Tag Archives: Boston

Boston Marathon Bombing Victim Sues Glenn Beck for Defamation

Image: Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville in this file photo

Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee in this file photo from November 9, 2011.

NBC News

A Saudi Arabian national who was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings has filed a defamation and slander lawsuit against firebrand conservative commentator Glenn Beck for publicly accusing him of being the “money man” who funded the horrific attacks.

Abdulrahman Alharbi, a 20-year-old exchange student who lives in Revere, Mass., said in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Boston that his reputation was “substantially and severely damaged” after Beck made on-air comments tying him to the twin explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the broadcast companies linked to Beck’s show: The Blaze, Inc., Mercury Radio Arts, Inc., and Premiere Radio Networks, Inc. It seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

Alharbi said in the court filing obtained by NBC News that Beck “repeatedly and falsely identified” him as an “active participant” in the April 15, 2013, attack, “repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain” him and “repeatedly and falsely accused” of him of being a “criminal who had funded the attacks.”

In the lawsuit, Alharbi said he has been called a “murderer, child killer and terrorist” in the wake of Beck’s statements.

A spokesman for Beck declined to comment.

Alharbi was a spectator near the marathon finish line at the time of the explosions and was injured. Federal authorities investigating the attack questioned him and searched his apartment before concluding he was not involved in the attack, the lawsuit said.

Authorities blame the bombing on two brothers: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a shootout with police four days after the bombings, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who was captured and is being held pending trial in November. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction.

— Daniel Arkin, with The Associated Press

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Filed under Boston Marathon Bombings, Glenn Beck

Bystanders wrongly pegged by New York Post as Boston ‘Bag Men’ file suit

New York Post fingers 17 year old kid as bombing suspect

Here’s hoping the two get a large pile of Murdoch money in exchange for this mess. A very, very large pile of money ~ Daily Kos on Facebook

Daily Kos

Here’s hoping the two get a large pile of Murdoch money in exchange for this mess. A very, very large pile of money.

I’m only surprised it took this long:

A Massachusetts teenager and his 24-year-old friend filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Post Wednesday in Boston, accusing the tabloid of falsely portraying them as suspects in the deadly Marathon bombings by plastering their photograph on the front page under the headline, “Bag Men.”

As the picture above demonstrates, the Post wasn’t shy about it, calling them the “bag men” in large type even while their own story admitted that it wasn’t actually clear if the two pictured were the ones law enforcement were actually investigating. As it turns out, they weren’t—it was a picture that some online sleuths found suspicious, and that was all it took to make the Post front page, and to therefore make the two a conspicuous public target:

When Zaimi arrived at work that day, a company vice president called him into his office. Zaimi did not understand why until the office manager showed him a copy of the Post.“He immediately started shaking, his mouth went dry, and he felt as though he was having a panic attack,” the complaint said. […]

That night, the complaint said, as he waited for the train home, someone pointed him out as the person in the New York Post. Zaimi fled.

Given that we’re living in an age when would-be public heroes even fire shots at fleeing shoplifters, I’d say hightailing it out of a crowd that thinks you might be a terrorist based a front-page picture saying so was probably a very good idea. The Post should count themselves lucky no worse harm came to the two.

Here’s hoping the two get a large pile of Murdoch money in exchange for this mess. A very, very large pile of money. The crooked, reckless sensationalism of the Post was demonstratedthroughout the Boston story, but in this instance it could have gotten someone killed.

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What Really Went Wrong For MSNBC, And How To Really Fix It

To paraphrase a famous quote: The reports of MSNBC’s demise are greatly exaggerated.  

We’ve seen this before, but in reverse.  Last fall, MSNBC was beating Fox News in certain demographics.  Ratings go up and down and with that thought, there’s no doubt in my mind that MSNBC is here to stay…period.

