Reuters photo of masked gun-wielding "mourners"
As the cartoon chaos of Yassir Arafat’s Ramallah burial unspooled across American television, this morning, its gross excess and ugly metaphoric aspects, while, as usual, lost on our hapless media, appeared obvious to the mixed political bag of unusually chatty early-risers watching from the locker room of my YMCA.
Political left and right, finally after 'lo these many years at loggerheads, found common cause deriding our corporate media’s kid glove treatment of a terrorist’s funeral and laughter, oddly, filled these ancient rooms.
“Can you believe it?” “The guy was a killer.” “Our media’s a joke.” And, “It’s like they’re burying the Pope”, were common utterances played to the tune of shaken heads and rolled eyes.
Images that seemed obvious to the eyeballs of ordinary men must have accrued a baffling mist as they traveled through non-telegenic features toward the cognitive centers of cable luminaries prior to a stentorious and inaccurate intonation, or so it seemed.
Returning home to keyboard, screen and world wide web, I found print coverage ranging from cnn.com and msnbc.com’s delusional to latimes.com and bbc.com's more traditional fact-based reportage.
Both CNN and MSNBC made (intentional?) errors of fact by reporting that guns were fired “at the moment Yasser Arafat's body was lowered into his tomb” when, from the television coverage and as the BBC reported, it was clear that “mourners fired guns into the air as the coffin arrived on a helicopter” and continued throughout the inchoative ceremony.
In a final indignity and tribute to the Chairman’s vacillating leadership the wildly unruly mob, as blind to their new leaders as our media was to their own eyes, unceremoniously stripped the Palestinian flag from Arafat’s coffin and left me to cynically wonder how long before that same flag appears on Ebay.
Also from our Some Rumors Good/Some Rumors Bad Department, it appeared that HIV rumors were another curiously missing factoid from coverage that found ample time for equally groundless but perhaps more palatable and soothing rumors of poisoning.