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Why did Sharron Angle think Sharia had taken hold in Dearborn?

Adam Serwer is a staff writer with The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

Yesterday, Greg reported Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle's latest comments on how she came to believe that two towns, one of which doesn't exist, had been taken over by "Sharia law." Angle's explanation for stating that Sharia had taken over in Dearborn, Mich., was that "I had read that in one place, that they have started using some Sharia law there. That's what I had read."

What Angle was probably referring to is a myth propagated by Newt Gingrich, that Christian missionaries who were proselytizing outside an Arab festival in Dearborn were arrested by police on the say-so of stealth jihadists upholding sharia-based prohibitions against converting Muslims. Gingrich called it "a clear case of freedom of speech and the exercise of religious freedom being sacrificed in deference to sharia's intolerance against the preaching of religions other than Islam." In fact, the cops were called by a Christian volunteer who thought the missionaries were harassing the patrons. The anecdote was in a July piece published in Human Events and was one of several misleading examples Gingrich used to argue against allowing an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan.

It may well be that Angle heard this anecdote, or some even further embellished version, and simply decided to repeat it even though she hadn't the foggiest idea what she was talking about. Someone who repeats baseless conspiracy theories without making a cursory effort to verify them? Sounds like she'd make a great senator.

To be fair though, Angle obviously isn't the only one who keeps taking Gingrich's distortions seriously -- the mainstream media have been touting Gingrich as a credible conservative voice for years. That should have ended a long time ago.

By Adam Serwer  | October 14, 2010; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Republicans  
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Comments

How do you know that she had read about, or heard what Newt had said?

Has she or someone on her staff, actually said that was where she got the idea from?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 14, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"...the mainstream media have been touting Gingrich as a credible conservative voice for years. That should have ended a long time ago."

I agree with you that Gingrich is a discredited blowhard.

Could you try doing some investigation as to WHY supposed news organizations continue to treat him as a credible commentator? That seems to be a core root of the problem...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 14, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

If you read the article, he doesn't say that Angle got her idea from Gingrich. Angle herself seems unsure of where she got her ideas, though it didn't stop her from repeating them without actually verifying anything. Serwer only offers it up as a likely source for her comments.

Posted by: mustangs79 | October 14, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"It may well be that Angle heard this anecdote, or some even further embellished version, and simply decided to repeat it even though she hadn't the foggiest idea what she was talking about. Someone who repeats baseless conspiracy theories without making a cursory effort to verify them? Sounds like she'd make a great senator."

Another outstanding leader brought to you by the Republican Party. The Palinization of the GOP would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 14, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@Adam (or Greg)

Again, the question goes begging, how does Gingrich land up on our tv screens so often?

This seems to me a very important story worth reporting on because of its consequences for how citizens come to understand the world and because THAT is exactly the goal of propaganda efforts.

What role played by producers/bookers? What role played by organizations established specifically to place certain voices onto our tv screens?

Posted by: bernielatham | October 14, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse


If you read the article, he doesn't say that Angle got her idea from Gingrich. Angle herself seems unsure of where she got her ideas, though it didn't stop her from repeating them without actually verifying anything. Serwer only offers it up as a likely source for her comments.

Posted by: mustangs79 | October 14, 2010 10:54 AM

................

The woman did not just mention Dearborn, Michigan. She also mentioned some town in Texas, and generalized about their being other places around the country where Sharia law was being applied. That is why I would like to have her pushed to back up her claims, instead of just letting her off the hook so easily.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 14, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"Someone who repeats baseless conspiracy theories without making a cursory effort to verify them? Sounds like she'd make a great senator."

For either party!

Posted by: sbj3 | October 14, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Could you try doing some investigation as to WHY supposed news organizations continue to treat him as a credible commentator?"

Great point, which extends beyond Gingrich to a plethora of Right Wing blowhards. The Right has essentially neutered the MSM. Except for political junkies like us, which are only a sliver of the general public, most people get snippets of news and generally remember things that are said over and over that they become "conventional wisdom." The Right does a great job in banging home a relentless message with an array of talking points, whereas the Left gets itself tied all up into knots with nuance and discussions that start with "on the other hand...."

Posted by: filmnoia | October 14, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Greg and Adam:

To be fair though, Angle obviously isn't the only one who keeps taking Gingrich's distortions seriously


_________________________________

Is there ANY way we can start to talk about the ECONOMY


And Obama's job performance on ECONOMIC ISSUES?


The scrutiny to the Tea Party candidates is RIDICULOUS

Let's start to analyze some of the SITTING DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS WHO ARE UP FOR RE-ELECTION

- Guam is about to capsize - ALL democrats believe that, right ?

