On April 2nd, The New York Times published a piece by Ethan Bronner titled, "In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out." In the piece, Bronner discussed various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including statehood, violence, peace talks, religion, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
But while Bronner spent many paragraphs detailing the difficulties in establishing peace between Israel and Palestine, it wasn't until the 2nd page that he Donner admitted a "central obstacle to the establishment of a State of Palestine" is the political and physical divide between the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza. The more moderate PA has suggested elections for a unified government in both territories.
It’s a discussion for another day as to why those entrusted with the delivery of news so stubbornly refuse to cover the very deadly war being waged at this very moment against Christianity in the Middle East. The aggressors are radical Islamists, the victims Christians, especially those wearing the cloth. Every week another report detailing another attack seeps through the wall of non-information, of men condemned to death in Saudi Arabia for the crime of conversion, of Catholic churches bombed in Baghdad on Christmas Day, of Coptic congregations slaughtered in Egypt, and the like.
Sad and troubling to be sure, but it’s over there…over there. Do you have any recollection of the story fifteen years ago of the small community of Trappist monks in Algeria kidnapped in a prisoner-exchange plot, and then murdered? To the extent I was aware of the brutal story it was something I quickly filed away in the memory banks under, “Oh, dear.” Nothing more.
French filmmaker Xavier Beauvais challenges us to remember. He has delivered the hauntingly beautiful “Of Gods and Men,” winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. “Schindler’s List” was aimed at your heart; “Of Gods and Men” captures your soul.
CNN's Soledad O'Brien's Sunday documentary about the controversial mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee predictably leaned towards the local Muslims who want it built. O'Brien brushed aside an opponent's concerns over Sharia law in the U.S.: "In New York City, we have a big Muslim community. There is no Sharia law [there]." She also omitted how a featured Muslim woman is related to one of the mosque's planners (audio available here).
Forty-five minutes into her hour-long documentary, which aired at 8 pm Eastern, the journalist noted the fall 2010 trial which asked for an injunction to halt the construction of the mosque, but instead of reporting that the trial focused on concerns that the approval of the mosque "did not provide adequate public comment and that its members will impose Sharia Law on Murfreesboro residents," as a local newspaper reported, O'Brien spun this by playing up how, apparently, "in a small courtroom in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Islam was on trial." She then explained that "opponents claim the facility would increase traffic, damage water quality, and provide a foothold for radical Muslims and Islamic law."
On Monday, an unbylined Associated Press item briefly reported the results on results of Egypt's weekend referendum, and the U.S. reaction:
The United States has welcomed the results of Egypt's weekend referendum after it opened the way for parliamentary and presidential elections within months.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner says the approved term limits for the next Egyptian president, multiple ways for candidates to get on the ballot and judicial supervision of elections are positive trends.
Toner said "Egyptians took an important step toward realizing the aspirations" of the revolution that toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak from power.
On Tuesday's In the Arena on CNN, Bill Maher channeled the far left's frustration with President Obama: "This is one of my big problems with our president. He never blames the Republicans for anything. He's their best friend....There's an oil rig that blows up in the Gulf of Mexico, and the party of drill, baby, drill does not get blamed." Host Eliot Spitzer also joined Maher in bashing the Tea Party.
The two liberals vented about domestic politics during the second half of the segment, which began 18 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Spitzer mouthed off his regular talking points about how "the middle class has been squeezed and has suffered....[and] the top 2 or 3 percent has profited amazingly well. And then...we had this financial meltdown, caused primarily by Wall Street." He then lamented how this situation hasn't benefitted his fellow liberals as much as he'd like, which led to Maher bashing the apparent stupidity of the Tea Party:
New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for a series of articles about Sheik Reda Shata, an imam in Brooklyn. In a speech to the Times newsroom after her victory, her editor lauded the series for helping to tear down "the wall of hatred” against Muslims in America.
