On November 19, the Washington Times reported that 200,000 Jordanians demonstrated against the al Qaeda leader Zarqawi and the suicide bombings of three Amman hotels. Here are the lead grafs:
AMMAN, JORDAN At least 200,000 persons demonstrated yesterday against the recent bombings of three luxury hotels, while a new online statement attributed to terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi defended the attacks and threatened to cut off the head of Jordan's King Abdullah II. An antiterrorist demonstration of such size is unprecedented in the Arab world, where Zarqawi, his mentor, Osama bin Laden, and their al Qaeda organization have attained folk-hero status among Muslim masses. "Zarqawi, from Amman, we say to you: 'You are a coward,'" protesters chanted while brandishing banners with the names of their tribes from every part of Jordan.
This is big news, man-bites-dog news. We have long been told that the Arab "street" would rise up against the United States. Instead, the Arab "street," at least in Amman, is rising up against al Qaeda. This is also extraordinarily heartening news. Arab demonstrators are protesting suicide bombings. I have long said that George W. Bush's Middle East policies are an attempt to change minds in the Middle East, to end people's preoccupation with opposing the United States and Israel and to get them preoccupied instead with opposing terrorism and Islamofascism. The Jordan demonstrations are evidence that this policy is working.
But it is not big news anywhere. My searches of the websites for the Washington Post and the New York Times show little or no coverage at all of these demonstrations. (If I have missed such stories, please let me know; and apologies to the writers and editors if I have.) The New York Times ran a story November 20 on Zarqawi's letter to Jordanians disclaiming any intention to bomb a Muslim wedding, the fifth paragraph of which reads as follows:
"The recording was posted on the same day that thousands of people crowded into downtown Amman, waving banners that called for Jordanian unity while breaking into anti-Zarqawi chants."
That's it: unspecified "thousands of people."
Open Source Media notes that the Washington Times story stood out virtually alone.