Reason Writers on the Tube: Nick Gillespie on News Hour Talking Islamophobia


Reason's Nick Gillespie appeared on PBS' News Hour last night to discuss whether Islamophobia is on the rise (short answer, no).

Click above to watch the 15-minute segment. Below is a snippet and link to the transcript below.

JEFFREY BROWN: And, Nick Gillespie, bring you into this. Do you see a rising Islamophobia…

NICK GILLESPIE, editor in chief, No.

JEFFREY BROWN: or a vocal minority?

NICK GILLESPIE: Yes, I mean, it's clear. It is not even a minority. I mean, when you look at somebody like Terry Jones, he is a nutcase who has a constituency of essentially zero people. What has he got, maybe 50 people in his flock. There are people—I think people—the reaction over the 9/11 mosque, as it is called, or Ground Zero mosque, is more complicated. But even that has more to do with the proximity to Ground Zero.

And I would offer this up. When you look at the number of hate crimes that are attributed to anti-Islamic sentiment, it's way down from where it was in 2001. And there's no sign that there is going to be an uptick of that. I think that Americans have actually processed 9/11 pretty well, in the same way that they have processed—processed a lot of other natural and manmade disasters.

More here.

NEXT: The Last Nine Years & The Next Nine Years

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  1. What we see here, I think, coming up in a lot of this stuff is more anxiety about the lack of leadership in America.

    Lack of leadership is distressing – I believe at this point – primarily to those who look around and wonder how everyone else could be so misguided. I don’t think anyone with the presence of mind to recognize the void in real leadership is a person looking for guidance for themselves.

    1. Look to us. We will fix everything.

      1. I thought your handle was Leaders With Palins.

        Never mind.

    2. I can barely function during the day because of the lack of leadership. We need smarter leaders and planners to get the country back on track. Oh, that’s fucking right, they were all elected in 2008. Damn it!

    3. If no one is fit to lead themselves then no one is fit to lead.

  2. I think the jacket got it right when he said that a lot of the ground zero mosque bullshit stems from the fact that nothing has been built there. If a new tower was in place, my guess is that this issue wouldnt have any real traction.

    The part i think should be stressed more is how the media elevates a lot of these minor figures and issues to the mainstream. Honestly who gives a shit about whats-his-nuts that wants to burn a bunch of korans except people in the media who really love to present americans generally and religious types in particular as extremist.

    1. I wonder if the mosque controversy is why this got so much attention in the first place. Westboro Baptist publically burned a Koran a couple of years ago, and nobody gave a shit.

      1. I think its similar to the whole “people hate Obama because he is black and Americans are racist” type thing you see in the media all the time. Its a dialog that the press wants to tell so they seek out those who allow them to tell it.

        1. And they had to look goddamn hard to find douchenugget from FL being as his congregation is all of 50. They want to be right so they take whatever measly scraps they can get.

    2. Ditto, motherfucker (hope it’s ok to call you by your full name). If there wasn’t a fucking hole in the ground known as “Ground Zero,” there is no way the “ground zero mosque” is making any news. If you want to get your panties in a wad, get pissed about that.

      I can’t wait to visit the “Ground Zero Towers.” What a great name. That is the name, right?

      1. If there wasn’t a fucking hole in the ground known as “Ground Zero,” there is no way any Muslim would have ever conceived the idea of building a mosque there.

  3. And yet, amid all the Christian vs. Muslim hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing, no one in the national media has had the courage to identify the elephant in the room: whether religion itself is to blame for all the current angst, the warfare, the billions of dollars spent, the hundreds of thousands killed in the name of [insert supreme being here]. At the various Sunday morning “round table” discussions and the sundry cable-news, pundit vs. pundit political-theater melodramas, notably absent from the yelling and name-calling are peaceful, mind-your-own-business atheists, who aren’t waging a holy war against anyone else, who aren’t erecting divisive religious structures, who aren’t staging idiotic book-burning pranks, who aren’t flying jetliners into skyscrapers and strapping explosive vests to their chests. Yet within the mainstream media, religion is sacrosanct, immune from serious critical analysis.

    1. Also missing from the debate are the peaceful, mind-your-own-business theists who also arent waging holy wars or blowing themselves up.

