Muslim writer wants his “Allahu akbar” back

When I visited Cambridge, I was kvetching to a friend about how mainstream media was losing it over Trump, with many sites becoming both obsessed with Trump and marinated in identity politics.  My friend is one of the more Leftist people I know: not an antifa-ite socialist or communist, but deeply imbued with Leftist values, and acting on them: teaching English for free to new immigrants, volunteering to help those in a Nicaraguan village, and (for many years) an English teacher and principal in Cambridge public schools that were heavily attended by minority students. So I was surprised to hear him kvetch as well, saying that the only things the New York Times wrote about was how horrible Trump is. When I played devil’s advocate, saying, “Well, he’s doing a lot of public and bad stuff,” my friend responded, “Yeah, but there’s a lot of other important news that isn’t about Trump.”

Like me, my friend feels that the Times, like other media (HuffPo is the most obvious example), is a leftist outlet that has been driven nuts by Trump’s election. The constant harping on his missteps seems to me (and my friend) like a kneejerk reaction: a journalistic tantrum that says, “Well, if we couldn’t prevent him from being elected, we’re going to malign him as much as we can in hopes of bringing him down.”

I don’t mind the maligning at all, as the President is incompetent, thick, uber-conservative, un-Presidential, and just about about every slur I can think of. But it’s clear that the Times, along with many other Leftist outlets, is succumbing not just to Trump Obsession, but to identity politics, which may be just another way to express that obsession. Scan the editorials of the Times over the last few weeks and I think you’ll see what I mean. Of course there are exceptions, like the columnist Bari Weiss (a progressive Leftist who criticizes the ideological purity tests dividing the left), as well as the usual conservative columnists, but by and large I see the NYT converging toward The Huffington Post. It’ll never be that bad, of course, but it’s already abnegating its responsibility for objective journalism.

One example of the Times‘s growing HuffPo-ism is today’s op-ed piece by Wajahat Ali, a Muslim-American playwright and essayist who has in fact written a lot of articles for HuffPo. Today his HuffPo-ian piece for the NYT is called, “I want ‘Allahu Akbar’ back.” The tenor is similar to that of Linda Sarsour’s tweet from yesterday; both she and Ali want to reclaim “Allahu akbar” (meaning either “God is great” or “God is greater”) from the terrorists who use it, restoring it to the normal nonviolent usage of “thank God” or “praise God” that Christians use.

Sadly, the “editorial” is weak. Ali spends most of his time recounting the stupid things Trump said after terrorist attacks, like his “many sides” remark after Charlottesville, suggesting that Muslim terrorists be shot with bullets smeared in pig’s blood, and so on.  These are a matter of record, and are the usual stupid and unthinking utterances of our “President.”

But reclaiming “Allahu akbar” (which Ali says he utters over a hundred times a day) back to its “normal usage” doesn’t depend on Trump’s stupidities. Ali and Sarsour are free to use the phrase as many times as they please, and I won’t call them out when (as Ali recounts), they say it after a meal or, in Ali’s case, the bathroom after a successful defecation (!). The issue isn’t Trump. It’s that “Allahu akbar”, when uttered by someone who’s just rammed his car into a crowd, killing eight people, is a pretty good tip-off that the killer was a Muslim who was committing a terrorist act.

Ali doesn’t like Americans identifying the phrase with terrorism, but he doesn’t realize that the phrase is how we get our first notion that a killer was Muslim, and was, in all probability, killing on the instructions of ISIS or aping the methods of ISIS. In fact, Ali seems to think that the phrase has been appropriated by terrorists in an unseemly way, when in truth they’re using the phrase as Muslims always use it: to thank God that something good has happened, whether it be a nice meal, a pleasing defecation, a mass murder by van, or a beheading. It all comes down to praising God; and Ali doesn’t like his God being praised when infidels are being killed—precisely the instructions of the Qur’an. As he says:

. . . it hurts that on Tuesday, “Allahu” and “akbar,” those two simple words so close to our hearts, instantly shaped the entire news coverage and presidential response. A common, benign phrase used daily by Muslims, especially during prayer, is now understood as code for “It was terrorism.”

It’s easy to forget that language is often hijacked and weaponized by violent extremists. Some people yell “Allahu akbar” and others chant “heritage,” “culture” and “white pride.” The preferred slogans of a killer don’t make much difference to the people whose lives are lost or their loved ones, but they make all the difference in Americans’ collective understanding of a tragedy.

