“Terror” by Scare Quote

Ten invented or scare quotes. That’s what the NY Post employs in an effort to discredit the AP’s latest report on the CIA-on-the-Hudson, this time describing surveillance of Muslim college students extending across the Northeast:

“civil rights”

“gotcha”

“workplace violence”

“workplace violence”

“civil rights”

“racist”

“racist”

“students”

“oppressed minority”

“suspect pool”

The concepts of civil rights, racism, oppressed minorities, and suspect pools are bracketed, presumably marking them as facetious or illegitimate concepts.

The Pentagon, currently seeking the death penalty for Nidal Hasan’s attack on Fort Hood, is accused of treating the attack as “workplace violence.”

The 9/11 hijackers, who did in fact enroll in flight schools to learn how to turn passenger jets into missiles, are accused of just posing as “students,” presumably in an effort to suggest that young adult Muslims studying at colleges ranging from Yale to Laguardia Community College who were surveilled by the NYPD must also be posing too.

And it’s not just by using quotation marks that the Post invents its own reality.

It suggests the NYPD has stopped “countless” terrorist attacks, when the number of total attacks in the last decade was fewer than 20, and the two most important–Faisal Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi–the NYPD missed.

Closely watching wannabe jihadis not only at home but across the country and around the world, the NYPD has foiled countless terror operations,

It supports the claim that the targets of surveillance here are wannabe jihadis by suggesting that Mike Bloomberg and Ray Kelly are simply not telling the public the evidence justifying their profiling of innocent Muslims.

The AP story also breathlessly notes that “the latest documents mention no wrongdoing by any students,” even though “Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg repeatedly have said that the police only follow legitimate leads about suspected criminal activity.”

Was the AP born yesterday?

There’s always a gap between what public officials say to the “gotcha” media and what they actually must do — especially when it comes to terrorism. If officials could candidly talk about the daily reports they get about possible lethal jihadist activity, the country would be in a state of permanent panic.

Never mind that the AP has published at least two documents showing reports sent directly to Kelly reviewing surveillance that admits no underlying leads. The Post is willing to assert, presumably having seen less raw data than the AP, that there must be more terrorism there, terrorism worthy of permanent panic if only we knew.

The Post goes further, portraying the 9/11 hijackers as praying murderers.

On 9/11, America was shot in the back by 19 devout, praying Muslims,

I guess they were praying from the bars and strip joints they were frequenting in the months before the attack, then, because that’s how they spent their time.

In the Post’s scare quote world, tactics that have created a string of aspirational terrorists (but missed the real terrorists backed by al Qaeda) confirms a fiction that all devout Muslims are wannabe terrorists.

Or should I say, “terrorists”?

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19 Responses to “Terror” by Scare Quote

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @JerryLMaine yeah, exactly.
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bmaz That's not very reassuring protocol for an perimeter area that the cops already abandoned because of no suspects https://t.co/4DX89f6eoQ
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bmaz So, on @CNN just now, they reported "law enforcement are going around with their guns drawn everywhere"... presumably around Fox Lake IL.
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bmaz Le Mans I love, but le.mon disturbs me greatly. https://t.co/6r8D6x2Ljm
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bmaz @dcbigjohn Just wait until Dylan Byers has injected the Lemon with extra honky Politicoed Hippity Hoppity. What giddy times are a coming.
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bmaz @JamesWolcott Heh, worthy goal. Details matter!
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bmaz The @NFL only "investigates" and hammers on success, not abject failure like the Washington Football Franchise. https://t.co/FHLdiAXlaN
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emptywheel @PogoWasRight You didn't mean Gawker notwithstanding? @jvagle @wendyck
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bmaz @MasaccioEW Short lived happiness, maybe, but I will take it!
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emptywheel @kombiz I hope you got him a toy to rip to shreds to make yourself more cognizant of the day...
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emptywheel @EricKleefeld Basically John Yoo has reinforced Exec's authority to tell Congress to fuck off on matters involving WMD.
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emptywheel @EricKleefeld Not clear. There's a John Yoo (!) OLC memo based on prior Iran-Contra Boland Amendment memo that says fuck it.
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