(This article is courtesy of the Baltimore Sun)
Global condemnation as Saudi exonerates crown prince’s aides over journalist’s murder, but US welcomes ‘important step’.
The United Nations extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard, Turkey and international rights groups have roundly condemned a Saudi court verdict over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it failed to deliver justice.
But despite global condemnation, a US State Department official hailed the verdict as “an important step” in holding the perpetrators accountable.
Five people were sentenced to death on Monday over the brutal killing of the writer by a team of Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October, but two top aides to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) – the de facto Saudi leader – were exonerated.
The Saudi prosecutor’s office said a total of 31 people were investigated in connection with the killing, and that 11 people were charged. Three were handed jail terms totalling 24 years and the rest were acquitted. None of the defendants’ names was immediately released.
“The investigation showed that the killing was not premeditated … The decision was taken at the spur of the moment,” Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said, a position contradicting the findings of a United Nations-led investigation.
In a series of tweets, Callamard explained that the verdict contravened international law.
“The execution of Jamal Khashoggi demanded an investigation into the chain of command to identify the masterminds, as well as those who incited, allowed or turned a blind eye to the murder, such as the crown prince. This was not investigated,” she said.
“The hitmen are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery.”
Ahmed Benchemsi, a spokesman for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that the trial was “all but satisfactory”.
The case was “shrouded in secrecy since the beginning, and it’s still … until now … We do not know the identities of those masked perpetrators, we don’t know the specific charge levelled against who exactly,” Benchemsi said.
“Saudi prosecutors did not even attempt to investigate the upper levels of this crime, and whether they played a role in ordering the killing, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he added.
Khashoggi, a critic of MBS, was living in self-imposed exile in the United States, where he had been granted residency status.
After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder.
Turkish intelligence agencies concluded that he was killed in a premeditated murder, while the CIA has reportedly concluded that MBS likely ordered the killing. But Riyadh has consistently denied that the crown prince was involved.
Here are the reactions to the Saudi verdict:
Turkey described the verdict as “scandalous” and said those responsible for the murder had been granted immunity.
“Those who dispatched a death squad to Istanbul on a private jet … and sought to sweep this murder under the rug have been granted immunity,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, wrote on Twitter.
The foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision “is far from meeting the expectations of both our country and the international community to shed light on the murder with all its dimensions, and deliver justice”.
Ankara said there was no clarity on key aspects of the murder including the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body, labelling it a “fundamental deficiency” in terms of accountability.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, who has previously directly linked MBS to the killing, said the sentence “is anything but justice”.
“Under international human rights law, the killing of Khashoggi was an extrajudicial execution for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” she wrote on Twitter.
h) The defendants had repeatedly stated they were obeying orders. The prosecutor had publicly stated that Saud al-Qahtani, Crown Prince personal adviser, had demanded the abduction of Jamal Khashoggi (on the grounds he was a threat to national security.) And yet, he remains free
“Bottom line: the hit men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of justice. It is a mockery,” said Callamard, who does not speak for the UN but reports her findings to it.
The US also welcomed the sentences, calling the ruling an “important step”.
“Today’s verdicts were an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable,” a US Department of State official told reporters after the ruling.
The US “encouraged Saudi Arabia to undertake a fair and transparent judicial process”, the official added.
“We’re pressing them for more transparency and for holding everybody accountable.”
Paris-based media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said that justice was “trampled on” with the death sentences meted out after a trial that did not respect international standards of justice.
The group’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire tweeted that the sentences “can be interpreted as a means to permanently silence the suspects, a way to prevent them from speaking to better cover up the truth”.
“The opacity of the procedure and the concealment of evidence does not allow us to get an idea” of why several others were convicted or acquitted, said Deloire, adding: “We still expect a full accounting.”
Amnesty International criticized the verdict as a “whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones”.
“Given the lack of transparency from the Saudi authorities, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, only an international, independent and impartial investigation can serve justice for Jamal Khashoggi,” said Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf.
