Foreign journalists reporting on the anti-government protests have increasingly been under attack by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak’s government. Pro-government forces have detained, beaten or arrested dozens, if not hundreds, of reporters in the past few days as they were trying to get the story out to the world. CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported that he and his crew were repeatedly beaten. An ABC News correspondent and his crew were carjacked and threatened with beheading.
Naturally, the crackdown — believed to be the work of the Egyptian government — has been widely criticized. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the attacks were an assault on free speech and called on the Mubarak government to allow journalists to report without impediment.
Yet, many on the right don’t see it that way. A writer on Andrew Breitbart’s “Big Peace” website said yesterday, “I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for those who have been attacked,” he said, adding, “[W]hen they take huge risks for the sake of ratings and then find themselves in trouble, it’s hard to take seriously.” Fox News has had at least three of its reporters harassed or beaten, yet Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade “sarcastically” praised the Egyptian government’s thuggery skills. “You got to hand it…to the forces out there that seem to be pro-Mubarak who are beating up every news source,” he said.
And the New Republic’s Marty Peretz accused journalists in Egypt of “professional narcissism,” saying they should’ve expected to get beaten. But perhaps comments from right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher win the most insensitive prize. Gallagher not only suggested that ABC’s Christiane Amanpour might join “Death to America” chants there, but — with clear homophobic undertones — attacked Cooper for getting beaten, even saying that he may have “enjoyed it a little bit”:
GALLAGHER: Maybe that isn’t where you ought to go wandering around Anderson, all, what are you about 5’7” – 5’8”? What do you go Anderson about 160? With your little perfectly quaffed grey hair and your little delicate features you might not want to go over to Egypt and walk around the middle of a crowd that’s screaming “death to America.” … I wonder if Christine [sic] Amanpour wasn’t right there with them. “Death to America! Down with America!” […]
Hey Anderson, were you really punched 10 times in the head? Come on. It almost sounds like he enjoyed it a little bit. … “Oh I was punched 10 times in the head.” Well that’s what happens when you go into a bunch of rioters, dopey.
Watch the compilation:
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh dismissively said he didn’t “feel any outrage” that the Egyptian government was rounding up journalists. Media Matters reports today that veteran war correspondents have criticized Limbaugh for his comments.