June 08, 2004

VIEWS VS. NEWS

The latest on BBC Middle East reporter Frank Gardner, now in a coma following his shooting in Riyadh:

Riddled with bullets, BBC correspondent Frank Gardner pleaded for his life in the Saudi capital shouting to bystanders to help a fellow Muslim, a police officer said today.

"I'm a Muslim, help me, I'm a Muslim, help me," the British father of two daughters cried in Arabic, the officer said.

In his circumstances, Iíd say the same thing -- or whatever else might save me. Itís unclear whether Gardner is, in fact, a Muslim. I canít find any confirmation online. Gardner is described here as "a fluent Arabic-speaker with a degree in Arabic & Islamic Studies", for what itís worth.

Okay. What if Gardner is a Muslim? This bring us to an awkward place; a reporterís religion need not influence, or be in any way relevant to, the accuracy of his coverage. Yet the BBC has mentioned George W. Bushís religion as an explaining behavioural factor. So should a BBC reporterís religion be similarly considered? Here Gardner moderates an online BBC forum with Arab League advisor Hamza Yusuf:

Gardner: I want to start first with one which reflects a view that I hear a lot as a correspondent every time I go to the Middle East. Ahmad Alam, UK asks: Thousands of Muslims have been killed in Bosnia, over 3,000 Palestinians have been killed since 9/11 by the Israelis and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died because enforced UN sanctions. Why don't these events register in the Western mind? Are Christian, Jewish and Hindu lives worth that much more than Muslim ones?

Later, there is this exchange:

Hamza Yusuf: I think it's secular - you know terrorism to jihad is what adultery is to marriage.

Frank Gardner: It's a great line. I'm going to remember that one.

Letís assume, for the sake of argument, that Gardner is a Muslim. Should his religion have been disclosed by the BBC? Would this influence your opinion of his reporting? Should all journalistsí religious affiliations be disclosed? Should their views disqualify them from certain assignments?

Myself, I'd have preferred to have known that Gardner is (if indeed he is) a Muslim convert. If Phillip Adams identifies Miranda Devine's Catholicism as influential, surely Gardner's religion is equally significant.

(For the record, I'm agnostic, formerly Anglican.)

UPDATE. Natalie Solent has more.

UPDATE II. Mark Steyn: "I get the impression they're not sending a lot of Jews to cover Israel."

UPDATE III. The Australian reports:

Friends said yesterday that Gardner, a father of two and a fluent Arabic speaker with a degree in Arab and Islamic studies, had not converted to Islam but was carrying a small copy of the Koran as a device to try to reassure militants he might encounter.

Also at the above link: Gardner is recovering after surgery to remove multiple bullets.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 8, 2004 07:05 AM
Comments

It's a valid question. I think everyone would agree that a person's religion partly shapes that person's character and point of view, so it can't be discounted. Even if the person's religion happens to be Islam.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 8, 2004 at 07:19 AM

For me, the more relevant point about shouting ``Help me, I'm a Muslim,'' is that Saudis are so prejudiced against non-Muslims that they apparently wouldn't lift a finger to help one dying at their feet. Is there a country in the world so depraved?

Posted by: chip at June 8, 2004 at 07:21 AM

Lapsed Episcopalian/ Presbyterian here. Not only do I think a reporter's religion would be appropriate background to disclose, but also his or her political, corporate and special interest affiliations. It's getting more and more difficult to discern reporting from propaganda.

Why are news outlets such as the WSJ, Washington Times and Fox News and a few well-known journalists/commentators always referred to as "conservative", when there is no truth in labeling for the remaining 98% of the industry? Tim makes a crucial point here: why, indeed, should the press charge others with conflicts of interest or personal bias, as if journalists and their corporate outlets wouldn't be as motivated by profit or prejudice?

I say "Full Disclosure" for everyone!

Posted by: c at June 8, 2004 at 07:47 AM

Personally I long for a return of the days when saying you were a Catholic did mean something.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at June 8, 2004 at 07:53 AM

I agree, full disclosure by reporters. Politicians are required to disclose party affiliations and personal income. Why not reporters? Have they something to hide?

But policing this would be tedious. I suggest a simple voluntary registration system, available on the INTERNET, listing basic facts such as home city/country, current citizenship, religion, and employer. Little more is needed.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 8, 2004 at 07:58 AM

Oops, forgot to comment on chip's post...

I agree, Saudi is quite bigoted. But what I found interesting is that a man who is seriously wounded, bleeding and in shock, remembers to shout "I'm a Muslim!"

