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    Default Western Media: Pro-Israel, Pro-War, Anti-Muslim

    Western Media: Pro-Israel, Pro-War, Anti-Muslim

    By Tammy Obeidallah - July 18, 2009

    Western media has eroded into little more than sound bytes of celebrity gossip or inane stories about how cutting calories can help people live longer. When there is no way to get around reporting “hard news” so-called journalists build careers by regurgitating whatever they are spoon-fed by administration officials in scripted interviews.

    All cannot be attributed to sheer incompetence. Often facts are omitted or so distorted that newscasts take on the sinister feel of state-run media, serving merely as a government mouthpiece to promote a particular agenda. The majority of the time, this is accomplished in one of three ways:

    1) shoddy coverage of the dual U.S. occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan in which soldier and civilian casualties are grossly under-reported;
    2) portraying Muslims and Arabs as aggressive terrorists (conversely, events in which Muslims and/or Arabs are victimized go unreported); and
    3) blatant pro-Israel bias.

    The murder of Marwa Sherbini, an Egyptian woman stabbed 18 times in a German courtroom while police stood idle--although they shot her husband “accidentally” when he tried in vain to thwart the brutal attack--should have caused international outrage. However, much of the world was not aware of the tragedy. A comment posted to Al-Jazeera’s website correctly pointed out that it would have been a much different reaction if the situation had been reversed: imagine if a Jew or a Christian was murdered in an Egyptian courtroom.

    On a broader scale, the media has depicted the hell that was once Gaza as resulting from “Israel’s right to self-defense.” Furthermore, the detrimental effect that the U.S. alliance with the Jewish State has had on our own citizens is kept a closely guarded secret.

    On July 4, while every network was still engaged in 24/7 coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, there was a crippling cyber attack on U.S. government websites, including the Department of Treasury, the Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Transportation. The same day, South Korea suffered a similar attack on the websites of the Presidential Blue House, Defense Ministry and banking institutions. It was not reported until four days later.

    Both the U.S. and South Korea came to the logical—if not overly simple—conclusion that the perpetrator was North Korea. Less-than-mediocre journalists were quick to circulate the story over the airwaves and the Internet. If they had done their jobs, they might have looked at other events reported the same day and connected a few dots. But that would have taken some actual investigative work, something foreign to today’s media.

    The same day that news broke of North Korea’s alleged attack, Reuters reported that Israel has been preparing a cyber war against Iran. A spokesperson from Technologies Institute, a U.S. consultancy, stated that Israel is the sixth biggest cyber warfare threat, after China, Russia, Iran, France and “terrorist/extremist” groups. Oddly enough, North Korea, who was behind this “unusually lengthy and sophisticated attack,” according to the Associated Press, did not make the list.

    Israeli officials admitted to successful tests of cyber attacks on an internal pipeline, and that furthermore, the same methods could be used to attack sites of uranium enrichment facilities in Iran. It only makes sense that Israel would have wanted to test their tactics before proceeding, and what better way to divert suspicion than attacking South Korea as well?

    It wouldn’t be the first time Israel attacked their largest supporter. The USS Liberty was destroyed by Israeli bombers in 1967. Thirty-four American sailors died and an additional 172 were injured. Naval personnel listening to radio relays heard President Lyndon B. Johnson say “I don’t care if the ship sinks, I’m not going to embarrass an ally.”

    The unanswered questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks have always pointed to an Israeli factor, despite government secrecy and media complicity. In the weeks prior to September 11, 140 Israelis were detained as part of a suspected espionage ring. Nearly all had served in the Israeli army with specialties in either explosives or intelligence, although Carl Cameron of Fox News quoted a senior investigator as stating "Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified.." Those cases were separate from the arrests of five Israelis who were caught filming the World Trade Center attack, laughing, giving each other high-fives and dancing as it happened. This story was verified by the Washington Post, The Palm Beach Post and ABC News. Shortly after, they returned to Israel, where four of the five filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the United States for false arrest. The media was conspicuously absent when Rachel Corrie, an American citizen, wascrushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza while trying to prevent a home demolition. She should have been a household name; yet her death was ruled “accidental” and was never investigated by Congress despite persistent pressure from Ms. Corrie’s parents and numerous fellow activists.

    Citizens must hold news organizations accountable through letters, phone calls, education and other grass roots means. If not, we may as well live with the lies that punctuate most mainstream media reporting and surrender our First Amendment right to a free press.

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    Islamophobia in the media

    Dr. Mohamed Elmasry - October 14, 2009

    Canadian journalist Heather Mallick faced an angry onslaught from the American media for an online column she wrote during the 2008 presidential campaign; in it, she maligned Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin as appealing to the "white trash vote'' with her "toned-down version of the porn actress look.''

    Fox News unleashed its full fury on Mallick, with anchor Greta Van Susteren calling her a "pig'' and commentators on Fox message boards branding her with epithets such as “insane Pakistani Muslim.”

    But even this abuse has paled in comparison to the avalanche of violent, threatening and abusive messages that have continued to come her way in the months following her Sept. 5, 2008 column on CBC.ca, entitled A Mighty Wind Blows through the Republican Convention.

    Even Canadian media organizations have been on the receiving end of negative and threatening American responses, including anti-Semitic slurs. (Mallick is neither Muslim nor Jewish.)

    Messages on the Fox News website even extended to making sweeping anti-Canadian remarks. One person wrote: "Those morons up north just can't keep their ignorant mouths shut when it's really none of their socialist business . . . the People's Republic of Canada is no friend of the USA!''

    But what if similar comments were made by a writer or journalist smearing Islam, or bashing Muslims; or what if a cartoonist was to publish a satiric sketch illustrating that the Prophet Muhammad was a “terrorist”?

    What kind of media reaction would have ensued? The answer is … none.

    Then, and only then, every Western journalist and editor would suddenly become a passionate defender of “free speech” or “free expression” and would be quick to condemn anyone suggesting otherwise.

    Why the double standard?

    Not only are present-day media organizations full of Islamophobes (which is bad enough); but an entire industry has emerged since 9/11 as part of the American “war on terror.”

    This new industry sanctions, condones and promotes Islamophobia and pays Islamophobic writers, speakers, commentators and other self-styled “experts” handsomely for their books and articles, as well as giving them wide public platforms from which to express their views.

    Many seasoned journalists will tell you “off the record” about just how much Islamophobia goes on in today’s mainstream media. But few are brave enough to write about it.

    “Media has no bounds when it comes to Muslim bashing,” says Ray Hanania, one of the brave ones, an award-winning American columnist and author.

    “Steve (Huntley) my former editor (at the Chicago Sun Times), has fashioned himself as one of the leading promoters of anti-Muslim hate,” wrote Hanania in his August 16, 2008 column. “He has company at the Sun-Times, although the ranks of Muslim bashers have been weeded out in the newspaper’s transition from bully pulpit under Racism Baron Conrad Black [and] returning to respectable journalism again.”

    “I had to laugh when I read Steve Huntley’s column in Friday’s Chicago Sun Times,” says Hanania. “Citing one of the most racist anti-Muslim newspapers in America, the Wall Street Journal, [Huntley] notes that Muslims have protested to Random House over a new book called ‘The Jewel of Medina.’ ... The protests have led Random House to not release the book. The book is about the Prophet Muhammed who led and founded the Islamic religion that ‘only’ a 5th of the people of the world observe. The book has been described as scurrilous and vicious and pure anti-Muslim hate.”

    “And here’s Huntley, arguing that it’s sad when voices are silenced because of bigotry. What a hypocrite. Huntley served on the Sun-Times board at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-Arab voices were not only silenced and prevented from being articulated, but when the hate-mongering against Muslims and Arabs was at its ugliest and most vicious crescendo. (You still see remnants in Neil Steinberg’s column, which teeters between heights of phenomenal writing ... to the lows of vicious demagoguery when his topics are Arabs and Muslims. At least he’s changing.)”

    In their book At War with Metaphor: Media, Propaganda and Racism in the War on Terror, Canadian Professors Erin Steuter and Deborah Wills document racist representations of Muslims as animals in post-911 media and public discourse, linking this to hate crimes and prisoner abuse.

    Steuter and Wills argue that “the abuses of Abu Ghraib were part of a systemic continuum of dehumanization. This continuum has its roots in our public discussions of the war on terror and the metaphors through which they are repeatedly framed. … [T]hese metaphors, if left unexamined, bind us into a cycle of violence that will only be intensified by a responsive violence of metaphor.”

    Steuter and Wills examine go on to examine compelling examples of animal, insect, and disease imagery that influence, shape, and limit our understanding of the war on terror. Tying these images to historical and contemporary propaganda through a strong analysis of media filters, At War with Metaphor shows how deeply the news media (print, illustrative, spoken and online) are invested in continuing the use of damaging, dehumanizing metaphors for “the other” in our midst.

    As one review puts it: “[By] analyzing media through the lenses of race and Orientalism, [Steuter and Wills] invite us to hold our media and ourselves accountable for the choices we make in talking war and making enemies.”

    Dr Mohamed Elmasry is Professor Emeritus of Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo.
    He can be reached at elmasry@thecanadiancharger.com

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    Why TV news in the US is utter rubbish

    It's not just that world events are ignored in favour of celebrity gossip. News anchors skew the facts to provoke debate

    Kieren McCarthy - 7 August 2008

    For years it has been a joke that news in the United States is terrible: obsessed with trivia and celebrity; fronted by Botox bimbos; forever interviewing citizens about some artefact of small-town life when a major news story is breaking elsewhere.

