The New York Times shows once again that they have no windows, only mirrors, and moreover that the mirrors are distorting funhouse appliances:

Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.

In other words, they live in an environment where political protest is easy, cheap, and sometimes effective; therefore everybody else on the planet lives in such an environment, and the reaction to anything they don’t like will be protest.

In part this is self-serving. By their own admission, New York is the Center of the Universe, and they are (proudly!) aware that, to the vast majority of people outside the United States, the U.S. consists of New York and environs. An Islamist wishing to strike a blow at the heart of the Great Satan will naturally think of New York as the first place to target, as Atta and company did. The Times looks at itself in the mirror, sees fat, easy-to-hit targets, and falls to its knees, sniveling “don’t stir them up any worse, they’ll hurt meeeee!” If that was all there was to it, it would be understandable if [ahem] somewhat less than admirable because counterproductive — for a determined competitor in peace, war, or interoffice politics, seeing the opposition snivel is an interim goal. We’ve got ’em on the run, boys! Keep up the skeer!

That isn’t all there is to it, though, and to me it seems that it isn’t even a conscious part.

Opposition to the Cordoba House/Park51 project has, from the beginning, centered on reaction to the affront it represents to those with strong feelings about the attacks of 9-11-01, and when proponents “double down” it tends strongly to confirm the dark suspicion that the affront is deliberate. One would imagine that the New York Times, a (proudly self-confirmed) bastion of liberal thought, deeply concerned with feelings and ready at the fall of a tear to decry affronts to emotional states, would either defend the affronted or attempt to assuage their distress. It does neither because it cannot see the opposition in those terms. If the Times, or the leftoid constituency it serves, find themselves accused of insult, they don’t, because cannot, look beyond the mirror at why those who feel themselves disparaged have that impression; instead they see the hate, fear, and disgust that led to their giving insult in the reflection of their own souls, and conclude that those are the motives of the complainers because those are the only motives that exist or could possibly exist.

There is no better example of that than insisting that robust opposition to Islamist opportunism merely creates more terrorists, but firm (if not shrieking) resistance to Tea Partiers and mosque opponents will diminish their numbers by inducing second thoughts. Pick a principle and stick to it, guys. But they can’t do that, can they?

It’s not a matter of “cognitive dissonance”. Detecting a dissonance requires that the hearer be able to perceive all the notes that make it up. A radio receiver must be delicate and sensitive, in order to respond to the weak signals from remote transmitters, but a transmitter must be robust and powerful, so that its signals are detectable after attenuation by distance. A strong signal creates havoc in a sensitive receiver, making it incapable of detecting anything else — the phenomenon called “interference”. When the overstrong signal is deliberately emitted with the purpose of disabling receivers, it is termed “jamming”. One disadvantage of jamming is that it disables everybody’s receiver, including the jammer’s.  If the jammer’s receiver is tuned to the reflection of the set’s own output the receiver will never “hear” anything but that, and if the reflector is nearby the received reflection is likely to be strong enough to cause damage. Leftoids, including the New York Times, have for so long been emitting so strongly, and so carefully tuning their receivers to their reflections, that all other signals are lost. They don’t hear the dissonance, because they can no longer detect the dissonant notes.

By definition, any deficiency in an opponent can and should be exploited, and the leftoids’ failure to detect anything but their own output is such a deficiency. That deficiency has not been exploited until recently, largely because it has not been perceived as such. Tea Partiers and opponents of Cordoba House have, each in their own way, stumbled upon the principle and are starting to utilize it; a person who attends a Tea Party rally, then goes home and opens the Times or turns the teevee to CNN, must immediately start to wonder what else they’re lying about, and opponents of Cordoba House, accused of “racism” or “Islamophobia”, look in their hearts, see nothing like that (whether or not that perception is self-serving), and begin to discount the accusations. In both cases the response is to go around, by trying to emit a stronger signal (thus overcoming the interference in non-leftoid receivers) and by building and disseminating wave traps and filters to attenuate the signal, frustrating the attempt at jamming the channel.

The tactics are effective, but slow and incremental; if the share of “eyeballs” enjoyed by the leftoid media drops any further the jammers may find themselves unable to pay the electric bill and forced to shut down their emitters, and the Internet serves as an extremely effective back channel, allowing opponents to produce a signal that will be received. It would be better if the principle were intellectualized, formulized, and made an explicit basis of both tactics and strategy. A Special Ops squad who discovered that the people they were sent against were spending so much time and energy on speeches that they were unable to detect rustling in the brush would conclude with joy that it had been granted a free hand. Hey, guys, they can’t hear you or see you, because they’re shouting at the top of their lungs and all their glass is reflective. Maneuver at will.