Norway: Rushes to Judgment

I haven’t said anything about the bombing and shootings in Norway because I was waiting for more information. Turns out others should have taken the same precaution.

CNN reports that the primary suspect is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist Norwegian whackjob named Anders Behring Breivik, who looks like someone you’d expect to find wearing a knit cap and reindeer sweater and teaching Nordic outdoor sports to tourists at some expensive Scandinavian resort. The alleged perp appears to have been striking a blow against Marxism and multiculturalism.

Now, it goes without saying that as soon as news of the tragedy was on the Web, the knee-jerk reaction from the Right was to pin the blame on radical jihadists and the liberals who allegedly love them. The Washington Post‘s ongoing embarrassment Jennifer Rubin issued a broadside against jihadists and everyone in Washington who has ever supported cuts in the Defense budget. As of this writing Rubin has not re-visted the issue. No corrections, no updates, no apologies.

But you’ve got to read Little Lulu’s post, which declares that the jihadists responsible for the bombings were protesting the deportation of an Islamic cleric named Mullah Krekar. Even after the identity of the suspect was made public, Malkin does her best to insinuate that he was pro-Islamist, when in fact Breivik is an outspoken anti-Islamist associated with anti-immigration factions in Norway.

Like Rubin, Malkin has dropped the Norwegian atrocity as an item of interest and gone on to blog about how President Obama is responsible for the failure to reach an agreement over the debt crisis.

15 thoughts on “Norway: Rushes to Judgment

  1. My favorite is TBogg’s link to “The ‘Astute’ Bloggers (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”).” Read it for a few laughs.

    They perform what I call “A Triple Putz-Lutz.”
    This maneuver is not as difficult as it sounds, and happens pretty frequently.
    “A Triple Putz-Lutz) is where some Conservative individual or group blames someone or something they hate (which is pretty much everyone except for themselves) for something that happens, find out it’s actually someone who is also a right wing nut (usually Christian), and then try to blame it on Liberals who are trying to discredit Conservatism – because, as we all know, Conservatism is perfect, and can only be discredited by Consrvatives being insufficiently Conservative, or by Liberal infamy.

    Here’s the money quote from those “Ass-toot” folks:

    This would all be LOL if it wasn’t so pathetically stupid, ignorant, and xenophobic.

    Jennifer Rubin argues that this case of attack by Jihadists is another reason not to cut the defense budget. Yes, Ms. Rubin, you’re right – maybe if we had kept our troops, jets, tanks, helicopters, and a few tactical nukes at Norway’s 60th Parallel, they would have been able to stop these horrendous attacks.


    On the lighter side:
    I have a theory as to Breivik’s motivation.
    Maybe this guy did it because he’d heard that Friday is supposed to be Oslo news day?

    Yes, I am a horribe, horrible, terrible, human being.
    I just couldn’t resist.

    I am very, very sorry…

  2. America’s jails are full of Christians, little lule is a dope.
    I’m so tired of the righty bitch squad, from Coulter to Malkin.
    Just a bunch of freaked-out harpys.

  3. Years ago when Kaiser was in the concrete business their big cement-mixer trucks had a sign on them which read, “Find a hole and fill it.” Sort of reminds me of whenever there’s an, as yet, act of violence anywhere in the world and nobody knows who committed it, the righties move in and “fill it” with Muslims carrying out their great jihad against all right-thinking, law-abiding, pure, gods chosen christians.

    It’s so predictable as to be, by this time, laughable.

  4. From the material so far released on the shooter’s Facebook page, there appear to be no Bible references, but references to John Stuart Mill. If someone quotes the latter but not the former, it is very difficult to make the case that he is a Christian fundamentalist.

    Confirmation bias occurs when an hypothesis is scrutinized less critically if it comport with one’s prior beliefs. Critical thinking separates what we would like to think from what the data support. If an individual is called a Christian fundamentalist, we must look at the available information to see if it fits the pattern expected from a fundamentalist Christian. CNN may be repeating what it received from a source in Oslo; this does not mean that CNN has exercised critical thinking. That would require an act of journalistic due diligence. The latter is an endangered species today.

    • Ed — one assumes that the Norwegian officials who cited the perpetrator’s religious views had information other than his Facebook page. It is possible the Norwegian officials are wrong, of course, but often all journalists can do is repeat what information they received from credible sources. Since this is a criminal case one assumes that much information about the perpetrator is not yet available to the public, so it’s not something CNN could verify or not with absolute certainty at this point, and it may be weeks before it is certain.

      So I’m real sorry you feel insulted, but deal with it.

  5. Although I’d want to wait for more confirmation, this diary makes the case that the killings have a strong political dimension:

    …See, the “camp” event is really more akin to a political retreat and training, it seems. It’s an annual event of Norway’s “Worker’s Youth League,” (in Norwegian, the Arbeidaranes Ungdomsfylking, or AUF), which is itself essentially the youth arm of the country’s ruling Labour Party. And by “youth arm,” I really mean something like a “farm team,” to use a sports analogy.

    And we’re in need of analogies here, because we don’t really have anything like this here in the United States, which also makes it difficult to appreciate the scale of the potential losses. Eighty or more lives taken translates anywhere, of course. Eighty or more young people, all the more. But it’s more than that. It’s 80 or more of the country’s most politically engaged young people, self-selected from the ranks of a single political party. In a country of just 4.9 million, that’s an enormous loss. Strictly by the numbers, the ratio to the population of the United States suggests it’d be like the wiping out of over 5,000 activists from, say, OFA or DFA. Or, I guess, every single person attending this year’s Netroots Nation. Twice….

