Click here if you would prefer to view my column below cross-posted on Newsbusters.
Amid the media's vilification of Rep. Peter King, their continuing coverage of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison's "tearful struggle" stands in stark contrast.
"Amid the raw feelings of Thursday's House hearings on domestic Islamic radicalization, Rep. Keith Ellison could not fight back the tears" as he recounted a story about Mohammed Salman Hamdani. Rep. Ellison "choked up and spoke haltingly of how some tried to 'smear' Hamdani because of his faith," declared the Minneapolis Star Tribune on March 10. The manner in which Hamdani was defamed, and the identities of the guilty, has remained ambiguous to date.
Echoing Rep. Ellison's Twitter post "America is big enuf for all of us," USA Today declared "Rep. Keith Ellison" has made it clear "America is big enough for us all." Cursorily noting that "Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. vowed not to bow to 'political correctness,'" it went on to give an in-depth reaction provided by a talk show host based out of Minnesota: "As I was wiping my tears," she said, "I was thinking what is it about my faith that is not being accepted as an American? My faith? My scarf? My ethnicity?"
Absent from all of the media's coverage of Rep. Ellison's weeping is the Title 1 of Section 102 in the Patriot Act passed by Congress after 9/11:
Many Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have acted heroically during the attacks on the United States, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old New Yorker of Pakistani descent, who is believed to have gone to the World Trade Center to offer rescue assistance and is now missing.
It seems absurd to keep reporting on the fact that Rep. Ellison broke down in tears over an alleged perception of Mr. Hamdani without also noting the facts as they were codified into law. What someone should be reporting on is the fact that Rep. Ellison did not tell both sides of the story.
When Rep. Ellison first ran for the Minnesota Legislature under the name Keith Ellison-Muhammad in 1998, he was a self-identified member of the Nation of Islam. It wasn't until 2002 that he won a seat as the mere Keith Ellison. As a third-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School in 1989-90, Ellison wrote two columns for the Minnesota Daily under the name "Keith Hakim."
You can read about the many activities that Rep. Ellison engaged in under those names in this 2006 article from the Weekly Standard. Among other things, he helped out with a Minneapolis gang front known as "United for Peace," a group suspected of murdering police officers. Ellison is on record as leading the gang at rallies in chants of "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace."
Rep. Ellison is an unlikely candidate to talk about the peaceful nature of Muslims in America. That is the real news, yet it is unfortunately news on which the media is not focusing.