Saturday, November 23, 2013

The "Arab American" News: There They Go, Again: The News Incompetence or Duplicity?


News publisher Osama Siblani


                     Paper’s Headline: Hamad “leaves” and Abdrabboh to “head local chapter”

After months of immense pressure, of a coordinated smear campaign of Imad Hamad and the American Arab anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Imad Hamad retired. The ADC appointed attorney Fatina Abdrabboh, a Palestinian American attorney as the new ADC regional director.

The Orchestrated Campaign of Osama Siblani and the “Arab American” News

Many things are still not clear about the agenda and the motivations of the accusers and their supporters. However, to many people, including myself, one thing is crystal clear: The "Arab American" News and its publisher Osama Siblani played a major role in the crusade against Imad Hamad and ADC. From day one Osama Siblani claimed that ADC “dropped the ball on us” and that ADC has a “credibility problem.”  See  http://ihsanalkhatib.blogspot.com/2013/06/osama-siblani-reinvents-himself-on-arab.html

Rana Abbas and the Ghostwritten Editorial: The Cardinal Sin

The manufactured scandal broke from Osama’s office. Osama was the chief person to speak to the media when the scandal broke out, and he opened his paper to all sorts of people, such as his buddy and BFF assistant US attorney Abed Hammoud, to attack Imad Hamad and ADC. Even in reporting on the matter only those speaking against Imad Hamad and ADC were interviewed or were quoted prominently. Then there was the Mother of All Journalistic Scandals, the scandal of scandals, when, apparently, Osama Siblani let one of the alleged victims Rana Abbas, a Contributing Editor of the paper ghostwrite the paper’s editorial on the issue- in the name of the newspaper and the Arab American community. That is a clear breach of trust and basic journalistic norms and ethics. Of course the assessment that Rana Abbas herself wrote the editorial is my inference and conclusion based on the fact that she is the Contributing Editor, my familiarity with her writing style and my familiarity with the writing style of other writers of the paper. The paper itself and its publisher never denied my charge, which is a serious charge for a publication that values honesty and integrity- not that I am saying that they do value honesty and integrity at the “Arab American” News. I recently received a Cease and Desist letter from an attorney, Edward Youmans, Warren David’s brother in law [what a small world!]  threatening me with a defamation suit and other “remedies” because I concluded from my reading and analysis of the editorial that Rana Abbas ghostwrote the editorial. See here the letter from the attorney http://ihsanalkhatib.blogspot.com/2013/11/within-days-invasion-of-my-facebook.html and here is my response to the letter http://ihsanalkhatib.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-response-to-attorney-youmans-cease.html

Reporting Hamad’s Retirement, Abdrabboh’s Appointment

Imad  Hamad’s retirement is major Arab American news, especially in Michigan. These are some of the few headlines on the news:

“Civil rights leader Imad Hamad retires in the face of sex harassment, assault allegations.” Detroit Free Press‎ -November 22, 2013.

“Imad Hamad retires as American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's.” Michigan director. WXYZ- November 23, 2013.

“Hamad resigns as regional director of Arab-American civil rights group.” The Detroit News:- November 23, 2013.

How did the Arab American News headline the story?

“Imad Hamad leaves ADC Michigan; Attorney Fatina Abedrabboh to head local chapter.” November 22, 2013.

The News “Objectivity” and “Fairness”

Throughout the manufactured scandal the "Arab American" News and Osama Siblani, incredulously and shamelessly, claimed that they are being objective and honest in reporting on the matter. They were neither honest nor objective. It is an outrage to journalism and an insult to the reader for them to claim objectivity and honest reporting on the ADC matter in particular.  The dishonesty and bias continues. While other outlets clearly headlined their story as Imad retiring, the News decided to lead the story with the “objective” and “fair” term of art "leaves."

The Inexplicable/Inexcusable Abdrabboh “heads the local chapter”

The paper claimed that attorney Fatina Abdrabboh would be “heading the local chapter.”  This shows one of two things- intent on misleading the reader, confusing the public, putting the ADC in the position to begin Abdrabboh's tenure with a release addressing the nature of her appointment. Or it shows serious ignorance of the basic operations of ADC in Detroit. It is either the paper is incompetent or dishonest or both.
                    ADC, the office, the advisory board and the Detroit chapter
ADC’s institutional presence in Michigan constitutes of the ADC office headed by the regional director, the ADC advisory board chosen by the director to advise the ADC Michigan office, and the ADC chapter which constitutes of volunteers voted by members of the ADC Detroit chapter. The chapter and the office are institutionally and organizationally distinct from each other. Mr. Imad Hamad headed the office and Abdrabboh was his replacement. Abdrabboh is ADC Michigan regional director. She is an employee of ADC national. She is separate and apart from the ADC Michigan chapter.

Anyone who has been involved with ADC Michigan knows this institutional reality. Osama Siblani and the Contributing Editor and the former deputy director of ADC Michigan Rana Abbas should know this.  But we cannot rule out incompetence as a reason for the misleading reporting. Even though my money is that it is a witch’s brew of incompetence and dishonesty.

 

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