Mediaite

There has been a lot of virtual ink devoted to the two months of dismal ratings that MSNBC has just endured, some of it sincere, some of it concern-trolling, and much of it tinged with Schadenfreude. There has even been talk that the network might never recover, at least not unless it abandons its Lean Forward identity. In order to figure out how to fix MSNBC’s problems, you have to understand what went wrong in the first place, and you have to actually want the network to thrive.

Before I even start, and more importantly, before any of you even start, let me set the record straight: I hate everything about TV ratings. I hate writing about them, reading about them, and I especially hate getting PR pitches about them. ratings are a terrible way to measure quality, especially in news programming, there are a million ways to slice and dice them, and just looking at them gives me a headache. This is not an invitation for you to email me about how your show is #1 with carpentry aficionados age 63-97. My concern for ratings is confined to their effect on whether I can continue watching programming that I enjoy.

That’s why I took notice when Salon‘s Alex Pareene, in an otherwise excellent column, suggested that MSNBC’s bad stretch has put the network’s progressive-leaning orbit into fatal decay. Are the ratings really that bad?

Well, they are pretty bad, from what I can see, and as Pareene notes, lots of people are taking this opportunity to beat up on All In host Chris Hayes. The launch of the former Up star’s 8 pm show just happened to coincide with an extended series of news cycles that played to rivals CNN and Fox News’ strengths, along with the climax of the HLN-owned-and-operated Jodi Arias trial. Here’s how Pareene describes it:

Meanwhile, CNN’s been given gift after gift by whichever minor demons are responsible for the creation of cable news stories. The channel’s new Zucker-approved softer focus and lack of dignity allowed it to capitalize on Jodi Arias nearly as much as its trashy sister station HLN did. The Boston bombings were a perfect CNN story, even if CNN botched the hell out of its coverage. The Dzhokhar Tsarnaev manhunt was precisely the sort of story that makes people go through their channel guides trying to remember which one CNN is. And then there was the West, Texas, explosion. CNN capitalized on all of this because CNN’s brand is “breaking news.” Fox capitalized because there are simply a whole bunch of people out there whose TVs are tuned to Fox basically all the time. MSNBC’s brand is “people either talking calmly or yelling at you, or each other, about politics.” These weren’t stories that made people think, “What does Chris Matthews have to say?” (Another problem: During huge stories, like the Boston bombing and subsequent manhunt, MSNBC frequently finds itself in the odd position of competing with its own sister network, when NBC News takes over the broadcast network.)

Ironically, MSNBC was alone among its cable news competitors in getting the Boston manhunt story right, a good deed for which they appear to be being punished. Fox News, meanwhile, has been carb-loading like Jabba the Hutt with ringworm on the three-headed Scandalabra™, and bloating its endlessly voracious audience in the process.

Continue here…

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Rachel Maddow – ‘Something weird is going on’ in FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev

Maddow 053113

(Revised from earlier post)

The Raw Story

On Thursday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed the swirl of questions around the shooting of Ibragim Todashev, an associate of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men charged with the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

FBI officials have given conflicting accounts of the questioning and killing of Todashev, who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev through Mixed Martial Arts fighting. Todashev, who, like the Tsarnaevs, was Chechen, lived in Boston for a time before moving to Florida. Agents from the FBI traveled to Florida to question Todashev repeatedly about the bombing.

“Last week while being questioned again in Florida,” said Maddow, “something went very, very wrong and he ended up dead.”

Law enforcement officials were interviewing Todashev in his apartment in Orlando on Wednesday, May 22, when something occurred that resulted in the young man being shot multiple times.

On Thursday, Todashev’s family held a press conference in Moscow, where they showed autopsie photos of their slain son. Ibragim Todashev was shot six times in the torso and once in the back of the head.

“We have not been able to authenticate these photos,” said Maddow. “No one has.”

But, she said, if they are genuine, “something weird is going on.”

“How does that comport with the FBI’s story that he was killed during questioning by armed agents who were only acting in self defense?” she asked. “Shot seven times, including in the back of the head?”