Of course it does, and it should! For those are the words indicating that a Muslim terrorist has struck again. And that makes a big difference in how we understand the motivations behind a tragedy. It would be the same if Nazis killed and then said “Heil Hitler” every time they did—except that “Heil Hitler” has no benign usage.

I won’t go into the ludicrous beliefs that underlie Islam—as they underlie all faiths—nor the perfidies particular to Islam. Let Ali use the phrase as he wants, but let him not blame how we understand it, in the context as a tragedy, on the moron who’s our President.  In fact, Ali sounds a little desperate at the end of his piece. The first paragraph in particular (my emphasis) is just dumb.

If only the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico, leaving American citizens in desperate need of power, food or water, could have yelled, “Allahu akbar,” triggering that kind of tough response. Perhaps our president would have been able to see the storm as evil. Perhaps he would have been energized by a “them versus us” rage to insist on swift action to repair the damage.

Last night, as breathless news coverage of the phrase the suspect uttered repeated on a loop, I took my children trick-or-treating in the Virginia suburbs. We walked the streets with friendly, diverse neighbors and hordes of happy kids wearing costumes and clutching bags filled with fattening goodies. My 3-year-old was a pirate and my 1-year-old was Supergirl. We all shared smiles and candies with strangers, with open hearts, without fear. Allahu akbar. God is greatest.

The whole article is the whine of a Muslim who doesn’t like other Muslims killing from religious motivations, mixed with a hefty does of Trump hatred. And I’m sure that’s why the Times published this lame editorial, for both tropes fit nicely with its Identity Politics stance. As a colleague told me, “this marks a new low for the Times.”  I’m not sure it’s the lowest they’ve gone, but why on Earth was it published?

50 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t Ali and Sarsour be blaming the terrorists for associating their pet phrase with mass murder? Do they expect the press not to report the fact that a terrorist shouts Allahu Akbar after committing a heinous crime?

    If they want to reclaim Allahu Akbar, they need to first reclaim their religion from the fanatics rather than blaming and fomenting hate against Israel.

    • Dave
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Yes, they should both fly out to Syria, make their way to IS territory (whatever’s left of it), explain to the jihadists how they’re not true muslims, and how they really shouldn’t shout “Allahu Akbar” when cutting people’s heads off or mowing down bystanders with a truck.

      So this guy Ali mutters the phrase over 100 times a day, including when he’s just had a good shit? Allah must be really impressed. Sounds like Islam is less a religion and more a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree. As long as Muslims keep yelling “Allahu Akbar” when they murder, people will associate the two. This is the fault of the terrorists, not their victims.

      It’s also the fault of the conservatives of the religion teaching hatred towards not only non-Muslims, but Muslims who don’t share their extreme interpretation of the Qur’an, Hadiths etc.

      I have mixed feelings about the way some otherwise good news outlets are reacting to Trump. On the one hand, they do appear to be embracing identity politics, which is stupid, lazy, and counterproductive.

      Otoh, it’s also dangerous to normalize Trump. Kellyanne Conway said early on that Trump’s behaviour was presidential because he’s president. There are too many occasions where not to protest Trump’s behaviour is to abandon basic human decency.

      There is a problem though with the fact that many take the attitude that “Trump did it so it must be wrong.” That’s dangerous too. It’s the same as those who assumed everything Obama did was automatically right. A lot of people have lost their objectivity in their perfectly justified antipathy towards Trump.

  3. Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    If the NYT is a “leftist” paper, we are all in trouble. The NYT is a typical corporatist, centrist organ. It was painted as a leftist paper when the conservatives had turned the term “liberal” into the equivalent of “devil worshiper” and then moved on to paint centrists as left-ists. This was to camouflage the movement of the of the conservatives from right to far right. They weren’t that far out on the right, or at least they would appear that way if they could make the center to look and sound leftist.

    As far as I can tell the number of true leftists left is quite small and even the Dems have dropped their support. Anyone with even mild center-left leanings is now described as a flaming liberal by the propagandists of the right.

    On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 10:01 AM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “When I visited Cambridge, I was kvetching to a > friend about how mainstream media was losing it over Trump, with many sites > becoming both obsessed with Trump and marinated in identity politics. My > friend is one of the more Leftist people I know: not an an” >

    • GBJames
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Agreed. A “leftist” paper would not be featuring regular commentaries by Russ Douthat or David Brooks.

      The NYTimes is “leftist” only in conservative/Republican anti-media framing.

