The Current Crisis

A Close Call at the Newseum

How to explain its fondness for terrorist-affiliated "journalists"?

By 5.30.13

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WASHINGTON -- Recently in Washington the Newseum was saved from what could have been a very embarrassing event. Or maybe the people who run the Newseum would not have been embarrassed but the institution was saved anyway. The Newseum is an interactive museum dedicated to the study of news and journalism. It was going to honor two terrorists as journalists before genuine journalists intervened.

On a wall dedicated to journalists who have perished while pursuing a story, such as the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by Islamofascists, the two deceased terrorists would have been solemnized. The wall is dedicated to “reporters, photographers and broadcasters who have died reporting the news.” The Newseum proposed to solemnize Mahmoud Al-Kumi and Hussan Salama, presumably because they were incinerated by an Israeli missile last year. But their deaths came during Israel’s hostilities with Hamas, and the Israelis had every reason to believe that they were not reporters but terrorists. The United States government concurs.

The men worked for Al-Aqsa television, and Al-Aqsa television was designated a terrorist organization in 2010 by the U.S. Treasury. The organization is part of Hamas. As to the programming of Al-Aqsa, the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence has concluded it “airs programs and music videos designated to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers.” For instance, among the videos it airs is one that calls upon Allah to exterminate Jews, Christians, and Communists — “kill them to the last one, and don’t leave even one.” Not even the Communists!

Al-Kumi and Salama at the time of their death were riding about in a car with “TV” hastily sprayed on its hood. There was no one else in the car, not a photographer, not a reporter. Similarly Hamas’ fighters have used Red Crescent ambulances to transport arms, materiel, and even its fighters. They locate command posts in civilian population centers and close to mosques. When our government and the government of Israel have declared Al-Aqsa a terrorist organization, I would think the Newseum would steer clear of honoring Al-Aqsa’s fallen.

Actually the Newseum is a rather curious place. Its main interest—news and journalism—is pretty serious stuff, but its officers have no demonstrated grasp of their subject. James C. Duff, Newseum’s CEO, is a lawyer admittedly with a background in the Constitution but also “Diversity” and no journalistic experience whatsoever. He was called by Cliff May, once of the New York Times and now a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and an officer with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and asked about his choice. He never called back. Neither did the Newseum’s spokesman Scott Williams, also an expert in “Diversity” and once the vice president of marketing and media for Elvis Presley Enterprises. Yes, Elvis Presley!

Luckily, May struck a chord and at the last minute, “just minutes before its ceremony honoring a list of ‘fallen journalist,’” writes May, the Newseum decided in its words “to re-evaluate the inclusion” of Al-Kumi and Salama “as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation.” Whatever was the Newseum thinking about when it accorded the title journalist to two terrorists designated as such by our government? Does the Newseum’s expert in Diversity know more about terror than our government or than the government of Israel?

Frankly, goody-goody organizations such as the Newseum could be forgiven back in the days of the Cold War when they were expected to be duped by Communists claiming to be journalists. But today when the goody-goodies are duped by right-wing Islamofascists it is a little bit surprising. The Communists were always seen as “liberals in a hurry,” but the Islamofascists hate women, gays, the 21st century, modernity itself. Why would the Newseum have a soft spot in its heart for these thugs?

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.