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 Monday, December 11, 2006

FOX News Launches Jihad Against Jimmy Carter and His New Book

Marie Therese

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Ex-President Jimmy Carter, winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, prolific author of twenty-one books, humanitarian and loyal supporter of Habitat for Humanity has long been one of the favorite targets of right-wing conservatives.

His most recent book - Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid - is a thoughtful analysis of the situation in the Middle East in which Carter clearly lays a large share of the blame for the lack of success in the peace process at the doorstep of Israel.

On Thursday, December 7th "FOX & Friends" (F&F) launched a classic right-wing jihad against the former President.

The F&F hosts gleefully derided Carter's book and accused him of "numerous" errors, mistakes and plagiarism, based on accusations made in a letter sent by Prof. Kenneth Stein to Emory University, resigning his position as a fellow at the Carter Center.

Contrary to statements made repeatedly by the hosts of FOX & Friends claiming that Prof. Stein was a close friend of and advisor to President Carter, Stein's own letter (see links below) admits that he has had little real connection to the Carter Center for over 13 years.

During their entire acquaintance, Stein and Carter have consistently disagreed about the solution to the Palestinian-Israel situation. Their relationship could NOT be described as "close".

Stein's resignation letter was very conveniently made availiable to key right-wing blogs like Power Line as well as to FOX News.

On Friday, December 8th, Prof. Kenneth Stein appeared as a guest on FOX & Friends (video link below), presumably to disclose the "numerous" errors in President Carter's book.

When pressed by Steve Doocy, the Professor cited only two examples of what he termed factual errors.

Later when contacted by the Los Angeles Times, Stein tempered his accusations, citing only the possible reprinting of two maps from a book by Dennis Ross without giving the proper attribution.

" ... in a telephone interview Thursday evening, Stein offered a narrower criticism. 'It appears that at least two maps that came out of the Carter book were or are very closely similar, or unusually similar, to maps that were produced and published in Dennis Ross' book 'The Missing Peace,' " Stein said." (Los Angeles Times, Friday, December 8, 2006).
Dennis Ross was the Middle East envoy for both George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He is a paid analyst for FOX News (FOX bio here) and, not surprisingly, snubbed the L. A. Times in favor of a gig at FOX News.

During an interview with Greg Jarrett that aired Friday, December 8th at 10:18 AM EST, Ross said this:

"The maps that are in his book are certainly - certainly appears as though they were taken from my book. Those maps are maps that I created. They didn't exist.

The fact is when we did the Clinton ideas, when we did Camp David, we presented ideas, percentages, criteria.

After - after the fact, I created maps based on that and he's used maps that look like they've been drawn from my book without attribution."

Jarrett then dutifully picked up the buzz word of the day, noting that Ross' publisher believed that the maps had been "ripped off."

From (complete with yet another unflattering picture of a Democrat):
"After Ross saw the maps in Carter's book, he told his publisher he wanted a correction.

When asked if the former president ripped him off, Ross replied: 'it sure looks that way. Carter's book, 'Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid,' was released last week.

A former Carter Center fellow has taken issue with it, and Alan Dershowitz called the book's title 'indecent.' Out in the real world, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive," Carter wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece published in Friday's edition."
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is currently #7 on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List.

You can watch the original FOX & Friends two-part interview with Prof. Stein at FOXNews videos. Scroll down to the heading FOX & Friends. Both videos are listed.

An audio, video and written copy of remarks made by President Carter at a Borders book signing can be accessed at Democracy Now. He explains his reasons for the title and what he hoped to accomplish with this book.

You can view some of Dennis Ross' maps (among others) at


What is being used against President Carter now is a classic character assassination jihad.

First, right wing media outlets "seed" the audio and TV airwaves with hyperbolic, unsubstantiated, inflammatory rhetoric in order to create the illusion of a "big story".

Simultaneously, the conservative blogs spew their oveheated invective, allowing their readershp of "true believers" a chance to vent.

Even if later these outlets have to back off the original claims as too harsh or untrue, a certain percentage of their more trusting and gullible audience will not change its mind, even in light of facts that prove the original accusations to be false.

Although vile to its core, this "shock and awe" tactic has a certain Machiavellian genius to it. And, let's face the facts - it is has worked in the past. Just ask John Kerry.

One can only hope that, with the election of a majority of Democrats to the Congress, legislation will finally be passed requiring any news outlet licensed by the FCC to fully disclose any possible connections it has with its guests and also to inform the audience whether or not the guest has been paid.

Additionally, the audience should be apprised whenever a news outlet runs a story about a product, service or corporation with whom it has business ties.

In this way, institutions like FOX News would not be able to palm off a sports statistician like Mike Ozanian as competent to comment on foreign policy matters or present a radical end-of-days apocalyptic Christian like Mike Evans as a "Middle East expert" or report on a company like MySpace without disclosing that it and FOX News are owned by the same comglomerate.

While I fervently support the right of anyone to speak his/her mind, a little disclosure about possible conflicts of interest would also be a good thing.

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