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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lara Logan and the victimization rules

Have you all noticed that the news coverage of Lara Logan's sexual assault rape is ignoring the perpetrators? Have you noticed that while radical Leftist Nir Rosen was (rightfully) taken to the cleaners last week for his comments about Logan, we have heard nothing about the Egyptian perpetrators or the misogynistic (women hating) society that is Egypt today? To understand why the coverage has taken that slant, you have to understand the victimization rules. Caroline Glick explains.
Identity politics revolve around the narrative of victimization. For adherents to identity politics, the victim is not a person, but a member of a privileged victim group. That is, the status of victimhood is not determined by facts, but by membership in an identity group. Stories about victims are not dictated by facts. Victim stories are tailored to fit the victim. Facts, values and individual responsibility are all irrelevant.

In light of this, a person’s membership in specific victim groups is far more important than his behavior. And there is a clear pecking order of victimhood in identity politics.

Anti-American Third World national, religious and ethnic groups are at the top of the victim food chain. They out-victim everyone else.

After them come the Western victims: Racial minorities, women, homosexuals, children and animals.

Israelis, Jews, Americans, white males and rich people are the predetermined perpetrators. No matter how badly they are victimized, brave reporters will go to heroic lengths to ignore, underplay or explain away their suffering.

In cases when victim groups are attacked by victim groups – for instance when Iraqis were attacked by Saddam, or Palestinians are attacked by the PA, the media tend to ignore the story.

When members of Western victim groups are attacked by Third World victims, the story can be reported, but with as little mention of the identity of the victim-perpetrators as possible. So it was with coverage of Logan and the rest of the foreign reporters assaulted in Egypt. They were attacked by invisible attackers with no identities, no barbaric values, no moral responsibility, and no criminal culpability. CBS went so far as to blur the faces of the men who surrounded Logan in the moments before she was attacked.

When we understand the rules of reportage as dictated by adherents to identity politics, we understand why Rosen was excommunicated when he mocked Logan and not when he called for Israel’s destruction, condemned the commemoration of the September 11 attacks, or sided with the Taliban and the Iraqi insurgents killing Americans. In those cases, he followed the rules – preferring the cause of “victims” over the lives of “perpetrators.”

But when he mocked Logan, he crossed the line. He treated Logan as a perpetrator because he thought of her as an insufficiently anti-American reporter. He didn’t realize that when she was brutalized, she had slid into the victim category.

Identity politics are nothing more than socially acceptable bigotry. Those who practice it are racist bigots who have replaced liberal values that hold everyone to the same moral and criminal standards with illiberal values that judge people’s morality and criminality by the identity group with which they are most readily associated.

When we understand identity politics, we understand how it is that the wholesale assaults against foreign journalists have received so little analysis. Lara Logan and the other hundred reporters attacked in Tahrir Square are real victims, not because of who they are, but because of what happened to them. The Egyptians who attacked them are real criminals, not because of who they are, but because of what they did.

But until reporters are willing to admit this – that is, until they dump their ideological attachment to identity politics in favor of the truth – news consumers worldwide will continue to receive news reports that obfuscate more than they tell us about the world we live in.
I'd love to see reporters drop their ideological attachment to identity politics. Unfortunately, I doubt their employers will let them do so. But I'd love to see Lara Logan lead the way.

Read it all.

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