      I dont agree that religion is sacrosanct in the media, in fact, I think that if you did have serious critical analysis, the conclusion would be that most muslims, christians, and atheists alike are peaceful.

      1. Point taken. The squeaky wheels always get the grease and the attention. But the debate is always framed within a religious context, as if there is no other.

    2. If there were any peaceful mind-your-own-business atheists on the talk shows, you wouldn’t know they were.

      I have a feeling you’re actually craving the militant atheists who would speak out against all religious belief.

      1. We need some of those.

        1. Well, what I actually need is a good oncologist.

          1. Naa, he’s past that. He’s getting to the coffee enemas in Tijuana point.

            1. You mean the oncologist cured him already? Thank god!

    3. Moreover, something missing from this discussion is the false equivalence of anti-religious sentiments with bigotry. This is one thing that I am particularly upset with; religion is an idea that is freely arrived at, acknowledged, and practiced by people with these beliefs. The idea that holding a person in contempt for their freely believed ideas is somehow the same as holding people in contempt for something they have no freedom to choose (i.e. race, sexuality, national origin etc.) is absurd in my opinion.

      1. Bigotry does not require that members of the group targeted have no choice about whether to be in the group.

        1. Fair enough point, however, when a person is sufficiently knowledgeable about a religion or a specific practice within that religion and is critical of that, that shouldn’t be considered bigotry. Not to say that much of the current anti-Islamic sentiment is so nuanced, but that there are certainly some people who have understandable reservations about the implications of Islam gaining traction in the U.S. and I don’t think criticism should be viewed generally as broader bigotry. I have concerns that framing any critiques as bigotry will serve to prevent justified critiques when they become necessary.

        2. So why are you such a freaking bigot?

      2. religion is an idea that is freely arrived at

        Not really. If that were true, religious indoctrination would not be necessary. The
        purpose of all those Islamic madrassas isn’t to teach reason to all the captive youngsters.

        1. It is nonetheless an idea. Much as a person raised in a TEAM RED or TEAM BLUE household is likely to end up subscribing to those ideas and we don’t blush when it comes to judging those ideas even if they’re arrived at partly as a function of environment, we should treat religion the same way. It is, at its core, an idea and concept that person only adheres to and practices with their active participation and its presense as part of a person is therefore dependent upon the person at the very least acquiesing to it. That is not an immutable characteristic and should not be equated with one. It is a choice; even if cultural/familial background reared you in that direction, at some point in your life you are the person that has an obligation to be able to defend the ideas that you maintain.

          1. Sure, that’s why most Americans have all but abandoned religion, even those who profess to “belong” to this or that faith. They know it’s bunk, but it still holds a sentimental, emotional, irrational hold over them, if only tenuously. They stick it in a drawer and forget about it till someone close to them dies or they get cancer or they need their Redskins to cover the spread.

      3. According to the dictionary, bigotry is “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. ”

        So, bigotry is specifically the form of prejudice dealing with ideas and beliefs. Racism, sexism, or ethnic hatreds are not bigotry. Essentially, you’re arguing for making bigotry a non-concept.

    4. Right, sunshine. The atheists have never done anything fucked up like genociding (yeah, I know) millions of people in a few different nations.

      Guess who else are missing: the peaceful, mind-your-own-business christians, muslims and jooz. Wanna know why? They don’t sell ad time, that’s why.

      Even the Sunday talk shows have gotten to be more about ratings than substance. They want provocative subject matter from outrageous pundits. That is why the topics this Sunday will consist of: Mosque, Koran-burning, Afghan/Iraqi conflicts and not be about fiscal responsibility, broken SS, public employee compensation and lack of oversight in government. They don’t want the steak, they want the sizzle.

      Look at the primetime lineups on FoxNews, CNN and MSNBC. Their programming is there so people will tune in and get riled up or pissed off. And you know what? People tune in for just that reason. Nobody would watch a 1 hour show every day to see George Will discuss politics in an even tone and a studied mind.* They will, however, tune in to see Beck go batshit crazy and cry, or Maddow/Olbermann smugly tell them Americans are fucking morons.

      Also, for you to say religion is immune from serious critical analysis is silly. If that were the case, why are the stories dominating the news cycle all about religion and it’s implications?

      * Not saying I’m a Will supporter. Just using him as an example because he never raises his voice and tends to think through his arguments thoroughly, whether I agree with them or not.

