American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.
The Chicago News Cooperative is -- or was -- a nonprofit journalistic entity that produces content for the Chicago edition of the New York Times. It will cease filing this weekend, having lost an expected grant. Among the delights Chicago readers will miss: Suggestions that the GOP is fueling anti-Muslim rhetoric and even hate crimes, under the label of objective reporting. David Lepeska contributed “A Group to Counter Anti-Islam Sentiment” to Friday’s Chicago edition of the Times, making unsubstantiated assertions and commiting bias by omission.
As anti-Muslim rhetoric rises locally and nationally -- some of it fueled by the presidential campaign -- a group of Chicago-area Muslims is battling back, using tactics including a television ad campaign and public forums against bigotry.
On Wednesday, as Terry Baynes at Reuters reported, "A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of five leaders of an Islamic charity on charges of funneling money and supplies to Hamas, designated a "terrorist" group following a 1995 executive order by President Bill Clinton. ..." The organization involved was the Holy Land Foundation based in Texas. The five involved received sentences of 15 to 65 years.
Reuters appears to have been virtually unique in covering the story at a national level, and from all appearances very few establishment press outlets picked it up. What follows are various search results in attempts to find coverage of the story:
As NewsBusters has been reporting since last week, the media have been in full panic mode over hearings the House Homeland Security committee was scheduled to have concerning the radicalization of American Muslims.
At the conclusion of the first hearing Thursday, Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) gave a brief statement criticizing what he called the "mindless hysteria" of the press in the weeks leading up to this day (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, co-host George Stephanopoulos fretted over congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims being "potentially explosive" and that "Critics are already calling this a witch hunt." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Hearings on Islamic Radicals: Witch Hunt or Reality Check?"
ABC was not alone in touting the "witch hunt" accusation. On CBS's Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes described how "already foes [of the hearings] are calling them discriminatory and a witch-hunt." On NBC's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira introduced a report on the hearings by noting how "critics say it amounts to a witch hunt."
Recently, the Los Angeles branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) released a video showing a group of protestors exhibiting anti-Muslim sentiments outside an ICNA fundraising dinner. Liberal media outlets ran with the press release as a way to highlight bigotry towards Muslims, with the video showing up on The Guardian, Think Progress, Salon, Mediaite, Huffington Post, and Hillary Clinton’s source for ‘real news’, Al Jazeera. Problem being, the video and press release is so wrought with false statements, distortions, and a cut and paste documentary style, it could have passed as a Michael Moore film.
Naturally, these news outlets casually gloss over the ICNA’s controversial ties to radical clerics, terrorist organizations, and the implementation of Sharia law. Outlined previously, the group has hosted events with such speakers as radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and one of the keynote speakers at this particular fundraiser. Additionally, the group has documented ties to Hamas, Jamaat-e-Islami, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
All facts which seemingly bear little relevance as to why there would be a protest in the first place. But even beyond an exploration of reasons behind the protest, is concern that these media outlets would present a distorted video as evidence of anything other than their own journalistic malpractice.
One of the largest Muslim organizations in North America is considering plans to build a summer camp on 114 acres of land in the Adirondacks. Via the Albany Times Union:
“The Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim advocacy group based in New York City, hopes to raise money to develop a camp for children and families of all religions on land donated to it last year.”
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), based in Queens, New York, is not devoid of controversy in a history that spans over 40 years, yet there is scant mention of these controversies by the media. The Times Union article states that, “U.S. law enforcement agencies have investigated, but never prosecuted, ICNA for terrorist connections.” And there is coverage of a fundraiser involving speakers having made anti-American statements in the past, which is quickly justified by saying, “the meeting raised money for homeless women.”
But the ICNA has so much more to offer in the way of newsworthiness, including an event involving radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as a link to the presently relevant Muslim Brotherhood.
Eric Bolling's new show on the Fox Business Channel, Money Rocks, saw a significant display of fireworks this evening. During a discussion of some already controversial statements made by Democratic strategist, Bob Beckel, a very heated exchange developed involving Beckel and Atlas Shrugs publisher, Pamela Geller.
The controversy started when Bolling played a clip of Beckel's previous appearance on the show in which he stated:
"Look, at some point, I know it's sensitive here in New York and probably New Jersey, but we have to get over 9/11."
