ICYMI: Washington Post Gives Rep. Sean Duffy Four Pinocchios For Peddling Conspiracy Theory

Aug 26, 2016

In Reno, Nevada yesterday, Sec. Hillary Clinton slammed Donald Trump for his courtship of the “alt-right,” a fringe, far-right wing of the Republican Party that thrives on bigoted language, divisive policy ideas, and routinely promotes conspiracy theories from the far reaches of the Internet. In her speech, Sec. Clinton outlined in specific detail how Trump’s campaign has courted members of the alt-right since the inception of his campaign.

Trump’s history with the alt-right is well documented at this point, but it seems Rep. Sean Duffy wants to ride the Trump Train coming out of Alt-Right Railroad Station as far as it will take him. In an interview with CNN this week, Rep. Duffy asked on live television, “Why aren’t we talking about Huma [Abedin] and her ties to the Muslim Brotherhood? Why aren’t we talking about the fact that she was an editor for a Sharia newspaper?”

Duffy peddling an alt-right conspiracy theory prompted the Washington Post to fact-check his claim, which of course they found to be “bogus,” and awarded the Congressman four Pinocchios on their fact-check scale. 

This is what happens when leaders like Rep. Sean Duffy treat tabloid sensationalism like Gospel. Take a look at the Washington Post fact-check below. 

Washington Post: Does Huma Abedin have ‘ties’ to the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Facts

First of all, Abedin was not associated with a newspaper but a staid academic journal called the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. The journal is edited by Abedin’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, who is a dean of a Saudi woman’s college in Jiddah that Clinton visited when she was secretary of state.

The peer-reviewed journal had been founded by Abedin’s late father, Syed, who died in 1993. Circulation figures are not available, but the online resource WorldCat says it can be found in fewer than 600 libraries around the world. (Generally, academic journals are mostly sold to libraries, at high cost.)

The fact that Huma Abedin was listed as an assistant editor between 1996 and 2008 is not news, as that had previously been reported in 2012. The Clinton campaign says Abedin played no role in editing articles; her brother and sister are also listed as staff members.

The New York Post described the journal as “a radical Muslim publication” but that’s ridiculous, according to experts on Islam and members of the advisory board. The New York Post report cherry-picked quotes and mischaracterized articles published over the years, including by Saleha Abedin, according to a review of the articles by the Fact Checker.


The Pinocchio Test

Duffy asked why the alleged Muslim Brotherhood connections to Huma Abedin are not being talked about. Perhaps it’s because they are bogus. Abedin has lived in the United States for 23 years, working in the White House, the Senate and the State Department. Vague suggestions of suspicious-sounding connections to her parents don’t pass the laugh test, even at the flimsiest standard of guilt by association.

The journal edited by her mother, meanwhile, is not “sharia newspaper” but a sober academic journal with a range of viewpoints on Muslim life around the world. Four Pinocchios.

Read the full article here.