On Thursday, The New York Times editorial board announced that Pamela Geller, the activist behind the Mohammed-drawing contest in Texas, brought a terrorist attack upon herself by hosting the event.
The Times paid lip service to the notion that Geller’s speech falls under First Amendment protection but then added, “It is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.”
This is, to put it mildly, idiotic. If Geller wanted to promote bigotry and hatred, she could have held the contest outside a random mosque. She could have promoted it in the Muslim community. She could have targeted mosques for vandalism or threatened Muslims. She did none of those things. But the Times went on to claim that Geller’s contest was wildly different than Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of Mohammed, because Charlie Hebdo satirizes everyone, while Geller has “a long history of declaration and actions motivated purely by hatred for Muslims.”
While it is comforting to learn that the editorial board of the Times has acquired the power of telepathy, the aspiring Professor X’s of the Times ought to examine whether each and every person who participated in the contest was motivated by simple hatred for all Muslims, or whether, more appropriately, they were motivated by the notion that free speech must not be quashed because of threatened violence by radical Muslims.
But the Times makes no such distinction. Instead, the Times called Geller “venomous” and suggested that Geller “revels in assailing Islam in terms reminiscent of virulent racism or anti-Semitism,” and even added that she “achieved her provocative goal in Garland.” Geller’s goal was not for Muslims to attack the event. The Times’ writing here falls squarely within the “she wore a short skirt and therefore achieved her provocative goal of attempted rape” class of arguments. It’s perverse.
The Times concluded:
Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.
In other words, if people want to murder you because you blasphemed their religion, you should shut up, because you might make more people want to murder you. There is a word for this: cowardice.
There is another word for the Times: hypocrisy. The Times ripped Geller for “inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism,” stating that the event could not have been “motivated by anything other than hate.”
Literally the very next piece recommended by The New York Times on its website as of Wednesday night: “Catholicism Undervalues Women.” So it seems that slandering an entire religion is well within the bounds of good taste so long as that religion does not start with an “I” and end with a “slam.” (As of Thursday morning, the Times website, noticing the awkward juxtaposition, instead referred to another editorial slamming Israel, which is par for the course.) And, of course, the Times worships at the altar of “The Book of Mormon,” a musical devoted to slamming Mormonism.
Furthermore, the Times cited violence against Andres Serrano’s blasphemous “Piss Christ” as a rationale for the continuing relevance of the piece, quoting Serrano thusly: “It just shows that 23 years later, ‘Piss Christ’ is still used as a political football for certain religious and political conservatives. I just feel I have to stay proud.” The Times released no editorial complaining of the “anguish” brought upon Christians by the piece.
This isn’t pure cowardice or hypocrisy, though. This is principle. The Times, like the rest of the left, classifies the world into two sets of people: victims and victimizers. Anyone male, white, conservative, or Christian falls into the generalized “victimizer” class; anyone else falls into the “victimized” class. Pam Geller is therefore a victimizer, even if she braves death to push free speech; those who attempt to shoot her are victims of her uppity attitude, even if they are the people wielding the guns.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.