Cathy Areu is not a Freudian

Cathy Areu

Back to Cathy Areu – a Latina magazine editor who, as we saw on Tuesday, has become a familiar face on American cable news. Is she an expert in history or political science or anything like that? No. She’s a self-educated authority on the Zeitgeist, the Brave New World in which rules about things like sexual identity and bigotry have been rewritten overnight.

As we noted, Tucker Carlson has made frequent use of her services in recent months. On one episode of his show, for instance, Carlson covered the story of a white man who now identifies as a Filipino woman named Ja Du. What, he asked Areu, did she make of this? She found it “totally OK,” explaining that “it’s very American to be who you want to be.” Carlson asked facetiously if this meant that he, Carlson, could identify as “a successful hedge fund manager or an NBA star.” Areu answered without hesitation: “Absolutely!…It’s what’s on the inside that counts, not the outside.”

Sigmund Freud

Persevering in his deft use of reductio ad absurdum, Carlson asked if a human being could, on the same grounds, identify as a member of another species. But the eternally bright-eyed Areu didn’t back down: “I think it’s wonderful, I think it’s beautiful, I think it’s great!” When Carlson suggested that Sigmund Freud, for example, might consider it delusional for a person to think he was a duck or a goat, Areu retorted that it was now 2017, and society is more “accepting” now than it used to be in the dark old days of Freud.

Carlson wasn’t giving up. What, he asked Areu, if a friend of hers said he was Napoleon Bonaparte? That, too, she asserted with a cheery nod, was “okay.”

Areu with Tucker Carlson

Commenting on a news story about a male Harvard student who expressed regret for having talked to friends about attractive girls, Areu asserted that he did indeed have something to apologize for – namely, objectifying women. “That’s always been a crime, to objectify women,” she told Carlson. She further maintained that 30% of women who graduate from Harvard say they’ve been victims of sexual assault (a remarkable statistic that seems to have no basis in reality). Asked if women can objectify men in the same way that men objectify women – if, that is, one woman can say to another that she finds a certain guy cute – Areu replied, “Sure,” because “women aren’t harming anyone.” Areu added: “It’s very rare for men to be objectified,” a contention that, to anyone living in the real world, sounds rather curious.

Areu and unidentified companion outside the White House

On March 9 Areu was on Carlson’s show yet again. This time, the topic was a man who’d been fined in Belgium for the crime of sexist speech. Specifically, he had told a woman police officer that because of her sex she did not belong in that line of work. Asked if she approved of the idea of criminalizing such views, Areu said yes: sexist speech needs to be “nip[ped] in the bud,” and should be a felony in the U.S. Never mind the First Amendment: authorities need to “reintroduce profanity laws” and expand them to include sexist language. Offenders should be locked up: “when they come out,” she said, “they’ll be better people.” It was not clear whether or not Areu recognized that her proposal was right out of the playbook of the Chinese Communist Party’s Cultural Revolution. Asked if women should be susceptible to punishment too, she said no, because “women cannot be sexist.”

CNN’s stoogery, continued

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan. A military jury has sentenced Hasan to death for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others. (AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)
Nidal Malik Hasan

On the evening of November 5, 2009, the day Nidal Malik Hasan committed the Fort Hood massacre, evidence rapidly mounted that it had been an act of jihad. He’d called himself a “devout Muslim”; he’d been known to wear traditional Muslim clothing; he’d posted a Muslim prayer on his apartment door; he’d spoken approvingly of suicide bombers; just before committing the murders, he’d distributed copies of the Koran to his neighbors.

11/05/06 CNN Strategic Marketing America Votes 2006 Larry King Live (pre-tape for 11/05 show) CNN Time Warner Center Studio 51 New York, NY ph: E. M. Pio Roda / CNN
Wolf Blitzer

But while at least some other media were quick to report on these facts, CNN either ignored them or did its best to give them short shrift and leave them unexamined. As one observer put it, “the network seemed to be making a masterly effort to avoid giving this data a cold, hard look,” even as it sought to portray Hasan as a case of PTSD or, perhaps, as a good soldier who (for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with Islam) had undergone a psychological break as a result of U.S. actions in Iraq. In an effort to illuminate the massacre, Wolf Blitzer grilled a panel of psychiatrists – not Islam experts.