“The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains,” she said in a statement.
The verdict left Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz unsatisfied, with her saying on Twitter that the “Saudi announcement not acceptable”.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned “the use of the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle”.
“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible crime,” Raab said in a statement. “Mr Khashoggi’s family deserve to see justice done for his brutal murder. Saudi Arabia must ensure all of those responsible are held to account and that such an atrocity can never happen again.”
The slain journalist’s son, Salah Khashoggi, said his family had achieved justice, thanks to the verdict of Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor.
“Today we have been granted justice as the children of the deceased, God willing, Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels, that it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved,” he said in a Twitter post.
Khashoggi’s friend and editor at the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, said the trial was “a complete sham”.
“Justice for Jamal Khashoggi’s senseless, horrific death is not more senseless death,” she said. “More anonymous bloodshed is not closure. The ‘trials’ were in secret. For all we know, these five men who have been sentenced to death may not deserve the ultimate penalty.”
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump, who has attacked many news organizations during his career in politics, found a new target Friday: Christianity Today, the faith-focused magazine founded by the iconic evangelical preacher Billy Graham.
Trump lashed out at the publication, calling it a “far left magazine” on Twitter the day after Christianity Today posted an editorial calling for him to be removed from office. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and faces possible removal in a Senate trial next year.
“Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President,” Trump said.
In an editorial posted on Thursday, Christianity Today said the House was justified in approving impeachment articles over allegations Trump pressured Ukraine into investigating political opponent Joe Biden.
“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” the magazine said. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
Christianity Today called on the Senate to convict Trump and remove him from office, calling it “not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
The Republican-run Senate is expected to acquit Trump in the trial.
In his harangue against Christianity Today, Trump said “no President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close.”
In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won 80% of the votes from whites who declared themselves born-again or evangelical Christians, according to exit polling.
While Billy Graham died in 2018, the magazine says it is still guided by his spirit. In its editorial calling for Trump’s removal, Christianity Today said that “we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear – always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love.”
Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and a Trump supporter, tweeted that his father “knew @realDonaldTrump, believed in him & voted for him. He believed Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”
Other news organizations editorial boards have called for Trump’s conviction and removal, and been subject to presidential blowback – including USA TODAY.
On social media, critics of Trump noted that Christianity Today is a conservative publication and mocked the president for his criticism.
“No one would call Christianity Today ‘progressive’ but you. Sad!” tweeted Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics with The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
(TRUMP, THE VERY UNSTABLE EGO MANIAC SHOWS HIS ASS ONCE AGAIN BY ATTACKING A TEENAGE GIRL)(oped:oldpoet56)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump attacked 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday for being named Time magazine’s “Person of The Year.”
“So ridiculous,” Trump said on Twitter. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
Thunberg responded swiftly, changing her Twitter profile to read: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
Trump, who was named Person of the Year after winning the 2016 presidential election, has criticized the magazine before for passing him up in the years since.
Trump mocked Thunberg back in September, when both were in New York City for meetings at the United Nations.
Citing lines from Thunberg’s address to the Climate Action Summit – the teenager said “people are dying” and “we are in the beginning of a mass extinction” – Trump issued a late-night snarky tweet.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” Trump wrote. “‘So nice to see!”
Thunberg dismissed Trump’s comments, and said later she wouldn’t consider meeting with the U.S. president on the issue of climate change.
“I don’t understand why I would do that,” Thunberg said last month on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “I don’t see what I could tell him that he hasn’t already heard, and I just think it would be a waste of time, really.”
Thunberg has spoken about her diagnosis of Asperger’s, a neurological disorder that creates difficulty with social and communications skills. She calls it her “superpower.”‘
In naming her Person of the Year, Time magazine said “Thunberg began a global movement by skipping school: starting in August 2018, she spent her days camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign painted in black letters on a white background that read Skolstrejk för klimatet: “School Strike for Climate.”
