MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in speaking with a guest: “This is problematic to me, because I wonder whether this group that held this event down there to basically disparage and make fun of the prophet Muhammad doesn’t in some way cause these events. Well, not the word ‘causing’ — how about provoking, how about taunting, how about daring? How do you see the causality factor here?” (Taunting is a form of expression)
Donald Trump on “Fox & Friends”: “What is she doing drawing Mohammed?…What are they doing drawing Muhammad. Isn’t there something else they can draw?…I’m the one who believes in free speech probably more than she does, but what’s the purpose of this?” (Must protected speech have a Trump-approved purpose?)
Comedy Central’s Larry Wilmore: “You know another thing that’s horrific, Pamela Geller? Intentionally putting innocent, unarmed security guards in danger so you can make some bull[—-] free speech argument.” (A bad moment: When comedians are rating others’ free-speech arguments)
Fox News host Martha MacCallum to Geller: “I absolutely get where you’re coming from. I’m not sure you went about it the right way.” (Let the government decide on the “right way”!)
CNN host Alisyn Camerota to Geller: “And nobody is saying that this warrants the violence that you saw. I mean I haven’t heard anyone in the media saying that it’s okay for gunmen to show up at an event like this. But what people are saying is that there’s always this fine line, you know, between freedom of speech and being intentionally incendiary and provocative.” (Provocative — we surely wouldn’t accuse Camerota of such a crime.)
CNN’s Jake Tapper to Geller: “Nothing justifies the attack, the violent attack. There is no justification, but I do want to ask you about your reasons for holding the event, if you’ll permit me. Charlie Hebdo ran a magazine in the name of satire and criticism and the magazine continues to attack every religion, every political party, all sorts of leaders. What was the purpose of holding an event that specifically focused on the prophet Muhammad?” (New standard: To satirize Islam, you must show a record of satirizing other religions).
Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren: “It’s one thing for someone to stand up for the First Amendment and put his own you-know-what on the line, but here, those insisting they were defending the First Amendment were knowingly putting officers’ lives on the line — the police.” (Taxpayers hire cops to protect their freedoms)The provocation argument is based on the perceived petty nature--to secular eyes --of the provocation; it's so unnecessary. We don't need, after all, to draw Muhammad. It isn't an essential thing. It isn't even a non-essential thing that, presumably, our media betters would defend, like the right to wear the clothes we want, despite the offense it gives some, on the street. I mean, it isn't as if anyone's demanding that stop. Yet. At the same time, it constitutes a grave offense not only to the radicals, but to any devout Muslim.
So the petty nature of the provocation is precisely the problem, and everyone knows it. What lays ahead, in a nation with a larger, more assertive Muslim population, is anyone's guess. But at this point, Geller's guess, as lurid as it may be, is better than any the average respectable figure is willing to offer, if he is still capable of honestly considering the question. A sobering thought.
In that disparity between how the Muslim and how the westerner view the drawings the problem of diversity is revealed, and that, as well as fear, is what bothers the Chris Matthews of the world. It's driving them mad. Geller has called a bluff. It wasn't the Muslims' bluff, for they have warned us; it was the liberal elite's bluff. That bluff said Muslim immigration will not be a problem for the US.