01/27/15

A No-go Zone for Truth

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Accurately reporting on no-go zones dominated by Muslims in Europe is now a no-go zone. Our media have made a mess of the whole issue and are now afraid to dig themselves out. What a disgrace and disservice to news consumers.

Jumping on the pile, the left-wing Politico has published a story accusing Louisiana Republican Governor and possible presidential candidate Bobby Jindal of telling a “lie” about the no-go zones by saying they exist. But the story is itself based on a lie. Things are so twisted that Politico is doing the lying by denying that the no-go zones exist. How did we get in such a mess?

Let’s understand that the method in this madness is to accommodate the radical Muslim lobby and demonize politicians who talk about the jihad problem.

First of all, the evidence shows that the zones or areas do exist. We cited evidence for them, and numerous other outlets have done so as well. The confusion stems from a Fox News apology over the matter that should never have been made.

Steve Emerson made a mistake on one Fox show in saying that “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.”

Acknowledging his error, Emerson tells WorldNetDaily that he is nevertheless appalled that the media have now decided that any and all reporting on no-go zones is wrong. “It’s outrageous for media outlets to apologize, saying ‘no-go zones’ don’t exist in Europe, when even the New York Times for years has published articles documenting Muslim ‘no-go zones’ do exist in European countries like France,” he tells WND reporter Jerome Corsi.

Corsi notes that “NBC News, the New York Times, the Associated Press and others were using the term ‘no-go’ zones for Muslim-majority neighborhoods in Paris when Muslim youth gangs were rampaging through the streets and setting cars on fire.”

We made the same point in our treatment of the issue, noting that Fox News suddenly altered its reporting of the Muslim riots in France in 2005, determining them to be “civil riots” instead. We saw then the power of the Islamists to alter Fox’s coverage.

Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz had a great opportunity on his Sunday show “Media Buzz” to set the record straight. Instead of confronting his own channel over the unnecessary apology, Kurtz praised CNN’s Anderson Cooper for making the same kind of apology. But then he mentioned that other outlets have been reporting on the no-go zones for years. So an apology wasn’t necessary after all! “The subject is complicated,” he said. No it’s not. Just tell the truth.

If all of this is unnecessarily confusing, it’s clearly because of the unnecessary Fox apology. It was a political apology. There is no other explanation. It is this kind of pandering that is becoming a pattern at Fox, which had earlier yanked anchor Bret Baier from a Catholic conference under pressure from the homosexual lobby.

Liberal special interest groups should not have this kind of influence on a news organization, especially one claiming “fair and balanced” coverage that is also supposed to be accurate.

Journalism 101 teaches that corrections or apologies are called for when errors are made. Since no-go areas do in fact exist, according to numerous sources, no apology was necessary. Yet, Fox News offered the view that since the no-go zones are not “specific” or “formal” entities, they really don’t exist. Fox was wrong. This is complete nonsense and a gross distortion of the concept.

Robert Spencer makes the observation, “The Fox apology is all the more curious in light of the fact that others, even on the Left, have noticed the no-go zones in France before some Fox commentators began talking about them in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.”

Citing just one example of many, he notes that David Ignatius had written in The New York Times back in 2002, “Yet Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.”

Spencer notes that Fox’s apology “only plays into the hands of leftists and Islamic supremacists who have a vested interest in rendering people ignorant and complacent about the reality of what is going on in these areas.”

He suggests that Fox “apologize for its apology.” That would perhaps further confuse matters, but it is the right thing to do.

Without an apology for the apology, those who apologize for the Islamization of Europe like Arif Rafiq will continue to claim, as he did in Politico, that Jindal, by even discussing the no-go zones, “has been repeating a lie that even Fox News was forced to apologize for.” The Fox News correction, or apology, though unwarranted, is now being cited as the media standard.

Politico headlined the piece, “Bobby Jindal’s Muslim Problem,” as if the governor has a bias against Muslims. So a Fox News apology has now been transformed into an indictment of a conservative political figure. Soon, Jindal will be denounced as an “Islamophobe,” another smear term used by the radical Islam lobby.

The liberal media won’t believe any of Fox’s normal day-to-day reports. But when the channel claims to have made an error that makes the rest of the media look good by comparison, that suddenly becomes the truth and the channel has to be believed. This is how reality is turned upside down.

The real story is why Fox made this unnecessary correction. The clout of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Council on American-Islamic Relations is the most likely explanation. Fox has undermined its own credibility by apologizing for something that was true. It is bizarre and was absolutely unnecessary.

Pamela Geller is correct that the major media are “failing us.” It’s terribly tragic that at a time when we were depending on one channel, Fox, to tell the truth, it has failed us, too.

01/21/15

Hypocritical New York Times Takes on Steven Emerson

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.

01/17/15

It’s the President’s Policies—Not His Team’s Vision

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

It’s been a gradual process, but we welcome former New York Times columnist Leslie Gelb to the realization that President Barack Obama’s leadership has been disastrous for this country. Last October Gelb wrote, “While Obama inherited rather than caused many of the world’s current crises, his habitual complacency and passivity prevent him from mitigating or resolving them.”

