By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
When the New York Times sees a gaffe made on Fox News, it blasts the network in article after article, in this case at least three times, but when its own reporters make basic fact-checking mistakes, the paper’s readers receive casual notice at the bottom of an article.
In some editions of the Times, Stephen Castle and Robert Mackey misidentified the parent company of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch’s title at News Corporation, and “paraphrased incorrectly in some editions” Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter comments. That’s three errors in one article.
These errors were in an article criticizing Steven Emerson, a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi and Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, who mistakenly said that “[A]nd in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”
Emerson retracted his statement, saying that he “clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry,” and Fox News issued an on-air apology regarding the incident. Emerson even made a donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Will The New York Times make similar donations on behalf of its numerous errors in the Castle and Mackey article?
Writers for the Times didn’t hold back: “Maybe if these ‘journalists’ left their bubble and actually talked to more Muslims, they wouldn’t spew nonsense—such as that Pakistan is an Arab country or that Birmingham, England, is entirely Muslim and a no-go area for Christians,” wrote Nicholas Kristof for the Times. “That paranoid claim by a Fox News ‘expert,’ later retracted, led wags to suggest that the city had renamed itself Birming, since Muslims avoid ham.”
The New York Times repeatedly labeled Emerson a “self-described expert on Islamist terrorism.” Investigative reporter Gary Weiss, in an outstanding blog post on this controversy, noted, “When you call someone a ‘self-described expert’ it’s a bit like calling someone a ‘self-described doctor.’…He or she is a phony.”
Weiss suggested that Kristof was perhaps carrying a grudge against Emerson for an article years earlier in which “Emerson raked [Kristof] over the coals for a column that criticized the U.S. and Israel for isolating the Hamas terror group.
But as Weiss pointed out, the late New York Times managing editor A.M. Rosenthal called Emerson “one of the nation’s best national security correspondents” whose “investigative work on radical Islamic fundamentalism is absolutely critical to this nation’s national security. There is no one else who has exhibited the same expertise, courage and determination to tackle this vital issue.” And Weiss cited other examples of praise for Emerson on the pages of the Times: “In this article in the Times in 1988,” wrote Weiss, “veteran Times reporters Martin Tolchin and Richard Halloran described Emerson as ‘an expert on intelligence.’”
But the Times are a-changing.
Times executive editor Dean Baquet has announced that the paper won’t publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons “primarily” because doing so might offend its Muslim readers.
While Emerson clearly was wrong on the specifics of what he said, he was referring to the undeniably expanding Islamization occurring in parts of Europe. This news story from CBN in 2010 captured this very real phenomenon, which does exist, and continues to grow.
Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid cited some of the outstanding work that Emerson has done through the years, which is the reason that the left has come after him so hard: “For his part, Emerson has been consistently correct about the development of the Islamic extremist networks that now threaten America and the world,” writes Kincaid. “His latest film, ‘Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,’ describes how Muslim Brotherhood fronts, such as CAIR, have pursued a strategy described in secret documents as the ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ of destroying Western civilization from within.” He also referred to Emerson’s 1994 documentary, “Jihad in America,” which “included previously unknown videos of the clandestine activities of radical Islamic terrorist groups in the United States.”
Besides, the Times, as AIM has cited for 45 years, often gets the big things wrong as well. For example, we debunked their December, 2013 story on Benghazi that they intended as the definitive statement. We’re still waiting for their retraction or correction on that one.
Despite his mistake, Emerson is one of the nation’s leading experts on Islamic terrorism. The New York Times, on the other hand, has shown itself time after time to be hypocritical and agenda-driven.