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Christians bleed but don't lead

| Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011

Our national media elite reviewed 2010 with great sorrow for how America has besmirched itself in the eyes of the world with its "seething hatred" of Muslims. CBS anchor Katie Couric announced on her Internet show that there wasn't enough evaluation of "this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide," which was "so misdirected, and so wrong -- and so disappointing."

Couric even embarrassed herself by suggesting, "Maybe we need a Muslim version of 'The Cosby Show.'"

But here's what does not upset Couric or her colleagues: Christians getting slaughtered and maimed in the Middle East by radical Islamists during the Christmas season. That story rates barely a media eyebrow lift.

On Christmas Eve in Nigeria, The Associated Press reported that Danjuma Akawu, secretary of Victory Baptist Church in the city of Maiduguri, charged that a mob of about 30 men attacked his church, killing five people, including the pastor, two choir members rehearsing for a late-night carol service and two passersby. He said the attackers dragged the pastor out of his house before shooting him to death. They drove off after setting the church and pastor's house on fire.

Network coverage?

Couric's CBS aired nothing. Neither did ABC. NBC arrived on the story with three anchor briefs on the morning of Dec. 27. PBS had one "NewsHour" mention that night. That's it.

In the first minutes of the new year in Alexandria, Egypt, an explosion ripped through a throng of worshippers shortly after services outside of a Coptic Christian church, slaughtering at least 21 people and wounding another 96.

Network coverage?

ABC aired nothing. CBS and NBC each aired one brief anchor read.

Some might say terror attacks in Africa with these "low" numbers of deaths are hardly a major news story, especially for TV networks that sparsely cover the globe. But when eight American tourists died in a bus crash in Egypt, CBS and NBC each aired full stories, and NBC interviewed an American survivor on Dec. 27. So it's not an issue of sparse resources.

On Halloween, 58 people were killed at a Catholic church in Baghdad as Islamic radicals took church members hostage during Mass and executed the priests. ABC, CBS and NBC aired little anchor briefs yet managed to put the weight of scrutiny on Iraqi government forces for attempting to storm the church and defeat the radicals.

On New Year's Eve, The New York Times reported from Baghdad on a cluster of 10 bomb attacks in which two people were killed and 20 wounded, all of them Christians. One week after an Islamic extremist group vowed to kill Christians in Iraq, the bombs were placed near the homes of at least 14 Christian families around the city. The networks didn't find that compelling, either.

But ABC, CBS and NBC combined to air 52 stories in one month -- just on the evening newscasts -- on the Ground Zero mega-mosque project.

Despite their cachet as world-news aficionados, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio couldn't locate news from Nigeria or Egypt as Christians were targeted and killed. NPR finally caught up a bit Jan. 3, when evening anchor Robert Siegel talked to Los Angeles Times reporter Borzou Daragahi about the church attack in Egypt. He asked: "Are Christians a new front for Islamist militants in the region?"

Daragahi replied that "increasingly, it does seem that way. ... And there does seem to be this concerted campaign to target this very vulnerable, dwindling community."

The reporter concluded, "(I)t's considered a tragedy that this community is being whittled down."

It's "considered" a tragedy?

The American media's coverage of this religious war underlines their own distance from the story -- and how they're much more upset that some no-name, meaningless rabble-rouser in Florida became globally famous for threatening to burn one Quran in a trash can.

L. Brent Bozell III is president of the Media Research Center.

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