Barry Rubin: My Own Private 1984: Why Is Saying the Muslim Brotherhood Is Radical a Controversial Claim?
A well-known television program took an article of mine that appeared on my blog and quoted it on the air. The extract was put up on the screen though the author’s name wasn’t mentioned. It was about the Muslim Brotherhood. The article quoted a Brotherhood leader as talking about his hostility toward Israel, etc. At this point, I was saying to myself: There goes a million dollars in free publicity!
The program’s critics submitted the article to one of these mainstream prestigious “fact-checking” sites. The site called up an “expert” whom I’ve never heard of at an American institution and asked him about it. He said that he had never heard of the Egyptian Brotherhood leader. The site then pronounced, on the basis of that one conversation, that the article was inaccurate and criticized the program for using it. Note that my article was sourced and if anyone had asked me I could have shown them the original and many similar statements,as well as proof of the importance of the Brotherhood leader making the statement.
I only know about this because I was listening to the program and they cited the article (without my name) and of course I recognized the quote. Nobody consulted me at any point on this matter.
So to quote a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood based on a reliable (and available) translation as saying that the Brotherhood wants an Islamist state and wants to wipe out Israel is considered to be not credible on the basis of a statement by one American who, to my knowledge, has never done any research on the Brotherhood. Yet there are scores of such Brotherhood statements, including those from both the leader and deputy leader of the Brotherhood as well as many recognized leaders and in Brotherhood publications.