Center Bombing #1, 1993
Khobar Towers 1995
Embassy bombings, 1998
USS Cole, 1999
World Trade Center destroyed, 2001
Major Hassan murders 14 while shouting "Allah Akbar!", 2007

Let us not rush to judgement. There is a nuanced position to be found. And if you don't like this one, we have another.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 22, 2013 01:41 PM

truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long;
a man's son may, but at the length truth will out.

Is my slip is showing? :p

Posted by: Sigmund Freud's Cross-Dressing Ghost at April 22, 2013 01:46 PM

This also amused our reverse side away extremely, Don:

This piece in The Atlantic is a good exemplar of the mushy liberal commentary that has proliferated in recent days. Authored by one Megan Garber, it is titled: “The Boston Bombers Were Muslim: So?” Before taking a close look at Ms. Garber’s article, let’s advise The Atlantic not to put away that headline. It could come in handy so often. “The Cole Bombers Were Muslim: So?” “The Embassy Bombers Were Muslim: So?” “The First World Trade Center Bombers Were Muslim: So?” “The September 11 Bombers Were Muslim: So?” “The Madrid Bombers Were Muslim: So?” “The London Bombers Were Muslim: So?” “The Shoebomber Was Muslim: So?” The Underwear Bomber Was Muslim: So?” “The Fort Hood Shooter Was Muslim: So?” “The Beslan Child-Murderers Were Muslim: So?” “The Times Square Bomber Was Muslim: So?”

We could keep this up for a very long time, but let’s move on to Ms. Garber’s soulful meanderings. I will quote Garber at length, lest you think I am cherry-picking her musings to make her look stupid:


Posted by: Do Cats Have Elbows? at April 22, 2013 01:48 PM

Shocking Evidence of the NRAs complicity in Murder of Children: Adam Lanza once received mail from them!

Posted by: What Stereotyping? I'm not stereotyping, I'm libeling at April 22, 2013 02:03 PM

It came to my attention a few days ago that a year of Columbia journalism training will set one back a little over $80,000 per year. Northwestern U's Medill School of Journalism, David Sirota's waterboarder, probably goes for about as much.

Temple Ralston, also NU, but not journalism – still not cheap.

It appears to me, all things and culprits considered, that in the annals of humankind never has so much been spent to have so many left with a bias but without a clue.

Posted by: Joe "Cottages-To-Let" Biden at April 22, 2013 02:07 PM

Brings new meaning to the aphorism about the expense of education vice ignorance, don't it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 22, 2013 02:28 PM

My concern is this:
There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.6 million Muslims currently living in the U.S., and that number is projected to at least double by 2030. Now, let us grant that 99.7% of these folks are God-fearing, freedom-loving, hard working, tax paying A-mur-cans. Good people and good neighbors who love baseball and are active in the PTA. Welcome! And God Bless America! But let us also suppose that there's 0.3% of this population is comprised of young disaffected males of the sort that are susceptible to radicalization. (This is not a wholly unreasonable supposition, as that is the about the same percentage of the U.S. population that are street gang members, which is just radicalization of another sort.) According to my official Mickey Mouse "close enough" calculator, that 0.3% translates into about 7,800 young Muslim men who are currently at risk of becoming radicalized bad actors. (If you think that 0.3% is too high a number, choose another. Only two brothers created enough mayhem to shut down a city the size of Boston for a week.) Islam doesn't cause terrorism anymore than Harley-Davidson causes Hell's Angels, but ignoring the connection, in either instance, is just plain cowardly.

Posted by: spd rdr - lesser satan at April 22, 2013 03:47 PM

Islam doesn't cause terrorism anymore than Harley-Davidson causes Hell's Angels, but ignoring the connection, in either instance, is just plain cowardly.

Had I had more time this morning, I was going to write about a statistical 'argument' that is about as close to using Math to miss the forest for the trees as I've ever seen :p

Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow.

Posted by: Do Cats Have Elbows? at April 22, 2013 05:25 PM

Statistics! Oh boy!
My head is already spinning in anticipation.

Question: Do cats have elbows?

of course they do, if you take one of their "hands" you can feel it. you can't see it, but you can touch it and feel it. and you can maybe see it when they are sitting.

Question: Can cats laugh?

of course they can. if you whack their little tiny elbows hard with a mallet you'll see that they have funny bones too.

There's nothing quite like snuggling up with a couple of warm cats after a hard days work, so throw another pair on the fire, won't you?.

Posted by: spd rdr - married into cats at April 22, 2013 05:54 PM

"Islam doesn't cause terrorism anymore than Harley-Davidson causes Hell's Angels, but ignoring the connection, in either instance, is just plain cowardly."

That's muddling cause and effect with effect and cause; Hell's Angels may well be instrumental, certainly influential, and more certainly a contributing factor to the continued existence of Harley-Davidsons.

Not only is Islam generally the cause, it is specifically the cause of terrorism; from the one-eyed, one-armed, lice infested imam in some –stan to the King Fahd Complex in Saudi Arabia to Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Islam breeds, condones, sanctions, demands, and promotes, supremacism, enmity, terrorism, and death.

On Terror.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed - the general manager of Al-Arabiya television writes:
"The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!"
"Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture."

The West, i.e., LibProgSocs, pundits, luminaries, professors, and apologists write:
It's All Our Fault
Your terrorist sons are the end-product of centuries of our culture of, racism, Orientalism, colonialism - and don't forget the Crusades.