It added: “In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history.”
On social media, critics described Trump’s tweet as equivalent to bullying a child.
“The President of the United States is attacking a child,” tweeted former federal prosecutor and legal commentator Renato Mariotti.
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, now a fierce critic of Trump, called him “a bully and a punk” for attacking Thunberg.
“No normal person would find this sort of behavior tolerable,” he tweeted. “Much less from a global leader. @realDonaldTrump is a despicable person.”
Nationwide demonstrations erupted on Oct. 17 over a plunging economy. They quickly grew into calls for sweeping aside Lebanon´s entire ruling elite. Local media outlets – some of which represent the sectarian interests protesters are looking to overthrow – are now largely seen as pro- or anti-protests, with some journalists feeling pressured to leave their workplaces over disagreements about media coverage.
The deteriorating situation for journalists in Lebanon comes despite its decades-old reputation for being an island of free press. Amid Lebanon´s divided politics, media staff have usually had wide range to freely express their opinions.
The acts of harassment began early in the protests. MTV television reporter Nawal Berry was attacked in central Beirut in the first days of the demonstrations by supporters of the militant group Hezbollah and its allies. They smashed the camera, robbed the microphone she was holding, spat on her and kicked her in the leg.
“How is it possible that a journalist today goes to report and gets subjected to beating and humiliation? Where are we? Lebanon is the country of freedoms and democracy,” Berry told The Associated Press.
Outlets like MTV are widely seen as backing protesters´ demands that Lebanon´s sectarian political system be completely overturned to end decades of corruption and mismanagement.
Rival TV stations and newspapers portray the unrest – which led to the Cabinet´s resignation over a month ago – as playing into the hands of alleged plots to undermine Hezbollah and its allies. Many of those outlets are run by Hezbollah, President Michel Aoun´s Free Patriotic Movement, and the Amal Movement of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. These media regularly blast protesters for closing roads and using other civil disobedience tactics, describing them as “bandits.”
For Berry, the media environment worsened as the unrest continued. On the night of Nov. 24, while she was covering clashes between protesters and Hezbollah and Amal supporters on a central road in Beirut, supporters of the Shiite groups chased her into a building. She hid there until police came and escorted her out.
“I was doing my job and will continue to do so. I have passed through worse periods and was able to overcome them,” said Berry, who added she is taking a short break from working because of what she passed through recently.
Hezbollah supporters also targeted Dima Sadek, who resigned last month as an anchorwoman at LBC TV. She blamed Hezbollah supporters for robbing her smartphone while she was filming protests, and said the harassment was followed by insulting and threatening phone calls to her mother, who suffered a stroke as a result of the stress.
“I have taken a decision (to be part of the protests) and I am following it. I have been waiting for this moment all my life and I have always been against the political, sectarian, and corrupt system in Lebanon,” said Sadek, a harsh critic of Hezbollah, adding that she has been subjected to cyber-bullying for the past four years.
“I know very well that this will have repercussions on my personal and professional life. I will go to the end no matter what the price is,” Sadek said shortly after taking part in a demonstration in central Beirut.
Protesters have also targeted journalists reporting with what are seen as pro-government outlets. OTV station workers briefly removed their logos from equipment while covering on the demonstrations to avoid verbal and physical abuse. The station is run by supporters of Aoun´s FPM.
“The protest movement has turned our lives upside down,” said OTV journalist Rima Hamdan, who during one of her reports slapped a man on his hand after he pointed his middle finger at her. She said the station´s logo “is our identity even though sometimes we had to remove it for our own safety.”
Television reporters with Hezbollah´s Al-Manar and Amal´s NBN channels were also attacked in a town near Beirut, when they were covering the closure of the highway linking the capital city with southern Lebanon by protesters. In a video, an NBN correspondent is seen being attacked, while troops and policemen stand nearby without intervening.
