On September 23, 2002, an article written by Paul Bond was published in FrontPage Magazine exposing the contempt for Fox News Channel felt by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that has been cited for its numerous ties to extremist Islamic elements. According to CAIR, Fox had exhibited a “pattern of anti-Muslim bias.” Over three years later, the group’s contempt has not subsided, as one of its most prominent representatives, Ahmed Bedier, recently made a conscious decision to let loose on Fox, revealing CAIR’s own prejudice – a pattern of anti-Fox bias.
A large Fox News logo adorned the homepage of CAIR’s website, along with a red, white and black button telling its viewers to “TAKE ACTION.” Under the heading “FOX news allows attack on Prophet Muhammad,” the following was stated:
“CAIR today expressed concern about what it says is a pattern of anti-Muslim bias by Fox News Channel citing Wednesday night's ‘Hannity & Colmes’ program as an example of how the network promotes anti-Muslim hate. On that program, host Sean Hannity seemed to encourage televangelist Pat Robertson in his venomous attack on Islam and on the Prophet Muhammad ...”
By clicking on the button, one was taken to a page that featured a pre-written letter and Fox contact information, including the e-mail address for Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes.
One week later, on September 26, 2002, the Fox logo was gone, only to be replaced with a logo for ‘Hannity & Colmes.’ And under the heading “‘Thousands’ contact FOX over anti-Muslim bias,” CAIR crowed:
“Fox News Channel officials tell the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) they are receiving ‘thousands’ of complaints about anti-Muslim bias in that network’s news and commentary. The Islamic civil rights and advocacy group has requested a meeting to discuss ways in which Fox’s coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims can be improved ...”
Fast forward three years to November 24, 2006. The venue is the radio show of CAIR-Florida’s Communications Director and the Director of CAIR’s Tampa office, Ahmed Bedier. The show is called ‘True Talk,’ which is highly misleading, considering the fact that Mr. Bedier has been previously caught lying. The guests for the show were Bushra Khan, the Media Director for CAIR-Arizona, and Ahmed Shqeirat, one of the six Arizona imams that were kicked off the U.S. Airways plane that was leaving from Minnesota.
During the show, both host and guest took aim at those they deem responsible for the imams’ circumstances by throwing around terms and labels meant to marginalize security-conscious individuals:
Bedier: “The Council on American-Islamic Relations has come out in support of the imams and has basically said that this is a phenomena that we’re seeing – escalating phenomena – called ‘Flying While Muslim.’”
Shqeirat: “You know, I think there’s a – this – what’s happened – this unfortunate incident – shows us the media hysteria and Islamophobia and the seedier side we as Muslims in America have been suffering from since 9/11.”
Soon the attacks veered off course, however, and seized at a new unsuspecting victim. That victim was Fox News Channel, and the perpetrator was CAIR’s Ahmed Bedier.
Bedier’s rant began with a caller’s mentioning of a statistic regarding the radicalization of a large part of the world’s Muslims. The exchange went as follows:
CALLER: “You know, out of those 1.2 billion Muslims, 15 percent of ‘em think it’s okay to kill Americans.”
BEDIER: “Where did you get that statistic, Sir?”
CALLER: “That is from the Fox statistics.”
BEDIER: [sarcastically] “Oh Fox! That’s a good ‘fair and balanced’…”
After the caller left, the one-sided battle continued:
BEDIER: “Bushra, I wanted to get your reaction. He quoted 15 percent of the 1.2 billion Muslims are -- I think he had said terrorists, or at least radicals. When I asked him -- It’s important when callers call up that they provide some sort of -- Basically, they should let us know where they’re getting their source from, and he said Fox News. What’s your reaction to that claim?”
KHAN: “I don’t watch Fox. I’m not sure where Fox got that number from, but that might be something we can check into.”
BEDIER: “Now, most people know that Fox is basically one-way biased, probably one of the most biased news outlets. And I’m not talking about the local Fox. I’m talking about the Fox News Channel -- the cable station. Most people know that all the shows on there are extremely right wing and anti-Muslim and dehumanize Muslims daily. So when he said that, I was about to fall off my chair.”
What is interesting about Bedier’s rant is that, while he sounded a little unhinged, he did keep his wits about him enough to make a distinction between the local and national branches of Fox News. Locally, Bedier has received royal treatment from Fox’s affiliate, WTVT-Tampa. In fact, it is on WTVT that he made his infamous statement about Palestinian Islamic Jihad. After being asked if he thought it was immoral for Sami Al-Arian to be associating with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, he stated, “To a certain degree. Now, before 1995 there was nothing immoral about it.”
What is of further interest with regard to Bedier’s monologue is that Fox News Channel, itself, on a number of occasions, has given him a forum to state his views. Who can forget the spin and lies he provided on ‘Hannity & Colmes,’ one of the shows CAIR has cited for bias?
As well, many leaders from CAIR have appeared on Fox. If there’s such a concern, why are they showing up for the interviews? One would think it possible that CAIR does not believe its own rhetoric.
Are Ahmed Bedier and CAIR right? Is Fox News filled with this hatred for Muslims and disdain for their wellbeing? Or is it all just hype – an attempt to divert attention from CAIR’s own issues, such as their connections to groups and individuals charged with terrorist activity? Whatever the case, you can be sure this one-way war of words is not over.
Coming soon, Round 3.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, the founder of CAIR Watch, and the spokesman for Terror-Free Oil Initiative.
December 09, 2006