Yesterday afternoon, in an article apparently titled "Feds: Prison Converts to Extremist Islam Planned Ft. Hood Style Assault in Seattle," ABC News reported that "two men who converted to Islam in prison have been arrested and charged by federal authorities with plotting a Ft. Hood-style assault on a Seattle military installation." Citing anonymous "officials," ABC claimed that the two men, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh, "met while in prison for earlier offenses" and that both "converted to Islam while incarcerated."
Right-wing bloggers jumped on the story to condemn those who criticized Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for his hearing last week on Islamic radicalization in U.S. prisons. According to Pam Geller, "Anyone who questions the necessity of Rep Peter King's hearings on Islamic extremism in the prison system is playing for the other team." NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd wrote:
Last Wednesday as Rep. Peter King conducted hearings on Muslim inmate radicalization in America's prisons, MSNBC was busy attacking the proceeding as unnecessary and/or unfairly targeted to unfairly single out the Islamic faith.
Well, eight days later comes this development as reported by ABCNews.com in a June 23 article entitled, "Feds: Prison Converts to Extremist Islam Planned Ft. Hood-Style Assault in Seattle."
But the link to prison conversion is extremely tenuous, and ABC is already backing away from its original claims.
Last night, ABC updated their report, removing references to prison radicalization from the headline and first paragraph and instead burrying at the end the following statement: "According to officials, both suspects were believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison. Court documents, however, show no record of felony convictions for Mujahihd [sic] and do not specify where the men met or when they converted."
Further, the Associated Press reported that according to a spokesman for the California Corrections Department, "There is nothing in [Abdul-Latif's] records that indicates that he converted to Islam while in prison."
As of yet, neither Sheperd nor Geller have updated their posts to note this new information. We won't hold our breath.
Yep, the right-wing DC rag that never turned a profit was sold back to Rev. Sun Myung Moon -- the man who believes he is Christ returned to earth (seriously) -- for $1 after more than a year of turmoil.
So, what did right-wing internet types have to say when the Washington Post Co. sold Newsweek for the same price?
Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell issued the following statement:
There's something entirely believable about the Newsweek sale. A left-winger pretending to be centrist sold it to another left-winger pretending to be centrist. Newsweek is a dying magazine because no one wants to read their left-wing propaganda masquerading as 'news.' The $1 price tag, then, is probably just about right.
I haven't been able to find a statement from Bozell yet on the Times' identical sale price. So, if Newsbusters managing editor Ken Shepherd -- who posted Bozell's statement with the note that Newsweek was sold to "the guy from RoboCop Sidney Harman, for a grand total of one dollar" -- has one, let's have it.
Robert Stacy McCain called Newsweek's sale, "Jon Meacham's $1 Legacy" but apparently hasn't had time to write about the identical sale price of the Times.
Hotair had fun at Newsweek's expense too. Under the headline "Good news: Newsweek sold -- for a dollar," Allahpundit wrote:
Technically it's a dollar plus an agreement to assume their huge financial liabilities, but if you throw me an opportunity for a headline that sweet, I'm going to take it every time.
What are Allahpundit's thoughts on the Times' sale price? Crickets as far as I can tell.
I could keep going but you get the picture.
Newsbusters managing editor Ken Shepherd thinks he caught the Washington Post in some sort of contradiction:
WaPo, Editorially a Proponent of Church/State Separation, Worries About Too Few Muslim Chaplains in Va. Prisons
Those familiar with the Washington Post know that the paper is a staunch defender of a very liberal vision of the separation of church and state. For example, the paper's editorial board was heavily critical of the Supreme Court's Mojave cross ruling.
But when it comes to the supposed dearth of Muslim chaplains at Virginia prisons, Sunday's Metro section went into full hand-wringing mode. "Inadequate Funds for Chaplains," complained a subheader for the page B1 story by staffer Kevin Sieff.
First, Shepherd doesn't seem to understand the difference between the Post's editorial page and its news division. (I have previously argued that the Post overstates the separation between the two when it wants to excuse factual claims by the editorial pages that are contradicted by the reporting that appears in the news pages, and in order to justify its news division's reluctance to criticize claims that appear in the editorial section. Nothing like that is at issue here; this situation is more akin to a newspaper's editorial board opposing health care reform and its news pages reporting that millions of people lack health insurance -- that is to say, it is not particularly noteworthy.)
Now, let's take a look at the Post article in question:
As the number of Muslims in the Virginia prison system has grown to an estimated 2,200, the state has come to lean increasingly on volunteer Muslim chaplains like Mohsen, a 35-year-old lab technician who was born in Egypt.
[U]ntil last year, the department maintained contracts only with Protestant chaplains. Catholic, Jewish and Muslim chaplains could visit correctional facilities to minister to Virginia's 32,000 inmates, but they received no funds from the state.
Then, last July, the Department of Corrections issued its first subcontract to a non-Protestant group: a $25,000 award to Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia.
Although the $25,000 from the corrections department is a start, it is small compared with the $780,000 in state money that helps fund 14 full-time and 19 part-time Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal chaplains through the Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia.
So, according to the Post, Muslims make up about 7 percent of Virginia's prison population. But until last year, Virginia "maintained contracts only with Protestant chaplains" -- and the $25,000 the department of corrections has now awarded a Muslim chaplain service is only 3 percent of the funds the state distributes to chaplain services.
How, exactly, is it supposed to be inconsistent with a belief in the separation of church and state to point out that the Virginia department of corrections appears to financially favor some religions at the expense of others, and disproportionate to the prison population's faith makeup? Those two things appear to be quite consistent -- and Shepherd didn't even try to explain why he thinks they aren't.
In their escalating attacks on an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, conservatives in the media have resorted to using ridiculous analogies to claim that the center would somehow be offensive.
From NewsBusters.org managing editor Ken Shepherd's Twitter account during the State of the Union address:
On the January 3 edition of Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume commented that his "message" to Tiger Woods -- who Hume mentioned is "said to be a Buddhist" -- would be to "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world." Since then, several conservative commentators have endorsed Hume's remarks or defended them from criticism.
Newsbusters' Ken Shepard offers an up-is-down, black-is-white defense of Brit Hume:
Tolerance is a virtue the Left loves to trumpet, except when the intolerable is set forward. In this instance, the intolerable is a gentle Christian evangelistic overture to a celebrity caught in sexual scandal.
See, the Left is being intolerant by criticizing Brit Hume for criticizing Tiger Woods' religion. Makes total sense, right? I mean, I'm quite certain that if a liberal criticized Brit Hume's Christianity, and was in turn criticized by conservatives, Ken Shepard would blast the conservatives for being intolerant. Right?
You might think that asking Sen. John McCain, who has long cultivated his reputation for bipartisanship, when he'll actually work with President Obama would be one of the less controversial things a reporter could do. But to the Right's premiere media-criticism outfit, it's a sign of bias:
Here's the question from Stephanopoulos' that upset Shepherd so much:
Let's talk about bipartisanship a little, because, just about a year ago that you and President Obama, then-President-elect Obama met in Chicago and made this pledge to work together in this first year of his presidency. Yet on issue after issue after issue, you have all been at odds. I know that you think that President Obama bears the majority of the blame for that, but is there anything more you could have done? And can you name an issue next year where you're going to be joined at the hip with President Obama?"
If anything, Stephanopoulos was overly kind to McCain, stipulating to McCain's claim that Obama "bears the majority of the blame" for the lack of bipartisanship. In any case, this is what the Right means when they complain about "liberal bias": asking a Republican who has spent years portraying himself as the paragon of bipartisanship to name an issue on which he'll work with the Democratic president.