Did the media fail the American people on Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi?

Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi

Who is Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi? After the Boston terror bombings on Monday, April 15, Americans were told that the Saudi student was injured in the blasts orchestrated by Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Then we were told that the man was cleared — despite numerous bags being taken from his home that night.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when president Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. The meeting was not on his schedule.

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at the White House on Wednesday and discussed the conflict in Syria, a spokeswoman said.

The meeting was not on Obama’s public schedule.

The spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said the president joined a meeting between the Saudi official and Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon.

Syria? The conflict that has been going on for months? What could be going on in Syria that would require an unscheduled meeting with President Obama that Secretary of State John Kerry couldn’t handle? Nothing.

The media did human interest stories on eight-year-old Martin Richard. It told us about Krystal Campbell. It filled us in on 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, who went to Boston University to study statistics. And even though he didn’t die, it just doesn’t feel as though the media was not really interested in finding out anything about Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi. His Facebook page is readily available, so wouldn’t reporters at least do a cursory run though it?

Here’s what I found:

One of his “likes” include Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi — who was fired from his position as The Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom for praising Palestinian suicide bombers (on the front page of the London-based Arabic newspaper, no less).

The Foreign Office is to rebuke Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to London over a poem he wrote praising Palestinian suicide bombers as martyrs who “died to honour God’s word”.

In his verse which appeared on the front page of the London-based al-Hayat,Ghazi Algosaibi singled out Ayat Akhras, a Palestinian girl who blew herself up in Jerusalem last month, and said the gates of heaven were opened for her.

He also attacked the United States, the main protector of the Saudi kingdom, writing: “We complained to the idols of a White House whose heart is filled with darkness.” …

The poem drew strong criticism from Jewish groups.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was “appalled” by the poem and planned to send a letter of protest to the ambassador.

“It is deeply disturbing that a senior Saudi diplomat publicly supports the continued terrorist bombing campaign,” said spokeswoman Fiona Macaulay.

This is clearly condoning violence against Jewish people, and is a completely unacceptable position for the ambassador to take.”

What would happen if a Tea Party member was found at the site of a terrorist attack, and his Facebook page included a like for a well-known politician and poet who once said the "gates of heaven" would open for Timothy McVeigh? Would Salon cover it? Would Chris Matthews cover it? Objective observers know the answer is "yes."
What would happen if a Tea Party member was found at the site of a terrorist attack, and his Facebook page included a like for a well-known politician and poet who once said the “gates of heaven” would open for Timothy McVeigh? Would Salon cover it? Would Chris Matthews cover it? Objective observers know the answer is “yes.”

How does this square with news coverage at the time of his death, where he was portrayed as a moderate?

Married to a German woman, Gosaibi was popular in the west, and served as ambassador to Britain from 1992 to 2002. In Saudi Arabia he fought for women’s rights, but failed to win their right to drive, a highly symbolic issue. He attacked Islamist militants in his many books of non-fiction, his novels and poetry. He gave his views on Osama bin Laden in a speech at Westminster University in 2002. “Listening to him,” he said, “in some of his rambling interviews, I had the impression of a madman who thought he had defeated one superpower and was about to defeat the remaining superpower.

We don’t know the answer because these are not the stories the media wants to explore. Maybe Mr. Gosaibi is “moderate” like Samira Ibrahim is moderate — the woman whom the White House was going to honor with the “Women of Courage” award before it turned out she liked to Tweet the approval of suicide bombings.

What if a white male student was injured in the Boston blast on April 15, and his Facebook page included a “like” for a well-known individual who just-so-happened to approve of terrorism if the setting was right (e.g., I love America, but the “gates of heaven” will still open up for Timothy McVeigh)?

Do you think Salon would cover it? Given that David Sirota wrote a piece titled “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” I think the Magic 8 ball would reply “yes.”

If Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi is deported and details emerge that would have prevented any sane government from allowing that to happen, it will be a serious blow to whatever credibility media have left.

Update: Janet Napolitano scrubs Alharbi’s record; media salute and walk on by

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FBI puts out images of suspects: Online witch hunt clowns disappear into the crowd

FBI Boston Marathon Suspect 1

FBI Boston Maraton Suspect 2

It’s official. The FBI has released photos and a videotape of two men who are believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, April 15. So now, the real hunt will begin.

What will be forgotten about as time goes by will be the witch hunt that took place beforehand.

First, we have a small sampling of the guys from imgur, who ignored the pleas of fellow users not to play judge, jury and executioner:

Boston witch hunt

Imgur Boston witch hunt

Who carries a backpack like that, anonymous imgur kiddie? A person who knows that when you’re walking in crowded areas with a backpack on that it’s easy for someone to rifle through it and steal your valuables. But you wouldn’t think of that because you’re busy hoping that the terrorist is a white Tea Party voter and a card-carrying member of the NRA.

