Some of the stories that don’t get covered

Based in Washington, D.C., Diana West writes a weekly column nationally syndicated by the Universal Press Syndicate in Kansas City. It’s a courageous column tackling topics seldom broached in the pages of many mainstream dailies.

I called Ms. West last month to ask her about a recent piece in which she mentioned that few subscribing newspapers have run her columns on the various court challenges this year to Barack Obama’s eligibility to run for president. Is the number of topics on which columns get spiked increasing?

“You’re not being paranoid, it’s absolutely true,” Ms. West replied. “For a journalist, the comfort zone of discussable topics is definitely shrinking. …

“Obviously the worst issue of all is anything attached to the (Obama) eligibility issue … ” Ms. West continued. “That is definitely where we’ve seen the most censorship of my own work. …

“The frightening thing is you see this failure of nerve, we don’t exercise our First Amendment, if you don’t use your power you lose your power. When people are not given the facts as they develop on a daily basis and then suddenly something happens, the readers have no context in which to interpret that development. …

“Whether it’s the doctrine of Jihad which is in every mainstream Islamic school, or the fraudulent-seeming computer image that the Obama administration released as his birth certificate, because the media has failed (to provide the background), it sounds fantastic …

“This is where it gets very, very concerning, we as a people start taking the word of authority over evidence, over a rational analysis, and I think that’s what we see more and more, when the government says something, when the voice of authority says something, they’re not interested in trusting their own eyes, you see it with the media in spades, it’s embarrassing … “

For those who have never done an Internet search on “Obama’s birth certificate,” it’s common parlance on the Web that the document presented to reporters in such a cloak-and-dagger fashion by the White House lists the race of Obama’s father as “African” when “Negro” would have been the standard usage in that era, lists the father’s birth place as “Kenya” at a time before Kenya became a country, and gives the hospital a name which did not exist until it merged with another facility in 1971, a decade after his birth.

Snopes.com debunks most of this, fairly convincingly, but of course Snopes consists of a self-appointed couple whose politics lean to the left, in the first place.

In the recent Georgia court challenge to Obama’s ballot eligibility, “Obama lawyer’s brief was to quash the subpoena … and the judge did not quash the subpoena, so Obama remains, I think my column was called, ‘Why isn’t he in contempt?’ One of the things they entered was an affidavit from an investigator that Obama has this Social Security number. (But) it doesn’t pass E-Verify, and (Obama’s) lawyer’s rejoinder is that there’s no constitutional requirement to participate in the Social Security system …

“This is the 40th anniversary of Watergate,” Diana West pointed out. “It’s so ironic to me, the Post has all these essays and encomiums to Woodward and Bernstein, and they’re missing these huge stories, and they don’t even seem to understand how foolish they look, it’s not on their radar …”

What things are taboo?

Ms. West says any reporting that tends to reveal a massive and violent Muslim fundamentalist jihad ongoing in Europe to impose elements of Sharia law is simply considered so Politically Incorrect that it gets downplayed or ignored.

“Gert Wilders, the Dutch politician, he’s such an important figure in our time,” Ms. West begins her list. “He has risen to be the third largest party in the Netherlands … He’s lived the past seven years under bodyguard because of Islamic fatwahs and so forth … His new book is ‘Marked for Death,’ from Regnery.

“He came here and there were NO American press interviews .. .. He produced the short movie ‘Citna,’ there were world-wide riots, people died. And yet did The New York Times interview him? The Washington Post, anyone? There was no news of his visit, here. He would be a very good example of a taboo you’re not allowed to discuss, even though he happens to be a power broker in Europe …”

The Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim extremist “right before the Academy Awards, and yet there was not a single mention there,” Ms. West points out. The violence of Islamic extremists in Europe attempting to control public discourse “is a huge taboo. And another one is Kurt Westegaard, the Danish cartoonist,” who famously drew a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, as an exercise – an exercise which produced some irony, as it turns out – to demonstrate the Danish press was still free of Muslim censorship.

“An assassin broke into his home New Year’s Eve 2010 and was beating on his safe room in his home, basically a reinforced steel door to the bathroom, he ran in there with his granddaughter, when the police came a man with an axe was trying to chop through the door. He came to America for a lecture tour. He went to Princeton, to Yale, gave a half dozen lectures in the U.S. and Canada. I was helping to host his visit; I took the press calls and to every single press inquiry I asked: ‘Are you going to run the cartoon?’ Everyone kind of laughed nervously …

“If ASNE (the American Society of Newspaper Editors) had called an emergency conference and said, ‘OK, guys, everybody runs it tomorrow,’ you show your support for freedom of expression. But instead we give them (the jihadists) such power, such a leverage of fear …

“The Yale University Press ran an academic piece on the Danish cartoon crisis without publishing the cartoons. They did not print the cartoons … to the great shame of Western academia …”

Ms. West also lists the minimal coverage in the West of what she describes as “the assassination of virtually the entire Polish government” in the suspicious plane crash at Smolensk in 2010 – a crash from which the Russians have refused to release the plane’s “black boxes.”

Why are these stories ignored? I asked the columnist.

“I think it’s often the case with all of these stories, that if you acknowledge them, then you’d have to do something,” Diana West replies.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the novel “The Black Arrow” and “The Ballad of Carl Drega.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.

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