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Journalist or Arab Propagandist?

8 Jun

bari-atwanMedia monitors have long decried how some Western “journalists” sound more like political activists working for the al-Qaeda PR department.

Take the case of Abdul Bari Atwan, a popular foreign affairs analyst who seems quite moderate when appearing on BBC and CNN. Yet in his day job as editor of the Arabic daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Bari Atwan reveals a decidedly different slant. When a Palestinian terrorist killed eight teenagers in a Jerusalem school, Bari Atwan called the attack “justified” and described the celebrations in Gaza that followed the massacre as symbolizing the “courage of the Palestinian nation.”[1]

When presented with this information, Adrian Wells, head of foreign news at Sky-TV where Bari Atwan is a frequent analyst, said dryly: “It is not our policy to comment on what contributors may or may not say on other channels.” A BBC spokesman similarly brushed off Bari Atwan’s anti-Israel oratory by saying that “BBC is required to explore a range of views, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or underrepresented.”[2]

It is impossible to imagine BBC being so cavalier had the shoe been on the other foot – if one of its Jewish correspondents had come out in favor of massacring Palestinians.

Bari Atwan was at it again last week, coming out in favor of Palestinians abducting Israeli soldiers.[3]

Meanwhile, Bari Atwan continues to be a guest commentator for the mainstream Western media, where his anti-Israel and anti-Western ideology gains a “legitimate” platform.

This is the same Bari Atwan who was welcomed by Osama Bin Laden into his secret Afghanistan cave for an exclusive interview.[4]

The same Bari Atwan who was paid thousands of dollars every month by Libya’s Gaddafi.[5]

The same Bari Atwan who expressed the hope that Palestinian violence would “mark the countdown to Israel’s destruction.”[6]

On the Iranian nuclear issue, Bari Atwan told a Lebanese TV station: “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to [London’s] Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.”[7]

Now in June 2013, Bari Atwan has stooped to a new low. Questioned on Egyptian TV whether he considers Osama bin Laden a “terrorist, Bari Atwan replied:

“Whoever fights the American enterprise in this region… is not considered a terrorist by me.”[8]

Keep this all in mind the next time you see Bari Atwan offering one of his “expert commentaries” in the mainstream Western media.

[1] Jonny Paul, “London Arabic Daily Editor: Mercaz Harav Attack was ‘Justified,’” Jerusalem Post, March 16, 2008.

[2] Jonny Paul, “London Editor Prays for Nuclear Attack on Israel,” Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2007; Tom Gross, “BBC and Sky News Analyst Praises Jerusalem Yeshiva Massacre,”, March 20, 2008.

[3] “Abbas and the New Betrayal: ‘economic Peace’,”

[4] Abdul Bari Atwan, “Inside Osama’s Mountain Lair,” The Guardian (UK), November 12, 2001.

[5] “Secret Documents from Libyan Intelligence Reveal Abdel Bari Atwan Received Money from Gaddafi,” Palestine Press News Agency, September 15, 2011.

[6] Paul, “London Arabic Daily Editor: Mercaz Harav Attack was ‘Justified.’”

[7] ANB-TV (Lebanon), June 27, 2007; cited in “Abd Al-Bari Atwan, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi: If Iranian Missiles Hit Israel, I Will Dance in Trafalgar Square,”

[8] “Abd Al-Bari Atwan: Bin Laden Was Only Half a Terrorist,”, June 6, 2013.


The Media’s Libya Failure

14 Sep

I’ve posted two new articles on the Libyan situation:

1) How Associated Press foisted a blood libel in recklessly failing to fact-check the identity of the filmmaker.

2) How Western opinionators are more interested in denouncing a moronic film than they are in denouncing the murderers of the U.S. Ambassador.

Bin Laden’s Papers

7 May

With the U.S. government releasing 175 pages of documents seized in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, two things caught my attention:

(1) Fatah, the governing faction of the Palestinian Authority (Abbas and Fayyad) offered money to al-Qaeda “towards the purchase and manufacture of weapons.” Al-Qaeda records state that the Palestinian leadership “has offered us funds, purportedly to [support] jihad, but there is another reason, namely their fear of becoming targets of our swords.”

Israel has long contended a Palestinian-Al Qaeda connection, and the media has long tried to deny it. When an al-Qaeda cell was discovered in Gaza, Palestinians claimed that the Israeli Mossad had set it up as a fake. BBC trumpeted the Palestinian version with this headline: “Israel ‘Faked al-Qaeda Presence.'”

(2) Another amazing thing to emerge from the confiscated papers showed how bin Laden himself pondered the merits of working with the American media. Bin Laden singled out his affinity for CBS, which he concluded was “close to being unbiased.” Another al-Qaeda operative praised the CBS program, 60 Minutes, for its “good reputation.”

I recently documented the bias of 60 Minutes against Israel. But in al-Qaeda’s eyes, they’re doing a fine job. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

New York Times Misrepresents “The Third Jihad”

3 Feb

There’s a major scandal brewing and it’s time to blow the lid off it.

