Ilhan Omar Did A Sarcasm, Wingnuts Outraged
The rightwing whine machine has a new focus of outrage: a clip from a 2018 Al Jazeera interview with Ilhan Omar, deceptively edited to make it look like a sarcastic comment was a serious call for racial profiling of white men. It's hard to rank such things, but this may be the biggest fake outrage since wingnuts took Barack Obama quoting that line about "that's the Chicago way" from The Untouchables and insisted he was calling for murdering his political opponents. Or maybe since the last time they freaked out about Ilhan Omar.
The misleading video was originally produced by rightwing lying-for-Jebus outfit CBN News, which chopped a key line out of a 2018 interview with Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan. Hasan asked Omar about the notion that Islamophobia is at least partly rooted in legitimate fear of terrorism. She replied with sarcasm: If you're basing bigotry on fear of terrorism, then you should be afraid of white men, who have killed more Americans than jihadists. (Fact Check: True.) Here's the original question and answer:
Hasan: A lot of conservatives in particular would say that the rise in Islamophobia is the result not of hate, but of fear. And legitimate fear, they say, of quote-unquote "jihadist terrorism" — whether it's Fort Hood, or San Bernardino, or the recent truck attack in New York. What do you say to them?
Omar: I would say -- our country should be more fearful of white men across our country, because they are actually causing most of the deaths within this country. And so if fear was the driving force of policies to keep America safe, Americans safe inside of this country, we should be profiling, monitoring, and creating policies to fight the radicalization of white men. [emphasis added -- Dok]
The CBN video omits the highlighted portion of the answer, making Omar appear to be calling for a crackdown on white men. The chopped video was tweeted out by Molly Prince, a writer for Ben Shapiro's House of Lies, and then went hugely viral when it was retweeted by Sen. Marco Rubio yesterday with great huffiness about the media's terrible double standards. Here's the tweet and the video, and again, our context warning: THIS IS DECEPTIVELY EDITED.
I am sure the media will now hound every Democrat to denounce this statement as racist. Right? https://t.co/UewkblF8Oo— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1564074813.0
Hey! That video is bullshit! In the interest of helping the truth get its boots on, Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Molloy offered a version of the clip highlighting the part that was left out:
@marcorubio @IlhanMN Here's an extended version of this clip of @IlhanMN and @mehdirhasan. @marcorubio shared a dec… https://t.co/xSmdNxUSRK— Parker Molloy (@Parker Molloy)1564078026.0
Here, let a Doktor of Rhetoric explain: That "if fear was the driving force" bit is pretty damn important to the meaning of the following statement, since that's the only condition under which the latter clause becomes operative. IF you're talking about statistical links to terrorism in America, THEN we should be profiling whites. [Unstated: Which is clearly absurd, since the actual portion of the population linked to terrorism, for both Muslims and White Dudes, is microscopic.]
Too late: The lie was out, and the Usual Suspects ran with it. The deceptively edited version of the clip was featured prominently on Fox News's Wednesday lineup, provoking fainting spells from Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.
Mehdi Hasan, who conducted the original interview, called on Rubio to delete his retweet of the misleading video.
Senator @marcorubio will you delete this tweet and apologize? You’re sharing a selectively-edited video from my sho… https://t.co/xNHAOGnvoo— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan)1564087792.0
That went about as well as you'd expect. Asked to explain why he'd retweeted a fake video, Rubio issued a statement explaining the real scandal is Omar's racist hatred of all white men, and the biased media's failure to call her on it.
These questions prove my point. If a Republican grouped all men, of any background or ethnicity, together in any negative context -- especially terrorism -- many in the media would immediately demand that other Republicans disavow their statement. But when Rep. Omar suggested white men -- not white supremacists or white nationalists, white men -- pose a greater danger than jihadists, many in the media rushed to her defense and attacked me for pointing out this double standard.
Credit to Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, with whom we've had some issues, for noting Rubio
just a week ago insisted the "outrage and response cycle" was "a stupid game I refuse to play."
Rubio then went to work explaining he wasn't actually talking about Omar at all, but about the media and its double standards. Ilhan Omar, who categorically said we should fear all white men, is merely an example, you see.
No,you got duped into proving my point. My tweet wasn’t about her. It was about the double standard in how many in… https://t.co/Vh8khJy36V— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1564094053.0
And in fact, the media's unfair treatment of Rubio is precisely why he will never ever play the outrage-response game, which he is definitely not playing now, no sir!
Interesting, my tweet asked if media would characterize her statement as racist. It’s described very differently… https://t.co/0eyOMJKqaC— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1564097002.0
You see, if anyone's being quoted out of context, it's poor Marco Rubio, who is falsely being accused of spreading a smear when IN CONTEXT he was merely spreading the smear to prove the media never treats conservatives fairly, but gives racists like Ilhan Omar a pass when she clearly said all white men should be feared.
In conclusion, we can only say that if Marco Rubio ever admits he was snookered by a fake video and discusses any of this in good faith, then everyone should praise him as an honest, principled man.
You can quote us on that, but only in full.
Update: Ben Shapiro's House Of Smart People offers a new spin on the bad faith bandwagon: taking Omar's words completely out of the context of terrorism and explaining it's not true that white men "are causing most of the deaths in this country." NUH-UH, they yell, it's the blacks that do the most murders.
I dunno, if we're gonna play that game, let's include lung cancer deaths and total up the number of white and black tobacco executives, shall we?
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.