Writes the NYT, where I struggle to figure out how they know the precise motivation of a mob. Who is conveying this information to the NYT? And even if we do know that it is that video that's firing up the mob, I'd like to know the source of the mob-members' knowledge of the video? Surely, they are not individually clicking on YouTube and watching it and deciding on their own how outraged to be. There must be intermediaries inciting the mob, saying things about the video to stir people up and set them off. Who are they? What are they saying?
There's this, down at the end of the article:
Little is known about the origin of the video that provoked the protests, which is called “Innocence of Muslims.” It was made in obscurity somewhere in Southern California and promoted by a network of right-wing Christians with a history of animosity directed toward Muslims. When a 14-minute trailer of it was posted on YouTube in June, it was barely noticed.Where's the proof of causation in that last sentence? Is it just the timing? This happened and then that happened. Correlation/causation. Were the demonstrators people with internet connections, or were the one million views from the Coptics? Who is promoting this theory of causation and why should we trust them? The video was translated.... Save us from the passive voice, New York Times. I remember when journalists asked a set of question the first of which was who?
But when the amateurish video was translated into Arabic and reposted twice on YouTube in the days before Sept. 11, and promoted by leaders of the Coptic diaspora in the United States, it drew nearly one million views and set off bloody demonstrations.
Meanwhile, we know what our leaders are saying about and to this mob (though I don't see how these statements reach the mob, so maybe they aren't to the mob at all):
“This video is disgusting and reprehensible,” Mrs. Clinton said in remarks at the State Department, broadcast live on CNN. She also said “The U.S. government had absolutely nothing to do with this video.”Do these mob-members — on the off chance that they're listening — understand that assertion? If they don't care about freedom of speech and want government suppression of blasphemy, then it is the government's responsibility. If there's a spree of robberies in my city, I'm going to get mad at the government, even though the robbers aren't government agents.
Protesters tore down and burned an American flag, replacing it with their own banner proclaiming the Islamic faith, witnesses said.They want a different system of government, which would prohibit the video Mrs. Clinton denounces as disgusting and reprehensible. And we here in America are having a debate about what our political values are. It is not to censor videos. I trust that's not in question. But there is a question about whether our governmental officials should denounce privately made and distributed movies in an effort to calm down people who hate our political values.
President George Bush said it well: They hate our freedom. Here's his speech from September 20, 2001:
Americans are asking "Why do they hate us?''11 years later, we are having a debate here in America. We've cast George Bush out into the shadows. We elected a President 4 years ago who made many of us believe he could make them not hate us. We're having a new election now, and we have to talk.
They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.
These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.
We're not deceived by their pretenses to piety.
We have seen their kind before. They're the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.