J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, has been killed, along with three members of his staff, during an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The attack was the culmination of a tragic spin cycle of hate and ignorance prompted by, of all things, a YouTube video.
This video, Innocence of Muslims, a low-budget anti-Muslim screed, characterized by BoingBoing as Birth of a Nation meets Bed Intruder, was produced by Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American real estate developer, features reductive stereotypes and cartoonish caricatures of Mohammed. When a firebrand Egyptian television host gave the video airplay, outraged protesters attacked and defaced the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and violent riots broke out at the U.S. compound in Benghazi.
The protests came as one of the film’s backers, Florida pastor Terry Jones, announced plans to put the prophet Mohamed on trial. This is the same pastor Jones whose 2010 call to burn Qurans caused “Death to America” riots in Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, Jones is unapologetic for stoking the latest unrest. Though to be fair to Jones and the video, there are reports that the deadly attack on America’s Libyan consulate was carried out by terrorists who were using the protests as a diversion.