Sunday’s similar, 8,400-word magazine cover profile, “A Marked Man In America,” featured Yale Ph.D. candidate Yasir Qadhi, a conservative Muslim trying to make the case for non-violence to resistant and radicalized younger Muslims. Even while Elliott engaged in soft-pedaling Islamic extremism, as she did in her 2007 piece, Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project commented that Elliott’s “exhaustive profile of an Islamic cleric....makes the depth and severity of radicalization among some young Muslim Americans very clear,” even if she didn’t necessarily set out to do so.
But this paragraph by Elliott is wildly overstated.
After Bill Maher called the Koran "a hate-filled book" on HBO's "Real Time" Friday, NewsBusters asked if he would be attacked by the media for doing so.
With no outrage having ensued, the folks at Fox News on Monday questioned why Maher's comments went ignored by the Muslim defenders in the press, with Juan Williams telling Bill O'Reilly that if he had said anything like that, "They would have tied you to the pillar and be whipping you and stoning you" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Ali Velshi claimed that Rep. Peter King has a "seemingly strange obsession with Islam and Islamists, or whatever you want to call it," given the lead up and the first day of hearings looking into the radicalization of American Muslims. Velshi also bizarrely stated that "I don't quite understand how when you put an -ist at the end of it [Islamism], it changes the subject."
The anchor discussed the hearings with former FBI agent Foria Younis, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, and former Catholic turned Episcopal priest Rev. Alberto Cutie during the last segment of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the panel discussion, Velshi turned to Cutie and made his claim about the New York congressman, along with his doubt about the validity of "Islamist" as a term:
As NewsBusters has been reporting for over a week, America's media have been widely attacking House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) for conducting hearings about the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorists.
On Friday's "Real Time," host Bill Maher, in an interview with Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), called the Koran a "hate-filled book" while claiming "the threat potentially from radicalized Muslims is a unique and greater threat" than from "right-wing militias and Timothy McVeigh types" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday in its 7 a.m. Eastern hour, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" headlined Thursday's congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims – but only played clips of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim-American who represents only one side of the issue. The show then interviewed him for nine minutes, a lengthy interview for one person on the morning show.
While Ellison received some tough questions, no clips were played of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who is chairing the hearings, nor of Melvin Bledsoe or of Abdirizak Bihi, witnesses who testified about loved ones who were radicalized by Islamic extremists. Bihi's nephew joined a Somali Islamic militia while Bledsoe's son allegedly shot up an armed forces recruiting center in Arkansas.
Later on in the 8 a.m. Eastern hour of the show, "Morning Joe" hosted liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to discuss the hearings. Robinson dismissed King's hearings in his March 11 column entitled "A Modern-Day Witch Hunt."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, following a report that portrayed congressional hearings on radical Islam as bigoted political theater, correspondent Seth Doane profiled a Muslim family in Tennessee and suggested they were indirect victims of the testimony on Capitol Hill: "The Sbenaty family is getting tired of defending their religion."
Anchor Katie Couric introduced Doane's report this way: "...most of the more than two and a half million Muslims living in this country want it known they are patriotic Americans." As if the hearings somehow accused all American Muslims of being unpatriotic. Doane began by proclaiming: "Every morning at his Murfreesboro, Tennessee, middle school 14-year-old Salim Sbenaty honors his country [by saying the Pledge of Allegiance]. But today, while he was taking his English exam, lawmakers on Capitol Hill were examining extremists within his religion, Islam."
Amid the media's vilification of Rep. Peter King, their continuing coverage of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison's "tearful struggle" stands in stark contrast.
"Amid the raw feelings of Thursday's House hearings on domestic Islamic radicalization, Rep. Keith Ellison could not fight back the tears" as he recounted a story about Mohammed Salman Hamdani. Rep. Ellison "choked up and spoke haltingly of how some tried to 'smear' Hamdani because of his faith," declared the Minneapolis Star Tribune on March 10. The manner in which Hamdani was defamed, and the identities of the guilty, has remained ambiguous to date.
