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Former star major-league pitcher and current ESPN broadcaster Curt Schilling found himself running afoul of proper online sensibilities today when he tweeted (and then deleted) a picture comparing Nazis to contemporary Islamic extremism.
Naturally, outrage followed, particularly from Gawker Media’s Deadspin, which referred to Schilling as a “big idiot.” (Watch out, Oscar Wilde!) As expected, Schilling was savaged in the comments, and the discussion quickly turned to how Republican presidential candidates are roughly as extremist as Islamic terrorists.
What most pointedly caught my attention was the casualness with which critics changed the analogy that was being made by the graphic Schilling tweeted.
The point, quite obviously, is that only takes a small percentage of a group to create an evil that is so powerful that the world must confront it.
Breaking it down further, the construction of the proposition is as follows: A small percentage of “X” are “A.” A small percentage of “Y” were “B.”
This is crucial, because “A” is being compared to “B.” Schilling’s critics are stating matter-of-factly that he compared “X” to “B.”
But let’s never let logic or facts get in the way of social-media outrage.
A quick check of Twitter shows prominent voice after prominent voice ignoring the essential “extremist” portion, and simply claiming (lying) that Schilling compared “Muslims” to “Nazis,” rather than comparing extremists to Nazis, which is what actually happened. Examples of this spin can be found here, here, here, and here, among other places that have slammed Schilling as “racist” or “Islamophobic.”
As expected, ESPN has condemned Schilling’s “totally unacceptable” tweet without explaining exactly what it was that was unacceptable. Is it because they think he said all Muslims are Nazi-like? Or that he said extremists are Nazi-like? Or that they interpreted his comment to mean that 5% to 10% is low?
Whatever the specific reason, ESPN has seen fit to pull Schilling from coverage of the Little League World Series. There’s at least a decent chance he’ll lose his job over this.
I have a few questions to ask the left-leaning writers who have called Schilling a “bigot”:
- Do you agree that there are violent Muslim extremists in the world?
- Do you agree that they are, in an organized way, making territorial advances and committing heinous acts of violence in the Middle East?
- Given those similarities, do you agree that, like Nazism before it, the world must confront this evil if it is to be stopped?
If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” then the objections to Schilling are hollow. If the answer to any of the three is “no,” then critics’ footing in reality is not as firm as they might suppose.