This article is reprinted from City Journal.
Showdown with Evil: Our Struggle Against Tyranny and Terror, by Jamie Glazov (Mantua Books, 255 pp., $18)
Its unbridled license and frequent triviality notwithstanding, the Internet has performed an invaluable political service by breaking the monopoly that the left-leaning mainstream media once held over public information and analysis. In the past, a New York Times or CBS Evening News could impose a narrative that served its political interests; today, myriad websites and blogs respond instantly to every shoddy argument and distortion of fact. David Horowitz’s Web magazine, FrontPage, has been indefatigable in challenging liberal media’s attempt to control the political conversation. The breadth of that ongoing effort is well represented in Showdown with Evil, FrontPage editor Jamie Glazov’s compilation of 30 interviews that the site conducted with some of America’s most astute commentators.
Glazov’s book focuses primarily on two themes: the need to understand the existential threat of radical Islam, and the lessons that we can learn from our earlier conflict with Communist tyranny. A 2009 interview with Robert Spencer emphasizes what a bad job the press is doing of identifying the religious motivations of jihadists. The media, Spencer observes, “are completely sold out to the idea that Muslims, as non-white, non-Christian, non-Westerners, cannot possibly be anything but victims.” Hence the “avalanche of ‘backlash’ stories,” despite the absence of any sustained, widespread attacks on Muslims in America. Conversely, “in the lenses through which [the media] view the world, only white Judeo-Christian Westerners can do anything wrong.” This January, Spencer’s charge received some confirmation when the media—which had refused to identify Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood in November 2009, as a jihadist, despite abundant evidence—instantly blamed the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords on “right-wing extremists” and the “climate of hate” that they had supposedly created, despite the absence of evidence.
As terrorism authority Steve Emerson argues in his interview, advocacy organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have exploited the notion that Muslims in America are victims of a “backlash” and “profiling.” Emerson discusses a letter sent in July 2009 by seven far-left House Democrats to Attorney General Eric Holder on behalf of nine Islamic interest groups, including CAIR, that had complained about how the Department of Justice investigated terrorism cases. Some of these groups had demonstrable links to terrorist organizations and frequently acted as public apologists for jihadist attacks and anti-Semitic libels. Nevertheless, one of the congressmen who signed the letter, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, had sent a video message to the 2008 CAIR annual banquet, praising the group for promoting “the powerful message of Islam, a message of peace and reconciliation.” Incidents like these illustrate what Emerson describes as the legitimizing of radical Islam in the eyes of the government, popular culture, and media, all under the guise of defending civil liberties. The House letter also stands as a vivid example of what Horowitz, in his interview, calls the “unholy alliance” between the hard Left and radical Islam, both of which see liberal democracy as the most formidable obstacle to achieving their political utopias.