      1. for you to say religion is immune from serious critical analysis is silly

        I said that a serious criticism of religion itself in the mainstream media is almost nonexistent. It’s a gaggle of theists arguing with each other. The existence of a god is a given, a fact of reality, in their debates. They never consider the nonexistence of a god. Hope this helps.

        1. Again, you don’t know whether they’re theists or not. You’re assuming that anyone who doesn’t criticize religion while you are watching them is a believer.

          1. The punditocracy I’m speaking of do indeed make their religious beliefs known, implicitly if not explicitly. But even the ones who profess no particular religious belief never bother to question the very existence of a god. Again, God is sitting at the table. His existence is a given in every mainstream debate. If the rare and odd atheist present is too afraid to speak up, shame on him, and shame on the professional media culture that would keep him in the closet.

        2. It doesn’t help because religious people cannot fathom there not being a God. It’s not possible for a religious person to suspend belief in God to see a different point of view because the concept of a world without God is alien to them. It’s akin to asking an atheist to understand something from a Christian viewpoint. It’s not possible because the atheists do not believe in a being with the power God holds. The world and the universe operates as a series of events rather than a divine experiment. Getting them to look at something from a religious viewpoint is equally alien to the atheist for the same reason.

          People cannot suspend their core beliefs on how the universe came to be and currently operates whether they are religious or atheist. It’s just impossible for them to consider the nonexistence of what makes them what they are.

          That said, I’m a practicing Christian and I don’t give a fuck what someone else wants to do with their life until it infringes on my rights to do the same.

          1. It’s akin to asking an atheist to understand something from a Christian viewpoint. It’s not possible because the atheists do not believe in a being with the power God holds.

            The ability of one to successfully identify and treat neurosis and psychosis is not dependent upon one’s belief in a supernatural being.

          2. Except that many (or most?) atheists were once believers, or raised that way. So they do have another viewpoint to draw on, at least in recollection. I seem to recall what it was like believing in Santa Claus too. Ah simpler times…

  4. Nick, if it’s not a minority, it’s a majority.

    1. I’m sure he intended that to mean: not a significant minority.
      But you knew that.

      1. Yes, I know that. I’m not a grammar nazi except when the mistake completely reverses the meaning of the sentence.

        1. Do you really want to put users of poor grammar into concentration camps? You know, it won’t help them to concentrate better.

  5. Riffing off “processed 9/11 pretty well”: It would be nice if everybody who brings up a public hobgoblin were required to draw the distinction between the hobgoblin as it exists in the D.C. imagination (Jovian in scale and storminess) and the hobgoblin as it presents to people who work for a living (something you hear about when you cross paths with obsessives). There is so little Islamophobia in these here United States it makes me misty with pride for my country. And I’m one of the obsessives!

    1. I swear to God, I’m gonna pistol-whip the next guy that says Hobgoblin.

      1. Hey Farva, whats that restaurant you like so much?

        1. Oh, you mean hobgoblins?

        2. Yeah, the one with all the goofy shit on the walls and the cheese sticks.

      2. I swear to God, I’m gonna pistol-whip the next guy that says Hobgoblin.

        I always liked the Green Goblin more.

        1. I prefer Knobgoblins myself.

          1. Can we both agree URKOBOLD is the worse?

    2. If you read the comments in any article concerning Islam in any way shape or form and you will see that many, even if only a minority, didn’t handle 9/11 with much grace at all.

      And I’m not convinced that this minority is all that small.

      1. Comments on conservative sites such as The American Spectator that is.

        1. and that’s representive of “Comment[er]s on conservative sites such as The American Spectator.”

          Proving what?

          1. That there’s lots of shit in a sewer?

  6. Saw your performance, Nick,

    1) you never have to establish your coolness bona fides so don’t waste your time with the small stuff like being copacetic with the general disposition of the peers there. Given you are the Fonze, that whole Adam Smithish ‘harmony of sentiments’ thing will always be the other guy’s problem and not yours.

    2) The black minister had a nice smile. Though I didn’t agree with him about the mosque (he would like to see it moved), he made a few good observations.

    3) The lady minister said absolutely nothing and spent a great deal of time doing so. It seems to be a common trait among the theologically bent, especially warm and fuzzy mainliners.

