The American Media is useless to the American people


Why? Because it is built on sensationalism. The weekend of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, comes this headline

Federal Authorities Probe Possible Terror Threat Around 9/11 Anniversary

Federal authorities are warning local law enforcement agencies of a potential terrorist threat involving car bombs that could coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, several sources told Fox News on Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it had information about a “specific, credible but unconfirmed threat,” and the White House said President Obama was briefed Thursday morning and has been updated throughout the day.

Of course reading that sends chills and hot flashes throughout one’s body.  (Did you notice the words in bold and how they might alter or affect one’s  understanding of the “threat”?) How dare, the reasoning would go, someone should attack us while we honor our dead.  This is what such articles as the one above DON’T tell you

How many Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks inside the United States since the September 11, 2001, atrocities? Arguably 16. Egyptian Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed two Israelis at the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport on July 4, 2002. On June 1, 2009, Abdulhakim Muhammed killed one soldier at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers during a shooting rampage in at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009.

Checking the Global Terrorism Database, one finds that an additional 14 Americans were killed in broadly defined domestic terrorism incidents since September 2001. Five died from anthrax attacks (2001); two died in an attack on a Knoxville church (2008); two are suspected to have been killed by members of the Minutemen American Defense group in Arizona (2009); an abortion provider was killed in Wichita, Kansas (2009); a guard was stabbed to death at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., (2009); two died in Austin when a man crashed his light plane into a government building over a dispute with the IRS (2009); and a neo-Malthusian terrorist was shot by police during a hostage incident at the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland (2009). That adds up to a grand total of 30 Americans killed in terrorist incidents inside the United States in the last 10 years.

In addition, the National Counterterrorism Center has been compiling worldwide deaths of private U.S. citizens due to terrorism since 2005. Terrorism is defined as “premeditated, politically motivated violence, perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”

In 2010 (the latest report), 15 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks; nine died in 2009; 33 in 2008; 17 in 2007; 28 in 2006; and 56 in 2005. The vast majority of private U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks died in the war zone countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. So the sad tally of Americans killed by terrorists around the world since 2005 comes to a total of 158, yielding an annual rate 16 Americans killed by terrorists outside of the borders of the United States.

Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010. The report adds, “From 1991-2000, the United States averaged 41.3 terrorist attacks per year. After 2001, the average number of U.S. attacks decreased to 16 per year from 2002-2010.”

Of course, the police and politicians will cite the lack of deaths from terrorism as evidence that their protective measures are working. Earlier this year, the conservative Heritage Foundation compiled a list of 39 terror plots that had been foiled since September 2001. Going through the list, about 23 of the plots might plausibly have resulted in terror attacks of one sort or another. Several were aimed at subways, military bases, and shopping malls. To get a feel for the number of people that might be killed in typical terrorist attacks, consider that four subway bombs killed 52 people in London in 2005; the deadliest attack on a military base killed 13; and blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killed 187 people in 1995.

Making the huge assumption that all 23 plausible plots would have succeeded in killing an average of 100 Americans each, that means that 2,300 would have died in the last 10 years, or about 230 per year. (This implies a rate that is 10 times higher than the rate between 1970 and 2010, excluding the 9/11 attacks, by the way.) Even at this higher rate, your chances of dying in a terrorist attack would be about 1 in 1.7 million.

Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller and Mark Stewart, an engineering professor at University of Newcastle in Australia recently estimated that the U.S. has spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security measures since 2001 (this figure does not include the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Assuming that 2,300 Americans might have been killed by terrorists inside the United States, this implies a cost of more that $400 million dollars per life saved. Typically when evaluating the costs of protective regulations, federal government agencies set the value of a life at about $9 million.

However, terrorism is especially frightening (that’s why they call it “terrorism”), so the average citizen might want to spend double the usual amount to prevent a death. But still suggests that on a reasonable benefit-cost basis public and private spending is 20 times too much to prevent deaths from terrorist attacks. Now let’s retrospectively add the tragic 3,000 deaths from the 9/11 attacks to take into account the remote possibility that terrorists might be able to pull off another similarly spectacular assault; that still means that nearly $200 million is being spent per plausible life saved.