    …Taking out 80+ of the people committed enough to go to the AUF’s Utoya summer retreat? That’s like sending a Terminator back in time to take out a future Parliamentary leadership.

  6. “but often all journalists can do is repeat what information they received from credible sources.”

    “Journalists” repeating information they receive from government sources were largely responsible for what happened in the runup to the invasion of Iraq. The spokesmen spoke, and the stenographers transcribed; that led to a tragedy of the first order. Critical thinking was not their job, and we have all paid a frightful price for their lack of due diligence. It is to our discredit that we did not all demand that the lot of them be summarily sacked.

    “So I’m real sorry you feel insulted, but deal with it.”

    Deal with what? In this country, a Christian who does not saturate his discourse with Bible quotations is very unlikely to be a “fundamentalist,” the characterization of same by an authority figure notwithstanding. I suppose I take umbrage any time I am asked to put my mind to sleep, be quiet, and accept what I am told by a source whose information does not stand up to close scrutiny, but when I remember that that umbrage arises from my identification with ego, it begins to abate.

    • “Journalists” repeating information they receive from government sources were largely responsible for what happened in the runup to the invasion of Iraq.

      Journalists repeating information they receive from government sources amounts to 95 percent of news stories about government and crime since the beginning of journalism. If you’d ever been a reporter, you’d know that journalism really is dependent on people telling you stuff that you didn’t witness yourself and may or may not be able to verify from another source. This is nothing new or irregular. This is why the first think they teach you in journalism school is the use of terms like “allegedly” and “according to.”

      It always amuses me when people only notice sourcing when their particular ox is being gored.

      There are differences between the Iraq story and this one. One of the reasons McClatchy’s coverage of the Iraq mess was so superior to the New York Times’s is that McClatchy’s reporters were cultivating multiple sources in several layers of government, whereas Judith Miller just took dictation from Dick Cheney, and that was her entire story. In both cases, all of the information came from unnamed government sources, but McClatchy was taking information from multiple sources who didn’t have a political interest in the reporting. Unfortunately, it took a long time for people to realize that McClatchy had been mostly getting it right.

      It’s also the case that with a breaking news story, it takes a few days before all the facts are tied down. This is almost always true, and has been true since the beginning of journalism. First reports are nearly always less than 100 percent accurate, because that is the nature of news gathering. If reporters waited until every fact was verified with absolute certainty, the rest of the world would scoop them by several weeks.

      In the case of the current story, the information about the young man’s religious views is indeed coming from Norwegian government officials, and this information is being reported internationally by multiple news outlets. Some of his religious views are expressed in a rambling manifesto released in the past few hours.

      In this country

      But we’re not talking about this country, dear. We’re talking about Norway. Fundamentalism takes multiple forms and doesn’t limit itself to Christianity (I recommend Karen Armstrong’s book The Battle for God on this matter). My impression is that the perp was less motivated by religion than by xenophobia, and he somehow folded a reactionary and culturally European Christian identity into his proto-nationalism, but blending religion with nationalist or ethnic identity is certainly not unknown to fundamentalism.

      Oh, and bye.

  7. Well, when a mass murderer kinda, sorta, just a teensie-weensie bit agrees with you… well, no – really, totally and completely shares your extreme right wing reactionary views, what do you do?
    You try to redefine the term ‘right wing.’
    Dana Loesch shows you how:

    It’s kind of like a one page “Liberal Fascism” crib-sheet, so you don’t even need to pay the $1.99 at the discount rack for a book that you’ll never read, and that’s too intellectually light-weight to even use to prop-up a table.
    And it’s got a great graphic of a hand with a Swastika on its sleeve plunging a knife into The Bible!
    What horrible sort of creatures birthed someone like Loesch.
    Such a pretty face, hiding a soul that’s ugly to the bone.

  8. Pingback: The Mahablog » Stuff to Read

  9. I’ve lightly scanned his massive manifesto. A few impressions:

    He spends as much space on uniforms, decorations and rituals as on body armor and weapons. This makes sense in an addled kind of way; gay male-bonding theatrics is part of war; but there it is a loner’s strange fantasy.

    His hit list is massive and well-tabulated. Qualifications for the hit-list are less well defined, for ease in filling the list. The “class A and B traitors” are Muslim immigrants and multiculturalists. The first category is visually identifiable; the second is elastic.

    He says he’s pro-Israel, but only as a place to ethnically cleanse the Jews _to_. It turns out that there are good Jews and bad Jews; no doubt I am one of the bad ones. He denounces Hitler as a race traitor, for failure but not for intent. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    He calls himself a Knight Templar. He also explicitly endorses hatred, cruelty, bigotry, tyranny, larceny, mass murder, the slaying of the innocent, overkill and genocide. Therefore his understanding of medieval Christian chivalry is entirely correct. His only error is in being honest about it, in the age of the Internet.

    His violence is so graphically envisioned, and its provocation so poorly defined, that it’s clear that he thought of his crime first, his victims and rationale second. The rule seems to be; only he is exempt from his hatred, or those he momentarily deems akin to him.

    He spent nine years on writing this call for feudal barbarism. He must have had nothing better to do. Identity politics is for people without identities of their own.

  10. To add to maha’s comment on the ‘nature’ of journalism – ‘beat’ reporters can only see events through rear-view mirrors, which makes it impossible for them to know the ‘before,’ the lead-up, the back grounds of the people involved before reporting the event. They are limited to reporting only their rear-view mirror take. To expect otherwise is not to understand the ‘roll’ of the reporter on the beat.

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