    Well, the truth is that it's far, far worse than that. There are a multitude of news channels - CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox. But after an hour of flipping between them during lunchtime last week, this was the sum total of information gleaned: there are two US presidential candidates; they have produced campaign ads; people have made video parodies and posted them on the internet; a US TV news host appeared on a US TV chatshow last night; and someone said something controversial (read ignorant) on a different TV show the day before.

    In the meantime, one of the most sought-after war criminals in the world had been arrested and sent for trial; several new scientific breakthroughs had been announced; Zimbabwe edged carefully toward shared government; the Indian government dealt with votes of no-confidence and terrorist attacks; and countless other real stories came and went. For millions of Americans, these events appeared as 15-word tickertapes at the bottom of their 36-inch widescreen TVs.

    It's not the absolute dearth of real news that is the problem, however. It's the fact that the news that is presented isn't news but mindless, misleading gossip. The clearest example of this is when one of the (between two and six) commentators on any given story provides their "analysis".

    This comprises of showing a video clip and then talking with the assumed voice of the person in the clip. So, for example, Barack Obama gave a press conference. A clip of around four or five seconds of what he said is shown and then the TV studio people take over.

    News anchor: "So what he's saying is 'Hey, I'm the guy in charge here - I'm the person who decides what to do, not you.' Is that right?"

    Commentator: "I think what he was saying was: 'If I become president, then I'll be the person that calls the shots.'"

    Commentator Two: "I don't agree. He's saying: 'I am going to listen to others – that's what I'll do – but make no mistake I'll be the person who makes the final decision.'"

    This goes on and on with people making up dialogue and pretending to be Obama (or John McCain or anyone else that comes to mind) rather than broadcasting what was actually said.

    But it gets worse:

    Unfair comment: The analysis of what someone has said is clearly bent by the reporters themselves along ideological lines. Unrelated facts and events are attached and then attacked, and the original news point ends up as little more than a launching pad for the experts' own political perspectives. So a sober report on, say, house prices ends up as a criticism of the Republican party's fiscal policy (without any details of that policy being provided). In the worst cases, something with no news value at all is introduced in order to score political points – such as McCain eating at a German restaurant, or Obama knocking fists with his wife.

    Tail-chasing and navel gazing: The media reports constantly on itself. And that really does mean constantly. Anything reported on the TV news instantly becomes something to be reported on. For an entire day the lead on most TV networks was whether the media was giving Obama too much coverage. The second day comprised of whether the coverage given to Obama was too uncritical. By the third day, much of the coverage was about the previous two days' coverage, complete with clips of how rival networks were covering the "news". News hosts also regularly appear on other news hosts' shows, and then feature that appearance on their own show.

    Never let the story get in the way: The focus is entirely on the back story, and the actual news is given lip-service. So you'll hear more about how a decision was arrived at than what the actual decision was, or what impact it might have. The idea is that you are getting the real juice. The reality is you are forced to drink a pint of conjecture concentrate. Presidential campaign ads have become lead stories. A one-second image flash of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in a recent ad implied that Obama was no more than a celebrity. It led to hours of primetime news speculation, while the ad's central claim that Obama would raise taxes if elected was ignored.

    The Jerry Springer school of journalism: There is never a neutral statement - it is always an extreme perspective. If you are the news anchor, you can speak in a third-party voice and add a question mark on the end to suggest impartiality. But otherwise, wild claims are balanced with an equally wild claim at the other end. If someone attempts to point out logical inconsistencies, they are almost always faced with personal mockery by the other commentators. Just one example of this bizarre, school-bully behaviour: When one commentator, speaking from Las Vegas, tried to point out why an offshore drilling bill (which had been misrepresented as a reason why the Democrats were responsible for high petrol prices), had not been passed by Congress, he was told by the anchor that he had clearly spent too much time at the craps tables. He was told soon after by another commentator he had spent too much time at the bar. The substance of his argument did not of course merit discussion.

    The gold(fish) rush: There is absolutely no effort to provide historical context. The news is paced so frenetically that anything beyond soundbites is not tolerated. News anchors consistently talk over the top of anyone that doesn't provide a punchy point every 10 seconds. Swooshing graphics and dance music add to the general level of pace – which effectively masks the fact that almost nothing is being provided beyond personal opinion.

    When did you stop beating your wife? Coverage is deeply cynical in the sense that people are assumed to have a hidden and planned agenda even when the connection drawn would have been impossible to predict as it doesn't follow logical reasoning. Speculation with no foundation in logic or fact is opened up as a serious news item with the simple inclusion of the phrase "Did [insert name of person] know about [insert event]?" The answer – if there was ever any attempt to actually arrive at it – will always be "No".

    Fight! Fight! Fight! There is no effort to reach a greater understanding. Instead, the sole intent is to provoke disagreement and partisan perspective - with the anchor used solely to egg on disagreement. Nearly every segment ends with the anchor shutting off argument and promoting the idea that they will have to agree to disagree.

    So where do you get your news while living in the US? News-starved Americans usually hold up National Public Radio, NPR, as the best option. But with interlude music fresh from the 1920s and a twee, kitchen-table-chat approach, this is news wrapped in a tea cosy.

    Two comedy programmes, the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, fill a peculiar niche of serious analysis with gags and are possibly the main news source for people under 30. They both viciously lampoon the news media, which pretends not to notice and runs clips from them on their own shows.

    There is hope however.
    The non-news cycle is increasingly being broken by the internet. Thanks to cheap digital technology and fast net connections, online video is a simple prospect and means it is possible to get your fix of moving images with real news thrown in.

    Not that TV news is concerned. The internet, and YouTube in particular, is a network's dream: an Aladdin's Cave of uninformed, one-sided and aggressive gossip and commentary, all of it searchable and requiring minimal expenditure of time or money. And so every day you can find news anchors running short clips of the very best the internet can offer before turning to the experts to give their views.

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    Default Fox News people's anti-Muslim bigotry

    Fox Host Says He ‘Misspoke’ About Muslims

    By BRIAN STELTER - October 18, 2010

    A Fox News Channel host apologized on Monday for saying last week that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.”

    Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of “Fox & Friends,” said he “misspoke.”

    “I don’t believe all terrorists are Muslims. I’m sorry about that if I offended or hurt anybody’s feelings,” he said on the program Monday morning.

    A liberal group that monitors Fox News, Media Matters, was skeptical that it was just a slip of the tongue, however, because Mr. Kilmeade made the same statement twice on Friday, hours apart from each other. Media Matters said Mr. Kilmeade “has a history of offensive and inflammatory comments regarding Islam and Muslims.”

    On Friday Mr. Kilmeade was reacting to the fellow Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s spat on “The View” the prior day, when Mr. O’Reilly said “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” prompting two co-hosts to walk off the set.

    Mr. Kilmeade said, “They were outraged that someone was saying that there was a reason, there was a certain group of people that attacked us on 9/11. It wasn’t just one person, it was one religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.”

    Hours later on his radio show Mr. Kilmeade said “Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim. You can’t avoid that fact,” according to Media Matters. He called it “ridiculous” that people “equate Timothy McVeigh with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which is growing and a threat that exists.”

    Back on his radio show Monday, Mr. Kilmeade said, “What I should have said, and I’d like to clarify, is all terrorists who killed us on 9/11; with the Cole; and the Khobar; and the ‘98 embassies; that’s what I should have said.”


    He didn't misspoke, he got busted for being an Islamophobe and a bigot. If he thinks all terrorists are Muslims then he should look at his Christian fellows, the IRA; a terrorist group of it's own. Not only are they terrorists but their priests are involved too and the church protects them! http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/i...atholic-priest

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    Default Western Media Deception, Propaganda and Manipulation

    Williams Defends O’Reilly’s ‘Muslims Killed Us On 9/11′ Remark: ‘I Get Worried’ With Them On Airplanes

    By Ben Armbruster on Oct 19th, 2010

    Last week, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said on ABC’s The View that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” prompting The View co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar to walk off the set in disgust. “If anybody felt that I meant all Muslims, then I apologize,” he said later in the program.

    But now, O’Reilly, with handy assistance from his colleagues at Fox News, is defending his original claim. “There’s no question there is a Muslim problem in the world,” he said last night on his show. “The Muslim threat to the world is not isolated. It’s huge!” he said, adding, “It involves nations and millions of people.” O’Reilly asked Fox News’ “liberal” Juan Williams if he’s wrong. Surprisingly, Williams joined with the other Fox Newsers in circling the wagons around O’Reilly, citing “political correctness” and seemingly because Muslims scare him:

    WILLIAMS: Well, actually, I hate to say this to you because I don’t want to get your ego going. But I think you’re right. I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.

    I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

    Watch it:

    Williams justified his defense, saying that the would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad “said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts.” But this kind of thinking is exactly what digs the hole that is America’s fight against terrorism deeper by letting the enemy define the terms of the struggle, as the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss has recognized:
    [B]y simply granting the religious legitimacy of Al Qaeda’s call to terrorist violence…cede[s] the ideological battlefield to [Osama] bin Laden. Worse than that, by positing a “wider civilizational” war with Islamic extremism…affirms bin Laden’s propaganda about the nature and extent of this war, letting bin Laden define us and our aims in a way that helps bin Laden, rather than the other way around.