Want to know who the real “scumbag” is, imgur kiddie? The “scumbag” who looks at a still photo of a man standing in a crowd and is able to come up with all sorts of nasty narratives about who that stranger is and what motivates him.

And why wouldn’t young drones go that route, given that Salon was busy publishing pieces for its readership titled: “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.”

“White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for your group to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening or threatened with deportation,” writes author Tim Wise. “White privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas,” (David Sirota).

Not to be outdone as he vies for the ‘No Shame 2013 Award,’ MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell responded to the terror attack by going into a weird screed against the NRA:

“There are new developments tonight in the bombing investigation here in Boston … But that investigation could be moving faster were it not for the successful lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association. The NRA’s efforts to guarantee that American mass murderers are the best-equipped mass murders in the world is not limited to murderers who use assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The NRA is also in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes…” (Lawrence O’Donnell).

Expect Lawrence O’Donnell to be calling for pressure cooker regulations or bans before the year is out. Remember: If it could save “just one life” it’s worth it…

Finally, we have publications like the NY Post, which are so eager to be the first out of the gate that they’re willing to look like complete morons by sending people after teenage track and field runners.

NY Post Boston Marathon Wrong Guy

As Deadspin notes: [M]aybe there was a reason for them to be at the marathon, wearing track jackets and carrying bags: they’re runners.

“The kid in the blue jacket is a middle-distance runner at Revere High School. Last week he ran the two-mile in 11:20. [He’s] training for either global jihad or a track meet.”

Why couldn’t the NY Post wait? The answer is not because they “wanted” it to be Arab-looking guys (like Salon explicitly “wanted” it to be white guys) — it’s because they wanted bragging rights. They wanted to claim that they were ahead of the pack, or that their sources were better than the next guy’s.

In the age of 24 hour cable news and Twitter everyone feels as though they have to say something — now. They have to react immediately. They’re impulsive. They have no patience, and they’re so partisan that only moments after a horrific tragedy they’re penning pieces on “white privilege.” God forbid someone’s Twitter feed gets dialed down a notch until law enforcement agencies actually give users something to tweet about.

I hope and pray that I never have to experience a terrorist attack up close and personal, but if I do I can assure you that I won’t be wondering if the person I’m applying CPR to is a Muslim or a Catholic, and atheist or an agnostic. And I promise that I won’t ask them if they voted for President Obama or Mitt Romney.

These are sad times we live in. Sad times indeed.

Update: The suspects have been identified and a manhunt is underway.

If you see ‘Man of Steel’ and a cop, you’ve really only seen one hero; Just ask Boston

Superman Man of Steel

The new ‘Man of Steel’ trailer is out, and it looks mighty good. And, truthfully, it couldn’t come at a better time.

Jor El says of his son: “You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”

The problem with ideals is that once you establish them, the people who “stumble” will be on full display for all the world to see. The smart stumblers don’t like that. And so, over the years the purveyors of popular culture have sought to do away with ideals, hoping to hide their fallibility in the process.

The easy wrong is always more popular than the hard right, and millions of Americans are seeing that over time too many easy wrongs only lead to heartache and despair. The United States as a whole is culturally lost, and a well-made Superman film just might get a few people to look for ways to right the ship.

Regardless, when trying to make sense of a world where lunatics detonate bombs amongst throngs of innocent civilians watching a marathon, we need not go to the movie theater to find a hero. They’re all around us if we’re willing to look.

Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki)
Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki)

On Monday, April 15, The Associated Press’ Jonh Tlumacki responded to the Boston Marathon terror attack not by running for his life, but by freezing; he then captured the men and women who spring into action when disaster strikes. It’s an amazing photo, one that shows just how instinctual it is for some individuals to protect and defend their fellow citizens during a time of crisis.

There are always those who run away from danger — and those who run towards it. Those who run toward the flames aren’t inherently better people than those seeking safety, but at the same time a healthy civil society holds its law enforcement personnel in high esteem.

It’s sad that even in the initial moments of such a gruesome event that there were newscasters who chose to speculate in divisive and sick ways. Only seriously warped minds would watch a bomb blast that left three people dead and scores wounded, only to wonder how the political calculus of it all would play out.

Regardless, if you see a cop, a fireman or and EMS working in the near future you might want to stop them and say “thanks” just like you would a soldier returning home from overseas. Given that modern day terrorism has erased the traditional definition of a battlefield, it’s increasingly likely that local authorities will find themselves caught up in the fog of war. Luckily, we have men like Mr. Tlumacki who are willing to chronicle the heroics.