Friday, January 28, 2005

Pandering to Islamophobia

The following letter has been submitted to the Post Standard for publication:

Dear Editor,

You should be commended for your emphasis on a recent Cornell Study that found endemic Islamophobia in our country--44% of Americans favor restricting the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Bravo!

Conversely, another element of the Post Standard has consistently pandered to the most prejudiced members of our community by feeding them a diet of misrepresentations that demean Muslims should be chided. Shame on you.

The Dhafir trial is the case in point. When the Tsunami hit in the Far East there were innumerable articles on the suffering of the victims and the generosity of local donors. Compare this to the coverage of the Iranian earthquake a year earlier. When one of the members of Dr. Dhafir's charity appealed to you for help you chose to emphasize his connection to Help the Needy and raise the specter of terrorism.

Coverage of the trial, as numerous unpublished letters to you have pointed out, has been pro- prosecution. NY Post- like tabloid headlines often emphasized a miniscule pro-prosecution point that made Dr. Dhafir look bad.
In January when the bulk of the court time was taken by the defense's cross-examination, you choose to report only sporadically. Prior to that you reported mostly the prosecution's allegations on a daily basis.

It is clear that one of the objectives of your coverage of the Dhafir trial has been to pander to Islamophobia.

"First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7 :5

God Bless,
Madis Senner

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Post Standard's Blind man's defense

Although, Richard Lindsay of North Syracuse NY has never attended Dr. Dhafir's trial he has read enough of the Post Standard's coverage to know that their reporting has been "fair and balanced". Mr. Lindsay reminds me of the blind man that said, when his wife put on a new dress, that he had never seen a prettier dress.

I still can't figure out whether the Post Standard is being cynical and humorous--or is it just showing its own ignorance in printing Mr. Lindsay's letter as a confirmation of the public's perception that their coverage of the Dahfir trial has been "fair and balanced".

Dhafir trial coverage fair and balanced

To the Editor:

The Jan. 9 letter by Katherine Hughes, "Dhafir trial coverage has prosecutorial tune," could not be more in error.
She says this newspaper's reporting of Dr. Dhafir's trial heavily favors the prosecution's side of the case. She also feels this paper is denying the right to be held innocent until proven guilty. She bases her assertions on her two-day-a-week attendance at the trial since it started in October.

Although not attending the trial, I have read all the reports on the proceedings since October, and disagree completely with Ms. Hughes, finding the reporting fair and balanced.

Finally, Dr. Dhafir's lengthy trial flies in the face of Ms. Hughes' question, "Doesn't he (Dr. Dhafir) deserve the right to be held innocent until proven guilty?"

Richard Lindsay
North Syracuse

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Post Standard Finally Prints "1 " Letter Criticizing it

Letters to the Editor

Post-Standard Letter

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Dhafir trial coverage has prosecutorial tone

To the Editor:

I have been attending the trial of Dr. Rafil Dhafir two days a week since it started in October. My experience of the paper's reporting on this trial suggests prosecution could not do a better job of presenting its side of the case if it were writing the articles.

Significant evidence for the defense is often ignored. If mentioned at all, it is buried under big, damning headlines. What happens in the courtroom and what is reported in the newspaper often have only a passing resemblance.

More than half-a-million Iraqi children under the age of five died as a direct result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq. Dr. Dhafir's actions may have helped save lives. Doesn't he deserve the right to be held innocent until proven guilty? Shouldn't we as citizens in a democracy help ensure this right, even if the newspaper denies it?

Katherine Hughes