Man who brought down terrorist not named in WSJ story about “heroic” passengers

The Wall Street Journal has a somewhat more detailed account of the events on the plane, but oddly leaves out key facts. The article begins:

Seconds after passengers spotted flames climbing above the back of a window seat midway down the left side of Northwest Flight 253, Friday’s routine descent toward Detroit’s main airport turned into horror, mayhem and instant heroism.

Just as the widebody Airbus A330 made a rumbling sound as the landing gear started down, horrified travelers in seats around the young Nigerian later detained as a terrorism suspect started screaming, according to eyewitness reports by passengers. Flight attendants quickly joined the hubbub around the man in seat 19A, repeatedly screaming “What are you doing?”

There was a pop and then smoke wafted through the cabin. A passenger then climbed over several seats, lunged across the aisle and managed to subdue the suspect, the eyewitnesses said. The Nigerian man was placed in a headlock before being dragged up to the first class cabin. Passenger Zeina Seagal told CNN that after the suspect was collared and parts of his burning pants were removed, flight attendants quickly grabbed fire extinguishers and doused the fire at his seat.

The identity and nationality of the passenger, a 32-year-old Dutchman named Jasper Schuringa, who subdued the suspect, are never given. And the further act—which a Dutch paper said was also done by Shuringa—of placing the suspect in a headlock and dragging him to the first class cabin, is put in the passive voice: “The Nigerian man was placed in a headlock before being dragged up to the first class cabin.”

So the Journal reporters, Neal Boudette and Andy Pasztor, start off by referring to “heroism,” then leave out the name and some of the actions of the hero. Strange.

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Stephen T. writes:

The mainstream media would much prefer to report that the terrorist bomber was subdued by a diverse collection of passengers of all races acting in concert, rather than the individual initiative of a lone white European male forcefully asserting control of the situation without negotiation or coalition-building first.

Does anyone doubt that, had a wise Latina conked the guy over the head with a piece of carry-on, and had he then been put in a headlock by an African man (even better: one from Obama’s ancestral homeland of Kenya) this would be trumpeted in the headline or at least the lead sentence of the article?

LA replies:

To speak in the story’s lead paragraph of “instant heroism,” and then refer to a passanger who climbed over several seats and forcefully subdued the suspect, but then not give the name of that passenger, is so obtrusively strange that I can see no other explanation.

Conclusion: The Wall Street Journal is as in-your-face Orwellian as the New York Times. Their message is, heroism is good, but if the hero is a white man, he’s a non-person.

LA continues:

Of course, most WSJ readers will not have read the Gates of Vienna translation of the Dutch story about Jasper Schuringa. They won’t know that it’s a white European man who is strangely unnamed. But if they’re at all sentient, the fact that the story lauds heroism, but doesn’t name the hero, has to hit them. The message they are getting is not a presence, but a conspicuous absence.

LA adds (7:13 p.m):

In a later entry, I link and quote coverage of Schuringa in numerous manstream outlets. However, the WSJ article, which was last updated at 4:53 p.m. today, still does not mention Schuringa.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 26, 2009 04:23 PM | Send

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