The meeting might have been more rumor than fact.
Even if it were only a rumor, it would be one about a meeting that would:
- Be historically significant
- Involve a well-known, and somewhat controversial, former American president
- Defy the American State Department
- Happen in a colorful foreign setting
That was yesterday.
Today, Fox News and World Net Daily have been joined by CNN and other American news media.
The story is in the news around the English-speaking world, too. For example: "State Department urges Carter not to meet Meshaal" The Daily Star (April 11, 2008)(Lebanon); and "US advises Carter against any meeting with Hamas" Middle East Times (April 10, 2008) (Egypt).
Why Didn't Mainstream News Pick Up the Story Earlier?ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, CNN, and all the lesser lights of traditional American news media were slow on the uptake. Oddly so, considering the high-profile personalities, epochal historical issues, and major current events involved.
I think it's possible that it took their editorial staff almost 24 hours to decide how to handle the story.
As I noted in an earlier post today, CNN chose to end its article on the upcoming Carter/Meshaal meeting with an oddly incomplete set of observations.
I think that an idle reader of the CNN story might be left with the impression that Khaled Meshaal is the victim of deadly spite on Israel's part, and that a call for dialog - any dialog - between Israel and/or America and Hamas justifies a former American president lending the status of his position to a terrorist organization.
And, I have too much respect for the abilities of the CNN staff to assume that this impression was made accidentally.
I was particularly impressed that CNN used those old friends of journalists with a point to make: an anonymous group of "many experts;" and the collective wisdom of "A poll." Impressed, but not positively.
Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.