Stu Blog: Politifail. Factchecking Politifact’s claims about the Muslim Brotherhood and Glenn Beck

Politifact, the fact-checking arm of the St. Petersburg Times, stamped a big fat FALSE on a claim Glenn made about Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood last week.  But were they correct?  We here at the Stu Blog rate their claim an UTTERFAIL.

Here is the claim the Politifact decided to (poorly) fact-check:

"We told you this week how if (President Hosni) Mubarak does step down, however, the Muslim Brotherhood would be the most likely group to seize power. They've openly stated they want to declare war on Israel and they would end the peace agreement with Israel and they would work towards instituting something we told you about, a caliphate."

That’s a lot to unpack. We decided to check Beck’s claim that the Brotherhood has "openly stated they want to declare war on Israel," because so much of the debate in the United States revolves around the Muslim Brotherhood's’ intentions toward the main U.S. ally in the region.

Fair enough.  They do a little homework and come up with this:

Sure enough, three days earlier he informed viewers that "a top official in the Muslim Brotherhood has just said that … ‘The people should be prepared for war against Israel.’"

Who was that top official? Beck’s website pointed to a Feb. 1, 2011, item in the Jerusalem Post that had a "leading member" of the Brotherhood, Muhammad Ghannem, declaring that "the people should be prepared for war against Israel."

Since they’re not saying the quote was inaccurate, or that it came from a source outside the Muslim Brotherhood, you might assume that they would rate it as “true.”  But, Glenn Beck doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt.

Also, notice that they’re not actually fact-checking Glenn.  They aren’t saying that he misquoted the source of the story, the Jerusalem Post.  If anything, this should theoretically be a fact-check of the Jerusalem Post.  If somehow the Jerusalem Post was wrong, it’s hard to blame Glenn for reporting their error.*

So, what mental gymnastics are they using to get to a FALSE rating?  They go, without irony, to quite possibly the least trustworthy source imaginable when dealing with Glenn Beck: The Woodrow Wilson Center.  I’m not kidding.

"I have never heard of [Muhammad Ghannem]," said Dr. Jason Brownlee, a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. "It’s a big organization, and there may be people who say things like that, but that doesn’t mean it’s policy. It doesn’t jibe with my experience visiting Egypt and doing research on the Muslim Brotherhood for over a decade."

So, the FALSE rating comes from Glenn accurately quoting a newspaper, accurately quoting a Muslim Brotherhood member, who apparently doesn’t rise high enough on the Muslim Brotherhood popularity list for the Woodrow Wilson Center.  What a devastating case.

Perhaps if this was the whole story, and you decided that you trusted good ol’ Woodrow over the Jerusalem Post, you could give Glenn a MOSTLY TRUE, but it should never get worse than that.  However, unfortunately for Politifact, that’s not the whole story.

For example, lets look at “The Voice of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood” Youssef al-Qaradawi.  He is described by that notably non-right wing magazine Der Spiegel as “the father figure of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's best-organized opposition group” with an audience of 60 million Sunni Muslims.  He is also ranked the 9th most influential Muslim on the planet.

What does the father figure of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood have to say about Glenn’s “FALSE” claim that they “openly stated they want to declare war on Israel.”

As Der Spiegel writes:

“He hates Israel and would love to take up arms himself. In one of his sermons, he asked God "to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them.”

You see, leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood most certainly do want war with Israel.  Glenn’s statement is clearly true.  And Politifact is standing deep in a puddle of UTTERFAIL with their false rating.

But Youssef al-Qaradawi doesn’t just validate the narrow part of the statement that Politifact focused on.Glenn also said the Muslim Brotherhood “would work towards instituting something we told you about, a caliphate."

From Der Spiegel:

"Qaradawi advocates establishing a "United Muslim Nations" as a contemporary form of the caliphate and the only alternative to the hegemony of the West. “

And Glenn said the Brotherhood “would end the peace agreement with Israel.”

This part actually isn’t controversial at all, which is likely why Politifact ignored it.  The favorability of Israel in Egypt is literally 3%.  Even the guy America hopes takes over the presidency has already said the peace accord is dead.  But if you really are questioning whether the Brotherhood would end the peace accord—I give you this gem from the “The Voice of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood”:

"Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler."

Look,  Politifact is too far left for my taste, but I think they do some good work.  However, this attack on Glenn is a mistake and it should be corrected.

*NOTE: For example, for several weeks, Media Matters has been breathlessly printing the completely false claim that we charged for the viewing of our TV show in Wilmington, OH in December.  We’ve just sort of been laughing at them from afar—watching them make asses of themselves.  But to be fair, they got that fact from a local Wilmington paper that just made a mistake.  You can’t really blame Media Matters for that.  I suppose they could have done some leg work to check it out, like maybe calling one person in the town to verify it before accusing Glenn of pocketing the money.   But hey, it’s increasingly irrelevant Media Matters we’re talking about.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!