Complaining about liberal media bias is like complaining about a puppy peeing on the rug: it’s just what they do, and if you don’t like it then don’t have them in your house.
We’ve all seen editorials masquerading as news and television anchors impersonating objective journalists when hosting Republican debates or Sunday talk shows. We, America’s non-leftists (whether or not Republicans), know the game and filter our processing of “news” and debate questions through that lens.
But the media’s recent obsession with what Republican presidential candidates think of Muslims (or whether President Obama is one), their badgering of said candidates with questions that are irrelevant to the governing of the country, their distraction away from legitimate issues and into the looking glass of political correctness so extreme that it is literally ridiculous (i.e. not just silly but, as one online dictionary puts it, “deserving or inviting derision or mockery”) demands a response beyond “that’s just what they do.”
It started at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last Thursday when Donald Trump received a question so ignorant that I suspect the questioner was a Democratic Party plant: after calling President Obama’s a non-American Muslim, the man seemed to ask when the United States will “get rid of” its Muslim population (although one could have also interpreted him as asking when we will get rid of Islamist “training camps” that he implied exist in this country).
Trump scoffed at the question, brushed it off with a generic response, and moved on. Perfectly appropriate even if a better answer would have been a brief parry such as “I believe President Obama when he says he’s a Christian but his Iranian deal does make me wonder about his understanding of the goals of radical Islam.”
The media along with liberals like Hillary “I was appalled” Clinton and Lindsey Graham went into a frenzy of “he should have repudiated the question and the questioner,” arguing that aspiring to the highest leadership position on the planet means having a duty to set the record straight regarding any erroneous or dubious or even insulting assertions about opposition politicians or a particular faith. We know that Clinton’s “disappointment” was sincere because she “quickly put out a tweet” about it.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough called Hillary’s criticism “rich,” saying that rumors of Obama being a Muslim were spread by the Clinton campaign in 2008. Liberal Mika Brzezinski agreed: “We’re just telling the truth.” They’re referring in part to Hillary’s “as far as I know” disclaimer to her statement that then-Senator Obama is a Christian. John Heilemann, co-author of Game Change, an intensively-researched recounting of the 2008 election, said “I affirm the Scarborough-Brzezinski assertion.” (Our own Jeff Lord further explores Hillary’s role in painting Barack Obama as a Muslim in 2008.) Let’s see CNN or NBC ask Clinton about that.
The media’s pestering of Republicans about Trump’s non-comment is utter nonsense. Trump, whom readers of these pages know I’m no fan of, had no obligation to defend Barack Obama or get into a tit-for-tat about Muslims in America. Trump has rightly noted that the president wouldn’t have come to his defense if someone made a “nasty or controversial statement” about Trump. So when George “Clinton Foundation” Stephanopoulos tried to press him on the media-fueled tempest, Trump repeatedly declined to discuss it, finally saying that the president is “very capable of defending himself” and how unusual it is for The Donald to “get in hot water over not saying anything.”
Following in Hillary Clinton’s attempts to portray the GOP as the “party of Trump,” reporters asked candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum whether they share the beliefs not of Mr. Trump but of the idiot questioner, whether Trump should have corrected the questioner, and whether “you believe that President Obama is a Muslim.” Both Cruz and Santorum responded correctly and forcefully, the latter saying, “I’m not playing this (pause during which Santorum clearly muzzled an expletive) game that you guys want to play. The president can defend himself; he doesn’t need Rick Santorum to defend him. He’s got you doing that very, very well, so cut it out.”
A mushy-headed teenager at a high school in Iowa asked Trump on Saturday night whether he would “consider putting (a Muslim) in your cabinet or on your ticket.” Trump responded, “Absolutely. No problem with it.” But why doesn’t someone push back a little on the student? I’m not saying she’s wildly wrong but on what basis other than political correctness does she preface her question by saying she “considers Muslim Americans to be an important asset to our country and society”?
Yes, any individual Muslim could be a great contributor to his community, her company, his friends, or her family. But how does that Iowa teenager know? Although their numbers are increasing rapidly, there are substantially fewer Muslims in the U.S. than there are Jews or Mormons, and barely more Muslims than Jehovah’s Witnesses or Buddhists or Hindus. Has a young white girl in Urbandale, Iowa, a upper-middle class suburb of Des Moines that is over 91% white, ever even met a Muslim (or, for that matter, a Jew or a Buddhist or a Hindu)? Can she name an achievement by an American Muslim – or any Muslim – that would support her metaphysical certainty that they’re an “important asset” on a national scale? Again, my point is not that the young woman is necessarily wrong but rather that she is speaking of things she cannot possibly know or adequately understand.
Liberal journalists, on the other hand, cannot believe they are asking legitimate questions of Trump and other Republicans regarding Muslims; their only goal is to tarnish GOP candidates. So, not content with a few days of badgering Republicans about the irrelevancy of Mr. Obama’s religion or the responsibility of a presidential candidate to correct questioners, “journalist” Chuck Todd, moderating NBC’s Meet the Press, asked Dr. Ben Carson whether a president’s faith should matter. Carson’s answer: Yes, to the extent that a faith is inconsistent with the values of America and the Constitution.
