- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reporter agenda

“A New York Times reporter, who has co-authored several fawning articles on the Ground Zero mosque, previously attended a media training program run by the mosque’s organizer, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, according to the group’s website. The journalist, Sharaf Mowjood, participated in an April 2009 media training program led by Rauf’s American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), reported the Investigative Project on Terrorism on Sept. 20. …

Mowjood‘s first article on the Ground Zero mosque - a glowing, 1,200-word piece titled ‘Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero’ - was co-authored with Ralph Blumenthal in December, 2009. All eight of the sources cited in the piece said they approved of the Ground Zero project or lauded its leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Mowjood was also a contributing reporter to a similarly sympathetic piece on the mosque on Aug. 11, as well as a flattering front-page profile on Rauf that ran in the paper on Aug. 22.

“ASMA, which ran the ‘Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow’ media training session that Mowjood attended, pointed to the reporter’s work as evidence that its training program was effective. … In addition to his ties with ASMA, Mowjood also held a government lobbying position at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) up until at least March of 2008. CAIR, which calls itself a ‘grassroots civil rights and advocacy group,’ has come under fire in the past for its alleged ties to international terrorist organizations.”

- Alana Goodman, writing on “Ground Zero Imam’s Group Trained NY Times Mosque Reporter,” on Sept. 21

‘Inception’ game

“While he’s blessedly immune to the demands of a sequel (go for it, The Asylum!), Christopher Nolan has revealed that he would like to expand on his summer-of-suck-saving blockbuster ‘Inception’ with an official video game ‘based on the world of the film, which has all kinds of ideas that you can’t fit into a feature film.’

“Nolan told reporters at a Rome press conference that it’s something he’s been actively talking about developing for a while now, and that he sees it happening ‘in a couple of years.’ Inception does seem particularly ripe for a video game adaptation, what with its levels of intricate mazes brushing up against straightforward point-and-shoot snowmobile chases. (But what we really look forward to are the top-spinning mini-games!)”

- Sean O’Neal, writing on “Christopher Nolan developing Inception video game,” on Sept. 22 at the AV Club

Paglia obsolete?

“On the Sunday before last, the London Times ran what seems to be the longest essay [Camille] Paglia has published in years. It was touted by the newspaper as ‘explosive.’ What was it about? Banning burkas? Suicide bombing? Female genital mutilation? No, it was about Lady Gaga. Paglia, who had once celebrated Madonna - and herself - as products of savvy marketing, now attacked Lady Gaga as a ‘manufactured personality.’ … The piece reeked of desperation: one had the impression that she was going all out to appear with it, to communicate to the world that she was still, as the Times put it, ‘America’s foremost cultural critic.’ But instead, all her Lady Gaga piece accomplished was to affirm her irrelevance.

“It’s a sad development, for Paglia’s voice is one that has been sorely missed in the genuinely important public conversations of the last nine years. It’s truly lamentable that the woman who claimed to be the spokesperson for the ordinary woman has been virtually AWOL from discussions of Islamic gender oppression. It’s grimly ironic now to look back at her 1992 interview with Bob Costas. Commenting on leading members of the women’s movement ‘who should have developed and evolved in their thinking,’ Paglia told Costas that ‘celebrity seems to have stopped their development.’ Would she be willing now to consider that her own celebrity has perhaps limited her growth?”

- Bruce Bawer, writing on “What Ever Happened to Camille Paglia?” on Sept. 20 at Pajamas Media

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