What did he mean by ‘we have to get over 9/11'? According to Beckel, this was simply an expression of frustration for a variety of things, such as extra security at airports and a few other minor inconveniences designed to catch "a bunch of non-existent terrorists."
The short list of ‘non-existent terrorists' since 9/11 that Mr. Beckel must be referring to, include the Madrid train bombers, Russian train bombers, Shoe Bomber, the Lackawanna Six, Fort Hood assassin, the Virginia ‘Jihad' Network, Christmas Day bomber, Fort Dix plotters, and the Times Square bomber.
Beckel might have been feeling the stress of trying to defend such a blatantly insensitive statement, by providing a blatantly inaccurate defense, as he experienced a misogynistic meltdown directed at Geller in the middle of the segment in which he said:
"You're a woman, you better be careful about saying who I carry water for."
Disgraced former White House correspondent Helen Thomas will be receiving a lifetime achievement award next month from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Coming roughly three months after Thomas was forced to resign from Hearst Newspapers for disgustingly telling Israeli Jews to move back to Germany and Poland and "get the hell out of Palestine," this is clearly going to raise a lot of eyebrows especially with all the media's recent hyperventilation over so-called Islamophobia.
Consider how the following report from The Hill is going to play in an environment where the press are accusing Americans of being anti-Muslim (h/t Hot Air headlines):
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is putting some of the blame on both the Tea Party and the Republican Party for what it sees as a growing tide of anti-Muslim anger. CAIR officials said the rise in "Islamophobia" stems from the controversy surrounding the Islamic center and mosque that Muslims plan to build a few blocks from Ground Zero.
"We've seen a really strong uptick in Islamophobia recently - primarily sparked by the controversy over the Manhattan Islamic center," Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's chief spokesman, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday. "We've seen hate vandalism at mosques in California; in Tennessee, we had an arson attack; at a mosque in Arlington, Texas, we had an arson attack; and something that wasn't even reported nationwide, in May we had a bomb attack at a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida," he said.
Hooper said the attacks could be driven by many factors: "The question is, why? Is it tied to the November elections? Is it tied to the rise of the Tea Party movement? Is it tied to the economy?" he asked. "I think it's pretty clear that it's been sparked...by these hate groups and their opposition to the Islamic community center in Manhattan."
A journalist hired by The New York Times to report on a controversial mosque at 9/11's Ground Zero and the failed Christmas Day bomb plot previously held a government lobbying position at the Council on American Islamic Relations.
The Associated Press and ABC News also enlisted former CAIR workers to cover stories involving the Muslim community, raising concerns over whether it's ethical for objective media outlets to hire ex-advocacy group employees to report on the issues they previously championed.
Sharaf Mowjood, who helped pen the Islam-focused articles for The New York Times and the Times' world-affairs paper the International Herald Tribune in December of 2009, worked as a government relations coordinator for CAIR up until at least March of 2008.
Mowjood's gushing, 1,200-word article on the controversial mosque planned for construction near the former site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks was titled "Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero." All eight of the sources cited in the piece said they approved of the project or lauded its advocate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
On Friday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez revisited a story he did on Tuesday where he forwarded Islamic group CAIR's publicity stunt about a Virginia license plate that apparently contained racist messages. The Washington Post, as well, updated their story on Friday, pointing to the driver's apparent Facebook page, which contained white supremacist messages, but CNN was unable to confirm their report.
Schulte followed through with an article on Thursday, after the owner of the truck, Douglas Story, contacted The Washington Post to claim that the numbers actually represented his favorite NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who race under those respective numbers. Story was forced to get a new license plate after the Virginia DMV recalled his plate.
On April 22 and 27, CNN and The Washington Post both helped forward Islamic advocacy group CAIR's publicity stunt which demeaned an anonymous Virginia motorist as a racist. The Post finally found the driver on Thursday – and apparently, both news outlets jumped the gun, as the owner claimed that the numbers on his license plate were a tribute to his favorite NASCAR drivers, not secret code for “Heil Hitler.”
Anchor Rick Sanchez devoted a brief on his Rick's List program on Tuesday to presenting CAIR's side of the story on the controversy. After showing a picture of the pickup truck and the plate in question, as well as the anti-Islamic message on the truck's tailgate, Sanchez explained that "CAIR...also noticed the vanity license plate. It reads '14CV88.' CAIR says that is a coded hate message. We're told the number eight is for the eighth letter in the alphabet, 'H.' Two eights equals 'H.H.' for 'Heil Hitler.' Fourteen represents imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's motto about securing the future for white children." The anchor didn’t mention the owner’s side of the story.
