The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Looking Outward

In a lengthy article on “Jihad, Islamism, and the American Free Press,” Jeffrey Imm addresses a problem that is largely invisible to a significant segment of the American public. He writes:
In the war with global Jihad, words and definitions matter, and in fighting anti-freedom ideologies, the free press and media should be America's greatest ally. Yet the confused and inconsistent reporting on Islamism and Islamist terrorism is another key fault line in America's struggles with global Jihad.

Without a precise definition of the enemy by American political leadership, major segments of the American free press have made their own foreign policy decisions as to who is and is not an enemy, made their own decisions on what terms like "Islamism" and "Jihad" mean (if they use such terms at all), and provided mostly "isolated incident"-style reporting on such subjects, with the exception of the largely anti-war colored reporting on Iraq.

So instead of much of the American free press being used to largely address and confront enemy anti-freedom ideologies and their adherents, such media has been manipulated by editorial managers, publishers, and Islamist groups to focus their investigative reporting on the American government's reaction to Islamist terrorism. As much of American government actions are based on a reaction without a defined enemy, there has been plenty of source material for press critiques and for press managers to gain political points against an unpopular administration.

But as made clear last week in speeches by leaders of the Washington Post and the Associated Press, the larger issue of "Islamism" itself, its role as the root of "Islamist terrorism" (as defined in the 9/11 Commission Report), and coherent news reporting on the continuing global links between political Islamism and such Islamist terrorism is not even an objective of much of the American free press. The reactive political sniping agenda by much of the American press' reporting not only misses the larger issue, but also fails to understand that anti-freedom ideologies like Islamism are a threat to a free press itself.

Therefore, even when the threat of Islamism to a free press is unquestionable -- such as imprisoned Afghan journalist Sayed Pervez Kambakhsh on death row for "blasphemy" per Islamists in the Afghanistan government -- Islamism is not a concern to such media leaders as Washington Post's Philip Bennett or AP's Tom Curley. These American free press/media leaders' apparent obliviousness to Islamism is symptomatic of the larger problem with much of the American free press when facing Jihad -- as shown in such media shaping of terms, providing a platform for Jihadists, confusing the public on the identity of the enemy, providing opportunities for enemy infiltration, and allowing news reporting tainted by gullibility about Islamism.

The MSM works hard to avoid in-depth analysis of the threats facing not only the current administration, but the new one that will come into power in January, 2009. As a consequence, the American public sees report after report that is critical of “the American government's reaction to Islamist terrorism.” Following the Left-leaning narrative that the threat is overblown and that any attempt to address it analytically is the “politics of fear,” almost every report is critical of government action, implying that it is (1) incompetent, (2) overly excessive, or (3) discriminatory or Islamophobic.

Why is this? Why can’t the media look outward and present a more balanced examination of the growth and danger of Islamism in the US, Europe, in North Africa, throughout Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and among our supposed allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait? A look that provides in-depth information and analysis, not a cartoon caricature of masked terrorists jumping through fiery hoops and jungle gyms in the Sudanese desert?

Is it because the threat truly is overblown? That, I’m afraid, is a fantasy of those who would prefer to ignore the threat for now and then appease it when it becomes so obvious that it can’t be ignored.

Many thoughtful writers have suggested that a major strategy of Islamofascism is information warfare—the use of propaganda promulgated by media outlets to obfuscate its intent and vilify those who are trying to combat this dangerous ideology. With the help of the MSM, it looks like the strategy is working.