This is a Jeffrey Goldberg post, in its entirety. The headline is “Move Along, Nothing to See Here.”

Five young Muslim-Americans wash up in Pakistan on the way to jihad camp. But I can’t imagine this means something:

One of the men had left behind an 11-minute video calling for the defense of Muslims in conflicts with the West and suggesting that “young Muslims have to do something,” said one person who had seen the video, describing it as a farewell of sorts. Another person who viewed it called the video “disturbing,” though he said it was not a martyrdom video of the kind sometimes made by extremists planning suicide attacks.

Not even an attempt to say what it actually means. The blockquote itself, as is plain, contains ambiguous information. Perhaps it’s because I’m currently putting together a piece trying to calibrate precisely what the recent fusillade arrests of American Muslims linked to international terrorism does mean, but responsible journalism dictates — as its most baseline and minimal stipulation — to put together some informed explanation of what the fucking thing at stake actually means.

Instead, let’s examine what we have here, since we don’t actually have any substantive engagement with the thing-itself. We have a meta-observation that depends on a presumption that the rest of the world wants to ignore Something Sinister about Those People, and only Brave Truthtellers will tell the Truth about Those People. This isn’t journalism, or analysis, or criticism. It’s empty and vile innuendo. This is your racist uncle who shoots you a what’d-I-tellya arched eyebrow when the evening news shows a black man being arrested. The Atlantic is treating this as journalism, and will continue to.

This post’s grammar was initially awful, and so I’ve corrected it to be just kind-of-bad.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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