The Paris attacks have been deemed "France's 9/11." But do the politics and rhetoric of this week reflect what we've learned in the 14 years since 9/11? Brooke talks with Marc Lynch, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs George Washington University and Contributing Editor to the Washington Post blog The Monkey Cage, about how we've in many ways regressed in our discussions and actions in the wake of terror attacks.
"Mazen Dha Nahar el Youm" by Abdeslam Khaloufi
BROOKE: This is On the Media, I’m Brooke Gladstone.
BOB: And I’m Bob Garfield. There is fear, and there is politics, and there is the politics of fear, and this week we were inundated with all three.
You may find this hard to believe but aside from disclosing our own views to you, because you should have that information when considering our coverage, we work hard not to flog them.That’s because, believe it or not, we we are more interested in seeing how things work than in preaching.
BROOKE: So at our Monday editorial meeting we were talking about the situation in Paris and how can we look at it and what is the meaning of 9/11 as a metaphor and what is the meaning of ‘boots on the ground’ and why is it used so often is it because of drones.
BOB: And I said, I have something I want to propose that is a little less semiotic in nature. I saw a cartoon in the Daily Mail, syrian refugees in bedouin clothing and sandals, storming the borders of the EU with rats at their feet. Rats. It was just pure naked racism. Like something out of Der Sturmer. And then as I was watched the news I kept having that same feeling. Is this really where we are in 2015?
BROOKE: Because, now we’ve got Donald Trump saying we should issue American Muslims IDs, and track them on databases. We have Ben Carson saying Muslims should be barred from the presidency, and Ted Cruz saying Muslim refugees should be barred from our borders, smoked out with a religion test. And Chris Christie saying no one is too young to pose a threat.
CHRISTIE: The fact is that we need appropriate vetting. And I don’t think orphans under five should be admitted into the United States at this point.
BOB: Yes, they’re all Republicans. But John McCain pushed back on those ideas, while the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, was busy praising FDR’s infamous Japanese internment camps. (Which Ronald Reagan eventually apologized for.) And then on Thursday, 47 House Democrats helped pass a veto-proof bill to tighten the already strict requirements for the settlement of future refugees here. So this is to a degree a bi-partisan reversion to paranoia..
BROOKE: An old story, and a familiar one, to anyone with a historical memory. Here’s New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler this week on WNYC.
NADLER: If it weren't for the anti-Semitic, xenophobic 1924 immigration act, passed by an anti-Semitic, xenophobic Congress, maybe 2 million of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust would've been in New York instead, would've been in the United States instead. We shut our doors to people in need when they were Jewish, we can't do that again.
BROOKE: But we don’t have to go back to the second world war. We experienced the same panic, the same reflex, back after 2001. And Marc Lynch, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs George Washington University, says we learned from it. We really did. And we recovered our nerve. For a while.
LYNCH: we seem to have gone right past almost a decade of growth where we learned a lot of lessons...
BOB: That’s it for this week’s show. On The Media is produced by Kimmie Regler, Meara Sharma, Alana Casanova-Burgess and Jesse Brenneman. We had more help from Alex Friedland and Dasha Lisitsina. And our show was edited by…Brooke. Our technical director is Jennifer Munson. Our engineer this week was Cayce Means.
BROOKE: Katya Rogers is our executive producer. Jim Schachter is WNYC’s Vice President for news. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. On the Media is a production of WNYC Studios. I’m Brooke Gladstone.