On Tuesday, an apparent Islamist terrorist rammed a truck into dozens of Americans on a bike path in New York City, killing eight and injuring over ten. He popped out of the truck shouting “Allahu Akhbar” before being captured by police.
Imagine that a white supremacist had driven a truck onto a bike path filled with minority innocents, killing eight of them. Imagine that the white supremacist had emerged from his truck carrying aloft a Confederate flag.
Imagine that the media had leapt to the defense of those flying the Confederate flag, explaining that only a tiny minority of those who did so had engaged in any sort of racist violence. Imagine that all of America’s major political leaders said the same, and told those who connected the terrorism with the Confederate flag that their viewpoints represented bigotry. Imagine, too, that CNN ran a chyron reading “WITNESSES: SUSPECT WAS CARRYING SOUTHERN VERSION OF AMERICAN FLAG,” and then hosted panels assuring audiences that the Confederate flag was simply a symbol of Southern pride.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it?
Yet that was precisely the chain of events that took place after yet another Islamist terror attack on American soil. …
Why the difference?
The answer lies in a serious problem of bias. The media believe that Americans, by and large, are racist Islamophobes. They are the problem. They’re the problem if perpetrators are Muslim, in which case the backlash from non-Muslim Americans must be pre-emptively curbed; they’re the problem if the perpetrators are white supremacists, in which case Americans must answer for their supposed connections to white supremacism.
That’s nonsense. If we’re going to start attributing terrorist ideologies to broader movements, we’re going to have to abide by that rule across the board; if, by contrast, we’re going to distinguish terrorist ideologies from other ideologies, let’s do that across the board. But you can’t connect white supremacism to Ed Gillespie and Confederate flag-owners while adamantly disconnecting Islamism from Islam. That’s intellectually dishonest.
hat-tip Scott of the Pacific