France is in the midst of a deadly social upheaval marked by murderous Islamic terrorist attacks.
What better time, then, for an ignorant Washington Post staffer to aggravate the situation by asserting falsely that the French government plans to target Muslim schoolchildren exclusively?
“Non-white French people have been sounding the alarm on [French President Emmanuel Macron] for years,” the Washington Post’s Karen Attiah tweeted this weekend. “But the global media wanted to anoint him as a centrist saint, the person who saved France from Marine Le Pen.”
She added, “Now, he’s wants [sic] to give Muslim kids ID numbers to go to school.”
This is just not true. There is a bill currently under consideration to issue all children IDs. Amazingly, Attiah, who you may recall is the same Washington Post staffer who said in June that white women “are lucky that we are just calling them Karens … [a]nd not calling for revenge,” backtracked later in what only barely qualifies as a clarification.
“To specify,” she wrote, “the bill wants to give all kids IDs.”
Ah — just a minor detail.
Attiah then added a note of defiance, refusing to concede her earlier lie-based assertion: “But the rest of the tweet still stands. To act like Macron isn’t stoking Islamophobia is simply folly.”
“I had an earlier tweet which said the ID Bill was targeting Muslim children which was incorrect,” she said later. “That said, it is foolish to ignore the likelihood that such a bill will likely create a climate in which Muslims will disproportionately suffer even more in France.” Again, this doesn’t even make sense.
Attiah then reworded the initial declaration, removing the false claim that Macron is targeting Muslim children specifically, and concluded with a snotty, “Feel better?”
The New York Times magazine’s Thomas Chatterton Williams summed up Attiah’s fabrication well: “This is the journalistic equivalent of malpractice,” he said of her initial false assertion. “It’s not true. This journalist is using her blue check and the authority of her publication to make what amount to dangerous accusations in a context where people — in a country she doesn’t live in—are being killed in the streets.”
He added, “This is actually fake news. And it’s incredible that she half walks it back like this.”
The man is not wrong.
“It’s shocking the way so many in the American media (I’m not talking about the correspondents over here) are weighing in on a foreign situation they don’t have a clue about but are too happy to filter through their own domestic concerns and biases,” Williams continued. “This is a combustible situation and [Attiah] just made it worse.”
Rather than take the well-deserved criticism on the chin like a big kid, Attiah maintained her fake-but-accurate stance, saying, “[K]nock it off. I retracted and apologized.” She had not, in fact, apologized. Quite the opposite, actually.
“But what France needs to do is not continue the cycle of hostility towards Muslims,” she said, still responding to Williams.
It was only later that Attiah apologized.
“I do unequivocally apologize for the error I made in saying that Macron’s bill targets Muslim children,” she said. “I do have a responsibility to facts. And I do not want to make anything harder for my colleagues who are doing an amazing job with a difficult story.”
In retrospect, perhaps it was not the best idea for internationally powerful newsrooms to outsource their news and commentary sections to self-obsessed child activists with acute victim complexes.