Let’s begin with a thought experiment. Imagine if one of America’s largest and most-respected pro-life organizations tweeted birthday greetings to Robert Dear, the terrorist who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015. Imagine the reaction if an allegedly mainstream conservative organization said “happy birthday” to Dylann Roof, the white-supremacist murderer who slaughtered nine innocent people in Charleston.
How would the media respond? What would the tweets reveal about the character and intentions of the people running the organization? Should well-meaning Americans continue to support groups that applaud violent, vicious terrorists?
Unless, however, those groups are on the left, their leaders are progressive radicals, and the terrorists they applaud are cop-killers. Then, the media ignores the outrage, elevates the outrageous, and maintains the charade that key elements of the progressive #Resistance represent nothing more than a spontaneous, reasonable, and virtuous response to a dangerous and authoritarian president.
Doubt me? Consider the reverence reserved for the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter.
Yes, that’s an official Women’s March tweet delivering birthday greetings to one of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists. Shakur (born Joanne Chesimard) is a convicted cop-killer who now lives in Cuba after escaping an American prison. Here’s the FBI summary of her crimes:
Joanne Chesimard is wanted for escaping from prison in Clinton, New Jersey, while serving a life sentence for murder. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary extremist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail.
In other words, she’s a domestic terrorist who belonged to a domestic terrorist organization. If the Women’s March had an ounce of integrity, it would have apologized, deleted its tweet, and terminated the person responsible. Instead, it responded to the inevitable deluge of criticism with a 20-tweet screed rationalizing and excusing its support for Shakur. Yes, it issued a rote call for nonviolent resistance, but it also threw out howlers like this:
#AssataShakur is a civil rights leader who used her leadership position to challenge sexism within the Black Liberation Movement. (5/20)— Women’s March (@womensmarch) July 17, 2017
What’s next? An ode to Muriel Degauque because she broke the glass ceiling on female suicide bombers when she blew herself up in Iraq in 2005? A tribute to Robert F. Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan for his dedication to the Palestinian cause? (“Sirhan’s resistance tactics were different from ours. That does not mean we don’t respect his condemnations of Israeli aggression.”)
This should surprise no one, of course. The Women’s March is the home of radical activist Linda Sarsour, the mainstream-media darling whose story has been ably told by our own Ian Tuttle. Among other things, Sarsour is a conspiracy theorist, she fabricated a hate crime against herself, and she’s uncomfortably close to Islamic terrorists. Here’s Ian:
Sarsour seems to have no qualms about associating with outright extremism, either. At December’s MAS-ICNA convention, she posed for a photo with Salah Sarsour (no relation), a Milwaukee man who was jailed in Israel in the 1990s for using his Twin Cities furniture store to funnel money to Hamas, the terrorist organization that currently governs the Gaza Strip. Linda Sarsour herself has used Twitter to encourage the stoning of the Israel Defense Forces. She has also pushed back against accusations of human-rights abuses in parts of the Arab world. And later this spring, she will appear at the Jewish Voice for Peace’s 2017 National Member Meeting alongside Rasmeah Odeh, who was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli court in 1970 for her role in two 1969 bombings in Jerusalem, one near the British Consulate and another at a grocery store; the latter bombing killed two Hebrew University students and wounded nine others. Sarsour has previously championed Odeh on Twitter.
Given this record, conservatives can be excused for being troubled at her recent call for “a form of jihad” against the Trump administration.
Praise for terrorists isn’t limited to Sarsour or to the Women’s March; Black Lives Matter has gotten in on the action, too. Late last year, after Fidel Castro died, BLM published an extraordinarily odious tribute to “El Comandante” (yes, they used that phrase) that lauded him for sheltering Shakur and other domestic terrorists:
As a Black network committed to transformation, we are particularly grateful to Fidel for holding Mama Assata Shakur, who continues to inspire us. We are thankful that he provided a home for Brother Michael Finney, Ralph Goodwin, and Charles Hill, asylum to Brother Huey P. Newton, and sanctuary for so many other Black revolutionaries who were being persecuted by the American government during the Black Power era.
Finney, Goodwin, and Hill were cop-killers and hijackers. Newton was also a cop-killer. Given this explicit praise, and the number of times that BLM protesters have openly called for violence against the police, and the number of times that BLM rallies have descended into violence (“mostly peaceful,” the media euphemistically calls them), isn’t it time to consign the organization to the fringe of American life?
The continued media respect for the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter is even more maddening given the double standards applied to conservative organizations. Last week, both ABC and NBC had the gall to credulously repeat far-Left claims that my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom, was a “hate group” — not because it has ever endorsed violence (it hasn’t), but because of its steadfast legal and moral defense of orthodox Christian positions on sexual morality.
Here’s my question, ABC and NBC: If you’re going to publicize “hate group” claims about groups like the ADF in your headlines, why not do the same in every one of your headlines about Black Lives Matter or the Women’s March? Given our polarized times, shouldn’t readers be aware that both of those groups have praised and applauded one of the FBI’s most-wanted domestic terrorists? Isn’t that information well-meaning readers deserve to know?
As it is, these radical groups enjoy the best of both worlds, maintaining the mainstream-media credibility that allows them to raise money and capture the support of millions while also applauding and sustaining a far more dangerous fringe. Reasonable Americans march. Well-meaning Americans donate. Radicals profit.
Yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tapper broke ranks with his media colleagues and explicitly challenged the Women’s March and Sarsour. This was an ideal time for them to retract their tweet and apologize. Instead, Sarsour said Tapper had “join[ed] the ranks of the alt-right” by criticizing her. This was unhinged, and breathtakingly dishonest to boot.
It’s time for the rest of the media to join Tapper, awaken from its anti-Trump trance, apply the same scrutiny to the Left as it does to the Right, and report the sad truth. Two of America’s most well-known #Resistance groups claim nonviolence but applaud terrorists. Liberal Americans, they haven’t earned your support — and they don’t deserve your respect.
— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.