Joel Mowbray reports: The AP needs a correction

Yesterday I noted the page-one Washington Times story by Joel Mowbray ([email protected]) on American foreign aid that supports two Palestinian universities. Joel has forwarded the first of his follow-up items on the story:

Media bias issues aside, the AP is generally solid factually. And when it comes to covering the State Department, the AP is better than most. That’s thanks to seasoned correspondent Barry Schweid. If only he had written the story on the State Department’s reaction to my front-page Washington Times article.
In an un-bylined 139 word article, the AP messed up a basic fact. Here’s the lede: “The State Department said Monday there is no truth to a report that the United States has provided millions of dollars in financial support to two Palestinian universities, including one controlled by Hamas.”
Actually, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department HAVE acknowledged that significant U.S. assistance has gone to both schools. State’s argument is that neither is tied to terrorism in any way that would conflict with the law — far different than claiming neither school receives U.S. support.
In fact, State didn’t challenge the accuracy of a single fact presented. The agency’s only beef is with the characterization of those facts. Its primary dispute is the characterization that Islamic University is Hamas-controlled. But here are the facts:
– Islamic University shares the same founder as Hamas.
– Three current and former top Hamas leaders have used the school as their base.
– The current head of Hamas is on the board of trustees.
– 16 of its teachers and lecturers are elected Hamas members of the
parliament.
– Hamas used the campus to host a tribute to “martyr” (and Hamas founder) Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Given those facts, how can State claim that Hamas doesn’t control Islamic University?

To check yesterday’s State Department daily press briefing, click here and scroll to the first question.

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