On the night before Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was scheduled to hold hearings on the civil rights of Muslims in America, Fox News aired a segment on Special Report that promoted a right-wing group's attacks on Durbin for his appearance in what they described as "a controversial picture... that critics say undermines the hearing." By contrast, the program did not point out Congressman Peter King's (R-NY) extensive efforts on behalf of the Irish Republican Army before his hearings earlier this month on Muslim radicalization.
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Special Report's Sole Coverage Leading Up To Senate Hearing Consisted Of Attacks On Subcommittee Chairman
On Eve Of Hearing, Fox News Promoted Right-Wing Group's Attacks On Durbin. From the March 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report With Bret Baier:
BRET BAIER: Democrats are holding hearings on Islamophobia as a counter to Congressman Peter King's hearings on radical Islam. But something has recently surfaced that might have a major impact on how those hearings are viewed. David Lee Miller has the story.
MILLER: One day before Senator Dick Durbin is slated to chair a Senate subcommittee hearing aimed at protecting the civil rights of American Muslims, a controversial picture has surfaced that critics say undermines the hearing.
The photo, which was posted on a website belonging to a group called "The Mosque Foundation," shows the Illinois Democrat attending a meeting with some mosque leaders. According to IPT, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, at least two people who met with the senator had ties to terrorist groups.
EMERSON: The picture says a thousand words. This was taken just several weeks ago, um, and it reflects the fact that a U.S. Senator is conferring legitimacy upon some of the most extremist supporters of terrorism in the United States. [Fox News, Special Report With Bret Baier, 3/28/11]
This Attack On Durbin Constitutes The Entirety Of Coverage Leading Up To The Hearing On Special Report. Media Matters reviewed all Special Report transcripts in the Nexis between Durbin's March 23 announcement of the hearing on the civil rights of U.S. Muslims and the March 29 hearing, and found no reports on the hearing other than the March 28 report. [Nexis search, conducted 3/29/11]
Only Comment From Hearing Supporter Was Durbin Spokesman Responding To Right-wing Allegations. From Special Report:
MILLER: As for Senator Durbin, he offers no apologies for visiting the Mosque Foundation. A statement from his spokesman says many other Illinois officials have also met with the same individuals. The statement goes on to say people who would deny fundamental rights to Muslim are trying to discredit tomorrow's hearing with, quote, "baseless smears and innuendo." Bret? [Fox News, Special Report With Bret Baier, 3/28/11]
Fox News' Special Report Ignored Republican Congressman's Ties To Terrorism Before His Hearings On Radical Islam Earlier This Month
Fox News' Special Report With Bret Baier Did Not Report On King's Ties To Terrorism. A Nexis transcripts search for (Special Report With Bret Baier and Pete! King and Irish) for the period of the last five years returned no instances of Special Report reporting on King's extensive ties to the Irish Republican Army. [Nexis search, conducted 3/29/11]
Several Media Outlets Covered King's Ties To The IRA In The Week Leading Up To His Hearing. In the week leading up to his hearing, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN all detailed King's ties to the IRA. [Washington Post, 3/4/11] [New York Times, 3/8/11] [CNN.com, 3/10/11]
Special Report's Preview Of King Hearings Featured Supporters And Critics -- But No Mention Of King's Ties To IRA. From the March 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
BREAM: Congressional Republicans and the White House are clashing over the issue of domestic terrorism; specifically, the danger of Americans being radicalized. National correspondent Catherine Herridge explains.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While critics like these demonstrators in Times Square Sunday say the congressional hearings on radicalization amount to a witch hunt, Republican Congressman Peter King who chairs the Homeland Security Committee says the threat from radical Islam is real and growing.
PETE KING (R-NY), HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY CHMN: Al Qaeda has realized it's very difficult to attack us from overseas. They're trying to recruit terrorists right here in the United States. People living here legally under the radar screen.
HERRIDGE: Data compiled by Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department backs the congressman's position. There has been a class one terrorism case with a direct link between U.S. citizens, like Najibullah Zazi who tried to bomb the New York City subway and foreign terrorist groups on average every two weeks since January 2009.
KING: I don't believe the leadership and the Muslim community is cooperating enough with law enforcement to help us locate these people.
HERRIDGE: The administration says this speech by the deputy national security adviser Sunday to a mosque in suburban Washington, D.C., was part of a long-term strategy to deal with radicalization.
DENIS MCDONOUGH, DEPUTY NATL SECURITY ADVISER: The bottom line is this, when it comes to preventing violent extremism and terrorism in the United States, Muslim Americans are now part of the problem. You're part of the solution.
HERRIDGE: McDonough was asked if the event was an attempt by the White House to preempt Congressman King and his hearing Thursday.
MCDONOUGH: The bottom line is that we welcome congressional involvement on the issue. We've been working it. We'll continue to work it.
