“Voldemort!” CNN and the Shooters-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

 

UntitledAt 11:45 PM CNN’s Don Lemon reported (breaking news!) that the name of one of the suspected killers at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center massacre – who was subsequently killed in a shootout with police – was Syed Farook. This was at least two hours after the LA Times, Drudge, NBC News, Fox News, and The Daily Beast reported the suspect’s name – the name that had been circulating for hours, evidently, on social media after being picked up from conversation on a police radio channel sometime after the shooting.

The way that CNN deliberately concealed a name that had already been released on other major news outlets and subsequently twisted itself into a pretzel trying to avoid the conclusion that the massacre was a terrorist incident (to say nothing of an Islamic terrorist incident) was the kind of politically correct reporting that Todd Feinburg and I discussed with Massachusetts’ Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson on the recent “Radical Islam” edition of the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast.

I watched the news on the investigation this evening, switching between Fox and CNN, and it would have been comical if 14 people hadn’t been killed earlier in the day. It is still, as I write, unclear what the police will conclude about the motive for the shootings.

“Framing the narrative” or “spinning the story” are not the exclusive province of the left. But conservatives are far more clumsy about it. Watching the CNN panel and Don Lemon Wednesday evening, it was clear that the reason the liberal media is so good about dressing up a story is that they know so instinctively what the narrative is supposed to be.

Before finally divulging Farook’s name, the Lemon panel on CNN was dancing like a cat on a hot stove around the name that must not be spoken. At one point Lemon quickly cautioned a guest (was he about to blurt?) that “we are not saying the name!”

Subsequently (and even more vigorously after the name was spoken) various CNN guests attempted to justify a “disgruntled employee” explanation for the shooting. Mr. Farook was evidently at the scene of the crime prior to the shooting and his job as a restaurant health inspector might have had some connection to the participants of a Christmas party at the Inland Center where the shooting took place.

Workplace relations, the CNN talking heads averred, can be so stressful, especially around the holiday season.

Presumably a little tiff took place at the party – perhaps Mr. Farook was disappointed with his secret Santa present (“What?! A cheap little Whitman’s sampler box? They can’t even spring for Godiva at Christmas?!”) – and that prompted him to go home, rustle up his wife and their AR-15s and hustle back to the party and blow everyone away.

You never can tell what is going to set some people off.

The problem is, of course, that the major world nations where Islam dominates are backwards and, except for oil wealth, impoverished because they have never embraced the separation of church and state. The resulting frustration and humiliation which Muslims feel – when their ideology asserts that they are morally superior to the infidels – has produced an apocalyptic ideology, embraced by a few but tolerated by a significant portion of the more benign population. And so murderous incidents, like the one in San Bernardino Wednesday, are a natural outgrowth of Islamic culture as it is today, and as it will continue to be until there is a thriving model of secular-society-driven success in the Islamic world.

But CNN knows you are not supposed to say that.

There are 22 comments.

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  1. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Michael, please refrain from the summary, overheated, right-wing, hyper-Christian, unstudied, un-nuanced  analysis in the penultimate paragraph.

    It makes you sound like that knuckledragger Bernard Lewis!

    • #1
  2. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    I totally expect the Obama-cized FBI to whitewash this incident as workplace violence.  They’ve done it many times before – why wouldn’t they do it again?

    I would think at some point the LIVs would wise up but the depths of ignorance in this country are deep.

    • #2
  3. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Voldemort haha

    • #3
  4. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Come on.  It’s barely been 24 hours.

    I remember after the Boston Marathon bombing how upset I was that MSNBC immediately started suggesting that it was Tea Partiers who did it, in the absence of facts.  CNN’s workplace violence speculation is a slightly less offensive version of the same thing.

    If it takes some people a little longer than other to confirm facts, I’m ok with that.  It’s not like CNN was never going to identify the shooters.  At least that is a fact that they ultimately appear to have gotten right, as opposed to the workplace shooting nonsense, which they jumped on and increasingly appears to be wrong.

    • #4
  5. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    If it takes some people a little longer than other to confirm facts, I’m ok with that. It’s not like CNN was never going to identify the shooters. At least that is a fact that they ultimately appear to have gotten right, as opposed to the workplace shooting nonsense, which they jumped on and increasingly appears to be wrong.

    I wouldn’t call it journalistic malpractice. But they are so fast to reveal their instincts – what they are hoping will turn out to be the explanation. Fox was much more even handed and simply reported the facts and sprayed out all speculations while labelling them as speculations.

    • #5
  6. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    SooperMexican on Twitter was the first I saw reporting the name.  Didn’t he used to appear on Ricochet?