    Indeed, a RAND study back in 2008 warned of the danger of playing into terrorists’ claims of being “at war” with the West, saying it “encourages others [extremists] abroad” and “elevates them to the status of holy warriors. Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors.” The RAND analysis also suggested that the “at war” approach “alienates the local population by its heavy-handed nature, and provides a window of opportunity for terrorist-group recruitment.”


    We get worried when we see black people like him, or skimpy dressed kuffar, get on board, but you don't see us going on media speaking like fools.

    These fools are always talking about the Time Square bomber being a Muslim, but they are silent when you ask them who it was who spotted this Faisal Shahzad and called the police; it was a Muslim that's who!

    The world get worried and nervous when anyone sees black person walking in the street because he knows that black creature cause problems and that person is unusual being living on earth with their gangs spreading violence anywhere anytime.
    Attached Files

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    US Media Lies & Norway Attacks

    Fox NEWS Bigotry(pic)

    Last edited by islamirama; Mar-10-2015 at 06:29 PM.

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    Yahoo publishing propaganda lies against Muslims

    [LIES] - Woman murders husband, then tries to cook his body parts

    Nov 26, 2011 at 04:08

    Pakistani police on Thursday arrested a woman who had killed her husband and was attempting to cook his body parts after he planned to marry another woman without her permission.

    The police arrested Zainab Bibi, 32, and her nephew Zaheer, 22, in the Shah Faisal colony of Pakistan's southern megacity Karachi, and recovered the bowl of flesh she planned to cook, said police chief for the area Nadeem Baig.

    "They killed Ahmed Abbas, Zainab's husband, and chopped his body into pieces and were about to cook the flesh in a bowl," he told AFP, adding that the knife with which they killed the man had been recovered.

    Television networks showed gruesome footage of the human flesh in a bowl ready for the stove.

    A neighbour had alerted the police and investigations were ongoing, said Baig.

    "There could be two factors behind her intention to cook the husband. One is to destroy the evidence and the other could be her immense hatred against him," over his plan to marry another woman, he said.

    According to family law in the Islamic country, a man has to get permission from his first wife before his second marriage, but the law is rarely observed.
    User Comments

    First BBC was busted publishing a fake story about the guy marrying his cousins (they were) calling it an arranged and a love marriage, now yahoo has been caught lying about Muslims. This is nothing new, this is their normal strategy: to vilify Muslims and make them look bad. These people also post false information about Islamic laws to mislead Muslims. In this article (like many others) they say the man has to get permission from the first wife to get a second wife, this is not true.

    Nov 26, 2011 at 17:52
    Yahoo always makes propaganda against Muslims and Muslim countries.....THIS IS CALLED YELLOW JOURNALISM.....the real story is: the lady admitted in an interview over the media that she killed her husband caz he was sexually harrasing her daughter from first husband and repeatedly she had been warning him but he didnt stop harrasing her daughter

    By: soul healer - Posted: Nov 26, 2011 at 16:16
    my lord this is the 2nd news this week which iread in yahoo and found manipulative...and both were personally known too me ,, i am not starting to beleive not to read or beleive the other stories here or whatever i had been reading here must be fake GOD HOW FAKE U PPL..............the lady admitted in an interview over the media that she killed her husband caz he was sexually harrasing her daughter from first husband and repeatedly she had been warning him but he didnt stop harrasing her daughter................ GOD THIS IS CALLED YELLOW JOURNALISM....

    By: w!kY - Posted: Nov 26, 2011 at 15:56
    Yahoo always makes propaganda against Muslims and Muslim countries, I personally see the news on Pakistan News Channel, There is other story behind the Murder and the women admit the crime. Yahoo should verify the news and be careful while make such remarks below. Thanks

    Last edited by islamirama; Mar-10-2015 at 06:26 PM.

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    Fox News Islamophobe attack Muslim Scholar the Audacity To Write A Book About Jesus

    By Adam Peck on July 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    On Friday, Fox News invited renowned religious scholar and prolific author Reza Aslan onto the air, ostensibly to discuss his latest book on Christianity, ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.’

    But instead, host Lauren Green launched into an Islamophobic attack on Aslan’s credentials and expressed incredulity that he, a self-professed Muslim, would be able to write about Christianity in a fair and honest way.

    Throughout the nearly 10 minute interview, Green inaccurately sought to portray Aslan as a religiously-motivated agitator with a hidden agenda out to discredit the very religion that he himself once practiced:

    GREEN: This is an interesting book. Now I want to clarify, you’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?

    ASLAN: Well to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees — including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades — who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus, I am an expert with a Ph.D in the history of religions…

    GREEN: But it still begs the question why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?

    ASLAN: Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.

    Undeterred, Green continued by reading aloud from an equally Islamophobic FoxNews.com column by John Dickerson in which he dismissed Aslan’s academic pedigree, referring to him simply as “an educated Muslim” with an “opinion” about Jesus.

    Green would pivot back to Aslan’s religion at least seven more times during the interview, simply refusing to accept that a Muslim could also be an impartial scholar of Western religion.

    As Aslan pointed out towards the end of his interview, many scholarly works have been written about Islam by Christian academics. Those authors, he noted, are rarely if ever asked to defend their credentials or explain why they chose to cover a religion apart from their own, certainly not on Fox News, which regularly provides a platform to hate-mongers like Pamela Geller and Frank Gaffney and passes them off as experts on Islam.



    Sherry Wachter · Owner at Freelance Graphic Designer
    The irony here is that Christians feel no qualms about evaluating (and dismissing) all other religions. If christians are qualified to speak authoritatively on non-christian religions, why would it be such a surprise that a Muslim scholar (with advanced degrees in New Testament history, no less) might decide to write a book about his subject? I haven't read his book, don't know if I'd find his thesis compelling--but I just don't understand why a news anchor who is NOT an authority in ancient languages OR religion would find it so startling that a non-christian might be.

    Fox News to Scholar: Why Would a Muslim Write a Book About Jesus?

    By Daniel Politi - July 28, 2013

    It’s got plenty of competition but this may just be the single most cringe-worthy, embarrassing interview on Fox News. At least in recent memory. Fox News anchor Lauren Green had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her FoxNews.com show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently.

    And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.” But Green just wouldn’t let it go: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?Aslan then starts talking to Green slowly, as if she were a child: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.”

    But Green insisted, accusing him of failing to “disclose” that he’s a Muslim and at one point asking him about a stupefying claim on whether a Muslim writing a book on Jesus isn’t sort of like a Democrat writing a book on former president Ronald Reagan.

    Aslan has become the target of anti-muslim rhetoric this past week as he’s made numerous media appearances to publicize his book.

    Author and pastor John Dickerson harshly criticized media outlets on FoxNews.com, saying reporters have failed to mention [Aslan] is a devout Muslim.” In a piece for WorldNetDaily, Pamela Geller writes that jihadist operatives like the vicious Reza Aslan are carried on the shoulders of the media and intelligentsia like a football hero at the end of an impossibly fought game.” Many who share these views have taken to Amazon to give the book one-star reviews. Aslan is a Muslim and not a historian,” reads one of the one-star reviews.


    Reza Aslan And How Fox News Islamophobia Comes From The Top

    ARI RABIN-HAVT - July 29, 2013

    While the segment itself was jarring, particularly when Green falsely accused Reza Aslan of hiding his Muslim faith -- a ridiculous charge implying devotion to Islam is something that must be hidden -- and furthermore as the author points out, he noted it on the second page of his book and in countless interviews.

    It should surprise no one that Islamophobia has a home on Fox. From the top on down, the network's attitude could be at best described as hostile to Muslims. In Zev Chafet's hagiography of Ailes, published earlier this year, he quotes Fox News' boss explicitly stating his hostility to Muslims (emphasis added):

    "He donates upward of 10 percent of his net income to charities, many of them religious, including an annual fifty grand to the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and another fifty grand to Catholic charities." He told me he'd be glad to give to Muslim charities, too, 'if they disarm'."

    A Rolling Stone profile of Ailes quoted a source close to the Fox boss who claimed he "has a personal paranoia about people who are Muslim - which is consistent with the ideology of his network."

    These beliefs have been reflected by a number of the network's on-air personalities.

    Bill O'Reilly implied collective guilt among those who adhere to Islam, while discussing the proposed Park51 Islamic community center being built several blocks from the World Trade Center site, declaring on that the project was "inappropriate" because "Muslims killed us on 9-11."

    This view was also articulated by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade who claimed you "can't avoid th[e] fact" that "every terrorist is a Muslim."

    Eric Bolling made the same false claim on The Five, telling the audience "every terrorist on American soil has been a Muslim."

    Fox host Lauren Green exhibited a second attitude endemic of Fox News' broadcast philosophy. Attempting to defend her absurd position that a noted religious scholar who is Muslim could not write about another religion, she asked, "why would a Democrat, want to promote democracy by writing about a Republican?"

    In the strange world of Fox News, we can learn nothing by looking into the perspectives of others.

    Muslims, one can deduce from Green's questions, are incapable of viewing the world from outside the perspective of their faith. Or perhaps this is simply a case of countertransference, because at Fox, all human motivations can only be viewed through a one-dimensional lens.


    Why the Fox News Scandal Is Good News for Reza Aslan

    Connor Simpson - July 28, 2013

    Religious scholar Reza Aslan recently appeared on the FoxNews.com show Spirited Debate and the host insisted that his being a Muslim somehow affects the quality of his new book about Jesus. The whole ordeal was embarrassing for Fox News, but things are only going to get better from here for the author.

