For the Guardian, Yasser Arafat was to be compared to "Moses."
On CNN, he was described as a "revolutionary romantic figure comparable to Ho Chi Minh and Nelson Mandela."
For USA Today, he "embraced" "sorrow and hope."
South Africa's City Press described him as a leader who "marshaled freedom fighters."
And in the Toronto Sun, we were told he was "murdered" by Israel.
If anyone was still in any doubt that much of the Western media has been taken in by the Stalin-like cult of personality Arafat nurtured for himself over the past 40 years, they shouldn't be any more not after hearing or reading the lies, half-truths and distortions which were served up in the 48 hours of virtually non-stop coverage on international news networks, following the announcement of his death last Thursday.
In scores of reports and interviews by dozens of correspondents on both BBC and CNN, acts of terrorism were left completely unmentioned. Instead we were treated to an almost endless stream of sanctimonious drivel. Arafat "embodied the peace of the brave"; he "saved the Palestinian people from extinction"; his life was "marked by dignity."
Arafat, we were reminded, was "a leader," "a politician," an "inspirational figure." So, too, is Osama Bin Laden, but it is hard to imagine anyone in the Western media covering Bin Laden's death with almost no mention of terrorism and virtually no allusion to his victims.
Reading much of the print media, watching BBC and CNN, listening to the even more partisan coverage of BBC World Service Radio (which attracts over 150 million listeners daily) it was as if these acts of terror had never happened.
It was as though those Olympic athletes had never been killed, those airliners never hijacked, those schools never bombed, those passengers in airline terminals at Rome, Vienna and elsewhere, never machine-gunned down.
It was as if the Ma'alot school massacre (of mostly 15-year old girls) had never occurred, or a bazooka had never been fired into a school bus from Moshav Avivim wiping out an entire class and their teachers. It was as if an American ambassador and a Jordanian prime minister had never been murdered, or a wheelchair-bound American pensioner had never been shot and dumped into the Mediterranean because he had a "Jewish-sounding name." And as if an 8-month pregnant mother, Tali Hatuel, hadn't been shot in the head by Arafat's Fatah, execution-style with her four young children, only last May.
In many reports these victims were simply airbrushed from history.
When the time comes, will the BBC run 48 hours of virtually non-stop coverage of Colonel Gaddafi's death without mentioning Lockerbie? Will they devote 48 hours to IRA leaders with barely a mention that they killed anyone?
Will the Guardian run front page articles by writer John le Carre, describing them as "cuddly," as le Carre described Arafat last Friday. Le Carre added in his piece that when he met Arafat he had told him: "Mr. Chairman, I have come to put my hand on the Palestinian heart."
Arafat's terrorism was also omitted on the web. For example, the timeline on BBC online (titled "Yasser Arafat: Key dates") jumped straight from: "1994: Jointly awarded Nobel peace prize with Rabin and Peres" to "2001: Israel blockades him inside Ramallah headquarters."
The timeline put out by Associated Press, the world's biggest news agency, and used by news outlets worldwide, (titled "Key Events in Yasser Arafat's Life") also omitted all acts of terrorism. Indeed we can only wonder what kind of terror AP's timeline says Arafat "renounced" on Dec. 12, 1988.
Instead of interviewing one or two relatives of Arafat's thousands of victims, we were told repeatedly, how the UN was especially flying its flag at half-mast at its headquarters in New York to mark "this grave day for the world". How UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was "deeply moved" by "President Arafat's death."
"He was," said a saddened Annan, "one of those few leaders who could be instantly recognized by people in any walk of life all around the world."
The Pope's chief spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, told us of his "pain" at the passing of the "illustrious deceased." May God "grant eternal rest to the soul" of "a leader of great charisma who loved his people," he said, while making no reference to any of those for whose deaths and injuries Arafat was responsible.
In round the clock coverage, we were repeatedly told how French President Jacques Chirac called Arafat "a man of courage and conviction", and how before his death was announced, Chirac had paid homage by kneeling in silence at his bedside. (There was so much coverage of Arafat's passing, there was virtually no time to mention how at the very time Chirac was mourning Arafat, French troops were shooting black Africans last week in the Ivory Coast.)
In a relatively discordant note, the editorial of the British paper the Sun said: "There have been few more nauseating sights than the French fawning over the coffin of Yasser Arafat. What will France do when Osama bin Laden dies... Declare a national holiday?"
In one of the other all too few critical remarks by a leading newspaper following Arafat's death, the Financial Times concluded Arafat was "a brilliant manipulator of the media and public opinion."
About that, there can be no doubt.