Julia Gorin discusses the WSJ's James Taranto's gingerly distaste for Dutch freedom warrior Geert Wilders, and related matters:
Over the weekend, Robert Spencer called out Wall St. Journal drone James Taranto on his cynicism about the intentions of the man who is most adamant about preserving Western civilization, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.
Specifically, as Spencer points out, Taranto finds Wilders’ views on Islam “problematic” and isn’t sure whether or not Geert Wilders is simply an "anti-Islamic provocateur." To which Spencer replies, “It is a pity that Taranto would characterize speaking accurately about how Muslims use Islamic texts and teachings to justify violence and Islamic supremacism as being an ‘anti-Islamic provocateur.’"
Indeed, it’s like calling a public official an “anti-rapist provocateur,” or “anti-Manson-cult provocateur.” Taranto is also skeptical when Wilders “insists that his antagonism toward Islam reflects no antipathy toward Muslims.” On which Spencer again calls Taranto: “When a writer uses ‘insists,’ generally he thinks that the facts are other than whatever position his subject is insisting upon. In other words, Taranto here seems to reveal his own assumption that someone who reports and warns about Islamic jihad and Islamic supremacism is doing so simply out of some irrational ‘antipathy toward Muslims.’”
Yet why is it so hard to believe that one may harbor no ill will toward Muslims even while realizing that the so-called religion they subscribe to is whack? No doubt there were plenty of likable people who were followers of Rev. Jim Jones and drank the poisoned Kool-Aid. That doesn’t mean they should have been members of that cult and that the cult should have existed—which it no longer did after it was exposed, seeing as how no one picked up the mantle. Same thing with Waco’s David Koresh. In another example, the world loved Michael Jackson even though he belonged to the wacky Jehovah’s Witnesses. And much of the world (or at least Germany) will still love him despite his recent conversion to something that’s 666 times crazier—Islam. (Which will allow him to molest children legally.)
Spencer also calls Taranto on his characterizing of Wilders’ views on Islam as “fundamentalist,” despite those views being the ones that dominate in the Muslim world itself. Taranto closes with a screaming contradiction: “Mr. Wilders is right to call for a vigilant defense of liberal principles. A society has a right, indeed a duty, to require that religious minorities comply with secular rules of civilized behavior. But to demand that they renounce their religious identity and holy books is itself an affront to liberal principles.”
Pointing to the contradiction—thereby beating Taranto at his own favorite “find the contradiction” game (which the latter does to microscopic perfection and on far pettier matters)—Spencer writes, “Does he have any idea that to comply with ‘secular rules of civilized behavior,’ Muslims would have to discard large portions of the Qur'an and Sunnah and the Sharia rules that are derived from them?…James Taranto and those of his ilk are unable or unwilling to come to grips with the reality of the problem of Islamic supremacism, and slyly vilify people like Wilders who are standing up to it…”
That Taranto sees so much to grapple with in one of the only European (or American) politicians who can be classified as a mammal is a reflection of his newspaper’s bottomless servility to our Muslim masters. And in no realm does that servility find greater expression than the Balkans, whose white Muslims the Journal editors get to love unconditionally, un-conflictedly, and risk-free.
So much so that even a shocking revelation about organs being extracted from living Serbs and others by our Albanian “allies” is met with a shrug or a laugh by the editorial board, which still insists on believing in the righteousness of the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, and therefore doesn’t analyze or examine either—at least not since the passing of the less gullible Daniel Pearl, whose memory the newspaper dishonors by parroting the Muslim propaganda that became official U.S. policy in the 1990s through today.
In April, the first sentence of WSJ’s coverage of the reluctantly mentioned organ-trafficking story was this: “Incendiary allegations in a new book by a prominent European prosecutor are further stoking anti-Western tensions in Serbia ahead of pivotal elections.”
To the Journal, the Christian suffering at the hands of the Muslims we’re forcibly subjugating them to boils down to yet another annoying monkey wrench that could prevent Serbs from behaving themselves and electing the quisling leaders we want them to, so they can continue rolling over as we continue eroding their borders and security. The same piece put the acquittal of the brutal, hands-on Albanian war criminal Ramush Haradinaj—and the witness-killing and -intimidation that expedited his acquittal—in the context of being a win for “Serbian nationalists.”
The news article was in the tradition of the standard WSJ editorial that’s dragged out of the eye-rolling staff on those days when the Balkans simply can’t be ignored, and therefore another piece titled “Serbian Intransigence” or “Serbian Nationalism” has to be written—despite the Serbs being the ones who are offering all the compromise solutions to the issue of Kosovo’s status, while their negotiating “partners” offer the only the words “No compromises,” and alternately threaten the international community and the Serbs with violence.
In an editorial on March 20th, when Western might once again made right in the Balkans as NATO troops heavy-handedly arrested and paraded former courthouse workers—mostly women—who were squatting there to get back the jobs they’d been sacked from in 1999, the WSJ titled an editorial “The Serb Problem.” (In reference to what other ethnic group do journalists allow themselves such Hitler-speak? Certainly you won’t see any pieces titled “The Arab Problem” in The Journal.) The editorial opened with: “Slobodan Milosevic must be smiling in his coffin. Earlier this week, a Serbian mob took over a United Nations courthouse in the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica to protest Kosovo independence.”
