Osama's Death & The New York Times' Man in Libya
by MOSHE PHILLIPS
May 9, 2011
New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim has spent several weeks now in Libya reporting on the civil war there from Benghazi. He contributed to the May 3 article "In Arab World, Bin Laden’s Confused Legacy" and depicted Libyan reaction to Osama Bin Laden's death. The remarkable thing is that Fahim could not find a single Libyan who would defend Bin Laden or attack America.
This is particularly amazing when it is recalled that Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in late March reported that there was significant al-Qaeda activity among the rebel groups in Libya.
Fahim is a full-time Times reporter based in New York that the Times sent to Libya to cover the conflict there. A quick review of Fahim’s history provides all the evidence needed to prove that he is not an objective journalist but has very radical views on the War on Terror and related issues. Did Fahim ignore anti-American/pro-al Qaeda remarks from Libyan radicals on purpose?
Fahim previously attacked the Patriot Act and charged anti-terrorist agencies in the U.S. with “racial profiling” in an article titled “Profiles in Racism” in Amnesty International’s Amnesty Magazine in the Winter 2003 edition. In the Amnesty article Fahim drew an incomprehensible comparison between “driving while black” and post September 11th anti-terrorism security measures.
Earlier in his career Fahim wrote for The Village Voice weekly tabloid. The Voice’s radical editorial stance on civil liberties, terrorism and Israel related issues is well documented.
Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, in an article titled “The Emir and His Lieutenant” about Al Qaeda, Fahim referred to the terrorist organization simply as an “extremist group.” Fahim’s writings include apologies for the terrorist network, such as the statement that “Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world.” He also quoted a New York University professor who stated the following bit of garbage: “The Islamists present a utopian vision.”
But there are other questions about Fahim’s background.
In 2000 Fahim held a position at the Cairo based weekly newspaper Al-Ahram. Slate.com reported in 2004 that “Egypt’s Al Ahram Weekly (is) the English-language version of the regime’s own media organ.” Fahim also wrote about Mubarak's downfall for The Times.
Even here, he demonstrated his bias, treating the selection of Dick Cheney as George W. Bush’s running mate as a “summer surprise” that went against “the logic of positive image-making.” Fahim’s biases are transparent.
Fahim is entitled to his opinions and he should not be blocked from a career as a news reporter because of those opinions. However, the editors at The New York Times have a responsibility to make sure the line between opinion and news reporting remains definite if they chose to employ a radical like Fahim.