Coverage of the Fort Hood Shooting: Hot Air vs. the L.A. Times; UPDATE: Shooter Still Alive; UPDATE: L.A. Times Flushes Original Story Down Memory Hole
[UPDATE 11-5-09 11:17 p.m.: The L.A. Times has whisked the original version of its story down the memory hole. Never fear: I knew this was coming and saved a copy. See UPDATE x4 below. -- P]
Whenever there is breaking news, it’s good to keep a few things in mind:
- Don’t jump to conclusions.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss relevant topics even if they seem politically incorrect.
- Always follow Allahpundit.
With these caveats in mind, it’s interesting to compare the coverage of the Fort Hood shootings by Allahpundit to the coverage by the L.A. Times. We know that the shooter has been identified as Major Malik Nadal Hasan, who was a psychiatrist at Fort Hood. From there, coverage differs wildly.
Perusing Allahpundit’s coverage, which is excellent and still developing, we learn the following:
- The Austin-American Statesman reported that, according to Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Hasan “was upset about being deployed to Iraq.” (This had not happened yet but was upcoming.)
- There is a report that the shooter was shouting something in Arabic at the time of the shooting.
- Shepard Smith interviewed Hasan’s cousin:
The cousin said that Hasan had always been Muslim, disputing reports that Hasan was a Muslim convert. The cousin also confirmed that Hasan had requested not to be deployed overseas to the war. He said that being deployed was “his worst nightmare.” According to the cousin, Hasan was desperately trying to avoid being deployed.
- Shepard Smith also had an interview with a retired colonel who worked with Hasan at the Fort Hood psyche ward:
The colonel heard Hasan say that “maybe the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor” in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also heard Hasan comment that he was “almost sort of happy” about a shooting at a Little Rock recruitment center.
The colonel confirms that Hasan was about to be deployed but did not say whether it was to be to Iraq or Afghanistan.
- As of the publication of this post, the latest is that Hasan may have written Internet posts approving of suicide bombings:
Federal law enforcement officials say the suspected Fort Hood, Texas, shooter had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats.
The officials say the postings appeared to have been made by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who was killed during the shooting incident that left least 11 others dead and 31 wounded. The officials say they are still trying to confirm that he was the author.
Again, remember the warning about jumping to conclusions. This is not confirmed. But it is interesting.
Given the above facts, would you be surprised to learn that as of the time of this post, the L.A. Times story on the shooting has no mention of the shooter’s religion, his alleged rants against U.S. involvement in Iraq, his alleged approval of suicide bombings, or the allegations that he was shouting something in Arabic as he shot?
Now, keep in mind my first injunction above. This is a breaking story, and we don’t know for sure what his motivations were. Don’t jump to conclusions. However, I do note that the L.A. Times saw fit to spend a couple of paragraphs talking about suicides at Army bases due to deployments to the war:
Base personnel have accounted for more suicides than any other Army post since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with 75 tallied through July of this year. Nine of those suicides occurred in 2009, counting two in overseas war zones.
Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, has been leading an effort to reduce the number of Army suicides, which has climbed sharply this year, possibly as a result from long and repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Somehow, this is relevant, even though Hasan was never deployed to the war, even once. But his religion? His rants against the war? His desperate attempts to avoid deployment? His alleged shouting in Arabic? His alleged approval of suicide bombings? There is not one word about any of that.
Regardless of what Hasan’s motivation turns out to be, this information is relevant to the overall assessment. It could turn out that Hasan’s motivations have nothing to do with the war or Islam. Based on what I’m reading tonight, that appears unlikely . . . but I’m not jumping to any conclusions.
But the fact that we don’t know his motivations yet with crystal clarity is no excuse for burying the facts I have just related to you. As we try to figure out what’s going on, those facts matter. If you read Hot Air (or this site) you’re learning those facts. If you read the L.A. Times, they are being hidden from you.
And it’s quite clear why: political correctness. The L.A. Times will bury this as long as they can — probably until they’re embarrassed into revealing it due to its clear relevance. They will applaud themselves for being sober and cautious — something they would never do if the shooter were an aficionado of Rush Limbaugh instead of Allah and anti-American rants.
And so, a large news organization pats itself on the back for its correct beliefs — as its readers have no idea what’s going on.
Die, Big Media. Die already.
UPDATE: The latest word is that Hasan is still alive. What did I say about jumping to conclusions? Just because 500,000 news organizations already reported that he was dead, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.
Take a deep breath and wait for the facts. And for God’s sake, be willing to discuss all the facts.
UPDATE x2: Hasan’s alleged comment:
There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.
Honestly, how long can the L.A. Times bury its head in the sand?
UPDATE x3: Much more on Hasan’s devout Muslim faith here. And L.A. Times readers are still in the dark . . .
UPDATE x4: The paper has now whisked the original version of the story down the memory hole, and replaced it with a new one at the same Web address. I knew they would do this, as they have a history of doing it. So I copied the whole text of the story as it appeared when I first did the post. Read that here. Then I copied a changed version at 6:46 p.m., after it was known that Hasan was alive. That version also suppressed any mention of the items mentioned in this post. Read that version here.