What Malala Told Obama About US Drones (11 Weeks Later)

abc-malalaThe December 29 edition of ABC‘s This Week wasn’t the usual Sunday show fare. This time around the show presented short profiles of “Game Changers” of 2013, one of whom was Pakistani youth activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for her outspoken commitment to education. 

At the end of the report, ABC‘s Bob Woodruff says this: 

Despite her popularity, Malala continues to speak truth to power. When President Barack Obama invited her to the White House, she expressed concern about the innocent victims killed by American drone attacks and asked him to refocus on education.

This is notable for a simple reason. When the two met back in October, Malala’s story was big news everywhere. But somehow her direct criticism of the White House’s drone attacks failed to make much news (FAIR Blog, 10/15/13). Yousafzai was named “Person of the Week” on ABC World News on October 11; the next day ABC‘s 20/20 devoted an entire hour to her story. But there was no mention of her criticism of US policy.

The only mention of drones on that 20/20 broadcast came from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who said, “The greatest threat to the Taliban is not American drones. It’s girls like Malala.”

That’s not exactly how she might put it–so it’s good to see ABC finally giving viewers a look at a part of this story most of the media haven’t considered newsworthy. 


About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.