Will conservative bloggers apologize to Jill Carroll?

Columnist Ellen Goodman calls for some mea culpas.

By Katharine Mieszkowski
April 7, 2006 10:18PM (UTC)
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Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman wants bloggers who denounced journalist Jill Carroll immediately after her release from capitivity as anti-American to apologize.

Don't bet on it.

In her column today, Goodman fumes: "In the hours between captivity and true freedom, Carroll was seen in one propaganda film describing the mujahideen as 'good people fighting an honorable fight' and in another interview saying she was never threatened. An online jeering section bought it hook, line, and sinker without waiting to hear that the videos were made under threat. As Alex Jones of Harvard's Shorenstein Center said, 'They were gulled by a clever piece of propaganda and ought to be ashamed of themselves.'"


"The printouts on my desk describe the 28-year-old journalist, a hostage and victim for 82 terrifying days, as something between Patty Hearst and Baghdad Jane, between a traitor and 'Princess Jill.' TBone posted a potshot, calling Carroll 'a liar' and the kidnapping 'a total scam.' PA Pundits said that ''I still just can't get past her being (for the most part) unharmed." And Debbie Schlussel called her a 'spoiled brat America-hater.'"

Goodman also dutifully notes that it wasn't just bloggers who got caught up in this frenzy. Don Imus' producer, Bernard McGuirk, described Carroll as ''the kind of woman who would wear one of those suicide vests ... She may be carrying Habib's baby."

But if Goodman is waiting for an apology from the likes of Debbie Schlussel, she could be waiting a long time. Just yesterday, Schlussel posted two denunciations of Carroll's politics. In one she compared Carroll's recantings of her statements made while in captivity to Oprah Winfrey's changing her position on memoirist James Frey: "Remember, Oprah Winfrey turning on fabricator James Frey on Larry King. But she suddenly did a 180 when she saw the negative reaction against her for doing so. That's probably what happened with Jill Carroll. She won't call those who kidnapped her, 'terrorists,' and won't say what her real views are." It sure doesn't sound like Schlussel is very sorry.


Over on PA Pundits, Mike Williams writes: "Of course, Ellen Goodman may be just a little too quick to be calling for an apology. I'd like to see Carroll get interrogated first." TBone is the blogger cited by Goodman who comes the closest to apologizing: "If Jill Carroll did not have anything to do with her abduction, and if she was an innocent victim of terrorist kidnappers, then I sincerely apologize to her for accusing her of complicity." Then, he goes on to detail all the reasons he suspects that Carroll was involved in her own capture.

Welcome home, Jill!

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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