Posted by: George Pal at April 22, 2013 06:09 PM

mr rdr, we are guessing that you will NOT be invited to the next Cat Fanciers of America soiree :p

I don't mind cats. I'm deathly allergic to them, but somehow this only convinces them that I want to form a close, personal relationship of the kind that generally results in my eyeballs lighting themselves on fire. But we're OK so long as I remember never to touch my eyes after scratching their adorable cat-ears until I've washed my hands.

Posted by: Do Cats Have Elbows? at April 22, 2013 06:25 PM

George, George, George:

*Everyone* knows that White Males (pallidensus australopithecus oppressor) cause terrorism with your insensitive, estrogen-harshing ways.

Just ask the media. The only way to escape condemnation is to pre-emptively apologize for breathing and admit your inferiority.

Sheesh :)

Posted by: Do Cats Have Elbows? at April 22, 2013 06:28 PM

That's muddling cause and effect with effect and cause;

You underestimate me, George. I was muddling far, far more than just cause and effect. I was muddling the empiric with the anecdotal, the canonical with the illicit, the puritanical with the prosaic, and "Magic Carpet Ride" with "Born To Be Wild." Be that as it may, I must stand by my utterly unsupported conclusions with the unwavering conviction that Dan Rather was right all along: Just because it's all bullshit doesn't mean it's not also true.

Posted by: spd rdr - married into cats at April 22, 2013 06:49 PM

Some are born to cats. Others have cats thrust upon them.

/running for the barricades

Posted by: Malvolio's Bratty Little Sister at April 22, 2013 07:16 PM

Dayum, Mr. Rdr, I hope that if I am ever in a situation where I would have need of your particular career skills, I will have the ability to pay for them.

Posted by: DL Sly at April 22, 2013 11:54 PM

Джон Керри является полным поц.

You don't really need a translator to figure out what follows when the first two words are "John" and "Kerry."

Posted by: Russian Translation by Bob Butchcut at April 23, 2013 04:20 PM

US Secretary of State compares the 2 tragedies saying he has "deep feelings when violence happens";

Oh. Dear. God. Why is our Sec. of State talking about his feelings? I feel a sex-and-relationships post coming on. Or maybe just a rant about the human weathervane... the Boston Fog Machine... the erstwhile junior senator from Massachusetts.

Posted by: Cass at April 23, 2013 04:56 PM

Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that the Ship of State is being navigated by a person who cannot distinguish between his heart and his head?

Posted by: LOL Mushroom Clouds at April 23, 2013 05:55 PM

The thought of John Foragainst Kerry running *anything* literally terrifies me.

I'm just glad he's at State where he can't do much harm... I hope :p I'm still thankful he's not SecDef.

Posted by: Cass at April 23, 2013 06:45 PM

With John Kerry, it could be post traumatic stress disorder. Did you know, that he served in Viet Nam?

April 30- May 1 is a big "holiday" in Viet Nam, as it is the anniversary of "re-unification" day. I learned that in an e-mail from our factory in Viet Nam the other day. They are all going to have a big picnic.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 24, 2013 10:32 PM

There's been a drive by shooting in Compton! Let's question the young white males in Brentwood.

There's been a double homicide, a husband and wife, in Beverly Hills! We better question some young Hispanic men in South Central.

Profiling is bad, unless it meets our desires.

Actually I was quite surprised over the identity of these perpetrators. It read "young white disaffected domestic" to me. Re: Bill Ayers.

Thankfully, it was amateur hour. A real terrorist act would have claimed hundreds of lives, or more.

Posted by: Allen at April 25, 2013 12:03 AM


Posted by: MikeD at April 25, 2013 09:08 AM

Isn't that just the way of Obama + his loving Dem fans?
Their usual tactic is: Always find a way for Obama to punch up the GOP + Caucasian people, when a Caucasian man/women does a minor thing, like get a traffic ticket.

But they try to cover up any violence or crime done by non-GOP people, non-Caucasian people + non-GOP Christian people. Not that GOP Christians are better people, but please hold all Democrats, GOP people, + Christians, + Muslims, to the same rules of right and wrong. please do that, for an honest America.

Also, Obama knows how to be the lowest of the low, when he wants to take CHEAP SHOTS and CHEAP JUDGMENTAL SHOTS, at his opponents.

Such as, I think it is today, he went to a Planned Parenthood group's meeting + said a statement like:

[THERE ARE OPPONENTS of our plans,in the U.S. who want to roll back WOMEN'S health care, roll it back to the 1950s. So we must stop them].

Just so you know, when he says[opposing women's health care], he mostly means abortion rights.

Ok, Mr. Obama...HOW MANY USA PEOPLE want to take away all USA WOMEN'S access to abortion?

Is it two people? Maybe four people? Most of the Republicans that I know are pretty open minded on giving women rights to abortions. Who did he find, these people that oppose his ideas?

You notice how he can't name any numbers in his "unnamed enemies want to take away our abortion access" argument. That is suspicious.

You also notice that he can't name any names in his "unnamed enemies want to take away our abortion access" argument. that is suspicious.

Wow, you took a big risk, by not naming those people, Mr. Obama.

As usual, or maybe even more-so now, when he isn't popular today, when his chips are down,

Obama falls back on his usual methods of dealing with his opponents, and Republicans, who don't agree with him:

by acting like a bully, a backbiter, a cheat, and a liar.

Even a 10 year old kid, and even a 12 year old kid, knows that this isn't fair.

Posted by: TR at April 26, 2013 07:15 PM

TR, TR, TR, don't you realize that *fair* is in the eye of the beerholder?

Posted by: The Wizzerd of Izz at April 28, 2013 01:11 PM

@The Wizzerd of Izz:


That's really funny, The Wizzerd of Izz!

Heh, heh!

Posted by: TR at April 28, 2013 11:46 PM