Attacking the Sacred Cow of Journalism

by PATRICK DUNLEAVY January 7, 2015

On January 7th heavily armed jihadists conducted a deadly attack on the streets of Paris with precision.  Twelve individuals were killed, including two policemen.  At least eleven others were wounded.  The target of the attack was the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo, a weekly periodical that often publishes satirical cartoons and articles.  

NPR News reported that eight of the individuals killed were "journalists."   

The response from politicians and the main stream media was quick and with clarity.

President Obama called it an "act of terrorism" Unlike the initial administration's response regarding the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, there was no ambiguity here.  The President made no mention of any correlation to any anti-Muslim videos or cartoons as the catalyst for the attack.  

One has to ask why?  The President and the main stream media considered this action on one of the bastions of western civilization and democracy, the free press, as outrageous and threatening the very fiber of society.   

A question arises over their astonishment to this latest terrorist attack, which had been precluded by a warning from both ISIS and counter terrorism experts that an orchestrated attack would soon take place in Europe and/or the United States.  No less than John Miller the head of Counterterrorism and Intelligence for NYPD stated recently, in regard to another terrorist attack on the West, "I think it's less a question of if, more a question of when."

The failure of the main stream media to do true investigative journalistic work in this war on terrorism in general and radical Islam specifically leads me to enquire of their nobility.

What else were you expecting?  That somehow radical Islamists would be won over by reason and logic.  That they would cease the senseless violent acts because the West showed them the error of their ways.

When groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS issue proclamations that they will kill their enemies.  When they name Western Civilization "Boko Haram" they are deadly serious.  A true journalist would seek to find not only how these organizations came to be but how they continue to prosper.  An old adage in investigations was "follow the money" No criminal organization or terrorist group can function without funds, whether they receive it from pseudo charities or acquiescent governments.  This is nothing new.  Terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas have milked this cow for years.

We however have attempted to manage this war through a doctrine of appeasement.  The jihadist understands one thing and one thing only, the sword.  

If journalists are truly angered over this attack let them get out from behind their desks and hit the bricks.  Dig deep and find the sources.  Write about the methodology by which Al-Qaeda and ISIS receive their funding.  Expose the individuals and organizations that are assisting these groups.

Follow the truth and cease from writing about nonsense.  That is the way true journalism and the press can help in this war.  And don't be fooled.  It is a war and in this war no institution is safe.  Inaction is not an option.  To paraphrase the words of Mordecai to Esther "do not think that because you live in the hallowed halls you can escape this threat any more than the others."

Radical Islamic terrorists have killed thousands of innocent individuals from all walks of life.  Mothers, fathers, children, students, relief workers, policemen, and scores of other vocations have suffered at the hands of those who profess to do the work of Allah.  They have attacked schools, churches, synagogues, office buildings and now newspapers.

No loss is insignificant and no life greater than another.

French authorities have named the suspects in the attack as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, two brothers in their early 30s, and an 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.   One those identified, Cherif Kouachi, was a former inmate who had previously spent 18 months in prison on a terrorism related charge.

Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections. He is the author of "The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism's Prison Connection," details of which can be found at his website, and he can be contacted at:   Mr. Dunleavy is currently a Senior Fellow with the Investigative Project on Terrorism. He  teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School, "Dynamics of International Terrorism"  and has testified as an expert witness before the House Committee on Homeland Security regarding the threat of Islamic Radicalization in the U.S. Prison System.

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