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The Post Gives the Saudi Ambassador a Free Pass

This interview [1] with Prince Khaled bin Salman, the new Saudi ambassador to the U.S., is a frustrating example of how little scrutiny and criticism the Saudis tend to face in Western media. The ambassador is naturally going to recite his government’s talking points, and no one expects anything else, so it is up to the interviewer to press him on the subjects where he dissembles or misleads the audience. On the whole, that never happens, and the Post‘s readership isn’t much more informed than they were at the beginning.

For instance, when the ambassador refers repeatedly to Iranian “expansionism” in the region, it would have been fair for the interviewer to ask for examples of said expansionism or to point out that it is his government that is waging a war against one of its neighbors in a transparent bid to install a puppet ruler. Khaled bin Salman criticizes Iran’s support for terrorism, but he doesn’t face any questions about the role that the Saudi-led war on Yemen has had in strengthening Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or the collaboration between AQAP forces and the coalition during the war.

The war on Yemen is addressed briefly, but it is discussed in a way that allows the ambassador to recite the Saudi propaganda version of the war without challenge. The ambassador asserts that the Houthis must “become part of Yemen, not part of Iran.” Instead of pushing back on this obvious bit of nonsense by observing that Iran’s role in the conflict has been negligible or that the Houthis aren’t actually Iranian proxies, the interviewer just moves on to the next question. The coalition blockade led by the Saudis and the enormous humanitarian catastrophe that the ambassador’s government has helped to create go entirely unmentioned. The words famine and cholera are nowhere to be found in the excerpts, and the indiscriminate bombing campaign likewise doesn’t rate a question.

That kid-gloves approach may have been a condition of being granted the interview, or maybe it wasn’t, but either way the ambassador wasn’t forced to answer for his government’s outrageous policies. The result is that the Saudi ambassador is given a prominent platform to spread misinformation without any real accountability, and that makes it that much easier for his government to get away with their appalling treatment of Yemen.

6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "The Post Gives the Saudi Ambassador a Free Pass"

#1 Comment By a spencer On August 7, 2017 @ 6:54 pm


#2 Comment By Hyperion On August 7, 2017 @ 7:44 pm

Google Lally Weymouth.

#3 Comment By Chris Chuba On August 8, 2017 @ 7:39 am

a spencer, LMAO.

The biggest mistake the Iranians ever made was not throwing any of their money at U.S. think tanks or Universities like the Saudis do. Maybe they have the better long term strategy because they can actually build things with their own two hands but ignoring the Information War completely is asking for trouble IMHO. A lot of things can happen between now and when the Saudis finally implode.

#4 Comment By James Hartwick On August 8, 2017 @ 9:55 am

That kid-gloves approach may have been a condition of being granted the interview, or maybe it wasn’t, but either way the ambassador wasn’t forced to answer for his government’s outrageous policies.
The problem here is that if there is no interview, it is clear that no hard questions were asked because no questions were asked. If there is an interview, that muddies the waters because the claim of openness to the press can be made. An interview of soft questions can be worse for the American public than no interview at all.

Thanks for the article.

#5 Comment By Lynn Molina On August 8, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

And what about it’s treatment of women? that is over 50% of the population with absolutely no rights!!! Saudi Arabia is more authortarian than Syria has ever been…

#6 Comment By Martin Dayle On August 10, 2017 @ 12:53 am

You do understand that lobbyists set up these interviews and many interviewers privately wished they were on million dollar Saudi payroll. Once you understand this, it makes better sense.