Two American journalists have crossed a line in their reaction to the murder of a Russian diplomat this week. They are both a disgrace to the profession they purport to practice.
While never one to advocate censorship, I’ve often believed that perhaps certain people should be restricted from access to the op-ed pages. Not because I disagree with their views or think they should be muted. In fact, the wider a variety of voice and opinions the better, to my mind. No, this is rather down to how they are making themselves look stupid and seem blissfully unaware of it. Thus, silencing them would be a humanitarian gesture, giving them time to reflect on their sociopathic behavior and relentless egotism.
Following the appalling murder of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, on Monday two particular individuals have penned diatribes so lacking in basic humanity that it’s fair to question their sanity, let alone decency. They are Brian Whitmore of US state broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Gersh Kuntzman from New York’s Daily News.
First the latter. Under the headline “Assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was not terrorism, but retribution for Vladimir Putin’s war crimes,” Kuntzman tells us how “I, for one, am shedding no tears for Andrei Karlov.” He goes on to explain that the slain diplomat effectively deserved to die and draws equivalence with “Ernst vom Rath, the Nazi ambassador to France, who was gunned down inside his consulate by a Jewish student in 1938.”
In this astonishingly unhinged rant, the columnist then suggests that posterity “may vindicate” Mevlut Mert Altintas, Karlov’s assassin. “He (Karlov) wasn’t a diplomat, but a soldier, and his death is the same whether it came on a battlefield outside Aleppo or in an art gallery in Ankara. His killer was also a soldier — not a terrorist, mind you, but a soldier.” Thus, aside from how he betrays his lack of a grip on reality, Kuntzman also exposes his utter stupidity here.
So, we have an American writer cheering on the murder of Russians. Meanwhile, the same bozo is also placing all diplomats in danger as fair game for assassination. For instance, by this logic, if the US ambassador to Afghanistan or Iraq were shot, the Daily News is basically telling us that it can be justified as a response to American aggression against those countries.
Kuntzman is also describing cowardly shots in a man’s back as a form of brave warfare. And, at the same time, completely missing a major point. That is, if the jihadists Russia is fighting somehow won the war, their first move would be to exterminate liberals like himself and destroy the free press. But, in common with so many on the US ‘left,” he can’t see the wood for the trees and is using Russia as a proxy to deflect from the failures of the movement he supports.
And now to Brian Whitmore. We’ve focused on this strange reporter before. A graduate of the Moscow Times (a free-sheet you can pick up at McDonald’s in the Russian capital), he’s now employed by the Washington-funded BBG (which has a budget around three times larger than RT). Based in Prague, he produces a thing called the Daily Vertical. In the regular bulletins, which look and feel like something from the hit German ‘Ostalgie’ movie ‘Goodbye Lenin,’ he sits in front of a static photo of the Kremlin and spits out negative propaganda against Russia.
This week he reached a new low. Instead of sympathizing with the Russians on the loss of their ambassador (which even his ultimate boss John Kerry managed to do), he launched into a bizarre anti-Kremlin rant. And with all the gusto of a modern day William ‘Lord Haw Haw’ Joyce to boot. “His line (as always) is that Russia is so evil that even the death of its ambassador is just more grist for his mill,” wrote Business New Europe editor Ben Aris in an email to Johnson’s Russia List.
“Intervening in the Middle East is never, ever without costs,” Whitmore tells us. “So yes, the assassination of Andrey Karlov was a tragedy and a crime. It could also turn out to be a harbinger.”
So, Whitmore believes that Karlov got what he deserved. Aris again: “This is from an American commentator. That works for an American state-owned media outlet. Which is the country that has flooded the Middle East with money and arms for decades. That routinely turns a blind eye to the most outrageous human rights abuses there on the grounds of political expediency,” the British journalist goes on.
“That then invaded Iraq with no justification whatsoever. That massively destabilized the country by destroying all its institutions, defective as they were, and naively believed that by holding some elections it could build a new democratic system. Then left and watched as its would-be puppet democracy collapsed and the locals, enraged by being invaded, bombed, shot by overwhelming force and then lectured to on how they ought to run their country took up arms to drive the Western power out. ISIS was born of what we should more widely admit was the most stupendous foreign policy screw up for the last century or more,” he continues.
“But Ambassador Karlov died because the Kremlin dared to interfere in what should be exclusively America’s mess?” the longtime Moscow correspondent concludes.
While Kuntzman might be entitled to a small dose of forgiveness because Russia is not his regular beat, and he’s probably swallowed an immense amount of “fake news” and propaganda about the country, Whitmore has no such leeway. A guy who worked in Moscow ought to know better. And RFE/RL, which employs him, needs to take a long look at his status.
Both of these clowns have used the death of a diplomat, who was serving his country, as an excuse to promote their own prejudices against Russia. Their behavior is disgraceful, and they are debasing journalism. I’d conclude by saying they should be ashamed of themselves, but that won’t work because they clearly have no shame.