December 30, 2008, - 4:19 pm

Detroit Free Press Prints Schlussel Letter About Faux-Report by Muslim Reporter

By Debbie Schlussel
Congratulations to the Detroit Free Press–and especially its incoming Editorial Page Editor, Stephen Henderson, for publishing (partially) my letter to the editor, today, exposing the Freep’s false report that Israeli soldiers shot a Michigan Palestinian Muslim legislator-elect’s grandfather in 1967. Henderson even put it under a separate headline, assuring readers would notice it. I appreciate his professionalism, fairness, and integrity in this matter.
Readers will remember that a week ago, I questioned this and the Free Press and its second-in-command, Senior Managing Editor Jeff Taylor, admitted the story was never verified, but refused to print a retraction/correction. Thank you readers for writing Freep chief Paul Anger and getting the paper to back down. As a result of your efforts, the Free Press published a correction.

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

Today, the Freep published my letter to the editor. It should be noted that the “reporter,” er . . . regurgitator, Niraj Warikoo is a Muslim with an agenda, and simply shouldn’t be trusted to cover this beat objectively. And he committed the grave sin of reporting as fact a tall tale he failed to verify, simply because it backed up his anti-Israel agenda. It is against Free Press editorial page policy to allow reporters’ names in the letters to the editor section, so that is why he is not named in my letter. I hope that policy changes, so that crappy reporters are held a tiny bit accountable for their actions, as Warikoo simply hasn’t been.
It should also be noted that while I reported on this and your letters helped make the correction, the Detroit Jewish Community Council missed this story entirely. And when I called them on it, they still did nothing. After the retraction was issued, Jewish Community Council Associate Director Allan Gale told me he was “still looking” into the issue. And O.J. is still looking for the real killers.
Thanks, readers, for a job well done. We must continue to hold the mainstream media accountable. Here’s my letter,below, but also go to the link above and read the responses of anti-Semites and Holocaust-deniers. These are the sad times in which we live.

Don’t trust all you hear, report
December 30, 2008
In its gushing, front-page puff piece on Rashida Tlaib, who will become the first Muslim woman in the Michigan Legislature in January, the Free Press did much worse than fail to do any real reporting (“Politicians’ disparate backgrounds source of bond,” Dec. 14).
The drooling was so thick that the Free Press twice reported as fact an unsubstantiated, unproved anti-Israel tale Tlaib has been telling, claiming her Palestinian Muslim grandfather was 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.
That the Free Press took 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 Mideast or the Arab-Israeli conflict.
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

But, they didn’t publish the entire letter. Here’s the entire letter I sent them, which as you can see, was entirely edited with some of the most important points deleted.

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

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4 Responses

I have had letters to the editor that I wrote, “edited” in a similar manner. The news media is remarkably self-serving and will edit a letter-to-the-editor in such manner as to protect the paper. Moreover, it’s not unusual for the editor of the paper to write a rebuttal for the letters-to-the-editor and have one of his lackeys out there in the community sign it so it looks like it came from the “grass-roots”.
There are very few if any ethical news reporters and/or editors to be found.

There is NO Santa Claus on December 30, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Boycott Detroit Free Press.

Alert on December 30, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Debbie, mazel tov. The editing here didn’t harm the letter significantly, mostly just leaving out some historical background. I’m impressed they didn’t even put a tickler under your name, like “DS is a well known Zionist” or something to that effect.

Anonymous1 on December 30, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Hah, when I saw the letter, I couldn’t believe you wrote something so taut and (semi-)coherent. Now that I’ve seen your version, I see I was mistaken.

Sheridan on January 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm

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