An Egyptian Christian grieves in front of a covered body of one of the victims after a car exploded in front of a Coptic Christian church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Egypt, early Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. The attack killed at least seven people, officials said. (AP Photo/Tarek Fawzy)
(Commentary) - Our national media elite reviewed 2010 with great sorrow for how America has besmirched itself in the eyes of the world with its “seething hatred” of Muslims.
CBS anchor Katie Couric announced on her Internet show that there wasn't enough evaluation of “this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide” which was “so misdirected, and so wrong -- and so disappointing.” Couric even embarrassed herself by suggesting "Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show." A ridiculous idea – unless it were to run every night instead of Couric’s lame half-hour “news” report.
While Katie crinkles her face that anyone could march peacefully to oppose a mega-mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, here’s what does not upset Couric or her colleagues: Christians getting slaughtered and maimed in the Middle East by radical Islamists during the Christmas season. That story rates barely a media eyebrow lift.
On Christmas Eve in Nigeria, AP reported that Danjuma Akawu, secretary of Victory Baptist Church in the city of Maidiguri, charged that a mob of about 30 men attacked his church on Christmas Eve, killing five people, including the pastor, two choir members rehearsing for a late-night carol service and two passersby. He said the attackers came in three cars and dragged the pastor out of his house before shooting him to death. They drove off after setting the church and pastor's house on fire. On the other end of the same city, a security guard was shot and killed at a Church of Christ.
Network coverage? Katie Couric’s CBS aired nothing. Neither did ABC. NBC arrived on the story with three anchor briefs on the morning of December 27. PBS had one “NewsHour” mention that night. That’s it.
In the first minutes of the new year in Alexandria, Egypt, an explosion ripped through a throng of worshipers shortly after services ended outside of a Coptic Christian church, slaughtering at least 21 people and wounding another 96. An eyewitness described the debris on the street: ''Hands, legs, stomachs. Girls, women and men.''
Network coverage? ABC aired nothing. CBS and NBC each aired one brief anchor read. Some might say terror attacks in Africa with these “low” numbers of deaths are hardly a major news story, especially for TV networks that sparsely cover the globe. But when eight American tourists died in a bus crash in Egypt, CBS and NBC each aired full stories and NBC interviewed an American survivor on December 27. So it’s not an issue of sparse resources.
And how many Muslims have been killed – or injured, or had their feelings hurt – at the Ground Zero mosque protests?
This is a pattern. On Halloween, 58 were killed at a Catholic church in Baghdad, as Islamic radicals took church members hostage during Mass and executed the priests. ABC, CBS, and NBC aired little anchor briefs, yet managed to put the weight of scrutiny on Iraqi government forces for attempting to storm the church and defeat the radicals.
On New Year’s Eve, the New York Times reported from Baghdad on a cluster of 10 bomb attacks in which two people were killed and 20 wounded, all of them Christians.
One week after an Islamic extremist group vowed to kill Christians in Iraq, the bombs were placed near the homes of at least 14 Christian families around the city. The networks didn’t find that compelling, either.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC combined to air 52 stories in one month – just on the evening newscasts – on the Ground Zero mega-mosque project.
Despite their cachet as world-news aficionados, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio couldn’t locate news from Nigeria or Egypt as Christians were targeted and killed. NPR did find time for a story on how Israel’s immigration policies as Africans poured over the border from Egypt were violating human rights. NPR’s Nina Totenberg found the opportunity to apologize on PBS for using the term “Christmas party.”
NPR finally caught up a bit on January 3, when evening anchor Robert Siegel talked to Los Angeles Times reporter Borzou Darzaghi about the church attack in Egypt. He asked: “Are Christians a new front for Islamist militants in the region?”
Darzaghi replied that “increasingly, it does seem that way. And, you know, you had the Christmas Eve bombings in Nigeria, you've had these attacks, constant attacks, really, stepping up recently on Iraqi Christians in Mosul, in Baghdad. And there does seem to be this concerted campaign to target this very vulnerable, dwindling community.” The reporter concluded “it's considered a tragedy that this community is being whittled down.”
It’s “considered” a tragedy? The American media’s coverage of this religious war underlines their own distance from the story, and how they’re somehow much more upset that some no-name, meaningless rabble-rouser in Florida became globally famous for threatening to burn one Koran in a trash can.