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Monday, June 30, 2008
AIM, Newsmax Gloat Over Hatfill Settlement
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A June 29 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid unsurprisingly praised the U.S. government's multimillion-dollar settlement with Steven Hatfill, whom it had identified as a "person of interest" in the 2001 anthrax attacks but has since cleared of any connection with them. Kincaid has long championed Hatfill's cause.

But Kincaid goes a bit overboard (as he is prone to do) when he declared, "There was never any evidence indicating that Hatfill is anything other than a patriot who tried to help America prepare for the terrorist attacks that were blamed on him." That's not exactly true; as we've noted, Hatfill was involved with training members of the pro-apartheid, neo-nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement in the 1990s -- not exactly a patriot kind of thing to do.

Newsmax similarly gloats in a June 29 article, declaring that "Newsmax is also vindicated for rising to Hatfill’s defense, having been almost alone among the media in digging out the facts about the infamous anthrax attacks that killed five Americans in 2001." It added that "In a series of articles, including our correspondent Phil Brennan’s 'The Crucifixion of Steven Hatfill,' we told the whole story."

If the "whole story" includes a dollop of hypocrisy, then yeah.

While Brennan rails against "the conspiratorial fantasies of politically motivated left-wing academics and their liberal media stooges" in his article, he paints his own conspiratorial fantasy that victimized Hatfill. On his list were biological arms control expert "Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and her left-wing colleagues," as well as the "out-of-control and pitifully incompetent" FBI.

The June 29 Newsmax article went on to state: "Instead of joining the rest of the media in doling out leaks from the FBI and presenting them as facts, Newsmax took the trouble to dig into the case and reveal the real story to the public." As opposed, say, its reporting on the Clintons.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT

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