IPT's Steve Emerson on Being Blacklisted by NPR

Oct 22, 2010, 18:00 ET from Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Twelve years before National Public Radio officials ousted analyst Juan Williams after pressure from Islamist groups, they blacklisted terrorism expert Steven Emerson.

In an account published on the Investigative Project on Terrorism's website, www.investigativeproject.org, Emerson details how NPR caved in to pressure from a Chicago activist who erroneously claimed that Emerson was an anti-Muslim bigot. Emails obtained by Emerson and others showed how NPR producers and executives placated a sole protester by saying Emerson would no longer be allowed on the radio network.

"I've been overwhelmed by a sense of deja vu since hearing that National Public Radio fired news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made about his anxiety when he sees Muslim travelers in airports," Emerson writes. "It's uncannily reminiscent of my experience getting blacklisted by NPR 12 years ago. I was interviewed by an NPR reporter in June of 1998 about a Hamas supporter named Mohammad Salah. Unbeknownst to me, an activist and critic of mine wrote to NPR, expressing his horror that I was an NPR source. He did not take issue with what I said but asked if NPR didn't know what a bigot I was?"

Emerson's alleged crime was saying that the 1995 terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City had the signature of similar bomb attacks in the Middle East. For years, Islamist groups have mischaracterized those statements in an attempt to discredit Emerson. But, other reports show, he was hardly alone in having those opinions.

  • "All Things Considered" host Robert Siegel on April 19, 1995, the day of the bombing: "The FBI believes the blast was caused by a huge car bomb containing more than 1,000 pounds of explosives. That's about the same size as the bomb that hit the World Trade Center in 1993." And, "The similarity to the World Trade Center bombing immediately makes one think of things Middle Eastern…"
  • Reporter Mark Woodward the same show:  "At this point, they've- they had- there's been word this afternoon, the local FBI agents gave a description of three men who they described as being of Middle Eastern descent driving a Brown pickup truck away from that area about the time of the explosion."
  • "Morning Edition" host Bob Edwards on April 20, 1995: "Law enforcement officials are trying to determine what type of bomb caused the explosion. Some experts are comparing the blast to the World Trade Center bombing in 1992."
  • Reporter John Nielsen on the same "Morning Edition": "Experts like Livingston say car bombs have become the favorite weapon of terrorists in recent years. A car bomb driven by a suicide driver blew up the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983. A bomb in a van destroyed part of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. More than a hundred car bomb incidents have been reported around the world since the 1970s."

We recommend Emerson's latest story. You can find it at www.investigativeproject.org.

SOURCE Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)