    4) Did anyone even bother to try to help Mr Aslan (sp?) with that huge plank lodged in his eye? It was so distracting to the entire affair.

  7. Ooooh, cool. Another thread where atheists blame everything on religion even though 90% of religious people couldn’t give a fuck and are tolerant of other lifestyles (and 10% of virtually every group are closed-minded fuck-ups).

    I’m going to do what should be done on this 9/11. I’m going to watch three great fucking football games and God- (Allah, Jehovah) or mother earth-willing, the Buckeyes will beat the Hurricanes (fucking enormous), Penn State will beat Bama (not that big a deal) and FSU will beat Oklahoma (whatever).

    I would suggest this anti-religious circle jerk could at least be postponed until tomorrow so you can all watch a little good clean fun.

    1. I’d say you are way the fuck off on the 90 percent. But right on about the games today – there are some good ones on. Also, “good clean fun” with Miami? Wrong again. They play prison rules in Miami.

      1. Yeah, well let em try that shit in the ‘Shoe. Either way, fuck the U.


    2. Tomorrow is holy day: opening day for the NFL. Any violence will need to wait for Monday so I can watch my Dolphins beat the ever living shit out if the Bills.

      1. Holy shit. A Dolphin’s fan. Surely you hated Fiedler as much as me. That asshole couldn’t back up a high school team. Then drug prohibition fucked up Ricky’s career.

        We have to have the toughest division. The Tune and T are at the Bing game-planning as we speak.

        1. The Tuna, I meant.

      2. Tomorrow is holy day: opening day for the NFL.

        Holy Day was Thursday. The Saints, appropriately, beat the Vikings.

      3. Violence will come on Monday, MNF that is, when my Chiefs shock the shit out of the football world with an impressive smackdown of the perpetually overrated and underachieving Chargers.

        1. I’m thinking Sunday, when my perpetually underrated Cardinals show they haven’t lost much.

          1. If that happens, I’m seeing Kurt Warner pull a Favre and come back and play for your biggest rivals just to make you jealous. Trouble is…I don’t think you guys have any rivals.

            1. We hate the 49ers, and they hate us. Its becoming a rivalry. I think the NFL is trying to make it a rivalry by playing the two teams against each other on MNF every year for the past 3 or 4 seasons. Its working.

              1. Same thing with the Panthers and the Giants. They are not in the same division but I can’t recall a year in the last several that they didn’t play one another.


    3. Ah College football, the only thing less interesting to talk about than religion. Well played sloopy.

      1. NFL is worse. Three-and-a-half hours of commercials, replays and analysis interrupted by eight minutes of action.

        1. Or put another way, 8 minutes of action crammed into 3 1/2 hours.

          1. Like a rock…


            Like a rock…

        2. Oh, great, the soccer vs. football arguments dug up, sprayed with deodorant, and deployed once again. I thought it was going to be four years.

          1. I piss through a rolled-up newspaper so I don’t have to leave the stands to pee.

            1. I like the commercials, it gives me time to go get another beer. And have a piss.

          2. Who said anything about soccer? The basic truth of the NFL being tedious stands.

            1. the soccer vs. football arguments

              Tulpa sensitive.
              Him have fantasy team too?
              NFL so sad.

    4. the Buckeyes will beat the Hurricanes (fucking enormous), Penn State will beat Bama (not that big a deal) and FSU will beat Oklahoma (whatever).

      One of three ain’t is actually really bad.

  8. “I don’t think anybody got a problem with muslims in America.”

    This coming from a guy who barely two weeks ago when covering the Glenn Beck rally in an interview got told “If you’re a good muslim, you’ll kill Christians.”

    What the hell, Nick? Cover for conservative buddies?

  9. This coming from a guy who barely two weeks ago when covering the Glenn Beck rally in an interview got told “If you’re a good muslim, you’ll kill Christians.”

    Yeah, that’s not right. The properly Islamic thing to do is to offer them conversion or peonage first, and kill them if they refuse you.

    1. sloopyinca|9.11.10 @ 2:06PM|#

      Ooooh, cool. Another thread where atheists blame everything on religion…
      I’m going to do what should be done on this 9/11. I’m going to watch three great fucking football games.

      Or not.

      1. D’oh. I confused ? with sloopy. I regret the error. Unless ? and sloopy are the same person, in which case I take credit for the error.

