Saudi Hit Squads May Saw My Bones, But Words Can Never Hurt Me

We do not know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who disappeared after stepping into a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last week.

The Saudis say that he left the consulate, unharmed, through a back door. The Turks say the Saudis ambushed him, dismembered him with a bone saw, stuffed his remains into diplomatic bags, and smuggled them out of the country on two private jets.

Neither side has released evidence to support their claims, though there are reports the Turkish government has audio and video recordings corroborating their allegations. Needless to say, we all hope that Jamal Khashoggi is alive and well.

But as time has dragged on without any sign of Khashoggi, prospects are increasingly grim he’ll emerge in one piece. And his disappearance, along with the plausibility that the Saudi government did in fact kidnap or assassinate him purely for his political commentary and activism, should serve as a helpful reminder to an increasingly hysterical American media of what oppressive governments actually looks like.

The Trump Administration is not imprisoning journalists for criticizing the president. And it certainly isn’t killing them and dismembering them with bone saws.

The free press is alive and well in the United States. In fact, it is hard to turn on a television without hearing “objective” news anchors, political pundits, and other such cretins demeaning and insulting both President Trump and members of his administration.

But according to many in the media, Trump’s disdain for an openly hostile press and his willingness to fight back constitutes an unconstitutional and dangerous attack on the free press.

And now, some are even blaming President Trump for Khashoggi’s disappearance. They argue his willingness to call members of the media the “enemy of the people” contributes to an increasingly dangerous environment for journalists around the world. They argue that he has emboldened authoritarian leaders to lock up dissidents.

Well, if that’s true, then the media’s frenzied and often dishonest reporting has certainly emboldened an increasing trend of Leftist violence that the media has mostly ignored. After all, if you call someone a dangerous and demented fascist who will plunge us into another world war, you shouldn’t be surprised if some people start using violence to “resist.”

In fact, some in the media have heaped praise upon Antifa—a hate-filled group that has promoted violence in order to resist Trump’s supposed fascism–while adding, almost as an afterthought, that no one should condone violence. Because when there’s violence from the Right, these people point to it as a systemic issue directly tied to Trump’s incendiary rhetoric. But when there’s violence from the Left, they shrug their shoulders and say, “oh well, no organization is perfect.”

So perhaps the media should refrain from blaming the president for emboldening authoritarian governments for imprisoning foreign journalists, lest we blame them for emboldening violent leftist mobs. Perhaps they should not compare a president insulting them to an attack on the media, lest we compare them insulting the president or funding artistic depictions of his death to a call for assassination. Those in glass houses should not throw stones.

American journalists live in one of the freest countries in the world. And while this freedom ought to come with responsibilities, they have decided to shirk these responsibilities. They should not be surprised when the president aggressively calls them out on it.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Green/PA Images via Getty Images

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About Karl Notturno

Karl Notturno is a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness in addition to being an entrepreneur, musician, and writer. He recently graduated from Yale University with degrees in philosophy and history. He can be found on Twitter @karlnotturno.