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Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Peter King hearings: Was anything accomplished? (POLL)

By Rachel Weiner

Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) at the House Committee on Homeland Security in Washington, DC on March 10, 2011. Washington Post Photo by Linda Davidson

Yesterday's high-profile House hearing organized by New York Rep. Peter King (R) on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" turned out to be something well short of the witch hunt warned of by liberals.

In fact, Republicans and Democrats spent most of the four-hour event arguing over whether it should have happened in the first place.

For months, critics have condemned the hearing -- comparing it to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the hearings on communism's influence in America led by Sen. Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. Even famous-for-being-famous personality Kim Kardashian protested!

Supporters argued that King was raising important questions about Muslim cooperation with law enforcement. But the seven witnesses included no leaders of large Muslim groups and no national law enforcement officials. Instead, they told personal anecdotes about their experiences with radicalization.

King said he was following the model of hearings "Bobby Kennedy had into labor union corruption in the late 1950s." Those hearings involved thousands of subpoenas and witnesses and lasted years.

Republicans did put some focus on one group -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was described repeatedly as a "terrorist organization." (Glenn Kessler explains that those claims give a false impression.). No one from the group was there to answer questions.

King has promised more hearings to come. He says the first one helped break down "a wall of political correctness on an issue that has to be addressed." The next hearing will focus on Muslims in prison.

So, has King accomplished anything so far?

By Rachel Weiner  | March 11, 2011; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Daily Fix Poll  
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