By November, Gelb had scathing criticism for Obama, writing for The Daily Beast that “The leak suggests that Mr. Obama remains blind to the principal cause of his foreign policy woes… he is the person most responsible for the absence of a U.S. foreign policy strategy, for policy zigs and zags, and for the loss of credibility and power. The essential fault lies not with the stars around him, however dim, but with himself.”

The failure to send a high-ranking member of the Obama administration to Paris for the so-called unity rally was the last straw for Mr. Gelb, whose impeccable establishment credentials include board senior fellow and president emeritus at the Council on Foreign Relations. He even acknowledges it in The Daily Beast title: “This Is Obama’s Last Foreign Policy Chance.”

Gelb said that failing to go to Paris or to send the vice president was more than a “horrible gaffe,” adding that it “demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years. It’s simply too dangerous to let Mr. Obama continue as is—with his current team and his way of making decisions. America, its allies, and friends could be heading into one of the most dangerous periods since the height of the Cold War.”

But unfortunately, this wasn’t Obama’s last foreign policy chance. Gelb recommends that Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Denis McDonough, and Valerie Jarrett should go. There is no doubt that these four have helped make an utter mess of American foreign policy, but largely at the direction of their boss.

Gelb suggests that President Obama add establishment Republican Thomas Pickering, who is soft on Iran and also complicit in the Benghazi cover-up as the Chair of the discredited Accountability Review Board (ARB), the State Department creation that didn’t even interview then-Secretary of State Clinton, and informed Mrs. Clinton through her aide, Cheryl Mills, when the vice chair of the ARB became concerned about the testimony of one of the witnesses.

“Pickering has personally explored opening relations with Hamas; pushed peace talks with the Taliban; argued for getting rid of, or removing to the U.S., all tactical nuclear weapons in Europe (and moving Russia’s to east of the Urals); and promoted bilateral talks with Iran without preconditions,” wrote Andy McCarthy. These are the credentials to pull our country out of its foreign policy disasters?

Actually, we may not even agree with Gelb’s belief that the President should replace his current team, or whether that even matters. And that is because of another point he makes: “In the end, making the national security system work comes down to one factor, one man—Barack Obama. He’s the key problem, and he’s the only one who can bring about a solution.”

What Gelb’s column fails to recognize is that this isn’t a problem of President Obama receiving bad advice. It is that he is ideologically driven, and his agenda is clearly antithetical to America’s national security needs and interests. This has been apparent since before the President took office, but it was laid bare in his first year in office. It is just that virtually everyone at The New York Times and other foreign policy establishment institutions either didn’t recognize it, or thought his presidency would be a great antidote to the “cowboy” foreign policy, as they saw it, of the George W. Bush era.

Consider these following presidential actions:

  • President Obama’s Cairo speech in his first months, where he invited the Muslim Brotherhood, and didn’t invite the then-president of Egypt to attend;
  • His hands-off approach to the green revolution in Iran that possibly could have overthrown that dangerous, terrorist sponsoring, corrupt regime;
  • The unilateral removal of our missile defense system from Poland and the Czech Republic;
  • His ongoing pledge to shut down Guantanamo Bay;
  • His immediate demands on Israel that proved both wrong and counterproductive for what he was hoping to achieve;
  • The unnecessary war in Libya, and the ensuing Islamic terrorist attack on our Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex in Benghazi, and the obvious lies and dereliction of duty that went along with it;
  • The current phony war against ISIS, with a plan to defeat them that would be absurd if it wasn’t so tragic;
  • His lies and distortions about the nature of the threat in today’s world, which include the West’s failure to confront Islamist, jihadist terrorism and growing influence of the caliphate.

Thursday’s Wall Street Journal had an article about the Iraqis’ growing impatience with how the U.S. and its coalition are carrying out the war against the Islamic State (IS), with whom we’re supposedly in a years-long process of degrading and destroying. “The swelling disapproval reflects Iraqi impatience at the U.S.-led mission’s multiyear strategy against Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Many Iraqis see the insurgents as an immediate threat pulling their country apart amid immense suffering,” reports the Journal. “Some Iraqis even believe the coalition is aiding the extremists by airdropping weapons into the third of the country they control.”

It has put us in the position of coordinating with Iran, and the Iranian backed militias are doing much of the fighting on the ground. At the same time, we are supposedly attempting to defeat ISIS in Syria, where we are doing some of the dirty work for Syrian president Basher al Assad, another Iranian proxy.

Mr. Gelb, we’ve just outlined how President Obama’s foreign policy team has been mishandling the hard questions—since day one—and Paris was, unfortunately, just a flash in the pan that momentarily illuminated the President’s perverse ideological strategic vision. He wasn’t there, nor did he send Vice President Biden, because he doesn’t stand in solidarity with the views of the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, who said in the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris that left a total of 17 dead, “We’re at war, but not at war against a religion, not against a civilization, but at war to defend our values, which are universal.” He added, “It is a war against terrorism and radical Islam, against everything aimed at breaking solidarity, liberty and fraternity.”

The problem is not a lack of policy, or rearranging the circle of advisers—it’s Obama’s ideology and actual policies themselves that have us in this mess that Leslie Gelb has come to recognize.