    Aslan appeared on the online show on Friday to promote his new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, about how the environment Jesus grew up in shaped him. But host Lauren Green didn't want to talk about the book so much as she wanted to talk about how Aslan is a Muslim. "You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?" was Green's very first question. "Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim," Aslan politely replied. Green doesn't give up, though, the interview goes downhill from there.

    At one point Green goes so far as to accuse Aslan of hiding his religion, as if he was trying to be sneaky, or as if it matters. "Ma’am, the second page of my book says I’m a Muslim," he tells her. "Every single interview I have ever done on TV or in print says I’m a Muslim."

    The whole ten minute appearance is embarrassing for the news network, even if it was an online show, for a number of reasons. As Uproxx's Josh Kurp points out: "At no point does Fox News realize the irony of persecuting someone over their religion in a discussion about Jesus." That's probably the biggest one.

    But after the interview started to get passed around quietly on Saturday, and then exploded late last night after Buzzfeed called it "The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done," the outrage train was off and running. The reaction fell somewhere between praise for Aslan and disbelief at Fox News' horrible behavior. "This Fox interview with Reza Aslan is absolutely demented (& he handled it with remarkable calm)" said The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum. Wired's Steve Silberman simply called the interview "embarrassing," as did many others. "Please, please watch this if you haven't yet. It's amazing," urged Digg editorial director David Weiner. "How fitting to watch that [Aslan] clip during a commercial break from Idiocracy," he added later. Buzzfeed's Raymond Sultan called it "the greatest thing" he's ever seen. "The level of stupidity and ignorance here is bewildering," said writer Chris Addison. "My patience would have vanished within a few minutes if I was being asked these questions," said Deadspin's Samer Kalaf. "Reza Aslan is superhuman."

    The disgust and glee and outrage stemming from the interview should actually help Aslan. Controversy like this usually drives book sales through the roof. Remember what happened with J.K. Rowling's pseudonymous mystery novel? The same thing will likely happen with Aslan's book, too, and plenty of people have mentioned buying the book after watching the interview. But the nice thing about this controversy is Aslan's book was selling well without the help. While Rowling's book had sold less than 2,000 copies before the big reveal -- leading some to suspect it was a promotional work -- Aslan's Zealot debuted at the number two spot on The New York Times' Best Seller list behind Mark Leibovich's This Town this morning. Just wait until the post-scandal numbers come in.


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    Imam sues BBC for calling him an 'extremist who encourages religious violence'

    By Abul Taher - 24 January 2015

    An imam at a mosque where the (alleged) killers of soldier Lee Rigby worshipped is suing the BBC, saying it described him as an 'extremist'.

    Shakeel Begg, 37, is taking legal action after presenter Andrew Neil said on the Sunday Politics Show that the imam had praised jihad as 'the greatest of deeds'.

    Mr. Begg, head of the Lewisham Islamic Centre in South-East London, is demanding libel damages and that the BBC doesn't again call him an 'extremist' who 'encourages religious violence'.

    According to the High Court writ, Mr. Neil interviewed Farooq Murad, then head of the Muslim Council of Britain, during the Sunday Politics Show in November 2013.

    Mr. Neil said the East London Mosque in Whitechapel was 'a venue for a number of extremist speakers…who espouse extremist positions'.

    The presenter added: 'This year Shakeel Begg, he spoke there and hailed jihad as the greatest of deeds.'

    Mr. Begg has said he cannot recall making such a speech at the East London Mosque. But in 2011 he told guests at a charity dinner elsewhere that 'jihad in the path of Allah is one of the greatest deeds a Muslim can take part in'.

    Asked about that speech, he explained that by 'jihad' he had meant 'spiritual struggle'.

    Mr. Begg did not deny Mr. Rigby's killers – Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22 – attended the Lewisham Islamic Centre in the months leading up to the Woolwich attack.

    But he said the Centre had issued a statement expressing 'shock and sadness'.

    A Centre spokesman said: 'We and our imam work closely with various community groups, including the police.'

    The BBC last night declined to comment.



    It's about time the Imams fought back against the slander written about them in the media. This imam was either saying that he meant spiritual Jihad to avoid being oppressed by these oppressors or he is mistaken in his belief of it if believes what he says. The scholars have already clarified what is considered as the greatest Jihad in Islam.

    The greatest Jihad in Islam: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/.../messages/2271

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    Journalism as Subversion

    March 23, 2015

    The assault of global capitalism is not only an economic and political assault. It is a cultural and historical assault. Global capitalism seeks to erase our stories and our histories. Its systems of mass communication, which peddle a fake intimacy with manufactured celebrities and a false sense of belonging within a mercenary consumer culture, shut out our voices, hopes and dreams. Salacious gossip about the elites and entertainers, lurid tales of violence and inane trivia replace in national discourse the actual and the real. The goal is a vast historical amnesia.

    The traditions, rituals and struggles of the poor and workingmen and workingwomen are replaced with the vapid homogenization of mass culture. Life’s complexities are reduced to simplistic stereotypes. Common experiences center around what we have been fed by television and mass media. We become atomized and alienated. Solidarity and empathy are crushed. The cult of the self becomes paramount. And once the cult of the self is supreme we are captives to the corporate monolith.

    As the mass media, now uniformly in the hands of large corporations, turn news into the ridiculous chronicling of pseudo-events and pseudo-controversy we become ever more invisible as individuals. Any reporting of the truth—the truth about what the powerful are doing to us and how we are struggling to endure and retain our dignity and self-respect—would fracture and divide a global population that must be molded into compliant consumers and obedient corporate subjects.This has made journalism, real journalism, subversive.

    And it has made P. Sainath—who has spent more than two decades making his way from rural Indian village to rural Indian village to make sure the voices of the country’s poor are heard, recorded and honored—one of the most subversive journalists on the subcontinent. He doggedly documented the some 300,000 suicides of desperate Indian farmers—happening for the last 19 years at the rate of one every half hour—in his book “Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories From India’s Poorest Districts.” And in December, after leaving The Hindu newspaper, where he was the rural affairs editor, he created the People’s Archive of Rural India. He works for no pay. He relies on a small army of volunteers. He says his archive deals with “the everyday lives of everyday people.” And, because it is a platform for mixed media, encompassing print, still photographs, audio and film, as well as an online research library, it is a model for those who seek to tell the stories that global capitalism attempts to blot out.

    “Historically, libraries and archive have been controlled by governments and by states,” he said when we met recently in Princeton, N.J., where he is teaching at Princeton University for the semester. “They have also been burned by governments, states and regimes since before the time of the library of Alexandria. Secondly, archives have been the sites of major state censorship. You classify something you don’t allow people to know. In medieval Europe and elsewhere, people resisted being documented. They didn’t want to be part of the archive. They knew that recording and measuring their assets were the first steps toward seizing those assets for the ruling class. Hence, the idea of the people’s archive that is not controlled by states, governments or other figures of authority. This is an archive people can access, people can create, people can build and authenticate. So the idea became the people’s archive.”

    Full article at: http://www.commondreams.org/views/20...ism-subversion

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    This is how Fox News spreads hate: How right-wing media tells lies about Islam

    The media highlights extreme voices. GOP wingnuts amplify irrationality. An expert explains how the madness works

    It may be hard to fathom or remember, but in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the American public responded with an increased level of acceptance and support for Muslims. President Bush—who had successfully courted the Muslim vote in 2000—went out of his way to praise American Muslims on numerous occasions in 2001 and 2002. However, the seeds were already being planted that would change that drastically over time. Within a few short years, a small handful of fringe anti-Muslim organizations—almost entirely devoid of any real knowledge or expertise, some drawing on age-old ethno-religious conflicts—managed to hijack the public discourse about Islam, first by stoking fears, grabbing attention with their emotional messaging, then by consolidating their newfound social capital, forging ties with established elite organizations, and ultimately building their own organizational and media infrastructure.

    How this all happened is the subject of a fascinating new book, “Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream,” by sociologist Christopher Bail, of the University of North Carolina. The book not only lays bare the behind-the-scenes story of a momentous shift in public opinion, it employs cutting-edge computer analysis techniques applied to large archives of data to develop a new theoretical outlook, capable of making sense of the whole field of competing organizations struggling to shape public opinion, not just studying one or two the most successful ones. The result is not only a detailed account of a specific, significant, and also very pernicious example of cultural evolution, but also a case study in how to more rigorously study cultural evolution more generally in the future. In the process, it sheds considerable light on the struggles involved, and the difficulties faced by those trying to fight back against this rising tide of misdirected fear, anger and hatred.

    For those perplexed by the explosive spread of anti-Mosque hysteria, or legislation to combat the non-existent threat of Sharia law, Bail’s account provides an in-depth view of how the broader cultural landscape has been reshaped in ways which make such panics possible, if not virtually inevitable. For those who want to fight back, there are no easy answers here. But there is a very fruitful starting point for beginning to ask the right sorts of questions. Salon discussed Bail’s work three years ago, following publication of his research in the American Sociological Review. Now that his book has been published, we interviewed him at length about the full scope of his work, and what it has to teach us. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    Your book has a very important subject–how formerly fringe anti-Muslim organizations came to dominate the mainstream of political discourse over time, but it also has even broader implications in terms of (a) advancing a general theory of the cultural evolution in response to crises, and (b) advancing a set of tools and methods to study that evolution.


    Could you first talk about how you came to the project, what drew you to it, and what led to the development of the theory and what it says?

