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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Nate Jackson / Oct. 22, 2018

Why Is Khashoggi’s Murder Dominating the News?

First, he was a journalist — one of theirs. Second, anything to damage Trump is the top story.

Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, the Saudis finally acknowledged after 18 days. After numerous iterations, the “official” story now is that he was inadvertently killed during a fight that broke out in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, and a handful of “rogue” officials have been fired for bearing sole responsibility for Khashoggi’s death. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is totally innocent, you see.

Few, if any, actually believe the Saudis story, of course. A 59-year-old journalist spontaneously took on 15 Saudi security agents? Sure thing. Quite the contrary, reports are that he wasn’t just killed but dismembered on the scene. His body has never been produced. Furthermore, as the editors of National Review put it, “Very little happens in Saudi Arabia without bin Salman’s foreknowledge and approval, so the notion that he would be so unaware of his inner circle’s activities regarding one of the regime’s highest-profile international critics is laughable.”

Beyond that quick recap of the story, here are a few things to bear in mind:

First of all, this is what authoritarian regimes do, be they Islamic or otherwise. A free press is anathema to totalitarians. But with Khashoggi, there may be more than meets the eye. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970s. He wasn’t an advocate of western-style democracy, instead favoring an Arab Spring-style political Islamic regime. That isn’t to minimize his death; it’s to see clearly who he was.

The American Leftmedia — led by The Washington Post — is running wall-to-wall coverage of his murder primarily because Khashoggi is one of theirs. He’s a journalist, an untouchable saint, and his death thus rattles them to their core.

But have most Americans heard of the the Gwinnett County Georgia police officer killed in the line of duty Saturday? Officer Antwan Toney had just turned 30, and he was an outstanding human being and police officer. Yet this black cop was murdered by two black assailants in the Atlanta area; one killer is in custody. Toney was one of ours — an American citizen serving his country and community honorably. Both of these men’s lives matter, but only one is getting nonstop media coverage.

The strategic reason for that is the media’s hope to pin Khashoggi’s murder — or at least the aftermath — on President Donald Trump. Anything to create the appearance of scandal before the midterms.

Which brings us to our parting thought: In 2012, four Americans, including an ambassador, were killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton lied about it for weeks solely to preserve Obama’s reelection campaign. The Leftmedia aided them in this deception. So while Trump certainly should have been far stronger in his public condemnation of the Saudis, we suspect he’s using this incident for leverage behind the scenes. Don’t be surprised to see a subtle shift in America’s relationship with the Saudis that will benefit the U.S., all while Trump gives them breathing room publicly. Distasteful? Sure. But sometimes that describes American foreign policy out of necessity.

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