News & Politics

The U.S. Media's Hypocrisy with the World's Largest Jailer of Journalists

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP Photo)

U.S. media articles over the past week have highlighted a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on the jailing of journalists worldwide.

Among their findings is the fact that NATO “ally” Turkey, governed by autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan, remains the world’s largest jailer of journalists.

Some critics have complained that CPJ actually low-balls the number of jailed journalists.

For instance, instead of the 68 reporters jailed in Turkey claimed by CPJ, the Stockholm Center for Freedom records 242 journalists and media workers who have been convicted or are awaiting trial in Erdogan’s jails:

As I noted here at PJ Media back in September, one regular feature of the U.S. media’s coverage is that many major news outlets that editorialize on Erdogan’s abuses do so as they open their editorial pages to him.

Take, for example, the New York Times’ editorial board complaining about Erdogan’s ever-increasing authoritarianism that came out in August at the same time as they opened their opinion page to him:

It’s worth noting that it wasn’t long ago that the Gray Lady was promoting Erdogan’s regime as a model democracy:

The American media were tripping over themselves to push every laughable leak from Erdogan’s regime — nearly all of which were later debunked — following the killing of (sometime) Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Post, somewhat to their credit, allowed criticism of Erdogan’s feigned concern for freedom of the press.

They also have called out his rampant abuses:

But just like the New York Times, the Washington Post also opens their opinion pages to Turkey’s dictator:

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal runs Erdogan’s op-eds without qualification:

Erdogan’s abuse of journalists isn’t limited to Turkey. It was reported this past January that social media death threats targeting Belgian journalists had come from IP addresses assigned to the Turkish embassy in Brussels.

Other threats against journalists outside of Turkey barely get any mention:

Another issue is that U.S. media outlets give cursory coverage to major scandals involving our NATO “ally.”

Unless you are a regular consumer of international media, you would be hard-pressed to learn from the U.S. media that Erdogan’s regime was actively arming jihadist groups in Syria as ISIS was on the rise.

And there may have been a half-day news cycle noting that Erdogan was implicated in gold transfers specifically to bust U.S. sanctions on Iran, but it wasn’t much more than that.

Two years ago, Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute wrote about “12 Questions Turkey’s Journalists Can’t Ask.” But these are the same questions that the U.S. media won’t ask, either.

The media in America have the freedom to ask these questions but choose not to.

Earlier this week there were many in the U.S. media in attendance at the Doha Forum where Erdogan’s foreign minister made this outrageous claim just days after the CPJ report was published:

But who among the American media attendees of the event called him out? <crickets>

This has been part of a deliberate international campaign by the Erdogan regime to rewrite the history of his ongoing crackdown, specifically his jailing of journalists:

The U.S. media, which regularly gives airtime and space on their opinion pages to Erdogan and his henchmen, appears to be willing to go along with the charade.

And when these same media outlets report on journalists imprisoned around the world, it bears reminding that, given our constitutional press freedoms, they are the biggest hypocrites of all.