    I began my earlier work on immigration in Europe and I lived in Britain for a short time, and immediately became aware of the high-level politicization of the Muslim community there, and the higher levels of tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. This was shortly after the September 11 attack, and I really didn’t know much about Islam in the U.S. at the time. But when I came back I was eager to learn more. I was surprised to see how few Muslim American organizations had a high enough public profile to really help Americans understand what Islam was. And in their place I, like a lot of Americans, started clicking around on the Internet, and was pretty quickly confronted by a dense web of networks that saw Muslims, and particularly Muslim Americans, as a fifth column, secretly plotting to overthrow the United States government, in the guise of political correctness.

    There just seemed—in my limited experience with Muslims in the U.S., but also my significant experience with Muslims in the UK—this just didn’t ring true. I’ve been working on some other work about the media and cultural change more broadly, and so I came to the conclusion that this is kind of a ideal case study, the social construction of an entire group of people within the media, and of course this coincided with an explosion of big data. When I first started writing this book, we didn’t even have the term “big data” yet, but we were certainly enamored of the potential these new data sources to let us look at the spread of cultural narratives, or scripts as unprecedented scale, and so I think the combination of those, my biographical experience, my pressing theoretical questions, and then the opportune coincidence of big data are really the story of how the book came together.

    In the book, you talk about your theory as being both ecological and evolutionary. What do those terms mean more concretely and specifically?

    I use the term “ecological” to counter the tendency for academics to focus on individual organizations, instead of vast fields of organizations. I think it’s a big problem because when you focus on one organization, particularly a successful organization, you tend to get a very myopic perspective on how that organization succeeded in creating cultural change. In fact, you only probably come to study the organization precisely because it’s created some sort of cultural change, and so you begin to confuse the characteristics of a successful organization with the causes of an organization becoming influential.

    This is where I think evolutionary ways of thinking are really important. A big story in my book is the tendency for media rich [organizations] to shape a lot of outcomes outside the media. So, for example, when these anti-Muslim fringe groups develop a high profile after September 11, they use their privileged position to forge ties to other organizations, service groups, and so on. And this enables them to effectively create a sea change not only in how Islam appears in the media, but how people think about Islam outside the media. And so we see this kind of sounding board effect, where the more a rumor is repeated, in them more and more high profile and official setting, the more it becomes true.

    So much of the story of the book is about the evolution of this fringe narrative, from a group of kind of hawkish neocons whose careers are mostly over, to a point where nearly every candidate in the 2008 Republican election is warning about the advance of Sharia law, and the looming threat of Islamism for the future of Western civilization. And now more recently, of course, we see the spread of this to people like Bobby Jindal, again, very high profile, very mainstream, public figures, reproducing this message of so-called “no go zones” in Paris.

    So the idea is really to think about cultural change, about the tendency for media coverage of fringe groups to set in motion a chain of processes that allows them to rise to public prominence precisely because of the efforts of mainstream organizations to prevent them from doing so. So it’s sort of a story about the unintended consequences of media coverage, I suppose, to put it simply

    Maybe it would help to break that story down a bit in terms what the main turning points of your story. You talk first about how the fringe first gained disproportionate attention and then how the response to them backfired, and then led to the splintering of the mainstream. Could you sketch that out a bit?

    Prior to the September 11 attacks, what I call mainstream Muslim organizations, or those that produce common messages about Muslims—and these are mostly pro-Muslim messages, both before and after September 11—enjoyed pretty substantial public influence, both within the media, but also in elite political circles. So Muslims voted for Bush, 3-to-1 in the 2000 election, they enjoyed private audiences with Bush, and Cheney, and of course all this “changed,” the thing that didn’t change was people continue to produce overwhelmingly pro-Muslim messages about Islam, but the media gravitated to the small group of fringe organizations, because—I argue—because of the emotional tenor of their messages.

    Sociologist and social psychologists have long recognized that during periods of crisis people tend to look for sources of information that validate their feelings, and this is both an individual level, and also in the societal level, so journalists searching to figure out the true meaning of Islam may be more likely to gravitate to towards the crazy person waving a sword rather than the rather more calm, measured, dispassionate person giving a lengthy theological explanation of the tenets of Islam.

    This really has two functions: one it attracts a lot of attention, and then to get your second question, it also provoked a pretty significant response from the mainstream.

    For example, one popular claim was that Muslim extremists had infiltrated the White House, the more mainstream Muslim organizations became very angry about those accusations, along with a lot of other accusations about Islam being inherently violent or so on and so forth. They shifted their style from this dispassionate discourse, trying to use technical language from the Koran to distinguish the true nature of Islam from what’s promoted by groups like Al Qaeda, and they switch to a much more angry tone. So, in other words, the amplification of the emotional fringe discourse promotes an equally emotional response in the mainstream, that had the unintended consequence of a further increase in the profile of the fringe.

    This is what I call the riptide in the book. This is in keeping with the environmental metaphor I use throughout the book, of kind of flowing waters. This pulls mainstream organizations further out to sea, precisely as they struggle against the current that’s drawing them out there. This not only increases the profile of the fringe organizations, but it also begins to create internal tensions within the mainstream organizations that will ultimately lead to the breakdown of the mainstream.

    For example, you may recall from the book, there is a series of debates within mainstream organizations about whether and how to engage [anti-Muslim] fringe organizations, and one side of the argument is people who say we don’t stand up to them that will leave them to define Islam to the American public because at the time at least they were dominating the public discourse about of Islam. On the other hand, there are those who realize that in engaging them, they risked increasing their profile, and moreover that Muslims should not be forced to apologize for the type of terrorist groups that they believe were not inspired by Islam. And so this creates a rift within, particularly within mainstream Muslim organizations about whether Muslims need to do more to denounce terrorism.

    Now, of course, they are denouncing terrorism. I have this line from a world leader in the book; he denounces terrorism so often that he could “do it in his sleep.” But you know, the media is not covering it because he’s not doing it in an angry sensational way that causes the celebrity of the fringe. Instead the medias amplifying this angry response, which in turn feeds into this narrative of the fringe groups that Muslim organizations are not peaceful moderate organizations they proclaim themselves to be, instead they are secretly terrorist sympathizers who you don’t see condemned terrorism because they secretly condone it.

    And so, by this point, the rift within the mainstream Muslim community comes to, kind of substantiate some of the claims being made by the fringe groups, the anti-Muslim fringe groups. So that’s kind of the series of events in the evolutionary process that I was talking about earlier.

    After the initial phase of fringe groups gaining a bigger visibility than was warranted, either by knowledge or size, you point out that emotions alone were not enough to consolidate the shift in the cultural landscape, that other factors had to fall into place. Organizational links and fundraising are two of the things that you point to. Could you you elaborate on what you found out about those two factors and how you measured them?

    The question for the fringe groups is how they move from being peripheral actors in the conversation to gaining entry to the really high-level conversations were they can really achieve influence. It happened in multiple stages. On the one hand, fringe organizations reached out in conservative circles; on the other hand, they were immediately recruited as authorities on Islam, precisely because they were the only so-called experts about Islam who were regularly featured in the media. So there’s a self-reinforcement process, where the social construction of their expertise happened partly because of their emotional charisma. But they pretty quickly forge ties to elites: conservative organizations, Republican Jewish coalitions, the American Enterprise Institute, and so on and so forth, and the question that’s interesting to a sociologist is how bonds develop and how you routinize emotions into networks.

    There are sociologists and social psychologists who have produced a pretty long literature that explains how shared fears create really durable social bonds and so that’s the primary mechanism I talk about in the book for the routinization of emotions into the social networks that enable anti-Muslim fringe organizations to establish ties to elite circles, but then also to expand their own media infrastructure via movies, creating subsidiary organizations, and they really become able to create their own media spectacle, rather than depending on the media spectacle create the story.

    It’s really a story about how emotions become imprinted within these relationships, but then that story of the emotional transmission of these bonds kinds of falls apart, or becomes invisible, a few years out, and these once-fringe actors are perceived as world-renowned experts about Islam. So that ability to disguise their fringe roots is critical to their success,. This is not an unconscious effort, it was something that was very carefully orchestrated.

    Could you say a bit more about how you measured this process? I think that’s really something distinctive about the big data movement, and how it figured into your work.

    My approach was use a combination of traditional discourse analysis and with some automated method. With a team of research assistants I collected every press release produced by what I call civil society organizations and non-state nonprofits organization that was designed to manage a shape public discourse about Islam, and these can be identified by the large text archive. You can look at hundreds of thousands of press releases, in really no time.

    Then we decided we needed to develop a coding scheme, to differentiate the general ways of talking about Islam. I could go into that, if you’d like.

    Yes, please do.

    What we found was a reasonable way to categorize these press releases, to look at essentially five different ways you could talk about Muslims. The first is a kind of universalist approach, that just says no religion endorses terrorism, Islam is one of the world’s great religions, and it’s no more violent than any other, religion, and therefore Muslims deserve our protection, and they’re really the most tragic victim of the rise of things like Al Qaeda. So that’s a very common discourse after 9/11.

    Then, kind of the other extreme is what we call the anti-Muslim discourse, it describes any discourse that suggest all Muslims have the potential to become radical extremists, so that Islam is a continuous from people who are moderate and people to those who are required to commit violence against infidels or nonbelievers. These kinds of texts say things like Islam is inherently violent religion, or Muslims all prefer to see the violent takeover of the West by Islam, given the opportunity, these types of things.