I don't fault him for his tactics; hell, I'd lie myself, if I thought the triage might be prejudiced. But clearly his mortality was on his mind, and religion was on the front burner -- it would have to be, in those circumstances. There are no atheists in a foxhole, as the old saying goes.

FYI -- I am agnostic.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 8, 2004 at 08:04 AM

Chip, I was going to make the same observation. I would only add that since Gardner is an apparent expert on Arab and muslim culture, he would have known just how important this distinction would be to saudis. Which reminds me of the marauding saudi terrorists of a week ago who were on a non-muslim murder spree.

Posted by: Sean at June 8, 2004 at 08:05 AM

"Hamza Yusuf: I think it's secular - you know terrorism to jihad is what adultery is to marriage.

Frank Gardner: It's a great line. I'm going to remember that one."

I hope that's a typo in the transcript and what Gardner really said was : It's a great lie.


Posted by: Sean at June 8, 2004 at 08:14 AM

Reporting from Gaza and the West Bank has long been skewed by the fact that the major news services hire exclusively muslim Arabs to cover those regions for "access" reasons, yet never disclose this or question the reports on this basis.

Posted by: Hucklebuck at June 8, 2004 at 08:23 AM

Sorry, I almost forgot: Southern Baptist turned lapsing Catholic.

Posted by: Hucklebuck at June 8, 2004 at 08:24 AM

Sean, what he meant was that "terrorism is to Jihad what marriage is to.... um well marriage".

And as for Frank Gardner - what goes around comes around.

Posted by: Jonny at June 8, 2004 at 08:28 AM

Disclosure is not necessary. It is interesting, but ideas should be able to stand alone without labels.

Posted by: aaron at June 8, 2004 at 08:29 AM

aaron, if we were discussing ideas(which is subjective) and not news reporting (which is supposed to be objective), I'd agree with you wholeheartedly.

But ideas are not the topic of the thread. Objectivity is.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 8, 2004 at 08:36 AM

"A fluent Arabic speaker with a degree in Arab and Islamic studies, he was carrying a small copy of the Qur'an." click here

Don't know if he was carrying around the Qur'an for protection.

Posted by: Mike W. at June 8, 2004 at 08:50 AM

Other link above doesn't work. click here

Posted by: Mike W. at June 8, 2004 at 08:55 AM

LGF reports that the shooting of one of their own has finally prompted the BBC to use the word 'terrorist.' Here's a pic of their reporter lying bleeding in the street, while Saudi bystanders look on unconcernedly. PS born-again Christian

Posted by: Byron_the_Aussie at June 8, 2004 at 09:08 AM

I was interested in reading Stephen Schwartz's book, The Two Faces of Islam, to find that he was a convert to Sufi Islam during his years in the former Yugoslavia. His book was basically an argument that the Saudis and their Wahhabi partners are attempting to seize control of Islam throughout the world. It was good to know that he had personal as well as intellectual reasons for his opinions.

I'm LDS (Mormon). Perhaps the disadvantage of that is that they'd know pretty quickly that I wasn't a Muslim.

Posted by: AST at June 8, 2004 at 09:12 AM

Whether he discloses or not, the real lesson of this episode is this: no matter how many Islamic hoops Gardner jumped through, he was still a hated Westerner who deserved to be killed, in the jihadist opinion. I wonder if he got that point before he passed out.....

Posted by: moghedien at June 8, 2004 at 09:27 AM

If it's like other racial/ethnic-based "cleansings", the Islamist jihad will target primarily Jews and Christians. In the "To be dealt with in the future" file they have Hindus, Buddhists, atheists/pagans, and of course, fellow Muslims of less-pure sects.

Of course, none of the above is written in stone. In a pinch, any of the above will do. I mean, blood is blood, right?

Posted by: Steve in Houston at June 8, 2004 at 09:30 AM

The report omits to say, Muslim killers. Journalists might assert how much they love Islamo-fascist-Muslim killers but, all westerners, as far as they are concerned, are dog meat.

It dpoesn't regeister with leftoids what the west is up againsty, and, indeed, many in the mid east face. Why let truth get int he way of leftoid ideology.

Well, Garnder, has found out what that gross error can entail.

Posted by: d at June 8, 2004 at 09:35 AM

...the days when saying you were a Catholic did mean something

Yep. Like Masons and Orangemen conspiring against you in the Victorian public service. Rewligion's a good thing, but better when not taken to seriously.