Todd followed up with, “Do you believe Islam is consistent with the Constitution?” Dr. Carson did not hesitate: “No, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” Pressed on whether he would vote for a Muslim for Congress, Carson said “It depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends (for) anybody else…”
Islamist front-group CAIR called on Carson to withdraw from the presidential race, arguing that Carson is “unfit to lead” because, they claim, he implicitly called for a religious litmus test for president which is explicitly barred by the Constitution. But, as demonstrated by his openness to the (again pointless) hypothetical of voting for a Muslim member of Congress, Carson did no such thing; he never said that someone shouldn’t be allowed to run, simply that voters should not choose a Muslim president because that religion is incompatible with the Constitution.
My question itself may be controversial and un-PC, but it must be asked: What part of Dr. Carson’s assertion about Islam and its relationship to fundamental American constitutional principles is wrong?
Islam is a political system as much as it is a religion. It is a toxic blend of mosque and state that is utterly contrary to our Founding principles. It explicitly rejects modern concepts of democracy and equality. (Liberals never want to talk about the treatment of women and gays in Muslim countries.) It is beyond intolerant of other religions: The Quran demands that those of other faiths convert, pay a special tax (Jizya), or die. Sharia (the Islamic legal framework) would stifle our First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and free exercise of religions, along with trampling many other constitutional rights including equality of all before the law.
It’s true that many Muslims do not subscribe to the strictest interpretations of Islamic law just as not every Christian believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible. But there is a large and obvious difference: Kim Davis and her supporters (a good recent example of what some Americans might consider the “extreme” Christian position on the intersection of government and religion) call for accommodation, not revolution. The Pope ignorantly assails capitalism but does not endorse the destruction of the world’s leading beacon – albeit a fading one – of free enterprise or the murder of successful businessmen. Even the unhygienic “Occupy Wall Street” anti-capitalist losers and their political apotheosis, Bernie Sanders, don’t call for too much beyond loyal, if stupid, opposition.
But between the Iranian Shi’ite shouts of “Death to America,” the ever-present Sunni imams’ calls for jihad and “all-out war” against Christians (and, of course, Jews), the al Qaeda magazine’s urging their followers to target “wealthy entrepreneurs” such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and the Koch brothers for assassination, and the deafening silence of the very Muslims whom I’m told are such an asset to American society, one would have to suffer from a diagnosable level of self-delusion to avoid understanding that Islam and Islamists are, as Dr. Carson correctly noted, incompatible with not just our Constitution but with modern human life.
Carson reiterated his view on Sunday by telling the Hill that the only way he could consider supporting a Muslim candidate for president or any other office is if that Muslim “publicly rejected all the tenets of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that.” He also mentioned the Islamic concept of taqiyya which some interpret as, in part, a Quranic get-out-of-jail-free card for lying to non-Muslims in the furtherance of Muslim domination of society. No wonder CAIR was angry.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, never slow to agree with CAIR, also misconstrued Carson’s remarks as calling for a religious test to hold office, as did Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, soon followed Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, the latter apparently feeling safer criticizing the mild-mannered doctor for saying something true than criticizing Donald Trump for saying many things false and harmful (though not about Islam). Again, the media is happy to help, with the Hill calling the Carson controversy a “firestorm.”
As my Australian wife might say, good on ya, Ben. It’s about time someone was willing to respond to utterly ridiculous hypotheticals with non-politically correct answers even knowing that so-called journalists and brainwashed teenagers will be willing to pounce with hand-wringing earnestness, asking questions implying that those who speak of unpleasant reality are Islamophobes, xenophobes, and base-pandering rubes.
So let’s just get this straight – and I say this as someone who thinks that neither Mr. Trump nor Dr. Carson is the best candidate for president, though for very different reasons: Donald Trump was mostly right not correct the moronic questioner, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are right to point out the media’s role in fanning the flames of a non-issue, and Ben Carson is right that a devout (i.e. supportive of Sharia) Muslim should never be president of the United States – not because Carson or I hate Islam but because it is utterly incompatible with freedom, modernity, equal rights, and the Constitution.
Which returns us to our starting point: Liberal media bias is an unavoidable fact of life. To a certain degree people like Chuck Todd and George Stephanopoulos don’t even know they’re biased because in their cloistered worlds they seem mainstream; remember the instructive if partially apocryphal story of Pauline Kael.
So it’s one thing to consider their ordinary work while understanding their leanings; their daily or weekly exhibition of bias is of relatively (and ever-more) modest impact. But it is another thing entirely when these people foment national, international, and sectarian division by asking inane hypothetical questions about a tiny constellation of issues that approximately zero percent of Americans think is relevant as the nation tries to recover from the economic morass and national security disaster that is the Obama administration.
It’s time for every Republican candidate, when confronted by a “journalist” looking to continue an irrelevant but inflammatory conversation, to channel Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz: “Cut it out… next question.”