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Black Racism and the Beltway Snipers: A Media Double Standard

Daniel G. Jennings

Something has been noticeably absent from our nation's news media in the last month or so: follow-up stories on John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, the suspects in the Beltway Shootings. There have no big stories on the cable news networks or the network news magazines, no special features in the major news magazines or the big daily newspapers, and no specials on the cable news networks. Why is there no follow-up on the two men who threw our nation's capital into terror for over a month and commanded the attention of the major news media? Why doesn't the media want to talk about Muhammad and Malvo and their motivation?

The most likely reason is that Muhammad and Malvo were black racists who used a distorted version of Islam as the motivation for their violent rampage. Black racism is something that the US media doesn't like to talk about or report on--even if it was the motivation for one of the worst racist killing-sprees in American history.

The instigator in these shootings, John Muhammad is quite probably a black racist. He is a black man from a poor background who has been a failure in life. Like many poor blacks, Muhammad blames his personal failures on a racist conspiracy directed against him, just like many poor whites blame their problems on Jews or Affirmative Action. Some news reports ignored by the major media have stated that Muhammad practices a very distorted version of Islam called "The Five Percent." The Five Percent (based upon teaching not found in the Koran or any traditional Moslem Holy Book) teaches that a tiny percentage of pure blacks will one day inherit and rule the world. Like the Christian Identity nonsense which distorts Christianity by teaching that whites of British ancestry are the modern day descendants of the Biblical Hebrews, Five Percent theology is a cheap attempt to use religion to justify gutter-level bigotry.

Compare this to the media frenzy after the Oklahoma City bombing. Back then there were dozens of stories about the evil militia-movement and white supremacy. According to the national media, there were thousands of racist militiamen all over the nation ready to follow in Timothy McVeigh's footsteps. Dozens of stories claimed that talk radio was promoting racism and anti-American terrorism. There were TV specials and exposés of the militia galore and lots of efforts to relate conservatism and libertarianism to gutter-level racism and terrorism.

We've seen nothing like this since the Beltway Shootings. There hasn't been a single expose of Five Percentism or of the Nation of Islam on the major TV networks or cable. No Frontline specials on PBS and no big exposés in the national news magazines or the major daily newspapers. So far as I know, no reporter has written anything about the weird history of Black Muslims in America or their twisted beliefs, there have been no stories about the Nation of Islam's blatant sympathy for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War II, nor have questions been asked about the death of Malcolm X--who was blown up apart with shotguns after he started criticizing Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and asking questions about where the money that Black Muslims were collecting was going. Malcolm was also pointing out the fact that the Nation of Islam's beliefs looked nothing like traditional Islamic theology.

Nor has anyone asked, so far as I know, if John Muhammad was targeting successful middle-class blacks in his rampage. Muhammad went into counties in Virginia and Maryland with large populations of successful middle-class blacks and targeted blacks who had achieved the American dream. A bus driver, a businessman and children at a middle school in an upper-class black suburb.

The way the media has treated the Beltway Sniper affair is disturbing because it shows that our journalists have become completely timid and afraid to ask important questions or cover important stories for fear that they might offend some people. Perhaps the real story of the Beltway snipers is not that of black racism but that of the failure of our timid and politically-correct media to do its job and tell us the whole story.

Published:
  2002-12-13

Categories:
  Politics

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