In addition to copious articles intimating that John Muhammad was practically not even a Muslim, the media have universally concluded that there is "no evidence" connecting him to al-Qaida. Of course, it will be difficult to find any evidence, having instantly pronounced the case closed.
In one hard-hitting investigative piece on Muhammad, for example, the Times produced amazing details from his life, including conversations with relatives, neighbors, friends and ex-girlfriends. The article droned on about how he met one ex-girlfriend -- her job, her hobbies, her hopes and dreams. But when she said, "We stopped talking after he asked me about religion," the Times dropped the subject and moved on to the next topic.
After weeks of blithe theorizing that the sniper was an "angry white male" -- based on invidious and offensive stereotypes -- aren't we entitled to a little theorizing about Muhammad's terrorist ties? There is surely more evidence that he was a member of al-Qaida than that he abandoned Islam before carrying out the sniper attacks.
Emerging as al-Qaida's leading spokesman in America, the Times has also blacked out the information that the terrorists who seized a Moscow theater last week were practitioners of the Religion of Peace.
I note again: America is at war with Islamic fanatics. But in a prolix front-page article about the "hostage siege" in Russia, the Times referred to the Islamic fanatics who stormed the theater exclusively as the "captors," the "separatists" and the "guerrillas." One searches in vain for a clear statement that the Moscow hostage crisis was yet another enterprise of the Religion of Peace.
The only hint that the "captors" were even Muslims was the Times' dismissive description of Russian President Vladimir Putin's reaction to the terrorists' demands. Instead of acquiescing, Putin "cho(se) to cast the rebels as international Islamic terrorists." The Times knows a cheap political ploy when it sees one.
In one of the oddest attempts to soften depictions of Islam -- the one religion the media respects -- the Times has apparently banned the word "burka" from its pages. (Burkas have gotten such a bad name recently!) Instead, one reads only about the "burka-style gowns" of the Islamic terrorists in Moscow or the "burka-like robes" of women in Bahrain. (How about: The swastika-like adornment on the skinhead's forearm.)
Not to be outdone by the Times, CNN has valiantly insisted on calling John Muhammad by his Christian name. The night the snipers' names were first released, CNN's Jeanne Meserve repeatedly called Muhammad two names he does not answer to: "Here are the names. John Allen Williams, aka Muhammad Williams, and also a John Lee Malvo." Williams isn't his name. It's not even "Muhammad Williams." It is John Allen Muhammad.
After assuring viewers "we will deal with this carefully," Aaron Brown summed up Meserve's report, saying, "We will say again that these two men, John Allen Williams and John Malvo -- and I'm not clear on the spelling on Malvo ..." While telling whoppers about Muhammad's name, he's fretting about spelling issues.
The next night Brown slipped and mistakenly called Muhammad by his actual name. He was quickly corrected by Kelli Arena:
BROWN: "And then it was sometime later that they got the second name, Muhammad or Williams, I guess."
ARENA: "Right, Williams."
Perhaps CNN should go whole hog and start describing Muhammad as a member of the "religious right" whose name is "Jerry Falwell."