Mehdi Hasan of NBC on Saturday provided a good example of the Left’s propaganda offensive to portray all support of Trump and all dissent from its agenda as dangerous terrorism that must be silenced and even criminalized. On the Mehdi Hasan Show and then on a Twitter thread, Hasan counted down five reasons for claiming that “the far-right domestic terror threat is more dangerous than even Al Qaeda after 9/11.” They were:
5. “Al Qaeda didn’t have cable news channels endorsing its world view.”
4. “Al Qaeda didn’t have the president of the United States or his daughter inciting them, or praising them during the attacks as ‘special people’ and ‘American Patriots.’”
3. “Al Qaeda wasn’t umbilically connected to the U.S. conservative moment and the GOP; didn’t have sympathizers in the House GOP caucus who spoke at its rallies and offered cover for them.”
2. “Al Qaeda hadn’t successfully infiltrated U.S. law enforcement and even the military in the run-up to 9/11. None of the 19 hijackers were off-duty cops or veterans.”
Hasan concluded: “And the number 1 reason why Al Qaeda was not as much a danger as these #MAGAterrorists are is because… Al Qaeda wasn’t white. We take the threat from brown men with big beards much more seriously than the threat from white guys. Hence the Capitol attack.”
This all sounds quite disquieting, but as is so often the case with Hasan and NBC in general, none of it is true.
5. Al Jazeera aired al-Qaeda materialand ran interference for it. Hasan’s exercise in moral equivalence also assumes that Trump incited and endorsed the storming of the Capitol on January 6, and that the entry into the Capitol was terrorism, and therefore when OANN or Newsmax reported favorably on Trump, they were endorsing terrorism. This is a whole string of false premises. Trump didn’t incite the attack: he never called upon people to enter the Capitol or disrupt the electoral vote count. To claim that he did so by means of “dog whistles” or some such is to claim that his intent beyond his actual words can be discerned in an objective manner. Once you grant that, you’ve opened the door for anyone in power to claim that someone criticizing them really means to incite violence, and thus must be silenced. The same thing goes for OANN and Newsmax: they never called for violence. Al-Qaeda calls for violence all the time. To equate the two means that any unpopular speech can be criminalized. Even Mehdi Hasan could find himself on the wrong end of that idea someday.
4. There is no indication that Trump was calling anyone but his supporters “special people” and “American Patriots,” and to assume that he meant those who stormed the Capitol, even though he told the protestors to proceed peacefully, is, at best, unproven.
3. Al-Qaeda is “umbilically connected” to the American Left and the Democrat Party, in the sense that Democrat leaders routinely oppose virtually every counterterror measure as “Islamophobia” and do everything they can to remove all roadblocks in the way of jihad terror attacks occurring on American soil. Those who think this is a false or overstated charge are requested to provide evidence that the Left has ever been as concerned about the jihad terror threat as it is about supposed “Islamophobia.”
2. Actually there is considerable evidence of infiltration of law enforcement and the military by Muslim officials who oppose efforts to discuss and understand the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism. Consider, for example, the firing of Stephen Coughlin from the military’s Joint Staff in 2008 because of complaints from the Defense Department’s Hesham Islamover his analysis of the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat. Then there is the extensive and friendly contactbetween the Justice Department’s Eric Treene and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations and Islamic Society of North America. Hesham Islam, CAIR and ISNA aren’t al-Qaeda, but those are just two examples among a great many of how the American law enforcement and military apparatus is deeply involved with groups and individuals that do not exactly have combating the jihad terror threat among their highest priorities.
1. This one is just more of the race-baiting agitprop so favored on the Left these days, right up to the top: even Joe Biden claimed that the Capitol rioters were treated more leniently because they were white than they would have been otherwise. Is the anti-Trump Black Lives Matter activist John Sullivan, who was arrested in the Capitol, white? And what of white American al-Qaeda terrorists such as the late Adam Gadahn, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike? Was the strike that killed him less lethal because he was white?
Mehdi Hasan’s five points are a tissue of victimhood propaganda, race-baiting, and defamation. And judging from the responses to them on Twitter, Leftists love them.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.