Journalism, Jihad, and the New York Times

April 30, 2012

Imagine a nation bound so tightly to the throws of the politically correct, that it can no longer defend itself. A nation so overcome with fear, that the common sense act of targeting the most likely terrorists is no longer considered an acceptable practice. Imagine an entire nation transformed from the basic understanding that it is at war with radicals willing to launch themselves as missiles into twin towers, to having the discussion turned completely on its head, to the point where even talking about that enemy is deemed taboo.

Thanks to the current state of the major media, especially The New York Times, and the brazen demands of terror-linked groups, America no longer has to imagine. We’re living it.

Earlier this year, The New York Times ran an article that reported on the alleged anti-Islamic nature of a documentary film known as The Third Jihad. The Times piece generated a firestorm based on the biased review, along with the fresh knowledge that the New York Police Department had used the film as part of their counter-terrorism training.

This, despite the fact that the Times is based in the very city where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place, costing almost 3,000 lives. On May 1, 2010, a car bomb was discovered in Times Square, New York City, after smoke was seen coming from a vehicle. Faisal Shahzad, the “Times Square Bomber” and “Muslim soldier,” who admitted receiving terror training from the Pakistani Taliban, was a naturalized American citizen. Officials say if the bomb had detonated, dozens of people could have been killed.

The New York Times building is in the Times Square area. Reporters from the paper walk to and from work through the area where the bomb was placed. Fortunately, the bomb failed to detonate. Shahzad used the wrong bomb-making equipment and faulty detonators. He was sentenced to life in prison.

While the original Times report begins by describing an ‘ominous’ setting, the only thing vaguely ominous is the manner in which the Times slanted their coverage of the film, citing as one of its main sources, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They repeatedly backed up their bias, running seven total pieces on The Third Jihad, none of which featured a counterpoint. The die cast, The New York Times helped handcuff the city’s police force by casting them as an Islamophobic group, profiling Muslims based on pure bigotry. They had spun a reverse form of phobia, casting those who would protect their city as part of the problem, and committing a clear-cut case of journalistic malpractice—this time, at the expense of the public’s safety.

Once groups like CAIR could smell blood in the water, they, along with other extreme groups, launched an all-out assault on the police force, demanding Commissioner Ray Kelly’s resignation, and limiting the ability of the nation’s most powerful police force to defend its people.

The Third Jihad is a follow-up effort to another captivating documentary film, Obsession, a film that sought to expose the hateful teachings of the true enemy of the west—radical Islam. The Third Jihad delves deeper into the existence of radical Islam in America and the emerging risk that this “homegrown jihad” poses to national security, western liberties and the “American way of life."

Unlike the Times review and the best efforts of CAIR to convey it as otherwise, Ryan Mauro, the National Security Analyst for the Clarion Fund, an organization that developed and financed the documentary, says the film does not contain any “Islamophobic” messages.

The Third Jihad is designed to inform Americans, including Muslims, about the spread of the dangerous Islamist networks in the West,” Mauro said. “It is very successful because it isn’t bigoted, it is accurate and it is powerful.”

The very opening statement in the film underscores Mauro’s sentiments:

“This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are radical. This film is about them."

Pamela Geller, Editor and Publisher of Atlas Shrugs, agrees.

“It is actually quite tepid and temporizes about the roots of the jihad doctrines of warfare,” she said.

The content of the film includes interviews from prominent sources of knowledge about the threat of radical Islam in New York City - former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, and it is narrated by a devout Muslim-American, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

But the one name that seems to rile up organizations such as CAIR the most is Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whose participation in the film led to the relationship that resulted in its use in department-wide training. While the spotlight has shone brightest on the NYPD, Mauro claims that, “there are many law enforcement and counter-terrorism officials that have used Third Jihad.

So, with a clear consensus of law enforcement officials accepting the film’s premise, and a disclaimer at the onset which reminds the viewer that the message being conveyed only concerns a small fraction of the most radical aspects of Islam, where did The New York Times concentrate their focus? The perceived radical aspects of the film.

The very headline of the original New York Times hit piece sets the tone for the duration of the reader’s visit, describing The Third Jihad as a “dark film on U.S. Muslims.” In doing this the Times has set the stage, hinting that the film conveys negative messages through the use of the adjective ‘dark.’ Worse, it encapsulates an entire group of people by telling the reader that the topic of the film involves all “U.S. Muslims.” This is in stark contrast to the aforementioned opening statement in the film, which emphasizes that the radical aspect of Islam involves only “a small percentage.”

Reporter Michael Powell’s article immediately announces its biased intentions. The very first word of the report is “ominous,” and it immediately communicates the author’s intent to cast the film as a dark portrayal of Muslims. The initial paragraph describes various imagery from the film, including bombs, shootings, and executions. Most curious, though, is the inclusion of a doctored photograph without ever identifying who had done the doctoring. The first paragraph reads:

Ominous music plays as images appear on the screen: Muslim terrorists shoot Christians in the head, car bombs explode, executed children lie covered by sheets and a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

The use of that description, along with the image itself, insinuate that the producers of the film had a hand in doctoring the photo - an image which had already been circulated by extremists as far back as 2006.

Pamela Geller believes the newspaper’s coverage of The Third Jihad is yet another piece of a long-established pattern of biased coverage regarding radical Islam.

“The Times’ extraordinarily skewed coverage of The Third Jihad controversy was consistent with their relentlessly biased coverage of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy and so many other issues relating to Islam and jihad.”

Perhaps Producer Raphael Shore put it best when he issued a press release stating the following:

“Claims that The Third Jihad is an anti-Islam film are ignorant and misinformed.”

By extension, the New York Times may be as well.

Why would The New York Times produce such a one-sided review of The Third Jihad?

Ryan Mauro of isn’t quite certain.

“I can’t speak for The New York Times,” he said. “It may have to do with some sort of bias or it may simply be a result of influence from groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations that we expose in the film.”

Ultimately, the question seems to be, did The New York Times and CAIR join arms and unite their message to smear a film deemed relatively mild by most experts? Geller summarizes it best, stating that the biased coverage was an intentional, collaborative effort:

“It had the effect it was intended to have,” she said. “It impeded their efforts to stop jihad terror plotting in the New York area.”

When asked who exactly intended to impede the efforts of law enforcement, Geller simply responded, “Both.”

Whatever their intentions, the results are clear - law enforcement personnel have openly complained about being limited in their ability to combat terrorist threats from Islamic extremists. They have been thwarted in their efforts to effectively identify such threats, and have been dubbed Islamophobic for trying to engage in an open dialogue about the realities of the threat surrounding New York City and the rest of the nation.

The Third Jihad and the best efforts of New York’s finest have effectively been neutralized by ignorant and ill-informed reporting by the city’s premier newspaper. Counter-terrorism has fallen victim to a coordinated media assault.

Copyright ©2012 Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss has appeared on Fox News, and has been published by The American Thinker, The Daily Caller, and Andrew Breitbart's Big Government and Journalism websites. He currently runs a nationally recognized blog called The Mental Recession.