Then there was CNN’s report, aired last September, on small Yemeni girls who die in childbirth. The reporter said that the practice of taking child brides was common in a certain “tribal region of western Yemen” and referred to the “cultural tradition of child brides.” But she was careful not to mention that this “tradition” can be traced directly to the Prophet Muhammed himself, who wed his wife Aisha when she was six years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine. Imams have preached ever since that any girl of that age is fair game for husbands, however old.

By omitting these facts, and by entirely leaving out the “I” and “M” words, CNN’s reporter was deliberately obscuring the reason why not only Yemen but the Muslim world generally is awash in pregnant little girls, many of whom die in childbirth because they’re too small to deliver a baby.

In May 2014, CNN’s website ran an op-ed that started out by lamenting the phenomenon of honor killing. But instead of acknowledging that this crime occurs almost entirely among Muslims – because it’s consistent with the Koranic view of women as upholders of family honor – the author, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, segued into the entirely unrelated case of Elliot Rodger, the psychologically troubled 22-year-old who murdered six people in Santa Barbara, supposedly out of sexual frustration, before killing himself.

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Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Lemmon’s point was apparently to highlight the universal issue of violence against women – even though four of Rodger’s six victims were men. But to link a lone sicko like Rodger (who would have been hospitalized, or locked up in the slammer, if he hadn’t committed suicide) with perpetrators of honor killing (who are acting in accordance with religious ideology and who often escape punishment because their communities and government authorities actually approve of their actions) is utterly outrageous – a way of removing Islam entirely from the picture when it should, in fact, be front and center.

But then, removing Islam entirely from the picture is one thing at which CNN is absolutely terrific. 

CNN and the jihadist faith whose name it dare not speak

The last couple of days we’ve been contemplating the chronic stoogery of CNN, which has routinely edited the facts in order to preserve friendly relations with dictatorships that have expelled other international media and imprisoned domestic journalists.

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Jim Bitterman

As eager as CNN has been to placate tyrants around the world, it’s been particularly careful to mollify Islamic regimes. Every time Muslim terrorists strike anywhere around the world, CNN can be relied upon to do two things. One, it goes into 24-hour live reporting on the event, knowing that it’s pretty much only when such things happen that it manages to rack up decent ratings. Two, it goes into heavy denial mode, omitting from its coverage, as fully as possible, those two supremely incendiary words, Islam and Muslim.

A recent example: in early May, a man stabbed one person to death and injured three at an S-Bahn station on the outskirts of Munich. Many news media reported that he had shouted “Infidel, you must die!” and “Allahu akbar!” (Allah is the greatest), a strong indication that this was an act of jihad. But CNN scrubbed these details entirely from its reports on the incident, in which the assailant was identified simply as a “27-year-old German man.” The closest CNN came to identifying the man as a jihadist was to say that in the view of police “a political motive could not be ruled out.”

More examples. After a series of terrorist actions in France in December 2014, one blog posted a two-minute You Tube video showing an exchange about the subject between a CNN anchor and Paris correspondent Jim Bitterman. Asked about the perpetrator’s motives, Bitterman said inanely that “those questions are being asked today” but refused to offer anything close to a serious answer. While noting that one killer’s brother had gone off to join ISIS, Bitterman said it was “too early to tell” why that killer might have been motivated to murder. While willing to use the word terrorism, Bitterman delicately avoided the “I” and “M” words throughout.

Some CNN hosts are so eager to distance Islam from terrorism that sometimes they end up saying things that are patently ridiculous. Last December, for instance, in an attempt to paint the GOP as a nest of anti-Muslim bigots, Chris Cuomo (whom we recently saw proudly wearing a shirt Fidel Castro had given to his father, the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo) sneered that sixty percent of Republicans “think all jihadis are Muslim.”