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I switched back and forth from CNN to Fox News. I left CNN when one of the knuckleheads reported that Planned Parenthood had a facility 1.4 miles from the crime scene.

    I switched back from Fox News every time Shep said “we don’t know anything.”

    • #7
  8. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Michael Stopa: I wouldn’t call it journalistic malpractice. But they are so fast to reveal their instincts – what they are hoping will turn out to be the explanation. Fox was much more even handed and simply reported the facts and sprayed out all speculations while labelling them as speculations.

    Maybe.  Personally, the trend that bothers me is that we feel like we need all of the answers immediately as something is unfolding, when we really don’t have answers.  It’s kind of amazing that we know as much as we do so quickly.  The motive isn’t going to change because we take time to gather more facts and it’s important to get this right.

    Part of it is that I think a lot about people like the guy Brian Ross confused for the “Dark Knight” shooter.  Or Richard Jewell who spotted a bomb and then had his life wrecked by the media who decided wrongly that he placed it there to get attention.

    • #8
  9. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    @Quinn, the point I was focusing on is that “Syed Farook” is a Middle Eastern sounding name. Many news outlets including the LA Times were reporting it. It is very standard for news organizations to say that “The LA Times is reporting…blah, blah,…we can’t independently verify, etc.” The report by the LA Times is itself news.

    But CNN knows full well that a Middle Eastern sounding name will be taken as an implication of terrorism with radical Islamic connotations and they are taking a partisan interest in maintaining as long as possible that some domestic source of the terrorism (abetted by easy access to guns) is the culprit.

    • #9
  10. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Mainstream media (the mainstreamisest) when the shooter fits their gun violence narrative:

    George Stephanopoulos threw to him [Brian Ross] on “Good Morning America” by saying, “You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.”

    “There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year,” Ross said. “Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”

    When they learn the Arabic name of a mass shooter and narrative collapse (multiple shooters, body armor, GoPro cams) is gaining critical mass:  Crickets for four hours.

    Don’t take too long until you get off the inane train.

    Next stop:  “While reports of an arms cache of assault rifles and IEDs and some as-yet-undetermined web correspondence between the suspects and elements linked with radical groups are being confirmed, the incident which incited the attack may be completely unrelated to any terrorist plot, but the result of a workplace confrontation…”

    • #10
  11. Dad Dog Member
    Dad Dog
    @DadDog

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    Personally, the trend that bothers me is that we feel like we need all of the answers immediately as something is unfolding, when we really don’t have answers. It’s kind of amazing that we know as much as we do so quickly. The motive isn’t going to change because we take time to gather more facts and it’s important to get this right.

    Indeed.  Neil Postman explains and decries this modern need to know all the intimate details about something happening far away, right now, and how it has turned journalism into competitive entertainment, in Amusing Ourselves to Death.  Perhaps if we news consumers didn’t consume so quickly and voraciously, the news providers would chill.

    I have more to say on this, but I gotta go check the twitter feed . . .

    • #11
  12. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Dad Dog:

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    Personally, the trend that bothers me is that we feel like we need all of the answers immediately as something is unfolding, when we really don’t have answers. It’s kind of amazing that we know as much as we do so quickly. The motive isn’t going to change because we take time to gather more facts and it’s important to get this right.

    Indeed. Neil Postman explains and decries this modern need to know all the intimate details about something happening far away, right and how it has turned journalism into competitive entertainment, in Amusing Ourselves to Death. Perhaps if we news consumers didn’t consume so quickly and voraciously, the news providers would chill.

    I have more to say on this, but I gotta go check the twitter feed . . .

    It’s the same instinct that prompts us to rattle the animal’s cage or throw peanuts in at the zoo. You want the animals to do something.

    Maybe we are all still suffering from the collective ennui of the end of history which went down not so very long ago.

    • #12
  13. jonsouth Inactive
    jonsouth
    @jonsouth

    Ask your nearest liberal to complete the following sentence:

    “If we can reduce criminal gun violence by removing all guns from our society, then it follows that we can reduce Islamist violence by removing ______ .”

    I’d be interested to hear the answers – or at least the mental gymnastics employed to avoid the obvious one.

    • #13
  14. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Based on local media timelines and network Twitter accounts:

    Police identify Robert Lewis Dear as Planned Parenthood shooter at 11:10 ET. CNN tweets out the name 34 minutes later.

    Police identify Sayed Farook to the LA Times at 10:40 ET. CNN tweets out the name 1 hour and 25 minutes later.

