Knowing how to tell what’s true and what’s false on the internet is one of those useful skills that nobody is teaching you. Right? You aren’t handed a BS detector when you graduate school.
As a writer, reporter and filmmaker, I have to deal constantly with information overwhelm-going through tons of articles, book, video and other content and then separating out the correct parts from lies, bias and lazy research.
Here’s an example I found when researching my documentary The Caliphate where a widely respected and quotes source just gets the basic facts wrong. The group is the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, who designates ‘hate groups’ and has helped groups like CAIR push the idea of Islamaphobia as a way of downplaying the clear and present danger from Islamists.
One of the methods they use is discredit sources. In this case, the source is FrontPage editor and former 1960s radical turned conservative David Horowitz. (Full disclosure: I’ve never met or spoken with Horowitz, but we’re both featured as narrators in the film Occupy Unmasked.)
Here’s what the SPLC says in a section of their hit pieces on Horowitz describing a video that made the rounds a few years ago. Here’s how the Southern Poverty Law Centers describes an exchange between Horowitz and a student:
During one such week in 2010, Horowitz appeared at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Midway through the program, he began to debate a Muslim student wearing a traditional Palestinian keffiyah — what Horowitz called a “terrorist neckerchief.” When the young woman asked Horowitz to clarify the connections he had been drawing between the Muslim Student Association on campus and radical terrorists, he instead asked the woman to denounce Hamas.
“For it, or against it?” he barked, demanding an answer. It was a trap.
While she would later claim she was thinking unclearly and intimidated, she bashfully replied, “For it.” Horowitz nodded and smiled. It was a rhetorical trick — the kind Horowitz has perfected. If she supported Hamas, Horowitz argued, the Muslim Student Association to which she belonged was actually tied to a terrorist organization, as defined by the State Department.
The video made the rounds on conservative news outlets, seeming to confirm for Horowitz and his followers that his fight with the “radical faith” was on target. Islam was on the move — everywhere.
It’s interesting that the SLPC doesn’t embed the video or even link to it.
This is intentional for reasons you can see when you take three and a half minutes to watch the clip being described.
Let’s break down some of the falsehoods. Minor point, it’s UCSD.
The glaring thing is how the whole tone described doesn’t correspond with what you see in the video. Horotwitz doesn’t bark. The student doesn’t seem intimidated, in fact she’s fairly aggressive and insulting to Horowitz throughout.
The article also gets the order of events wrong. The student makes it clear that she is for Hamas and there’s no intimidation. The ‘For It’ part is where Horowitz asks her if she’d like see all Jews gather in Palastine so they are easier to kill. She’s For It.
Also note the scare quotes around Horowitz’s “terrorist neckerchief.” This is a common trick that sends the message to the reader that the person saying the thing in the scare quotes is misguided, wrong or crazy.
In this case, it’s meant to trick readers who can’t see the video. When you watch the video, the woman asking the question is obviously and intentionally wearing a black and white chequered keffiyeh.
What does that mean?
The black and white chequered keffiyeh has become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, dating back to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. Outside of the Middle East and North Africa, the keffiyeh first gained popularity among activists supporting the Palestinians in the conflict with Israel.
While Western protesters wear differing styles and shades of keffiyeh, the most prominent is the black-and-white keffiyeh. This is typically worn around the neck like a neckerchief, simply knotted in the front with the fabric allowed to drape over the back. Other popular styles include rectangular-shaped scarves with the basic black-and-white pattern in the body, with the ends knitted in the form of the Palestinian flag. Since the Al-Aqsa Intifada, these rectangular scarves have increasingly appeared with a combination of the Palestinian flag and Al-Aqsa Mosque printed on the ends of the fabric.
David Horowitz isn’t blind or dumb and neither is the Southern Poverty Law Center. The whole section and indeed the whole article is an attempt by the SLPC to separate out support for the Palestinian cause with terrorism.
But unless the readers of the article do diligence, they will be tricked.
Many people on the right suspect there’s a leftist political agenda behind the Climate Change movement. Those suspicions are best confirmed by simply paying attention to what’s being said at the protests and who’s saying it. As the Huffington Post reported:
Monday’s Flood Wall Street demonstration had a more frankly anti-capitalist message than the massive march that took over midtown Manhattan the day before. Many of those present were veterans of Occupy, including organizers like Lisa Fithian, dubbed “Professor Occupy” for her role in teaching tactics to that movement.
