Of all the stories that broke last week, this one struck me as being the most relevant as an American, or really as anyone in the West.
The piece that I link as my primary is an editorial containing much of the other news on the subject and while not the first place to break it, was the first place I heard of it.
I think this is the most important piece of news of the week as it ties directly in to our text on journalism and its pursuit of truth, verification, and the independent monitoring of power. Here we have an article addressing the falsehoods stated by the American government regarding a terrorist/extremist action on a US consulate and the death of the ambassador three Americans dead. The initial reporting was sloppy and took the government’s word as if it were truth, with little to no research into the story. The idea that a group of Muslims or Arabs assaulted the American consulate over an offensive YouTube video was readily digested and given back to the people.
The narrative of an Arab Mind, or Muslim Extremists being so readily upset and able to, at a moment’s notice, engage in the killing of one of America’s citizens is easy to process. It fits with the colonial/imperial method of Orientalism through which much of the West filters the Near East. This Other is immediately, and easily, regarded as less than the Westerner. Able to become violent and irrational with the slightest provocation, extending even to a video on YouTube.
So, the simple version of evens repeated by the initial media coverage engaged in a traditional Western view of the Near East, and the American government storyline made this very easy. Only after some pressing was it admitted that the story was partially fabricated and the attacks were planned out in advance. (On a side note: Talk about a failure of security policy, especially given the date of the events.)
As for more information I’d like on the story, there isn’t a great deal. I’d like to know more about the various organizations and groups that the United States has funded over the years in the area and whether or not America is funding its own enemies again. I’m also radically simplifying the concept of Orientalism here, and it would be great if that were touched on more in any of the articles linked.