"Huh. Apparently the meaning of 'reformer' has also been deflated," concludes Washington correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum with the New York Times, after reading his publication's extremely kind obituary describing the recently deceased King Abdullah as a "cautious reformer" who "nudged Saudi Arabia forward" (11,400+ shares). David Johnson with Al Jazeera America reflects, "The great thing about 'nudges' is they don't ensure outcomes ..."Journalist Omar Waraich notes, "The subheadings in this piece suggest it was a farewell to an austere democrat battling military rule somewhere," then points out, "This apparently counts as major social reform: 'He allowed women to work as supermarket cashiers'." Meanwhile, NYT's Alison Cowan calls out this detail: "Tough Love Saudi-Style: Dad sentenced future King Abdullah to 3 days in prison for not offering his seat to a guest."
Brits are also not very happy to learn that their country will be flying flags half-mast following the king's death (2,800 shares). "Should we ban women from driving for the day too?" wonders Guardian's James Ball. In addition, a statement by Tony Blair on his passing that extols his virtues is "beyond parody" tweets Telegraph's Patrick Sawer. "In fairness to Abdullah (and Blair), by Saudi standards he was a moderate, I guess," defends Alasdair Pal with Reuters. But you can count on The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain to set the record straight with "Tyrant King Misremembered as Man of Peace" (900+ shares).