PIPES: "INTOLERANCE PERSONIFIED"
- O'Reilly's Fatwah on "Un-American" Professors
FoxNews Puts Me In Its Crosshairs
By M. SHAHID ALAM
February 2, 2005
I published an essay, "America and Islam: Seeking Parallels," [
http://www.counterpunch.org/shahid12292004.html ] in Counterpunch on
December 29, 2004. A day later, I began to receive nasty and
threatening emails, all at once. These were orchestrated by a
www.littlegreenfootballs.com. Shortly thereafter, other right-wing
websites got into act, posting excerpts from the essay; these
included jihadwatch.org, campuswatch.org, frontpagemag.com,
freerepublic.com, etc. The messages posted on these websites were
equally vicious, and some of them, containing explicit death
threats, were 'kindly' forwarded to me.
What did I say in this essay? I made two points. First, that the 9-
11 attacks were an Islamist insurgency: the attackers believe that
they are fighting--as the Americans did, in the 1770s--for their
freedom and dignity against a foreign occupation/control of their
lands. Secondly, I argue that these attacks were the result of a
massive political failure of Muslims to resist their tyrannies
locally. It was a mistake to attack the US.
I followed the first essay with a second one, "Testing Free Speech
In America," [ http://www.counterpunch.org/shahid01012005.html ]
where I elaborate on the points I had made earlier. This too was
published in Counterpunch.Org on Jan 1/2, 2005.
The emails to me and the University continued for another two weeks,
eventually tapering off. In the meanwhile, I was speaking to people
at the ACLU, Boston, and the ADC, Boston. On the suggestion of the
ACLU, I contacted the campus police and the police in my hometown to
let them know about the death threats posted against me.
I had a feeling this was not the end of the matter. So yesterday,
February 1, I received an email from Fox News asking for a TV
interview; they were producing a program "on me." At this point, I
spoke to people at ACLU who advised me against going on the program.
I received the same advice from other friends. I wrote back to Fox
saying I could not do the interview but would be glad to answer any
questions. They did not take me up on my offer. Clearly, this would
not help them in their designs against me.
It appears that Bill O'Reilly is doing a series on 'unAmerican'
professors on US campuses. Last night, my wife tells me, he did a
piece on Ward Churchill. Tonight will be my turn. I expect he will
make all kinds of outlandish accusations that will resonate well
with the left- and Muslim-hating members of his audience. This will
generate calls and emails to Northeastern and to me ? containing
threats, calls for firing me, and threats to withhold donations. I
am not sure how well NU will stand up against this barrage.
If we can generate a matching volume of emails, letters and call to
NU supporting my right to free speech, it might be helpful.
What else can we do?
The contact information for President Richard Freeland is available
Contact for Provots and Senior VP for Academic Affairs:
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
112 Hayden Hall
The contacts for the leading people in the President's office are
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
100 Meserve Hall
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
M. Shahid Alam, professor of economics at Northeastern University,
is a regular contributor to CounterPunch.org. Some of his
CounterPunch essays are now available in a book, Is There An Islamic
Problem [ http://www.msalam.net/Book/ ] (Kuala Lumpur: The Other
Press, 2004). He may be reached at m.alam@...
REPORTERS SUE FOX TV-INSIDE STORY
by Steve Wilson and Jane Akre
I used to think there was nothing worse than seeing a good story
killed because the special interest of a news organization (or one
its friends or advertisers) was more important than the public
interest. I just found out the hard way that I was wrong. There is
something much, much worse -- and it's something that should concern
all of us because as corporate owners control more and more
newsrooms, it will happen again.
The investigative report produced by me and my reporting colleague
Jane Akre was not killed by Fox Television. Instead, as we explain
in a lawsuit we filed this past week, Fox managers and their lawyers
ordered us to distort, twist, and slant a story and threatened us
with immediate dismissal if we would not broadcast material we knew
to be false and misleading.
Some of you may remember I posted a note here asking for objective
advice about what to do months ago when we were doing the same kind
of soul-searching I know some of you have been through. (I couldn't
identify the reporters or the news organization back then.) Most of
you said, "Resist those kinds of instructions!"
As we detail in our lawsuit, when we did just that. Fox threatened
to fire us within 48 hours and we were told they'd just get another
reporter to do it after we were gone. When we said we'd file a
formal complaint with the FCC if that happened, we were not fired
but were each offered very large cash settlements to go away and
keep quiet about the story and how it was handled_all of these
details and written documentation including scripts, contracts,
settlement offers, EVERYTHING in our legal complaint you can read
for yourself at www.foxBGHsuit.com.
Fox managers refused to kill the story because word might leak out
they bowed to pressure applied by Monsanto and the dairy and grocery
industry, we explain in our suit. Monsanto directed its efforts to
kill the story to former Republican operative and now-Fox News chief
Roger Ailes. Then, over the course of nine months last year, we were
ordered to write and re- write the scripts again and again-more than
73 times in all.
