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October 30, 2009

FBI kills Muslim radical -- Washington Post's 1-Sentence Story

“Radical Muslim sect leader killed in FBI raid” declared the headline above The Washington Times’ top “Nation” page article on October 29. The lead paragraph noted that “the FBI ... fatally shot the [Detroit] leader [Luqman Ameen Abdullah] of a radical Muslim sect who preached a violent, separation theology and, authorities said, once remarked that law enforcement would have to shoot him before it could arrest him.”

USA Today also played the news atop its “Nation” page on the 29th, under the headline “Radical Muslim leader killed in raid; FBI charges 10 men in Mich. Tied to possible jihad scheme.”

The New York Times also covered the shooting in an article headlined “F.B.I. Raid Kills Islamic Group Leader in Michigan” on page A-20 of the newspaper’s October 29 edition. It added that “the Ummah’s top leader nationally is Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, the [1960’s and ’70s] black power activist, who is serving a life sentence for murdering a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia in 2000.”

The Washington Times and New York Times assigned their own reporters to the story. USA Today, a Gannett Corp. newspaper, used coverage by three reporters for the Detroit Free Press, also part of the Gannett chain, and from Associated Press.

And The Washington Post? It squeezed the AP dispatch about the killing of Abdullah into a one-sentence news brief, the last of five items in a “Digest” on that day’s “Politics & The Nation” page, A-3. The Baltimore Sun, which also briefed wire service coverage of the killing, gave it four paragraphs in a similar digest.

The Post recurrently minimizes, comes late to, and/or softens coverage of domestic Islamic radicalism, non-violent as well as violent. CAMERA has pointed this out previously, for example in the case of Virginia’s Esam Omeish. Yet such extremism — including the under-reported phenomenon of religious conversion and radical recruitment in prisons — remains newsworthy. Though variety in newspapers’ news judgement may ensure broader coverage, in cases like that of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, The Washington Post should follow the leaders.

Posted by ER at October 30, 2009 04:11 PM

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