      • Historian
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Once again, we have the problem of definition. “Leftist” and other politically related terms can be defined in many different ways. We may have different definitions of the term, which will determine whether or not we consider the NYT “Leftist.”

      • Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        In a slightly more sane universe, the NYT would be regarded as a conservative paper. But we know how that goes.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Yeah, the NYT editorial philosophy is pretty standard-brand liberalism (sometimes straying into squishiness).

      And, however fixated on Trump and identity politics The Times‘s editorial page may have become, its news divisions hasn’t abnegated its responsibility to objective journalism.

      • BJ
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        I disagree with your second paragraph. In the last few years, I’ve noticed an enormous uptick in the use of weasel words, failure to report context, and pushing inconvenient facts to the end of articles in much of the NYT’s reporting. While I may not like the direction the editorial section has taken in the last couple of years, it’s an editorial section, and I respect the right of any paper to run it as they see fit. It’s the deterioration in the Times’ reporting that has bothered me.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          Are you taking issue with particular reports and reporters? Or are you claiming there’s a concerted top-down effort by The New York Times news division to shade the paper’s reporting?

          Because I think there’s a huge difference between those two. If it’s the first, readers have always had nits to pick with particular reporters and stories. The second strikes at the soul of objective reporting.

    • phoffman56
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      “As far as I can tell the number of true leftists left is quite small…”

      As this non-blog is clearly quite international, perhaps it would have been preferable to have added
      ‘…leftists left in the US is quite small…’

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I think you can chock it up to the decline in journalism in general throughout the country. Although the NYTs continues, I am sure it has been gutted by the internet and everything else that is killing the newspaper business. If it is true that 60% of people are getting their news from facebook we are all in trouble anyway. Attempting to bring back what the Times once was is about as likely as Wajahat Ali getting his Islam the way he wants it.

    • Jay Baldwin
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s worse than that. I think that 60% figure is “sixty-percent of those who self-identify as people who get news get it from social media.” The larger population, those who say they don’t read the news at all, are unwittingly “getting” it from entertainment programming. The news according to Sheldon Cooper or Law & Order.

    • BJ
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Both the editorial and news divisions have declined in quality, and I think the internet has a large role in that. I also have a feeling that younger journalists are more ideologically driven and less committed to objectivity than the old guard, a complaint I’ve heard from several friends over the years who come from such programs (and one who teaches).

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted November 3, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      I’ve said for some time that newspapers no longer make money by reporting news but by reporting (and generating) opinions that sell advertising space.

      Very little factual news is reported or broadcast nowadays – most of it is filtered, made up, or omitted, to satisfy the beliefs of the readers. And what is worse, there is no indication that it is opinion.

      So if you are right wing then right wing papers will slide ‘pleasing’ opinion into your brain bypassing the bullshit detectors.

      So if you are left wing then left wing papers will slide ‘pleasing’ opinion into your brain bypassing the bullshit detectors.

      When I used to buy newspapers I would buy a ‘Red Top’ daily right wing paper and a ‘Serious Broadsheet’ left wing paper. It was instructive to see how they reported common events and which other events were reported in only one paper.

  5. Historian
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    There is certainly other important news that is not Trump related, but there is no more important news than Trump and his Republican followers. America is a much divided nation, characterized by identification with one or the other of the political parties. In other words, the intensity of political partisanship is at or near record levels. The future course of the nation will be decided by which side wins elections, and the visions of the two parties are radically different. The now heating up debate over tax policy is but one example.

    I rejoice that publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post are “all Trump, all the time” with most, but certainly not all, of their op-eds having an anti-Trump bias. The conservative media attacks liberals endlessly without even a token nod to their ideological enemies. While granting that the Times has occasionally opened up their op-ed pages to certain leftists I would not agree with, by far most of their liberals writers are not on the far left extreme.

    In a nation closely divided such as this (just look at how the rust belt decided the 2016 election), every vote is precious and all legal means must be employed to get them. Conservatives have been far ahead of liberals in implementing this relentless, no-holds barred political strategy. Liberals are just beginning to catch up. Attacking Trump without letup is part of a good political strategy. However, it is not good enough. Liberals and Democrats must also present a positive agenda to attract non-voters and to regain at least some of their voters that have rejected the Party in recent years. It is uncertain at this time as to how successful they have been in this area.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      The problem with all Trump, all the time is it shows the weakness of journalism. Most of us know there is much more going on in the world, even the country than politics and Trump. Non-stop coverage of him simply feeds the beast and it is lazy journalism. But, what else can the Times do and survive but join the club. I do not like it any more than PCC but have no answers to stop it. Today, on the tube, Fox news is no more than a Trump love fest and MSNBC is the anti-Trump. The regular network news over at NBC/CBS/ABC are going down and out because nobody watches them. They attempt to provide a wider view and one not pushing one way. Nobody cares about that.

