Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hyphenated American goes toe to toe with ABC News...

One of the most devalued professions of this day and age is the profession of a reporter. In the heyday of the newspapers, a reporter was supposed to be a person of keen observation skills, ability to size up people and news, the talent to sniff bullsh*t and the temerity to report the hottest news to the public.

When you read today's newspapers, watch mainstream TV or read the blogs of "respected news sources" - do you have the impression that the reporters that work for them still possess any of these qualifications? Or, maybe the media no longer employs the reporters - instead concentrating on the so-called "journalists", whose main task is to "make a difference" - in other words promote the left-wing agenda? And what is even worse, most of those "journalists" are not terribly smart or knowledgeable - and what is worst they lack any desire to learn new things and understand the basics about the subject they "report" on.

The reason I went on this long diatribe is pretty trivial. On February 17th, ABC News published an article about Obama's newly assigned "special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference", Rashad Hussain. In the article, the ABC journalists discussed a controversy associated with this envoy - namely that he was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Sami Al-Arian - a financial and ideological supporter of Islamic terror groups.

According to ABC News, "In 2006, Al-Arian, a Florida professor, entered into a plea agreement in which he admitted conspiring to help people associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group designated terrorist by the US government in 1995. Al-Arian admitted that he hid his associations with Palestinian Islamic Jihad by lying to some people, and that had been associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad during "the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s."

According to Discoverthenetwork, "In addition to others in the video who praised the killing of Jews and Christians, Al-Arian declaimed, “God cursed those who are the sons of Israel ... Those people, God made monkeys and pigs ... Let us damn America, let us damn Israel, let us damn them and their allies until death.” In another videotaped speech, Al-Arian said: “We assemble today to pay respects to the march of the martyrs and to the river of blood that gushes forth and does not extinguish, from butchery to butchery, and from martyrdom to martyrdom, from jihad to jihad.”

Among other things, ABC discussed the accusation that Obama's envoy Rashad Hussain proclaimed that the investigation of this "civil rights activist" was "politically motivated persecutions” and that the case against Al-Arian was being "used politically to squash dissent." I am not sure why Rashad Hussain, Obama's envoy equates dissent with the calls to murder Jews and destroy America. A better name for this particular type of "dissent" is Nazi propaganda.

Until this moment, ABC was on the solid grounds - but then its reporting took a strange turn. Rashad Hussain denied making those statements about Al-Arian, and quite unexpectedly (okay, whom am I kidding - it was expected), ABC News took the side of the Obama envoy and believed his side - unequivocally. Here is the appropriate passage about the report on Hussain's explosive rhetoric:

"But that report was apparently erroneous. Hussein denies being the one who made the comments, and the editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Delinda Hanley, later edited the quotes out of the story because, she says, Al-Arian's daughter, Laila Al-Arian, actually made the comments attributed to Hussain. (The mistake was made by a then-intern at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, who has said she stands by her original story.)"

Now, what was the basis for ABC to conclude that the report was erroneous, or that the journalist, who actually was present during those comments and  who reported on Hussain's claims was mistaken? None whatsoever. Why was ABC so sure that this report was "erroneous" and mistaken? In this "he said, she said" story, ABC took the side of the person, who had all the reasons in the world to lie, and accused the person who had nothing to gain - of making a mistake.

An attentive reader would quickly notice these "abnormalities" in the ABC "reporting" and, if he cared enough, would comment on this. Luckily, Hyphenated American was on guard, and promptly made the appropriate remarks: "So, did Hussain proclaim that a prosecution of a financiers of a terror group was "politically motivated" or not? The article claims that the journalist who reported this was mistaken, but provides no other evidence than the denial of Hussain himself. Since when is a simple denial is enough?
I tell you when - when the denialist is the one working for Obama."

And just in case you wonder - Hyphenated American reached these conclusions after he read the ABC report - and felt no need to read any other resources.

Interestingly enough, some media outlets apparently still hire professional reporters. For example, Fox News reported on February 16th (one day before the ABC screwed up the story) all the necesary details, including a short interview with the journalist that reported on Hussain's inflamatory remarks and a White House claim that these remarks were made by Sami Al-Arian's daughter. It also contained a very interesting piece of information: "The Web version of the 2004 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs [the one which reported on the Hussain's explosive comments] was later edited to delete all of Hussain's comments. Editor Delinda Hanley told Fox News she believes the change was made in February 2009, though she does not recall who requested the edit."

BTW, wouldn't it be an interesting task to find out who pressured Washington Report to delete all of Hussain's comments? That's the job for a real news organization, I don't expect ABC News to do this.

A couple of days later, the real media checked the transcripts and confirmed the obvious - that Obama's special envoy Rashad Hussain indeed made those inflammatory comments. In response to this overwhelming evidence, Obama's envoy confessed that he made those comment - which meant that he and the White House were lying.

This also confirmed what Hyphenated American knew all along - that ABC News screwed up the story. Today, the ABC page about Rashad Hussain looks somewhat different - gone  are the claims that about erroneous accusations and mistakes made by reporters. All air-brushed by ABC News - and only one sentence at the end of the ABC page says that "This post was updated after Hussain admitted being the one to have made the 2004 comments, once presented with a transcript of the event."

It's only fair to ask - why did it take so long for ABC News to see the obvious? Is this malice [i.e. ABC would inherently choose Obama's side] or incompetence? I personally believe that both are a factor here.

BTW, you may remember that "damn America" was also a popular refrain in the religious cult that Obama enthusiastically participated for 20 years.

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