“This happens a lot in Lebanon because some media organizations are politicized. No one sees media organizations as they are but sees them as representing the political group that owns them,” said Ayman Mhanna, director of the Beirut-based media watchdog group SKeyes.
“The biggest problem regarding these violations is that there is no punishment,” Mhanna said. Authorities usually fail to act even when they identify those behind attacks on journalists, he added.
Coverage of the protests also led to several journalists resigning from one of Lebanon´s most prominent newspapers, Al-Akhbar, which is seen as close to Hezbollah, and the pan-Arab TV station Al-Mayadeen, which aligns closely with the policies of Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.
Joy Slim, who quit as culture writer at Al-Akhbar after more than five years, said she did so after being “disappointed” with the daily´s coverage of the demonstrations. She released a video widely circulated on social media that ridiculed those who accuse the protesters of being American agents.
Sami Kleib, a prominent Lebanese journalist with a wide following around the Middle East, resigned from Al-Mayadeen last month. He said the reason behind his move was that he was “closer to the people than the authorities.”
“The Lebanese media is similar to politics in Lebanon where there is division between two axes: One that supports the idea of conspiracy theory, and another that fully backs the protest movement with its advantages and disadvantages,” Kleib said.
Updated: Dec 03, 2019 06:23 IST
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial law allowing independent journalists and bloggers to be labelled as “foreign agents”, a move that critics say will violate media freedom.
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones. The new law, which now extends to individuals, will come into effect immediately, according to a document published on the Russian government website.
Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.
Nine human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, have expressed concern that the amendments may be aimed not only at journalists, but also at bloggers and internet users who benefit from scholarships, funding or revenues from a relevant media outlet.
NGOs said in a joint statement last month the law was “a further step to restrict free and independent media” and “a strong tool to silence opposition voices”.
Authors of the bill have said it is intended to “perfect” existing legislation on “foreign agents” that already covers NGOs and media organisations. Russia says it wants the law as a tit-for-tat mechanism if its journalists are defined as foreign agents in the West. Russia first passed legislation allowing media organisations to be slapped with the label in 2017, after Kremlin-funded RT television was declared a foreign agent in the United States. Russian opposition politician Alexi Navalny’s organisation has been branded a foreign agent, as has US-financed media outlet Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.
The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West.
In a rare move, Abbas’s government called on the attorney general to overturn the latest decision by Ramallah Magistrate’s Court.
Government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem said in a statement that the PA government urged administrators of social media pages and news sites to “follow professional and moral standards in publishing news and media items.”
He stressed the government’s respect for international conventions that guarantee the protection of freedoms and its strong respect for the independence of the judiciary and non-intervention in its affairs.
The decision was made at the request of the Palestinian prosecution.
In its petition to the court, The prosecution argued that the sites disseminate harmful content about the PA and its officials and are likely to be used to incite lawlessness.
The court’s decision was leaked after prosecutors sent it to Internet companies in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate held a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, a day after the news of the blockage was leaked.
Syndicate Head Naser Abu Baker called it a “black day” for the press in Palestine.
“The judiciary must protect freedom in Palestine,” he stated. “It should not restrict it.”
He said that the syndicate appealed against the decision and announced that it is against any previous agreements with the Public Prosecution.
“What is required now is for the court to cancel this decision and amend the law on cyber crimes with respect to freedom of information.”
Abu Baker described the decision to block websites as a blow to the government and its efforts to establish media freedoms.
In this context, Palestinian officials and factions rejected the “gagging” policy.
Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision.
“Blocking access to websites or imposing other measures that prevent access to information or restrict freedom of expression are in complete contradiction with the Palestinian Basic Law,” she stressed in a statement.
A short video showed a man blindfolded and handcuffed to the back seat of a car, which the television claimed to be taken after Zam’s arrest, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
After that, the same man appeared sitting in an armchair next to the flags of Iran and IRGC.
The man identified himself as Zam and “the founder of Amadnews”, a Telegram channel that the Iranian authorities accuse of having played a major role in the protests that broke out in December 2017.