      • Jay Baldwin
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        I agree and will add this: I live in Trump Country. My neck is sore from all the head shaking I do each day. One thing, however, that The NYT and others on the left don’t seem to understand is the tremendous sense of glee, the schadenfreude, Trump supporters feel at the obvious pain felt by those in the press. His supporters love it that their guy is so hated yet has such power. For them, this is the MSM getting their comeuppance. Whether they’re right or wrong to feel that way is rather beside the point. It’s how many of them feel. Feed the beast indeed.

    • BJ
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      To add to what Randy said, the non-stop coverage also requires reporting the smaller and more silly infractions by Trump as if they’re big news. Everything he does is being reported like it’s an enormous story of great significance. Crying wolf is bad enough when things are normal, but it’s truly reprehensible when you know there will be things you need to cry wolf about very soon.

      The constant Trump-bashing in media and news is a bad thing because even people who hate Trump are starting to tune it out. That’s the great danger with constantly harping on Trump: when you need to report something truly horrifying, people have already stopped listening. The big story is drowned out by all the small stories surrounding it, all being reported as if they have equal weight because Trump is bad and they’re things he said and did.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      I don’t actually giver a rat’s hind end about “all Trump all the time” – the introduction of the Petro-Yuan howvever, the One Belt One Road, the accession to the Bundestag of Alternative fuer Deutschland, the refusal of Poland, Slovakia, Chzeckia and Hungary to fall in line with EU dictates, all get my ardent attention. But obviously to some Trump is the only story. Right!

      • Posted November 3, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Would the NYT have adequate coverage of those topics under another US administration?

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 3, 2017 at 2:54 am | Permalink

      I agree. As always, readers need to note the difference between straight reporting and editorial content. Given the dire straits mainstream journalism is in, it might not be the time to be overly critical of an occupation that is still one of the most essential elements of a free society.

      Every liberal/leftist should spend some time listening to talk radio and Fox News to understand just how underhandedly and dishonestly (and relentlessly!) the other side pushes their crap.

  6. Joe Kosiner
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The NYT only turned their primary focus to Trump once Hillary Clinton lost the election. The bottom line is that when the Times has its favorite whipping girl, they pay attention to little else. As a recent example, when the fact surfaced that the HRC campaign picked up the payments for the Fusion GPS op research, Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel, both of the Times, went apoplectic. “Oh the sanctimony of her campaign”, etc. I dropped my subscription to the Times last year, after the election, and haven’t looked back since.

  7. darrelle
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Hillary Clinton had some interesting things to say about the press on The Daily Show last night.

    “But reclaiming “Allahu akbar” (which Ali says he utters over a hundred times a day) back to its “normal usage” doesn’t depend on Trump’s stupidities.”

    I think where we need to get to as a society is where a person would be somewhat embarrassed to publicly admit that they utter something equivalent to “God is great(er)” over a hundred times a day.

    • claudia baker
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Yup, no kidding. As if admitting that is some kind of a good thing ffs. I’m almost embarrassed for him, except that he obviously has drunk the kool-aid. He needs to read Sam Harris’ “Waking Up”.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    If Wajahat Ali feels moved to thank God after every successful defecation, he doesn’t need to reclaim language; he needs more dietary fiber.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Don’t you get it, it’s “Da Bomb!” in more ways than one. I think I’m going to start saying Allahu Akbar after every successful defecation.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        He might actually need less dietary fibre.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I hope he’s using the three stones allowed by the Koran and not western toilet paper!

  9. Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Ali has much choice but to whine, spit the dummy and wail, it must be very uncomfortable confronting and then denying a truth about his god being a party to cold bloody murder.
    The article and tenor of the writing is a vain effort to smother the repeated horror of it all.
    Meanwhile out in the suburbs of your garden variety religionists willing to conceal the ugly and dark, we have a resting god with good intentions.
    .

