A Poll of the Muslim World
Jude Wanniski
March 4, 2002


Memo To: Brit Hume, Fox News Sunday
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Arabs Donít Like Jews? What??

The Gallup Poll of 10,000 Muslims in 9 countries got a lot of attention on the Sunday talk shows, Brit, but yours was the first I saw when Tony Snow posted the results. A clear majority of those polled donít like Israel and donít like America and believe the Palestinian issue led to the terrorist attack of 9-11. As the NYTimes reported: ďThe respondents overwhelmingly described the United States as 'ruthless, aggressive, conceited, arrogant, easily provoked, biased.' Saudi Arabia was among the countries where people registered the most negative views." Your comment seemed astute, in pointing out that Muslims donít live in free countries with a free press, so how can you expect them to express their true feelings?

You were not alone in making that observation as it came up on the other talk shows. Ira Stoll, who runs the Smartertimes website and criticizes the NYTimes anytime its reporting is unbiased on an Arab/Israeli issue, complained Sunday that ďit is tremendously difficult to get accurate measures of public opinion in unfree states, which is what most of these nine countries are. In some of these countries, people aren't used to voting or to being asked for their opinion. If the press in a country is controlled by the government and if opponents of the government line can be killed or thrown in jail, it is hard for people to form independent opinions. And if they have formed independent opinions, they tend to be reluctant to share them with strangers.Ē

But you know, Brit, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered how Gallup found anyone in the nine countries who had a kind word to say about the United States or Israeli governments. Do you and Ira Stoll really expect that if the respondents had only read The Wall Street Journal or watched Fox News for the last 50 years that they would have gushed forth praise for the United States and Israeli governments? And denounced the Palestinians for causing so much violence in Israel by throwing rocks at the Israeli Air Forceís F-16s that are bombing the West Bank? You wondered why the Pakistani respondents would give a fig about the Palestinian cause. Hadnít you heard that every man, woman and child in Pakistan knows our government sold the Pakistani government a flock of F-16s, that we collected the few billion dollars for the sale, and then refused to deliver the airplanes or give Pakistan its money back? And that after we could not sell the planes to anyone else, we stored them in hangars and sent Pakistan the bill for storage? I mean they not only read about this in the newspaper, Brit, but it is TRUE!! Did you know if Gallup took a poll of the American people and asked them if they knew about this, fewer than a bakerís dozen would? Maybe the people of Pakistan wonder who has the free press, at least on this account. Huh?

What about the Muslims in the Sudan? When they read in their newspapers that Uncle Sam bombed their aspirin factory, killing the folks who were on duty or in the vicinity, should they have understood that they do not have a free press? And werenít they reading in the NYTimes and the rest of our major news media that they are practicing slavery? Practically every man, woman and child in the U.S. knows about slavery in the Sudan. Little children have been collecting nickels and dimes to buy the little Sudan boy- and girl- slaves from their paymasters. No? It was nice that the Times finally sent a reporter to the Sudan, after several years of talking about the slavery. Whoops!! The reporter sent by the Times Sunday magazine could not find any slaves, so he MADE ONE UP!!! Can you imagine, Brit, the Times Magazine actually ran the story and only later ran a correction on the bottom of Page 3 saying the story was false? The contract journalist was fired, said the newspaper of record, but I noticed none of the other journalists and editorial writers who had been writing about slavery in the Sudan lost their jobs. I did not do a website search, but I will bet you a dollar that not one newspaper ran a lead editorial noting the Times goof while citing the absence of little slave boys in the Sudan. What I mean to say, Brit, is that our press corps may not be all that hot, even though technically it is a free press.

As it happens, I do not know of a single mainstream media journalist who has been reporting on the Middle East with a kind word for the Arab/Muslim viewpoint. You have to go to the fringe journals, which of course must be anti-Semitic. After 9-11, I hoped my friend, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan would be able to get more air time to offer the Islamic viewpoint. By my reckoning, he may be the most important Muslim in the world, simply because he is the most important American Muslim. Iíve offered a $1000 reward to anyone who can provide solid evidence that he has ever said anything disrespectful of Judaism or the Jewish people, but there are no takers. He told me he has had an offer of $10,000 for more than a decade, but there have been no takers. Our press corps says what it wants to say about Minister Farrakhan, the fellow who asked a million black men to come to Washington in 1995, at their own expense, and they came. But the press corps treats him like dirt, except for Tony Snow and Bob Novak. How about you? If you do not mind my saying so, our ďfree pressĒ has shown no interest in what he has to say. Bob Novak invited him on his CNN Novak, Hunt and Shields program several weeks ago, but when Mark Shields and Al Hunt refused to appear with him, CNN told Novak he had to disinvite Minister Farrakhan! I know you heard about this, but have you said anything about it in your many television appearances? No? And why not? What holds you back? Youíre free, or are you?