KHOU11 News (Houston): Reporter Andrew Horansky
Following the Clarion Project’s 2014 article on Mahmoudberg, KHOU 11 News reporter Andrew Horansky dismissed concerns about the site as “rumors” based on “scathing online articles.”
Not a single quote from the FBI documents or the article was included. The author of the original article, Ryan Mauro, called Horansky, who responded that he did not see the FBI documents that could be viewed through links at the bottom of the article. Horansky did not even contact the Clarion Project to ask to see the FBI documents before reporting on them. Nor did Horansky’s article mention the origin of the information about Mahmoudberg, thereby preventing the audience from learning more.
He quoted a neighbor who said she had no problems with them and complained about people starting “crap” about them. He also quoted Freeport Police Chief Dan Pennington as saying, “We’ve spoke with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. There’s just nothing out there” and “They [FBI] tell us there’s no credible information about that site in terrorism.”
The reporter filmed from the front of the site, showing a basketball hoop and chickens, saying that there is no sign that the location is concerning. He did, however, mention in passing that the Mahmoudberg residents stopped him at the gate and would not give him permission to come onto the property.[i]
The audience was not told that the FBI files say it is 7 to 10 acres large (one neighbor confidently said it was as large as 25 acres), leaving viewers with the impression that they saw the entirety of the compound.
Washington Post: Philip Bump
Philip Bump of the Washington Post wrote a one-sided article that misrepresented reports about MOA after an attendee at a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally asked a question about terrorist training camps on American soil.[ii]
For instance, Bump dismisses a 2005 National White Collar Crime Center report that lists MOA training camps because of its focus on criminal activity and the long time that has passed since a confirmed MOA-orchestrated terrorist attack in North America. However, the report specifically and repeatedly explains how MOA uses white collar crime to support terrorist activity.
Bump also only quotes supportive neighbors and local law enforcement personnel. He does not provide information about contradictory assessments, including quotes from declassified FBI documents contained within the reports he criticizes.
In her August 2016 article, Eleanor J. Bader of “Truthout” provided a wholly positive treatment of MOA and provided several quotes from MOA officials. No information about the basis of the criticisms of MOA, or even links to the articles, was provided. The article placed responsibility for terrorist/hate crime plots against MOA upon critics of the organization.[iii]
[i] Horansky, Andrew. (2014). Small Muslim Community Struggles with ‘Terrorist’ Rumors. KHOU 11 News.
[ii] Bump, Philip. (2015). Donald Trump and the ‘Terrorist Training Camps’ Conspiracy Theory, Explained. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/09/18/donald-trump-and-the-terrorist-training-camps-conspiracy-theory-explained/
[iii] Bader, Elanor J. (2016). Facing Terrorist Threats from Right-Wing Bigots, New York Muslim Community Sues. Truthout. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37293-facing-terrorist-threats-from-right-wing-bigots-new-york-muslim-community-sues