Let’s run through a list of news updates . . .
As journalists worldwide reacted with universal revulsion at the massacre of some of their own by Islamic jihadists in Paris, Al Jazeera English editor and executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr sent out a staff-wide e-mail.
“Please accept this note in the spirit it is intended — to make our coverage the best it can be,” the London-based Khadr wrote Thursday, in the first of a series of internal e-mails leaked to National Review Online. “We are Al Jazeera!”
Below was a list of “suggestions” for how anchors and correspondents at the Qatar-based news outlet should cover Wednesday’s slaughter at the Charlie Hebdo office (the full e-mails can be found below).
Khadr urged his employees to ask if this was “really an attack on ‘free speech,’” discuss whether “I Am Charlie” is an “alienating slogan,” caution viewers against “making this a free speech aka ‘European Values’ under attack binary [sic],” and portray the attack as “a clash of extremist fringes.”
“Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile,” Khadr wrote. “Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response — however illegitimate — is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you.”
So much for covering the news fairly. Clearly, at al Jazeera, there is an editorial line, it must be respected, and woe to anyone who dares to think for him or herself and offer the facts to the viewing and listening audience, instead of offering up a cooked-up editorial spin on the news.
2. There was a march against extremism in Paris attended by a host of world leaders. The United States decided to only send its ambassador. No Barack Obama. No John Kerry. Eric Holder was in the area, but even he failed to show up. Appalling, really:
Don’t look for the president or vice president among the photos of 44 heads of state who locked arms and marched down Boulevard Voltaire in Paris. Nor did they join a companion march the French Embassy organized in Washington on Sunday afternoon.
Indeed, Obama’s public reactions to the attacks in Paris last week have been muted. His initial response Wednesday to the killing of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices was delivered as he sat calmly in an armchair in the Oval Office speaking about the “cowardly” acts and defending freedom of the press. Two days later, as a gunman took hostages and went on to kill four people in a kosher grocery, Obama took a few seconds away from a community college proposal rollout in Tennessee because he said with events unfolding, “I wanted to make sure to comment on them” — but neither then nor afterward specifically condemned that attack.
Obama wasn’t far from the march in D.C. on Sunday that wended silently along six blocks from the Newseum to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Instead, he spent the chilly afternoon a few blocks away at the White House, with no public schedule, no outings.
Joe Biden was back home in Wilmington, Delaware. Neither they nor any high-level administration official attended either event.
The White House has admitted that it made a mistake in not having a high-profile figure attend any of the marches. That’s how bad this blunder was; usually, this White House never admits it made a mistake of any kind, and tries to blame George W. Bush for anything that might go wrong.
3. Finally, it is worth noting that living in France has become a nightmare for Jewish people. Remember how some silly people liked to pretend that anti-Semitism “scarcely exists in the West”? The claim would be utterly comical if the issue were not so serious.