When an American politician gets into trouble, conservatives like to play the game, “name that party.” This is a reference to the fact that if the politician is a Republican, leftist news outlets like the Washington Post will make that fact clear in the first paragraph, whereas if he or she is a Democrat, this news probably won’t appear until much later in the piece.
In the case of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the shoe throwing Iraqi journalist, we can play a variant of the same game — name the sect. For as all readers of organs like the Post know, sect (Sunni or Shiite) is everything in Iraq. It was the Bush administration’s alleged inability to grasp this core reality that, according to the MSM’s narrative, led us to bring Iraq to the brink of disaster in 2005-2006.
Thus, it seems highly relevant to ask: what sect does Muntadar al-Zaidi belong to?
Unfortunately, the Wasington Post, in today’s story about the shoe tosser — “Flying Shoes Create a Hero In Arab World” — provides no answer. The story is full of facts about Zaidi. The mistreatment of prisons at Abu Ghraib angered him; he is unmarried; he was the head of the “student union” in college; he is against the recently signed U.S. – Iraq security agreement. But Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan has no intention of informing us where Zaidi stands in the Iraqi sectarian/political spectrum that brought Iraq to the verge of civil war not long ago.
This is not an oversight. Raghavan plainly does not want us to diminish Zaidi by locating him in the vicious, partisan world of Iraqi politics. He wants instead that we see Zaidi as an Iraqi patriot or, even better, an Arab hero.
To this end, Raghavan informs us that “thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in the streets demanding [Zaidi’s] release from Iraqi custody.” The use of the marginally informative word “thousands” to quantify a demonstration is a good sign that the author is attempting to pump up a cause. The cause Raghavan pumps up here is Bush hatred.
At the very end of the story, Raghavan notes that followers of Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets to support Zaidi. We also learn that in Sadr city, protesters burned American flags and claimed “we pushed [Bush] out with two shoes.”
Does this mean that Zaidi is a Shiite and/or supporter of Moqtada al-Sadr? Beats me. But the fact that he is celebrated by the faction that, other than al Qaeda and (of course) the Saddamists, has lost the most by virtue of the success of Bush’s policies is telling.
In war, there are winners, losers, and sore losers. Zaidi, his “thousands” of Iraqis supporters, and his admirers in other Arab nations appear to belong to the sore loser group. By lionizing Zaidi, the Post conveys the impression (which must be false) that it does too.
SCOTT adds: Jim Hoft tracks down reports showing Zaide to be a fan of al-Sadr. Reader Frank Warner writes:
The New York Times reported, deep in one story, that several people who know him said Zaidi was a Baathist who became a Sadrist “after the war.” I guess that means, not only that Zaidi has high hopes for another dictatorship in Iraq, but that the war is over.
Warner cites this New York Times article.
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