The Wall Street Journal has an interesting, if completely unsurprising, update to the stories about the intense interest in the people affiliated with the so-called film being blamed for widespread anti-American violence throughout the world:
A federal government bulletin to local law-enforcement officials warned of the possibility of retaliation within the U.S. over the low-budget "Muhammad Movie Trailer," a 14-minute clip posted to YouTube that has sparked rioting and protests across the Muslim world.
The effort, while low-key, shows the U.S. government is worried about violence not just abroad but also at home.
So far, there have been no known incidents of violence in the U.S. linked to the video. But as is often the case when the FBI learns of an increased danger to specific groups or individuals, the agency is privately sharing that threat information, according to multiple officials.
I have found it interesting (although I'm not really sure what I think about it) that the media is hyping the idea that the film is provoking all this violence and bloodshed while at the same time publishing all sorts of details about who is behind the film and where they live.
But that's not why I bring it up. I keep thinking of all sorts of stories I'd like to be reading that I'm not. And I'll give just a few examples and ask if you have any to add. I was looking through the photos and story about violent Muslim riots in Sydney, Australia (note the child holding the sign calling for the beheading of those who insult "the prophet") and thought of the dog who didn't bark. Isn't it interesting that the offending film was made by Americans and yet we don't have violent riots here? I'm so thankful that we don't have that right now and I realize something not happening is not usually considered news, but in this case I think it is.
The other story that isn't around is far more shocking to me. You can read headlines that raise all sorts of First Amendment (or related) concerns. The Los Angeles Times wrote that the filming permit for the controversial "movie" was pulled at the request of federal agencies. The Associated Press wrote that the feds identified the guy behind the anti-Muslim film. And there are any number of stories about U.S. Government officials condemning the film. ABC reported that the White House even asked YouTube to "review" the film:
The White House has not asked YouTube to take down the video, simply to review it.
Oh, well in that case. But shouldn't these stories be talking to a few civil libertarians or free speech advocates about whether they have any problems with this?
Now the guy in question has been taken in by federal authorities for questioning. Obviously this Nakoula Nakoula (these names!) sounds like a most unsavory character. Supposedly he's being questioned about his probation status. But the only reason people in any way care about him is because of the riots around the world. Which is usually why civil liberties organizations get worried. They want to determine whether federal interest in him is about the speech he engaged in rather than the kind of activity he may have conducted with computers.
We know that the media tend to be vigorous defendants of certain types of speech. I don't know why they're so disinterested in that issue this week. Maybe they can pretend it's an anti-Christian film, or a porno, or a piece of journalism and just imagine how they'd be writing about such a crackdown.
Do you have any stories you wish were out there that you haven't seen enough of?