In a Wednesday morning report, the Associated Press's Sarah El Deeb certainly did her best to continue the ongoing campaign to convince the West that there's really nothing about which we should be concerned in Egypt's newly approved Constitution. She characterized it as "a new chapter in Egypt's two-year transition from authoritarian rule" and quoted a group whose Facebook page doesn't exist (despite that page being the first item found in a Google Web search on the group's name) telling us that the country is in "a new phase of legal disputes over legislation and control of state institutions," and that "the battle won't be very clear to regular people." I'm taking that to mean: "Don't pay any attention to us while the Muslim Brotherhoood and Islamists consolidate their power."
The AP reporter also mentioned the opposition's fears that the constitution "enshrines a prominent role for Islamic law, or Shariah, in governing the country's affairs and reinforces Islamists' hold on power." It's more than an abstract fear, because Sharia(h) is mentioned several times in the document itself (bolds are mine):
While the Associated Press, New York Times, and the vast majority of the U.S. establishment press have avoided directly referring to Egypt's newly-approved constitution, spearheaded by ruler by decree Mohammed Morsi, as oriented toward imposing Muslim sharia law in that nation, the international press hasn't been so reluctant. Who do you believe, the rest of the world or your agenda-driven U.S-based news sources? Additionally, as will be seen, the constitution is so unabashedly socialist it would have been labeled communist if it had appeared any time prior to 1990.
Russia-based RT.com opened its coverage of fraud allegations Saturday as follows: "Egypt's new Sharia-based constitution has been approved in a second round of voting, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party said." Its headline a week ago after the first round: "Egyptians vote on hotly contested sharia-based constitution." Meanwhile, the New York Times blew through over 1,000 words in "analyzing" the results, and did not mention sharia once.
As voting on Egypt's constitution begins, an Associated Press story this morning by Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb typifies how the U.S. press is only nibbling around the edges of its content. The headline reads "EGYPTIANS VOTE ON ISLAMIST-BACKED CONSTITUTION." In the story's content, the pair found an 23 year-old Egyptian engineer who told them, in their words, that "he felt the proposed constitution needed more, not less, Islamic content," and expressed a belief that "All laws have to be in line with Shariah."
Nice misdirection there. As Andrew McCarthy, "arguably the most important prosecutor in the War on Terror" and "among the most authoritative writers anywhere on the dangers of Jihad," explained at PJ Media on Wednesday morning, and as much of the non-U.S. press accurately comprehends, the proposed constitution is about institutionalizing sharia in Egypt, and the last-minute splitting of the vote, originally scheduled for only today but now taking place today and next Saturday, is about ensuring its victory at the polls (bolds are mine throughout this post):
This one comes straight from the "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see" Department. On Wednesday, in an interview with talk show host Hugh Hewitt (HT Daily Caller), New York Times Cairo Bureau Chief David D. Kilpatrick characterized Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as "not violent by nature," and as "a moderate, conservative but religious, but moderate, regular old political force." (Quick aside: There is nothing "conservative" about sharia law, persecution of Christians, and the subjugation of women, yet the press won't stop using that dishonest tag to describe radical Islamists.)
Just a few days later, in a pair of dispatches, one of which appeared in today's Times print edition, Kilpatrick reported that "the government of President Mohamed Morsi has approved legislation reimposing martial law," and that Morsi "is leaning more closely than ever on his Islamist allies in the Muslim Brotherhood." Imagine that. Excerpts from the Hewitt interview and each of Kirkpatrick's Friday reports follow the jump.
Does Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi desire to become a dictator...or another Abraham Lincoln?
Did that question make you burst out laughing? If so, please be prepared for an even bigger laugh when you watch Atlantic editor Steve Clemons expend brain cells while struggling to figure out the answer to that question in his column. So laughable are the efforts of Clemons trying to come up with what to even slightly aware people is the obvious answer that you might need an oxygen mask due to an inability to catch a breath:
Reviewing several dispatches from the past couple of days, the latest news out of Egypt is that Egyptian "President" Mohammed Morsi "is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers," that "clashes between the two camps (Morsi's Islamist supporters and secular opponents) ... left two dead and hundreds injured," and that the country's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated assembly "pushed through the 234-article draft (constitution) in just 21 hours from Thursday into Friday ... (after) Coptic Christians and liberals earlier had walked out."
The draft constitution includes several articles "that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities," and omits "bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties." Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution." It's worth identifying at this point several (but by no means all; what follows is surely a small sample) of those who in 2011 reassured the world that Egyptians had nothing to fear if the Brotherhood and Islamists became dominant.
As we at NewsBusters have noted, the media's coverage of Mohammed Morsi's self-appointment as virtual dictator in Egypt has been dreadful. Surely TIME magazine would be a little more hard-hitting, right?
Wrong. Despite having the benefit of three reporters on the byline -- Richard Stengel, Bobby Ghosh and Karl Vick -- none of those men posed a really hard-hitting question and all of them let Morsi drone on with filibuster-length answers that dominated the interview. Below the page break you'll find the agenda of questions asked (emphases mine) -- the first one is an incredibly dopey non-question -- and you can read the TIME transcript here:
In a Tuesday evening dispatch at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the status of U.S. foreign policy in Egypt, Bradley Klapper and Julie Pace either displayed an amazing level of clairvoyance or indulged in a level of fantasy ordinarily reserved for trips to Disneyland. I'm betting that it's the latter, that this AP report will in short order come to be seen as a complete journalistic embarrassment, and that the Obama administration is drinking from the same koolaid jug.
The good news is that they at least finally acknowledged a linkage that most of the rest of the establishment press has studiously ignored, namely that "After winning U.S. and worldwide praise (for brokering an Israel-Hamas ceasefire), Morsi immediately cashed in on his new political capital by seizing more power at home." But it's all downhill from there (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At the end of Joe Klein's stupefying defense of Susan Rice and the Obama admin's misinformation campaign on the Benghazi outrage on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked Time's Klein whether President Obama had invited him to play golf, "because you are just gobbling up the talking points like Thanksgiving turkey." H/t NB reader Carmel.
Here were some of Klein's astounding assertions: There are no unanswered questions about Benghazi. Ambassador Stevens had all the security he wanted. Rice's talking points were "absolutely accurate"--it was a spontaneous demonstration by extremists. Al qaeda was not involved in the attack. Not clear that reports from Stevens asking for more security exist. View the video after the jump.
So what's more important, the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was involved in brokering a Gaza-Israeli peace deal which appears to be more than sightly tilted in Hamas's direction, or the fact that Morsi has opportunistically seized nearly dictatorial powers?
They're arguably equal, but if compelled to choose, I believe most readers here would contend that because of the difficulties seen throughout human history in undoing such things, Morsi's power grab is more important. The Associated Press doesn't share that evaluation. In its summary of "10 Things to Know for Friday" the wire service notes the "peace" accord but not the power grab:
On Saturday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, NBC correspondent Richard Engel conveyed that the reform advocates who led the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt are distraught at the kinds of candidates that Egyptian voters are choosing to replace Mubarak, with both major presidential candidates likely to curtail freedom if elected. Engel recounted: (Video at bottom)