Dogs That Don’t Bark

One of the most famous quotes from Sherlock Holmes was his discussion of a dog that did not bark:

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Sometimes, what does not happen or what is not said is far more significant than what someone does or says.

Two great examples came to mind recently.

First up, the Boston Globe (that endless fount of all that is absurd and ridiculous and wrong about liberalism) opined about the Middle East. More specifically, they talked about Israel forming “a seaprate peace” with Syria.

The Globe goes into some detail about the Israeli-Syrian relationship over the years. They mention the Golan Heights, the biggest sticking point, without mentioning that Israel captured them in a war that Syria started, but that’s only to be expected. They also talk about getting Syria away from being a sponsor of terrorism and cutting its influence in Iraq.

But they never mention one key element: the Israeli attack on Syria that blew up a rather mysterious building. Up until recently, it was largely believed to have been a nuclear weapons research facility — but more recent speculations have suggested something far more serious: a nuclear weapons assembly plant.

This is a furtherance of the “conspiracy of silence” surrounding the raid. Lots of people have said a lot of things about the attack, but the two nations who’ve had the least to say have been the two who have the most to add: Israel and Syria.

Another story drawing attention for what it lacks has to be the New York Times’ account of the legal and moral travails of a company called “InfoUSA.” Outstanding blogger (and noted author) Dafydd ab Hugh took a long, hard look at the Times’ coverage and went into some detail on one aspect that the Times somehow overlooked.

No, that’s not fair. Considering that the Times itself was one of Dafydd’s own sources for discussing the incredibly unethical and potentially illegal behavior by InfoUSA and their rather substantial financial support of Bill and Hillary Clinton, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that the Times is actively trying to conceal that fact.

Finally, almost — but not quite — making the cut was this AP article on Lebanon. That poor country is currently without a president. Hezbollah says that it’s American meddling in Lebanese affairs that is preventing Lebanon from having a president.

The final paragraph is a remarkable whitewashing, but not quite as thorough as that of the Globe’s water-carrying for the Clintons:

The United States has said the new Lebanese president must be committed to implementation of international demands, a reference to UN Security Council resolutions that call for disarming Hezbollah, which Washington labels a terrorist organization.

Note the bland language: “…which Washington labels a terrorist organization.” No mention that Hezbollah killed 241 American service members in Beirut in 1982. No mention of how the UN Security Council resolutions were a reaction to Hezbollah’s repeated attacks on Israel triggering last year’s 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel, with benighted Lebanon stuck as the battlefield. No mention that the UN resolutions specifically call for Lebanon to reassert control over its own territory, as Hezbollah dominates about the southern third of the country and doesn’t allow Lebanese military to operate there. No mention of how Hezbollah has been re-armed by Iran and Syria to the point where it has more missiles and rockets than before their war with Israel. And no mention of how Hezbollah’s patron, Syria, has a very lengthy record of influencing Lebanese politics — “influencing” being defined as “blowing up or otherwise assassinating Lebanese who dare complain too loudly about how much Syria and Hezbollah run the country.”

One of the toughest aspects of journalism has to be to know what sorts of information is important to include — and what can be safely omitted. I’m at a considerable advantage over a journalist; I have no editor to pare down my work, and I can write at whatever length I wish. I’ve written pieces over 1600 words at a time, yet two of my proudest pieces are this one-word entry and this one, where I simply repeated six words over and over.

But these incidents — the New York Times on InfoUSA, the Globe on Syrian-Israeli relations, and the AP on Lebanon’s presidential crisis — all lean more towards indicated a bias, a prejudice in matters where they claim to be objective reporters of fact.

Pity they can’t actually do that.

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