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Paul Martin --or-- Sayed Anwar
December 27, 2002 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Is the Washington Times perpetuating a fraud? the Palestine Media Watch is reporting on a rumour that has been floating around for a while, that the Washington Times' "Sayed Anwar" is actually Paul Martin, a correspondent out of their London office. Now while this Times doesn't boast the circulation of the NYTimes or even the LA Times, it still lands on the doorstep of the President of the US every day. How's this for journalistic integrity?
posted by djspicerack (15 comments total)

 
The Washington Times is the Moonie newspaper. There are some reasonable journalists who work for it, but it's not a serious paper.
posted by Nelson at 6:52 AM on December 27, 2002


Do we expect anything but the best journalism from the Washington Times? They are unbiased, they avoid conjecture, and they always put integrity in front of selling newspapers. This attack on their character is an outrage!
posted by jbou at 6:54 AM on December 27, 2002


The Washington Times is the Moonie newspaper. There are some reasonable journalists who work for it, but it's not a serious paper.

Yeah, the WT has only sketchy fact checking and a dominant political agenda -- not like this Al-Awda press release.
posted by Erasmus at 6:58 AM on December 27, 2002


Rumour? This has been reported as fact by various Canadian media, 'cause of the brou-ha-ha over our government adding Hezbollah to the global baddie list. Here's one instance (which is a good resume of the issue) written by Antonia Zerbisias, the media columnist for the Toronto Star, Canada's biggest daily: "Consider how, two Thursdays ago, both the National Post and The Globe and Mail ran front-page pieces based on a report the previous day by one Paul Martin. No, not that Paul Martin but the Paul Martin who, sometimes under the pseudonym Sayed Anwar, writes dispatches about the Mideast — from his desk in London, England. He sells these stories to The Washington Times, the paper controlled by the Unification Church, more commonly known as the Moonies."

To make a longer story slightly less boring, Martin/Anwar reported in the Times that the head of Hezbollah called for suicide bombings throughtout the world. Previously, Hezbollah confined its barbarity to Israel. Anyhoo, this was some sort of tipping point for the Canadian federal gummint, who had been very actively lobbied by various Jewish and right-wing groups to add Hezbollah to Canada's banned terrorist list. (Making it illegal for Canadians to support, i.e. raise money for.)

The CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, sent their man in the region -- the always excellent Neil McDonald, who , by the by, is Norm McDonald's brother -- to check out the veracity of the quotes. He couldn't.

So Canada's left/liberal media savaged the Times et al for shoddy journalism serving as a support for right-wing campaigns. And then the right-wing media -- most of which, by the by, happens to be owned by one man who also happens to be a Jew of quite fundamentalist leanings -- shot back saying the left/libs were once again pawns of Islamic fundamentalists, etc etc etc.

Yup. A grand, nation-wide I/P thread took over Canada's media.

Colour me thrilled.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:59 AM on December 27, 2002


(Oh, and full disclosure: I freelance for RCI, Canada's shortwave broadcaster, which gets some of its funding from the CBC (and the Canadian gov't); in other words, a small but vital part of the vast, left-wing conspiracy.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:04 AM on December 27, 2002


I don't see how they concluded Anwar == Martin? The only evidence they put forth is that they're both pro-Israeli... In the article in the W. Post they link to, it mentions that Anwar is a pseudonym but doesn't say who it is. Does anyone have any links to more concrete evidence?

However, making the pseudonym an Arabic sounding name helluva misleading though.
posted by PenDevil at 7:06 AM on December 27, 2002


lupus - thanks for the great insights - i had googled on it and found some facts as well, but had been hearing about this off and on on the radio for awhile, per my reference to rumour.
posted by djspicerack at 7:07 AM on December 27, 2002


Hmmm... just noticed the date on that link is from the 9th June 2002...
posted by PenDevil at 7:09 AM on December 27, 2002


The Moonie Times is an integral part of the right wing Wurlitzer and has absolutely no interest in truth, only spin.

David Brock writes about this while an employee at said paper in his book "Blinded by the Right."

Drudge or Rush start the rumor mill, Moonie Times, the NY Post and FAUX News pick it up and carry it. The wingnut magazine publications then attempt to make it "conventional wisdom." If legitimate TV news and newspapers don't follow suit then they're "liberally biased" instead of careful with facts.

So to recap, there's Rupert, Rush, Drudge and Moon pushing sludge. Any buyers?
posted by nofundy at 7:31 AM on December 27, 2002


The Washington Times has always been very well designed. Their feature pages have been bold, daring and they are a recognized leader among other newspapers.

