On Tuesday, I read a New York Times online report about a press conference held by Geir Lippestad, the defense lawyer for admitted Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. I found one of Lippestad's statements of interest, and saved it for future reference. Little did I know it would apparently disappear from the news website.
The statement was: "Asked if the rampage was aimed at the Labor Party or at Muslim immigrants, Mr. Lippestad said: 'This was an attack on the Labor Party.'"
The lawyer's statement is the first credible assessment of motive, and as such it is a significant piece of the story. So why did The New York Times cut it from the final version of the story online and in Wednesday's newspaper?
The answer, I think, has much to do with how Lippestad's opinion fails to accelerate the rush of Times insta-spin, and could even slow what looks like a swift-moving drive to limit free speech about Islamization in the West.
The "updated" Times report that omits Lippestad's statement now features comments from Jonas Gahr Store, Norway's foreign minister. Sure, Store's comments are significant, but why they obliterated the defense lawyer's statement, I don't know. But I can guess.
Lippestad believes his client was attacking the Labor Party, not Muslim immigrants. The final version, minus Lippestad's comment, reports on an official, post-attack event: the foreign minister's visit to the World Islamic Mission, a large Oslo mosque, "to express solidarity," as the Times explains, with Norwegian Muslims. Over the weekend, Store visited a church as well, but the Times doesn't mention that. The overall patina to the mosque event then, certainly minus Lippestad's assessment, becomes one of Muslim aggrievement -- an artificial creation given that the majority of Breivik's victims are most likely non-Muslim. Such aggrievement, however, fits the Times' anti-anti-jihad narrative to date, also dovetailing with machinations on the Left.
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