Did anyone at CNN or the Washington Post consider the possibility that the story was underbaked until they communicated with the driver? Did they consider someone might find the driver and his truck and be spurred to angry talk and/or violence based on the media’s incomplete accounts? The Washington Post, at least, printed an update on Thursday to their initial article from the 22nd (the ball, obviously, is also in Sanchez's court now, as well, especially since he went after NewsBusters for not calling him before we took the "cheap shot" at him). The Post's Brigid Schulte returned to the scene of her incomplete story and provided the driver’s perspective in her Thursday article, "Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message."
On Tuesday's Rick List, CNN's Rick Sanchez unquestioningly forwarded Islamic advocacy group CAIR's admitted speculation about a Virginia license plate containing a supposed coded message of white supremacy/neo-Naziism, which they found on a pickup truck that also had an anti-Islamic message on it [audio clip available here].
Sanchez devoted a brief to the controversy over the Virginia license plate 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Earlier in the hour, the CNN anchor gave a teaser on the issue, summarizing CAIR's take as their publicist might: "Take a look at this: what's wrong with that license plate? Opponents say it has a message of nothing but bigotry and hate. I will take you through it. There's more there than meets the eye." He showed a picture of the pickup truck in question, which had a large Confederate flag on the back window of the cab and the message "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" on the tailgate.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
On the CBS Evening News on Saturday, correspondent Kimberly Dozier reported on a recent rise in homegrown Islamic extremism in the United States and explored the motivation behind it: “... terrorism experts agree militant Islam is becoming an American problem....the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make potent recruiting tools. They’re portrayed by the militants as America’s war on Islam.”
Dozier went on to cite American bigotry as another cause: “Muslim community leaders here say young people are also being driven to extremes by post-9/11 anti-Muslim propaganda like this.” An obscure anti-Muslim video was played as she continued: “And rising incidents of genuine anti-Muslim discrimination. Civil rights complaints have jumped 10 percent in just the past year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
While using C.A.I.R. as a credible source, Dozier only briefly mentioned the organization’s radical ties: “There’s been tension between the FBI and the Council over alleged links to militant groups which it denies.” She then offered a dismissive statement from C.A.I.R.: “It says U.S. authorities should start using the Muslim community as a resource, not an adversary, to help it police its own.”
On March 19th, I found a story on The Jerusalem Post detailing an attack by Muslim youths on a rabbinical assistant that occurred at a Brooklyn, New York subway station. The youths grabbed Uria Ohana's yarmulke off his head then ran off yelling "Allahu Akbar," which is Arabic for "God is great." I have waited four days to report this story myself to see what other news outlets decide to cover the incident and how they would cover it. So far, the only U.S. news outlet that covered it was the New York Post. It has been nearly ignored by the rest of the media.
The dearth of coverage is curious because it seems a natural story for the left to get their "hate crimes" dander worked up over. After all, we have a Muslim gang attacking a lone Jew right in the middle of Brooklyn! Yet, the news gives us zip for coverage.
Apparently to prove that the US is filled with Muslim hating Yahoos, ABC went on the hunt to find "Islamophobia" in America and the result is "Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?" Since they didn't really know where to find any, ABC News decided to create their own prejudice against Muslims by hiring an actress to put on Muslim dress and get "confronted" by a Muslim hating coffee store server -- also an actor hired by ABC. Then, they rolled the cameras, opened the doors to the public and, viola, ABC "found" prejudice in America. How hard is it to "find" something that you invented in the first place? Let's find out...
ABC is "shocked" to find that their little manufactured moments revealed how some customers reacted. "Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility," ABC proclaimed.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has issued a non-apology apology to blogger Charles Johnson for an article in which a reporter inaccurately and unfairly attributed remarks in a blog comment thread to Johnson himself. Writing at Little Green Footballs, Johnson quotes an e-mail from a Post-Dispatch editor. The editor was informing Johnson of a correction to run in the paper, but closed with a non-apology apology (emphasis Johnson's):
That is also the reason that he did not feel compelled to get a response from you for this particular story. At issue here were the comments in question, not your blog posting. No one in the article was criticizing or questioning you or your blog or holding you responsible for those comments.