Echoing Rep. Ellison's Twitter post "America is big enuf for all of us," USA Today declared "Rep. Keith Ellison" has made it clear "America is big enough for us all." Cursorily noting that "Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. vowed not to bow to 'political correctness,'" it went on to give an in-depth reaction provided by a talk show host based out of Minnesota: "As I was wiping my tears," she said, "I was thinking what is it about my faith that is not being accepted as an American? My faith? My scarf? My ethnicity?"
Absent from all of the media's coverage of Rep. Ellison's weeping is the Title 1 of Section 102 in the Patriot Act passed by Congress after 9/11:
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes implied that the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims was simply a political show put on by committee chairman Peter King: "Ignoring calls from Democrats to cancel his hearing...King embarked on the inquiry in a room newly decorated with fiery images from 9/11."
Cordes later declared that "King's own past assertion that most U.S. mosques are run by radicals" resulted in "poisoning the atmosphere" of the hearing. She remarked on how King's "relations with Muslim leaders there [in his Long Island, NY district] deteriorated after 9/11." A sound bite was then featured of Dr. Faroque Kahn of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who labeled King a "Muslim-basher."
Two men testified yesterday before a U.S. House of Representatives panel about how their loved ones were radicalized by Islamist extremists and how local mosque leaders did nothing to help alert U.S. authorities of the potential danger.
Yet accounts of their testimony were buried in the Washington Post's front page March 11 story about the Homeland Security Committee's March 10 hearings formally entitled an inquiry into "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response."
CNN's Deborah Feyerick performed a cut-and-paste job on Thursday's Newsroom by partially re-running a biased report from September 2010 on the apparent rise of "Islamophobia" in the United States. Just as before, all but one of Feyerick's sound bites during her report came from those who were worried about the supposed "intensifying hostility and rise in hate speech" against Muslims.
Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 40 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, by putting it in the context of Rep. Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims: "King says his radicalization of Islam hearing is going to help protect America from a terrorist attack. Well, critics, they call it a witch hunt. One of the concerns is that it is going to cause more Americans to fear and hate Muslims. Our Deborah Feyerick reports Islamophobia is on the rise." A chyron echoed Malveaux's last sentence: "Islamophobia on the Rise."
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):
MSNBC's "panel" on today's hearings about radicalization of Muslim-Americans featured liberals Carl Bernstein and Cenk Uygur – with MSNBC's Richard Lui moderating. With no substantial conservative counterpoints to be offered, the two guests sounded their condemnations of the hearings as "cultural warfare" and bigotry.
Bernstein slammed the House inquiry as a joke and as a "debating society for cultural warfare." Referencing the institution's past for producing McCarthy-ite investigations, he compared the current hearings with the gladiatorial combat of the Roman coliseum.
"Now we have this question which is part of this coliseum-like atmosphere of cultural warfare," Bernstein spat.
Cenk Uygur turned up the invective knob to 11 when it was his turn to speak. He questioned whether Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, is a "real American."
One popular feature of "On Faith," the online religion news feature of the Washington Post and Newsweek, is the "Guest Voices" column. They are typically short blog posts written by non-staff writers about an item in the news with a religious angle.
MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Thursday brought the specter of bigotry into Representative Peter King's hearings on the threat of radical Islam in America. While interviewing Congressman Dan Lungren of California she awkwardly hinted, "Well, you know, you and I are both white."
The irritated Republican wondered, "What does that mean?" Mitchell lectured, "I'm just asking, get in their heads for a second and try to think about how it is to be a Muslim-American facing these kinds- this kind of testimony today. That's all I want to know."
In an earlier segment, the Andrea Mitchell Reports host casually insisted that the hearings are "a great lesson against the dangers of over-generalizing, of generalizing at all about particular groups."
