Vail Daily column: Murdoch’s Twitter firestorm
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch ignited the Twitterverse. His recent tweets are ironically un-media savvy for a guy who heads a media company. Following the Paris terrorist attacks Murdoch tweeted:
“Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US. Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.” And, “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”
Newton’s third law of motion states, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Physics may apply to the real world, but twysics apply to the Twitterverse. Murdoch’s action was met with a swift reaction, amplified by outrage.
J.K. Rowling tweeted in response, “The Spanish Inquisition was my fault, as is all Christian fundamentalist violence. Oh, and Jim Bakker.” And, “I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.”
Comedian Aziz Ansari fired off numerous tweets including, “Are you responsible for the evil s— all Christians do or just the insane amount of evil you yourself contribute to? And, “@rupertmurdoch is Christian just like Mark David Chapman who shot John Lennon. Why didn’t Rupert stop it? #RupertsFault”
I get that these tweets are supposed to be humorous. That said, good humor is rooted in truth, and many of the responses to Murdoch lacked veracity. I am no fan of Murdoch and am loathe to write in his defense. I am responding to the reaction to Murdoch’s tweets because they reflect a common theme. The responses to his tweets display one or more of the following: False equivalency, lack of corresponding motivation or hypocrisy.
A false equivalency exists when two conflicting arguments are presented as having equal merit when in fact a preponderance of evidence supports one position over the other. Such is the case when Islamic terrorism is compared to Christian terrorism.
In order to juxtapose Islamic violence with Christian violence, instances of Christian violence are gathered from the annals of history, ancient history. The Crusades ended more than 700 years ago. The Inquisition was carried out in different countries over the course of several hundred years, but was largely abandoned more than 200 years ago. Do Christians still kill in the name of Christianity? Yes. A few weirdos go Rambo every few years and are crowned with the villainy they richly deserve. Most so-called Christian terrorism is one-off violence directed at abortion clinics and doctors who perform abortions, as was the case with Scott Roeder who killed Dr. George Tiller in 2009. Ironically, Roeder killed Tiller at church. Roeder is now in prison where he belongs. The Westboro Baptist Church, perhaps the most notorious church in America, is a hate group rather than a faith organization, but it is not a terror organization and it is largely seen as a nuisance rather than a danger. Islamic terror, on the other hand, is pervasive, persistent, present-day and lethal.
Furthermore, when the Kouachi brothers, Said and Cherif, killed the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, they were heard to make the following statements, “We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad,” and, “God is Great in Arabic (Allahu Akbar).” Muslims insist the Kouachis are not really Muslims and do not represent Islam. However, it is clear that the Kouachis were motivated by their belief that they were both representing and defending Islam. Conversely, when he shot John Lennon, Mark David Chapman was not heard invoking Jesus Christ. In fact, he read J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” while he waited for police to arrive on the scene. Let’s be clear, America is a violent country; the causes of which are complex. Blaming Christianity for anything or everything done by non-Muslims is ascribing a motivation that does not exist and is a lame attempt to deflect the violent thread that currently exists within Islam.
In a statement following the Paris attack, author Salman Rushdie wrote, “This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.” Rushdie writes of a mutation and Murdoch a cancer, both indict a rotten core. Where is the backlash against Rushdie? Rushdie went on to write, “‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’” Sounds like Rushdie is also addressing the cloak of political correctness that has descended over any discussion of Islamic terrorism, just as Murdoch did.
Similarly, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” said during an appearance on the “Jimmy Kimmel” show, “I know most Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this, but here’s the important point: Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, ‘We don’t approve of violence, but you know what? When you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off.’”
Where are Ansari’s and Rowling’s responses to liberal lions such as Maher and Rushdie calling out Islam? Not a tweet.
Claire Noble is the author of “State-Sponsored Sex and Other Tales of International Misadventure.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @thehkhousewife.
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