- One democrat who took YEARS to get out of office was found with large amounts of cash in his freezer, ALL democrats do that, right?


- Charlie Rangel is STILL in office - how many tax laws has he ABUSED ???


- The Congressional Black Caucus members have ALL sorts of questions of nepotism and scholarship money abuse.


SO THAT REPRESENTS ALL DEMOCRATS, RIGHT???


________________


Do you see the logical fallacy here - the democrats are running around, WILD - trying to SMEAR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE OF THE TEA PARTY -

- with ten-year old statements of a few individuals

- AND trying to draw a picture of the entire movement that way.


WELL guess what? the democrats ARE MUCH WORSE.


ALL the democrats do is CHEAT ON THEIR TAXES LIKE RANGEL, FIX SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS AND KEEP CASH IN THEIR FREEZERS.

The Ameican Public is constantly asking the democrats to be more reasonable - and they just continue - it is getting to be a joke.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | October 14, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

O/T:

Alan Grayson to FBI:

Robert S. Mueller III
Director Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20535

Robert O'Neill
US Attorney
Central District of Florida
400 North Tampa Street, Suite 3200
Tampa, FL 33602

Dear US Attorney Robert O'Neill and Director Mueller,

When it comes to foreclosures, there is mounting evidence of a state of rampant lawlessness in Central Florida. There are increasing signs that big banks routinely evade laws meant to protect homeowners, in many well-documented cases of ‘foreclosure fraud’. Despite the demonstrated existence, for instance, of ‘robosigners’ signing affidavits attesting to documents that they have never seen, the parties engaging in such misconduct are not being brought to justice. Big banks are mischaracterizing this as mere “technical problems,” and apologizing only where there is clear and very public evidence of harm.

It is not enough for big banks only to apologize for fraud, perjury, and even breaking and entering – when they are caught. It is time for handcuffs. Fraud does not become legal just because a big bank does it.

On September 20, 2010, after my office found evidence of systemic foreclosure fraud perpetrated by big banks and foreclosure mills, I called for a halt to illegal foreclosures.

Since then, big banks such as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC, PNC and others have suspended foreclosures or foreclosure sales. These banks are still claiming that the massive fraud they have perpetrated amounts to nothing more than a series of technical mistakes. This is absurd. This is deliberate, systemic fraud, and it is a crime.

(see the rest at www.market-ticker.org)

Will Obama come out on the side of the banks again? Is he their water carrier?

Posted by: Papagnello | October 14, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

That the GOP considers Gingrich to be one of the best and brightest "idea men" they have says something.

The concept that candidates like Angle, O'Donnell, Miller, etc are "setting the bar really low" is only credible if you have the memory of a fruit fly. The truth is that Newt, and other Goopers like him, took the bar off the rack and placed it on the floor years ago.

He was disgraced. He fled office like that poor cat fled Peppy Le Peu. He was a hypocritical, two-faced, fear-mongering, womanizing, xenophobic liar for years and years; yet the GOP still considers him one of their stars.

Can we really blame Angle for parroting Gingrich when the Republicans, and the media, do the same?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to excuse Angle for her idiocy. But she is clearly reality impaired and that alternative reality that she exists in was created and furnished by people like Newt and bolstered by the right wing Wurlitzer.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 14, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Reality Check:

Newt is not on the ballot. This Angle person is; so I think we should be putting the heat on her, and not just diverting attention away from her, as election day draws near.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 14, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"Someone who repeats baseless conspiracy theories without making a cursory effort to verify them?"...The first thing I thought of when I read this statement is "Gee, isn't this how Rush Limbaugh has been making a living for years now?".

Posted by: bienefes | October 14, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

ISSUES

1) WHY is Obama being "soft" on the banks on the issue of potentially fraudulent documents being presented in Courts ??

If you or I did that, we would be in jail


2) IF the Statute of Frauds is involved, and signatures are required to transfer mortgages - Obama can't just WAIVE that - it is a matter for the Courts of the 50 States

3) Obama has been SAYING he wants modifications - however, Obama is NOT asking the banks for modifications in this situation -

THAT is precisely what the lawyers of the homeowners is looking for - some leverage on the banks in order to negotiate modifications.

SO - if Obama is attempting to move everything forward quickly, Obama IS WORKING AGAINST HIS OWN POLICY OF GETTING THE BANKS TO ENTER INTO MODIFICATIONS.

________________________________

ANYONE WANT TO TALK ABOUT WHAT JUST MIGHT BE A MAJOR FINANCIAL CRISIS


Or are we going to continue to parse some Tea party statement which may or may not have been made on a comedy show in the 1990s.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | October 14, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Papagnello at 11:13 AM

I agree there may be fraud


However, the issue of which entity actually owns each mortgage is still out there.