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Chris Cuomo

Of course, all jihadis are Muslim.

Or consider CNN’s live coverage of the July 2015 Chattanooga shooting, during which the network’s “national security analyst” Tom Fuentes played dumb about the name of the shooter, Muhammad Youssed Abdulazeez. In answer to a suggestion that the perpetrator’s name might indicate something about his religion and motives, Fuentes said, absurdly, “We don’t know it’s a Muslim name.”

UPDATE, June 10, 2016: On Wednesday, reporting on a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that took the lives of four people and injured 16, CNN issued a tweet in which the  word “terrorist” was put in quotation marks. Yesterday, after being widely criticized, the network put out a follow-up tweet that read: “A previous – now removed – tweet appeared to call into question the Tel Aviv attack as an act of terrorism. It undoubtedly was.” Similarly, a story about the attack at CNN’s website stated: “Information about a motive wasn’t immediately available.”   

CNN and tyrants: access at all costs

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Ted Turner

We’ve devoted a good deal of time here at Useful Stooges to Ted Turner, the founder of CNN who’s made billions through capitalism but has a very soft spot for Communism. This is a dude who’s insisted that North Korea is peaceable and called Fidel Castro a “great guy.” He owns over two dozen homes and is America’s second-largest landowner, but he demands that the ordinary proles should tackle global warming by reducing their carbon footprints. As for Islamic terrorism, he’s explained that 9/11 happened “because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there who don’t have any hope for a better life.”

He’s often spoken of CNN as if it were his child. Well, in this case, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. The received wisdom is that of the three major cable-news operations, Fox News is conservative and MSNBC liberal, while CNN is in the middle, serving up objective, balanced reporting and treating both sides fairly.

Balderdash.

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Peter Arnett

When it comes to oppressive regimes – the type that shutter opposition media and imprison honest journalists – CNN’s policy has routinely been to retain access at all costs. Back in 1991, during the first Gulf War, CNN’s Peter Arnett was the only Western TV reporter in Baghdad, and, as such, according to Newsweek, provided “rare glimpses from inside Iraq,” even as he “provoked criticism that he and his network [were] being used as a conduit for Iraqi propaganda.” Arnett denied the charges vehemently: “Are we conduits for propaganda? It’s information….[The Iraqis] aren’t requiring me to report information; I’m not told what to write. I feel that what we are doing is giving a view which is not complete but is helpful, hopefully, for Americans and [people] elsewhere.”

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Eason Jordan

CNN’s access-at-any-price policy gained widespread attention again after 9/11, when many critics pointed to CNN’s unique ability to keep its reporters in Baghdad and attributed it – correctly – to the network’s systematic refusal to report on the dark side of Saddam’s regime. In a 2003 New York Times op-ed, “The News We Kept to Ourselves,” CNN news exec Eason Jordan admitted that on 13 trips to Baghdad over the previous dozen years, he’d seen and heard “awful things” that his network hadn’t reported. But instead of acknowledging that CNN had stayed mum to retain access, he took the line that it had stayed silent to protect “the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.”

In the op-ed, Jordan told of an Iraqi CNN cameraman who’d been arrested and tortured by the secret police; he recalled the time Saddam Hussein’s son Uday confided in him plans to kill two of his relatives; and he noted that henchmen had once pulled an aide’s front teeth with pliers just to keep him in line. But CNN reported on none of these things. “I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me,” Jordan claimed. But it was his decision to maintain CNN’s presence in Iraq nonetheless – resulting in reportage that every single day whitewashed the reality of life under Saddam.

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Christiane Amanpour

When the U.S. and its allies did finally invade Iraq, CNN continued to be reluctant to criticize Saddam’s regime – though it didn’t hesitate to go after the American government and military, and (especially) after news operations that weren’t so cozy with Saddam’s regime. The network’s own Christiane Amanpour actually smeared Fox News as being the Bush administration’s “foot soldiers” – in response to which Fox issued the statement saying, “It’s better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda.”