You should know there was never any claim that we or anyone working
with us ever acted outside the highest ethical standards of good
investigative reporting. There are no issues about trespass or
hidden cameras or pretending to be somebody else to get inside
More importantly, at no time ever was even a single error of fact
found in our reporting. We provided literally binders chock full of
solid documentation to support virtually every sentence and to show
how some of what we were ordered to report was demonstrably wrong.
Little of that mattered as we were repeatedly told "it's not whether
the facts are true, it was how they are presented"_and, as we also
quoted the Fox General Manager in our lawsuit, "We paid $3 billion
for these television stations, we'll decide what the news is. The
news is what we tell you it is."
After we stood up to being fired, turned down the easy money, and
all those re-writes didn't wear us down, we were told we were being
suspended without pay but ordered to keep re-writing scripts even
though we found ourselves locked out of our offices and the
computers that held much of our information. We did write those
final two scripts-the honest version we wanted to report, and the
version Fox insisted on telling. Both are attached to our suit and
available on the web along with our objections detailed point-by-
point in the Fox-mandated script.
Finally, after a year struggling nearly a year to tell the story
fairly and honestly, we were advised we were being dismissed without
cause pursuant to a window option in our contract. Fox's own lawyer
contradicts that phony claim in a letter (you can also review on the
web) where she writes that although Fox had the right to dismiss us
without cause, "_there were definite reasons for the decision that
was made." She goes to explain we were really dismissed due to
our "pattern of responding to direction with rancor, argument and
personal attacks on the lawyers and editors". Our legal claim is
that the "rancor and argument" which ensued when we were ordered to
lie on television -- along with our statement to Fox management that
we would complain to the FCC if the station resorted to illegal
conduct in broadcasting news known to be false and misleading --
those were the reasons we were ultimately fired. Fortunately,
Florida has a whistle-blower law that makes that illegal.
In any event, all of us in the news business should consider that
this kind of conduct by business people masquerading as journalists
could well be the next step down the road to journalism nobody can
trust or rely upon. These are issues that we ought to be discussing
in our conferences and seminars. How will you handle a similar
situation if it ever comes up? What, if anything, can be done to
stop this kind of thing? And what kind of support could you expect
if you put your career on the line over something like this?
Jane and I would be happy to share anything we have with any of you
who want to pursue the original story we were trying to tell (our
scripts are on the web) or just want to share your opinions and
suggestions about any of this. We invite you to visit the web site,
post a message there if you like, or contact us directly by e-mail.
Steve Wilson wilson@... Jane Akre akre@...
PIPES: "INTOLERANCE PERSONIFIED"
The Dartmouth, 1/27/05
We have a visitor today who once said, "Western European societies
are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples
cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene
All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim
customs are more troublesome than most."
I speak for all of Al-Nur, the Muslim student association on this
campus, and for other concerned students when I say that it is
troublesome that Daniel Pipes, to whom the above quote is
attributed, is visiting Dartmouth. He is the nation's leading
Islamophobe and he is not welcome. He has exploited the Japanese
internment laws of the 1940s to justify his views advocating racial
profiling and he promotes an extensive infringement on the civil
rights of Arab-American and Muslim-American citizens. Today, Pipes
is slated to speak to the Dartmouth community, an event that was
only recently publicized, it seems, because of the controversial
character of the speaker's inflammatory views.
In an institution that prides itself on fostering dialogue on
aspects of individual and social identity such as race and religion,
it is disturbing that any college organization or academic
department heeding to this creed, under the guise of promoting
discussion, would invite someone who has been identified by many as
a hatemonger. Pipes' bigoted views will marginalize and breed
suspicion and distrust toward students, faculty, and administrators
who are Arab or Muslim; his visit will do little to foster dialogue.
In pursuing his crusade to focus security measures on Muslims, Pipes
resorts to defending rampantly racist author Michelle Malkin's views
in her book "In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling
in World War II and the War on Terror." In support of Malkin, Pipes
outlines her arguments as she calmly compares concentration camps in
Japan to American "relocation camps" for the Japanese and declares
that the latter were in comparison to the former: "Spartan
facilities that were for the most part administered humanely."
Pipes continues to delineate other baseless and humiliating comments
from Malkin including a claim that the Commission on Wartime
Relocation and Internment of Civilians of 1981-83 was biased in its
conclusions and that the Presidential apology and reparations
awarded to former internees resulted from faulty logic. Pipes chimes
echoing Malkin's vitriolic tune, concluding that in wartime, "threat
profiling" based on nationality, ethnicity and religious affiliation
is expedient and necessary. Pipes has also warned against the
enfranchisement of American Muslims, as this would "present true
dangers to American Jews."
He contends Islam should not be portrayed in a good light in our
schools and in our media. With claims of possessing a
mental "filter" with which he can detect all those who want
to "create a Muslim state in America," Pipes has also labeled 10 to
15 percent of all Muslims as "potential killers." Each of these
claims is crudely based on anecdotal evidence. On the issue of
Israel and Palestine, Pipes has said that "The Palestinians are a
miserable people and they deserve to be "
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