Just five days ago, Sharon Chadha and I criticized the mainstream media for mindlessly repeating CAIR's bogus statistics (see "CAIR's Hate Crimes Nonsense." Now, to my no little amazement, National Public Radio did a segment (granted, on the "Day to Day" program at 4 a.m., but one has to start somewhere) reported by Mike Pesca. It's titled "Non-scientific approach used by activist groups to obtain statistics supporting their claims about hate crimes" and the transcript is not online, so I am using the one provided at NEXIS.
It starts with host Alex Chadwick noting the "dubious methodology" of statistical reports on hate and bias. He hands the story to Pesca, who picks up with the CAIR annual report and the "fair amount of media attention" it got, mentioning articles in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press. Pesca points out one problem – that "any bias incident, from a Muslim being yelled at from a passing car, to a Muslim being profiled on a plane, can wind up in CAIR's report." He then quotes the CAIR report's author, Arsalan Iftikhar, acknowledging that some cases should not have been included. Alluding to the piece by Chadha and me, Pesca continues:
Soon after it was issued, the report was jumped on by a few conservative commentators who called it inaccurate. Two different men, originally reported as victims, have been charged with setting fire to their own businesses. Iftikhar says the removal of those cases does not affect the overall trend the report documents. Even so, the vagaries in the numbers point to the difficulty of compiling accurate statistics.
Spoken like a true Islamist – never apologize, never retreat. Caught with fraudulent stats, Iftikhar brazens it out, denying that the inaccuracies have any importance. Or, as a New York Times editorial ineffably expressed it in another context, "fake but accurate." Still, the important thing here is that NPR has questioned CAIR's reliability, and that is a major step. (May 23, 2005)