Soz, we changed our minds

Ahhh that’s a good look – State Department tells journalist she will get a Women of Courage Award then says “oh wait no you won’t” when it discovers she’s critical of The Leader. Foreign Policy reports:

Jessikka Aro, a Finnish investigative journalist, has faced down death threats and harassment over her work exposing Russia’s propaganda machine long before the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. In January, the U.S. State Department took notice, telling Aro she would be honored with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award, to be presented in Washington by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Weeks later, the State Department rescinded the award offer. A State Department spokesperson said it was due to a “regrettable error,” but Aro and U.S. officials familiar with the internal deliberations tell a different story. They say the department revoked her award after U.S. officials went through Aro’s social media posts and found she had also frequently criticized President Donald Trump.

Well you see it’s all about how you understand “courage.” Courage is exposing other people’s propaganda machine, not Trump’s.

There is no indication that the decision to revoke the award came from the secretary of state or the White House. Officials who spoke to FP have suggested the decision came from lower-level State Department officials wary of the optics of Pompeo granting an award to an outspoken critic of the Trump administration. The department spokesperson did not respond to questions on who made the decision or why.

The “optics”?

What about the “optics” of Pompeo granting an award to an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and thus demonstrating the administration’s ability to rise above personal spite? What about the “optics” of spitefully snatching the award away in a huff?

They don’t think carefully, these people.

“[When] I was informed about the withdrawal out of the blue, I felt appalled and shocked,” Aro told FP. “The reality in which political decisions or presidential pettiness directs top U.S. diplomats’ choices over whose human rights work is mentioned in the public sphere and whose is not is a really scary reality.”

Quite so. The “optics” of that are nothing to be proud of.

“I use Twitter to exchange ideas and share information freely,” Aro said. “I find the idea of U.S. government officials stalking my Twitter and politicizing my perfectly normal expressions of opinion deeply disturbing.”

Because it is.

After first being notified she would get the award, Aro filled out forms and questionnaires at the request of officials and cancelled paid speaking engagements to travel to Washington to attend the March 7 ceremony in Washington. The State Department also sent her an official invitation to accept the award and planned an itinerary for a corresponding tour of the United States, complete with flights and high-profile visits to newspapers and universities across the country.

They sent her an official invitation, and then snatched it back. Not cool.

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