Last year at NRO I wrote: “The short 90-year history of independent Egypt is that it got worse” — and was about to get “worse still.” Eighty years ago, Egypt was ruled by a ramshackle, free-ish monarchy in mimicry of the Westminster system; forty years ago, it was under the control of authoritarian, secular pan-Arab nationalists; and now the Muslim Brotherhood guy has won the election.
But don’t worry, on the day Mubarak stepped down, America’s director of national intelligence, who presides over the most lavishly funded intelligence bureaucracy on the planet, was telling the world that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular.” So that’s okay.
The linked clip of me and Megyn Kelly aired an hour or so after Mubarak’s resignation, and is the same interview in which I said this was the dawn of the post-Western Middle East. “Experts” can get a lot of things wrong, but rarely on the scale of the Western media in February 2011, even as they were on the sharp end of the ”Facebook Revolution”:
Within minutes of Mubarak’s resignation, the CBS reporter Lara Logan, covering events in Tahrir Square, was set upon by a 200-strong mob who stripped her, punched her, beat her with flagpoles, and subjected her to a half-hour sexual assault by multiple participants while shouting “Jew! Jew!…”
What’s striking about this story is not so much that her own employer, CBS News, chose not to run it until over three days later – on the following Monday – but that in the intervening period they pumped out the same sappy drivel as everybody else – ”Egypt’s New Age Revolution” (60 Minutes), “Egypt Proved Change Is Possible, Sexy And Cool!” (CBS Sunday Morning) – even as they knew there was another side to the story, and that their own correspondent was lying in the hospital traumatised because of it.
We can’t do anything about the disposition of the Egyptian electorate, but we could at least stop deluding ourselves. Mubarak, according to various reports, is in a coma, or “clinically dead,” or near death. Let’s suppose the “Facebook Revolution” had never happened, and he’d continued ruling until stricken by ill health a year or so later. Does anyone suppose his successor would have been any worse than the Brotherhood/military carve-up Egypt’s wound up with?
Or, as CBS would put it, any less “sexy and cool”?