'Today' Air-Brushes Muslim Identity Of Possible Anti-Pope Plotters

Imagine six Israelis had been arrested in the US and charged with possibly plotting against a visiting ayatollah.  Rhetorical question: would Today have mentioned their nationality and/or religion?

But when reportedly six Algerian Muslims were arrested in the UK and charged with possibly plotting against visiting Pope Benedict XVI, Today breathed not a word of their identity.  Reporter Nina Dos Santos spoke only of "the specter of terror" having reared its head in London, and of "yesterday's arrests."  But Dos Santos never said what form that specter took . . . or who was arrested. 

It's apparently early in the investigation, and possible a prosecution will not be pursued.  But Today could still have indicated the men's identities without compromising the presumption of innocence.

Watch as Dos Santos strides the PC tightrope.

NINA DOS SANTOS: It's day three of the Pope's historic visit to Britain and so far there's been no let-up in his busy agenda . . . On Day Two, a more complicated trip, to London, where the specter of terror reared its head. The Pontiff waved aside security concerns to bless the youngest of his flock . . . Well, security has been incredibly tight after yesterday's arrests.  The challenge for London's police force will come here at the city's Hyde Park where later today the Pope is set to host a vigil for 65,000 people.

Really, how ineffably odd for Dos Santos to mention "yesterday's arrests," without giving viewers any information as to who was arrested and why. 

Update: Early Show Slightly Less Skittish But Doesn't Mention 'Muslim'

Later in the morning, the Early Show also managed to avoid using the m-word.  CBS reporter Elizabether Palmer did mention that six men had been "picked up" under the British terrorist act, "suspected of planning something that would threaten the Pope's visit."  Palmer professed that "details of who they are" are "very thin," but she did allow that the men are reported to be "of North-African origin."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.