Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christopher Hitchens On The Media's Disingenuous Failure To State The Obvious

The obvious is sometimes the most difficult thing to discern, and few things are more amusing than the efforts of our journals of record to keep "open" minds about the self-evident, and thus to create mysteries when the real task of reportage is to dispel them. An all-time achiever in this category is Fernanda Santos of the New York Times, who managed to write from Bombay on Nov. 27 that the Chabad Jewish center in that city was "an unlikely target of the terrorist gunmen who unleashed a series of bloody coordinated attacks at locations in and around Mumbai's commercial center." Continuing to keep her brow heavily furrowed with the wrinkles of doubt and uncertainty, Santos went on to say that "[i]t is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene."This same puzzled expression is currently being widely worn on the faces of all those who wonder if Pakistan is implicated in the "bloody coordinated" assault on the heart of Bombay. To get an additional if oblique perspective on this riddle that is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery, take a look at Joshua Hammer's excellent essay in the current Atlantic. The question in its title—"[Is Syria] Getting Away With Murder?" — is at least asked