The Smiling Somali Pirate

Linking to video of the Somali teenager accused of heading up the seizure of the Maersk Alabama arriving in New York City last night and smiling at the assembled cameras and reporters, Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy’s Passport blog worries

that the inevitable U.S. media circus around [his] trial — the first U.S. piracy prosecution in over a century — is going to try to paint him as some kind of arch-terrorist of the seas. He’s unlikely to fit the bill. [His] country has been wracked by civil war and anarchy since before he was born and he’s quite possibly smiling because he’s happy to be out of it and getting enough to eat for once.

[He] should certainly be prosecuted for participating in a criminal act that endangered the lives of U.S. sailors, but it would be unfortunate if too much attention were paid to the trial of one teenage gang member while the hellish situation that produced him continues unabated.

Which is, more or less, what the folks on Fox News’s Fox & Friends were saying this morning:

STEVE DOOCY: Wearing a blue jumpsuit and a wide grin the teenage pirate who hijacked the Maersk Alabama has arrived in New York City. Will he be smiling when he faces a judge later today?

BRIAN KILMEADE: He has got to love the treatment he has been getting [since arriving in the U.S.]. He hasn’t been waterboarded. Not yet.

And, later:

GRETCHEN CARLSON: Am I the only one that thinks the shot of him smiling coming in is eerie? Imagine where this young man is coming from. I’m not feeling sorry for him. He has probably never seen paparazzi like this. Who knows what his life is like in Somalia. The idea that this guy is coming to America. It irks me that he is going to end up in some luxurious prison here for the rest of his life and, based on the life he lived before, live the high life.

JUDGE NAPOLITANO: No prison is luxurious because you don’t have freedom…

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.