Zam said he regrets “what has happened in the past three or four years,” and admitted he was wrong to have trusted other governments, namely the French government.
In another clip, Zam does not appear to be handcuffed and avoided looking directly at the camera, indicating that it is not right to trust governments, especially governments that show they do not have good relations with Iran, including the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He then apologized to the whole Iranian political regime, reported AFP.
The Revolutionary Guard announced Monday the arrest of Zam describing him as a “counter-revolutionary” who was directed by France’s intelligence service.
IRGC didn’t specify when or where Zam had been arrested. He had been reportedly living in exile in Paris.
Telegram shut down Amadnews which had around 1.4 million followers after Iranian authorities demanded the messaging application remove the account for inciting “violence.”
Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Iranian authorities to stop broadcasting “confessions” of suspects, saying they violate the “defendants’ rights.”
China’s first 8K imaging lab has opened in Shanghai to broadcast UHD (ultra high definition) content and foster industry development.
The CINEX-D8K Imaging Lab, located in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the Pudong New Area, was developed by the Oriental Pearl Group and Delta Group. It features two screens with sizes of 300 inches and 500 inches, professional projectors and 8K definition displays.
Output from the UHD industry is currently valued at 1 trillion yuan (US$142.8 million) annually in China. The industry is expected to get a further boost with the spread of 5G network technology, as well as the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which will broadcast in 8K resolution.
By 2022, China’s UHD industry output is expected to hit 4 trillion yuan.
China’s mobile carriers and Oriental Pearl, the new media arm of Shanghai Media Group, plan to invest heavily in UHD industry development.
Renowned ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75.
Roberts won countless awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2008.
“We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness,” her family said in a statement.
Her death was due to complications from breast cancer.
Roberts, born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, said she got the name “Cokie” from her older brother, who couldn’t pronounce Corinne and dubbed her Cokie instead. The name stuck with her ever since.
“Cokie Roberts will be dearly missed,” said James Goldston, president of ABC News. “Cokie’s kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists.”
Roberts was “a true pioneer for women in journalism,” Goldston said, “well-regarded for her insightful analysis of politics and policy in Washington, D.C., countless news making interviews, and, notably, her unwavering support for generations of young women — and men — who would follow in her footsteps.”
She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, her children, Lee and Rebecca and her six grandchildren.
Roberts graduated from Wellesley College in 1964 with a degree in political science and began her career in radio as a foreign correspondent for CBS in the 1970’s and started covering Capitol Hill for National Public Radio in 1978, reporting on the Panama Canal Treaty.
She was assigned to Capitol Hill full-time in the early 1980’s, serving as the network’s congressional correspondent for more than a decade.
Roberts co-anchored ABC’s “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002. She also served as political commentator, chief congressional analyst and a commentator for “This Week” during her three decades at ABC.
Before joining ABC News in 1988, Roberts spent more than two decades at outlets including WNEW (1968), KNBC-TV (1974-77), CBS News (1974-1977) and NPR starting in 1978. She was also a correspondent for MacNeil-Lehrer News hour and a contributing senior news analyst for PBS.
Additionally, she wrote eight books, largely focusing on the role of women in American history, many of which were New York Times bestsellers.
She had recently acknowledged a struggle with her health.
“Over the summer, I have had some health issues which required treatment that caused weight loss. I am doing fine,” she said in a statement after the “This Week” appearance. “I very much appreciate the kind comments I have received and expect to be, as I have been, working away in the days and months to come, covering what promises to be a fascinating election. I am grateful to everyone who has been in touch and sent their well wishes. Thanks for caring.”
Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and was successfully treated. When she was diagnosed, she spoke about her longtime work urging women to get regular mammograms.
“Fortunately, in the course of my efforts to inform others about the disease, I learned about the benefits of early detection,” she said in a statement at the time, The Washington Post reported. “Now I am the beneficiary of that information.”
