It's New Year's Eve and, as is our wont, we have a song for the season. In about three-quarters of an hour I'll be closing out the old year behind the Golden EIB Microphone for three hours of substitute-host-level Excellence in Broadcasting on America's Number One radio show. The fun starts at 12 noon Eastern/9am Pacific. Hope you'll dial us up either via the iHeart Radio app or on one of over 600 stations across the fruited plain, such as our old friends at WNTK New Hampshire, where you can listen to the full show from anywhere on the planet right here.
~I mentioned this on Friday's Rush, but, before the old year closes, I'd like to get in one more of those Steyn I-Told-You-So moments that, yes, I know faintly irritate readers.
But, ever since the news broke of Jamal Khashoggi's grim fate inside a Saudi consulate, I've taken the view that this man was not a "journalist" at all but a deep-state spook who made the mistake of falling out with the wrong people. I touched on it with John Oakley here, and with Nigel Farage below:
The sob-sister suckers of America's patsy media didn't care for my dissent from the agreed narrative:
Filling in for Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, Mark Steyn — during an interview with Nigel Farage — said the following about Khashoggi:
'And we should also be clear, too, Khashoggi is being presented as a hero of journalism. He's probably going to be Time magazine's Man of the Year just because he is a dead so-called journalist."
The sob-suckers didn't care for that "so-called journalist" line, sniffing that Steyn provided no "evidence or elaboration on what he meant". Actually, I did:
Nephew of Saudi Arabia's biggest arms dealer, cousin of the Princess of Wales' playboy boyfriend, Jamal Khashoggi was an extremely well-connected man ...until he fell out with the House of Saud. But he was not chopped to pieces in Istanbul because he was a "journalist", and not even the desperate American press can be so parochial and solipsistic as to believe that.
Ah, but they did. Because they spend so much time being propagandists for their own causes they have no nose for a real story - like when someone is doing exactly the same to them.
Well, I was right - not only in my prediction that Time would make him their "Man of the Year", as an heroic journalist who paid the ultimate price, but also in the larger sense. His newspaper, The Washington Post, now publishes a story blandly headlined "Khashoggi's Final Months: An Exile in the Long Shadow of Saudi Arabia" - and way, way deep into the piece, you realize it's not an elegy at all but a modified, limited hang-out to get the Post off an awkward hook and discreetly disclose they were duped:
Perhaps most problematic for Khashoggi were his connections to an organization funded by Saudi Arabia's regional nemesis, Qatar. Text messages between Khashoggi and an executive at Qatar Foundation International show that the executive, Maggie Mitchell Salem, at times shaped the columns he submitted to The Washington Post, proposing topics, drafting material and prodding him to take a harder line against the Saudi government. Khashoggi also appears to have relied on a researcher and translator affiliated with the organization...
Editors at The Post's opinion section, which is separate from the newsroom, said they were unaware of these arrangements...
You don't say. In contrast to the Post's shifty, evasive, passive, woozy, blurry headline, Asharq al-Awsat puts the only real news in the story up in its headline:
Text Messages Reveal Khashoggi's 'Problematic' Ties with Qatar
So what exactly is "problematic" about it?
In early August, Salem prodded Khashoggi to write about Saudi Arabia's alliances 'from DC to Jerusalem to rising right wing parties across Europe...bringing an end to the liberal world order that challenges their abuses at home.'
Khashoggi expressed misgivings about such a strident tone, then asked, 'So do you have time to write it?'
'I'll try," she replied.
So in other words The Washington Post passed off foreign-government propaganda as an authentic op-ed opinion column. Khashoggi wasn't a journalist at all, notwithstanding that pathetic Time "Person of the Year" cover whose truth didn't even make it to December 31st. This is "problematic" not so much for Khashoggi, whose various body parts are pushing up daisies in various bits of scrub around Turkey, but for the Post. Indeed, Liz Sly, the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, concedes that it's not only "problematic" but rises to the level of "worrying":
Worryingly, an executive for the Qatar Foundation helped Jamal Khashoggi write some of his columns and the @washingtonpost didn't know.
It's a lot more than "worrying". Mainstream media chumps' view of their own profession is a combination of sentimentalized pomposity so deeply ingrained that they can't even tell, even when it's staring them in the face, that they've been played for rubes.
~If you'd like to start the New Year right, and you're in Pennsylvania or upstate New York (or southern Ontario), you could do a lot worse than book a seat for the first ever Dennis Miller/Mark Steyn tour. (There's also a chance to meet me and Dennis after the show - if you haven't fled in disgust.) We kick off in Reading, Pennsylvania in February, but tickets are going fast - I think there's a couple dozen left in the orchestra (or stalls, as we say in my cultural tradition) so don't leave it too late.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline starting with another full hour of guest-hosting on "Tucker Carlson Tonight". Our Saturday movie date was a bon anniversaire celebration of Gerard Depardieu, working on his gaydar in The Closet. And our live-performance video edition of Steyn's Song of the Week contemplated the chimes of midnight with "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Bonus listen: if you haven't heard Ashley Webster's one-hour interview of me on his Fox podcast, you're missing a treat. So, if you were too busy putting the jackpot question to your true love this weekend, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
Oh, and there's even more larks in The Mark Steyn Club.
See you on the radio imminently - and give us a call: 1 (800) 282-2882.