  10. Jimbo
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Oh, this is rich. Ali is complaining in the NYT to primarily non-Muslim Americans about cultural appropriation by terrorists? Um, no one cares. Is this the NYT doing its duty for the public to convince us that overhearing “allahu akbar” should not be misconstrued as an imminent terrorist attack but could simply be a peaceful Muslim doing his doodie in private? *sigh*

  11. helenahankart
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to reclaim the phrase “death to infidels”. Frankly, its disgusting and racist that this phrase has become co-opted by westerners (and lets face it, its colonialism that caused Islamists to behead people) to indicate some form of anger. For shame! I utter the phrase “death to infidels” a dozen times a day, when crossing the street, buying meat (no, not pork, don’t be naughty) and getting change from shops. I agree that many westerners first became aware of the phrase when watching video footage of Islamists blowing up little girls with nail bombs, or beheading western kidnap victims. This is very unfortunate and has, of course, NOTHIG TO DO WITH ISLAM. On the contrary, its only western imperialism that has tained the lovely greeting “death to infidels” with unfortunate associations. Peace.

  12. Laurance
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t new, of course. Hitler & Co. helped themselves to the swastika and ruined it for other cultures that have been using it for millenia.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29644591

  13. phoffman56
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this op-ed is quite stupid.

    But it is a single example, so hardly constitutes much evidence that
    “..it’s clear that the Times… is succumbing not just to Tr–mp Obsession, but to identity politics..”
    I don’t see that at all when I read Leonhardt or Krugman or many others there.

    NYT have also had plenty of articles on the silliness of cultural appropriation and similar, nonsense perpetrated largely by numbskulls and slick operators who have become university administrators, as well as by postmodern faculty and by badly ‘educated’ students.

    As I’ve said before, on stuff like health care and taxes, the USians have made their bed, and now they can sleep in it.

    But from a view outside US (or inside), the extinction of the human species, either quickly in a thermonuclear catastrophe, or over 5 or 10 generations via runaway climate change, would seem to be rather important, don’t you think? NYtimes may be tactically wrong re Drumpf, but attempting to somehow avoid this extinction brought on by his election surely needs as much space as possible in any responsible public outlet. Another way to have helped to avoid this might have been to have tactically held off on Clinton criticism till after the election.

  14. pdx1jtj
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    sub

  15. Filippo
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Re:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/business/media/wall-street-journal-editor-admonishes-reporters-over-trump-coverage.html?_r=0

    The above article IMHO is the NYT basically indulging in middle school tattling on the WSJ.

    “ . . . some journalists there say [Trump coverage] has lacked toughness and verve.”

    “ . . . [WSJ editor] describing their [WSJ reporters’] reporting as overly opinionated.”

    “Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as news reporting . . . Could we please just stick to reporting what he [Trump] said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?”

    “ . . .a Wall Street Journal spokeswoman wrote in a statement: “The Wall Street Journal has a clear separation between news and opinion. As always, the key priority is to focus reporting on facts and avoid opinion seeping into news coverage.”

    In my view this is what the NY Times does way too much in its Trump (and other) coverage. The WSJ Trump coverage may not be as the WSJ spokeswoman described, and may lack “toughness,” but that’s no excuse for NYT reporters’ news article opinionating.

    NYT reporters frequently (and fatuously) comment that an official’s statement or action “signals” this or that. (Why not simply ask the official whether s/he is so signaling, and get a bloody quote about it?) And there’s no end to NYT reporters telling readers how this or that “seems,” or that something or someone is “odd” or “unlikely” (as if it is necessarily so obvious that, like a judge, the reporter is entitled to take “judicial notice” of it). How do they KNOW that?

    I perceive such reportorial bloviation to be the “verve” referenced above (which word not in quotes, and which therefore I take to be one more instance of NYT reportorial opinionating and “framing/spinning”).

    • Filippo
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I apologize for the double posting. I thought that it had not “taken,” as Word Press told me I needed to delete some “pendings” before they would post the comment. It apparently takes posting it again to find out that they posted it after all. Nothing’s easy.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 3, 2017 at 3:00 am | Permalink

        “It apparently takes posting it again to find out that they posted it after all.”

        I know, right? Somewhere out there there’s a really sadistic coder.

    • BJ
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      +1. You said this much better than I could.

      All the “seems” and “odd” and “unlikely” and “some say” and “many” to refer to the number of people who hold an opinion. This has increased dramatically in NYT reporting in the last few years, and it’s why I ended my subscription. My concern wasn’t the editorial page — so long as the reporting is good, I don’t care what a paper’s editorial page is saying — but the decline in reporting standards at the Times.

