CNN and MSNBC Pundit Arrested for Vandalizing Anti-Muslim Ad In N.Y. Subway System

September 26th, 2012 5:00 PM

The New York Post reported Egyptian-American columnist Mona Eltahawy has been arrested for defacing an anti-Muslim ad in the New York subway system. The video shows her spraying pink paint on the ad while a supporter of the ad tries to block her. She's a journalist for censorship.

Eltahawy, a former Reuters correspondent, has been a recent favorite of CNN and MSNBC’s weekend morning shows to discuss Egypt, and she often smears together the Islamist “right wing” and the American right wing, as she did on Melissa Harris-Perry just 11 days ago [video and transcript below]:

ELTAHAWY: We [Egyptians] have a president who is trying to establish his position somewhere in the middle and we have a group that is trying to establish themselves on the right wing. And you`re having a similar situation in the U.S. We are coming up to elections now in less than two months. There is a right wing fringe there as well. So, you`ve got a right wing and a right wing. Both minorities, both trying to provoke people and a whole lot of people with very, very, sometimes legitimate grievances, but sometimes utterly senseless grievances, being caught in the middle.

Eltahawy was even featured on the September 15 NBC Nightly News decrying America’s long-term support for Egyptian dictators. Here’s how the New York Post characterized the subway fight:

“Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?” said Pamela Hall, holding a mounted camera as she tried to block the barrage of spray paint.

“I do actually,” Eltahawy calmly responded. “I think this is freedom of expression, just as this is freedom of expression.”

Hall then thrusts herself between Eltahawy’s spray paint and the poster.

Eltahawy -- an activist who has appeared on MSNBC and CNN -- engaged her in an odd cat-and-mouse dance, spraying pink every time she had an opening.

“What right do you have to violate free speech,” Hall pleaded.

“I’m not violating it. I’m making an expression on free speech,” an increasingly agitated Eltahawy shot back.

“You do not have the right!” Hall said.

“I do actually and I’m doing it right now and you should get out of the way! Do you want paint on yourself,” Eltahawy shot back.

As the poster defender bobbed and weaved to get in the paint’s way, Eltahawy mocked: “That’s right, defend racism.”

Eltahawy appeared in the typically long segments on the Harris-Perry show on April 28, July 1, and September 15, and also appeared on Up With Chris Hayes on June 24. Just in September, Eltahawy was featured in seven interviews about Egypt just from September 11 to 13, including two appearances on Anderson Cooper 360 (the seven interviews would not count replays).

CNN reported the vandalism this morning on Early Start, but Eltahawy was simply an “activist” gone awry:

Check out this New York Post video. That is activist Mona Eltahawy, tussling with the woman holding a mounted camera. Eltahawy calls what she is doing an expression of free speech. That's the very argument supporters of the posters used to win the right to put them up. Three of the 10 posters at various subway stations were ripped or defaced during the first day that they were up.

Incidentally, this incident is actually the third time in less than a month that a person affiliated with MSNBC has had a run-in with conservatives.

During the Republican National Convention in late August, a producer for the network allegedly assaulted some GOP delegates who were razzing MSNBC host Chris Matthews about his now-famous “thrill going up my leg” remark about President Obama. Just a few days later, Matthews himself got into a verbal altercation with some other GOP delegates who also teased him about his ardent love for Obama.

Eltahawy was also interviewed on the April 24 Morning Edition on NPR, all about her provocative cover story for Foreign Policy magazine. As Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi explained:

Even Foreign Policy - Foreign Policy! - featured cover skin: a naked model covered in black body paint done up to resemble a burqa.

The latter image was used to illustrate a "Sex Issue" cover essay by Egyptian American writer Mona Eltahawy about the suppression of women's rights in the Middle East and the Arab world. But it was also an ironic comment about magazine covers, said FP editor in chief Susan Glasser.

"It makes a point about their culture and ours, and about American magazines and sex," she said. "I don't think you can look at that image as anything other than a commentary on Western culture's obsession with the cliches of centerfolds and cover models and also the hard realities of the [Arab] culture that Mona is writing about."

Yes, sex, or at least sexiness, sells. Eltahawy's article has gotten more than a million page views, making it one of the most-read ever for Foreign Policy, which is owned by The Washington Post Co.