Terrorism Hysteria

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/Idiocy, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

CrywolfCathy Young has posted a very sane analysis of the recent phenomenon of prominent right-wing bloggers jonesing for a new domestic terrorist attack.  (Via Is That Legal):

Michelle Malkin, Powerline, and The Jawa Report flogged the story relentlessly, picking up every sensational detail and railing against the "mainstream media" for ignoring and covering up the story. In a typical passage her October 12 syndicated column, Malkin wrote:

Nothing to see here. Move along. Islam is a peaceful religion. Stop asking so many damned questions.

Such is the attitude of the national media, which seems to believe that ’tis better to live in ignorance and indulge in hindsight later than to offend the gods of political correctness.

On October 13, The Wall Street Journal published an article debunking the alleged terrorist angle and taking the bloggers to the woodshed for spreading hysteria about the story.  Malkin, Powerline, and The Jawa Report claim that the blogs have not made any assertions, merely asked questions. First of all, that’s a common, and rather poor, excuse for irresponsible speculation. If a prominent left-wing blog ran an item titled, "Did George W. Bush know in advance about the 9/11 attacks?", I doubt that Malkin & Co. would consider the question mark to be much of an attenuating circumstance.

Second, some of the blogs that pushed the "jihadi terrorism in the heartland" angle on the Hinrich story went much further than merely ask questions.


There is another question one might ask: When we’re in the middle of the War on Terror, isn’t it better to be too vigilant than not vigilant enough? Where’s the harm in trying to "connect the dots"?

First of all, reporting unfounded rumors is not "connecting the dots." Equating a Pakistani roommate and an apartment in close proximity to a mosque with Islamic terrorist ties is not "connecting the dots." It’s irresponsible speculation.

Second, the harm in crying wolf should be pretty obvious.