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Monday, August 29, 2016
MRC Mad Media Didn't Bite on Bogus Right-Wing Attack Against Hillary Aide
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro writes in an Aug. 22 post:

A major report broke in the New York Post on Sunday that laid out top Hillary Clinton Aide Huma Abedin’s past where she worked for a radical Muslim journal. “For a decade [Abedin] edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11,” wrote the Post’s Paul Sperry. But you would never know it if you watched the “Big Three” networks ABC, CBS, and NBC on Monday. They neither covered it in their morning shows nor their evening broadcasts.

“Clinton's long-time aide Huma Abedin is under scrutiny after the New York Post first reported she edited a publication, The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, working under her mother for more than a decade,” reported Fox News’ Mike Emanuel as part of a longer report on Clinton’s latest scandals.

According to Sperry, Abedin’s mother who is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal once, “Wrote that Clinton and other speakers were advancing a “very aggressive and radically feminist” agenda that was un-Islamic and wrong because it focused on empowering women.”

Fondacaro didn't mention that the New York Post is a conservative outlet (owned by the conglomerate that used to employ Roger Ailes, who's helping Donald Trump out with debate prep) or that Paul Sperry used to work for the discredited conspiracy-mongers at WorldNetDaily. Plus, there's the whole thing about the report being rather bogus, as one might expect from someone who used to work for WND.

The Washington Post did the fact-checking that Fondacaro wouldn't, pointing out that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is not "radical" but, in fact, "a sober academic journal with a range of viewpoints on Muslim life around the world":

The New York Post described the journal as “a radical Muslim publication” but that’s ridiculous, according to experts on Islam and members of the advisory board. The New York Post report cherry-picked quotes and mischaracterized articles published over the years, including by Saleha Abedin, according to a review of the articles by the Fact Checker.

“I wouldn’t consider it ‘radical.’ Quite the contrary,” said Noah Feldman, director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of articles expressing conservative viewpoints, of course. But I’ve never seen anything in any way radical.”

Dale F. Eickelman of Dartmouth College, who is a member of the journal’s advisory board, described it as a “fairly innocuous journal.” He said it was “anything but radical, within the golden mean of what academic journals do.” He said most of the articles are written by emerging scholars who are relatively early in their academic careers. “The authors can vary in quality, as is the case with most academic journals,” he said. “Some are more edgy than others, but you can learn some fresh things.” He added that no one works on the journal full time.

Of course, the mere fact that the claim was fact-checked is considered suspicious at the MRC, which has declared war on fact-checkers.

Meanwhile, religion blogger Richard Bartholomew adds:

It’s true that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs has Saudi backing – indeed, it shares its London address in Goodge Street with the Muslim World League – but it can hardly be called a “Saudi journal”.  It is actually a standard academic journal, and publication is managed through the mainline academic publisher Taylor and Francis. Details of the editors and advisory board as of 1998 can be seen here – it is worth noting that the advisory board at that time included none other than Bernard Lewis, who is hardly known for his Islamist sympathies (here he is being praised at American Thinker). Huma Abedin is listed as one of two assistant editors, but given her studies in the US and work for Hillary Clinton from 1996 (when she was 20), it seems likely that her association with the journal over the years has been nominal.

Bartholomew also has details on how far out of context Sperry took quotes from the journal. adding that it's "characteristic of a man who once wrote a column for WND calling for US forces in Afghanistan to threaten to put pig blood in the water supply."

Don't expect Fondacaro or anyone else at the MRC to acknowledge this.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT

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