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National Security Desk / August 30, 2016

Kerry to Media: Ignore Terrorism

“Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much.”

Speaking in Bangladesh, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Remember this: No country is immune from terrorism. It’s easy to terrorize. Government and law enforcement have to be correct 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. But if you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise.” Then came the truly baffling portion of his speech: “Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.” According to the State Department transcript, those in attendance applauded Kerry’s remark.

National Review’s Jim Geraghty explains the significance: “This applause came during Kerry’s remarks at the Edward M. Kennedy Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a joint project between the Bangladeshi Liberation War Museum and the U.S. Embassy. The Center is ‘committed to open dialogue, informed action, individual and artistic expression, and personal and professional development.’ So people applauded ‘people wouldn’t know what’s going on’ at a center devoted to open dialogue and informed action.

Two other events in the news help illustrate the depravity of Kerry’s complaint. A new Associated Press report documents the discovery of “72 … mass graves, the most comprehensive survey so far, with many more expected to be uncovered as the Islamic State group’s territory shrinks.” Meanwhile, George Washington University recently added to its staff a Muslim, Younus Abdullah Muhammad, whose birth name is Jesse Morton. Muhammad helped launch the pro-terrorism group Revolution Muslim and was convicted in 2012 of threatening to inflict jihad. His punishment was short-lived, however. The person counterterrorism officials call a “former” Islamist now works — for pay — with national security agencies to nab Muslim extremists. You can add working with George Washington University to his résumé, too.

Morton may or may not be reformed, but four years is hardly enough time to know with any degree of certainty. Unfortunately, part of the government’s anti-terrorism approach has been to normalize what isn’t — i.e., letting a university hire a recently convicted terrorist. When Kerry says “the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover [terrorism] quite as much,” he’s advocating for more than just a way to excuse the Obama administration’s bungled response to terrorism; he’s also saying the victims’ lives aren’t worth commemorating. One big problem the media does have is the absurd amount of time it devotes to the perpetrators and not the victims. And that’s the point Kerry and the media would rather you not know is happening.

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