Who was Anwar Al Awlaki and why did the U.S. government kill him in a 2011 drone strike, despite his U.S. citizenship?

The latter question has been answered with the court-ordered release of a Justice Department memo justifying the action. Awlaki, held “operational and leadership roles” in Al Qaeda in Yemen and “continue[d] to plot attacks intended to kill Americans.”

The first question – who he was – is one many in the media won’t be too eager to revisit, because they got it spectacularly wrong for a long time.



Pamela Geller announced at her Atlas Shrugs blog Wednesday morning that "the British government has banned us (herself and fellow Stop Islamization of America activist Robert Spencer) from entering the country ... In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead." She has posted the letter (Page 1; Page 2) from the British Home Office Secretary (UK's equivalent of our Homeland Security) telling her that her presence would not be "conducive to the public good."

A later post at Geller's blog has a collection of press reports which readers should review for the predictable signs of bias. One which isn't there is from the Associated Press, written by James Brooks (bolds are mine):



Note:  This post has been revised to reflect the Times's 2012 coverage. The original version erroneously linked to a 2010 article. I sincerely regret the error.

The New York Times's coverage of year's annual Muslim Day parade in Manhattan appears to have consisted of a photo at This Week in Pictures and another at the City Room blog.

At the end of the parade, in news not relayed by the Times, at least one speaker called for suppression and criminalization of free speech and another seemed to revel in violence-based rhetoric. One can hardly argue that these presentations weren't related to the parade, since invited political dignitaries were on hand, including one gentleman, Democrat New York State Senator Tony Avello, who walked out after hearing calls for punishment speech seen to commit "blasphemy" against Muslim prophet Muhammed.



On Sept. 11, 2012, riots erupted in Egypt, Libya and now Yemen, ostensibly over what the media call an anti-Muslim Youtube video made in America. In Benghazi, militants murdered the United States ambassador to Libya and three U.S. diplomats.

American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.



With the news that an American air strike has killed the U.S.-born head of Al Quaeda in Yemen, Anwar Al Awlaki, the media will explain his significance in the terrorist organization, and his role in inspiring the Ft. Hood shooter and the “underwear bomber.” What they probably won’t tell you is that they once celebrated Al Awlaki as a “moderate” and a bridge-builder “between Islam and the West.”

Awlaki once served as imam of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Northern Virginia, the very same place that attracted many of the 9/11 hijackers and, later, Major Nadal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter.



CNN's Fareed Zakaria made it quite clear last summer that he supported the construction of the Ground Zero mosque. He was much more neutral in an interview with the mosque's developer Sunday, but was content to let his guest tell his side of the story without any scrutiny from the CNN host.

Although the once-proposed mosque is no longer making headlines, Zakaria decided anyway to feature the mosque's developer Sharif El-Gamal for a soft interview one year after the controversy ignited. El-Gamal received fawning coverage by CBS and NBC last summer for his work.



Last week, the media rightfully crowed over U.S. success in killing Osama Bin Laden, an unquestioned bad guy in the war on terror. They noted that intelligence gathered from that raid may have led to an unsuccessful U.S. Predator drone attack on Anwar Al Awlaki, leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Unfortunately, while Al Awlaki is very much as bad as Bin Laden, the media haven’t always known it.

The mainstream media have recently described this America-born terrorist as a “central figure” of Al Qaeda and the New York Times, ABC News, and MSNBC have all called him “radical” when reporting on the recent attempted drone attack. Al Awlaki has been linked to the 2009 Christmas Day Underwear bombing attempt in Detroit, the Fort Hood Shooting and the failed Times Square bombing.

But just 10 years ago they claimed he was a “moderate” a bridge-builder, and a “prayer leader.”



In an interview with liberal actress Shirley MacLaine, HLN's Joy Behar admitted that Bill O'Reilly "bullies you around a little bit" and suggested he needs to a figure to "smack him around" as the two women teed off on the popular Fox News host.

"Well, he is little bit intimidating as you say," Behar remarked to MacLaine confirming her . He bullies you a little bit, I think. I felt that." At the end of the segment MacLaine insisted that O'Reilly needs a motherly figure like Joy Behar to control him. "To smack him around," Behar added, and MacLaine agreed.
 



CNN's Deborah Feyerick performed a cut-and-paste job on Thursday's Newsroom by partially re-running a biased report from September 2010 on the apparent rise of "Islamophobia" in the United States. Just as before, all but one of Feyerick's sound bites during her report came from those who were worried about the supposed "intensifying hostility and rise in hate speech" against Muslims.

Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 40 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, by putting it in the context of Rep. Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims: "King says his radicalization of Islam hearing is going to help protect America from a terrorist attack. Well, critics, they call it a witch hunt. One of the concerns is that it is going to cause more Americans to fear and hate Muslims. Our Deborah Feyerick reports Islamophobia is on the rise." A chyron echoed Malveaux's last sentence: "Islamophobia on the Rise."



Tuesday's "Morning Joe" featured guest Daisy Khan, wife of Imam Rauf who tried to establish a mosque two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks. The panel praised Khan and her husband as peace-making moderates, and arrogantly questioned why more Americans couldn't accept the mosque at Ground Zero.

"America is the beacon of the world," co-host Mika Brzezinski said echoing Khan's earlier words affirming American freedom. "And yet, we had such a controversy about the community center that you and your husband were trying to start blocks away from Ground Zero," she added, questioning the American "understanding" of the center.

"One of the most depressing things to me was the fact that in 2010, Americans seemed to be less accepting of Muslim Americans than they were even in the months after 9/11," co-host Joe Scarborough lamented from his soapbox. "Why do you think we Americans had such a reaction – again, in New York, a place that's supposed to be the most open-minded and pluralistic?" he asked guest Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine.
 

 



  Appearing as a guest on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, Steve Roberts - who has worked for both the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report - after conceding that the Tea Party movement is important, dismissively asserted that the movement "didn’t win. You only won a couple of seats." Roberts:

I think that they are an important part of the American landscape. Now I don't think they're as important as they think they are. I mean, you had people coming into Washington this week and saying, wait, we won. No, you didn't win. You won a couple of seats, and you got to deal with everybody else.

After host Howard Kurtz wondered "did the media kind of turn on" President Obama and claimed that the media had not spent enough time giving credit to Obama for his recent legislative successes, leading to guest Thomas Frank of Harper’s to bring up complaints against Obama by disaffected liberals, Roberts asserted that there is no liberal media bias:



Condemning everyday Americans as racist, anti-immigrant Islamophobes was a favorite media theme in 2010, as documented by the Media Research Center's year-end Best Notable Quotables of 2010. Polls showed most Americans supported Arizona's effort to curb illegal immigration and opposed building an Islamic center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers — but on both scores the media elite stacked their coverage against the public.

Winning the "Hazing Arizona Award for Denigrating Immigration Enforcement" was longtime New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who summoned images of resistance to Nazi occupation in an April 27 op-ed hoping for protests of the "police state" she claimed Arizona had become for trying to protect itself from illegal immigration.