(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 15, 2014, general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. -
Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images
Jamal Khashoggi, pictured on Dec. 15, 2014, during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain.

There are autocrats. Look around.

According to Freedom House, a quarter of the world’s states are “not free.” More than a third of the world’s population live in those states. “Undemocratic regime kills journalist” is a headline that, most of the time, vies with “Dog Bites Man” for the bottom right column of page 5.

However, the fate of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — who has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 — has become front page news. Why?

Cynical commentators have been reminded of Stalin’s observation that “the death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” After all, the Saudi regime has been killing a great many people in Yemen, where its armed forces have been fighting Houthi rebels since 2015. Only on a very slow news day does that war make the front pages.

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