Clearly, like the Obama administration, the networks are unwilling to accord Christians any special status that might be conveyed by calling their plight genocide – despite all their own reporting.
By making Secretary Kerry state the obvious, Congress forced the administration to overcome its fear of stirring “Islamophobia” and helping Christians onto their “high horse.” Until now, no one has held the networks to account.
The networks haven’t always been so reticent. Almost exactly ten years prior to the first years of ISIS reign of terror, between May 23 2004 and May 21, 2006, the networks called the atrocities in Darfur genocide 39 times. That too was a case of Muslims wiping out Christians (and animists) – largely of Arabs killing blacks.
Even before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell officially determined that the Darfur blood bath was genocide in September 2004 (after being advised that the determination did not obligate the U.S.
to act), the networks were airing the term, albeit cautiously. On July 3, 2004, NBC Nightly News correspondent Jim Maceda reported that the Sudanese “government denies the claim, but it has allowed few journalists into western Sudan to report on what some describe as ‘ethnic cleansing on a massive scale’ and others ‘sheer genocide.’” Both NBC and ABC repeated aired the claim.
In the two years after Powell’s finding on genocide in Darfur, the networks used the term 39 times. Of course, that was during the George W. Bush Administration, when liberals were eager for clubs with which to hit Bush’s foreign policy. Furthermore, actor George Clooney led the way for a group of high- profile celebrities bringing publicity to the horror and pressure on the government.
Unfortunately, there are no A-listers speaking up for Middle Eastern Christians. When U.S. politicians do, they’re hammered by skeptical reporters. In the wake of last fall’s Paris terror attacks, ABC’s Jonathan Karl called “un-American” Ted Cruz’s proposed legislation to temporarily halt granting amnesty to Syrian Muslims and give preference to Syrian Christians. When, on November 16, CBS Evening News quoted Jeb Bush saying, “Because [Christians] are being slaughtered in the country,” the network quickly cut to President Obama calling the idea “shameful” and “not American.”
But the networks should pay attention to their own news magazines, which have done excellent, thorough reporting on ISIS’s anti-Christian genocide – particularly Lara Logan for CBS. Unfortunately, Logan’s September 13, 2015 segment for 60 Minutes stopped short of using the word genocide, but it was an unflinching look at anti-Christian barbarity as ISIS “seeks to erase Christianity from the landscape.”
“Christianity in Iraq,” Logan reported from the Nineveh Plains, “was born in small towns and villages like these. Today some of them are deserted; abandoned because ISIS is forcing Christians out.
“Just like the Nazis marked the property of Jews, Christian homes in Mosul have been marked with this red symbol. It’s the Arabic letter N for Nasara, an early Islamic term for Christians. When ISIS puts it on your home, you either convert to Islam, pay an extortion tax, or face the sword.”
The result: “We’re told, for the first time in nearly two thousand years, there are no Christians left inside Mosul.” Logan asked a resident what he thought ISIS intended to do with Christians. “To wipe them out,” he answered. “To be nothing. No place left that bears the name of Christian or Christianity.”
If that isn’t genocide, the term has no meaning.