Two things in the New York Times today.
First, if I was Debbie Almontasser, I wouldn’t be able to stifle a bitter laugh at the New York Times headline this morning. “Mayor’s Stance on Muslim Center has Deep Roots”. Yeah, real deep, at least three years old. His honor dug his knife deep into Almontasser’s back when she was the subject of cowardly and dishonest attacks by anti-Muslim bigots. The situation—Almontasser was the director the Khalil Gibran Academy, a bold and courageous multi-lingual school attempting to create connectivity between Muslims and non-Muslim Americans in New York City– was not dissimilar, as is noted, ironically, deep into the article. Almontasser’s project was called a Madrassa by such sleazoids as Sean Hannity, Daniel Pipes and the ethical-aspberger suffering New York Post. The smear stuck thanks to people like Bloomberg, who helped force her from the position. What is different now? Some interviewed by the paper claim that he learned his lesson and has a chance for a do-over. But maybe it has more to do with the fact that the Mayor isn’t running for reelection in three years. So caveat emptor; beware of politicians bearing gifts of apparently courageous political stands. Nine out of ten of these are baseless bullshit, just as quickly assumed as discarded.
For another instructive lesson in this phenomenon, in reverse, see “Anthony Weiner’s Profile in Cowardice.” in Salon.
Then, Another Ironical Headline.
The British government on Thursday condemned the video, saying Iran appeared to be inventing new murder charges against the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, to justify her execution. Amnesty International and other human rights groups compared the videotaped statement to forced confessions made by Iranian political dissidents, who in some cases recanted afterward and said they had confessed under torture.
Um, look, NYT. Do you know about this guy name Omar Khadr? The US also “Says” it obtained a confession from him, even though, the confession was extracted after what his lawyer claims was torture, and after just having been shot in the back twice. The prosecution, also known as the US government, insists that such a confession is admissible. And the military tribunal judge agreed. Yet, no such headline in their reportage of the Khadr case. It’s understandable. You can’t believe a word Iran says, so you might as well get that out in the open up front, right in the headline, as the official opinion of America’s paper of record. But when you’re talking about the US of A, all respect is due. In that case, Khadr’s “Defense Disputes Claim of Confession by Detainee”. We’re journalists, you know. We’re objective.