Saturday, April 01, 2006


Jill Carroll has put the Right in a dither

Editor & Publisher has been following the press reaction to the release of Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll by her Iraqi kidnappers, and yesterday an article by "staff" began

After spending 82 days in confinement, apparently without a single step outside, and with her life on the line every moment, reporter Jill Carroll was cut surprisingly little slack from certain quarters in the day following her sudden release by insurgents in Iraq.

At issue were a pair of video interviews, one shot by the militants just before her release, the other at an Iraqi political office just after she was set free but before she was back in American hands. In the latter, she simply stated that she had been treated well, all things considered, and had never been beaten.

The quarters not cutting slack included John Podhoretz, columnist for the NY Post and rabid contributor to Fox News, John Hinderaker of the conservative blog Powerline, and Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post.

There was talk of the Stockholm Syndrome and tut-tutting that, well, after all her captors had kidnapped her, killed her translator and threatened her life. But Carroll herself gave a description of the experience that does not hint of delusion—

"It was like falling off a cliff for three months, waiting to hit the ground," Carroll told the Washington Post Thursday, after being released.

Of course the right-wing bloggers were more snide than their compatriots in the MSM. Melonyce McAfee's blog of blogs for Slate offers

Jazz4Sale smells a conspiracy. "I don't buy it. Everything about this makes me feel this is a PR campaign to make the same people that beheaded all those other hostages look like good, compassionate people," Jazz posits. Matt on Wizbang is thinking along the same lines. "Super, now we can look forward to her articles telling us how nice and misunderstood the insurgents are," he says.

But only "conservative Iowan Ryan" backhandedly captures the essence of the problem that Carroll poses—

"I have no doubt that … the media and far-left will be comparing Carroll's royal treatment to the treatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib"

This is paranoia. If Ryan can find anyone in the MSM making such a comparison I'll eat these pixels. But the comparison occurs to Ryan, who then projects it as some sort of left-wing idea. (Is there a left-wing homunculus in Ryan's brain? He should have it checked.)

But now that Ryan has mentioned it, Jill Carroll's kidnapping does invite comparison, doesn't it? You don't have to be a supporter of mujahadeen kidnappers to notice that the U.S. has kidnapped1 thousands of souls (including women and children) and held them secretly in Abu Ghraib and other prisons. You don't have to be a supporter of the mujahadeen murder of translators to notice that by conservative estimate the U.S. coalition has killed over 30,000 Iraqi civilians [NOW, transcript not yet posted]. You don't have to be a supporter of mujahadeen coercion to notice the coerciveness of military dogs, beatings, shackles and rape. And if you've ever viewed a photo of the inmates of Abu Ghraib, you don't have to be a supporter of the mujahadeen to notice that Jill Carroll emerged from her ordeal looking pretty intact by comparison.

The universal description of Carroll in the MSM yesterday was that she is "emotionally fragile," and a great deal of emphasis was placed on the fact that the videotape made before her release was coerced. But the MSM has mostly ignored the brief interview that she gave to a local TV station while at the office of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Howard Kurtz was the exception

As my colleagues in Baghdad point out, when that interview was taped, Carroll was still in the custody of a Sunni political party with ties to the insurgency. It may have just made sense for her to be especially cautious. And they tell me that Carroll did cry -- off camera -- when the subject of her murdered translator came up. Still, people are buzzing because her taped remarks have been played over and over again on television....

So there you have it. The right-wing spin machine is working at full throttle as many wingers suffer from an attack of voices in their heads. The voices must be silenced. But the little whispers in their noggins aren't coming from the Left; they're echoes from a time when they could still observe the world independently. Or—for the religious among them—perhaps they're messages from the Angel of Truth.


1"Kidnapping" legally speaking is

the taking of a person against his/her will (or from the control of a parent or guardian) from one place to another under circumstances in which the person so taken does not have freedom of movement, will, or decision through violence, force, threat or intimidation. Although it is not necessary that the purpose be criminal (since all kidnapping is a criminal felony) the capture usually involves some related criminal act such as holding the person for ransom, sexual and/or sadistic abuse, or rape.... An included crime is false imprisonment.

We don't usually refer to this activity as "kidnapping" when done by a government, but the distinction is probably lost on the victims. [back]

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