Posted by: superboot at June 8, 2004 at 09:56 AM

Uncaring agnostic, formerly lapsed atheist.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: TimT at June 8, 2004 at 10:07 AM

The Saudis stood idly by while Mr. Gardner bleed in the street because they didn't care that he was a muslim.

In America (and most other Western countries), we would have rushed forward to help for precisely the same reason.

Posted by: Steve at June 8, 2004 at 10:16 AM

Sorry,

"The Saudis stood idly by while Mr. Gardner bleed in the street because they didn't care that he was a muslim."

That should be bled, not bleed.

Posted by: Steve at June 8, 2004 at 10:23 AM

It only matters if one is a Jew. Those are th folks that are the cause of all this, aren't they?

Posted by: GA at June 8, 2004 at 11:12 AM

In the case of the ABC, journalists and producers should also disclose any political party membership or affiliations. In the case of the Play School producer, sexual preference as well.

Posted by: narkynark at June 8, 2004 at 11:15 AM

So a fellow muslim lies bleeding in the street - why? Because his skin is the wrong colour. Racism and bigotry are not confined to western countries.

Posted by: JakeD at June 8, 2004 at 11:20 AM

So he was a sufi convert.

Man, if the AQ boys had known THAT they'de have put a full clip in his head.

Never the less, it's a little harsh to say the Saudi onlookers were callous in not assissting him, I'd think twice befor intervening, unarmed, in a gunfight. Fair's fair. But let''s nuke their shitty country anyway.

Posted by: Amos at June 8, 2004 at 11:32 AM

"Thousands of Muslims have been killed in Bosnia... Why don't these events register in the Western mind?"

Well, they registered long enough for the frickin' US Army to do something about it-- why doesn't THAT register in the Muslim mind?

Posted by: Mike G at June 8, 2004 at 11:44 AM

Tim, I notice there's a bit of reformatting going on around here. Two pieces of unadulterated praise from two people I've never heard of. (I always thought Niall was supposed to be the enemy... ;))

- But seriously: why not put quotes up from your detractors as well? I always liked the 'Oppressor' tag on your old blogspot site.

- And, at least on this computer, it doesn't come out well - the text is right-aligned, and the last word of each sentence overflows onto the line below, which looks very sloppy. (Did that make sense?) Of course, it could just be my computer - a lot of fonts look very large on it.

Posted by: TimT at June 8, 2004 at 12:23 PM

Whoops, stupid me, the Wall Street Journal is not a person.

Posted by: TimT at June 8, 2004 at 12:24 PM

TimT:

Weirdo Niall Cook's 'praise' for Tim is here. In the finest tradition of ye olde 'Oppressor' tag.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 8, 2004 at 12:31 PM

TimT:

PS: Scroll down for 'Reagan Dies - Finally.'

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 8, 2004 at 12:32 PM

From that quote of his, I'd say Gardner is a Muslim. If he wasn't he damn sure is a self-hating Westerner who ignores the good that the West does for Muslims. IOW, he's a lying SOB.

If he'd been shot anywhere in the West or Israel, he would not have needed to shout that he was a Muslim. The fact that he was shot would have generated calls for help, would have ensured that he had people coming out the woodwork to help him.

If he recovers, I'd like to hear his take on the whether the West is superior to Islamic countries.

Posted by: Helen at June 8, 2004 at 12:35 PM

Steve :

The Saudis stood idly by while Mr. Gardner bled in the street because they didn't care that he was a muslim.
In America (and most other Western countries), we would have rushed forward to help for precisely the same reason.

Well said, sir.

To others:

I wonder if he got that point before he passed out.....
Well, Garnder, has found out what that gross error can entail.
How about a little common humanity? This poor guy's been gutshot by Al Qaeda scumbags, and all some people can do is make snide remarks.
How about some well-wishing for his recovery? Jeez, some people are sounding like Lefties around here, too full of the 'Big Picture' for simple decency. By all means point out the Beeb and other's hypocricy etc, but remember, that's a human being who's just been whacked, not a cypher.
(Adherence : Agnostic CofE with a tendency to commit atheistic Buddhism. But my wife and son are Catholic)


Posted by: Alan E Brain at June 8, 2004 at 12:35 PM

Sorry TimT -- the large, sloppy font is a result of Administratus Interruptitis. I started working on it, and realized I had about five seconds to run for the bus. Okay, five minutes, but I'm no sprinter at 5:55am on only one cup of coffee.

