PA targets reporters – but that’s just half the story
PA targets reporters – but that’s just half the story

Writers say the darndest things. The Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, for example, said the following when she addressed fellow literary worthies at a PEN America awards gala.

Quoting her word for word, she said: "When democracy is in retreat, the first thing authoritarians do is silence those who are telling stories they dislike."

So true. Applause! Applause!

Atwood continued: "While the United States isn't putting reporters in prison yet, the tactics of the current administration are dangerous."

Who could that be?

Naturally she meant Trump as being authoritarian, and dangerous enough to put reporters in prison, though not yet. It’s chilling, she warned, and it’s coming.

Guess what? It came. But not under Trump. It came under Obama. Where was that speech from Miss Atwood?

Disobedient reporters were not tolerated and found themselves shipped to re-conditioning camp – under Obama.

Where was that uprising from PEN or from the Committee to Protect Journalists?

Dinesh D’Souza was jailed for speaking out against Obama in his films and during his appearances on TV. They found some other pretext. But that fooled nobody.

He offended Obama and was made to pay the price, and if that’s not chilling, maybe this? “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Obama said that at the UN, 2012 – though newsrooms throughout the nation (and the world) got the message.

So did Fox News reporter James Rosen who was put under surveillance by Holder’s Justice Department for digging too deeply into a story that might harm the Obama Administration.

In other words, Miss Atwood, Rosen was silenced, and so were those watchdog groups who are supposed to keep tabs and protect journalists from White House intimidation.

But it was Obama’s White House, so there were no speeches about that at PEN America – whose motto runs as, “The freedom to write.”

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula – name mean anything? Well it did to the Obama Administration, which had him arrested, yes, jailed, for some obscure strip of film that was blamed – wrongly – for touching off the 2012 terror attack in Libya. They needed somebody to take the fall, anyone except Hillary Clinton who was asleep on the job as Obama’s secretary of state.

Let’s call this what it is – selective outrage. Under Trump, everything is treyf. Under Obama, everything was kosher.

Let’s call this what it is – selective outrage. Under Trump, everything is treyf. Under Obama, everything was kosher.

Those Guardians of a Free Press are quite selective about which writers get their laurels. Tom Friedman won three Pulitzers and it’s only Monday.  

Writers who don’t have the proper connections, or who fall on the wrong side politically, get snubbed.

Free speech for me but not for thee. Depends whose Cause is being gored. We covered that elaborately in two books that expose the innards of journalism, “The Bathsheba Deadline” and “News Anchor Sweetheart,” back to back thrillers on media bias -- and now comes this from the Gatestone Institute.

It’s about two Palestinian Arab journalists who were beaten by members of the Palestinian Authority for covering a disturbance against Mahmoud Abbas. Those were Palestinian Arabs who were rioting, media darlings, to say it plainly, thus no protests from Reporters without Borders, nor from the Committee to Protect Journalists, nor from PEN, and nothing from Margaret Atwood.

Gatestone journalist Bassam Tawil doubles down on what we covered in “The Bathsheba Deadline,” writing – “The truth is that the Palestinian Authority is a body that has long been functioning as a dictatorship that suppresses freedom of speech and imposes a reign of terror on Palestinian journalists and critics” – echoes as we have it on Page 147 from former Israeli press secretary Daniel Seaman.

So where’s the outrage about those tactics? We’re waiting.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He is the author of the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal” and most recently the two inside journalism thrillers “The Bathsheba Deadline” and “News Anchor Sweetheart, Hollywood Edition.” Engelhard is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence.