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Grapevine Whine - Thanks for the MEMRI

Reported by Nancy - December 16, 2005 -

Tuesday night (12/13) during the Grapevine segment of Special Report, Brit Hume again cited the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) as a source for one of his "pickings." MEMRI is one of those semi-obscure little groups that FNC staff love to cite, & it has a bland enough official-sounding name (not to mention a catchy acronym). But viewers should beware of these little-known "sources" because they're rarely the objective, non-partisan groups that FNC would like you to believe they are.

"Picking" #1 on the Grapevine was about the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, Syria's possible involvement in that, & Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's call for France to investigate what he calls the "assassination" of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died in a Paris hospital "of an unknown illness" in 2004.

Comment: Yes, Hume did mush all of that, & more, into one 30-second mini-blurb.

Here's the final sentence:

But the Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Assad insists on Syria's innocence & blasts France for its silence on the assassination of President Arafat, arguing that the nation is obligated to investigate Arafat's death for moral reasons.

Comments: "Middle East Media Research Institute" sounds objective & non-partisan, correct? If you answered "yes" you need to increase your skepticism by several orders of magnitude.

Here's how MEMRI describes itself:

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.

Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501 (c)3 organization. MEMRI's headquarters is located in Washington, DC with branch offices in Berlin, London, and Jerusalem, where MEMRI also maintains its Media Center. MEMRI research is translated to English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian.

Still sounds pretty innocuous, if you haven't done your homework -- & Fox is counting on that.

For a different perspective on MEMRI, read Selective Memri, published in the Guardian 3 years ago, which exposes some of the seamier connections & practices of MEMRI. & points out its bias.

Delinda Hanley of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, has called MEMRI "an Israeli propaganda project that translates only articles that make Arabs look bad or that advance Likud agendas."

And Juan Cole, when he challenged MEMRI & the David Project over theeir attempts to smear a Columbia University professor, was threatened with a lawsuit, as he documents here.

For another profile of MEMRI, see RightWeb.

If you like to do your own research, you might want to start by googling Yigal Carmon & Meyrav Wurmser (yes, the wife of PNAC's David Wurmser).

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Fox's use of reactionary propaganda sources, implying to viewers that these are non-partisan sources; or anything relating to this "picking"). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.