I've adjusted the font and placement and I hope that it is approaching workability. Let me know.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 8, 2004 at 12:39 PM

I've heard there was a time when correspondents just reported on facts rather than opinion, and thus their background wouldn't have any influence.

One problem is that if you say which journalists are Muslim you're also saying which ones aren't. You may as well give those journalists a yellow star of David or a yellow cross.

And 5th columnism in journalism transcends religion.

(Agnostic here, BTW)

Posted by: Andjam at June 8, 2004 at 12:45 PM

Anjam,

I've heard there was a time when correspondents just reported on facts rather than opinion, and thus their background wouldn't have any influence.

It's a myth. Reporters and editors have always colored the news to suit their prejudices. Nowadays (well, since the 60's anyway) they lie about it; strict neutrality my ass.

I certainly hope Mr. Gardner recovers. I'm also very interested to hear what his opinion of the Saudis is now.

(Agnostic, lapsed Seventh-Day Adventist.)

Posted by: Spiny Norman at June 8, 2004 at 12:53 PM

Spiny,
It's a myth. Reporters and editors have always colored the news to suit their prejudices. Nowadays (well, since the 60's anyway) they lie about it; strict neutrality my ass.

It may not always be deliberate, but it does happen. Politics and religion are two sets of tools for making sense of the world and people - they're almost certain to influence the way that one writes about it.

Journalists should prize objectivity as a goal, but readers should keep inescapable subjectivity in mind.

Posted by: Flashman at June 8, 2004 at 01:10 PM

Spiny, he'll probably admire them for the purity of their beliefs, untainted by decadent and effete Western notions of mercy (contemptible trait of the weak).
He'll be even more Stockholmed than he was last week.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at June 8, 2004 at 01:14 PM

This story just made me wonder if there's any tradition vaguely akin to Christian Good Samaritanism in Islam. Is there an Islamic Mother Theresa? An Islamic St Francis of Assisi? An Islamic Aquinas?

May this gentleman recover speedily. May he also avoid the Fiskian temptation to convert the experience of this grievous assault into a falsely magnanimous fraternity with the human garbage who carried it out.


-- disillusioned post Vatican II Catholic
(Who was appalled by one of his early heroes, Pope John Paul II, lecturing President Bush on Iraq).

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 8, 2004 at 01:40 PM

I've just visited the BBC site - I hadn't recognised the name. But I recognised the face.

Frank Gardner was one of the few, the very few, Beeb talking heads who actually knew what he was talking about, and wasn't in the habit of spinning everything at 78 rpm. (33 1/3 is another matter, but that's almost unavoidable). He's no run-of-the-mill correspondent, he was the BBC's expert on security in the Middle East. (Example Story)

John Simpson is about the only other one of his calibre.

If he's a Muslim, Ik bin Nederlander. What he was doing was going into a dangerous area, and using camouflage. Look at the picture (thanks to Byron_the_Aussie). Doesn't exactly shout out 'Westerner' does it? He knew enough about the area to know what to say when wounded to maximise his chances of survival, we're talking 'keeping a cool head even if your guts are hanging out' here. I hope that in the same situation I would have the same presence of mind (though I'd prefer absence-of-body).

Oh yes, one more thing. Unlike his colleagues, he didn't put the word 'terrorist' in quotation marks when talking about them (evidence here). He called a Terrorist a Terrorist, not a 'militant', or a 'dissident'. This often caused Arab Media Watch to seeth and whine. When reporting what some Palestinian official said, other Beebheads would say 'Israel is responsible for Global warming' whereas he would say 'A Palestinian environmentalist said that Israel is responsible for Global warming'.

I didn't agree, and still don't agree, with some of his analysis. But I'll give him this : he was honestly trying to be objective. And he knew more about the Middle East than I ever will. I'll revise my comment about him not being Muslim, as Tim said, he may have been, though there's no evidence I've seen on the net either. 'Going native' is a common phenomenon. But if so, it didn't affect his mainly dispassionate reporting. And that would have really gotten Al Qaeda's goat.

If anybody thinks this was a 'random hit', then I have a wonderful Harbour Bridge for sale...

Posted by: Alan E Brain at June 8, 2004 at 01:46 PM

The Religious Policeman reported last month:

The story starts in November 17, 2000, when Christopher Rodway and his wife were driving thru Riyadh in their 4WD. Suddenly it blew up, and Mr Rodway was seriously injured. We have a very stupid law that prevents us giving first-aid before the paramedics come , and they took 40 minutes to arrive. So poor Mrs Rodway, who was less seriously injured, had to sit all that time in her wrecked vehicle, next to her husband who was bleeding to death, surrounded by a crowd of gawping Saudis who could not or would not do anything to help. It beggars belief.

