On Tuesday evening, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt were attacked by protestors. The attack in Benghazi led to the death of American ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other United States officials.
While what happened with the attacks is still confusing, one of the narratives emerging from them is that the protesters (if not necessarily the people who murdered the ambassador) were provoked by a YouTube movie.
- That the protesters were inflamed by a 2-hour long movie that had a $5 million budget;
- That there was a 14-minute trailer for the movie up on YouTube;
- That the cast and crew of the movie had been deceived about what kind of movie they were making;
- Or even that there was no movie at all – just a poorly assembled trailer made up of clips from other films.
Here’s the thing – this is starting to sound a lot like Truth 7 – There is no “they.” There are lots of rumors and stories circulating, and reporters are giving credence to these reports without having any clear idea about where the stories are coming from and whether they have any basis in fact (are they true?).
If we are going to try to understand the complex world we live in, we need to base that understanding on something approaching reality. And that reality will not come to use from some kind of mysterious “they.”
- An alternative narrative that I’m putting much more stock in is that the protesters were provoked by controversy sparked by the film that may or may not exist, but the attacks on the ambassador were carried out as a 9/11 response to the U.S. killing of an al Qaeda official last June.
- USA TODAY story reports planning of protests pre-dates controversy over film.