Of course, the backlash wasn't limited to full blown hate crimes. Surely Mr. Goldberg remembers Ann Coulter professing a desire to invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. It seems fair to count that as an anti-Muslim backlash to 9/11. I won't bother to link a bunch of other anti-Islamic rhetoric that specifically cites the 9/11 attacks and didn't exist prior to them -- we all know it's out there and it's ugly.
When an angry crowd mistook this Coptic Christian man for a Muslim, did that count as a backlash? What else explains the Koran burning event this Florida church is planning (guess what day the event is scheduled). Or consider the Temecula, California mosque project that is also apparently too close to Ground Zero.These are all very recent news items. So what can this assertion that "there has been no “anti-Muslim” backlash actually mean? That it hasn't been as bad as some people feared? If that is what Mr. Goldberg means he should say it.
The closest he comes is this later line:
Whatever excesses, real or alleged, that have come from the justice
system or from main street, are by any historical standard -- including
any previous analogous period in American history -- trivial.
Perhaps he has forgotten the anti-Muslim backlash at the Abu Ghraib prison, or the Muslims held for years on end as enemy combatants only to be cleared of wrongdoing by our government, or the innocent Muslims tortured by the CIA. Were none of these non-trivial excesses explained at least partly by an anti-Muslim backlash after 9/11?
Later in the same post, Mr. Goldberg writes:
...listening to all of this talk about “crowd” politics from liberals
these days, you get the distinct impression that there are a lot of
20-something liberal bloggers, MSNBC talk-show hosts, and newspaper
editorial writers who honestly believe that they are not only better
than the American public but that they are in fact the duly anointed
conscience of this, our embarrassingly backward and bigoted nation. They
must stand ever vigilant, lest America's deep reservoirs of hatred and
bigotry burst their levees and spill out through the sluices of the
How does this river of hate manifest itself? The supposedly anti-Muslim
70 percent of Americans who don’t like the idea of building the Cordoba
House near Ground Zero mostly also believe the owners have the right to
do it if they can’t be persuaded otherwise. Wow, that’s some crackdown
As one representative of writers who believe that vigilance against an anti-Muslim backlash is necessary, let me congratulate Mr. Goldberg for demolishing the weakest argument of his least defensible adversaries. Having done so, it's only fair that he get a shot at a stronger contender. It's 5 am as I write this, and being the only one awake, I'll enter the ring: Expressing concern that a religious group might suffer a backlash during an ongoing war against its radical coreligionists isn't tantamount to asserting that America is a backward and bigoted nation. The vast majority of concerned journalists, like President Bush and many others, know that most Americans are going to refrain from outright violence, and are nevertheless prudently aware that within our borders is a fringe of excitable bigots that exist, and will always exist, in every country on earth.