Guest Post (Richard Behar): Persecuting Steve Emerson While Jim Clancy Gets A Pass

Birmingham is Muslim cartoonLongtime terrorism expert (and former CNN investigative correspondent) Steve Emerson has been tortured in the New York Times and other major media outlets after identifying a large city in the UK (Birmingham) as “totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go.” He not only issued an apology to every resident of Birmingham for this misstatement on Fox News, he announced a donation to a children’s hospital in the city. Commentators and journalists make errors, but few ever apologize for them. Indeed, the Times story smearing Emerson as a “self-described” terrorism expert (the piece was co-written by Robert Mackey, who has a distinguished record of anti-Israel bias) had three errors in it that the paper had to correct.

Now the paper of record should step forward and issue a fourth correction. When you call someone “self-described,” what you are really doing is calling him or her a kook. Tell that to all the government officials (including two former FBI counterterrorism officials and a former counterterrorism chief of the NSC) who have praised Emerson for his expertise on the subject of terrorism.

In fact, if its reporters were being honest, the Times would note that the contributions Emerson has made to our knowledge about terrorism since he founded the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 1995 are enormous. Prior to IPT, he won the George Polk award—one of the highest honors in journalism—for a documentary titled “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception.” Two of his books—one on the bombing of Pan Am 103—garnered praise in reviews in the Times itself. And the late Abe Rosenthal, the legendary managing editor of the Times, once noted about Emerson: “His investigative work on radical Islamic fundamentalism is absolutely critical to this nation’s national security. There is no one else who has exhibited the same expertise, courage and determination to tackle this vital issue.” (Rosenthal, with his famous temper, must be spinning in his grave over the “self-described” smear that the paper’s current editors published about Emerson.)

However, Emerson has lambasted the Times on many, many occasions when the newspaper failed its readers on the topic of terrorism. And going after the Times too vigorously can exact a price. Thus, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if some of the paper’s writers and editors were salivating at this opportunity to waterboard him and Fox at the same time.

Let’s put aside the fact that there are definitely some parts of Birmingham that can be dangerous places for non-Muslims to go at night — something the Times may or may not choose to inform its readers about. The question I have is why CNN international correspondent Jim Clancy hasn’t received “The Emerson Treatment” from the Times and other major outlets — following a bizarre Twitter exchange last week, in which he accused Israel and Zionist propaganda of being partially responsible for the Paris attacks. He also tweeted, “The [Hebdo] cartoons NEVER mocked the prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word.” In yet another tweet, he referred to someone as a “cripple,” prompting a disability inclusion organization to call on CNN to apologize for the disparaging remark.

Today, in the wake of his Twitter meltdown, Clancy announced that he’s leaving CNN after 34 years of service – no reason given, and with no apologies to anybody. So far, the only media outlets that have reported on his departure: Jewish publications; Rush Limbaugh; Mediaite and the like. Knock knock, New York Times, anybody home?

Richard Behar is the Contributing Editor, Investigations, for Forbes Magazine, and is writinga book about Bernie Madoff. He’s recently published a revealing first look at the Madoff information he’s uncovered.  He’s not doing cartwheels over the current state of investigative journalism, but is an eternal optimist. www.richardbehar.com Twitter: @beharjournalist

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