December 23, 2008, - 10:14 am

EXCLUSIVE: Detroit Free Press Editor Admits Muslim Reporter Lied on Israel, Refuses to Correct; Can’t Trust Anything in the Freep, WHAT YOU CAN DO

By Debbie Schlussel
There’s a reason both Detroit papers are losing readers at a geometric rate and were forced to end daily home delivery for all but three days a week. And it’s not just the internet and the distressed auto industry.
It’s crappy journalism–or, rather, lack of any journalism at all. The Free Press, currently engaged in a lawsuit to defend a reporter’s right to refuse to disclose sources in legal proceedings, is hiding behind this phony “public’s right to know.” But when it comes down to it, the Free Press doesn’t actually care about the “public’s right to know” so much as it cares about the public’s right to be lied to by Free Press reporters.
Now, the newspaper is lying about Israel. The paper admits it lied, but won’t correct the false info it gave readers in a front-page story in its Sunday edition, its highest circulation day of the week.

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Detroit Free Press: On Guard for Palestinian Muslims, Not You

This latest incident is the Detroit Free Press’ admission to me–via Free Press Senior Managing Editor Jeff Taylor–that they reported as fact an unverified tall tale against Israel, and the paper’s absolute refusal to issue a correction or correct the story. The Palestinian Muslim woman who told the tale insists it’s true, and therefore, they will keep it in the story as fact (not labeled as her claim or allegation).
Do you or I get the privilege of a newspaper reporting as fact anything we tell them? I mean, this is basic high school journalism class stuff here.
Resident Muslim propagandist and “reporter” Niraj Warikoo knows better, but, hey, he got away with it. In a story on Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim woman elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, Warikoo reported as fact–TWICE!–that Israeli soldiers shot Tlaib’s grandfather during the 1967 war allegedly because he refused to leave their home and go to Jordan.
But the story is NOT a fact. It’s her tall tale that cannot be verified, and Niraj Warikoo knows better than to report it as fact. He never tried to verify the story, and instead, deliberately chose to pass it off as true.
I did the work that some Americans–Detroit Free Press reporter-fabricators–won’t do, and I actually checked. There is no record of this anti-Israel claim. And the facts–ie., that Israel told the Palestinians to stay, but they refused and left, thinking Jordan and other Arab states would quickly win–say otherwise.
Here’s how this phony story ran and continues–at this time to read–online:

Rashida Tlaib is the granddaughter of a Palestinian Muslim who was once shot several times by an Israeli soldier. . . .
Tlaib’s background was different. Her grandparents lived near the cities of Jerusalem and Ramallah; during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, her mother’s father was shot after he refused to leave his home for Jordan.