When it comes to Islam, the approach of too many media outlets seems to be to avoid questioning authority. Whether this attitude stems from fear (as in the case of Lawrence O'Donnell), ignorance, or plain old-fashioned political correctness doesn't really matter because the end result is the same: when extremist Islamic groups like the Council on Islamic Relations say "jump," far too many news organizations say "how high."
It's not asking for much, really. When, for instance, other religious groups (be they Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, etc.) make complaints, the usual procedure is to talk to the person or group being accused and allow them to tell there side of the story. It's basic journalism. It appears, however, that St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Tim Townsend doesn't believe that, at least when the complaint involves CAIR making allegations against the conservative blog Little Green Footballs. Let's take a look:
Proving once again in good European form that they think nothing American is democratic, good or fair, Reuters gives us a pity party for CAIR who is whining that they "feel left out" of the 2008 presidential elections. With the headline blaring "Some non-Christians feel left out of election," Reuters gives us a tale of woe guaranteed to make Europeans shake their heads knowingly that we Americans are really just Christian nuts out to oppress all minorities. One does wonder, however, how CAIR would like it if Muslims did become a focus of the 2008 elections? In light of current events it is doubtful if such a focus would be favorable to them, so, were I them, I'd be happy no one is paying attention to them!
In a U.S. election campaign where presidential candidates from both major parties have talked openly about their Christian faith, some non-Christians feel shut out or turned off.
Listen, this is a majority Christian nation and anyone wanting to get elected is naturally going to talk as closely as possible to that majority. This country is still over 75% Christian, so it is a logical presumption that citizens whose religion represents only a few percentage points would not be a focus of a politician's efforts!
In the past few decades, as political correctness has taken hold of virtually every industry, folks involved in sports and sportscasting that have made racist or sexist remarks on camera have typically been fired or forced to make public apologies.
Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder's termination by CBS back in 1988 is a fine example, with the recent two-week suspension of Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman being another.
Yet, given what happened on an Atlantic City dais on January 11, where a high-profile ESPN anchor went on an alcohol-induced tirade which included a vulgar reference to Jesus Christ, it appears public antitheism is not politically incorrect.
After all, until this moment, you probably hadn't heard about this incident, and the person involved apparently has not been publicly admonished for her behavior by her employer.
While you consider such a double standard, Press of Atlantic City reported on January 12 (h/t NB reader Andy Traynor, readers are warned that vulgarity and blasphemy appear after the jump):
UPDATE, Oct. 26, 10 p.m.: A Plain Dealer report by David Briggs entitled "New Cleveland imam hopes to ease Muslim-Jewish relations" went up today (Oct. 26) at 1:56 PM. I am deferring comment on it until sometime Monday, as new info has become available that requires vetting (original plan to respond Saturday was moved to Sunday, and has now been moved again).
Note: This has been posted at NewsBusters because it addresses an example of what I believe is lax local media coverage that may be occurring in other communities around the country.
Part 1 covered events and disclosures surrounding the announcement of the appointment, effective November 1, of Ahmed Alzaree to become the new imam at the Islamic Center of Cleveland (ICC), specifically:
My September 25 blog post (Wide Open, BizzyBlog, and NewsBusters), revealing a March 2003 sermon given by Alzaree while at his previous post at the Islamic Center of Omaha (ICO), and Alzaree's association with now-deported imam Wagdi Ghoneim.
A follow-up article by the PD's Robert Smith which addressed some of the concerns about Alzaree, but which also left so many items unanswered that it was reasonable to expect that there would be some kind of additional follow-up by the paper in the coming days and weeks.
If you thought the proper way to refer to terrorists who commit violence in the name of Islam was by using such terms as "Islamic terrorists," "Islamic militants," or even "Islamic extremists," be on notice that you may be offending Alan Colmes. In fact, even if you refer to the terrorist group "Islamic Jihad" by that name, which is the name the group uses to refer to itself, you're still not in the clear.
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski said MSNBC would show the full comments in context of Rep. King, a top advisor of Rudy Giulliani. Instead they begin the video segment directly with the mosque statement. After showing a few seconds of his comment and a statement from Giulliani, the rest of the segment was spent with CAIR representative, Ibrahim Hooper, without anyone offering an opposing challenge or viewpoint.