Thursday, January 08, 2004

MISLEAD RABBI FALLS FOR LIAR: The Washington Times lays out post-9/11 reality for us to see:

Some Jews and conservative Christians are questioning a pro-family group's association with an Islamic organization. Rabbi Marc Gellman, a syndicated columnist who makes frequent TV appearances as half of "The God Squad," resigned last month from the advisory board to the Alliance for Marriage (AFM) because it includes a representative of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Steve Emerson, author of a book about terrorism, accused ISNA of links to extremist groups, a charge the Islamic group's leaders strongly deny.
Did the name Steven Emerson ring a bell? It did for me. If you're unfamiliar with him, let me introduce him for you.

Emerson is a self-styled "terrorism expert." He was one of the television-commentators, together with Daniel Pipes, who blamed Muslims for the Oklahoma bombing in 1995. CBS got rid of him, as did the Washington Post. The USA Today stopped quoting him. But that didn't stop him from unrelentingly defaming and false accusing the Muslim community in the United States.

In 1999, Emerson sued John Sugg, former senior editor of Florida's Weekly Planet newspaper, for defamation. Emerson's lawsuit alleged that Sugg "maliciously and repeatedly published false and defamatory utterances" in an "ongoing campaign to undermine Emerson's credibility and damage his professional and personal reputation." It regarded allegations reported by Sugg that two Associated Press reporters said Emerson gave them a document on terrorism supposedly from FBI files. Sugg commented in the May 1999 edition of Weekly Planet: "One reporter thought he'd seen the material before, and in checking found a paper Emerson had supplied earlier containing his own unsupported allegations. The two documents were almost identical, except that Emerson's authorship was deleted from the one purported to be from the FBI. 'It was really his work,' one reporter says. 'He sold it to us trying to make it look like a really interesting FBI document.'" In that same article, Sugg quoted AP reporter Richard Cole saying: "'We were not really clear on the origin of his [Emerson's] material.' Because of that, Cole recalls, much of Emerson's information was sliced from the series."

Sugg went on to record Emerson's lies and attacks in the January/February 1999 edition of the Extra, published by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. An excerpt:
As Emerson's fame mounted, so did criticism. Emerson's book, The Fall of Pan Am 103, was chastised by the Columbia Journalism Review, which noted in July 1990 that passages "bear a striking resemblance, in both substance and style" to reports in the Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y. Reporters from the Syracuse newspaper told this writer that they cornered Emerson at an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference and forced an apology.

A New York Times review (5/19/91) of his 1991 book Terrorist chided that it was "marred by factual errors and by a pervasive anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian bias." His 1994 PBS video, Jihad in America (11/94), was faulted for bigotry and misrepresentations--veteran reporter Robert Friedman (The Nation, 5/15/95) accused Emerson of "creating mass hysteria against American Arabs."


A ranking AP editor in Washington says: "We would be very, very, very, very leery of using Steve Emerson."
My problem lies not with the Washington Times for allowing Emerson to spread his share of anti-Muslim venom; the paper is known to be an openly biased bastion of rabid right-wing ideology. My beef is with the gullible Rabbi Gellman for believing the unsupported charge. Some of you may ask whether the Rabbi is a victim too, because he may not know Emerson's background. That would be quite a thing for the Rabbi, who "greatly respects" Emerson, would it not?


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