The media, in one of its bursts of manufactured moral panic, has turned its eye on the teenage girls tweeting and tumblring away in support of Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Serial killers have always had their fan clubs. Before the Boston Marathon bombings spawned the #FreeJahar crowd, there were the Holmies, who adored James Holmes, who murdered 12 people at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Even if Adam Lanza hadn't committed suicide, it's doubtful that he would have his own Lanzies fan club or a #FreeAdam hashtag. It's not that he killed children. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev murdered Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy. James Holmes murdered Veronica Moser-Sullivan, a 6-year-old girl. Murdering children is not a turnoff for serial killer groupies, but Adam Lanza's drawn gnomish face and bowl haircut would be.
Charles Manson had an entire cult around him. Some members like Squeaky Fromme went on worshiping him and trying to kill in his name even once he was behind bars. If Fromme were a teenage girl today, she would have a Tumblr and #InLoveThereIsNoWrong would be a hashtag.
But let's not pretend that there's much of a difference between New York Times reporters and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's groupies.
The day before the Boston bombings, the New York Times printed an op-ed from one of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards complaining how hard it is to be on a hunger strike and the media poured on the sympathy as thickly as any of Dzhokhar’s future groupies.
"It was impossible not to feel a pang of sympathy for Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel," Foreign Policy Magazine wrote. The Guardian described his situation as a "Supreme Injustice". The Daily Beast added that it was a "National Disgrace" and declared "There is no way on earth that you could read the recent Times op-ed by Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel and not feel abject shame." The Nation called for resuming Gitmo prisoner transfers and releases.
A day before the atrocity that would birth #FreeJahar had taken place; the media was in full #FreeJihad mode.
The difference between #FreeJahar and #FreeJihad is presentation. #FreeJaharists are teenage girls and write sentences without periods and upload GIFs to Instagram. #FreeJihadists have the news and editorial pages of every paper in the world, not to mention the evening news and the cable news networks with million dollar budgets, to hammer home their message.
#FreeJahar is really a poor imitation of #FreeJihad. For over a decade, the media had run itself ragged defending and minimizing the crimes of every Muslim terrorist. The #FreeJihad media had championed the cause of every Gitmo terrorist. The New York Times did not suddenly wake up one morning and decide to run a #FreeSamir op-ed. It had been running sympathetic articles and editorials about Islamic terrorists all along. The pace of these propaganda pieces slowed down during the Obama era, but did not stop.
Almost exactly a year before the Boston Marathon bombing, New York Times correspondent David Shipler wrote an editorial claiming that the FBI was breaking up terrorist plots that it had invented. "Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own?" Shipler asked, referring to Muslim attempts to bomb the Pentagon, the US Capitol and a number of synagogues.
A year later, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev answered the question in the affirmative, but that didn't end the outpouring of sympathy.
The New York Times headlined its feature piece on the murderous duo as "Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying To Fit In." The paper whitewashed Tamerlan's domestic violence and blamed unfair setbacks to his boxing career for his killing spree. Despite all the extensive background, no mainstream media outlet showed any interest in talking to the ex-girlfriend he slapped around.
The only difference between this type of #FreeJihad journalism and the #FreeJahar Tumblrs was the illusion of professionalism.
The #FreeJahar Tumblrs were only doing what liberal papers and blogs had been doing all along; searching for extenuating circumstances and suggesting that their favorite terrorist had been framed and needed to be set free. Their only mistake was bad timing and worse judgment.
Media outlets knew better than to run op-eds by Osama bin Laden's bodyguard right after September 11. They also limited their claims that Muslim terrorists like the Bronx synagogue bombers or the Portland Christmas Tree bomber, had been set up and should be set free, to cases where the FBI had come in early enough to stop the plot and prevent anyone from being killed.
They were also better at using euphemisms, calling for prisoner transfers back to their homeland, even though a transfer to Saudi Arabia meant a stay at a luxurious terrorist rehab center followed by an inevitable return to terrorism, and at expressing their agendas in someone else's words.
