Friday, March 10, 2006

Outbreak of the ostrich flu

Today I've read posts by two people with whom I rarely disagree on the Mohammed Tehari-azar SUV attack. Via Ed Cone, I read Glenn Reynolds's Instapundit post giving the mainstream media a pass on downplaying the Islamic angle to the story. Reynolds maintains that this approach is responsible in that it may prevent copycat attacks. Cori Dauber at Ranting Profs agrees with Reynolds and adds that if Tehari-azar's brand of terrorism reflects the threat we face, "then we've won the war."

I can't travel down their path. I do agree that the details of the attack are not newsworthy at the moment. Most people on the Carolina campus seem quite comfortable being out and about. Also, the first court hearing has passed and we'll wait to see what happens in the judicial system, something for which I'm quite happy to wait. They lose me on the incompetence argument. Personally, I'm glad Tehari-azar proved an inept terrorist. However, other than his al Qaeda connection, why is the would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid sitting in a federal prison serving a life term? He couldn't even save himself from a butt whipping from fellow passengers. A female flight attendant thwarted his first attempt and another one took him on after he pushed the first one to the floor. Finally, other passengers took him out. Don't get me wrong. The al Qaeda connection is enough for me, but in the words of the famous pop philosopher Tom Petty, "Baby, even the losers get lucky sometimes." If that happens, affiliation or non-affiliation with a terrorist outfit won't matter.

On to the target of my headline. I refuse to respect the downplaying of this event by the News and Record. The newspaper has a full-time reporter in Raleigh. He's a good one, but the N & R only relied on wire reports in its coverage. I shouldn't have expected anything else considering the high-toned rationalization made for not publishing the Danish cartoons and the self-defensive response to the Rhino Times stepping into the void. To me the local daily has shown it has no stomach to tackle the debate on radical Islam. What will the paper do for big stories if Greensboro's next Bill Agapion turns out to be a Muslim extremist?

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