Mark Steyn says media maneuvered Islam into 'victim seat'

Author sounds off about the Charlie Hebdo attack


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 8, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So liberals in the Western media appear to be more worried about offending innocent Muslims than condemning the assassins who gunned down 12 in Paris.

Now, listen to this NBC News terrorism expert.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: France has a very serious problem with Islamophobia. There are a lot of French Muslims who feel that they are alienated from the society they're in.

It's very important for French society to be showing and demonstrating to everyone who lives there that they are -- they can be accepted into society, that they don't need to wage war against society to have their voices heard.


HANNITY: Now, unfortunately, he was not alone. One opinion writer at The New York Times wrote, quote, "Let's denounce terrorism, oppression and misogyny in the Islamic world and everywhere else, but let's be careful not to respond to terrorists' intolerance with our own."

Here with reaction, New York Times best-selling author of "The Undocumented," Mark Steyn, is back with us. Mark, I was watching you last night on Megyn Kelly's show, and you made a very strong case how media has cowered in the face of radical Islamists. Explain.

MARK STEYN, "THE UNDOCUMENTED" AUTHOR: Yes, that's true, Sean. I mean, I think these men at Charlie Hebdo bore a very lonely burden, and in part because they were braver than everybody else. The media congratulates itself on its bravery incessantly. And one of the most disgusting things it's done in the 24 hours since this happened has been to maneuver Islam into the victim seat again. Islam always wants to play the victim role.

There are 12 dead Frenchmen, and actually another French lady, a police officer today, killed by somebody of a certain particular persuasion. A couple of weeks ago, it was two dead Australians. A couple weeks before that, it was a dead soldier up in Quebec and another dead soldier up in Ottawa. They're the victims, and the people who did it, the perpetrators, were Muslim!

And that -- instead of -- I'm sure that does make moderate Muslims, who just want to get up in the morning and go to work and come back and pay for food for their family and whatever -- I'm sure that does cause them problems. But there's something in grotesque bad taste, apart from anything else, in the way they need to maneuver themselves into the victim role when the victims are still on the floor bleeding like these 12 Frenchmen were and the two Australians in the Sydney coffee shop and the two brave soldiers in of the queen up in Canada. This -- at the very least, it's in appalling bad taste that NBC and The New York Times assists Islam to do this every time!

HANNITY: And -- but it's also the AP, it's also CNN and other news networks, et cetera. They made a decision, an editorial decision not to put out the cartoons that led to the attack. Would it almost be better for everybody in the media to unite as a sign of solidarity, as people are holding up pens in France, and say, We're all going to publish it, we're all going to tell the story so that people understand what it is that causes you to murder?

STEYN: Yes, I think we ought to -- I think the pen gesture you mentioned just now is pathetic, really. I would be more impressed if people were to actually hold up copies of the Charlie Hebdo covers that those cartoonists died for. They knew the risk they were taking.

I've spent far too much -- since I got dragged through court in Canada for writing about this issue, I've spent far too much time with vulnerable beleaguered cartoonists, especially in Europe, not just French cartoonists but a Dutch cartoonist, a Swedish artist who had his home firebombed, a Norwegian comedian whose parents' restaurant was firebombed. And we understand now that these people face a real threat because 12 of them are dead.

And the best thing that could have happened is that all these journalists, the big shot editors who all know each other in New York and London and Paris and Berlin and all over the planet, had all said, Tomorrow morning, we're going to put the cartoons these guys died for on the front page, because you can't claim to defend free speech and freedom of expression when you let these guys be murdered, and then you accept the rules set by the murderers, which is what The New York Times and CNN and all the rest are doing!

HANNITY: Mark, I want to ask you about the left. They always have a -- say they have a monopoly of compassion for minority rights, women's rights, gay and lesbian rights. Look at life under sharia for women. Look at what happens if you are gay and lesbian in certain countries. You get murdered. Conservatives have been the most outspoken against radical Islam. And the left, for the most part, has been silenced. One exception on Jimmy Kimmel last night was Bill Maher, of all people. And I give him a lot of credit for even challenging the left to join him. Why are there -- why is there so much silence on the left?

STEYN: Yes, I think -- I think Bill Maher is absolutely the exception, Sean. And interestingly enough, the fellows in Charlie Hebdo, all basically men of the left, the people I mentioned a couple of minutes earlier, the other cartoonists in Europe, they're all basically old-time secular lefties who think you should have the right to make the same jokes about Muslims that you make about Christians and Jews and everybody else.

And the American left is not there for them. And it was to me pitiful to listen to the sort of antiseptic eunuch (ph) statement that Jon Stewart issued last night. You know, if Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are at the height of political satire in the United States, then I'll take these guys in France any day of the week! They're being -- they're doing what real satirists do, which is offending you and challenging you over the serious questions of the day. They're not just doing lam-o tired anti-Bush jokes a quarter century after he's left office!

And these guys learned, these Euro lefties learned that when you're really up against it, when people are trying to kill you, that apart from Bill Maher and one or two other men of principle, I would rate Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist, who nevertheless acknowledged yesterday that while he hates all religions, he actually has a bigger problem with Islam than any of the other ones, for the obvious reason that they're trying to kill him and the other ones aren't -- apart from Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins, there are actually very few principled lefties out there speaking up for these poor beleaguered guys over in Europe!

HANNITY: You know, I got to tell you, Mark, Stephane Charbonnier, who was the editor -- I mean, after the firebombing, said, I'd rather die standing for what I believe in than on my knees and able to live -- all right, last question. I'm not sure -- I know you were on last night. I'm not sure if you had chance to see any of the interview with this radical imam. We're going to get back to part of the interview...

STEYN: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: ... in the next segment. I want to ask you this because I get criticized for having him on, and I understand it. But one of the things that he said, I was asking him, OK, well, is this a religion of peace? Do you have any tolerance for other religions? And his answer was, Sure, as long as you submit and live under sharia.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: Isn't -- didn't he really expose the exact ideology that we're up against, which is the antithesis of Western values?

STEYN: Well, you know, in an odd way, I think you should have him on because what I like about him is he doesn't bother with any of the shiftiness and duplicitousness. He's completely up front about who he is.  When that answer he gave to you saying Islam doesn't mean peace -- you know, John Kerry and Barack Obama and David Cameron and Howard Dean keep telling us that Islam means peace. And he says, No, it doesn't, it means submission. He's completely up front.

He lives in London, and he says his ambition is to see the flag of Islam flying over Buckingham Palace and flying over the White House. And it's important and that's why. You know, The New York Times wouldn't run an editorial by him saying that, and CNN wouldn't have him on to say that because they want to pretend that people like him don't exist. And I think it's good that he -- that's why I believe in free speech. I believe in free speech for me, and I believe in free speech for him so we can all know what he genuinely thinks!

HANNITY: Well said. All right, Mark Steyn, great commentary tonight.  Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

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