Cliff Kincaid Denounces False and Defamatory Attack; The Facts Don't Matter to "Media Matters"
On August 19, a far-left group called Media Matters for America published a false and defamatory charge against Cliff Kincaid, president of America's Survival, Inc. (ASI) and editor of Accuracy in Media, intended to damage his credibility and career. The group accused Kincaid of having fabricated or forged a letter from the Ambassador of Afghanistan. In an article that was posted to its web site on Friday, August 19, 2005 at 6:14 pm EST and signed by "J.B.," Media Matters said the letter on Kincaid's site, www.usasurvival.org, "bears all the hallmarks of a do-it-yourself, cut-and-paste job." Media Matters put the word "letter" in quotation marks, as if there was serious doubt as to whether the Afghan Ambassador had in fact sent such a letter to Kincaid.
The implication was clear: Media Matters posted a comment on its web site from someone saying to Kincaid that "you need to fire your forgerer." Someone using the Media Matters article as authoritative emailed Kincaid saying, "That is the worst job of faking a document that I have ever seen." This person said, "I first heard about it at MediaMatters.org. Their front page headline. Right there for the whole world to read!"
Here are the facts: The letter in question is completely legitimate and authentic and was received at Kincaid's home office in response to a letter and petitions that Kincaid had provided to the Ambassador. The letter and petitions had been sent to the Ambassador in a priority mail box. The petitions urge the extradition to Afghanistan of Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who wrote the false "Koran in the toilet" story that sparked rioting in Afghanistan that killed 17 people and anti-American protests across the Middle East. America's Survival, Inc. believes that Isikoff should be held accountable for his role in sparking this death and destruction and that he should stand trial in Afghanistan. A letter had been sent to Isikoff informing him about this campaign in a priority mail envelope. These letters were posted on the America's Survival web site with Kincaid's home address omitted for privacy and safety and security reasons. Being a prominent journalist and analyst, Kincaid sometimes receives hate mail and does not want his home address to be widely disseminated.
Before the letter from the Ambassador was posted on the America's Survival web site, Kincaid's home address on the letter - which also includes his home office - was removed by his web master in order to protect the Kincaid family's privacy. He also converted the letter to HTML for easier reading. But absolutely no alterations were made to the actual content of the letter. Kincaid had directed that his address not be visible on the letter when posted on the site. We are posting the letter again, this time with Kincaid's address simply blacked out, to show that the content is the same as that posted previously. You can see this letter here. We are also posting a copy of the envelope that the Ambassador's letter arrived in. It was a real letter sent in a real envelope.
Clearly, the purpose of the Media Matters article was to damage Kincaid's credibility and subject him to ridicule. The article made it seem as though he had been caught in some kind of scam designed to fool people into supporting his organization, and that he had resorted to posting a fake letter from the Afghanistan Ambassador to make his petition campaign on the Isikoff matter appear authentic. All of the Media Matters charges are false and defamatory.
The petition campaign, referenced in the Ambassador's letter, is being conducted by mail and not on the Internet. Several hundred petitions have already been provided to the Ambassador and several hundred more have been collected and will be on their way. The statement on the petition is exactly as described in the letters posted on the ASI web site.
You can view one of the petitions here, with the name of the signer blacked out for privacy reasons. One side features a picture of President Bush and Afghanistan President Karzai above the words "American Support for Extradition." They are signed by individual supporters of America's Survival at the end of the statement on the other side.
America's Survival, Inc. has a long track record of educating the public about U.N.-related issues. We have held conferences and produced films. Our reports on various U.N. matters are available for all to see on our web site. America's Survival has received letters of support and encouragement from President Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and General Tommy Franks. These letters were received in response to ASI petition campaigns on matters of national security. America's Survival, Inc. President Cliff Kincaid has written numerous books, including several on U.N. issues.
For its part, the group called Media Matters describes itself as "a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."
In this case, however, Media Matters published the defamatory article against Kincaid without making any elementary effort to obtain the facts. Media Matters never contacted Kincaid to see if the letter in question was in fact authentic. A simple call could have resulted in obtaining a copy of the original letter, showing that it is completely legitimate and genuine, and that the petition campaign is authentic as well. The actual original documents are available for inspection, as long as a promise is made that Kincaid's home address on both documents is not disseminated. But no request to view them ever came from Media Matters.
If Media Matters had simply asked Kincaid about this matter, he would have explained it. But Media Matters rushed into print on its web site with this false account in order to attempt to damage Kincaid's reputation.
Click here to be added to our mailing list.