A good bit of the trillion dollars has supported measures that threaten our liberties by beefing up the national security state. Since 2001, we all get to enjoy airport security theater; we must carry proper “papers” in order to gain admission to federal buildings; and federal minions have felt free to wiretap without warrants.

On this 10th anniversary, we will certainly remember those who died so tragically. But we should also recognize that terrorism is a hollow threat to which we should not surrender one iota of our liberties.

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The Moral Depravity of Fox News


foxFox News is not a channel I look at because I see them as an organization that entertains with innuendo and racial titillation. These days I find interesting  how they’ve managed to reach up the journalistic ladder and pull everyone else down with them onto a level that’s neither journalism or informative but rather the lowest common denominator of racism and bigotry.  The news they disseminate is inflammatory and incendiary.  One can only speculate what is behind this slant of their news approach. The fact that they’ve been around for so long, and are so popular is scary considering the propaganda they put on the air everyday. As for  the symbiotic relationship between Fox and it sister news organizations, the latest example is that of Brian Ross’ appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox program where he talked about the ties between the Ft. Hood shooter, Malik Hassan, and al-Qaida.  Of course, Ross’ links were tangential at best, or completely non-existent, but that didn’t stop him from being recruited onto a rival network, FoxNews to inaccurately report this connection.

This after other obviously blatant Faux Pas of FoxNews, including the Glen Beck assertion Obama is a racist .  Such bluster is expected from a performer, an entertainer,whose job it is to attract viewers to his network.  What was dismal however is several months after Beck’s verbal diarrhea when cooler heads should have prevailed, Beck’s boss, Rupert Murdoch appeared on one of his other media outlets and supported Beck’s blatantly racist diatribe, saying, ‘But he (Obama) did make a very racist comment. Ahhh..about, you know, blacks and whites and so on, which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And um, that was something which perhaps shouldn’t have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right’ and while everyone is entitled to an opinion, and freedom of speech is a cherished right in America……not always recognized as such by the minions of Fox when it comes to their latest target group, Muslims, to have the owner of a widely listened to news operation be so emphatically wrong,…………….is well frightening.

It is evident therefore one can expect that for FoxNews, Muslims, African-American politicians and especially those who support a black President are targets of Fox’s bigoted distortions.  With the help of other willing “journalists” like Brian Ross, encouraging the rumor mill which masquerades for news, such repetitive inaccuracy will only serve to push  an already nervous, hate saturated society to new lows of moral depravity that will become the standard in the near future for  mass social psychotic behavior currently held by Nazi Germany.

UPDATE:

The Dar al-Hijrah mosque that is a central piece in Brian Ross’ story is not the terrorist training ground Ross would have you believe.  They’ve been established since 1991 in the greater Washington, DC  area and their mission statement has as its goals, ”

  • Helping the Muslim community continue to be an effective contributor to the advancement of the Society.
  • Establishing strong relations with other faiths based on cooperation, tolerance, and mutual understanding in order to serve our communities.
  • Helping all individuals in our community to lead a healthy and productive family life that is free of drugs, crime, substance abuse and discrimination.
  • Helping the Muslim community continue to be an effective contributor to the advancement of the Society.
  • Establishing strong relations with other faiths based on cooperation, tolerance, and mutual understanding in order to serve our communities.
  • Helping all individuals in our community to lead a healthy and productive family life that is free of drugs, crime, substance abuse and discrimination.
  • and it counts itself as an active member of McLean Clergy and Arlington Interfaith Council and an active member in the Interfaith Conference of Washington Metropolitan area. This is the terrorist mosque that Ross claims Hasan associated with and which drove him to his homicidal rage at Ft. Hood. As for the preacher, imam, that Hasan possibly tried to contact, it seems he expressely and publicly condemned the terror attacks of 911 during the one year he was at Dar al-Hijrah. The full time Imam of the mosque is on record saying the federal authorities were aware of the supposed Ross al-Qaida link at his mosque, and claims there is nothing to hide at his mosque. Indeed, the mosque has invited law agencies of the government to come and talk to the worshippers to maintain positive contacts between the Islamic community and government. The terrorist mosque therfore becomes less threatening and more concerned with social cohesion with the greater metropolitan Washington area than Ross would have you believe, and Hasan’s worship there was no more than any of the other thousands of Muslims who pray, marry,  bury their dead there.