Naomi Wolf: America's Islamic Blind Spots
NEW YORK - In the wake of the Koran-burning by troops at the United States' Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, protests continue to escalate, and the death toll mounts. In the process, three US blind spots have become obvious.
One is that of the US media, whose coverage simply underscores - and amplifies - the stunning cluelessness that triggered the protests in the first place. Professional journalists are obliged to answer five questions: who, what, where, why, and how. But, reading reports from The Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others, I searched exhaustively before I could form any picture of what had actually been done to the Korans in question. Not only did accounts conflict; none offered a clear notion of who had allegedly done what, let alone why or how.
Were Korans burned, as one US report had it, under the oversight of US military officials? Or were they brought by soldiers for incineration, as another version maintained, as part of a haul of 'extremist literature' and prisoners' personal communications, with Afghan workers alerting others at the base to the nature of the material?
These murky accounts - with no clear subjects or actions (The New York Times, incredibly, managed not to describe the burning at all) - reflect what happens when major news outlets appear simply to take dictation from the Pentagon.