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Terrorism: Mainstream media rediscovers ‘editorial judgment’

Written By | Dec 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2015 — “There hasn’t been any smoking gun evidence that they were part of a particular cell or any group,” attorney David Chesley told reporters at a hastily called press conference.

It is Chesley’s contention that authorities who shot Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Marlik to death last Wednesday in San Bernardino, California unfairly interpreted the couple’s possession of twelve pipe bombs, more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition (1,600 of which they had with them when they died), two semi-automatic rifles, two handguns and 14 dead Californians as evidence of terrorist intent.

No, Chesley is not a spokesman for the Obama administration. He’s the legal representative for the family of slain jihadist Syed Farook.

Speaking of the Farook family, Washington Post columnist Erick Wemple posted a video on his newspaper’s website criticizing the way the media “barged” into Farook’s home/terrorist bomb factory, singling out MSNBC reporter Kerry Sanders for his “awful sort of journalistic moment.”

You see, as Sanders sifted through a mound of documents strewn about the Syed home after the FBI’s search of the residence, he discovered the California driver’s license of Farook’s mother, Rafia, who lived with the couple and their six-month-old child.

Sanders showed the drivers license to the MSNBC audience. “Sanders was just having a ball in there,” said Wemple, “chatting about baby toys and quite possibly invading the privacy of innocent people.”

Wemple certainly has a point regarding MSNBC’s showing photos of an innocent toddler. But most reasonable people – and that most likely includes FBI investigators – might be a bit curious to know what mama Farook knew of her son and daughter-in-law’s actions and when she knew it.

It stretches credulity to believe that while living in such tight quarters, she didn’t stub her toe on a crate of ammunition, accidentally knock over one of several semi-automatic rifles, or move pipe bombs to one side while dusting or setting the dinner table.

“It’s essential that journalists exercise sound editorial judgment to not put others in danger by broadcasting private and sensitive information,” said the Huffington Post in defense of Mrs. Farook.

Now that’s a curious rediscovery of journalistic ethics in light of the mainstream media’s initial “editorial judgment” branding the San Bernardino killers as Republican-loving, NRA dues-paying, anti-abortion, right-wingers.

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Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.