So it's likely more than anti-Muslim prejudice that kept people from helping, though I've heard first-hand accounts that that prejudice is pretty severe.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at June 8, 2004 at 01:46 PM

Thanks CurrencyLad. I don't follow Niall's blog and for some reason I had a vague notion that there was some other Niall out there in the commentosphere somewhere or other.

Posted by: TimT at June 8, 2004 at 02:24 PM

Alan, your analysis rings true. If subsequent facts confirm it (and I think that they will), I for one certainly jumped to a conclusion. It wasn't religion on his mind -- it was survival. He is a smart man in that case. Was he a target for terrorists? Well, they didn't like him much, did they?

And Brian's post explains why no one helped him. This is a stupid law in that case, although I'll still bet on bigotry playing a big part.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 8, 2004 at 02:43 PM

Seems odd to be having this disclosure debate when it's never been easier to present actual news nor harder to cover it up. What's skewed is the interpretation, too often provided by an agenda-saddled hack who'll change no one's mind. But that's the cheapest way of doing it -- grab pool footage and get some "expert" in the studio to explain it -- and modern media is nothing if not cheap. Gerrrrry! Gerrrrry!

Posted by: slatts at June 8, 2004 at 02:54 PM

Thanks Alan for bothering to read something by Gardner rather than simply assuming like many others that he was an apologist for al Qaeda because he worked for the hated BBC. There is a tone of gloating about this attack at places like Lucianne and LGF which is deeply unpleasant, and makes me feel very uncomfortable that these are my ideological allies.

Rexie (Anglican atheist)

Posted by: rexie at June 8, 2004 at 05:31 PM

I'm sorry Rexie, but when did the Anglican church start its Atheist wing?

Posted by: jpr at June 8, 2004 at 06:30 PM

Not an official branch yet, jpr! I suppose what I wanted to indicate was solidarity with a culture (and much of its moral teaching) combined with rejection of its specific metaphysical beliefs.

Posted by: rexie at June 8, 2004 at 06:47 PM

"Should all journalistsí religious affiliations be disclosed? Should their views disqualify them from certain assignments?"

This is a real tough question to answer. I hate to have people put into various ideological boxes based on religion, party affiliation, race, etc.. I like to give a person some chance to be heard before I decide that they are not worth my attention. I like people to do the same for me.

On the other hand, we are being preached to so much today by reporters who won't/can't be objective, that it may help the media to admit its biases by having some sort of disclosure about it's reporters' affiliations. I'm not sure religious affiliation would be the most helpful. I think political affiliation may be better.

I'm not surprised that it didn't help the BBC reporter to remain safe just by claiming to be a Muslim. The terrorists either didn't believe him or didn't care. He was a Westerner, that's all that seemed to matter. I wonder when people will wake up and realize we've had a war declared on us?

Posted by: Chris Josephson at June 8, 2004 at 06:51 PM

"Personally I long for a return of the days when saying you were a Catholic did mean something."
Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at June 8, 2004 at 07:53 AM

I agree. Roman Catholicism at leat in the West has become a soganeering, platitudinous social-justice movement with little more than a thin veneer of strong beliefs. I am Greek Orthodox and I think it is sad to see my Christian brothers and sisters abandoning apostolic faith for feel-good, leftist issues.

Regards,

Bacipower.

Posted by: Bacipower at June 8, 2004 at 09:21 PM

Gardner is an apologist for and supporter of islamic terrorists. I hope he suffers greatly from the wounds inflicted by his beloved jihadis.

Posted by: Mark at June 8, 2004 at 09:32 PM

Another lapsed Catholic here.

An interesting take on religion can be found in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

The well known Small Gods takes a poke at fundamentalism, through the religion of Omnianism. However a more overlooked religious point is made by Terry in the later books, especially Carpe Jugulum about what we see nowdays: the wimpification of modern Christianity, where it is steadily becoming just another avenue for left-wing politics.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 8, 2004 at 09:36 PM

Isn't radical Islam the *official* religion of the BBC? Don't they have a mufti and muzzein on premises in London?

I can't help but compare and contrast this guy with the Italian who was murdered (by the exact same terrorists) in Iraq, or the Israeli mother and her two babies who were murdered a few weeks ago. This "journalist" doesn't compare well with them. He's emblematic of the entirety of the European intellectual class: crying and pleading for life (in Arabic!), willing to convert (on the spot!) to Islam; in short, any craven thing to avoid being killed - and then getting riddled with bullets anyway! There's Europe for you in a nutshell.

