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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Wednesday, November 27, 2002
12:44 PM

Andrew Sullivan takes on the cycle-of-violence coverage and excuse-making of the Muslim riots in Nigeria. Most of it is in a semi-firewalled Salon Premium area, which you can access for free by clicking through a neat Mercedes ad.

In the aftermath of horror, the Washington Post reported early on that "after plans to stage the show in Nigeria sparked Christian-Muslim riots that killed at least 175 people, the organizers moved it to Britain but flew into a storm of protest at home too." "Christian-Muslim riots"? Those are weasel words, obscuring the real responsibility for the murders. The organizers of the Miss World contest also managed to blur the issue. "A journalist made this problem and we hope journalists can put it right," said Julia Morley, Miss World's CEO. Excuse me? The journalist was doing her job. The "problem" -- a rather glib description of the murder of hundreds -- was caused by extreme Islam. And by singling out the journalist, Morley gives a patina of credibility to the disgusting fatwa now lodged against her.

Sullivan notes more of the same from the Arab News, which is dog-bites-man. But the mayor of London also has cognitive problems identifying who is responsible for murder. Conventional wisdom says it's the murderers. Not he:

Tuesday Ken Livingstone placed the blame squarely on the pageant. "After the violence and terrible loss of life in Nigeria, the staging of a Miss World event in this city is not welcome," Livingstone opined. "It defies belief that after Miss World has brought tragedy and strife to Africa its organisers should think it appropriate to carry on with the razzamataz as if nothing had happened." So Miss World "brought tragedy" to Nigeria? So far as I know, no one connected with Miss World hurt a fly....

UPDATE: Actually, the "early-on" "Washington Post" link is to a Nov. 25 Reuters report published in the Post, somewhat late into the developing story. Reuters upholds its tradition of obscuring the assailants' identity to protect the guilty. As I blogged before, however, the Post has waffled on this issue.

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