Apparently it is if youâ€™re Cenk Uygur, host of liberal Sirius radio show The Young Turks.Â On his October 29 webcast, Uygur mocked Sean Hannity and Bill Oâ€™Reilly for criticizing one of Barack Obamaâ€™s latest district court nominees, Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco. Â Â Chen has quite the left-wing record, from which Hannity highlighted two examples: his self-described â€œfeelings of ambivalence and cynicism when confronted with appeals to patriotism,â€ and his revelation that among his first reactions to the September 11 attacks was fear over what Americans would do to Muslims in response.Â For daring to say Chen shouldnâ€™t be confirmed, Hannity is apparently perpetrating a â€œwitch-hunt.â€
Uygur defends Chenâ€™s race-baiting as justified, since â€œattacks against Muslim-Americans only went up 1,600% after the attack.â€Â But predictably, that statistic is deeply misleading:
To begin with, though the percentage increase sounds dramatic, it doesn’t represent very many actual crimes. The report found 481 anti-Muslim “incidents” (not 500 “attacks,” as Rather claimed) involving 546 separate offenses. For perspective, the FBI found about 11.8 million crimes in 2001, so those driven by anti-Islamic bias account for less than one crime in 21,000. The hate-crimes report also found 334 known offenders behind the attacks on Muslims â€“ this, in a country of more than 280 million people. That’s not quite a ratio of one in a million (more like one in 838,000), but it’s not a lot. You can find a lot more people who’ll say they’ve been abducted by aliens.
More telling, though, is the kind of crimes the FBI found. Say “hate crimes” (much less “attacks”) to most people and they think violence, a la Matthew Shepard or James Byrd. Yet the number of murders the report attributes to anti-Muslim sentiment is zero; the number of aggravated assaults, just 27.
Conservatives donâ€™t support bigotry or violence against Muslim citizens, and itâ€™s fair to hold America to her promise as a free, pluralistic societyâ€”but itâ€™s not legitimate to claim America has violated that promise when she hasnâ€™t or to tar an entire country with the actions of a few. Whether itâ€™s this, the supposed Limbaugh-McVeigh connection, or the smear campaign against tea partiers and healthcare townhalls, the Left is certain that anyone who isnâ€™t them is a powder keg waiting to burst. Theyâ€™ll use whatever connection they can to make the charge stick, no matter how tenuous.
Uygur also reassures us that, obviously, Chen felt for the victims of 9/11, too.Â I wouldnâ€™t accuse the guy of enjoying their deaths, but in an age where doing precisely that wonâ€™t threaten your tenure and fans of mass murderers can find jobs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I hope youâ€™ll allow me a bit of skepticism as to where Chenâ€™s primary sympathies fell.
Of â€œAmerica the Beautiful,â€ Chen says:
â€œsometimes I cannot help but feel that there are too much [sic] injustice and too many inequalities that prevent far too many Americans from enjoying the beauty extolled in that anthem.â€
Uygur concedes that Chen should â€œmaybe cool down a littleâ€ about regularly emphasizing Americaâ€™s past sins, but mocks Hannity and Oâ€™Reilly as â€œstupidâ€ for judging â€œjudicial nominees based on what songs they like.â€Â The real question is if Uygur thinks weâ€™re stupid enough to notice his clumsy attempt at misdirection.Â Chenâ€™s musical taste isnâ€™t the problem; itâ€™s that his obsession with Americaâ€™s failings distorts our true history, in which the good has far outweighed the bad, and even the bad is by no means unique to these United States.
The racial tensions of the past will never be extinguished if leftists like Edward Chen insist on keeping them alive. And Barack Obama will never fulfill his promise of bringing Americans together as long as he keeps appointing radicals. And weâ€™re certainly never going to get anywhere as long as “progressives” like the Young Turks mock and stigmatize honest discussion of serious issues.