Conservative Media on Fort Hood Shooting

A look at the conservative media this morning shows a variety of approaches to the Fort Hood shooting. While most commentators are interested in addressing the question of Islamic terror, and particularly homegrown Islamism, there's clearly a concern in many quarters to avoid generalizations or overstatements--although others, like Michelle Malkin, have decided to go full-speed ahead. But that caution has not prevented sharp criticism of mainstream media reporting or of President Barack Obama's response to the incident.

Several outlets are counseling caution before jumping to conclusions about alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. The National Review's Corner blog is characteristically prolific but is hewing close to the facts, mostly noting what's being reported about Hasan, much of which deals with his religion. The magazine's Victor Davis Hanson, however, grapples directly with the question of Islam in the case, and argues that Americans' understanding of Islamic terror has not progressed in the last eight years and needs to be updated.

In other words, the narrative after 9/11 largely remains that Americans have given in to illegitimate "fear and mistrust" of Muslims in general. A saner approach would be to acknowledge that there is a small minority of Muslims who channel generic Islamist fantasies, so that we can assume that either formal terrorist plots or individual acts of murder will more or less occur here every three to six months.

Sean Linnane, writing for Frum Forum (the site formerly known as New Majority), points out that there has been a spate of recent arrests and episodes relating to Islamist terror plots, but also argues that it misses the point to focus solely on Hasan's--or anyone else's--creed:

Terrorists all the same, regardless of ideological or political stance–that is all posturing. Example: in the 1980s the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya mounted a bombing campaign against U.S. and British targets in Europe. Several of the bombings were carried out on their behalf by the Baader-Meinhof gang, a secular group of Communists...It doesn't matter whether it's Islamic-themed, or Neo-Nazi, or Communist-inspired, terrorism is always the same: it is sheer lunacy, plain and simple.

Linnane's editor, David Frum, offers a series of pictures of the gravestones of Muslim soldiers killed serving in the U.S Army during the Iraq War and asks that people keep them in mind throughout the day.

This measured tone is a marked contrast from the tone at some more aggressive sites. Frontpagemag interviews Dave Gaubatz, who it identifies as a former civilian federal employee in Iraq. Gaubatz says Hasan is not a lone-wolf actor, but is a trained terrorist:

Malik Nabal [sic] Hasan is a terrorist supporting the ideology of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and yes, CAIR. In Palestine, the leaders send out the young and vulnerable to carry out the murders in the name of Islam. The same is happening in America.

Gaubatz's allegations are a bit bizarre; he doesn't offer any evidence for Hasan's involvement with Al Qaeda, Hamas, or Hizbullah, but instead relies on common talking points that link the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a mainstream political organization, with the terrorist groups (Gaubatz, who claims to have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has recently published a book called Muslim Mafia about CAIR). Michelle Malkin takes a similar tack, emphasizing Hasan's Muslim ties and decrying "political correctness" in the media, which she and others say has tried to whitewash any jihadist ties, an argument Mary Katherine Ham also makes at The Weekly Standard.

And some commentators are using the shooting as an opportunity to make a political point. WorldNetDaily says Hasan was an adviser to Barack Obama's transition team (a claim The Washington Independent debunks here). Michael Graham (no relation to your writer) asks how the massacre might tie into a death-penalty fight in the Massachusetts Senate race. The National Review's Jonah Goldberg poses perhaps the most interesting political question, wondering aloud about Obama's slow response to the shootings yesterday, and questions whether Obama's famed coolness could become a political liability by coming across as aloof and uncaring.