This letter is in response to the March 6, 2023 KHQA CBS/ABC7 broadcast filed by Sydney Brooks, entitled “Lawsuit Alleges Muslim Men Praying Together Were Doused in Pepper Spray.”
I am writing to tell the newsroom that this broadcast was a promotion piece for the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
TV stations such as Missouri’s KHQA apparently believe that CAIR filing a lawsuit is news, perhaps because several other outlets are reporting on CAIR’s lawsuit, as well as the Associated Press. The problem with that is all the news outlets covering this story use Margaret Stafford’s piece for the Associated Press as their source, despite the fact that Stafford’s piece in turn uses CAIR as its source.
This means that the only version of what happened in the Missouri prison comes from CAIR. It is easy to see how someone might think that this is what actually happened, and that CAIR is now working to bring the culprits to justice.
But if the TV station had been less intent on promoting the narrative that American Muslim need CAIR to protect them, they might have informed the public about this from CAIR’s lawsuit:
Defendant Basham ordered that there be no more praying in the housing unit. Two plaintiffs—Kent and Smith—abruptly stopped their prayers and stepped away. The others sought to quickly finish up. Nevertheless, five were pepper sprayed and one was viciously beaten, just because they prayed.
They weren’t “beaten” simply for praying. Sounds like when the group “sought” to finish up, the guards took this organized challenge to their authority as a mutiny and thrashed them. Still, no one required hospitalization, or sustained any lasting injuries.
Additionally, CAIR’s suit is seeking injunctive relief, but there is nothing to enjoin. For whatever reason, the prison staff have sent the different prisoners to separate correctional facilities.
Whatever the case may be here, it should go without saying that prisons do not have to let Muslims use their religion to test the limits of a prison’s authority.
Again, the fact that someone has filed a lawsuit is not in and of itself newsworthy. There has to be some contributing element such as a celebrity, or important government agency to make someone filing a lawsuit news. In this case, the newsworthy element is CAIR. At least to some.
However, we know that CAIR has proven to be an unreliable source of information.
- It defamed a Municipal Court Judge.
- It claimed that resisting arrest in Oak Lawn, Illinois doesn’t matter.
- And recently, CAIR told us that sometimes it is just another yahoo on Twitter.
Moreover, the fact that the Missouri Department of Corrections can’t comment on an ongoing legal matter is a sure sign that this is another example of CAIR trying its case in public.
Of course, anyone can file a lawsuit. But wouldn’t winning a lawsuit be more newsworthy?
However, if CAIR’s lawsuit turns out to be one of the millions and millions of frivolous lawsuits filed in this country every year, it is certain that the media will not report that.