Sunday, April 02, 2006

Treat Me Nice

Here is a list of all the stories on a Google search for "Jill Carroll" & "Treated Well." Note that ABC News mentioned in their title that Ms. Carroll said she was treated well. Virtually every media outlet included that specific statement in the body of the story.

Here is a Wikipedia summary of her captivity. Highlights include a forcible kidnapping at gunpoint that included the execution of her interpreter, more than ten weeks of captivity, and the recording of four propaganda videos featuring her as a prop including one where she was crying.

Yet the big news story is that she was treated well. I would have preferred to see these other quotes in the ABC News headline:

Carroll states that she participated in the video critical of the United States and praiseworthy of her abductors only because she feared for her life and because her captors said they would let her go if she participated to their satisfaction.

Carroll calls her captors "criminals, at best" and says she remains "deeply angry" with them.

I wonder how ABC News would have evaluated the treatment of Ms. Carroll if such activity had occurred in US custody? Say at Abu Ghurab?


Blogger Dawn said...

Here's what puzzles me - when other hostages in Iraq are released after three months, they look like hell - exhausted, drained, thin.

She, on the other hand, looks glowing! Healthy! Rested! Why would she be treated any differently?

Yeah, I'm skeptical. The fact that she's a journalist doesn't help. I'm not completely buying what she's selling.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No news good enough for right-wingers
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Few events have been more

revelatory of the nation’s poisonous

political climate than the ordeal of the Christian Science Monitor’s Jill Carroll. Kidnapped off a Baghdad street last January during an effort to interview a Sunni politician, the winsome 28-yearold reporter saw her Iraqi translator murdered before her eyes. She was kept in solitary confinement by insurgents who threatened to kill her unless the U. S. and Iraq released all Iraqi women detained in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Weeks after her capture, Carroll’s kidnappers released a chilling video depicting her sitting on the floor surrounded by hooded thugs with machine guns, weeping and begging for freedom. After several deadlines passed, it was easy to fear that she’d met the fate of her onetime Wall Street Journal colleague Daniel Pearl, beheaded in 2002 by lunatic Islamic extremists in Pakistan. Carroll’s surprise release through the auspices of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni organization, brought joy to her family and colleagues, as well as to millions who had followed the saga vicariously on TV. It seemed a rare bit of good news from a chaotic Iraq. Alas, no news can be good enough for the increasingly deranged commentators on the Republican right who took it upon themselves to attack Carroll’s motives and besmirch her character because her initial statements upon release struck them as insufficiently patriotic.

In the first, a video produced and released by the Iraqi Islamic Party, Carroll said she’d been treated decently and was never threatened. In the second, posted on a jihadist Web site soon after her release, Carroll described the insurgents as “good people fighting an honorable fight, a good fight.” Wearing an Islamic headscarf, she denounced the U. S. invasion and American “lies.”

Now you’d think any fool who’d seen the earlier tapes of Carroll crying amid masked gunmen would have enough sense to await her return to the U. S. before assuming she’d gone over to the enemy. No less an authority than Sen. John McCain, once tortured into voicing anti-U. S. propaganda as a Vietnam POW, basically said that people whose knowledge of war is limited to Chuck Norris movies only think they’d never break.

“Words that are coerced are not worth dying over,” Micah Garen, a journalist held captive by a Shiite militia in Iraq in 2004, told the Monitor.

None of that prevented Los Angeles Times columnist and National Review Online blogger Jonah Goldberg from leaping to an unwarranted conclusion.

“Maybe it’s just me,” he wrote, “but Jill Carroll is increasingly starting to bug me. The details are still murky... and maybe the media’s selectively choosing what to show of her statements. But it would be nice to hear her say something remotely critical of her captors, particularly about the fact that they murdered her translator in cold blood. I’m very glad she’s alive, but I’m getting a very bad vibe.”

Like his NRO colleague and New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, Goldberg speculated that Carroll might be a victim of “Stockholm syndrome,” a psychological phenomenon in which kidnap victims come to identify with their captors.

As he so often does, Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz highlighted the right-wing theme of the day, adding that while colleagues in Baghdad warned that he was going off half-cocked, “[w ] hy make a terrorist group who put her family and friends through a terrible three-month ordeal sound like they were running a low-budget motel chain ?”

Kurtz and Goldberg eventually had the decency to apologize, unlike the heroes on Don Imus’ morning radio and TV yukfest, broadcast nationally on MSNBC. With Imus himself objecting with all the make-believe vigor of a prowrestling referee, sidekick Bernard Mc-Guirk demeaned Carroll as “Taliban Jill” and a potential suicide bomber before speculating that she was pregnant with a terrorist’s baby.

Things got even worse on the rightwing Web site Little Green Footballs, where one patriot opined that Carroll was “probably coming home with a suitcase full of cash (her kickback ) and a dose of the clap.” Needless to say, once back in the U. S. A., Carroll made it clear that everything she’d said in Baghdad had been coerced. Her editor said that none of her colleagues knew her private views about the war. A U. S. Marine public affairs officer commented that “her professionalism and objectivity were unparalleled within the media community.” He praised her courage, which few of us, and none of her detractors, I daresay, could match. So why publicize such vile nonsense ? Two reasons: to demonstrate the bravado, racism and misogyny increasingly characteristic of many determined to defend this misbegotten Iraqi catastrophe to the bitter end, and to emphasize that no matter what you hear from the White House, things in Baghdad are actually far more chaotic and dangerous than even the bravest reporters, increasingly unable to venture outside walled compounds without heavily armed military escorts, can possibly convey.

—–––––•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient of the National Magazine Award.

4:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home