There’s nothing worse than trying to humanize a ruthless murderer driven by Islamic ideology, but that’s exactly what The New York Times did with Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi. The senile Gray Lady struggled to make sense of what could possibly lead a person to do something so evil against children and young teens despite the fact that Abedi admired the Islamic State.
But the real kicker for the paper was the fact that the killer phoned his mom before the attack.
“How are you doing, Mom? Please forgive me for anything I did wrong,” Abedi reportedly said in a short phone call to his family in Libya moments before he detonated himself at the Ariana Grande concert.
How could someone about to carry out such a vile act muster the humanity to call his mom before hand? The best the NYT could answer that question with was in its headline about Abedi’s life: “Before Manchester Bombing, a Path of Conflict and Rebellion.”
Conflict and rebellion, not commands from the Koran.
Even though the piece noted the continuing investigation into the network the jihadist was involved with, the Times desperately wanted to find out “what motivated Mr. Abedi.” (Mr. Abedi? Such respect for a cockroach.)
Somewhere deep into the nearly 2,000-word report, the NYT began forming an answer:
The last time Salman was noticed at the mosque was during a Friday prayer session in 2015 when the imam gave a sermon that was critical of the Islamic State. Salman angrily objected. It was around this time that at least two members of the congregation reported him on a counterterrorism hotline for expressing extremist views.
... he is believed to have had links with other young residents of the city who joined the Islamic State in recent years, security officials said. One of them is Raphael Hostey, a prolific recruiter for ISIS who is believed to have been killed in a drone strike in Syria in May last year, aged 24.
Despite denials from Mr. Hostey’s brother, Junade, officials believe that Mr. Abedi and Mr. Hostey knew each other before Mr. Hostey left for Syria in 2013. “He was his hero,” one law enforcement official said of Mr. Abedi’s admiration for Mr. Hostey.
Now, the NYT knows that Abedi sympathized with ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the suicide blast and vows to spread a global Islamic caliphate through murder, and the fact that Abedi wanted vengeance for his slain “hero” friend, yet, the paper still couldn’t find a tight-fitting connection. Instead, it was baffled by that phone call, as Newsbusters concluded:
One supposes that the decision to lead with Abedi's phone call to his mom was designed to humanize him in some readers' minds, and to sow the seeds of confusion about his motivations that tie into the report's "conflict and rebellion" headline.
But it's not at all unusual for murderers and terrorists to reach out to their mothers before or during their acts, or to leave a note behind for their mothers to see after their deaths. Now-deceased terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly called his mom "mid-shootout" the Friday after he and his brother committed the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Calling or communicating with mom doesn't make anyone just noted less of a murderer or terrorist, doesn't dilute the evil behind their motivations, and obviously does nothing to diminish the ugly impact of their acts. But it did help three New York Times reporters avoid the obvious.