Posted by: Sergio at June 9, 2004 at 12:20 AM

"Should all journalistsí religious affiliations be disclosed? Should their views disqualify them from certain assignments?"

Well, since the leftist media believes Christians are totally dominated by their dogma (See Bill Moyers' 2003 award-winning rant at the Media Resource Center), it's not unreasonable to ask the same question of them.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 9, 2004 at 01:35 AM

My understanding from BBC Websites is that Frank Gardner is not a Muslim but carries a Koran......it obviously has no talismanic value......I should assume with his background he is a C of E .............

Posted by: Rick at June 9, 2004 at 01:42 AM

. This "journalist" doesn't compare well with them. He's emblematic of the entirety of the European intellectual class: crying and pleading for life (in Arabic!), willing to convert (on the spot!) to Islam"


Sergio he is a British Officer and Territorial who speaks Arabic and has been in Yemen; I don't think he is anything like you describe.....in fact I think he is a highly intelligent former British Officer and former I-Banker in the Middle East.....your conclusions have been formed without looking at the facts......I have a high regard for Frank Gardner because I have a low regard for many BBC journalists.......if you read comments from his friends on the BBC WEbsite yesterday you would see he is a man of character

Posted by: Rick at June 9, 2004 at 01:47 AM

The gloating from many of the above posts is reminiscent of what appeared on some leftist blogs after Pat Tillman was killed in Afganistan. I recall the tone on this blog was of disgust at the callousness of the comments on those sites. Hypocrasy obviously knows no political boundaries.

For fuck's sake Sergio, if you have ever had a bullet fired in your direction; you learn very quickly about self preservation. Being noble and true to a cause flies out the window when some prick has an automatic weapon pointed in your direction.

Posted by: fadzil at June 9, 2004 at 01:59 AM

Alan E. Brain, I think that your analysis has been confirmed, another Westerner has been shot in Saudi Arabia. The locations are different, but the targets are the same.

Ugh. I'm looking in a mirror, and I don't like what I see, i.e., leftoid behavior. Thanks for the posts, Alan and Fadzil.

I didn't gloat over Gardener's shooting, but I certainly wasn't sympathetic. My apologies to Mr. Gardner and his family and friends, and a belated hope that he recovers.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 9, 2004 at 03:34 AM

PS: My condolences are to Mr. Gardner personally. I still believe that the BBC is a biased news organization pretending to be objective.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 9, 2004 at 04:12 AM

Tell you something guys, lots of you have jumped to conclusions about Frank Gardner, when you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Here are my credentials : I am pro Bush, pro Israel and anti BBC. Frank Gardner is an exceptionally fair and intelligent journalist, and here are some of you gloating in the most sick and ignorant way. Some of you are no better than the lefty moonbats jeering at Tillman and the contractors in Fallujah.How about getting some facts before you formulate an opinion ? How about rediscovering your humanity ?

Posted by: Julie Cleeveley at June 9, 2004 at 04:33 AM

I posted this at my blog the other day:

Too many said after the 9/11 attacks "yes, the attacks were wrong, but...." I don't want to say "yes, the attack on the BBC employees was wrong, but...." There are no "buts" worth mentioning. The terrorists, and I can use the word even if the BBC cannot, deserve the full measure of our condemnation, and of our anger. The political views of the victims are not relevant. And we shouldn't be weighing how particular attacks might indirectly help our harm our narrow interests.

rexie is right about LGF. Too many of the commenters there are gleeful about this story. It's not a good way to support the war. We should leave the schedenfreude to the left.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at June 9, 2004 at 06:18 AM

I've got to agree about the uncalled-for attacks on Mr. Gardner. Would some of you he-deserved-its post links to prove your sudden insight into his character and motives? For instance, links to articles where he praised Al Qaeda or something might help me to think that maybe he deserved to be shot and left to bleed in the street. Does the phrase "you're jumping to conclusions" mean anything to you robust Guardians of the West? And considering the stated opinion of many here, including myself, on the untrustworthiness of what ends up in a news outlet's "reportage" you are all too willing to believe that he did in fact cry out "I'm a Muslim, help me!" I find that sentence not only stilted, but improbable, even from a possible Muslim convert. Quite frankly if I were shot declaring my religion or lack thereof would be the last thing on my mind (I'd be concentrating on the "help me" part). But that's just me.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 9, 2004 at 11:24 AM