Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
No sooner are the bloodstains and bits of human flesh hosed off the concrete from the latest Muslim or #BlackLivesMatter terrorist attack and the grieving families ushered through the cold metal doors of impersonal morgues to identify the bodies of their loved ones that the vultures of the media rise above a wounded city and begin spinning the same old lies.
The propaganda, the artful selection and deselection of facts, have become as familiar to us as they were to any of the residents of the Soviet Union or North Korea. Anyone who pays attention knows not only that they are being lied to, but can easily predict the lies that they will be told on the evening news even before they actually hear them being spoken out loud.
We always knew that the Muslim terrorist, even before he was identified, would turn out to be a secular loner who was depressed over his family life. All the media had to do with Mohammed Bouhlel, the Islamic terrorist who murdered 84 people in Nice, France was to replay the same exact narrative as the one that they had fed us with Omar Mateen, the Islamic terrorist who murdered 49 people in Orlando.
Irreligious, depressed loner with family problems. Check. No connection to Islamic terrorism. Suggestion of mental illness. Check and check. Insistence on his lack of interest in religion? One final check.
Mohammed shouted “Allahu Akbar,” the ancient Muslim battle cry that originated with Mohammed's murder of Jews whose meaning is that Allah is greater than the deities of non-Muslims, but the media persists in its dedication to burying the truth in a shallow unmarked grave at midnight behind CNN headquarters.
Gavin Eugene Long aka Cosmo Setepenra, who murdered three police officers in Baton Rouge, was also unstable. Much like Dallas cop-killer Micah Johnson, who was also another “unstable loner.”
What do Mohammed and Gavin, Micah and Omar all have in common? They’re inconvenient killers.
The left supports the ideologies, black nationalism and Islam, in whose name they carried out their crimes so the media has to redirect attention away from the ideology to the individual.
It doesn’t matter that the killers were very clear about their motives. What matters is hiding the truth.
Every Muslim or #BlackLivesMatter terrorist is just a crazy, depressed loner unable to cope with life’s problems. Descriptions emphasize that they were not part of a group; particularly the groups that the media is attempting to carry water for. Instead Micah Johnson was “reclusive” even though he spent his time partying with a laundry list of racist black nationalist groups, including the New Black Panther Party.
Omar Mateen was a “loner.” Mohammed Bouhlel, the Nice killer, was a “troubled, angry loner with little interest in Islam”. Or perhaps he was a “bitter loner” or even a “weird loner” who became “depressed.”
The key word here is “loner.” Loners aren’t part of a group. When you call a Muslim terrorism a loner or a #BlackLivesMatter terrorist “reclusive”, then there’s no need to look at the movement they were part of. Loners have no movements. Neither do recluses. They’re just “weird” and “unstable” people who go crazy for incomprehensible reasons.
Like depression. Or the weather.
Propaganda rarely gets more obvious than this.
And it’s not just the media. The “troubled loner” narrative comes from the very top down.
Obama insisted that it was “very hard to untangle the motives” of the Dallas cop killer and that he would leave it to “psychologists” but that “the danger is that we somehow suggest the act of a troubled individuals speaks to some larger political statement across the country.”
Micah Johnson had been very clear about his motives. He was a black nationalist activist angry about #BlackLivesMatter issues who said that he wanted to kill white police officers.
Obama contended that Johnson was clearly crazy because, “By definition if you shoot people who pose no threat to you, you have a troubled mind.” By that definition, the Nazis were all “troubled.”
But Obama had cultivated no similar ambiguity after the Charleston massacre. Instead in his eulogy he said that Dylann Storm Roof “surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress.”
And then he demanded that after the actions of one “troubled loner,” the Confederate flag had to come down across the country.
But not all troubled loners are created equal.
Roof’s massacre was part of a larger pattern and a bigger history. But each act of Islamic terrorism or black nationalist violence is purely of the moment and has no larger meaning. Its perpetrators are crazy and their political motives don’t matter. Even though Islamic terrorism has over 1,000 years of history behind it and violence associated with black nationalist groups goes back quite far, neither really exists.
Once again this is what propaganda looks like.
The “troubled loner” narrative is a tactical weapon of spin. When the killer is ideologically convenient, then he’s not a troubled loner, but a representative of a larger political movement. When he’s ideologically inconvenient, then his ideology will hardly be mentioned, only his personal problems.
Your average political terrorist who is willing to kill a bunch of people over the weekend will generally not have the perfect life sitting in his vest pocket. The odds will be very good that his apartment will be messy, his personal life messier and that plenty of people will remember him as a loner or strange.
Of course the same thing could have been said about Adolf Hitler and much of the Nazi elite.
Political radicalism attracts unstable people. This does not mean that we can ignore the ideologies of political radicals by reducing them to personal pathologies. Doing so with a political movement is dishonest and futile. The Nazis could not have been defeated by pretending that they didn’t exist.
It’s the political allies of a terrorist movement who are most likely to play the game of pretending that ideological atrocities are really personal quirks. And that we should focus on the latter not the former.
The media spin on Micah Johnson and Eugene Gavin Long, Omar Mateen and Mohammed Bouhlel is propaganda with a purpose. The purpose is protecting the media’s political allies from being linked to the atrocities being committed by their friendly neighborhood Islamists and black nationalists.
Every Muslim and black nationalist terrorist is crazy. Because the alternative is admitting that both movements use violence to achieve their goals. And that their political allies on the left are complicit in their crimes.
As the violence increases, so do the cover-ups. Anyone who reaches the obvious conclusion about Islamic terrorism and #BlackLivesMatter is dubbed a bigot. A rash of politically motivated killers are dismissed as lunatics. Gun control is revived, not just for its own sake, but as a convenient distraction.
Just as the crimes of Communism dragged the left deeper into the cover-up with each bloody year, so too the crimes of Islam and black nationalism stain the left’s hands a darker shade of red every single month. And eventually there will be no choice left but to bring down the curtain and tell the truth.