    Then there’s a variety discourses in between. So, one is what I call the book a battle for the hearts and minds narrative, that’s kind of “most Muslims are good, some Muslims are bad, so we need to empower the majority against the extremist minority.” And that’s another very common discourse you see. But it’s not anti-Muslim, because it recognizes that most Muslims are not intrinsically violent and they suffer from groups like Al Qaeda. Then you see what I call a Muslim empowerment narrative. This is a somewhat rare kind of discours; it’s not only are Muslims not responsible for terrorism and not only does Islam not have anything to do with terrorism, but Islam is actually less violent than the Judeo-Christian religions against the historical record. And so these would be occasionally mostly Muslim groups, would bring up this kind of narrative.

    The last one is like a blurring narrative, which is very similar to the first narrative dimension. It says we should blur the boundaries between Muslims and Muslim because we’re also similar, and we’re all in this together and against terrorists.

    One of the bigger methodological innovations of the book is to modify a plagiarism detection software algorithm in order to pick up how much resonance, or coverage, influence, each press release gains within a very large sample of newspapers articles television transcripts, government documents, social media messages, that mention Muslims. And, so the neat thing about the plagiarism detection algorithm is it allows us not only to identify whether an organization achieves influence, but what type of influence they achieve. So being able to qualitatively confirm the positive influence of an organization was an important methodological advance.

    You touch on some significant developments in the media and politics, which from your theory appear more as secondary effects, though they’re certainly significant in their own right. These include the spread of laws purporting to outlaw Sharia law, and the spread of activism to prevent the building of mosques, or in some cases, even just Muslim community centers. Could you talk about how these two movements fit into the larger cultural processes that you described?

    First, I don’t think either of these movements would’ve occurred, or at least at such scale, absent the rise of anti-Muslim organizations within the public sphere and the sea change in public discourse about Islam. The anti-Sharia law movement in particular is really carefully orchestrated by several of the organizations I study in the book. I apply the same plagiarism detection algorithm to look at model legislation introduced by these organizations and compared to the final text that was produced in each state and I find that very high levels of influence. So it really appears these organizations had a lot of influence convincing lawmakers to propose, and in many cases pass, these laws.

    The really a remarkable thing is that this narrative, that Muslims are secretly trying to advance Sharia law on the United States, gained a foothold, when there’s really just no there there. There’s no evidence of a concerted attempt by Muslims or Muslim-American organizations to create such legal changes. Even more importantly, there’s no mechanism within the U.S. Constitution for Sharia to ever supersede U.S. law. In fact, it’s only permitted in cases of individual arbitration, the U.S. company seeks damages in Saudi Arabia, and therefore agrees to have a hearings informed by sharia principles, because that’s the rule of the land in Saudi Arabia, or maybe a husband-and-wife seeking a divorce.

    So, I do think that the success of that campaign depends depended on one the gravitas the newfound gravitas of these anti-Muslim organizations, and their dense political ties, but also to, relative obscurity of most mainstream organizations who might be situated to discredit those claims,. And the key issue there, by this point, once anti-Muslim organizations have achieved their high status in the public sphere they’re able to leverage that position to cast genuinely mainstream organizations as radicals.

    In the book, I give the case about the Holy Land Foundation, which was a somewhat controversial case. During the trial, a document was circulated that basically listed four or five of the largest Muslim American organizations as unindicted co-conspirators to channel money to al Qaeda. This was particularly absurd because (a) there was just no evidence of any kind of extremism among these organizations, but then also because it was later determined that this list was generated by a letter or a memo that was circulated by an obscure fringe actor in the Muslim Brotherhood in which he proposed that the Muslim Brotherhood should advance a jihad against American civilization, and overturn America’s wicked ways and so on and so forth. When you talk to Muslim leaders, or again, experts in the field, you learn that this was widely viewed just as a rantings of a single individual, and yet this was held up as a strong evidence of the linkage between Muslim groups and terrorism. And so, to this day many of these groups still struggle to free themselves from accusations that they secretly endorse terrorism.

    So, to answer the question about how these developments are possible, I can’t say with absolute certainty that anti-Muslim organizations created each and every mosque controversy for example.But I think one of the more powerful effects of this type of sea change in public opinion is when the manipulation that went on becomes invisible. S so Americans develop increasingly cold attitudes towards Islam, not only because they are repeatedly exposed to sensational messages about Muslims by most anti-Muslim groups, but also because there’s no counterargument that’s visible within the public sphere—apart from the image of an angry Muslim was complaining about so-called Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim attitudes. This, of course, reinforces the narrative of the anti-Muslim organizations that all these groups are secretly endorsing terrorism.

    What would you say is the most surprising things you learned from your research?

    I guess the surprising thing was that I was heartened to learn that America was not simply reacting in a kind of nativist way to Islam, and that there was actually a struggle, and I think there continues to be a struggle, and it’s a critically important one. The real tragedy here is not only that these ani-Muslim organizations have come to disseminate a narrative that’s really untrue, but also that Americans attitudes about Islam are starting to reverberate internationally.

    Okay, to switch from surprising, what are the most important things to take away from your research, first for society as a whole, and then for the research community? For people who are trying to deepen their understanding what’s most important in either sense?

    This expertise isn’t just going on in the media. In the book, we didn’t talk much about the chapter where I discuss the influence of anti-Muslim organizations on counterterrorism policy, but that is a really troubling issue. If you have people who have no credentials to study religion or the Middle East or Islam, and no language skills, and presumably little experience with Islam itself—though I can’t say with certainty, but—you wind having the blind leading the blind. Thousands of New York Police Department officers watching videos produced by anti-Muslim organizations, and these are meant to increase our capacity to recognize terrorism? Simply stating that radical Islamism is on the rise and hidden, and inside our front door? I think a much more effective approach, of course, would be to engage these mainstream organizations that have been completely marginalized, and yet are uniquely positioned to discredit the claims of extremists, and also to create a pro-U.S. message abroad, and also to prevent what little radicalism does exist in the Muslim American community.

    A slightly different question: What are the most troubling problems that were left with for society – what light does your book throw on the problems that remain?

    I think the biggest problem with fringe organizations in particular, they’re just really profound dilemma that the mainstream faces, not just anti-Muslim or organizations that any kind of fringe organization, which is again if you try to ignore them view risk forfeiting the conversation and if you try to engage them to increase their power to define the conversation. So I completely sympathize, in my case of course, with Muslim organizations have found themselves locked into a conversation which is not of their choosing. How you prevent the spread of this type of thing, particularly in moments of crisis when, again, emotions are so powerful and so prone to spread because of shared fear and so forth? This is really a profound dilemma.

    Yes. Maybe troubling would be the wrong word, but what’s the most urgent problem that you see on the dashboard of the unsolved problems, the intellectual challenges that come out of your work?

    I think really one really big one that I’m trying to currently work on is whether what happens in the public sphere—so, in the media or the policy process, even in social media texts—really translates into how individuals think. I think my book presents a nice overview of how things evolve in the public sphere and it shows suggestive evidence that what goes on in the public sphere has influence outside the public sphere. But we really haven’t yet seen how a message travels from, say, social media into someone’s deepest darkest thoughts, where they begin to contemplate things like attacking a mosque or even worse taking someone’s life, or attacking someone.

    That goes to the other side of this equation too. So the battle for hearts and minds, so to speak is currently waged on social media sites, around ISIS recruiters recruiting young Muslims, both in South Asia and North Africa in Southeast Asia, but also in America. So thinking about whether and how these largely online narratives come to shape off-line behavior, I think it’s really critical. There’s a lot of evidence of recruiting, terrorist recruiting happens through these avenues.

    I think this is a very big problem and it can’t be solved by a single study, it needs many studies of many different areas, with many different methods, many different types of people. But as social scientists, it’s also the $60 million question – how do you influence people? And how do you create enduring shifts that will help country like the U.S. create a counter narrative to group like ISIS. How you do that? That’s a really big question, that I plan to spend most of my career trying to solve.


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    Daughters Don’t Let Their Mothers Watch Fox News

    How to use “parental lock” to prevent your parents from tuning in to cable news.

    Cable news is bad. Fox News is the worst. It is, after all, the network that blamed a hoodie for the death of Trayvon Martin and claimed that poor people have it pretty good if they’ve got a refrigerator. We’d all probably be better off if we shut off Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly and watched sports or nature documentaries or talked to our families. This does not have to be a hypothetical. We have the technology in our very own homes to make this dream a reality.

    Abby, a Slate reader, watched her mother—who’d lived in the United States as a permanent resident for nearly 30 years—become a U.S. citizen to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary. She was quite surprised, then, to find her mother becoming an increasingly attentive Fox News viewer. Abby felt she had no choice: The child unleashed the power of parental lock on her own mother.

    After Abby’s mother called her cable operator to ask why the channel wasn’t working, Abby revealed that she had blocked it. The mother and daughter then had the opportunity to “have a conversation about whether it was a good news source or not.”

    If you see your friends or family falling into the chasm of cable news, perhaps parental lock is right for you. Here are instructions for three major cable providers, copied from those providers’ websites.

    Time Warner instructions to “monitor your kids’ entertainment”:

    1. Press the Settings button on your remote.
    2. Select the Parental Controls category.
    3. Select the Content Block category.
    4. Search for the content that you wish to block and press Select.
    5. The content category to be blocked will display in the list with a Locked icon. Enter your PIN. (The default PIN is set by each local TWC Store, typically 0000.)
    6. Press the C button to save your options.

