Jan
15
2009

FAIR Activist: Friedman's Phony Evidence That Terror Works

Posting his letter to the New York Times on FAIR Blog, FAIR activist bpb points out that not only is Thomas Friedman claiming that terrorism works, he's making up evidence to claim that terrorism works:

There is no evidence for Thomas Friedman's contention that after Israel's 2006 war with Hizballah, "Lebanese civilians, in anguish, said to Hezbollah: 'What were you thinking? Look what destruction you have visited on your own community! For what? For whom?'" In fact, in the month following the war, a public opinion poll conducted in Lebanon confirmed the opposite: that Lebanese public opinion strongly favored Hizballah.

According to a poll conducted by Information International from August 22 to August 27, 2006, 57 percent of respondents "supported" Hizballah's kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, which initiated the conflict. According to the same poll, 79 percent of respondents rated the performance of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah as "good/great." These numbers are noteworthy not only because they disprove Friedman's claim, but because they also represent a relative uniformity of opinion across Lebanon's notoriously divided populace.

Furthermore, even in mid-October 2006, months after the war's end, a poll conducted in Lebanon by the Center for Strategic Studies found that 78 percent of respondents believed that Israel would have attacked Lebanon "whether Hizbollah captured the Israeli soldiers or not," thus signifying that a large majority of Lebanese were unwilling to place blame on Hizballah.

Based on these numbers, it is easy to see that Thomas Friedman is rewriting history in order to justify his current support of Israel's war on Palestinian civilians. It is remarkable that he seems to have assumed that his claims could not be fact-checked in this age of ubiquitous polling.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.