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Saturday, July 23, 2011


No white terrorists at the New York Times (nor unpeaceful Norwegians)

In an almost unbelievable display of anti-Muslim bias, the New York Times repeatedly describes the suspect in the murder of 87 people in Norway as a "lone political extremist," not as a "terrorist," which is certainly how they would have described any alleged murderer had he been a non-white Muslim, rather than a "conservative Christian." Adding to the offense, the characterization (attributed to the police) asserts categorically that this was a "lone" attack, although it's obvious that in such a short time, no one could possibly know if the alleged attacker didn't have accomplices.

But the real sin of the Times comes later in the article. Despite having what seems to be a pretty clear suspect in custody, and despite a fairly clear picture of the basic characteristics of that suspect (right-wing, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant), the article closes with six paragraphs describing suspicions and reasons why the attack might reasonably be expected to have originated with "Islamic terrorism." Suspicions which never should have been voiced in this article to begin with, but all the more so since a suspect not fitting that description has already been apprehended.

The final insult in the article is its perpetuation of the entirely undeserved "peaceful" image of Norway, "a nation better known for its active diplomacy and peacekeeping missions than as a target for extremists." We even have a Norwegian telling us how "Norway is such a neutral country." The article does note (later) that Norway has 550 soldiers serving in Afghanistan; it fails to note, as Glenn Greenwald does this morning, that Norway is actively participating in the assault on Libya, and Norwegian planes have dropped more than 300 bombs on that country! Not exactly your concept of a "neutral country."

Of course, Norway is also the country in which Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. So it's certainly no stranger to irony.

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