HERRIDGE: A spokesman for CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, showed FOX documents to support their position that the hearings will encourage discrimination.
COREY SAYLOR, COUNCIL AMER-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: What we see in this nation is Islamophobia rising. Last year, there was a tremendous amount of negative press about the Muslim community and that was beginning to turn into violence against Muslims.
HERRIDGE: But one witness scheduled to testify says cases like Alabama native Omar Hammami (ph) who now speaks for Al Qaeda in Somalia showed that Americans are being radicalized and the root cause is something called political Islam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political Islam is a domestic and global movement where Islamists want to put into place Sharia law as a system of government.
HERRIDGE: Reverend Al Sharpton told FOX News that radicalization is bigger than one religion. And he said congressional hearings should be broader and cover shootings like Virginia Tech in 2007 and the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January that have no known links to radical Islam. [Fox News, Special Report, 3/7/11, via Nexis]
King Was A Fundraiser And Apologist For The Irish Republican Army
King Was Linked To The IRA, Sinn Fein And Noraid. From the New York Sun:
In 1980, Mr. [Alfonse] D'Amato, then the senator-elect, fulfilled a campaign pledge and went to Belfast on a fact-finding trip, taking Messrs. King and Dillon with him. It was the start of Mr. King's long entanglement with the IRA, and he took to it with the zeal of a convert.
He forged links with leaders of the IRA and Sinn Fein in Ireland, and in America he hooked up with Irish Northern Aid, known as Noraid, a New York based group that the American, British, and Irish governments often accused of funneling guns and money to the IRA. At a time when the IRA's murder of Lord Mountbatten and its fierce bombing campaign in Britain and Ireland persuaded most American politicians to shun IRA-support groups, Mr. King displayed no such inhibitions. He spoke regularly at Noraid protests and became close to the group's publicity director, the Bronx lawyer Martin Galvin, a figure reviled by the British. [New York Sun, 6/22/05, emphasis added]
King Called The IRA "The Legitimate Voice Of Occupied Ireland." From the New York Sun:
"Once a vocal and frequent House champion for the IRA's political wing, Sinn Fein, and its leader, Gerry Adams, the 60-year-old, Queens-born Mr. King has said nothing about either on the House floor in years. The politician once called the IRA 'the legitimate voice of occupied Ireland,' he was banned from the BBC by British censors for his pro-IRA views, and he refused to denounce the IRA when one of its mortar bombs killed nine Northern Irish police officers. But Mr. King is now one of America's most outspoken foes of terrorism." [New York Sun, 6/22/05]
King Pledged Support For "Brave Men And Women" Of The IRA Who Were "Carrying Forth The Struggle Against British Imperialism." From the New York Sun:
"Mr. King's support for the IRA was unequivocal. In 1982, for instance, he told a pro-IRA rally in Nassau County: 'We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.'" [New York Sun, 6/22/05]
King Raised Funds For Noraid, Which Funded The IRA And May Have Supplied Weapons In The Conflict. From The Daily Beast:
In Northern Ireland, the conflict was drily referred to as "The Troubles." But that understatement hides the brutal nature of an ugly, squalid conflict during which more than 3,600 people were killed. Republican terrorists were responsible for more than 2,000 of these deaths. The scale of the carnage was such that, on a per-capita basis, a comparable conflict in the United States would kill 700,000 Americans.
And King was at the heart of it: In the 1980s, he was a prominent fundraiser for Noraid, the Irish-American organization that raised money for the IRA and was suspected of running guns to Ulster, too. Indeed, King's rise to prominence within the Irish-American movement was predicated upon his support for the IRA at a time when New Yorkers were softer on terrorism than they are now. Noraid helped win King his seat in Congress, making him, in some respects, the terrorists' Man in Washington. [The Daily Beast, 1/10/10, emphasis added]
King Was So Vocal About Sympathy For IRA He Was Listed As A Security Threat To President Reagan. From the New York Sun:
"Mr. King's advocacy of the IRA's cause encouraged that flow and earned him the deep-seated hostility of the British and Irish governments. In America, official animosity was no less intense. The GOP in Nassau tried, unsuccessfully, to muzzle him, and he complained that the FBI was opening mail sent from Ireland, including letters from Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams. In 1984, the Secret Service listed him as a threat when President Reagan made a trip to Nassau County to watch a Special Olympics event." [New York Sun, 6/22/05]
King Was Singled Out "For Thorough Body Searches" Because He Was Deemed "An Obvious Collaborator With The IRA." From the New York Sun:
"By the mid-1980s, the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic were openly hostile to Mr. King. On one occasion, a judge threw him out of a Belfast courtroom during the murder trial of IRA men because, in the judge's view, 'he was an obvious collaborator with the IRA.' When he attended other trials, the police singled him out for thorough body searches." [New York Sun, 6/22/05]