    Comcast Xfinity instructions to “lock access to specific individual channels” for boxes that use the X1 operating system:

    1. Press the Guide button on your remote control.
    2. Use the up arrow and down arrow buttons to scroll to the channel to you wish to lock.
    3. Press the left arrow button once to highlight the logo and channel number of the channel you wish to lock. Press the OK button.
    4. Using the right arrow button, highlight Lock. Press the OK button.
    5. If you have already set up a Parental Controls PIN, you will be prompted to enter your four-digit Locks PIN using the number pad on your remote control before you can continue.
    6. Enter the Locks PIN a second time to confirm the channel lock.

    Comcast Xfinity instructions to “control what your child watches” on non-X1 TV boxes:

    1. Press the Menu button on your remote twice.
    2. Highlight the Parental Control feature on the screen.
    3. Press OK/Select and follow the on-screen instructions.

    Verizon FiOS instructions to “set up and use parental controls”:

    1. Press the Menu button on your remote.
    2. Highlight System and press OK/Select.
    3. Highlight Settings and press OK/Select.
    4. Select Parental/Purchaseand press OK/Select.
    5. Create or enter your 4-digit Parental Controls PIN. You’ll then need to retype your PIN to confirm your selection.
    6. SelectParental Controls to turn them on.
    7. Select Age Preferences to set up age specific content blocks or Parental Preferences to block by content rating/channel/day/time or to control adult information. Important: Blocking any rating (such as TV-14) also automatically blocks all higher (more restrictive) ratings such as TV-MA.


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    FOX News “Terror Expert” Sentenced To Prison For Lying To The Public

    Responsible for spreading disinformation and his Islamophobic agenda for over a dozen years, Simmons was finally sentenced on Friday.

    A man who falsely claimed for decades to be a CIA agent and worked as the FOX News “Terror Expert” has now been sentenced to 33 months in prison, according to prosecutors, as cited by Reuters.

    According to a U.S. District Attorney’s Office statement, Wayne Shelby Simmons of Annapolis, Maryland, was sentenced in a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
    “Wayne Simmons is a fraud,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Maryland, Dana Boente, flatly stated. “Simmons has no military or intelligence background, or any skills relevant to the positions he attained through his fraud.”

    U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III also ordered Simmons to serve three years of supervised release, pay restitution, and to forfeit two firearms and $176,000 in criminal proceeds.

    Simmons had previously listed himself as a “CIA operative,” and had appeared as a guest contributor since April 2003 under that assumed role. Reuters noted a grand jury indicted the former FOX News contributor in October for fraudulently posing as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the Central Intelligence Agency for decades — from 1973 until 2000.

    According to the statement, Simmons’ jobs during that period had nothing at all to do with the CIA. This FOX News expert’s previous jobs included nightclub doorman, bookie, manager of a rent-by-the-hour hot tub business, mortgage broker and defensive back for the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints.

    Simmons didn’t just fool the fools at FOX News either. The US government sought out this former doorman’s expertise as well. According to the statement, Simmons defrauded the government in 2008 when he got work as a team leader in an Army program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence adviser.

    He said he made similar false statements in a 2009 bid to get work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service, according to Reuters.

    Not only did Simmons dupe the government and FOX into believing he was an expert, he also managed to hide the fact that he was a two-time convicted felon, claiming the convictions were part of his CIA cover.

    While the idea of FOX News and the government allowing him to make fools out of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Andrew Napolitano, Neil Cavuto, everyone at Fox & Friends, and the CIA for over a decade is laughable, the utter hate, lies, and warmongering that spewed from this man’s mouth was anything but humorous.

    During an interview with Neil Cavuto last year, Simmons falsely asserted that “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities” were currently operating in the U.S. to conduct terrorist activities. Simmons credited another FOX News guest contributor, Ryan Mauro, as the source of his erroneous information. As the national security analyst at the Clarion Project, Mauro’s brand of Islamophobia falls right in line with Simmons’.

    In a later interview with Cavuto, Simmons called for law enforcement to violate civil liberties and start racially profiling at American mosques. Simmons told Cavuto, “The mosques are the breeding ground. We know they are breeding grounds for terrorism, for fundraising.”

    After former CIA case officer, John Kiriakou exposed the government’s torture program in 2007, Simmons justified the use of torture on a radio show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano and Brian Kilmeade. After rationalizing the destruction of the 92 videotapes that recorded enhanced interrogations, Simmons refused to admit that waterboarding is torture.

    During an interview with Fox & Friends, Simmons falsely accused then-Senator John Kerry of “publicly calling our soldiers/sailors/marines murderers and terrorists.” Although FOX News anchor Greg Kelly repeatedly attempted to correct Simmons and even read Kerry’s exact quote to Simmons, the phony CIA agent refused to take back his lie.

    Ironically, Simmons contributed to a FOX News report in 2007 about a former FBI and CIA agent found guilty of fraud and stealing secrets. During the report, Simmons stated, “Somewhere along the line of course, Douglas, someone, whoever was responsible for the background check at the FBI really, really fell down.”

    Simmons added, “This has exposed the raw nerve, if you will, of a flaw in the background check, and without a background check, without knowing who we’re hiring, and who we are employing to protect our nation, we are in big, big trouble.”

    Previously convicted for a crime of violence and firearms offenses, Simmons was able to acquire a security clearance because of the incompetence behind FOX News and the federal government. Responsible for spreading disinformation and his Islamophobic agenda for over a dozen years, Simmons was finally sentenced on Friday. However, his sentence is certainly lax considering the maximum he was facing — and the damage he’s done.

    One thing is certain, however, and that is the fact that FOX News and the federal government will most certainly not attempt to reverse any of said damage — as it helped them to accomplish their divisive and hateful agenda.


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    Anderson Cooper CIA Agent

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    Pentagon paid PR firm $540mn to make fake terrorist propaganda videos

    The Pentagon paid a UK PR firm half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq in a secret propaganda campaign exposed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    PR firm Bell Pottinger, known for its array of controversial clients including the Saudi government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation, worked with the US military to create the propaganda in a secretive operation.

    The firm reported to the CIA, the National Security Council and the Pentagon on the project with a mandate to portray Al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathizers.

    Both the White House and General David Petraeus, the former general who shared classified information with his mistress, signed off on the content produced by the agency.

    The Bell Pottinger operation started soon after the US invasion of Iraq and was tasked with promoting the “democratic elections” for the administration before moving on to more lucrative psychological and information operations.

    Former employee Martin Wells told the Bureau how he found himself working in Iraq after being hired as a video editor by Bell Pottinger. Within 48 hours, he was landing in Baghdad to edit content for secret “psychological operations” at Camp Victory.

    The firm created television ads showing Al-Qaeda in a negative light as well as creating content to look as though it had come from “Arabic TV”. Crews were sent out to film bombings with low quality video. The firm would then edit it to make it look like news footage.

    They would craft scripts for Arabic soap operas where characters would reject terrorism with happy consequences. The firm also created fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, which were then planted by the military in homes they raided.

    Employees were given specific instructions to create the videos. “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda's footage,” Wells was told. “We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.”

    The videos were created to play on Real Player which needs an internet connection to run. The CDs were embedded with a code linking to Google Analytics which allowed the military to track IP addresses that the videos were played on.

    According to Wells, the videos were picked up in Iran, Syria and the US.

    US law prohibits the government from using propaganda on its population, hence the use of an outside firm to create the content.

    Documents show the Pentagon paid $540 million to Bell Pottinger in contracts between 2007 and 2011, with another contract for $120 million in 2006. The firm ended its work with the Pentagon in 2011.

    In 2009, it was reported that the Pentagon had hired controversial PR firm, The Rendon Group, to monitor the reporting of journalists embedded with the U.S. military, to assess whether they were giving "positive" coverage to its missions.

    It was also revealed in 2005 that Washington based PR company the Lincoln Group had been placing articles in newspapers in Iraq which were secretly written by the US military. A Pentagon investigation cleared the group of any wrongdoing.



    Foley murder video 'may have been staged'

    Analysts believe the British jihadi in the video may not have been James Foley's killer, although it is accepted that the journalist was murdered

    The video of James Foley’s execution may have been staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, it has emerged.

    Forensic analysis of the footage of the journalist’s death has suggested that the British jihadist in the film may have been the frontman rather than the killer.

    The clip, which apparently depicts Mr Foley’s brutal beheading, has been widely seen as a propaganda coup for Islamic State militant group. [more like CIA]

    But a study of the four-minute 40-second clip, carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain, suggested camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used.

    A forensic analyst told The Times that no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times.

    “After enhancements, the knife can be seen to be drawn across the upper neck at least six times, with no blood evidence to the point the picture fades to black,” the analysis said.

    Sounds allegedly made by Foley do not appear consistent with what may be expected.

    During Foley’s speech, there appears to be a blip which could indicate the journalist had to repeat a line.

    One expert commissioned to examine the footage was reported as saying: “I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.”

    However the company, which requested anonymity, did not reach a definitive answer.

    It concluded: “No one is disputing that at some point an execution occurred.”


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    Rothschild insider claim global elite planned race war in america


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    Old Video Of Burning Cars In Paris Used To Foment Anti-Muslim Sentiment


    A video posted on war-enthusiast Facebook page A World At War on November 22 shows a row of cars enveloped by flames on a Parisian street, black smoke billowing up towards the adjacent apartments. The page states that the fire had been started by "Muslim migrants" the night before. But this video is actually more than a year old, and so far there has been no substantiated information about who started the blaze.

