Fake Americanism is the worst Americanism, and few Americans are faker than the ones in charge of the New York Post. Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Post, is a product of Australia; so is Col Allan, recently brought back for a second term as editor. The United States doesn’t really need help being racist, but there seems to be something intoxicating to bigots from a third-rate nation about the chance to try on superpower-style bigotry. It gives them more people to bully, and a greater platform on which to be seen bullying.
Yesterday, they decided to use that platform to bring back 9/11, for the sake of attacking Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The story was less than nothing; it was negative anything. Murdoch’s global multimedia right-wing propaganda network had decided to take a harmless fragment of a quote from Omar—”Some people did something”—and build it into a Two Minutes Hate about how a Muslim in Congress had made a mockery of 9/11.
All it took was four words, any four words, for the paper to grab an opportunity to call her a terrorist sympathizer.
Omar had been speaking, in fact, about the collective blame placed on Muslims for the terrorist attacks, and about distinguishing and separating the perpetrators from the greater community. All it took was four words, any four words, for the paper to grab an opportunity to call her a terrorist sympathizer. “Here’s your something,” the headline blared, under an image of the fireball caused by the moment of death of all 65 people aboard United Airlines Flight 175, and however many more in the South Tower. “2,977 people dead by terrorism,” the subheadline said.
Rupert Murdoch and Col Allan didn’t care about the 65 people on the plane or the 2,912 other people whose death scene they slapped on the front page for cheap effect. They were using it as a logo to score points for their team, for a party and a presidency whose only strategy for clinging to power is fear and xenophobia. The attack on the Twin Towers was not a real event that happened to people in the city where the Post is published; it was a generic symbol of loathing, to be deployed against a Somali-American who was 19 years old when the attacks happened, simply because she is Muslim.
It didn’t matter what she was saying; it never does. Omar is a Muslim in Congress, and the Post is part of an undisguised global Islamophobic movement. They weren’t upset about mass murder; they were working to bring about more of it.