The stories they carry, however, are not. Their circulation came into prominence in the early 1980s when President Reagan often remarked that it was his favorite newspaper.

Their willingness to overlook Iran-Contra permanently scarred them in the legitimate newspaper community.
posted by stevis at 7:54 AM on December 27, 2002


Is the Washington Times perpetuating a fraud? Yes.
posted by trondant at 8:32 AM on December 27, 2002


watch matt drudge mysteriously ignore this. he loves the wash times.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:40 AM on December 27, 2002


Lupus - you're aware that Martin intends to sue for defamation, and that whether he's got sources or not is not a settled question, right? (c.f. this link) And as a journalist, I'm sure you'd be interested in things like that.

And here are the words in question, bold is mine.:
"We view America as an enemy of the [Islamic] nation yet we have not engaged it directly in a military act (as of yet)". "The nation has resumed the use of suicide attacks, without the act of suicide the struggle is meaningless. The American government and the experts in America and Israel as well as the military generals were unable to eliminate the concept of suicide (attacks) and the weapon of suicide attacks. Since the Sharm-El-Sheikh [summit] they speak of dismembering the organizations (of terror) and attacking the organizational infrastructure yet were unsuccessful [in achieving their goal]. Due to that we must act in order to spread the concept of death for the realization of Allah's way as well as the act of suicide among the [Islamic] nation in order to protect our land".

(courtesy of the IDF)

Now, can you say, with certainty, that a call to spread the concept of death for the realization of Allah's way isn't a call to export suicide bombing?

As the article you cite to says, Lupus, Checking facts, verifying quotes and sourcing stories — these are the basics in the journalist's toolbox.

Neil McDonald, who , by the by, is Norm McDonald's brother -- to check out the veracity of the quotes. He couldn't.

Do you know (serious question) if he got a copy of the magazine that it was printed in? (Hizbullah official magazine El-Intikad (November 15, 2002)) That would settle the question pretty quickly, wouldn't it?

Hmm. Most interesting bit is that this question will likely have its day in court, so we don't need to figure out here whether the IDF has it right, or Hizbollah does. Yay for not having to have a Metafilter flamewar over this!
posted by swerdloff at 5:57 PM on December 27, 2002


Lupus - you're aware that Martin intends to sue for defamation, and that whether he's got sources or not is not a settled question, right?

swerdloff - you're aware that UK defamation writs are a standard attempt to gag the press, and that whether he has sources or not is not settled at all? (I mean, we don't even get the name of this 'university professor', who could in all honesty be another of Martin's many identities.)
posted by riviera at 5:24 AM on December 28, 2002


Do you know (serious question) if [MacDonald] got a copy of the magazine that it was printed in? (Hizbullah official magazine El-Intikad (November 15, 2002))

MacDonald did much better than that, swerdloff. Martin's claim was that Nasrallah "had made televised speeches" in which he stated his goal of going global. Since we have direct access to those speeches, a magazine reprint supplied by the IDF is irrelevant. MacDonald did the right thing by going to the original:

"I watched the videos. I watched the speeches. I have done more research than maybe the Canadian government has done, certainly more than Paul Martin has done," Macdonald told me on the phone from Jordan last night. "He came up with three quotes, one of which, to be charitable, was a gross mistranslation, and the other two were never even uttered."

The CBC, according to Christian Science Monitor, was even more clear:

There is no record of such a speech here, and there would be. It was not broadcast on Hezbollah's television station, as was reported. Hezbollah, which vigorously publicizes Nasrallah's every word, says the remarks were never uttered and the Canadian embassy in Beirut has tried and failed to document the quotes. The story originated not in the Middle East but in London, with this man. Paul Martin...cannot back up the quotes his story attributes to Nasrallah.

And, of course, Martin later *admitted* he hadn't heard the comments directly, even as he reported the info without attributing it to a source. Come on, swerdloff. We don't need the IDF to solve this one. How many times is Martin allowed to lie about who he is, where he's filing from and whether he actually verifies what he writes - while covering one of the most important issues of the day - before we're allowed to dismiss him as a dishonest reporter? He's either a complete incompetent - in which case any reputable paper would've fired him long ago - or is someone who produces deliberate disinformation (which is then picked up by sources like this):

Writing from Bethlehem for the paper's May 13 edition, Anwar reports that "Residents of this biblical city are expressing relief at the exile to Cyprus last week of 13 hard-core Palestinian militants..."

If the Washington Times has clarified the issue of Martin's whereabouts on the dates in question, or has told its readers of the multiple deceptions here, I'd love to see a pointer to it.
posted by mediareport at 12:18 PM on December 28, 2002


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