Our hearts go out to the grieving family of Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old aid worker, who was killed after being held in captivity by ISIS since being kidnapped in the summer of 2013. Fox has the back story and some heretofore unpublished details about her life as a hostage, which included being shuffled between holding cells in Aleppo and Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold. You can also read the letter she wrote her family from captivity.

Meanwhile, three Muslim college students have been murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and our hearts go out to their kindred and friends, too. These innocent people were killed in a quiet academic community that is seemingly far from the blinding hatreds of the world. To our credit, we Americans have been able to make the distinction between Islam and the radical Islam that infected those who caused the death of Kayla Mueller. Let us hope that this is a tragic abberation. The man who says he is the killer says that he is an atheist. He is allegedly against all religion, not a particular one.

Both these things came to light on a day when press conferences at the White House and State Department seemed to have gone down Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole. Both White House spokesman Josh Earnest and State spokesman Jen Psaki tried to pretend that the Jews gunned down in a kosher deli in Paris were victims of “random” acts of violence, as the president characterized the killings in his latest interview with a weird and inconsequential news outlet. Both spokesmen later admitted in tweets (!) that these murders were acts of anti-Semitism. But they strangely maintained that they had said this all along.

I urge you to read John Podhoretz’s brilliant and angry column (“Anti-Semitic Horrors Don’t Exist in Barack Obama’s World”) on yesterday’s press conferences.

It’s dishonorable because [Earnest’s] remarks suggest these murders were meaningless acts of nihilism, when they in fact were terrifyingly meaningful acts of anti-Semitic murder on European soil 70 years after the Holocaust — acts that are causing many if not most of the 600,000 Jews in France to think seriously about emigrating.

Alas, it appears that Earnest’s vile lie can’t be excused away as an expression of his own moral cretinousness.

It is very important that we be clear-eyed about the nature of peril in our world.