Newsletter #69 – Freedom Forum Part VII – “Facts: A Biased Media & their Friends”Posted: March 10, 2013
When Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today retired as Chairman of the Gannett Company, he took over the Gannett Foundation, sold the foundation’s Gannett stock back to the company, and returned its name. He used the $650 million stock sale proceeds to invest in the Freedom Forum.
Many of the so-called scholars and experts claimed by the Freedom Forum are blatant leftist journalists and media professionals. This may explain why the strands of their bias are threaded through both its off-shoots, the First Amendment Center and the Religious Freedom Education Project.
One might even argue that they have been bought and paid for by the left’s mega corporate dollars. The Freedom Forum’s Newseum recently hosted Obama’s “grass-roots” mega dollar corporate-based “Organizing for Action” (OfA) money-pitching meeting. “An OfA spokeswoman declined to comment on the group’s presentation at the Newseum, its fundraising or relationship with other deep-pocketed liberal groups.”
Support for the meeting was provided by a “White House-allied trade association called Business Forward, which is funded by major corporations including Microsoft, Walmart and PG&E…”
“Distributed action” was discussed by panelists representing a troika of Common Purpose Project, the self-described anti-conservative progressive Media Matters, and the Soros funded Center for American Progress.
Newseum + mega money + insider politics + anti-conservative progressive agenda ≠ unbiased media.
It may also explain why the Freedom Forum, the First Amendment Center and Religious Freedom Education Project walk in lockstep with the progressive socialists’ agenda. Certainly they are serious about President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships report recommendation to: “Utilize the expertise of faith-and community-based organizations to train education and media professionals on Islam and Muslim communities.”
But in their haste, the scholars and experts of the Freedom Forum failed to fully vet their Islamist partners.
The First Amendment Center and an unbiased free press – an oxymoron
Claiming that journalists, particularly those in the South, find reporting about Islam and Muslims “increasingly challenging”, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) School of Journalism along with the First Amendment Center hosted a three-day conference in August 2011. It was funded by the McCormick Foundation and titled “Covering Islam in the Bible Belt”.
The conference promised to feature “veteran reporters and experts in Islamic history and culture.” One of the reporters that led a workshop titled “Crafting the Story” was Osama Siblani from Dearborn Michigan. He is the publisher of The Arab American News. In 2006 Siblani was a speaker at a pro-Hezbollah rally in Dearborn, Michigan sponsored by the Congress of Arab American Organizations. During his talk, Siblani asked all those in attendance to observe a moment of silence “for the martyrs.”
Butch Ward, managing director of the Poynter Institute led a workshop titled “Acknowledge Your Bias and Improve Your Coverage.” Subsequent to the conference, the Poynter Institute posted a free on-line course on Islam for journalists. This course was promoted as a way to help journalists “remain accurate and balanced in their coverage of the Muslim community in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which changed the way Islam is viewed by the public.”
It is precisely because of 9/11 that the public has started to wake up, take notice and get educated about what Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood are working to institute in the United States.
Some participating journalists took issue with the way in which the course minimized the act and meaning of 9/11. In “Jihad is Not Just Murder, Motive Matters”, Judith Miller writes ,“This is a course in political correctness for reporters assigned to cover Islam in America who have slept through the past decade.” She also notes that the course “barely mentions the proliferation of such ‘home-grown’ Islamist terrorism in its discussion of important trends and facts about Islam.”
Reporters Judson Berger and Iris Somberg revealed here and here that the groups behind the Poytner course are all funded by the notorious billionaire George Soros which may explain the course comments that accuse conservatives of bigotry. One of the Soros groups involved is the Center for American Progress which supports Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood supporter Egyptian President Morsi was recently quoted as saying that “we must nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred for Jews”.
Contradicting their own stated mission, the Poynter website only posts articles consistent with the narrative and agenda of the pro-Islamist U.S. press.
Media Bias: the Tennessean abets Islamists
Tennessean reporter Bob Smietana also led a workshop at the MTSU conference discussing all he discovered about individuals leading the anti-jihadist movement in the U.S. He told the Arab American News that he has nothing but “contempt” for them. Of course, Smietana is ignorant about Islamic political doctrine and its supremacist theocratic sharia law, which is what the anti-jihadists protest. Neither Smietana nor The Tennessean was willing to acknowledge or correct confirmed inaccuracies in his reporting.
Moreover, showing no regard for the danger of speaking out about Islamists, Bob Smietana published the identities of anti-jihadist activists who had to use pseudonyms for security purposes.
Tennessee writer and political analyst Rebecca Bynum addresses this and more about Bob Smietana’s bias in her article “Peculiar Bias: How the Tennessean Became a Fellow Traveler with CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood”.
Feel free to contact Bob at his home and let him know how you feel about his credibility as the religion writer for The Tennessean:
Robert Smietana, 2712 Cash Court, Thompson Station, TN 37179 615-595-2365
The Islamist resource list for journalists and the Freedom Forum
The conference resource list for journalists just like the resource list compiled by the Freedom Forum, the Religious Freedom Education Project and the recent publication “What is the Truth About American Muslims” is threaded throughout with anti-American Islamists committed to the Muslim Brotherhood ideology of political sharia.
The Poynter website directs journalists to Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, ICNA and MPAC. Is Poynter ignorant about the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memo on a global government takeover or about CAIR’s ties to Hamas? Obviously or else they sympathize with the Islamists. Either is inexcusable.
Experts on the resource lists include Zaid Shakir, Sherman Abdul Hakeem Jackson and Muqtedar Khan. Shakir and Jackson are both featured in this article about the 2010 Toronto Muslim convention. Shakir is quoted as telling his audience that Allah destroyed the Soviet Union because it invaded Afghanistan and the same thing could happen to the U.S.
It was reported that Sherman Jackson told his audience that “Muhammad redefined the society in which he lived, and today nothing less than the future of the Ummah (“community” or “nation” in Arabic) in Western cultures was at stake. Muhammad’s vision was not just for Arabia, but for all humanity, including, presumably, the modern Western world. To a cheering audience, he said that his primary commitment was to Allah, not to America. His speech was a call to battle. It had little to do with peaceful co-existence with the West, but was an exhortation for Islam to dominate the West.”
Both Jackson and Khan sit on the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Council of Scholars. In 2009 the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) formed this council. The IIIT is one of the 29 named organization “of our friends” in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood Memorandum on the General Strategic Goals for North America. The IIIT was raided by federal authorities as part of a terror financing investigation.
Islamist agents who work for the demise of our civilization and our government are the allies of journalists such as Bob Smietana and Butch Ward, and organizations like the Freedom Forum and First Amendment Center. The very media that should be educating the American people about the dangers of political sharia to our way of life is busy currying favor with Islamists and propagating leftist propaganda.
The Freedom Forum. An unbiased forum for freedom? You tell me.