"Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and a best-selling author. Mr. Emerson serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), an organization he founded in 1995 following the PBS broadcast of his documentary film Jihad in America. Since 9-11, Emerson has testified before and briefed Congress dozens of times on terrorist financing and operational networks of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the worldwide Islamic militant spectrum," his website states.
According to the Center for American Progress:
Emerson's organization, the IPT, has received substantial funding from organizations that promote anti-Muslim hysteria, including $400,000 from Donors Capital Fund, $100,000 from the Becker Foundation, and $250,000 from the Middle East Forum.
Tax records suggest that the IPT may actually act as a front group for the for-profit International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals.
The CAP describes Emerson's view of Islam as "an inherently violent and antagonistic religion." Emerson has claimed that Islam "sanctions genocide, planned genocide as part of its religious doctrine."
Emerson has a history of deliberately fabricating evidence to suggest that radical Islam is infiltrating the United States. In 1997, he created a dossier that he claimed was authored by the FBI which discussed "ties between Muslim American organizations and radical Islamist groups." However, AP reporters came to the conclusion that Emerson "had edited out all phrases, taken out anything that made it look like his." He also predicted, without any corroborating evidence, that the Oklahoma City bombings were perpetrated by Muslim extremists.
He also has accused public officials of collaborating with extremists. For example, he accused Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of being "in bed with radical Islam for the last 8 years," using as evidence Durbin's dealing with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
What others say
On 26 October 2010, Olbermann awarded Emerson the "Worst Person in the World" citation.
- "Mr. Emerson's prime role is to whitewash Israeli governments and revile their critics."—Alexander Cockburn, Wall Street Journal, June 14, 1990.
- "There are thousands of ax-grinders in journalism, pushing tantalizing stories with few verifiable facts. Most collect rejection slips, but Steven Emerson finds one respectable media outlet after another for his work, which is sometimes nimble in its treatment of facts, often credulous of intelligence sources, and almost invariably supportive of the Israeli government."— Jane Hunter, EXTRA!, October/November 1992.
Amy Goodman and John Sugg
- Amy Goodman, interviewing John F. Sugg, senior editor of Creative Loafing, Atlanta, Georgia, on Democracy Now!, July 22, 2004: "We are not going through the Sami Al Arian case again, who remains in detention, but you have written extensively about it. It is a case that could determine the balance of the Senate as well because of one of the Democratic contenders for the seat, and I wonder if you briefly say your involvement with this story as a reporter, or maybe even talk about the politics of this.
- John F. Sugg: I have been covering this story since ever since it broke in 1995. Mostly it is a media story of how a guy named Steven Emerson, a guy you are familiar with, a self-declared terrorism expert…
- AG: He wrote Jihad in America…
- JS: Which had so many mistakes, it is hilarious. But his job has been to silence Arabs and Muslims in America. We fought a four year lawsuit with Emerson and won. But the Sami Al Arian case is really significant because if we talk about this 9/11 report, at the time the government was spending millions and millions of dollars chasing Al Arian. Tens of thousands of hours of work on this case; in Hollywood Florida, just a few miles away, Mohammed Atta was living, and the FBI was totally unaware. OK, that is the sort of thing. The chief prosecutor in the Al Arian's case is a fundraiser for the IRA. You consider that. Prosecutors within the US Attorney office in Tampa, Florida have told me that they are angry at this prosecution because the chief of the criminal division is an active fundraiser for Sinn Fein and the IRA. Well, in the US it is OK to raise money for the IRA, they are good terrorists. I am joking… The real story here is the selective enforcement.
- John Sugg also stated: "It should be noted that Jihad in America was largely funded by the Carthage Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, widely referred to as right-wing think tanks."— CAIR, op. cit.
Amy Goodman conducted another interview with Sugg on the same topic on April 17, 2006.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Profile: Steven Emerson, MSNBC.
- Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir, "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, Center for American Progress, August 2011.
- John F. Sugg, The Rise and Fall of Steven Emerson, "Terror Expert", CounterPunch Newsletter, 1-15 November 2010, pp. 5-6. Where he states: "MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, citing the Tennessean's reports, on Oct. 26 awarded Emerson his nightly "Worst Person in the World" citation. Olbermann expressed regret that the network had previously used Emerson as a chattering head on terrorism topics."
- CAIR, "Who is Steven Emerson?" collection of articles.
- Amy Goodman and John Sugg, "Jailed Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian to Be Deported After Prosecutors Fail to Convict Him on a Single Charge," DemocracyNow, April 17, 2006.
- John F. Sugg, "Steven Emerson's Crusade: Why is a journalist pushing questionable stories from behind the scenes?" Extra! (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), January/February 1999.
- "MSNBC analyst singled out Pelosi's meeting with 'radical' Islamic group; failed to mention Bush, Powell met with same organization", Media Matters for America, August 5, 2004.
- Louay Safi, "Steve Emerson's Fantastic Obsession," CounterPunch, July 2, 2007.