    The video was posted with the caption, "Muslim Migrants Set Fire to Over 25 Cars in Paris Last Night in an Upper Class section of the city." By November 25, it had been viewed over 1.3 million times on the group's Facebook page, and also shared on Twitter by "alt-right" accounts.

    A World At War describes itself as a "website strictly for those interested in military history, weapons, news, and other information pertaining to war or the military," however much of the content posted on the Facebook page has an anti-Islam and anti-migrant bent. The page has 5,739 likes.

    A quick search on YouTube proves that the fire in the video didn't happen on November 21 this year - it actually broke out on the night of July 13-14, 2015. The video was shot from one of the buildings on the other side of the street and posted on YouTube on July 14.

    The French national holiday Bastille Day falls on July 14 and is celebrated across France with fireworks. In large towns, celebrations have occasionally descended into violence or with fires started in public places. Although this is a dramatic example, the known facts are as follows.

    video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXECLnAXVCs

    Local newspaper Le Parisien reported that a group of young people aged between 14 and 16 years old set fire that July night to a rubbish bin on the avenue Marcel Doret in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital in the early hours of the morning. The fire took, and spread rapidly up the street through a row of parked cars, completely destroying 26 vehicles. When police and firemen arrived, the group of teenagers threw fireworks and projectiles at them.

    It's impossible to say whether the group of young people were Muslim or from a migrant background. But the cars were not deliberately burnt -- and once again, the events took place 16 months ago.

    To learn how to verify videos yourself, check out the FRANCE 24 Observers' guide to verifying content on social media networks.


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    A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs


    THE PHRASE “FAKE NEWS” has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as “terrorism” and “hate speech”; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

    One of the most egregious examples was the recent Washington Post article hyping a new anonymous group and its disgusting blacklist of supposedly pro-Russia news outlets – a shameful article mindlessly spread by countless journalists who love to decry Fake News, despite the Post article itself being centrally based on Fake News. (The Post this week finally added a lame editor’s note acknowledging these critiques; the Post editors absurdly claimed that they did not mean to “vouch for the validity” of the blacklist even though the article’s key claims were based on doing exactly that).

    Now we have an even more compelling example. Back in October, when WikiLeaks was releasing emails from the John Podesta archive, Clinton campaign officials and their media spokespeople adopted a strategy of outright lying to the public, claiming – with no basis whatsoever – that the emails were doctored or fabricated and thus should be ignored. That lie – and that is what it was: a claim made with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for its truth – was most aggressively amplified by MSNBC personalities such as Joy Ann Reid and Malcolm Nance, The Atlantic’s David Frum, and Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald.

    That the emails in the Wikileaks archive were doctored or faked – and thus should be disregarded – was classic Fake News, spread not by Macedonian teenagers or Kremlin operatives but by established news outlets such as MSNBC, the Atlantic and Newsweek. And, by design, this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true. As a result of this deliberate disinformation campaign, anyone reporting on the contents of the emails was instantly met with claims that the documents in the archive had been proven fake.

    The most damaging such claim came from MSNBC’s intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance. As I documented on October 11, he tweeted what he – for some bizarre reason – labeled an “Official Warning.” It decreed: “#PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done.” That tweet was re-tweeted by more than 4,000 people. It was vested with added credibility by Clinton-supporting journalists like Reid and Frum (“expert to take seriously”).

    All of that, in turn, led to an article in something called “The Daily News Bin” with the headline: “MSNBC intelligence expert: WikiLeaks is releasing falsified emails not really from Hillary Clinton.” This classic fake news product – citing Nance and Reid among others – was shared more than 40,000 times on Facebook alone.

    more @ https://theintercept.com/2016/12/09/...ikileaks-docs/

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    British Govt-Funded Outlet Offered Journalist $17,000 a Month to Produce Propaganda for Syrian Rebels

    Emails reveal that a popular source for mainstream Western media is a U.K.-backed propaganda outlet.


    The Revolutionary Forces of Syria (RFS) media office, a major Syrian opposition media outfit and frequent source of information for Western media, is funded by the British government and is managed by Westerners operating out of Turkey, according to emails provided to AlterNet by a Middle East reporter RFS tried to recruit.

    The outlet stirred controversy this November when it released a video at the height of the Mannequin Challenge, a pop culture craze in which people compete for how long they can freeze in place on video. The RFS video depicted a staged rescue by the White Helmets, the Western-funded rescue group that operates exclusively in rebel-held territory. RFS quickly removed the video and issued an apology out of apparent concern that the staged rescue could raise questions about the authenticity of other videos by the White Helmets.

    Over the summer, the Middle East reporter, who asked not to be named, was contacted by an American acquaintance and former colleague about working for RFS.

    “I'm currently in Istanbul, working on a media project for the HMG [the British government],” wrote the acquaintance in an email time-stamped June 23. “We're working on media surrounding the Syrian conflict, as one of their three partners.” The email included links to RFS Media’s English website and SMO Media, an Arabic website that covers the Southern Front, a Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) group.

    “[W]e’re looking for a managing editor/production manager to head up our team here in Istanbul, and I thought you'd be a great fit. I was wondering if you had any interest, or knew of anyone looking to move out to Istanbul for an opportunity," the acquaintance added.

    In a followup phone conversation, the acquaintance explained to the reporter what the job would entail.

    “I would have been talking to opposition people on the ground and writing news pieces based on statements from media activists who are affiliated with the armed groups in places like Aleppo,” the reporter later explained.

    The salary offered for this task was an eye-popping $17,000 a month.

    The reporter ultimately decided not to pursue the RFS position because he felt it would be journalistically unethical.

    “The idea that I would work for the government of a country that’s intimately involved in the Syrian conflict is one that’s incomprehensible for me as a journalist,” he told AlterNet.

    “This was far beyond working for state-owned media in my opinion. It was to actually be a mouthpiece for specific armed groups that are backed by a Western regime with a long history of disastrous interference in this region. That doesn’t mean I don’t have sympathy for people who are against the Syrian government. I am not pro-regime. At the same time, I am a journalist and would like to maintain my integrity at that level.”

    The reporter declined to recommend others for the job, saying, “I’m not going to facilitate some dubious relationship between a reporter and what is obviously a propaganda outlet,” he said.

    The reporter ultimately decided not to pursue the RFS position because he felt it would be journalistically unethical.

    “The idea that I would work for the government of a country that’s intimately involved in the Syrian conflict is one that’s incomprehensible for me as a journalist,” he told AlterNet.

    “This was far beyond working for state-owned media in my opinion. It was to actually be a mouthpiece for specific armed groups that are backed by a Western regime with a long history of disastrous interference in this region. That doesn’t mean I don’t have sympathy for people who are against the Syrian government. I am not pro-regime. At the same time, I am a journalist and would like to maintain my integrity at that level.”

    The reporter declined to recommend others for the job, saying, “I’m not going to facilitate some dubious relationship between a reporter and what is obviously a propaganda outlet,” he said.

    RFS did not respond to a request for comment.

    Sanitizing the armed opposition as “moderate” has been a difficult task to be sure. While Western officials were well aware of the extremist and violently sectarian ideology that dominated the opposition early in the conflict, they deliberately chose to whitewash their atrocities in favor of weakening the Syrian government. RSF Media has stayed true to that goal, portraying armed groups as liberators and protectors adored by the people living under them, a narrative Western media outlets have enthusiastically echoed even as their own reporters were kidnapped, ransomed and even shot by Western-backed rebels.

    This has presented a puzzling contradiction in Syria coverage. On the one hand, foreign reporters do not dare enter opposition areas for fear of being abducted. Yet the same media outlets that refrain from sending their reporters to opposition areas are comfortable amplifying propaganda that comes out of these areas with almost zero scrutiny, despite the fact that such information almost certainly requires the approval of the armed groups they fear may kidnap their reporters.

    The warped picture of Syria that has been provided to Western media consumers is not the fault of the Syrian opposition, which is merely advancing its own most immediate public relations needs without regard for the objective truth, as combatants in war often do. It is, however, a damning indictment of a media establishment that has failed to scrutinize convenient pro-war narratives that serve their own governments’ geopolitical interests.


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    Fox News Posts Fake Baltimore Riot Photo That’s Actually From Venezuela


    If you are like thousands of others, you have no doubt seen an iconic photo of Baltimore burning. The image began circulating throughout social media after a local Fox affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee apparently first ran it. Some other mainstream media outlets even shared the image, using it with headlines that said “Baltimore is Burning” and referenced a “purge”.

    The only problem is it wasn’t from Baltimore.

    That’s right, the image was taken from Venezuela, not Baltimore. But for those who accepted Fox’s rendition of the story uncritically, the image became burned into their minds as being a scene of devastation in Baltimore.

    On April 27th, local FOX13 claimed the photo of the fires burning everything except the golden arches at McDonalds was “Baltimore In Flames.”

    Reverb Nation notes that one viewer noticed the image and placed it right away. They thought the image looked familiar, and pointed out that the story on the CVS burning was not Baltimore at all.

    The Imgur user said: “Now I understand why people mock Fox news so much…”

    After racking up tens of thousands of views, Fox acknowledged the “error,” saying: “Our team didn’t fact check the picture the way we should have.”

    Just imagine if Fox hadn’t been called out on this? How many more stations would continue to run it as an actual image of Baltimore in flames? Just imagine how much else they are lying to us about!



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