  10. Geezus Nick. Were you coming off a three day meth binge there? Who picked that line up? It’s like Sesame Street “one of these things is not like the other”. Way to represent the non-wacko POV.

  11. “If we don’t party hard today, then the terrorists have won.” -Bill Stevens

  12. Jeffrey Brown moderates a conversation among four religious leaders and experts on the tolerance — or intolerance — of different religions and cultures in America, nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    I assume Nick is counted in those experts…

    What is he an expert of again?

    Not to be a dick. Nick makes the world a better place and all that, but the one problem i have with the common meme that hating experts or elites is born of ignorance. I do not agree. I think it is born of media types mislabeling themselves and their peers as experts or elites.

    get over yourselves. You are assholes just like everyone else.

    Note: Nick did not call him self an expert it was PBS’s website that did.

    1. That’s not nearly as bad as the time Matt Welch was given the title of “Republican Strategist” on one of the news network round tables on health care.

      1. Just found the link to that blog post…

        1. MSNBC is like the junior varsity of all news. Not just cable news. I’ve seen local stations with 3 engineers one producer and one director do a better job.

      2. I thought Matt Welch was the lead strategerist of the surge. And of course Nick is the most famous liberaltarian around. Everyone knows that. An expert in liberaltarianism.

        1. Dude, that is so profound.

      3. It was probably easier for the captions guy than checking if “douchebag” was OK with standards and practices.

    2. Nick = expert on fashion
      Jacket = expert on everything else
      The Jacket = all knowing omnipotent being

      1. Jacket = Amazing Monocolor Dreamcoat

  13. Dick heads like Gillespie who don’t know shit about anything are so fucking certain about everything. That’s what makes them dick heads, I guess.

    1. You seem pretty certain about that, Edward.

      1. True, but I’m full of uncertainties about most things. Why is there something instead of nothing? Why are right-wing libertarians market-worshipng assholes? Who knows?

        1. Don’t forget, “Why do I have peanuts stuck between my teeth and this awful taste in my mouth?”

        2. Max, I didn’t know you had a profound side. Tell us, what is the sound of one hand clapping?

          1. fap fap fap fap fap fap

            cause the other hand is doin’ somethin’

  14. What Islamophobia?

    1. The Islamophobia that’s “way down” from 2001. Except on FOX News, where the dial has been turned up just in time for election season.

      1. Does screaming Bush did it and Faux News ever get old?

        I know it’s the mantra of most Progressive boards and is usually somewhere in the first 10 responses and before the Godwin.

        1. It would make life easier for Republican buttboy water carriers if G.W. Bush never existed, wouldn’t it?

          And until an asteroid lands on FOX News headquarters, it will still be the propaganda ministry of the theo/plutocrats, so until that time it’s still relevant.

          1. “It would make life easier for Republican buttboy water carriers if G.W. Bush never existed, wouldn’t it?”

            That’s exactly why I love GWB. He made it harder for the Republican party to bait-and-switch the true liberal spirit in America.

            When Obama’s policies come crashing down, the Democrats will be in the same boat. It’ll be tough for them to convince the Pragmatists that the “third way” isn’t really just the first stage of incremental socialism.

            1. the first stage of incremental socialism

              Do they let you out for walks, or are you stuck in your padded room all day?

          2. So FOX is as bad as leg tingly channels right?

        2. The liberal scapegoat is rich people, who after all put guns to people’s heads and made them buy houses they knew they couldn’t afford. It’s class war vs. religious war with control of the congress at stake!

          Ain’t democracy grand? Let’s channel ALL the power through Washington DC. That way, the direction our entire lives can be dependent on who wins these mindless, gratuitous charades. It’ll be great!

    2. What Islamophobia?

      Exactly. Islamophilia is the “in” thing now!

      1. Islamophilia is all the rage! All the cool kids are into it!

        1. I love Islam, I can’t wait to move there!

  15. You should have insisted on being called Reverend Nick.

  16. I think the identity politics, happy interfaith dialogue (all under the watchful eye of the State)
    and excessive diversity, multi culti logic should share some blame.

    1. I think you should stick your dick in some Republican’s ass and relieve yourself.

      1. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      2. Does it have to be a Log Cabin guy, or can I stick it in Michelle Malkin’s pooper?

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