If you aren’t familiar with Fithian, she’s radical pagan anarchist anti-Israel lesbian union organizer that I’ve profiled extensively at Breitbart News. She’s a longtime fixture in the “Peace & Justice” movement, where she crossed paths with my friend Brandon Darby a number of times. We talk about Lisa in the film Occupy Unmasked, too.
The #FloodWallStreet rally was just another in the long line of radical ‘direct actions’ that Fithian and her comrades have been involved in. It’s the same anti-capitalist rhetoric repackaged in the hopes of drawing in new blood.
I’ve been a fan of Canadian power trio Rush for a long, long time but I hadn’t seen this video from 1975 of them playing Fly By Night until a couple of nights ago,
- Neil Peart not just wearing a cross, but the cross actually gets a bizarre sort of closeup…unless they were trying to show the awesome gold fringe detail
- Alex Lifeson looking like Peter Frampton in camp
- Geddy Lee before he’d ever discovered hair conditioner.
- A very early Neil drum kit with no high toms and three floor toms.
- A complete lack of focus on Geddy’s bass playing
- A very sad looking set that appears to have been a been from a high school production of Macbeth put painted black. Plus a banner. A forlorn banner.
- Neil doing a lot of Keith Moon stick moves plus twirls galore.
- I’m not even going to comment on Geddy’s shirt.
- A fisheye lens. Why not?
Conservative monthly The American Spectator has sold out on the one principle that every publisher must hold sacred: freedom of the press.
It’s confirmed. As part of a legal settlement, The American Spectator removed all references to leftist activist, serial litigator and convicted felon Brett Kimberlin.
The first hint of this was published by WJJ Hoge on September 10th, whose headline characterized Kimberlin’s Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice. Hoge, like me and about twenty other people and organizations-including Breitbart.com, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Aaron Worthing, and more-have been sued by Brett Kimberlin in federal court.
Kimberlin’s claim is that we’re all part of a criminal conspiracy to defame him. He’s suing us using RICO statues that were developed to prosecute organized crime. It’s obviously absurd.
The American Spectator was one of the defendants, as well. No more. Now they’ve collapsed like a cheap card table after Michael Moore does a belly flop on it.
This is one of the most shameful chapters in the long history of the Brett Kimberlin Saga: a conservative publication caved to Brett Kimberlin’s demand to memory hole him.
Go see for yourself. Search for “Kimberlin” and you’ll get nothing. Not a single reference to his name.
The American Spectator granted Mr. Kimberlin his wish and removed every single mention of his. Articles like (ironically) this one
Want to read that article about the threat to Free Speech Rights?
You can’t. The American Spectator is denying your access.
Why aren’t you allowed to read this or anything else about Brett Kimberlin on the American Spectator site?
Of course, they don’t explain.
I’m not mad because I was a co-defendant in a lawsuit with The American Spectator. I don’t think their settlement impacts my case in any way.
I’m mad because removing completely accurate material about a valid story under the threat of a bogus lawsuit is wrong. There’s no larger game at play here. This wasn’t a tactical retreat.
The Spectator SETTLED with Brett Kimberlin.
Hang your head in shame, American Spectator. You deserve to be shunned.
But first, The American Spectator deserves a reminder of the First Amendment.
Here’s the contact form for The American Spectator.
Let them know if you approve of their decision to deny you access to previously published material about Brett Kimberlin.
The day after it was announced ISIS executed British Aid Worker David Haines, sprang into action and issued an Action Alert…to censor experts scheduled to talk about Islamic extremism to law enforcement in Arizona.
And they are trying to censor one of the stars of my documentary The Caliphate. (Click for more info and to donate to help get the film finished.)
Sure, the tweet gets cut off but you can see where it’s going,
CAIR want readers to Take Action! against anti-Muslim hate, urging them call and write to…well, to stop a couple of people from speaking. So, they want censorship, right?
So, who do they want censored? From CAIR’s release:
On September 19th, the MCAO is hosting a training presentation on “Islamic extremism” with known Islamophobes. John Guandolo and Clare Lopez - two headlining speakers at this training event – are known for their well-documented anti-Muslim hate rhetoric. Arizona Muslim community leaders, along with the ACLU, wrote to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery highlighting concerns over allowing hate speakers to train our law enforcement and prosecutors.
Known Islamophobe Clare Lopez!
Well, that’s interesting to me since known Islamophobe Clare Lopez is one of the people featured in my upcoming film The Caliphate! You can see Clare featured in this trailer for the film.
And here’s an extended clip of Clare that seems especially appropriate: Clare talking about how information about Islamic extremism was purged by the Obama administration. Watch it all, it’s chilling.
You can learn more about the film and donate to help finish The Caliphate here.