Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post on Tuesday published two columns on Rep. Peter King’s potentially explosive radical Islam hearings scheduled for Thursday. One column by Eugene Robinson carried the print edition headline, “Aiding the Jihadists,” and charged that the hearings would be exploited to benefit radical Islam. The column below that by Richard Cohen carried the headline, “Fuel for the Bigots,” and charged that the hearing would benefit irrational opponents of radical Islam. So King can’t win, according to the Post, no matter what he does.

But King could turn the tide on Thursday because the first witness is none other than the first Muslim member of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Ellison’s purpose is to defend his Muslim constituents, but King’s investigators must know that Ellison has a lot to answer for, and that his anti-terrorist credentials are suspect.

As we have pointed out: “In addition to being the first Muslim member of Congress, which is usually mentioned by the media, Ellison was an official of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), cited as a Communist Party front organization by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. It remains the U.S. affiliate of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the old Soviet front. In that capacity, Ellison had been a vocal supporter—and attended a fundraiser for—Sara Jane Olson, a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), an off-shoot of the Weather Underground that is probably best known for kidnapping Patricia Hearst.

“An Ellison speech on behalf of Olson, in which he called the terrorist a freedom fighter, has been eliminated from most websites, including one devoted to her legal defense, but a Minneapolis blogger who followed the case saved and posted it. One notices the lavish praise that Ellison bestows not only on Olson, also known as Kathleen Ann Soliah, but to Bernardine Dohrn, the former leader of the communist terrorist Weather Underground. Ellison also praised cop-killers Mumia Abu-Jamal, on death row in Pennsylvania, and Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur), who escaped the U.S. and is now living under the protection of the Castro dictatorship.”

This notorious record suggests that if Ellison had trouble recognizing the nature of terrorism when the radical left carried it out on American soil, he may have a similar blind spot when it comes to members of his own religious group.

King may decide not to go into any of this. But that could be a big mistake. Ellison wants to confront King over these hearings, and King has every right to respond and highlight Ellison’s record. It is a record that the major media have decided to largely ignore.

In advance of the hearings, of course, the media have been trying to put King on the defensive.

The Washington Post, for example, has published two items in support of the hearings. But what follows are some of the articles, blogs, and columns carried by the Post in its print edition and/or on-line over the last couple months which have been critical in advance of what King is doing:

  • “Hearings on Muslims Trigger Panic” by William Wan. January 24, 2011.
  • February 16, 2011, “Does public support Pete King’s hearings into Muslims? Yes and No,” by Greg Sargent. February 16, 2011.
  • “Anxiety on all sides of upcoming House hearings on radicalization of U.S. Muslims,” by Michelle Boorstein. February 27, 2011.
  • “White House praises Muslims ahead of House hearing,” By Eileen Sullivan and Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press. March 6, 2011.
  • “Congressman King defends himself against criticism over hearings on radical Islam,” by Emil Kolawole. March 6, 2011.
  • “Pete King admission undermines his own case for anti-Muslim hearings” by Adam Serwer. March 7, 2011.
  • “The limited scope of Peter King’s ‘radical’ hearings” by Jonathan Capehart. March 7, 2011.
  • “Peter King vs. the American public” by Robert P. Jones CEO, Public Religion Research Institute. March 8, 2011.
  • “Japanese Americans decry Rep. King’s Muslim hearings as ‘sinister,’” by David Nakamura. March 8, 2011.
  • “Rep. King’s hearing is the wrong answer to the wrong question” by Welton Gaddy. March 8, 2011.
  • “President Washington or Congressman King?; ‘To bigotry, no sanction,’” by Arthur Waskow. March 8, 2011.
  • “Singling out one faith affects them all” by J. Brent Walker. March 8, 2011.
  • “Rep. Eric Cantor defends Rep. Peter King’s hearings on radical Islam” by Felicia Sonmez. March 8, 2011.

This is the same paper, incidentally, that carried a small item about radio host Fred Grandy leaving WMAL that made no mention of the role of radical Islam in his departure.

Here is how the Post reported it: Fred Grandy—the ‘Love Boat’ star turned Iowa congressman turned morning drive-time talk-radio star—is leaving his gig as star of WMAL’s ‘The Grandy Group.’ Grandy’s ratings have lagged behind the station’s other conservative hosts, and he has clashed with management for months over how to boost them.”

The Post attempted to blame his departure on ratings when the criticism that he and his wife had been making of radical Islam was the critical factor.

The omission can clearly be explained by the bias of the paper, as reflected in the large number of critical articles and columns about the King hearings.

One can only surmise that the hostile reaction to the hearings is based, at least in part, on the fear that the investigation of radical Islam will inevitably lead to questions about Ellison himself.

It turns out that Ellison may be the embodiment of one of Glenn Beck’s so-called “conspiracy theories”—that the radical left and revolutionary Islam are working hand-in-glove against America.

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