What is it with NBC News? If you thought they'd hit rock bottom, you may have to revisit the question with a look at national reporter Heidi Przybyla's piece on the Gatestone Institute last month: "John Bolton presided over anti-Muslim think tank."
This is an old-fashioned hit piece. The headline reveals the true object of the hit. John Bolton drives the left absolutely nuts. He has their number and he can call them out with great skill. This they cannot abide. Bolton was the target of Pryzbyla's piece; Gatestone was just the club that she took to hand.
Nina Rosenwald is the founder and president of Gatestone. At the invitation of Lawrence Kadish, John and I spoke to a group including Nina in New York in 2005. She is a formidable force in her own right and one of the nicest people with whom I have had the good fortune to cross paths as a result of my work for Power Line. Meeting her was a great kick.
Since its founding, Nina has made Gatestone a go-to source of news and analysis from reporters and knowledgeable observers such as Khaled Abu Toameh, Bruce Bawer, Soeren Kern, Douglas Murray, Richard Kemp, Guy Milliere, Alan Dershowitz, and many others. We feature their work almost every day in our Picks here. It is great stuff.
Today, to take just one example, Gatestone has posted Richard Kemp's "Smoke & mirrors: Six weeks of violence on the Gaza border." It is more informative than the sum total of everything else NBC News has on offer today.
The Gatestone Institute responds to Przybyla's hit in "NBC News defames Gatestone Institute." Here are the bullet points of Gatestone's response to Przybyla:
Gatestone Institute, far from being "anti-Muslim," is pro-Muslim. Gatestone does not want to see Muslims deprived of freedom of speech, flogged or stoned to death for supposed adultery. Gatestone is also opposed to "honor" killings, children forced into marriages, homosexuals flogged or killed, and so on. Is one to assume that NBC and its followers do want to see these abuses? Good to know.
Gatestone is, however, openly committed to educating the public about an aspect of Islam, namely Sharia law, which, according to the European Court of Human Rights and others, is incompatible with liberal democracy.
NBC states that Russian trolls tweeted a total of four Gatestone articles — out of more than 200,000 tweets identified by Twitter as being linked to Russian accounts. By way of comparison, the database shows that Russian trolls tweeted seven articles from Heidi Przybyla, the author of the NBC report.
A search of articles on Sputnik, the Russian government-controlled news agency, turns up 1,650 pages of NBC citations. "If getting retweeted 4 times makes you a Russian spy, NBC must be the Kremlin." — Daniel Greenfield, journalist.
The crimes are being played down by German authorities, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments. The director of the Criminal Police Association (Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter, BDK), André Schulz, estimates that up to 90% of the sex crimes committed in Germany do not appear in the official statistics.
NBC's claims are based on truths, half-truths and untruths all woven together and framed in way not only to misrepresent Gatestone's work, but also to destroy its reputation and that of others.
Przybyla's hit piece can serve as the very model of a smear job. If you seek to learn how to do it, study Pryzbyla's piece. It's in the nature of these things that few far fewer readers will see Gatestone's response than saw the hit piece. That's part of the art of hit. Please pass on Gatestone's response to friends who might find it of interest.
Scott W. Johnson is a Minneapolis attorney and a fellow of the Claremont Institute. For twenty-five years, his articles have appeared in most major news outlets.This article first appeared in the PowerLine blog and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.