Target of NBC smear, Gatestone Institute responds brilliantly

In a classic smear, NBC News "investigated" the Gatestone Institute and found that it is an "anti-Muslim think-tank" with ties to the same Russians who interfered in the 2016 election.

NBC's report begins with an iteration of the Russia-Trump collusion story: that Gatestone's former chairman, Ambassador John Bolton, now U.S. National Security Advisor, who has described Russia's attempts to undermine the U.S. election as an act of war, was affiliated with "a nonprofit that has promoted misleading and false anti-Muslim news, some of which was amplified by a Russian troll factory," implying that he was somehow colluding with Russia to spread anti-Muslim propaganda.  NBC initially provides no evidence for this claim, but buried deep inside the article it asserts that, according to its "exclusive database," 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. Bolton, on the contrary, is usually criticized for having hawkish views on Russia. ...

NBC News also provides no evidence for its insinuation that White House attorneys are "potential[ly]" investigating Bolton's affiliation with Gatestone.  Moreover, after first implying that Bolton is "anti-Muslim," NBC undercuts its own claims by admitting that his name cannot be found on "the anti-Muslim articles at issue."  NBC also acknowledges that Bolton was opposed to Trump's so-called Muslim ban.

The NBC report, written by political reporter Heidi Przybyla, appears to be based almost entirely on a series of deceptive reports about Gatestone by The Intercept, a left-leaning digital news site which itself has admitted to fabricating stories and quotes and is listed as one of "The Best Websites to Follow If You're Plotting the Left-Wing Resistance".  The NBC report, which fails to cite The Intercept, is also intriguingly similar to false allegations in Wikipedia, which also parrots numerous false, but published, claims about Gatestone, such as that Gatestone incorrectly writes about the existence of no-go zones.

Gatestone has published numerous articles explaining sharia law to Western audiences.  NBC and other news outlets have taken that criticism of one specific aspect of Islam and smeared the Institute by claiming that it is "anti-Muslim."

Gatestone's response is destined to be a classic:

  • 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.

It is difficult to conceive of Gatestone's "anti-Muslim" bias when it employs Muslim scholars to write:

Even a cursory perusal [sic] of Gatestone's website shows that many of its experts and authors are Muslim.  Just a few include, for example, the Chairman of Gatestone Europe, the distinguished journalist Amir Taheri; also Salim Mansur, Raif Badawi, Burak Bekdil, Tharwa Boulifi, Khaled Abu Toameh, Shireen Qudosi, Ahmed Charai, Khadija Khan, Mitra Pourshajari, Najat AlSaied, Sohail Raza, and Majid Rafizadeh.

To be clear, the left conflates any criticism of any part of Islam with "anti-Muslim bias."  Neuroscientist and atheist Sam Harris found this out the hard way:

[In] 2006, at a conference at the Salk Institute with Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other prominent scientists[,] Mr. Harris said something that he thought was obvious on its face: Not all cultures are equally conducive to human flourishing.  Some are superior to others.

"Until that time I had been criticizing religion, so the people who hated what I had to say were mostly on the right," Mr. Harris said.  "This was the first time I fully understood that I had an equivalent problem with the secular left."

After his talk, in which he disparaged the Taliban, a biologist who would go on to serve on President Barack Obama's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues approached him.  "I remember she said: 'That's just your opinion.  How can you say that forcing women to wear burqas is wrong?'  But to me it's just obvious that forcing women to live their lives inside bags is wrong.  I gave her another example: What if we found a culture that was ritually blinding every third child?  And she actually said, 'It would depend on why they were doing it.'"  His jaw, he said, "actually fell open."

That's the kind of delusional thinking that Gatestone is up against.  It's not that leftists don't know the eighth-century practices of certain Islamic societies.  In their moral and cultural relativism, they believe it's none of our business. 

Freeing Muslims from this barbarism is a noble undertaking.  And Gatestone appears to be perfectly capable of defending themselves from the smears of media outlets.

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