Fareed Zakaria’s GPS is busted

I must follow up on the incredible disappearing Glenn Beck mega-controversy of the week.  To review:

1) Glenn estimates in an off-the-cuff comment about something unrelated that around 10% of Muslims around the world are terrorists

2) Liberal blogs and some others fly off the handle

3) We show that the statistic is backed up by respected pollsters frequently cited by the exact same people complaining about it

4) SILENCE

There were a couple of exceptions to the silence.  For example, Jon Bershad at Mediaite takes the high road–with a refreshingly honest response to the information we presented here.

  • Stu “asks for the media ’s apology . Well, here it is: I’m sorry. You appear to be right. However…”
  • Look, I know my argument is more about feelings than facts and I know it’s a little flimsy. For instance, I hate the theory, espoused by the likes of early-2000s Eminem and one of my least favorite episodes of South Park, that words like “gay” and “fag” shouldn’t offend homosexuals because, in modern connotations, they actually mean “stupid” or “lame.” However, here I am, basically arguing the same thing about the word “terrorist.” I know I have no proof as to why those two arguments are different, but I feel that they are.  And therein, basically, lies the crux of my (admittedly flimsy) argument.

The entire post is worth your time, as I said–it’s honest.  And “honest” isn’t an easy genre to connect with for many in the media.  For example, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.  If you don’t know who Fareed Zakaria is, then you aren’t working for his show.  But, apparently he decided to rehash all of the arguments that my last post shot down, with impressive levels of denial. You have to love the summary of the opposition:

“And this guy cited some polls to support the claim that many in the Muslim world don’t like us and wish us harm. Uhh, yes, many of us have been pointing that out for over a decade now … But hating America is not the same thing as being a terrorist.

“Believe me, if we had one hundred and fifty seven million Muslim terrorists active across the world, we would be hearing more about it.”

As “this guy” I feel uniquely qualified to comment.

1) The polls don’t describe a “wish” of any sort.  They don’t just describe people hating America.  They show support for violent attacks against civilians on US soil.  They show support for the actions of Osama Bin Laden.  They show support–aka advocacy–for those attacks.  Why is advocacy important? Well…

2) Dictionary.com.  Terrorist. Definition number one.  ”a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.” Look, Fareed -you’re either wrong, or you need to start attacking the dictionary, not Glenn. Just admit it.  Fareed’s defense on this point is that other organizations don’t define it this way, so “never mind.”  Never mind what?  The dictionary?  Never mind the dictionary?  When your defense can be summarized as “well, I think the dictionary is wrong”, you’ve lost.

3) Fareed claims that by my definition of terrorist, Glenn is a terrorist because Glenn says things that make people angry at the government.  I apologize for acting like I’m talking to someone with the IQ of eight, but apparently, I am.

a) Not my definition of terrorist.  It’s the dictionary definition of terrorist.

b) Here’s where your previous mistakes create issues for you, Fareed.  Saying things that make you angry at the United States does not make you a terrorist.  Advocating terrorism does.  If Glenn starts advocating attacks against civilians in the United States, he would be a terrorist.  He hasn’t done this, and never would.  But, let me ask you this-if Glenn DID start advocating attacks against innocent American civilians—would you do a segment of your show defending him?  Would ya?

4) He says if all of this were true “we would be hearing more about it.”  But, then also says he has been pointing out what he considers similar things for a decade.  Nice admission of your irrelevance.

Snark aside, let’s boil both sides down for a second.

–Zakaria’s (incorrect) point is that Glenn Beck is crazy for saying that 157 million Muslims are GOING to blow Americans up, because the truth is just that157 million Muslims WANT Americans to blow up.  Even if that were correct, is it really a point you are proud to argue?

–Glenn’s larger point was that a small percentage of Muslims are causing a major problem for the far, far larger non-psychotic part of it. Is that really a point that you find that objectionable, even if it was worded incorrectly? (It was not.)

The larger thing to observe here is –why is Mediaite doing a far better job than CNN?  Isn’t CNN supposed to be the one who is the level-headed-we’re-better-than-the-other-cable-networks-because-we’re-journalists-network?  Why is Mediaite able to completely destroy them in the credibility department?

Before I go, allow me to end with an acknowledgement of tactics from the left blogs that are in perpetual attack mode on Glenn.  Please, please, please notice how all of this started.  It’s one of the most common tactics in the failing war on Glenn…the sniper method.

Look, the number Glenn used was correct.  But, has he communicated that point in a more clear way at other times?  Sure.  For example, he usually says something like he did in The Real America—ten percent “want you dead” or a similar variation.  But what these blogs (Think Progress, Media Matters, Media Progress, Think Matters, DailyHuffPOlberschultz) constantly do is take a statistic or comment that Glenn says 50 times with all of the appropriate qualifiers–and wait for the one time he does not.  No one bothers to try and understand what he meant or try to understand the context.

A perfect example is the O’Reilly/View walkout.  How many times has O’Reilly said something similar to “Muslim extremists” on his show?  25,000?  Anyone who has ever heard him speak about terrorism at all knows that Bill O’Reilly does not think that every Muslim on earth is flying a plane into a building.  But, the one time he leaves off extremists, he suddenly is anti-Muslim.   It’s an absurd standard utilized by cowards who know how pathetic it is, but use it anyway because they believe the ends justify the means.