An NPR correspondent recently went incognito for a sting operation aimed at exposing U.S. border agents who target Muslims for "interrogation" at the Canadian border.
Employing the same tactics used by James O'Keefe to bring down top NPR executives, counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston draped herself in a headscarf, drove to the northern border, and recorded her encounter with a U.S. border agent. [Click here for audio.]
"An agent from Customs and Border Protection was sitting in what looked like a little toll booth," recalled Temple-Raston on the March 10 Morning Edition, who gave the agent no indication that he was being recorded. "He asked me to remove my sunglasses and peered into the car. I was wearing a headscarf and so was Kathy Jamil. He asked why we'd been to Canada."
CNN seemed to fear the worst before Thursday's hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, pressing committee chair Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on his stance toward radical Islam with the shadow of Joseph McCarthy looming in the background.
CNN correspondent Dana Bash asked King, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, if he was "obsessed" with radical Islam, and what he thought about being compared to Joseph McCarthy. Her exclusive video interview with the congressman was aired multiple times Wednesday on the network.
In a voice-over, Bash reported that the hearing appears "to some, akin to Joseph McCarthy's 1950's communist witch hunt." She then asked a question of the congressman in real-time, this much of which was included in the segment: "Peter King is the modern day Joseph McCarthy?" Bash was probably alluding to the thoughts of King's critics, and was asking him for his reaction.
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."
New York Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein made Tuesday’s front page with an attack on Brigitte Gabriel, an activist who warns against the dangers of radical Islam in the United States: “Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message.”
Interestingly, the piece is datelined Fort Worth, Texas, suggesting much of the relevant reporting was done last fall – Gabriel spoke to a Tea Party event in Fort Worth in September 2010, and Goodstein’s story includes a photo of Gabriel speaking at “a Tea Party event in September.”
Did some of this story come out of the freezer? It was surely released today to intersect with Rep. Peter King’s hearings on Islamic radicalism which begin on Thursday, but which the Times already bashed in its lead editorial today. The editors pointed an accusing finger at King: “Not much spreads fear and bigotry faster than a public official intent on playing the politics of division.”
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.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.
"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"
Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
Mark Potok of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center claimed on Monday's Newsroom on CNN that radical Islam wasn't "our biggest domestic terror threat," that instead, "that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country." Anchor Suzanne Malveaux touted Potok as "expert on extremism" from "one of the most highly regarded non-governmental operations that are monitoring hate groups."
Malveaux brought on the SPLC spokesman at the bottom of the 12 noon Eastern hour to discuss the upcoming hearings by the House Homeland Security Committee on the radicalization of American Muslims. The anchor first asked him, "From your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?"
Potok replied with his "radical right" claim, and went on to criticize the chairman of the House committee, Rep. Peter King:
Dan Gilgoff played up the Islamic community's concerns over upcoming congressional hearings on "the radicalization of American Muslims" in a Friday article on CNN.com. Gilgoff quoted Muslims 12 times in his article, versus only 3 times for Rep. Peter King, who will be convening the hearings, and omitted mentioning actual terrorist incidents from recent years that involved native-born or naturalized Muslims.
Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's federal minister for minorities and that government's only Christian, was assassinated yesterday on the streets of Islamabad. Bloomberg News is reporting that the Pakistan Taliban is claiming responsibility for the shooting:
As many as four men ambushed Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Christian, yesterday as he left home without a security escort, Geo television reported, citing a police official, Bin Yamin. Bhatti was dead when brought to the city’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the institution’s spokesman, Azmatullah Quraishi, said by telephone.
Television channels showed leaflets found at the scene in which the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for killing Bhatti. They said he was targeted for heading a government- appointed committee to review the blasphemy law, which prescribes the death penalty for anyone convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Bhatti, a Roman Catholic and former leader of Pakistan’s main minority-rights group, was killed eight weeks after Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was shot to death by one of his bodyguards. Both men had called publicly for changes to the [nation's blasphemy] law.