Friday, while watching the World Cup Quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands, American soccer writer Grant Wahl collapsed and was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Having been both estranged from the Qatari government and of sound health, it is natural to suppose that foul play has been offered for an explanation for his sudden collapse. Even so, while Qatar has not been shy about its hostility to some of the stances that Wahl has taken in his advocacy, including detaining him for wearing a shirt in opposition to the regime’s sharia-based law code, it would be immensely foolish for Qatar to attempt to silence a noted Western journalist by assassinating him openly. It remains to be seen what sort of enemies that Wahl had and whether any of them conspired to bring him to a dramatic and untimely demise.
Let us remember that a journalist always has enemies. When one is engaged in writing about current events, framing them (as is often the case) in a political framework, the choice a journalist makes is who is to be one’s enemies, not whether one has them. Most journalists in the West are generally aligned with Western governments, crony capitalists (including the owners of their newspapers or news channels), and various decadent entertainment systems as well as corrupt educational institutions that are all similarly connected to each other. Such commitments tend to lead journalists to become enemies of the truth, and enemies of the ordinary people at large, by deliberately suppressing stories that make corrupt elites look bad and by showing an ingrained hostility towards cultural and political forces that are contrary to that corrupt elite.
The alternative is a brave one, but hardly a less dangerous one, by making oneself an enemy of that corrupt elite and its entrenched political power. It can be an immensely dangerous place to put oneself as a writer who is opposed to corrupt political and cultural elites, as it invites dungeons and death as solutions to noisy voices of opposition in nations where the concept of a loyal opposition is not believed, which is increasingly becoming a more common problem throughout the world. It would be understandable if many journalists quailed from biting the hand that fed them and left such writing to independent bloggers with no particular ties or friendliness to corrupt ruling elites. But there is no choice that does not make one an enemy of someone. The existence of a particular perspective, and our efforts to explain and defend it, will automatically give us enemies, no matter what our perspective is. It will also give us allies and friends, regardless of what that perspective is, it must also be remembered.
It will likely be some time before an autopsy is conducted upon the unfortunate late journalist Grant Wahl. His death is a major blow in that he was a noted soccer journalist for a nation that does not have very many filling that particular niche. In many ways, he appears to be pretty typical of the American journo class, with a large amount of potential enemies who might rather wish to see him dead, although there are other possibilities as to why he died so suddenly. One of the most poignant possibilities is that as someone who likely got the Covid jab that he is among the many who have died of sudden heart attacks from the jab itself. But let there be no rush to judgment; there is time enough to investigate and collect evidence without having to rush to judgment like we were part of a news cycle.