The meme had been brewing for a few days among some of the Fox News guests -- particularly Michelle Malkin -- brought on to talk about the Fort Hood shootings, but it was Bill Sammon, during the broadcast of the memorial for the slain soldiers, who apparently made it official at Fox: The Fort Hood shootings were a terrorist attack -- comparable to 9/11 and Oklahoma City -- by a radical Islamist engaged in Muslim "jihad."
Now, it's not only the conventional wisdom at Fox News, it's one of their major attack points -- they're claiming that because President Obama and the rest of the media aren't adopting their presumptuous and hysterical meme, they're being "soft" on terrorism.
The meme gained momentum when Glenn picked up Sammon's ball and ran with it the next day, declaring: "If you don't call [Hasan] a terrorist, it clears a path for ... an extremist terrorist plan." That night, Sean Hannity explored the question at length with Michelle Malkin, as you can see from the video atop this post.
For Malkin and Hannity, "political correctness" -- which they blame for the military's failure to stop Hasan -- is actually code for "the refusal to engage in ethnic and religious profiling". Because such profiling, it's clear, is what they think the military (and the government generally) should do to prevent future such shootings.
The worst offender, though, has been Bill O'Reilly, who -- as you can see below -- not only harangued Sally Quinn for her reluctance to declare Nidal Hasan a "terrorist," but then devoted his leadoff Talking Points Memo segment last night to chastising the president and the rest of the media for their reluctance to embrace the meme.
This exchange with Quinn was especially revealing:
O'Reilly: But you have a hard time saying the words "Muslim terrorist," and so does Obama. He has a hard time saying it. I don't know why you guys aren't saying it. You know, why, why?
Quinn: Well, I think, first of all, there are different kinds of terrorists. As I said, Timothy McVeigh --
O'Reilly: He's a Muslim terrorist! What do you mean, different kinds of terrorist? He killed people under the banner of jihad! That's who he is! What do you -- look, what do you want, him to come to your house with a strap-on bomb? The guy did it for jihadist reasons! "Allah Akbar!" That's the slogan! He mails Al Qaeda! Miss Quinn, you're a brilliant woman, and I'm not saying that facetiously. You are. A third-grader gets this, and you're resisting it! I wanna know why!
Quinn: Bill, you're making a very good case. I mean, he's Muslim, and he may well end up being a terrorist. We don't know for sure --
O'Reilly: I know for sure! Ninety percent of the people watching me know for sure! I don't know why you don't know for sure! What else do you need?
Quinn: I mean, you can call the guy who blew up -- you know, who shot up the Holocaust Museum a terrorist --
O'Reilly: Did he yell "Allah Akbar?" If he yelled "Allah Akbar," and he e-mailed Al Qaeda in Yemen, I'd call him that, Miss Quinn!
Quinn: OK, he's a Muslim terrorist.
O'Reilly: Thank you.
O'Reilly seems to have a peculiar idea of what constitutes "terrorism." His definition of the word seems to be "any act of violence by devout Muslims", or something along those lines.
That, of course, is quite a distance from the the legal definition of terrorism (from U.S. Code Title 22, Ch.38, Para. 2656f(d)):
(2) the term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents;
This term, in fact, perfectly describes Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn, who was, beyond any serious doubt, a classic right-wing "lone wolf" terrorist.
It is in fact still not clear, however, whether the description fits Nidal Hasan's motives in shooting 13 people to death. It is true that all kinds of evidence is emerging showing that Hasan was increasingly becoming politically radicalized.
What that evidence doesn't establish, though, is that he engaged in this horrendous act on behalf of those radical beliefs, or whether those beliefs simply formed part of the context in which he acted. There certainly haven't been any organizational ties established. We probably won't have any idea until Hasan himself starts talking, or at least his attorneys begin preparing his defense.
It's important to remember what mass-murder profiler Pat Brown told Fox's Brian Kilmeade:
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