Diane Dimond has written a wonderful expose of a world gone mad, a media driven by hype and a population searching for and reveling in schadenfreude.
The Salahis were proven guilty without even the presumption of innocence, tried only in the court of public opinion. Although the author tried, she was unable to find a single positive article written about them, yet scores of negative ones abounded, often with outright lies and innuendo. None of the accusations were verified, yet they made good copy so they were put out there and the Salahis swung in the wind. I am not sure if anyone could withstand that kind of vilification and survive unscathed.
Prior to the episode at the White House, the Salahis were the darlings of the DC social scene. They were the "go to" people whenever a Democrat needed help in the form of a donation or locale for an event. They sponsored charity galas and were on the top of guest lists around Washington. They had many high profile friends and they never thought they would be so totally abandoned, by everyone, and demonized even by those they thought were friends. They were painted so hatefully that the fear of being tainted by their friendship actually encouraged people to say things about them that were untrue and cruel, simply to save themselves or "work the room" for their own benefit. Although they had done many wonderful things for the state of Virginia and for politicians and charities, those accomplishments were never mentioned by the news "creators".
The Salahis were not evil. They may have loved the spotlight, may have had problems with bills, estrangements in their family and other sundry issues; they may have told the occasional lie, but they were not gate crashers or security risks. They were actually treated more like terrorists than "uninvited" guests. They never posed a danger to the President or the dignitaries that were at the event. They had already been cleared to attend in the event that their invitation should finally come through. There are emails to prove the correspondence about it.
Yet how many people are even aware of the fact that they did not crash the White House Party that night, that they were not a security risk? They did not sneak in, for if they had, they wouldn't have gotten beyond the gate. The Salahis may have their faults, but they are not the people that the media frenzy created because of the journalist's self interest, because scandal sells. The talking heads had a heyday.
Michaele Salahi is a tall, lithesome blonde, an easy mark for bullying and envy. She suffers from MS which before the incident, was a carefully guarded secret. Tarek is a loose cannon with an unpredictable temper and probably the one largely responsible for the misunderstanding about what took place at the White House. He pushed the envelope. He knew that his lawyer, Paul Gardner and his friend at the White House, Michelle Jones, were trying to get them an invitation to the first state dinner or at least to the arrivals ceremony. They had already sent in copies of their passports and other required documents so that they could be cleared to go. Tarek never even entertained the idea that he would not be invited, but rather assumed that it would happen.
The Salahis were cleared through several checkpoints that night. The people who screwed up were White House personnel, but they got away scot free and the Salahis were branded gate crashers, security risks, etc. They received hate mail. People posted comments on websites wishing them dead. They were terrified and went into hiding. The scorn that was unleashed at them was so massive, and on a scale so at odds with the supposed "crime" that they had no opportunity to tell their side of the story and the veiled threats of prison for a crime they did not commit, kept them frightened and kept their friends from supporting them. Yes they had financial problems, yes they had enemies, but they were not guilty of what they were accused and yet the press convicted them.
The American public should be ashamed of themselves for their rush to judgment, their overreaction and their hate filled discussions. The media and the White House should be ashamed for allowing two largely innocent people to suffer to such a degree for what was really a misunderstanding. At first it was admitted, that it was simply a misunderstanding, but they ran with false stories and hype to protect themselves for their wrongdoing or from political repercussions, without regard for the consequences to these two people. The revelations in the book made me feel ashamed that, as a group, we could behave like such bullies. What a terrible example we have set for the future. We don't seem to learn from our mistakes...there were the Ramseys, Dr. Hatfill, Richard Jewell, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith...they were all over exposed and/or falsely accused and abused by the public. When will it end and common sense stand forth?