Given all this, I contacted Detroit Free Press Senior Managing Editor Jeff Taylor, second in command at the paper, about this. He admits to me that the story wasn’t verified and that the Free Press was wrong. Yet, he refuses to issue a correction or even change the online story to reflect that Tlaib’s story is her claim and not fact.
It’s incredible. Niraj Warikoo knew better. Yet, he chose to regurgitate this story as fact, unchallenged, and unverified, because that’s his–and the Detroit Free Press’–agenda, to attack Israel.
And since the Free Press refuses to issue a correction or discipline this lying reporter, in what other stories have they lied? In what other stories have Detroit Free Press personnel reported to you as fact agenda-laden stories and claims that can’t be verified? You simply can’t trust anything you read in this paper.
How will you know what was actually verified (probably none of it) versus what reflects the agenda of the reporter? In this case, it’s a Muslim anti-Israel regurgitator who doesn’t do the most basic of fact-checking in what he “reports.” In another case, it might be about something else where the reporter has a personal agenda and chooses to lie to you because he knows that Free Press Senior Managing Editor Jeff Taylor won’t discipline him or even issue a correction and edit the story as it should have been edited in the first place.
This isn’t the first time Warikoo has lied or engaged in unethical behavior for a supposed journalist. He helped Abed Hammoud, his openly pro-Hezbollah friend–who he was covering–write his campaign literature, when Hammoud ran for Mayor of Dearborn. That’s a no-no for any journalist. But Warikoo got away with it. When I–and even Arabs from Dearborn–complained to the Free Press, they whitewashed Warikoo. Then-Free Press officials told me that they asked “people in the community”–ie., Warikoo’s fellow Muslims and buddies in Dearborn–whether or not Warikoo wrote the campaign literature, and the people said no. End of “investigation.”
And that’s the basic reporting standard that’s clearly at play at the Free Press: If Muslim Arabs tell you one thing, gosh darn it, it must be the truth, and will be reported as such.
Oh, and by the way, the story in which Warikoo wrote this anti-Israel BS, was about how a spoiled liberal Jewish State Representative, Steve Tobocman (who sits on the far-left Detroit Jewish Community Council–which famously refused to condemn Palestinian terrorism) recruited the anti-Israel, lying Rashida Tlaib to work for him and then to replace him in his seat. Before that, Tlaib worked as an advocate for and abettor of Muslim illegal aliens at Medicaid-defrauding agency ACCESS–the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. That is, until Tobocman decided he needed to promote that kind of treason even more and hired her and then urged her to replace him after term limits ended his run.
Please also note that I contacted the unrepresentative, self-appointed Jewish Community Council of Metro Detroit, which claims to be the “voice of the Jewish community” in Detroit. Alan Gale, the Associate Director of the group, told me he was completely unaware, even though he has a paid staff. Yes, I’m doing the work that some more Americans won’t do. He told me that he agreed with my concerns and at my urging he’d contact the Free Press and get back with me.
I would hope that he would insist that there would be disciplinary action against Niraj Warikoo and his editors, to insure that these serious lapses in journalism don’t occur at the Free Press again. Otherwise, we are allowing the Free Press to radically alter the time-honored standards for journalism, thus allowing the Free Press to become anyone’s personal platform for propaganda.
But just as Niraj Warikoo needs to be accountable to his readers and editors, so does the self-described “voice of the Jewish community” need to be held accountable to the Jewish Community to speak out on these issues and not rely on me to do their job for them. They need to read the Detroit papers more vigilantly and to respond with more of a spine than they have in the past. They told me they’d get back with me, and if they do, I’ll share their response.
Below are my e-mails back and forth with Jeff Taylor and the letter to the editor I sent the paper. So much for the Freep’s oft-claimed “public’s right to know.” More like “the public’s right to know nothing about false Free Press ‘reporting.’” You should note that this isn’t my first run-in with Jeff Taylor on issues just like this. The last time, I complained was when the Freep “covered” a Michigan State Police raid on several Shi’ite Muslims in Dearborn who committed Bridge Card/Food Stamp fraud. The reporter, Dan Cortez, quoted Lt. Det. Marty Bugbee, who headed the investigation, as saying they believed the money may have gone to Hezbollah and were investigating it. Taylor’s editors removed all reference to that. Taylor told me “it’s far more complicated than you think” (whenever anyone gives you that patronizing response, it’s actually very simple, not complicated at all), stood by his editors and never got back to me further. Yup, “the public’s right to know.” Uh-huh.

From: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 11:18 AM
To: jtaylor@freepress.com
Subject: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
Jeff:
Niraj Warikoo, in a front-page story, reported as fact and repeated–TWICE!–an unverified, phony story Rashida Tlaib has been telling about her grandfather allegedly being shot three times by Israeli soldiers in 1948. It’s false and there is no record of it. In fact, contrary to her claim, Israel asked Palestinians to stay, but they left because Jordan asked all Palestinians to leave and promised they’d return when Israel lost the war (which Israel won). Niraj did not report in this story–he merely repeated as fact, something that is not fact, but a tale which is untrue. He did nothing to verify the story because there is no proof and it never happened. That’s very sloppy. A correction and retraction needs to be issued. When will the Freep finally do fact-checking on politically correct sources and stories, the way real journalists do? No wonder your paper is in the toilet? People are tired of reading unverified propaganda and fluff being reported as fact and news.
DS

***

From: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Sunday, December 21, 2008 5:14 PM
To: Taylor, Jeff
Subject: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
—-
From: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 11:18 AM
To: jtaylor@freepress.com
Subject: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
Jeff:
Niraj Warikoo, in a front-page story, reported as fact and repeated–TWICE!–an unverified, phony story Rashida Tlaib has been telling about her grandfather allegedly being shot three times by Israeli soldiers in 1948. It’s false and there is no record of it. In fact, contrary to her claim, Israel asked Palestinians to stay, but they left because Jordan asked all Palestinians to leave and promised they’d return when Israel lost the war (which Israel won). Niraj did not report in this story–he merely repeated as fact, something that is not fact, but a tale which is untrue. He did nothing to verify the story because there is no proof and it never happened. That’s very sloppy. A correction and retraction needs to be issued. When will the Freep finally do fact-checking on politically correct sources and stories, the way real journalists do? No wonder your paper is in the toilet? People are tired of reading unverified propaganda and fluff being reported as fact and news.
DS