In fact, the “mob” is what NATO made sure the scene would escalate into, including by choosing the very dates that four years earlier saw an organized Kosovo-wide pogrom against Serbs. And never mind that the Serbian women were protesting that the international community was about to give those old jobs—originally promised back to the Serbs—to their Albanian tormentors, who already have the run and rule of the rest of the province. As head of the UN administration in Kosovska Mitrovica Gerard Gallucci understated upon resigning over the unnecessary provocation, it “seemed almost designed to inflame Serbian sentiments.”
To respond to this rare show of Serbian sanity in the face of Western-imposed annihilation by saying that Milosevic must be smiling in his coffin is like commenting about the recent student protests in Iran with: “Look at those crazy Iranians screaming ‘Death to Ahmadinejad’. The Shah must be smiling in his grave.”
Of course, “Serbian sentiments” are precisely the to-be-ignored-and-ridiculed element in any Balkans “coverage” by the Wall St. Journal, whose job is to toe the State Department’s line in the region. Indeed, The Journal was only slightly outdone by Foggy Bottom on the organ-harvesting issue when spokesman Sean McCormack quite literally laughed over the grisly ordeal:QUESTION (from Greek reporter Lambros Papantoniou): “…[S]enior figures in Kosovo Liberation Army, who were aware of the affair in which hundreds of young Serbs were taken by trucks from Kosovo to Northern Albania, where their organs were removed for sale in the international market. Any comment?”
MR. MCCORMACK: “What are you talking about? (Laughter.) I'm sorry. I have not heard any such thing. I'm happy to look into it to see if there's anything that would substantiate that claim.”
It is no accident that every time I ever approached the Wall St. Journal’s editors with a war-on-terror-related Balkans story, the response was: “Oh, Balkans stuff? Try the European edition.” It is therefore no accident that just two months after 9/11, when a WSJ article extensively outlined bin Laden’s Kosovo/Albania connections, it was WSJ-Europe. Since then, I’ve noticed that all such articles are relegated to the European or Asian editions of the paper (with the exception of this past year, when the Balkans once again demanded reluctant attention).
But the main edition prefers to publish the terrorists who wrested the land from the Serbs and who oversaw the organ-harvesting horror show. Specifically, both the hard copy of the paper and James Taranto’s Opinion Journal have published Kosovo’s war-criminal former ‘prime minister’ Agim Ceku—making the case for Kosovo independence, naturally. (See “Wall Street Journal Publishes a Terrorist.”) This is what happens when someone wants to hear and know nothing about jihad in the Balkans, as James Taranto repeatedly stressed to me in our interactions over the years.
So much so that when I, along with other guests, had the chance to ask Geert Wilders a question at a dinner that Taranto and I both attended in January 2005—a meeting that was meant to introduce the then unknown-to-Americans Dutch politician to some New York media—I resisted. The question I wanted to ask was for a comment about the irony that Holland was battling a very similar, and related, scourge to that which Slobodan Milosevic had been battling and for which he was sitting on trial at the Hague--in Holland. I didn’t ask the question for three reasons: First, everyone was getting antsy after the endless stream of far more boring questions and long answers. Second, I dreaded the prospect of getting the same, unsatisfying, double-standard-based non-answer from Wilders that I always got from everyone else, especially since he was, after all, a politician. Third, I was acutely aware of Taranto being at the other end of the table and could already feel the rolling of his eyes as I asked the predictably Balkans-related question. (This “journalist” practically banned me from saying the word “Kosovo” in his presence—for the simple fact that he wasn’t interested in the region and knew very little about it.)
And yet the same year I stumbled upon a Wall St. Journal editor who on the phone—and practically in whispers—had the same assessment of the Balkans that I did, admitting that he or she (to protect him or her) was mystified by the paper’s pro-Islamic position against Christians in Kosovo, all the more since the position didn’t change after 9/11. Although this editor assured me that he or she very much wanted to publish my article about the ethnic cleansing of Christians and other non-Albanians from Kosovo as the world smiled on, he or she explained that doing so would be “like kicking my boss down the hall in the stomach.”
This is journalism at The Wall St. Journal: such personal investment in a falsehood that to publish anything contrary to the official narrative would be a personal blow. The editor added that the only other person he or she could even talk to about this bizarre bias was a clerk in the research department, which the two did only discreetly.
Even The Journal’s travel section didn’t neglect its pro-Islamic-Kosovo duties amid the flurry of Kosovo pieces that kept the paper busy in the early part of 2008. In June there was a long piece titled “Europe's Unlikely Charmer,” which obliged in calling the self-proclaimed state “the newest nation on earth.” The writer, a Stan Sesser, said he never felt in danger the whole time there, though “most Kosovars will look at you warily -- until you tell them you are from the U.S., which led the bombing of the rampaging Serbian forces in 1999.” (In other words, being American gives you the Serb-killing creds you need to get through Kosovo.) On the subject of rampaging, meanwhile, no reference is made to the much more recent and regular rampaging by Albanian mobs. If Sesser never felt threatened, it’s because he didn’t try speaking in a Slavic language to an Albanian male. Sesser tops it all off by recommending a stop to visit the “small Goran ethnic community” in Brod and go hiking there--without mentioning that these Slavic Muslims’ way of life and livelihood is under siege from the province’s Albanian masters whom The Journal cheers on. The Gorani survive thanks only to help from NATO and Serbian Red Cross.
Recently, I discovered that I probably wouldn’t have been disappointed by what Wilders might have answered that night at the dinner, had I asked my question. In a speech this past September, titled “America as the Last Man Standing,” Wilders brought up Kosovo as being “on the front lines of jihad.”
No wonder the spineless, castrated non-men of the Wall St. Journal would take issue with a mammalian breed like Wilders. And Spencer.