Jul
20
2012

Blaming Iran for Bulgaria Bombing: Assertions Before Evidence

Right after news of a suicide bombing attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu pointed the finger squarely at Iran. For media outlets that are supposed to evaluate claims based on evidence, this could have been a problem. But many outlets took these claims at face value–and in some cases actually bolstered his case. "Five Israelis Killed in Bulgaria; Netanyahu Blames Iranians," read a New York Times headline (7/19/12). There was no evidence to support this, but look at how the Times' Nicholas Kulish and Matthew Brunwasser worked to shore up the claims: Iran had […]

Mar
26
2012

CNN Pushing Alarmist Tales of Hezbollah Sleeper Agents

With discussions of a military attack on Iran circulating among U.S. and Israeli political elites, CNN has added fuel to the fire with a series of alarmist reports about supposedly Iranian-linked terrorist operatives inside the United States who are ready to strike. On the March 21 broadcast of the Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer announced that there could be "a terrifying new reason for all of us to be potentially very worried about U.S. tensions with Iran." What's the terrifying potential worry? Some U.S. officials apparently claim: Iran has a large terrorist-trained force right here in the United States right […]

Dec
07
2011

Republicans and the Hezbollah-in-Mexico Menace

Political campaign watchers seem to agree that the election will be about the economy, and that Republicans probably won't have much to say about Obama's foreign policy (partly because it doesn't much differ from what a Republican president might be doing). The New York Times' Richard Oppel has a piece today headlined, "Republican Candidates Aim at Obama Foreign Policy." So what exactly is the Republican case against Obama's foreign policy? That it's too soft on the Hezbollah menace on our southern border. Seriously. Oppel writes: A small but revealing episode unfolded in the closing minutes of the last Republican presidential […]

Jan
25
2011

Adventures in Absurd Anonymity, Continued

Anonymous Israeli officials are weighing in at the New York Times today. Let's remember the Times has some rules regarding the use of anonymous sources: The use of unidentified sources is reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy. When we use such sources, we accept an obligation not only to convince a reader of their reliability but also to convey what we can learn of their motivation–as much as we can supply to let a reader know whether the sources have a clear point of view on the issue under […]

Apr
27
2009

'Criminalizing Speech' to Fight 'Terror'

Reporting on New York's Javed Iqbal receiving a 69-month prison sentence for "assisting Hezbollah… by providing satellite television services that included broadcasts by the party's television station, Al Manar," Peter Daniels (World Socialist Web Site, 4/27/09) mentions that the broadcast packages included "Christian evangelists as well as Hezbollah" before explaining how the law under which Iqbal was charged had been amended by the Patriot Act after the September 11. The revised statute was used to target individuals accused of providing aid to organizations designated as terrorist by the U.S. State Department. Iqbal's prosecution had the effect of criminalizing speech and […]

Mar
09
2009

Seeing Cracks in Big Media's Pro-Israel Opinion Wall

Asserting that "one positive aspect of the wreckage left by the Bush presidency is that many of the most sacred Beltway pieties stand exposed as intolerable failures, prominently including our self-destructively blind enabling of virtually all Israeli actions," Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald (3/9/09, ad-viewing required) cites "the last three New York Times columns by Roger Cohen" as evidence of "a substantial–and very positive–change in the rules for discussing American policy towards Israel": Two weeks ago, Cohen–writing from Iran–mocked the war-seeking cartoon caricature of Iran as The New Nazi Germany craving a Second Holocaust. To do so, Cohen reported on the relatively […]

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. […]

Jan
09
2009

Krauthammer vs. Peace

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer continues to support Israel's assault on Gaza in today's paper (1/9/09). He displays a remarkably odd notion of what a cease fire is for, citing the lessons of Lebanon as a cautionary tale: The U.N.-mandated disarmament of Hezbollah in Lebanon is a well-known farce. Not only have foreign forces not stopped Hezbollah's massive rearmament, their very presence makes it impossible for Israel to take any preventive military action, lest it accidentally hit a blue-helmeted Belgian crossing guard. In other words, the Lebanese cease-fire is problematic because it is currently preventing an outbreak of violence.