Chris Rodda: US Army Validates MRFF Claim
In a follow-up to the original Military.com article on the Great Fort Shafter Sign Scandal of 2015 (begun on this site, interestingly enough), journalist Bryant Jordan included an interesting request Army Public Affairs had made of him:
Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the office, asked the story be pulled because it included only a single source, the unit did not have a chance to respond, because the story headline “brings attention to jihadists over a non-issue…contributing to their agenda” and because the sign was removed.
In essence, Army PA was saying what has been said here and in many other places many times before: Mikey Weinstein falsely characterized a benign issue, made a sensationalist claim based on that pretense, and in so doing created the very “jihadist propaganda” he claimed he was opposing.
Still, two days later, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s research assistant, Chris Rodda, used the request — absent almost all of the context — to claim the Army had just validated the very reason the MRFF demanded the sign’s removal. From her Huffington Post blog, in which Rodda uses exclamation points like Weinstein uses adjectives [all formatting original]:
What was the Army’s reason for its request that Military.com pull its article? Because it “brings attention to jihadists over a non-issue…contributing to their agenda”!!!
Now the Army wants Military.com to pull its article, paradoxically citing the very same reason that its own article was reported on by Military.com in the first place!
Written by anyone else, such a characterization of the Army’s request might have been labeled disingenuous. But for Rodda — who is quick to label other people “liars” if she disagrees with them — it is brazenly dishonest.
Most obviously, Rodda claimed the Army asked Military.com to pull the article because the article “brings attention to jihadists” etc. But that isn’t what the Army said at all. The Army said the journalist’s choice of headline — not the article itself — was at issue. (Jordan’s headline was “Crusader Image a ‘Propaganda Bonanza’ for Jihadists: Watchdog Group,” while the Army Times’ original headline was “Crusader-like image army sign angers advocacy group.”) Rodda clearly, and intentionally, misrepresented the Army’s statement.
Further, Rodda conveniently leaves out the other reasons for the Army’s request: the article’s single source (Mikey Weinstein), and no chance for the Army to respond.
To be fair, the US military really has no place asking a news organization to pull an article (absent actual national security concerns, perhaps). Still, taken graciously, the request essentially asks Military.com journalist Bryant Jordan to do more than just publish Weinstein’s press releases. Less graciously, it accuses Jordan of participating in yellow journalism on Weinstein’s behalf.
In any case, to put it kindly, Chris Rodda is being disingenuous in accusing the Army of wanting the article pulled for the same reason the MRFF wanted the sign pulled. Her lack of integrity is necessary, though, to falsely present the impression the Army explicitly agreed with the MRFF’s ridiculous characterizations. Thick with irony, Rodda has, once again, become such a faithful zealot she is willing to lie for her cause.
Come to think of it, though, it is an interesting question. Mikey Weinstein, Chris Rodda, and (they claim) the Army say ISIS can be motivated to hate America because of a sign or a headline. Ergo, said sign or headline should be removed. This is true in the case of a “Christian crusader” image despite the fact ISIS has never said it is motivated to fight America because of “crusading Christianity.” In other words, Weinstein and Rodda are attributing motivations to ISIS even ISIS hasn’t claimed, and they are demanding changes in US Army conduct based on those vicarious motivations.
But, if ISIS can be motivated by a sign or headline, as Mikey et al. claim, why does no one think twice about the dozens of signs and headlines proclaiming the US military’s open support of (and official “pride” in) homosexuals? Far from a hypothetical offense, Islamic extremists have clearly railed against Western sexual vices (in which is included the mainstream Islamic disapproval of homosexuality), and — more importantly — extremists have actually committed violence over homosexuality (including throwing accused homosexuals off buildings). No attribution of motivation is necessary: ISIS has clearly stated its violence against the West is motivated, in part, by the West’s sexual immorality. Yet no one has demanded changes in US military conduct based on those very articulate motivations.
In this modern day and age, what could possibly motivate Weinstein, Rodda, and the Army to restrict (apparent, even if not actual) references to Christianity, while ignoring or protecting explicit references to homosexuality? Has erotic liberty become more valued than religious liberty?
Perhaps the answer is obvious.