I have been running into people lately. Last week, I had a chance breakfast encounter with “independent” Missouri Senate candidate John Wood, a meeting that I believe led to his withdrawal on Tuesday from the race.
On Wednesday of this week, I had a chance encounter with a fellow from the public defender’s office in Mayville, New York, the county seat of Chautauqua County. I was behind the fellow in the checkout line at the Tops supermarket in Mayville, a town of about 1,500 good souls as quaint and peaceful as Andy’s Mayberry.
The fellow and the checkout clerk were discussing the most notorious resident of the county jail in the jail’s history. I finessed my way into the conversation, working around the fact that, to my embarrassment, I did not know the man’s name.
It is Hadi Matar. Two weeks earlier, the 24-year-old Matar stunned the world with his brutal attack on Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution, a historically Christian and painfully liberal summer community about five miles down the road from Mayville.
I know the institution well. Some years back, I was banned from future speaking engagements after giving a talk on the media’s bias against religion. My sin was to observe the exemption the media made for Islam.
“Islamic extremists in America,” I argued, “have proven to be exactly the bogeyman that the media have long imagined the Christian right to be — patriarchal, theocratic, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice, and openly anti-Semitic.” A day or two later, I read in the institution’s newspaper that I had “stepped outside the boundaries of civil discourse.” My comments, I learned, “were not only provocative, but potentially harmful.” To the institution’s chagrin, Matar showed where the real potential for harm lies. (READ MORE from Jack Cashill: It’s About Time Liberals Apologize for Their COVID Policies)
The news of the Rushdie stabbing was no more welcome among the American media than it was at the institution. Muslim extremist Matar pulled off the most significant attack on a major cultural figure since Mark David Chapman shot the Beatles’ John Lennon 42 years prior, and the media have denied the would-be assassin a spotlight. Their motives, however, go deeper than protecting Islam’s reputation as the religion of peace.
For the record, Matar has been charged with second-degree attempted murder for the attack on Rushdie and second-degree assault for injuring another person during the attack. Until my encounter at Tops, I did not know that he was being held in the local county jail — and I follow the news. Chautauqua chief public defender, Nathaniel Barone, argued that Matar had no record and was not a flight risk. Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley, considerably saner than judges downstate, denied Matar bail.
On a hate crime of this magnitude, I assumed the FBI would have stepped in. It has not. Nor have the media beyond western New York shown much interest. There was no sign of a media presence anywhere near the jail. Had Matar used a gun, he might have given the media some cause to keep this story in the news, but he denied the media even that ghoulish pleasure.
Those following the news casually would have known only that Matar was a “New Jersey man” and that his motive for attacking Rushdie was “uncertain.” Knowing little more than that, I asked the public defender at Tops if I could speak with Matar, but the judge, I learned, ruled out interviews after Matar spoke to the New York Post from jail last week.
The son of Lebanese immigrants, Matar seems to have acted alone. He told the Post, “[Rushdie]’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.” At the public defender’s urging, Matar ducked the question of whether he was inspired by the 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late Iranian supreme leader, but he admitted, “I respect the ayatollah. I think he’s a great person.” He also expressed surprise that Rushdie survived.
As to Rushdie, there has been almost no news on his condition in the last 10 days. Although he seems to be on the mend, he will never be the same. He suffered major liver damage, a severed nerve in his arm, and is likely to lose an eye.
With their near silence, the media are not just working to preserve Islam’s slice of the multicultural rainbow. In a New York Times op-ed, columnist Bret Stephens suggests a secondary reason for the media’s collective failure to pursue a story of such global consequence: the Biden administration’s pending nuclear deal with Iran.
Stephens documents at some length Iran’s “campaign of assassination, kidnapping and intimidation of its critics from its earliest days.” That campaign is ongoing. It includes a recent planned assassination of Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, and a reported million-dollar bounty on the head of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Making a deal with Iran now,” writes the neo-conservative Stephens, “is about as wise as striking a new arms-control agreement with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
Matar took his inspiration from the ayatollah, but it is unlikely he took his marching orders from Iran. In a similar vein, the media take their inspiration from the White House. They do not need marching orders. They know instinctively that the more they talk about Matar, the more difficult it will be for President Joe Biden and pals to pull off a deal with the murderous thugs who run Iran.
Like the president they shill for, journalists care more about November than they do about our nuclear future.
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