This fails a simple test of intellectual honesty: the ‘shoe on the other foot theory’.
ClashDaily has reported a number of instances where the media got revved up pretty hot about mistreatment of this or that Muslim woman by some supposed random Trump supporter. Media held this up as ‘proof positive’ that Trump was a bad man.
When, as often happened, it was later revealed that these hate crime claims were bogus, there was no public sigh of relief that this was a false alarm and there isn’t as big a problem with Islamophobia as reporters had first thought. Instead, it was framed that this is just a smaller story within a larger whole. Even if this attack wasn’t real (for those outlets that bothered to acknowledge the hoax), the problem is real.
It’s an exercise in narrative building. Our side complained they were more committed to the smear than they were to delivering accurate reporting. This is party of why they were called ‘fake news’.
Fast forward to 2021, when there is a known issue with increased antisemitism. Several high-profile video clips have shown Jewish people at the center of an angry crowd, or being chased in a parking garage by people in cars shouting something that rhymes with ‘snackbar’.
Now we’ve got a Biden transition team member weighing in.
Aaron Keyak, whose Twitter and LinkedIn bio explain that he “led Jewish engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign and transition,” wrote, “It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your physical safety take off your kippah and hide your magen david. Obviously, if you can, ask your rabbi first.”
He added, “It’s important that those who wear kippot don’t feel more pressure to put our lives in unnecessary actual danger — especially when actions are attempting to be grounded in halacha. Given the rise in Jew hatred and antisemitic attacks, we must stand with all Jews.” –DailyWire
It was part of a longer thread that went into greater detail which you can see for yourself if you really want to.
Just like Nancy and Joe don’t represent the full scope of Roman Catholic or Christian belief, not all Jews feel the same way about their religious expression. Some of the more devoutly Orthodox might find such a statement dismissive and insulting… as many replies like this one seem to indicate.
Why won’t Biden ask his supporters to stop kicking the shit out of Jews? He doesn’t want to offend the Jihad Squad and the Hamas Caucus? What would you say if Trump supporters were assaulting Jews and a Trump campaign staffer told Jews to hide their religion? You’re a coward.
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) May 26, 2021
This is where the shoe on the other foot test comes into play.
Imagine there really was a rise in violence targeting Muslims who are overtly wearing some religious identifiers. If not Muslims, perhaps Sikhs, Hindus, or some other (non-Jewish) religious minority group.
Now imagine President Trump’s supporters suggested that — for their safety, mind you — that these devoutly religious people ought to abandon the symbols of their faith. You know, for the greater good. Ask yourself, what do the headlines look like the next day?
Is the story ignored? Is it framed as a good idea that would protect some people from unnecessary harm?
Or would the story be compared to someone blaming the rape victim for having too short a skirt, or leading her attacker on. Would there have been ‘War Declared’ sized headlines blasting Trump (personally) for failing to condemn the horrible people attacking those devout Americans of the ‘crime’ of going about their lives with their minority religious belief?
Consider your answer.
And ask yourself how THIS story was reported or ignored by the press… and if that fact shares any common ground with the difference between how both presidents had something as benign as their ice cream preferences reported on the news.
Biden, today, had reporters cheer when Joe told them what flavor he had ordered… but Trump having TWO scoops of ice cream for dessert while others have only one was something like a three-day scandal.
To be honest, the commonalities and differences in how these stories are covered for both Presidents tells a bigger story than what it says about any elected official… it reveals some important truths about those we have entrusted to report the news.
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