Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Recently, the argument has been made that at least part of the outrage regarding the vicious murder of Washington Post reporter and Saudi Arabian nationalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey is due to a political hit job on President Donald J. Trump. As the argument goes, the media are pushing the story of Khashoggi's death as a way of embarrassing Trump; of making him look like a fool for having naively engaged an individual as evil as Mohammed bin Salman. In support of this theory, those promoting it point to the relative silence of that same media in response to the disgusting attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. In other words, if the media are so appalled at Khashoggi's murder, they ask, how come they weren't equally outraged at the murders of an American ambassador in Benghazi?
Regardless of the validity of the question, I believe the theory is largely flawed, and more importantly, the observation wholly irrelevant.
First, to the flaws in the theory. There is nothing naive about Trump. If there's anything the first two years of President Trump's presidency have taught us it is that the man is shrewd, astute, incredibly smart, and always at least one step ahead of the media and of his staunchest opponents. If President Trump engaged Saudi Arabia, it was because a very measured calculation led him to the conclusion that interacting with the regime was in the United States' best interests.
Saudi Arabia is a massive regional economic partner with the United States, particularly in the arena of aviation and military equipment. And although the United States has achieved energy independence, Saudi Arabia continues to hold the keys to global oil prices and energy stability. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is arguably the most important nonjudeochristian regional partner of the United States in the Middle East, and its support in the defeat of Iran is of paramount importance.
Second, although there's no question that the media are so obsessed with vilifying the President (and have already fabricated events to snub him), this factor alone is insufficient to explain the defensible level of indignation from the public and the press regarding the vile and evil murder of a foreign journalist.
The truth of the matter is that what happened in Turkey was pure, unadultered evil, and we are right in expressing outrage.
Which brings me to my second and more important point. Whether the press botched or concealed the news in Benghazi is wholly irrelevant to our response in Turkey. The United States, if it is to remain true to its foundational principles and its moral calling, must be indignant here because the vicious and clandestine assassination of a national in foreign soil by an oppressive regime is exactly the thing America is supposed to fight against.
Don't get me wrong, the events in Benghazi were absolutely unconscionable, and the media did grossly and deceitfully mishandle its coverage. And I agree, they did it to protect then President Barrack Hussein Obama and their darling Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, from political damage. But our befuddlement at the Benghazi coverage leads us to rightly criticize the bias of the press and its disingenuousness. It does not dispel the authenticity and appropriateness of the present response to Khashoggi's murder.
What's more, and even more importantly, we must continue to express outrage regarding this heinous, international and politically motivated crime because not doing so would place the rest of us in the same shoes in which the press stood nearly five years ago and continues to stand in today
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.