The New York Times is taking an extreme politically-correct stance, working to discredit any and all sources that expose insidious Islamist activities in America.

The latest scandal started when Tom Robbins, a reporter from the Village Voice, wrote an article on how the New York Police Department was screening the film, The Third Jihad, to educate officers on the dangers of domestic terror.

Next up to the plate was New York Times reporter Michael Powell, who last week delivered a front-page snow job against the film. I have not studied The Third Jihad in-depth, so I cannot comment on all its content. But what I do know is that the Times’ article, “In Police Training, A Dark Film on U.S. Muslims” (January 23, 2012), is filled with misinformation and bias.

For example, the opening sentence claims that in the film “a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying over the White House.” The clear implication is that the filmmakers photoshopped this negative image. In truth, the “Islamic flag flying over the White House” is taken straight from an Islamic film. In other words, the image supports the film’s concern over radical Muslim groups operating in America – which the Times flips around to attack the credibility of the film!

Another example: The Times tries to discredit the film by portraying it as broadly anti-Islam, alleging that the film declares: “This is the true agenda of Islam in America.” Yet the Times fails to mention the disclaimer at the beginning of the film which clearly states: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical.”

After complaints this week, the Times amended the quote to read: “This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America.”

Strike two for the Times – that is also a misquote! The actual line from the film is: “This document shows the true agenda of much of Muslim leadership here in America.” Thus far, the Times has refused to correct the article, nor print a letter to the editor setting the record straight – using the excuse that “the Letters section won’t publish anything that refutes matters of fact and only publishes matters of opinion.” Right.

Again, my purpose is not to judge the content of the film. (The Third jihad is now available for free online viewing, so you can judge for yourself.)  But if there is to be an intelligent public debate about the film’s value, the starting point must be a factual presentation in the media.

Meanwhile, the Times has been hammering this story all week – running two news reports and three op-eds against the film. So what do you think happened when Tom Ridge (former head of Homeland Security) and Jim Woolsey (former CIA Director) submitted an op-ed defending the film? That’s right, the Times refused to print it.

This is all part of a pattern in the media toward hiding domestic Muslim threats. As I document in my book, David & Goliath, political correctness has spawned a phenomenon whereby the New York Times dodges the “M-word” whenever Muslims commit heinous crimes. A few examples:

• When 17 Canadian members of an Islamic terror cell were arrested on charges of plotting to bomb targets near Toronto, the Times managed the remarkable feat of publishing an 1,843-word report without once calling them “Muslims.” The only identifying information provided by the Times was that they are of “South Asian descent” and “represent the broad strata” of society. (“17 Held in Plot to Bomb Sites in Ontario,” June 4, 2006)
• When eight people – all Muslims – were arrested in the UK for plotting car bombings, the Times referred to them simply as a “disenfranchised South Asian population.” (“Britain at Top Terror Alert After Air Terminal is Struck,” July 1, 2007)
• In 2009, when four New York men were arrested for plotting to bomb synagogues and “bring death to Jews,” the Times hid the M-word until the ninth paragraph. (“4 Accused of Bombing Plot at Bronx Synagogues,” May 20, 2009)
• And when Faisal Shahzad was arrested for the failed Times Square car bombing in 2010, the Times ran a 900-word article with no mention of the M-word, even as information was available that Shahzad had admitted to training at an Islamist terror camp in Pakistan. (“Suspects in Terror Case Wanted to Kill Jews, Officials Say,” May 12, 2011)

This week, we saw more of these media gyrations with the Third Jihad controversy. Writing in Forbes magazine, Abigail R. Esman observes how the Times is mixing up who are the bad guys here:

Much of what the Times objects to is a group of clips from You-Tube videos in which Islamist leaders speak of taking over the United States, of their dream of flying the flag of Islam from the White House, of the importance of destroying the infidel. The Times, however, in describing the film as “hateful,” does not mean that these clips themselves are hateful; no, they mean that allowing the NYPD to see that they exist is hateful. In other words, they have no problem with the video clips themselves; but with those who expose them…
[In the view of the New York Times, the fact] that the NYPD, which is responsible for maintaining public safety in the world’s top target for Islamic terrorists, should happen to be provided this information, apparently not only unnecessary, but egregious.

Beyond all the inaccuracies, the Times’ advocacy journalism is being used by the pro-Muslim group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) to pressure NYC police chief Ray Kelly to resign. CAIR, as we know, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial, which was shut down by the U.S. government for funding Hamas to the tune of $12 million.

Here’s the real irony: While the premise of The Third Jihad is to expose the pressure, intimidation and manipulation tactics of groups (such as CAIR) who are trying to stifle exposure of Islamists operating in America, the “newspaper of record” is now aiding and abetting those very efforts.

Stay tuned. This is bound to get even more interesting.