Newspaper editors spike stories and columns that are poorly written, wrong or that they just don’t like. And that’s their right. But what happens if a columnist gets frustrated by a publication’s decision not to cover an issue?
Can the columnist spike the newspaper?
We’ll find out, as WND columnist Diana West has written about her efforts to get the Washington Examiner to publish her commentary on the need to investigate the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on the U.S. government.
She was told her column about questions raised by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., about Brotherhood influence would not be used, prompting her to review the publication’s history of reports on the issue.
Among the concerns of Bachmann and four House colleagues was the Muslim Brotherhood ties of Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief aide. Abedin, as WND has reported, was on the editorial board of a Saudi-financed Islamic think tank alongside a Muslim extremist accused of financing al-Qaida.
The extremist, Abdullah Omar Naseef, is deeply connected to the Abedin family. Naseef is secretary-general of the Muslim World League, an Islamic charity known to have spawned terrorist groups, including one declared by the U.S. government to be an official al-Qaida front.
West was writing about the letters Bachmann and four other lawmakers sent last month to the inspectors general at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State asking that they investigate Muslim Brotherhood influence on U.S. government officials.
The lawmakers noted Abedin “has three family members – her late father, mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the secretary and to policymaking.”
The questions sparked a backlash of criticism against Bachmann and the others, even though, as WND reported last year, Huma’s mother, Saleha Abedin, was the official representative of Naseef’s terror-stained Muslim World League in the 1990s.
“Be alarmed: The U.S. government continues to be advised by organizations and individuals that the U.S. government itself has identified in federal courts as fronts for the international Muslim Brotherhood,’” she wrote. “So wrote Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., in a lengthy, heavily footnoted answer to a query last week from Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.”
Ellison, a Muslim congressman, was critical of Bachmann’s concerns about Abedin, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations and others.
“What is beyond shocking – beyond reason – is that such anti-American Brotherhood-linked groups and individuals have variously engaged, particularly since 9/11, with the U.S. government. Is it a coincidence that U.S. policy has since become receptive to, if not openly supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is the serious question these House Republicans want answered,” she wrote in her column.
“‘Influence’ can be an intangible thing, but sometimes there are signs. For example, someone, something, somehow managed to convince Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in 2011 that the Muslim Brotherhood was a ‘largely secular organization’ without ‘an overarching agenda,’” she added.
West, on her blog, recounted the Examiner’s handling of her column.
“The Washington Examiner spiked my syndicated column on the Muslim Brotherhood,” she said. “If the newspapers’ online search function is accurate, it is even more perplexing to note that the Examiner hasn’t run a single news story on the media-politics feeding frenzy, led by Sen. John McCain, directed at Rep. Michele Bachmann for raising questions.
“Here is how Examiner editorial page editor David Freddoso explained why the column didn’t appear: ‘We opted not to use it this week. We also passed over other syndicated columnists’ offerings about the insinuations against Huma Abedin. The reason is simply that there is no hint of proof that she has done anything improper,’” she wrote.
But West told WND that “doing something improper” is not the main issue.
According to the State Department’s own “Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information,” which Clinton and her aides undoubtedly would view, it’s not a matter of doing anything.
Among the “conditions” that “could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying,” are “contact with a foreign family member, business or professional associate, friend, or other person who is a citizen of or resident in a foreign country if that contact creates a heightened risk of foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion.”
Also listed as a reason for suspicion are “connections” to a “foreign person, group, government, or country that create a potential conflict of interest.”
West pointed out that Bachmann made no claim that Abedin had done anything wrong.
“Amid their broad concerns about MB influence on U.S. government policy-making, the members raised a red flag over Huma Abedin. … Why? Abedin’s family members have been deeply involved with groups and movements dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. This concerns the five House members. As it should, in my opinion – which is what my fact-based opinion column argued.”
Arguing on behalf of asking more questions, West wrote: “Can’t you just hear the background-checker? So, Huma, your folks were in business with a guy who started a designated terrorist group, your mom’s on a board of a group banned in Israel for supporting Hamas, and you want a top secret clearance to work alongside the SecState … HAHAHAHAHAHA.”
West told WND that it’s important to understand the concern has to do with security clearances, and an illustration from history might put it in perspective.
“Take this back half a century. How about if the top aide to the secretary of state during World War II has a family deeply involved in the Fascist movement, or Nazi parties abroad. Would they automatically be given a pass by the U.S. Senate?
“It’s exactly this kind of thing that security rules the State Department has in place are there to prevent,” she said.
“What we have seen is a policy shift to the side of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, and again in Egypt. We’re boosting the same kinds of elements in Syria. We have switched sides and we have become receptive to the Muslim Brotherhood,” she said.
She said her column is syndicated, and it doesn’t really matter whether the Examiner runs it.
She noted that she asked a second time for the publication to run her column but was told, “I’ve had a look, and I will not be using the column.”
“I’ve had a look, too – the newspaper’s lack of columns on this whole controversy, the newspaper’s lack of news on this whole controversy – and I will not be using the Examiner,” she wrote in response.
WND columnist Judith Reisman wrote that Bachmann — who was joined in signing the letters by House colleagues Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga. — “riled” critics.
Reisman wrote that history “shows it is entirely reasonable to be on guard against foreign influence in the U.S. government.”
“After all, Harry Hopkins, a Soviet agent, was FDR’s closest White House aide, Soviet agent Lauchlin Currie was another top FDR aide, while Soviet agent Harry Dexter White was a senior Treasury Department official,” she said. “And not until the release of the Venona papers in 1995 was it certain that the Rosenbergs were indeed Soviet spies. In fact, our U.S. State Department has a track record of security malfeasance, for example, having given high security clearances in the post-World War II era not only to Nazi scientists, but to hundreds of brutal Communists and Nazis known to have massacred millions.”
Reisman continued: “The Muslim Brotherhood, incidentally, was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its motto reads, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
Ambassador Alan Keyes joined in: “Since her critics can’t argue the facts (as WND readers have good reason to know from the reporting of WND’s Aaron Klein), their tactic is to destroy the reputation of the person pointing them out. It’s not surprising to see Obama’s henchmen and fellow travelers eagerly deploying this tactic. What’s more than noteworthy, however, is the fact that Republican Sen. John McCain quickly jumped to the forefront of the GOP leadership’s contribution to what has become an all-out elitist-faction offensive against Bachmann. Along with the GOP speaker of the House, (and, just recently, two Romney camp weathervanes, Sens. Marco Rubio and Scott Brown) the GOP’s 2008 nominee for president seems enthusiastically committed to this campaign of personal destruction. If successful, the campaign could bring about Bachmann’s defeat in the upcoming election, thus purging her from the GOP delegation. ”
WND also has reported Huma’s father, Professor Syed Abedin, was the founder of the Institute for Minority Affairs, a Saudi group that reportedly had the quiet, but active, support of Naseef.
Her mother, Saleha, is currently the editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, the publication of Syed’s Institute.
The institute bills itself as “the only scholarly institution dedicated to the systematic study of Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies around the world.”
The report also said it has emerged that Huma served on the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs’ editorial board from 2002 to 2008.