As so many of us mourn the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, I keep thinking how he was among that special breed of journalists courageous enough to speak out at any cost against injustice — including the constant threat of death. It was Khashoggi’s outspoken criticism of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that led to his brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Khashoggi’s death is a stark reminder of the fatalities suffered by correspondents around the world who are being killed simply for doing their jobs. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists database of attacks on the press, 45 reporters have died this year alone as a result of murder, crossfire or dangerous assignment. From 1995 to 2017, thousands of journalists have lost their lives.
I’ve been a journalist for some three decades, and those who know me can attest to the fact that I have not lost one ounce of passion and vigor over the years and remain fearless when it comes to calling out the wrongs in Hollywood. But, I have often thought — and in times like these am acutely aware — that my job is frivolous compared with those of the brave souls who put themselves in harm’s way and put their lives on the line for their work.
That any journalist, and I use the term loosely when it comes to the likes of Fox News right-wing host Tucker Carlson, has the audacity to say that the global outrage over the killing of Khashoggi is “so false,” as he did, is beyond offensive. He should be fired for suggesting that the public anger over a valiant man’s death was a “stunt.”
Carlson and Fox News are mouthpieces for the sick views propagated by Donald Trump, who vilifies the media and refers to it as “the enemy of the people.” The president has stirred up a frenzied hostility toward the press by vicious hatemongers. Case in point: the recent spate of packages containing pipe bombs mailed to those perceived to be Trump critics (a suspect was apprehended in Florida on Oct. 26). CNN received two of the suspicious parcels. Others were sent to Democratic politicians and Robert De Niro. This kind of twisted behavior runs contrary to the tenets of a true democracy that protects a free press.