"Old hands in the television news business suggest that there are two things a presenter cannot have: an accent or a beard," the New York Times' David Carr wrote, reporting the news that Piers Morgan's 9:00 p.m. show was ending.
~Meanwhile, speaking of career disappointments, the Islamophobe of the Year awards (the Phobies are up there with the Oscars, the Tonys, the Emmys) have been announced. Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama romped home and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi swept the "Asia and Australia" round. (What is it with these Nobel Peace Prize winners and Islamophobia anyway? Has Michael E Mann got a fake Islamophobe of the Year award to go with his fake Nobel Prize?) As for the British round, Douglas Murray demands to know, "What do I need to do to become 'Islamophobe of the Year'?"
The shortlist apparently consisted of Theresa May, Maajid Nawaz, Raheem Kassam and me. My money was on Maajid. He had an absolutely excellent start to the year, showing terrific form in, among other things, tweeting a wholly innocuous cartoon of the founder of his own religion and pointing out that he was 'not offended' by it. During the fall-out the rest of us could only look on with envy and an air of 'I wish I had thought of that'.
However, none of us could have foreseen the secret advances made by the appalling young upstart Raheem Kassam, who appears to have imported US-style campaign tactics into this process. Now at Breitbart London, Raheem appears to have triumphed through a hugely successful 'get out the vote' campaign in which he urged his readers to click through to the IHRC's website and vote for him. I must say that I think this is very low politicking.
If this were the ice-dancing pairs, Raheem Kassam would have been eliminated. Instead, every drooling imam on the panel holds up perfect sixes. Pathetic.
As for me, well, as Norma Desmond said, I'm still big, it's the Islamophobia awards that got small:
It was a year or so after September 11, and the editor of the National Post was noting that some Muslim lobby group had just given me the Islamophobe-of-the-Month award for the umpteenth time. I was under the misapprehension that, if you win six months in a row, you get the Lincoln Town Car and two weeks in St. Lucia, but my boss seemed to think it less of an occasion for congratulation.
Those were the days. And then I got complacent:
To be honest, I felt mildly envious when I saw Zulf M. Khalfan's letter on Tuesday.
Mr. Khalfan, of Nepean, Ontario, was responding to David Frum's defence of Isioma Daniel, the Nigerian journalist now in hiding after remarking that the Prophet Muhammad would have been happy to take the winner of Miss World for his wife. Mr. Khalfan replied that, as Muhammad's wives are accorded "an honourable status," it was obviously grossly objectionable to suggest that a woman who "exposed herself" -- by wearing make-up and a bikini -- would be an appropriate spouse for the Prophet.
Fair comment. But then: "Mr. Frum has to understand that it is Muslims who determine what is objectionable to their religion, not he dictating it to them," added Mr. Khalfan. "And since he cites Salman Rushdie, he should know by now the fatal consequences resulting from ignoring this fact."
Can you believe it? For most of the last 15 months, while I've been here playing the National Post's Mister Islamophobe, that milquetoast Frum has been sitting in the White House, presumably cranking out all the President's dopey "Islam is peace" speeches. He's back in the Post for barely a fortnight and already he's got his own fatwa? Thanks a bunch, you ungrateful Nepean Islamists! Where did I go right?
Mr Khalfan subsequently "clarified" his position in a follow-up letter: He didn't want to kill David Frum. He just wanted David to be aware of how easy it is to provoke other people into killing him. In the Islamophobia lifetime achievement awards, just continuing your lifetime is the real achievement.