Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ABC 7 Plays Fast and Loose with the Facts: Take Action to Support Accurate Reporting and Hatem Abudayyeh

We are calling on folks to take a few minutes to respond to ABC 7 reporter Chuck Goudie's mistaken and irresponsible reportage on our friend Hatem Abudayyeh and the Arab American Action Network, which provides vital community services in Chicago. The link to Goudie's report:

Here's the letter I wrote:

Dear Mr. Goudie,

I was deeply disappointed to read your report entitled "Group run by FBI raid target received gov't funds" In this report you made two factual errors:

1. You said that the federal government is seeking funding links between Hatem Abudayyeh and Hamas. Nowhere in any federal affidavit is Hamas named.

2. "... in 2001, Abudayyeh and several others filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking the freedom to wear traditional Arab headwear during Michigan Avenue protests. The case was settled. Terms unknown." In fact, the City of Chicago was allegedly criminalized anything covering a person's head, a winter hat, hooded sweatshirt, halloween mask, headscarf or an host of similar clothing items.

By playing fast and loose with the facts, you do your readers a grave disservice and contribute to a climate of fear and prejudice. Your report reflects an anti-Muslim bias that has dangerous repercussions for our community. Unfortunately, this is not the only time that your reporting such as a prejudice. reflected an anti-Muslim bias. As a a columnist for the Daily Herald your writing has shown deep hostility to Islam and to the peoples of the Middle East. If you are unable to report accurately because of your personal feelings, I think it is time to ask yourself if you should be covering different topics.

The real story regarding the FBI raids wasn't represented in your report -- that people peacefully dissenting US foreign policy are being raided and subpoenaed, and that the FBI's treatment of the targeted individuals has far-reaching implications for the rights of us all. I urge you to formally correct this story and, in the future, to either manage your bias more effectively or recuse yourself from reporting on these issues .

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