  16. Filippo
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Re:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/business/media/wall-street-journal-editor-admonishes-reporters-over-trump-coverage.html?_r=0

    The above article IMHO is the NYT basically indulging in middle school tattling on the WSJ.
    “ . . . some journalists there say [Trump coverage] has lacked toughness and verve.”

    “ . . . [WSJ editor] describing their [WSJ reporters’] reporting as overly opinionated.”

    “Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as news reporting . . . Could we please just stick to reporting what he [Trump] said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?”

    “ . . .a Wall Street Journal spokeswoman wrote in a statement: “The Wall Street Journal has a clear separation between news and opinion. As always, the key priority is to focus reporting on facts and avoid opinion seeping into news coverage.”

    In my view this is what the NY Times does way too much in its Trump (and other) coverage. The WSJ Trump coverage may not be as the WSJ spokeswoman described, and may lack “toughness,” but that’s no excuse for NYT reporters’ news article opinionating.

    NYT reporters frequently (and fatuously) comment that an official’s statement or action “signals” this or that. (Why not simply ask the official whether s/he is so signaling, and get a bloody quote about it?) And there’s no end to NYT reporters telling readers how this or that “seems,” or that something is “odd” or “unlikely” (as if something is necessarily so obvious that, like a judge, the reporter is taking “judicial notice” of it). HOW do they know that? I perceive such reportorial bloviation to be the “verve” referenced above (which word not being in quotes, I therefore take to be one more instance of NYT reportorial opinionating and “framing”).

  17. Craw
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Trump is a genius of distraction. At the same time his candidate was losing to Moore in Georgia’s primary, and the Obamacare repeal was crashing and burning, he had the whole country talking about rich athletes kneeling.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Ali doesn’t like his God being praised when infidels are being killed—precisely the instructions of the Qur’an.

    Moreover, the mythical religious founder was a terrorist in the myth:

    “In March 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan.”

    [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad#Migration_to_Medina ]

    • Posted November 3, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Chomsky is fond of saying the first suicide bomber (suitably stretched) is actually Sampson, from the OT. A long history for some of this.

  19. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    God is NOT great.
    God is NOT greatest.

    Not that there is such a monstrosity, but if there were, as it is described, it is reprehensible, and anyone blithering ‘god is greatest’ is a worrying individual in my opinion.

    It is obvious that the notion ‘god is greatest’ directly leads to these atrocities, because ‘the greatest’ says to.

    Despite the ramblings of Robert Wright.

  20. Doug
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’ll ask: What are you supposed to say after a DISappointing bowel movement?

    • Posted November 3, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Don’t be silly. God is responsible for all the good stuff, but, under no circumstances is he to blame when something goes wrong.

      This is standard MO for religionists. God is thanked by the passengers for saving them from the air crash, but it occurs to none of them to blame him for the crash happening in the first place.

  21. Posted November 3, 2017 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The NYT author asserted:

    The attack had similarities to the one that took place in Charlottesville, Va., in August, when a neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields, rammed his car into a crowd of people who were protesting against a rally staged by white nationalists, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 people

    This is a major oversight of the editors; one that destroys the article and rubbishes some of the NYT reputation (which is good, to me).

    The blueprint of this kind of terror is this: a Muslim man gets a truck or similar larger vehicle, and then finds a crowd to drive into them on purpose, killing many. This has happened not just in Barcelona (which he mentions later), but also in London, Berlin and Nice within about a year only. Charlottesville is not like these other cases, and not only because the driver was a white supremacist rather than a Muslim one.

    Muslims killing by truck is that a horrific a routine that a pitch black comedy series emerged titled the “Truck of Peace”. Did the author purposefully ignore the series of similar attacks? It looks like it, to have room to flail at other things intended to win over blue tribe readers.

    Other than that, I take the opposite stance. When believers utter “God is Great” after they have mowed down many unsuspecting people, they give an excellent display of this vile death cult called religion. And more and more people see it.

    As religion fades away, and moderates quietly believe something it is the fundamentalists, terrorists an zealots that increasingly determine how religion looks like, and which may help to speed up the process of getting rid of this particular lunacy.

  22. G Wilson
    Posted November 3, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting the conventional translation, “god is greatest” is slowly morphed into merely “is great” – presumably to mask the intent of the phrase.

    “Allahu akbar” is a supremacist declaration that ought to be as socially unacceptable as shouting “heil Hitler”.

  23. Posted November 3, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve been told that Arabic translations of the Bible try to avoid the phrase, despite it being pretty close to some of the stuff in there, presumably because of the association with the outsiders …


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