News Media Dedication to Narrative Misinforms Americans About Chattanooga

A Michael Kunzelman and Kathleen Foody article from the Associated press, which the Providence Journal ran on its front page, today,  with the title “Questions surround massacre,” is absolutely stunning in the degree to which it talks 180 degrees around the obvious word “Islam.”

The message that many of our betters in the American news media believe we need to hear is that the Arabic-named shooter, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who is apparently responsible for the latest five American military personnel killed on American soil, was “as Americanized as anyone else.”  He could have been anybody, really.  If anything’s to blame, it’s probably his father, who was in counseling after his wife initiated divorce proceedings after physical violence and abuse six years ago.  You know, just like the typical Southern family, in the eyes of the Coastal media.

So, the young man grew a “bushy new beard,” which might have been an homage to the Duck Hunters or the Boston Red Sox, for all we know.  “Investigators are trying to understand” the kid’s motivation and have to admit that the action “raised the specter of terrorism.”  President Obama’s spinners are being a little more specific, calling it “domestic terrorism.”  As this 2009 article from the FBI makes clear, the federal government makes a distinction between “globally-fueled terrorism,” of the al Qaeda/ISIS variety, and “domestic terrorism,” which is “based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies.”

Investigators are looking at Abdulazeez’s online activities, but the AP doesn’t mention that they included, as the Christian Science Monitor puts it, “blog posts about Islam,” including one stating that “life is short and bitter and the opportunity to submit to allah may pass you by.”  The AP mentions that his “foreign travel” is of interest, but doesn’t mention where he went, notably Jordan, according to the New York Times.

According to the AP, investigators are also “searching for clues to his political contacts or influences,” perhaps hoping to find some Tea Party connection.  And again, we’re assured that people who knew him where he grew up found him “utterly ordinary.”  On MSNBC, one of his classmates emphasizes that he was “devout and Muslim,” while his sister “always talked about religion,” but Andrea Mitchell redirects to talk about whether he was into guns.

Oh, and he was a wrestler in high school, but surely we wouldn’t want to take the coincidence of that sport as an opportunity to bring up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers.  We also wouldn’t want to go so far down the path of talking about his abusive household as to note that Dzhokhar’s defense team brought up the same topic, even linking it to a regional cultural.

The only mention of the ideology that the Abdulazeezes and the Tsarnaevs also had in common comes indirectly near the end of the AP article, when we learn that the shooter had quoted an “American Muslim blogger” in his year book, writing, “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”  Perhaps America’s reaction to the 9/11 attack is what drove the young man to become a soldier in the jihad disturbed lone wolf, but the AP gives us no explanation of what he might have meant.

Obviously, Islam of itself does not turn kids into killers.  Environment and psychological factors must also be involved.  That said, it begets dangerous blindness when the people whom we entrust with the vocation of keeping us informed lay on their preferred narrative so thickly.

By the way, if you want any information on vandalism outside Catholic churches the other day, including the Providence cathedral, the only major Rhode Island news outlet that appears to consider it news when somebody spray paints “Jesus is false God” outside of church entrances is WPRI 12.

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