    • #14
  15. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    EJHill:Based on local media timelines and network Twitter accounts:

    Police identify Robert Lewis Dear as Planned Parenthood shooter at 11:10 ET. CNN tweets out the name 34 minutes later.

    Police identify Sayed Farook to the LA Times at 10:40 ET. CNN tweets out the name 1 hour and 25 minutes later.

    From 34 minutes to 1 hr, 25 min had to have been one of the longest, most-tortured hours in some CNN editors’ lives. They probably spent the hour desparately trying to find out if someone made derogatory remarks to Farook at the party. And searching for a Tea Party connection.

    Of course, when you got to the “IED factory” part, it’s a little tougher to maintain the narrative.

    Following his initial statement yesterday, Obama made a second statement today, indicating that the FBI was looking into the workplace violence aspect of the killings.

    However, I think even Obama will have a hard time spinning the “IED factory” aspect.

    • #15
  16. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Well, it is clear that narrative shift has begun to focus on the perversion of the religion of peace by pathological American violence.

    The presence of the IED factory and the whole terrorism meme means the cancellation of Gungrabber Grief Theater though.  No understandably griefstricken parents and siblings, seeking some meaning in the senseless slaughter of their beloved, will be orchestrated and coached into press conferences where “blood is on their hands” accusations are hurled at the NRA, the cowardice of Republican politicians and essentially everyone who is neither the actual killer(s) nor a Democrat.

    These chilling political hatefests are typically applauded as exercises in bravery and bold truthtelling.

    They are nothing more than cruel manipulations of traumatized family members by cynical gun control fanatics.

    Would take a left-wing Arthur Miller to portray this crucible.

    Imagine if conservatives did this.  Recruited emotionally wounded family members for political hatefests that claimed the president had blood on his hands for failing to even name the Islamic Terror that had taken the lives of their loved ones.  Perhaps denounced the political cowardice of a commander in chief who stays in Paris worrying about Maldive high tides in 2070 while his nation is being attacked.

    Do you think such relatives would be complimented for their bravery and bold truthtelling by the MSM?

    Of course not.  We would get procedural details of how the remake of Triumph of the Will was created and the cruel emotional opportunism involved.

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Percival: I switched back and forth from CNN to Fox News. I left CNN when one of the knuckleheads reported that Planned Parenthood had a facility 1.4 miles from the crime scene. I switched back from Fox News every time Shep said “we don’t know anything.”

    I am not the biggest fox news fan. I loved Brit Hume and after a couple of years, I loved Red Eye and Founding Fathers Fridays. But did Fox news really say, “Hey we don’t know what’s happening, we will get back to you when we have information.”

    • #17
  18. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Frozen Chosen:I totally expect the Obama-cized FBI to whitewash this incident as workplace violence. They’ve done it many times before – why wouldn’t they do it again?

    I would think at some point the LIVs would wise up but the depths of ignorance in this country are deep.

    I would say bottomless.

    • #18
  19. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    If climate change can impact a temperate climate area like San Bernardino, clearly it is a pressing global problem.

    • #19
  20. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Percival: I switched back from Fox News every time Shep said “we don’t know anything.”

    Right?   “The only thing we do know for sure right now, is that we don’t know anything.”

    Hearing that three times in three minutes nearly caused my eyes to roll right out of my head but THIS attempt at filling air space (which I swear I’m not making up because it was SO amazing that I rewound, watched again, then RECORDED ON MY PHONE as research for when I get around to finally writing the “stupid pointless newscasts” monologue I just know is in me) left me slack-jawed in amazement:

    “. . .  they say there could be ‘upwards of three shooters’ so, in other words . . . here’s ‘three’ [he holds one hand up, palm down], and here’s ‘upwards of three’ [he holds his other hand up, palm down, higher than the first hand] . . . so, ‘upwards of three shooters’ it seems, is a possibility . . . “

    • #20
  21. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    “We all have our theories and our biases, and if the facts don’t support us this time, hey, maybe the next one will, and it’s right around the corner.” – Matt Gurney

    (The opening paragraph of the article quotes Jon Gabriel. Ricochet has achieved Critical Canuckistani Mass!)

    • #21
  22. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Love the reference to Voldemort.

    I’m currently rereading the Harry Potter series, and I’m struck once again by the parallels that struck me back in the immediate post-9/11 era. A huge thread of the plot in the latter half of the series consists of the protagonists saying “Hey, there’s this major threat out there from Voldemort and his followers!” and all the ‘politicians’ saying “Tut tut! Of course there’s no threat! Stop telling lies!”

    Voldemort, indeed.

    • #22

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