To see a classic example of the divergence between ?mainstream? and ?alternative? media coverage, consider the portrayal of the Saudis this past week.
The ?respectable? daily newspapers and news wires have reported that the Saudis, though still subject to some criticism, are finally getting serious about fighting terrorism. The blogosphere?the universe of ?blogs,? short for web logs?and talk radio, however, have been buzzing over the murder of a family of Egyptian Christian immigrants in Jersey City and the report on Saudi-funded jihadist propaganda found in American mosques that might help provide some context for that horrible crime.
What most Americans will never know is that last week human rights group Freedom House put out a first-of-its-kind report documenting, in excruciating detail, the poisonous venom found in Saudi-created and funded ?religious? materials available at prominent mosques across the United States.
A Lexis-Nexis uncovered just five?count ?em, five?news stories in ?mainstream? outlets on the Freedom House report. But the number is actually worse than it looks.
Four of the five are not traditionally part of the ?mainstream? mafia: the Washington Times, the NY Sun (a new conservative paper), the Dallas Morning News (also right-of-center), and the Wall Street Journal (in its ?B? section). Somewhat surprisingly, the fifth outlet covering the Freedom House report was the Washington Post.
During the same span, more than 50 stories were written by ?mainstream? outlets on the hurriedly thrown together international counterterrorism conference that just ended in Riyadh. In these articles, the Saudis were credited with calling for a new international center to combat terrorism and for achieving ?substantial progress? in fighting terror.
But while the Saudis were dazzling a pliant press with their good deeds, their true nature was on full display?in mosques inside our borders.
Nonpartisan human rights group Freedom House?incorrectly referred to by several media outlets as ?conservative??sent Muslim volunteers into more than a dozen prominent mosques across the country, and each was looking specifically for materials produced or sponsored by the Saudi government.
Since most of the documents were in Arabic, the research team spent nearly a year having two independent translators to review each one. The results confirm what many Americans have long suspected, but until now did not have tangible proof that such incitement occurred in the United States.
Some highlights from the 67-page report:
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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