Someone named Joe Kaufman, apparently associated with an outfit called "Americans Against Hate / Fighting Hate With Truth," published a press release. The gist of the document was that someone named Affad Shaikh had said bad things about Senator Joe Lieberman, Vice President Dick Cheney, and a number of other people that liberals don't like.
Mr. Kaufman was right, in a way. Affad Shaikh's post, " Let's NUKE Iran!!! / Extremist Right Wing Nut cases over at FOX News" (August 22, 2007) features a wonderful example of propaganda video. Fox News is, of course, no favorite of people who like to be treated with the deference that they've become accustomed to at proper journalistic establishments like the Washington Post.
And, as I said, the video uses a very effective propaganda technique: selective editing. Using a similar process, I should be able to establish, in some minds, at least, that CNN hates Jews, and that Nancy Pelosi is a hard-line extremist anti-feminist. Not that these bizarre claims are true: they're not.
Mr. Kaufman may have a point, but his central statement is dubious, at best: "The atrocious behavior of CAIR’s Affad Shaikh should send a message to the media that CAIR is not a group to be dealt with on a cordial basis. Irregardless of the group’s well-known ties to terrorism, CAIR’s rhetoric should be viewed as unacceptable by any journalistic standards." CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Mr. Shaikh's blog is, apparently, run by Mr. Shaikh. He certainly has a very positive relationship with CAIR.
As far as I can tell, Mr. Shaikh is a a highly-motivated, zealous west coaster. He makes this very clear in his blog post, ANGRY AT LIARS (July 19, 2007), where he writes, "Bush is a liar. Cheney is fat retard of a liar. Gonzales is a liar. Rice is a liar. Karl Rove is a liar. This country is run by liars and crooks and criminals all of them are masquerading as Republicans and WHY ARE THEY NOT IN PRISON? WHY ARE THEY STILL DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY?"
Nothing new here.
What bothers me is the last comment in Mr. Shaikh's blog.
"I am no fan of the Bush clan...but I find the garbage coming out of the mouths of Muslims to be disgusting. I am a liberal Democrat who is HAPPY to see Sami Al-Arian and his ilk rot in prison. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking those who dislike Bush are going to support Muslim causes...too many are supporting the plan to destroy Israel. Take your backward, 7th century culture out of our lives."
My point is this. Mud-slinging, from any position, may feel good. It may score points in your social set. It might even get you elected.
But it doesn't foster good will.
"Anonymous," the "liberal Democrat" wrote, "Take your backward, 7th century culture out of our lives."
I am very much afraid that emotional, straight-from-the-adrenal-gland rants are going to become more common.
I suggest two steps to help calm things down.
- Think! This goes for writers and talkers, readers and listeners alike. You can tell what you feel without effort. Think about what's being communicated, too.
- Try to understand who the other person is. That's not the same as agreeing with the other person. If you understand the person, the person's statements may become easier to understand. Or, you may realize that they may be ignored.
About that "know about the person" thing: I hadn't heard about Affad Shaikh before today. Before writing this post, I did a little checking.
By a curious coincidence, he's got as many blogs on Blogger as I do: six. I'll let you look through them, and make up your own mind about who he is.
- This American Muslim (Affad Shaikh on his American Experience)
- This Job I Need (no description)
- The Shaikh Family Times (An Update of the happenings of the Shaikh family in California)
- Travelling While Muslim (no description)
- Muslamics (Sharing Muslim activists' thoughts and opinions on everything from politics to paradise)
- What's up with that? (An informal blog to vent about the weird and absurd things people do. May be you can answer our amazement. If not, at least this blog becomes a form of therapy from stress.)