The conservative media and the trial of Geert Wilders

Note (Feb 3, 11:30 a.m.): As several readers have informed me, after this entry was posted last night, in which I said that National Review Online had had no articles on the Wilders trial, NRO posted a symposium on the Wilders trial. This VFR entry was posted at 2:12 a.m. The NRO symposium was posted at 4 a.m. Is VFR on the cutting edge of societal evolution, or what?

Update: However, since, as A. Zarkov points out below, the NRO symposium adds nothing new to the debate on the Islam problem but just repeats the usual complaints about Islamization with no idea of what to do about it, it appears that in this instance VFR was on the cutting edge of societal stasis.

Apart from the anti-Islamization websites, which are of course intensely interested in the Wilders trial, how has the trial been covered by the establishment conservative magazines? I did some Googling to find out. The results are stunning.

Below each magazine I show the search parameters I used for that search.

National Review Online, apart from a few mentions at the Corner in January (and none in February) has had no articles on the trial. wilders trial

The Weekly Standard has nothing. wilders trial

Commentary has nothing. wilders trial

Human Events has nothing. wilders trial

The American Spectator had a reader’s comment last September on the upcoming trial, and a significant article about the trial on January 22, in which it brought out the fact that the Dutch judicial system, by punishing criticism of Islam, was in effect the enforcer of Islamic law. Thus TAS is the only establishment conservative publication with an article about the trial. wilders trial

Of course the Wall Street Journal criticized the trial, but only because the trial threatened to bring out negative truths about Islam, not because it was an act of tyranny exerted on behalf of Islam.

What about the paleocons and Buchananites?

Chronicles has nothing. wilders trial

Indeed, Chronicles has never published anything on Geert Wilders at all. The other magazines mentioned above have had numerous references to Wilders, just not anything on the Wilders trial. But the name Wilders has never appeared at the Chronicles site. wilders

What about The Paleostinian Conservative, laughably known as The American Conservative?

TAC has nothing on the Wilders trial. wilders trial

Apart from the trial, TAC has had some references to Wilders, most or all of them (based on a glance at the Google results), negative. No surprise there. TAC is pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel. Wilders, markedly unlike most European politicians, is very vocally pro-Israel. wilders

- end of initial entry -

Mike Berman writes:

Thank you for the effort you made in preparing this information. What a sorry state of affairs it reveals. Here is still another reason why your site is so valuable.

A. Zarkov writes:

I have not read the whole of the NRO symposium, but I’ve read enough to say that I don’t see any solutions, only the usual complaining and whining about what’s happening to Europe and what might happen to America. It’s a little like hearing the politicians warn us about the impending shortfalls in Medicare and Social Security. They tell us we can’t keep this up, but I don’t hear any solutions. Go ask them, as I have, and all you get is a blank stare. I have also asked Republican politicians face-to-face why we need to fight the Muslims in Afghanistan when we could simply keep them out of the U.S. by not letting them immigrate here. I point that Al-Qaeda has no air force, no intercontinental ballistic missiles, and no navy. I ask how can they possibly threaten us if we don’t let them into the country? Again the blank stare. They know the answers, but they can’t utter them because it’s political suicide in modern America. This is what we have to work on. We must make it safe to talk about certain forbidden topics.

This is where Tom Tancredo failed us. He had the platform. He needed to ask that which can’t get asked on national TV. He might have destructed immediately after that, but so what. He failed anyway, and went out like a lamb.

LA replies:

You wrote:

“We must make it safe to talk about certain forbidden topics.”

I don’t think that it’s within our power t make it safe to talk about these topics. What we can do is show people that it is moral to talk about these subjects, and that there are effective replies to the charge that talking about these subjects is immoral; and that knowledge will give people the courage to speak about them, whether it’s considered “safe” or not. The boundaries of what is “safe” can only be changed by people pushing against them.

Also, I agree completely on Tom Tancredo in his 2008 campaign. What was the point of his running for president if he he was not going to use the campaign as a platform for discussing the issue seriously and changing the way people see it? Instead of addressing the immigration and cultural issues in the terms he had been intelligently and courageously addressing them for his entire political career, he scaled himself back and limited himself to the no-brains-required, no-courage-required issue of illegal immigration. It was absurd. I can’t imagine what he was thinking.

N. writes:

You wrote in reply to my previous e-mail:

“Thanks. I’ve added a note about the NRO symposium.”

I did not note the timestamp on the NRO posting. VFR as cutting edge, indeed! FWIW, on Feb. 3 I sent a note to K. Lopez with a cc to J. Goldberg asking why NRO wasn’t covering the trial. I included the links to the International Free Press society, Gates of Vienna, Jihad Watch, Brussels Journal, Diana West and of course Wilders on Trial in order to make the job easier.

Whether this note made any difference or not, I have no idea. I’m just pleased that someone, somewhere, in the established conservative web sphere wrote something about the trial.

PS: It seems to me that the multi month adjournment is a very interesting development. Is it intended to put a threat over Wilders, a Damoclean sword? Does it indicate confusion on the part of the Dutch liberal establishment, because of the facts offered? Is it, as suggested, purely a political move because the trial can only increase sympathy and support for him in the time before an election? Or is it just a case of “kick the can down the road,” a forlorn hope on the part of the Dutch establishment that something will happen to change the issue?

Hmm. If there’s any reduction in the security detail guarding Wilders, then we’ll have an answer, and not a good one.

LA writes:

Also, having a symposium is the easiest, most cost-free way of dealing with an issue. Instead of having a contributor write a real article on the subject which might have a real impact on the debate, you ask a bunch of people to send their thoughts, limited to two or three hundred words each, basically the equivalent of a collection of blog comments.

The impact of the symposium is also lessened by the way NRO spreads it over four web pages, with the page breaks sometimes occurring in the middle of an individual comment.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 08, 2010 02:12 AM | Send

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