William Safire pens a timely and thoughtful op-ed, "The Kidnap Weapon," which argues for more responsible coverage of Zarqawi terrorist kidnappings. A few excerpts:
We know, too, that the kidnap weapon is aimed at the U.S. election. What we do not know is how its heavily publicized use will cut. Will Americans react to all-kidnap-all-the-time by being revolted at the savagery and turn to the candidate determined to wipe out the barbarians? Or will we be so revolted as to think Iraqis are hopelessly uncivilized or beaten down, and turn to the candidate who will get us out of there the fastest?
John Kerry, who has evidently decided to replace Howard Dean as the antiwar candidate, last weekend helped to magnify the terrorists kidnap weapon. In a scheduled commercial Kerry personally approved, just before charging that George Bush had no plan to get us out of Iraq, the Democratic campaign underscored the message Zarqawi has been sending: "Americans," said Kerrys announcer, "are being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded."
Its bad enough for some thoughtless media outlets to become an echo chamber for scare propaganda; its worse when the nominee of a major party approves its use to press his antiwar candidacy.