December 11, 2015

Watch Chris Hayes rip apart the right wing hate media machine for their unwarranted smear against Muslim American Air Force veteran Saadiq Long, who Hayes interviewed when he was doing Up With Chris Hayes because Long had been barred from boarding a plane to the United States after landing on a no-fly list.

It's worth watching the whole rant, because he shreds all the right wing media machines who intentionally smeared this man with a false story, as Glenn Greenwald reported for The Intercept.

A RIGHT-WING BLOG called “Pajamas Media” published an article on November 24 claiming that Saadiq Long, a Muslim American veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was arrested in Turkey for being an ISIS operative. Written by Patrick Poole, a professional anti-Muslim activist and close associate of Frank Gaffney, the article asserted that Long “finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison — arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell.” Its only claimed sources were anonymous: “U.S. and Turkish officials confirmed Long’s arrest to PJ Media, saying that he was arrested along with eight others operating along the Turkish-Syrian border. So far, no U.S. media outlet has reported on his arrest.”

Long’s purported arrest as an ISIS operative was then widely cited across the internet by Fox News as well as right-wing and even non-ideological news sites. Predictably, the story was uncritically hailed by the most virulent anti-Muslim polemicists: Pam Geller, Robert Spencer, Ann Coulter, and Sam Harris. Worst of all, it was blasted as a major news story bynetwork TV affiliates and other local media outlets in Oklahoma, where Long is from and where his family — including his sister and ailing mother — still reside.

But the story is entirely false: a fabrication. Neither Long nor his wife or daughter have been arrested on charges that he joined ISIS. He faces no criminal charges of any kind in Turkey.

The issue, it seems, is an immigration problem that the State Department is working on. And the immigration problem happened because he was wrongly put on a no-fly list.

Only one right-wing media outlet has corrected themselves. Here's what others ran with:

And yes, they tried smearing Hayes with it too.

His anger as he concludes the story is palpable and entirely justified. This is what they do, and they're so rarely caught out on it that it's really a pleasure to see Hayes and Greenwald nail them for their disgusting need to smear a United States veteran in order to fuel their hate.

Here's part of the transcript, via Media Matters:

Perhaps by this point in the tale you won't be surprised to learn the story is bunk. One part of it is true. Long and his family are being detained by Turkish authorities. But a State Department official confirmed to Long's family and to the Intercept, who did fantastic reporting on this, it is not terrorism-related.

"We are aware of Mr. Long's case and are not aware he has been formally charged with a crime."

In fact, according to the Intercept, Long and his family are being detained on immigration violations when he attempted to enter Turkey seeking to work. And get this. His detention may well have been triggered by, drum roll, the fact he was on the U.S. no-fly list to begin with.

Long's American lawyer says Saadiq and his family were detained by Turkey because they are all on the no-fly list. This is what accounts for the family's detention in Turkey.

Saadiq Long, who served his country for more than ten years in the armed services, was first tagged with suspicion by a secretive no-fly list due clearly at least in part to his faith. And it was that suspicion plus his faith that made him a plausible target to be smeared as a man who just up and joined the death cult ISIS.

And now his name appears next to ISIS in literally hundreds of articles and tweets.

His face is under an ISIS headline on Mediaite and those other sites basically forever unless those outlets show a little bit of contrition and change it. The Daily Caller today acknowledged that the feds say there are no terror ties, but the outlet characterized reporting as a new detail.

Folks, this is what Islamophobia means. It means a taint of suspicion that attaches to millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people who practice a faith because of the acts of a few of their co-religionists.

Here in America in our history we've seen Jews decried as communists, subversives, anarchists and a menace that will infiltrate the state and the media from the inside. We've seen Catholics decried as fundamentally hostile to American values, incapable of assimilating and treacherously taking their orders from a foreign power. Now it is Muslims who find themselves vilified.

The very definition of bigotry is taking the actions or traits of a few people, of a race or faith or creed, and generalizing to all of them. American politics and frankly American media are currently in the grip of a deep-seated bigotry. Donald Trump sure as heck isn't helping, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking he is the cause because Donald Trump had nothing to do with this story. And I'm sure the countless editors and writers who passed it along don't think of themselves as bigots. But they unambiguously aided the worst kind of bigotry. And every last one of them should be ashamed.

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