***

From: Taylor, Jeff mailto:jtaylor@freepress.com
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 8:18 PM
To: Debbie Schlussel
Subject: RE: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
Debbie:
I wanted to talk with the reporter before getting back with you. So I wasn’t ignoring your initial email. Because we were relying on Tlaib’s account of what happened to her grandfather, we should have attributed the description to her.
– Jeff

***

From: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 10:17 PM
To: Taylor, Jeff
Subject: RE: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
Will there be corrections? Will Niraj Warikoo and his editors face any discipline. This is elementary stuff for a reporter. He deliberately reported it as fact and chose not to attempt to verify it or to report it as a claim. I mean I learned this stuff in high school journalism. He knew better, and so did your editors. The claim was repeated as fact TWICE. What will be the response? Will the online version be corrected?

***

From: Taylor, Jeff mailto:jtaylor@freepress.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:37 AM
To: Debbie Schlussel
Subject: RE: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
There’s no correction. Ms. Tlaib obviously insists this was true, and you’ve made your point clear. I explained how we should have handled the information in the story, and I’ve talked with the people involved.

***

From: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:12 AM
To: Taylor, Jeff
Subject: RE: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
My point being made clear is not enough. This must be corrected. It is not a fact. And her insistence that it is true is completely irrelevant. It must be corrected and the online version must be changed. My point has not been made clear, since you admittedly refuse to correct a story that you admit contains false reporting. No wonder your paper’s circulation is dropping. People want to read news. Not someone’s tall tales that she insists are true reported as fact. That’s not journalism. This is basic high school stuff, and you and Niraj know better. This is not the end of this. I’m going to be publicizing this, and how the Freep cannot be trusted. I gave you a chance.

***

From: Taylor, Jeff mailto:jtaylor@freepress.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:33 AM
To: Debbie Schlussel
Subject: RE: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
I did not admit this story contains false reporting. That’s absolutely not true, and you publish that you’ll be publishing a falsehood. I’ll continue to try to handle correspondence with you in a civil manner.
But at this point, I’m finished with these exchanges.

***

From: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:02 AM
To: Taylor, Jeff
Subject: RE: JEFF, 2d Notice, NO Response Yet: Please Issue Correction for Unverified, Phony Item in Warikoo story . . .
Jeff:
I’ve been entirely civil with you. But I caught you and your paper with your pants down and you don’t like it. And you don’t like that I won’t just let it go. Sad for you, but I will continue to pursue this. You admitted the Free Press reported an unverified claim as fact. You admitted you lied to your readers, no matter how you try to give this cosmetic surgery now.
This is high school journalism stuff. If it’s not verified, it’s not fact. Your paper published a lie. You admit the story was NOT verified and that there is no proof that it is true. You admit that Niraj Warikoo repeated a claim as fact and reported it as fact because she “insists it’s true”. That’s lying to your readers. You can try to worm your way out of it by parsing words like Bill Clinton on what the definition of “sex” is, but the bottom line is you reported as fact a tale that is not true and for which there is no evidence. Unless you can prove her claim–and you cannot–it must be labeled as a claim. You refuse to do so.
Now, I will publicize it. This is your bed, you made it, now you must sleep in it. You could have issued a correction and/or edited the story and noted the story has been edited. You refuse to do so and insist on continuing to lie to Free Press readers. What other stories in the Freep have contained reporters repeats of unverified claims as fact? We have to assume all of them. I guess the Free Press doesn’t really care about “the public’s right to know” after all. Not that this is a shocker to me.
DS

Here’s my letter to the editor, to the Free(-to-Lie to Readers) Press:

To the Editor:
In its gushing, front-page puff-piece on Rashida Tlaib, the Free Press did much worse than fail to do any real reporting. The drooling was so thick that the Free Press twice reported as fact an unsubstantiated, unproven anti-Israel tale Ms. Tlaib has been telling, claiming her Palestinian Muslim grandfather was allegedly shot by an Israeli soldier for refusing to leave his house in 1967 and go to Jordan. Unlike the Free Press, I actually checked into this story, and there is absolutely no evidence to back up her claim.
Real reporting involves actual research and investigation, not regurgitation. Sadly, the Free Press did not want to let real reporting get in the way of a story that had an obvious agenda and should have been labeled commentary. But even commentary cannot claim as fact, what is merely an unsubstantiated allegation that should have been labeled as such. That the Free Press took Ms. Tlaib at her word, without solidly substantiating the claim, is blatant evidence that the Free Press cannot be trusted to report accurately on issues relating to the Mid-East or the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In fact, during both the 1948 and 1967 wars, Israel asked Palestinians to stay and not to go to Jordan. But each time, Jordan and other Arab nations told Palestinians to leave, assuring them they’d be able to come back after a swift Arab victory. Jordan lost each time, and Tlaib’s family tale is likely just a sour grapes story.
While Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust But Verify,” a newspaper’s job is strictly to verify. By failing to do so, the Free Press simply doesn’t deserve our trust.
Debbie Schlussel