She told the Post that her cancer diagnosis didn’t give her a newfound perspective on life, because she already had one.
“I had a healthy perspective on life already,” she said to The Washington Post. “I have always cared more about family than my career. I lost my father at age 58 in a terrible accident and I lost my sister at age 51. So I didn’t need any extra perspective on life.”
During a Facebook Q&A in 2013, when asked what was the best part of her career, she said that her family has been “by far the best part” of her life.
“I’ve been blessed in my life with been a long and happy marriage that produced two wonderful children who have in turn each produced three spectacular grandchildren and that is by far the best part. In terms of career, I’ve been lucky to have many interesting jobs and loved most of them. The ability to develop expertise and then be able to use that knowledge in broadcasting is gratifying. And I find writing books particularly satisfying,” she wrote in her response to the Facebook question.
Roberts came from a political family: she was the daughter of (Thomas) Hale Boggs, the former Democratic House majority leader and representative from New Orleans. Her father was also a member of the Warren commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Hale Boggs died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972, and his wife – Roberts’ mother – Lindy Boggs was elected to fill her late husband’s congressional seat.
Lindy Boggs was later appointed to be the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997.
Roberts’ siblings also took a liking to politics. Her older brother, Thomas Boggs Jr., was a lobbyist and her sister Barbara Boggs Sigmund was the former mayor of Princeton, New Jersey. Her younger brother, William, died as an infant, and her other two siblings have died as well.
In an interview earlier this year, Roberts noted that she was “the only person in my original nuclear family who didn’t run for Congress. Now, they didn’t win all of them – the only one that never lost an election was my mother.”
But she filled that void with her foray into journalism.
“I have always felt semi-guilty about it. But I’ve sort of assuaged my guilt by writing about it and feeling like I’m educating people about the government and how to be good voters and good citizens,” she told The Washington Post.
Roberts married journalist Steve Roberts in 1966, after meeting at a political event in Ohio four years earlier when they were both in college.
Steven Roberts worked as a reporter at The New York Times for many years, and in a 2017 interview, Cokie Roberts credited her husband as being “my mentor when I started off as a journalist.”
“I had always been a good writer, and so I started reporting and writing. He was a big help to me, and we did a lot together,” she said for an oral history project developed by the House of Representatives.
Steve Roberts said in a New York Times interview in 2017 that he was “bowled over” by his wife’s intellect.
“Marrying the right person is the single most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. Everything else is secondary. From the very beginning, I knew what an extraordinary person Cokie was,” Steve Roberts said in the Times article, which was published to celebrate their then-50 year union in 2017.
The pair got married under an apple tree in the backyard of her family’s home in Bethesda Maryland, and then-President Lyndon B. Johnson and first lady Lady Bird were among the 1,500 guests in attendance. The home stayed in the family, and was Cokie and Steve Roberts’ home at the time of her passing.
Full statement from the family of Cokie Roberts:
Her loving family announces the passing of journalist and author Cokie Roberts, due to complications from breast cancer, on September 17.
Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs on December 27, 1943, Cokie was – first and foremost – a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.
Cokie’s career as a journalist at National Public Radio and ABC News took her to the heights of her profession, and her success as an author on history and family put her on the best seller list.
But her values put family and relationships above all else.
She is survived by her husband of 53 years, journalist, author and professor Steven V. Roberts, her children Lee Roberts and Rebecca Roberts, her grandchildren Regan, Hale and Cecilia Roberts and Claiborne, Jack and Roland Hartman, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She is also survived by friendships and by causes that she put her time, resources and energy into that are too numerous to count.
We would like to thank the staff at the National Institutes of Health for their dedication, expertise, work and incredible care for Cokie during her illness.
We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness.
We are hopeful that Cokie now goes to join her parents, former Members of Congress Hale and Lindy Boggs, her siblings Barbara, Tom and William, who predecease her, and her God.
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