June 29, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - After a brief lapse, the Sacramento Bee has again resumed carrying press releases from the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR]. For example please refer to - New CAIR, UC Berkeley Report Documents Growing Islamophobia in U.S., http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/23/3722767/new-cair-uc-berkeley-report-documents.html and CAIR Video Highlights Bias in Rep. King's Anti-Muslim Hearings, http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/17/3708611/cair-video-highlights-bias-in.html.
Excerpt from, CAIR Video Highlights Bias in Rep. King's Anti-Muslim Hearings, "The video, "The Good, the Bad, and the King," highlights the Congressman's false allegations against American Muslims and the manufacturing of the "sharia threat" by some to stoke fear of Muslims and their faith."
The above is a clear attempt to sow the seeds of disinformation, the allegation that the U.S. is an Islamophobic country. The untruth of this is not only obvious to the many Americans who interface with Muslims on a daily basis, but it is borne out in FBI hate crime statistics which conclusively show that crimes committed against Muslim Americans, simply because of their religion, are almost nonexistent.
What is CAIR?
CAIR is a highly controversial radical Muslim pressure group whose associations are so noxious that it was named as an unindicted co-conspirator [see, U.S. Dist. Court Document U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation For Relief and Development, http://www.pipelinenews.org/images/2007-05-29-US%20v%20HLF-ListCoConspirators.pdf] in the nation's most extensive prosecution of domestic funding of the terrorist group Hamas, U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation. In that proceeding, all of the defendants were found guilty on a total of 108 charges.
Among those convicted was Ghassan Elashi, one of the co-founders of the Texas chapter of CAIR. Elashi was already serving a long sentence due to his conviction in U.S. vs. InfoCom, also a terror related case.
In post prosecution court proceedings CAIR was specifically linked to Hamas.
"The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas," U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis said in the July 1, 2009, ruling" [souce, The Investigative Project, Federal Dist. Court filing, http://www.investigativeproject.org/2340/federal-judge-agrees-cair-tied-to-hamas]
This month both CAIR as well as its CAIR Foundation lost their tax exempt status for reasons among which were repeated failure to file IRS form 990, a requirement of all tax exempt entities. [see, IRS document located at, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/dc.pdf]
In another damning revelation [a story broken by the Investigative Project, see, http://www.investigativeproject.org/2709/cair-officials-sought-gaddafi-money] regarding the nature of CAIR, Fox News reported that the group's Executive Director, Nihad Awad, had solicited funding from Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, against whom the U.S. is currently militarily engaged.
"A letter from the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and president of an offshoot group, Muslim Peace Foundation to Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has added fuel to criticisms of the controversial group and what its critics say are some dubious fundraising tactics. In the letter, obtained by Fox News and dated Sept. 23, 2009, CAIR executive director Nihad Awad asks Qaddafi for funding for his new project called the Muslim Peace Foundation. Qaddafi was in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly." [source, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/06/lawmaker-criticizes-controversial-muslim-group-200-fundraising-letter-qaddafi/#ixzz1QbUvycFA]
PipeLineNews contacted SacBee management in late March to ask for an explanation as to why it was carrying CAIR's propaganda, which was never really forthcoming despite repeated attempts at clarification. Management's bottom line was that the paper's website carried the entire news feed from PR Newswire - a legitimate company which distributes, for a fee, press releases of all types - and that CAIR's releases were part of that feed.
Despite the fact that there had been no admission by management that anything was amiss, the practice seemed to cease on or about March 27, which neatly coincided with our bringing this matter to the Bee's attention.
However in mid June, the Bee once again started carrying the CAIR portion of the PR Newswire feed.
On June 27 we contacted the Bee's Managing Editor Tom Negrete to find out why this practice has resumed and he reverted to the papers's previous defense, that it was simply part of a news feed which they could not selectively edit and hence, no big deal.
Asked for a statement, Negrete said in part, "the Sacramento Bee has a relationship with PR Newswire...and we take a look at what they do...it's meant to be a service for companies in this region...are there some press releases in there that I disagree with? Sure...I'm not in the position right now to say what we are going to take out of this...if we take out one, why not take all of them out. I haven't decided that...we don't have the ability to stop individual press releases..."
Upon further discussion Mr. Negrete seemed to grasp the possible gravity of having the Bee carry water for a Hamas linked organization and gave me his personal telephone number, instructing this writer to contact him on 6/28. Unfortunately Mr. Negrete was not available for comment on that day and did not return our repeated calls.
So what do we have here; is this another simple oversight?
We will leave that to the judgment of our readers. It seems that the Sac Bee's publishing of CAIR press releases demonstrates negligence at best, since the practice had already been called to their attention which led to the stoppage [however brief] of the CAIR component of the PR Newswire feed.
Allowing unfettered access of an unedited press feed into the information stream of a major newspaper has the look of journalistic malfeasance and the explanation we have so far received borders on the childish. Can one imagine frequenting a restaurant upon the assurance of its chef who claims that his food is rotten only part of the time?
Left wholly unaddressed is the issue of how CAIR might use the [extensive] presence of its press releases in a newspaper. Given the group's track record it would be logical to assume that it would use it to feign a legitimacy which is thoroughly undeserved, "See, the Sacramento Bee prints our opinions...we must be legit..." This is the same MO that it once employed, using its partnership with the FBI as a calling card, that is before the FBI cut the group loose because of the damning information produced during the Holy Land Foundation prosecution.
The Bee must understand that this is a serious matter, that there is a vast difference between carrying a press release announcing a new product by XYZ Inc., and doing the same for a group as tainted as CAIR. We call on the Sac Bee to immediately cease this practice and get back to the type of journalism upon which it made its reputation.
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