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Since Jeff Taylor won’t correct the false information on Israel in this story and/or label it as a claim and not fact, e-mail his boss who heads the Detroit Free Press, Paul Anger. Ask Anger why his paper won’t correct unverified claims that were reported as fact. Ask him why his reporters don’t get that basic tenet of journalism–checking and verifying facts. Ask him why he won’t discipline Niraj Warikoo, whose agenda led him to deliberately report as fact this tall tale. If you are a Detroiter and/or reader of the Free Press, let him know that and how this fake news will affect your future readership of his dying paper.

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13 Responses

The MSM is at the height of its power. But its influence, circulation, numbers and profits continue to plummet. It managed to get its candidate elected President but people know it cannot be trusted to tell the complete and unvarnished truth. EVER.

NormanF on December 23, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Wow, they must really wanna be put out of business don’t they? Just keep letting them think they’re the answer to our news the way they’re doing it now.
Before you know it, they’ll be seeing red and be out of a job.

Squirrel3D on December 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Like most of the MSM these days, the Free Press is marketing to the lowest common denominator. There are lots of Muslims in the Detroit area, and the FP probably figures that this grouping is potentially a big enough base to sustain the paper, so why antagoinize them? The same kind of thing about the ‘historic’ special additions about Hussein all the time, etc. etc.

c f on December 23, 2008 at 4:27 pm

The Detroit papers, Free Press and News, both owned by the same people, I hear, are just boot lickers for sale to the highest bidder, and aren’t much more than an advertizing circular for the “Detroit” small three and anyone else that waves money under thier noses. They “go where the wind blows” and tend to take a “liberal Republican” stance with a heavy dash of ass kissing to the Democrats. They are “liberal” on “social issues” like homos, gun control, and big government spending, but get “conservative” when it comes to being anti union and anti worker. And, they like to suck up to the criminal element and the convicts in prison. Anything politically correct is their bag.
So don’t expect these cowards and boot lickers to stand up to the Dearbornistan crowd. Muslem killers are our newest “minority” and the Detroit rags are big into “minorities”.
But, you can count on them to take their heroic stand in keeping the white trash riff raff in thier place. Ever viligant.

rtaylor174 on December 24, 2008 at 3:28 am

AS a retired English teacher, I would suggest to everyone, the terms “ethical journalism”, and “objective media” are what we in the English department call “oxymorons”………like rap music or airline food”..they DO NOT EXIST. firewheel

BJ Kennerly on December 24, 2008 at 9:14 am

Maybe the Destroit (spelling intended figuratively) newspaper should change its name to Detroit Free Lie Press.

Bobby's Brain on December 25, 2008 at 11:57 am

Debbie
You are such a child. The Detroit Free Press maintains its integrity as it attributes the story as Rashida Tlaib’s. You on the other hand throw out accusations and lies at a remarkable pace for someone who is so righteous. You might want to fact-check your post on the 15 High schoolers in Dearborn, Mich. There you say that the entire population of Muslims are terrorist/radicals(I’m remembering this off the top of my head)as evidenced by the fringe group that committed 9/11 and some high school jocks. GROW UP. Get rid of your simple dualistic point of view and understand that just because members of a faith do bad things, the faith itself is not evil. Rashida Tlaib is an upstanding woman who has tried to improve her jurisdiction. Try to be like her. At the very least, if you can’t help others, keep your bigoted mouth shut and don’t corrupt them with your idiotic ‘reporting’.

Sarah on May 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm

thanks,it’s good info,Mabel

Odele on May 21, 2010 at 9:32 am

It is a nice blog, thanks for coming,Mabel

Caara on May 21, 2010 at 9:32 am

This is interesting.,Mabel

Abdul on May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

That seems like a good way,Mabel

Nacho on May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

Great stuff!! All working wonderfully,Mabel

Daci on May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

Thank you very much! I shall try it out tomorrow!,Mabel

Aafke on May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

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