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Mark Steyn

Steyn on Canada and the Commonwealth

The Airbrush is Mightier Than the Sword

As Kate McMillan says, the Canadian Press is in "particularly fine form" this Charlie Hebdo morn. Your uneducated, uncredentialed amateur would probably write something like:

On Jan. 7, 2015, two Muslim brothers killed 11 writers and artists at Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons they didn't like, as well as a policeman outside. Over the next two days, an accomplice shot a policewoman to death and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing four Jews.

But if you're a highly trained J-school graduate you know that the trick with journalism is to identify the who-what-where-why - and then remove it all. Thus:

On Jan. 7, 2015, two Muslim brothers...

Whoa, wait a minute. Weren't these guys born in France? Why, then, the salient fact about their identity is that they're citoyens, Frenchmen, as French as Edith Piaf with frogs' legs hanging out of each nostril:

On Jan. 7, 2015, two French-born accordion-playing Gauloise-smoking Maurice Chevalier fans...

Hold up there! Not all the facts are in yet. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves:

On Jan. 7 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 writers and artists at Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons they didn't like...

Wait a minute, that makes no sense. Why would French-born people kill cartoonists over some cartoons? French-born people love cartoons. It's the land of les bandes dessinƩes, Asterix, Lucky Luke... Just because the victims of these French-born people happen to be in a building that includes a magazine that publishes cartoons is no reason to go leaping to conclusions. How about..?

On Jan. 7 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 people inside the building where Charlie Hebdo operated, as well as a policeman outside...

What's that? You're wondering whether it's misleading not to mention the Muslim angle to the story? You're right. Gimme a minute. Lemme see here. Hmm...

On Jan. 7 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 people inside the building where Charlie Hebdo operated, as well as a Muslim policeman outside...

See how easy it is when you're a professional? That's the Muslim angle neatly wrapped up. So we've got French perps, Muslim victims, miscellaneous building occupants caught in the gunfire... What else? Oh, yes:

Over the next two days, an accomplice shot a policewoman to death and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing four Jews.

How do we know they were Jews? As President Obama and his spokespersons said, they were just a "random" "bunch of folks". They could have been imams stopping in for some bagels after Friday prayers: Are we working that angle yet? They could be neo-Nazis picking up some gefilte fish for the weekend skinhead convention. It's hard to tell with names like "Cohen". So let's be responsible here, and say:

...killing four hostages.

And so we arrive at today's Canadian Press report:

On Jan. 7, 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 people inside the building where Charlie Hebdo operated, as well as a Muslim policeman outside. Over the next two days, an accomplice shot a policewoman to death and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing four hostages.

Beautiful. I'd nominate it for a Canadian Newspaper Award, but unfortunately, due to an editing oversight, someone left the word "kosher" in.

As Kate McMillan notes, on this anniversary, the dangerous violent French-born movement is again on the rampage.

Meanwhile, something happened in some town in Germany around New Year. But you don't need to know about that.

January 7, 2016

 

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