Conservative PunditWorld, Hasan Edition

Nice compare/contrast on Tuesday between the hard-right chattering classes and the moderate-conservative chinstrokerati.

Representing the former: Wasp-penned Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz.

Representing the latter: Every-liberal’s-favorite-conservative David Brooks, New York Times op-ed columnist.

Both Brooks and Rabinowitz decried the mainstream media’s depiction of  Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan – who murdered 13 and wounded 29 others at Fort Hood in Texas last Thursday –  as a “victim.” And both decried the factory-installed “Allahu akbar” war cry of Muslim terrorists.


They are the ones who go into crowded rooms, shout “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” and then start murdering.


To kill your fellow Americans—as many as possible, unarmed and in the most helpless of circumstances, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), requires, of course, only murderous hatred . . .

Rabinowitz and Brooks also opine in (sort of) tandem about the news coverage of the massacre.


The conversation in the first few days after the massacre was well intentioned, but it suggested a willful flight from reality.


The tide of pronouncements and ruminations pointing to every cause for this event other than the one obvious to everyone in the rational world continues apace.

The motive du jour in the mainstream media, according to Brooks and Rabinowitz?

Fear of Deployment.


We heard the theory (unlikely in retrospect) that Hasan was so traumatized by the thought of going into a combat zone that he decided to take a gun and create one of his own.


The thesis then: Maj. Hasan’s mental stress, provoked by the suffering of Americans who had been in combat, caused him to go out and butcher as many of these soldiers as he could.

But it’s in their conclusions about the mainstream media that Brooks and Rabinowitz diverge.


It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the reaction of a morally or politically serious nation.


It has taken Maj. Hasan, and the fantastic efforts to explain away his act of bloody hatred, to bring home how much less capable we are of recognizing the dangers confronting us than we were even before September 11.

In this matter, Brooks and Rabinowitz are the Cicero and Demosthenes of 21st century punditry.

When Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke,’ but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said, ‘Let us march.’

The people are gonna march on this.


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4 Responses to Conservative PunditWorld, Hasan Edition

  1. Steve Stein says:

    You’re being too cryptic for me.
    March? March where? To do what?
    Perhaps the answer lies in attacking Greek Orthodox priests?

    • jcarroll7 says:

      It’s a reference to Demosthenes calling for the Greeks to march against Philip of Macedon. The idea is that some people are impressive speakers (Cicero – or in alternative versions Aeschines or Pericles) and others are inspirational and motivational.

  2. Michael Pahre says:

    Some of the criticism that will be leveled against the media over the Ft. Hood slayings is a result of the misinformation that was circulating during the first 2-3 days of the coverage. We didn’t even have an accurate figure of the number of casualties (including wounded) until at least Saturday, while the event occurred on Thursday.

    Local police departments and even the feds leak like a sieve in situations like these; the military police appear to have far better discipline and carefully limited any information coming out. (And there were some gross communications mistakes within the military, too, such as whether or not the suspect was dead.)

    So it is unfair of Rabinowitz to point out media discussions from the night of the killings. Wait, she’s conflating Dr. Phil (on the night of the event) with being part of the MSM attitudes? OK, it’s also unfair of Rabinowitz to use Dr. Phil as any sort of representative for any group of thinking humans in this country.

    Note that part of the fallout that is happening (e.g., Brooks column) is due to a profound cultural misunderstanding among Americans of the phrase “Allahu Akbar.” It is a phrase spoken frequently and commonly by Muslims, that I heard repeated all the time during both informal greetings and formal situations while living in and traveling through Africa.

    That Hasan said these words while committing his deed is not a decisive indicator that religious fanaticism and fundamentalist anger were his underlying motivation; the words are what many Muslims say in many ordinary as well as emotional situations, whether their motivation is religious or not.

    The media need to look deeper than these words to see the role that religion may have played in Hasan’s motivations. But some in the media, like Rabinowitz and Brooks, appear not to be open to any deeper investigation on the issue because they have already made up their minds.

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