It is NOT just a matter of signing some paperwork - because in some - perhaps many if not ALL - the deadlines for that has already passed.


It would be WRONG to all of a sudden say that the big banks are allowed to gain assets which are not theirs - because the law is the law.


The law applies EQUALLY to the homeowner as well as the banks.


If the banks are allowed to miss deadlines, then the homeowner is too - and NO ONE is behind on their mortgage.


The banks want to HOLD EVERYONE TO THEIR CONTRACTS - BUT THE BANKS WANT TO SKATE FREE.


If a bank is bankrupt, LET THEM FAIL AND CLAWBACK ALL THESE CRAZY SALARIES AND BONUSES.


THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO FIX THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | October 14, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Greg, for getting to the meat of the issue: a candidate who cannot be bothered to verify something but apparently feels its fine to say whatever comes into her brain will make a *fine* Senator.

Nice job, TeaOP. What else can we expect from them? She's par for the course.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | October 14, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

She's an Evangelical Christian! They believe all kinds of made-up horse puck. Now, if she was a Pastafarian, FSM-believer complaining that Sharia law wouldn't allow pasta with clam sauce, she might have an argument.
rAMEN!

Posted by: thebobbob | October 14, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

She didn't just "hear it" and decide to spread it. She got the memo and then botched it up.

It's clear that the whole "Sharia law" meme is a GOP/Tea Party talking point. Angle's not the only one who's spreading this.

Sharia law is the companion fear-inducer to the "Ground Zero" mosque. You know, "be very afraid of Muslims -- and don't forget, the President is secretly one of them!"

Baseless conspiracy theories? Sure. Agreed upon GOP talking points? You betcha.

Is it really so surprising that Angle gets mixed up, or embellishes the talking points?

Let's keep casting a wider light on what's really going on with candidates like Angle, rather than trying to keep making explanations for her.

Posted by: elscott | October 14, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen the you tube videos of the encounter between the christians and the Dearborn police? I have. The christians were arrested, their cameras were confiscated. They were directed to other locations where the police allowed them to distribute their pamphlets. Is all of that in keeping with the liberal vision for America? It certainly seems that way based on the nonsense being posted here now.

I have seen the video. Has Mr Serwer? he's a consistent purveyor of misleading allegations and there is simply no reason to believe that he did any investigation at all. His life seems very simple: liberal, right, everyone else, nuts.

It is tiresome.

As other have pointed out, hammering away at this side show is just the bright shiny object that the Democrats hope will look at and thus ignore the destruction they've brought to the country.

Not a chance.

the simple fact is that christians were denied basic rights in dearborn. No one from the city government has adequately explained why this was. Certainly Mr Hadad the chief of police had nothing to say. the mayor continues to spout inflamatory rhetoric about anti islamic bigotry.

OK, it seems that handing out copies of the gospel printed in arabic is now bigotry. And it seems that the liberals in America are just fine with that.

We are in trouble.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 14, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.
Dan Quayle

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

How our fealess press deals with issues related to Islam:

http://reason.com/blog/2010/10/13/just-admit-it-newspapers-youre

Posted by: actuator | October 14, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Uhh, fearless press.

Posted by: actuator | October 14, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Imagine that ... Joe Miller is "less than honest."

http://www.adn.com/2010/10/13/1500580/borough-mayor-calls-miller-dishonest.html

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 14, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/06/is-this-america-christian-activists-arrested-in-dearborn.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEPod-hxD7g

sharia law in dearborn

Posted by: rickru9 | October 14, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

i can't believe nobody has pointed out that the 4 arrested have been ACQUITTED of disorderly conduct! i believe one person was convicted of not obeying police orders, but that was the person who didn't want to put the camera down when the police asked. somehow i think if i was taping my friends being arrested for a crime they were not guilty of, i wouldn't put the camera down either. take a few minutes and google the case... i might even spur some independent thought! you can also find where the school board in dearborn has catered to the muslim population by removing pork from the menu. and how city ordinances have been waived to allow for pray calls to be played over a sound system. btw, i believe those who were arrested plan to sue the city of dearborn... good for them!

Posted by: razor44 | October 15, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

People on the right are shocked, SHOCKED, by the way the evangelists in Dearborn were handled by the police. Sharia is not the problem... police treat people that way every single day. I'm not talking about bad apples, I'm talking about law-following officers.

Try protesting a war, or being black on a Saturday night. You could be treated worse than those evangelists were.

Posted by: brian_away | October 15, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Come on people, think about it! If Dearborn was really operating under sharia law, would the protesters have been aquitted? I DON'T THINK SO.

Posted by: maryj38 | October 15, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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