Right-Wing Media Defend, Deny Anti-Islamic Rhetoric In Response To Norwegian Attacks

Following the terrorist attacks in Norway by anti-Muslim fundamentalist Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing media have leapt to defending their own Islamophobic response to the attacks, often by making absurd claims like calling Breivik a “jihadist.”

Many Right-Wing Media Figures Leapt To Blame Muslims For Attack

Numerous Right-Wing Media Figures Assumed Islamic Terrorism Was Responsible For Norway Attacks. When word first broke of the deadly bombing and mass shooting in Norway, there was little information available to suggest what party or parties were responsible. Nonetheless, many right-wing figures declared that tragedy was an act of Islamic terrorism. It was later reported that the suspect in custody, Anders Behring Breivik, is a native Norwegian with extreme right-wing politics and holds strong anti-Islam views. [Media Matters, 7/25/11, 7/24/11]

Right-Wing Media Defend, Deny Islamophobia Following Norway Attacks

Kilmeade Asks What “Anti-Muslim Thought In The U.S.” Has To Do With The Attacks. On the July 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Fox News contributor Walid Phares, “Are you surprised somewhat that western newspapers, in this case The New York Times seem to be jumping on the fact -- they're trying to equate Christian, what they say are Christian extremists, with Muslim extremists? The headline today, for example, 'Killings in Norway spotlight anti-Muslim thought in U.S.' What does one thing have to do with another except for the fact that he claims to have studied, among other people, the Unabomber and plagiarized some of his rantings in his own manifesto?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/25/11]

Steyn: “Muslims Are Now The Preferred Victims, Even In A Story In Which They Are Entirely Absent.” In a July 25 post on the National Review Online, Mark Steyn wrote:

So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that's now an “Islamophobic” mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder.


But again: No mosque was targeted in Norway. A member of the country's second political party gunned down members of its first. But, in the merest evolution of post-9/11 syndrome, Muslims are now the preferred victims even in a story in which they are entirely absent. A Tweeter thinks that “turning this scumbag's atrocity in Norway into a lesson about how Mark Steyn and his ilk are douchebags seems... opportunistic,” but that's the least of it. Even by the elastic definitions of “Islamophobia,” the angle being pursued is bizarre and profoundly tasteless: A rambling Internet pdf is trumping the facts on the ground -- trumping the specifics of what occurred, and the victims. This man Breivik may think he's making history and bestriding the geopolitical currents and the clash of civilizations, but in the end he went and shot up his neighbors. Why let his self-aggrandizing bury the reality? [National Review Online, 7/25/11]

Geller: “If Anyone Incited Him To Violence, It Was Islamic Supremacists.” In a July 24 post on Atlas Shrugs, blogger Pamela Geller discussed references to her anti-Islam writings in Breivik's “manifesto” and claimed that "[i]f anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists." From Atlas Shrugs:

There is only a single and insignificant reference to me in Breivik's manifesto. The 55 references to Spencer are mostly quotes from Muslim scriptures. But Breivik cites LGF numerous times, in a very different way. He includes a long diatribe against Charles Johnson, whom he clearly admired until he felt betrayed enough to snap. The killer speaks about Charles Johnson obsessively and wrings his hands about Johnson's turn to the left. Could this perhaps have been the provocation? Could this have been what caused him to snap?

Breivik also refers favorably to Obama. Does that make the president culpable as well?

This whole exercise is ridiculous. Anders Behring Breivik is responsible for his actions. If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists. If anything incited him to violence, it was the Euro-Med policy. [Atlas Shrugs, 7/24/11]

Hinderaker: It Was “Not At All” Wrong To Blame “Muslim Terrorists.” In a July 24 post on Power Line, John Hinderaker wrote (emphasis in the original):

The relief-not to say glee-with which many liberals greeted the news that the Oslo mass murderer was a “tall, blond Norwegian” was palpable. Liberals pilloried those who ostensibly leaped to the conclusion, in the first minutes after the massacre began, that it was probably the work of Islamic jihadists. Scott noted earlier such attacks on Jennifer Rubin.

As far as I know, liberals haven't attacked me for the post I did while the attacks were in progress. But what I wrote was, I think, typical:

The perpetrators of these attacks have not yet been identified, but they likely were Muslim terrorists

Was that wrong? Not at all. Any time mass murder attacks take place, it is not just likely but highly probable that they are the work of Muslim jihadists. Over the last several decades, jihadists have launched hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks. They dwarf, in numbers, similar outrages perpetrated by anyone else. That is why, whenever a bomb kills innocent bystanders or an armed man guns down children, the first thing everyone thinks is that it likely will prove to be another instance of Islamic terrorism.

In this case, it wasn't. The left seems to find significance in that fact, but the appropriate response is, so what? As conservatives have been saying for a decade, terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. This is why many conservatives have never been happy with the “war on terror.” That people other than jihadists can use violence against civilians to advance their cause, or simply out of craziness, is obvious. [Power Line, 7/24/11]

Big Peace: “Anders Behring Breivik: Jiihadist.” A July 23 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace titled “Anders Behring Breivik: Jihadist” claimed Breivik “acted like so many jihadists in the Middle East.” From Big Peace:

This Norwegian terrorist was not a Christian or a conservative. He acted contrary to the teachings of the Bible and conservatives from Burke to Madison. He was instead a jihadist, blinded by an ideology who resorted to violence rather than engaging in a public debate of ideas. He was a coward who planted bombs and killed innocent people. For him, violence was the only answer. He claimed to be fighting jihadists...but he actually became one. He didn't kill one islamist [sic] terrorist with his actions-only innocent Norwegians. Change the location, and he acted like so many jihadists in the Middle East. He became one of them. [Big Peace, 7/23/11]

Erickson Defends “Bet[ting] It Was Not Lutherans Who Did It” By Claiming Violence “Is Extremely Common” Among Muslims. Following the attacks, CNN contributor Erick Erickson tweeted: “Terrorist bombing in Oslo. I bet you it was not Lutherans who did it.” After the identity of the attacker was discovered, Erickson wrote:

With Al Jazeera, international news networks, and domestic networks all raising the link to an Islamic radical Norway was deporting, I put on twitter that the odds were it wasn't an angry Lutheran doing the bombing and shooting and noted on the radio the possible links to Islamic radicals.

Turns out, the now captured shooter, who I think we can probably say is connected to the bombing, lists himself as a conservative Christian on a Facebook page.

I was wrong. But the reaction to me and others being wrong and to how the news is handling this event is quite instructive.


First, those of us on the right who point out the now fairly common ties between terrorists and Islam do so largely because the secular left has become willfully naive. The fact of the matter is violence and Islam may not be very common among American muslims [sic], but internationally it is extremely common and can fairly well be considered mainstream within much of Islam. Read Andy McCarthy if you suffer on the delusion that it is not mainstream.

With Christians, it is rather rare to see a self-described Christian engage in heinous terrorist acts. In fact, in as much as there is an Arab Street filled with muslims [sic] more often than not cheering on the latest terrorist act of radical Islamists, you will be very hard pressed to find a Christian who does not condemn the act regardless of the faith of the person doing the killing. [Twitter, 7/22/11; Red State, 7/23/11]