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    O Reilly s Fatwah on Un-American Professors FoxNews Puts Me In Its Crosshairs By M. SHAHID ALAM Counterpunch February 2, 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2005
      O'Reilly's Fatwah on "Un-American" Professors
      FoxNews Puts Me In Its Crosshairs
      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:

      Ahmed Abdelal
      Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
      112 Hayden Hall
      (617) 373-4517

      The contacts for the leading people in the President's office are
      available here:


      Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

      James Stellar
      100 Meserve Hall
      Northeastern University
      360 Huntington Ave.
      Boston, MA 02115
      (617) 373-3980

      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@...




      by Steve Wilson and Jane Akre
      April 1998

      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@...


      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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