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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
'Karachi Kids' Defender Ignores Facts
Topic: Horowitz

An Aug. 18 FrontPageMag article by Alex Alexiev attacks CNN for debunking the film "Karachi Kids," which focused on the wrong Pakistani madrassa in portraying children as being brainwashed by al-Qaeda and Taliban sympathizers (as we've noted). "What is certain is that the network, not the kids’ champions, is in the wrong," Alexiev claims, adding, "For anybody familiar with Pakistan’s madrassas, the CNN ‘gotcha’ not only serves to undo their entire argument,  it proves beyond much doubt that in attacking “Karachi Kids” and Congressman McCaul, the network engaged in disinformation."

Well, not quite. In trying to split hairs about just how extremist a particular madrassa is, Alexiev fails to contradict, or even acknowledge, a couple important points CNN made.

First, director Imran Raza conceded the error. CNN quotes him as saying, "I do need to take responsibility for these things in terms of these were errors that sort of spun out of control. ... I have to take responsibility for the mistakes. I take responsibility for the error in the allegation that Osama bin Laden was there. I take responsibility for the error that some of the Taliban leaders were there."

Second, the teenage "kids" that are the focus of the film -- whom Alexiev makes no mention of whatsoever -- denied that they were taught extremism or saw any al-Qaeda or Taliban members. They also say the filmmaker took their comments out of context.

Alexiev -- vice president for research at the conservative Center for Security Policy -- concluded by claiming, "CNN has with its attack on 'Karachi Kids' earned yet another distinction in journalistic malfeasance: proud purveyor of jihadist disinformation." But by ignoring pertinent facts, Alexiev is running his own disinformation campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT

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