After the Boston bombings, the New York Times doubled down on #FreeJihad, running an article titled, "Despair Drives Guantánamo Detainees to Revolt." It quoted a Muslim adviser as saying, "Only one thing, he predicted, will satisfy the detainees: if someone is allowed to leave."
And there it was. Around the same time that #FreeJahar was getting started, the #FreeJihad media was showing them how it was done.
#FreeJihad journalists, like their #FreeJahar counterparts, showed a troubling tendency to romanticize the murderers they were writing about.
A New York Times article titled “Jihadist or Victim” described Al Qaeda member and Gitmo detainee Moazzam Begg as a "soft-spoken man with a professorial air". When the media finally succeeded in winning Begg's release, he went back to the UK where he was invited to participate in the University College of London's "War on Terror Week" by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Two years later, Abdulmutallab became the Christmas Day Bomber. The New York Times described Abdulmutallab as, how else, “soft-spoken” and a “gifted student”.
Most terrorists in the pages of the New York Times are soft-spoken, except when they are being passionate. Sometimes they are even soft-spoken and passionate. They have curly hair and piercing black eyes. Like Salim Hamdan, Bin Laden's driver, they are possessed of a "quick grin" or like Walid bin Attash, a mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, a "wry smile". They are naturally gifted lawyers who have a knack for pointing out how ridiculous the government's case is.
The difference between these Tiger Beat for the NPR crowd descriptions by the #FreeJihad media and the #FreeJahar collages is polish. Both romanticize terrorists and show a studied disdain for their victims. The New York Times is just better at hiding what it is about than some suburban teenage girl.
The media's ideological hybristophilia is every bit as obscene as the #FreeJahar collages. The teenage girl attracted to a murderer because of what he did has something rotten deep inside. But what does that say about the ideological hybristophilia of a political movement that seeks out killers and mass murderers to worship?
Why waste time talking about the Holmies, when there are Che t-shirts on every campus, and why waste time on teenage girls who turn terrorists into pin-ups when the entire media does the same thing?
The left is in love with violence. It idolizes killers and then justifies their crimes. It denies the undeniable; that the only reason it is interested in them is because they are killers. The Red-Green alliance wouldn't exist if the Green Muslim side of the alliance wasn't explosively violent. The left isn't particularly interested in Buddhists or Hindus for the same reason that it doesn't wear Gandhi shirts or Martin Luther King baseball caps. Its attractions are strictly fatal.
A movement that once thrived on violence has receded into a mass of suburban radicals driving Subarus and working to undermine the system from within. All it has left are the nostalgic memories of terrorists like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, now involved in the same unromantic business of brainwashing students on campuses and exploiting non-profits for the profit of their agenda. Once upon a time they thought that they were Clyde, but now they are stuck being Bonnie.
song of their revolutions isn't good government, bike paths and nutritious lunches; it’s murdering their way to power. Working within the system may work, but what truly makes their pulses race and their legs tingle is putting a bullet in the system and replacing it with their own.
The left lives its terror dreams vicariously through the terrorism of Islam. Its fatal attraction to death finds its fulfillment in their murderous arms.
The activists of the left would like you to believe that they defend terrorists despite their violence. That excuse is as thin as the claims by serial killer devotees like the Holmies or the #FreeJaharites that they are in love with their man despite the crimes he is accused of committing. It's not despite the terrorism that they defend terrorists; it is because of the terrorism.
They are not pro-terrorist out of principle. It isn't even the ends that they sympathize with. Few of them really want to live in the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist oligarchy. It's the means that appeal to them. If they can't be Clyde, bombing police stations and offing the pigs, they'll settle for being Bonnie, hanging on Mohammed's arm while he flies a plane into the World Trade Center or sets off a bomb at the Boston Marathon.
#FreeJahar isn't some horrid aberration. It's a junior version of the liberal approach to the War on Terror. We don't have to ask where the idolization of terrorists comes from. It is spawned from the same #FreeJihad media that pretends to be outraged by the Holmies and the Jaharites. The Jaharites are the abominable children of an abominable ideology that hybristophilically worships the forces that destroy societies because they are all that allows them to feel powerful and alive.