Todashev was questioned because of a possible connection to a bizarre 2011 murder in Waltham, Massachusetts in which three men were found with their throats cut, covered in marijuana, with $5,000 in cash untouched nearby. Law enforcement officials theorize now that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have murdered the men with the help of some other person or persons.

“That cold case got hot again” after the marathon bombing, Maddow said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was close friends with one of the victims, but, after his murder, Tsarnaev declined to attend his friend’s funeral.

After Todashev was shot during questioning, Maddow said, law enforcement officials “leaked an elaborate story” that purported to justify the killing. The officials also claimed that Todashev had implicated himself in the Waltham murders prior to being shot. They said that just before the man was about to sign a confession, he snapped, and “lunged at the interrogator with a blade.”

“That initial story has fallen apart,” Maddow said. Within 12 hours of the shooting, two of the three law enforcement officials who were talking to the media about the case changed their story, saying they were no longer sure whether Todashev had a knife.

Now, multiple sources have come forward to papers like the Washington Post to say that, in fact, Todashev was unarmed. NBC News reported on Thursday that Todashev may have been brandishing some kind of “metal rod.”

“So they shot him seven times?” Maddow asked, “Including in the back of the head?” She added that no one actually knows right now if that was the actual number of gunshot wounds on Todashev’s body since officials will neither confirm nor deny that the post-autopsy photos are accurate.

“What we’re left with here is a baffling mess and a story that does not make sense,” she said.

 

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Rachel Maddow – Formerly fringe conspiracy theorists find voice in congressional GOP

When I saw this show last night I had hoped that the You Tube video would be available online so that I could share Rachel’s genius for explaining anything with wit and intelligence beyond any newscaster on TV today.

This particular opening segment of the Rachel Maddow Show expounds on my Think Progress post from a couple of days ago…

Democratic Underground

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‘Meet The Press’ Drops All Pretense Of Journalism And Embraces Right Wing Conspiracies

tin_foil_hat

It has always been obvious that David Gregory is no real liberal…

Addicting Info

After watching Sunday’s Meet The Press, one could be forgiven for wondering exactly when the United States went from being a country that faced down nuclear armageddon in the Cold War to cowering under the sheets from the threat of terrorists that may or may not exist.

David Gregory, clearly one of the liberal elitists that are in the tank for Obama, did his very best to conflate Benghazi, Boston and Syria as if they were all part of a grand terrorist plan to destroy America 3 or 4 people at a time:

 I want to widen this out a little bit, because I think there’s the broader topic that we’re broaching here about national security, about our personal freedoms in America, coming out of the Boston bombing is, in part, ongoing concern about terrorism. The graphic this week in The Wall Street Journal about that growing al-Qaeda threat, even a couple of years now after Osama bin Laden is killed.

Looking in North Africa, in the Persian Gulf states, where you either have al-Qaeda with a safe haven, or, indeed, more activity. And it leads, too, to what happened last 9-11 in Benghazi, and the ongoing questions about what the United States knew about that, what the administration knew. Did they do enough to stop it? And now, new hearings coming up, new details being reported on, Mr. Mayor [Guiliani]. Is there something here that somehow gets to why we’re more vulnerable now and whether the administration has done enough, in your estimation? (Emphasis mine) 

I’m curious to know in what sense are we more vulnerable under Obama? Did terrorists hijack 4 airplanes and use them as missiles aimed at American buildings? Was anthrax used to kill several people using the mail? Were several different American consulates attacked resulting in dozens of causalities? If I’m not mistaken, so far in Obama’s 4+ years in office, terrorists have killed exactly 4 people on American soil and 4 Americans not in an active war zone.

Gregory goes on:

“Jane Harman, and Mayor Giuliani, as we look at all of this, whether it’s jihadist elements operating in Syria, whether we look at, now, this widening plot out of the Boston bombings, they wanted to attack, reportedly, on July Fourth, there are others now involved, friends of Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who show their pictures, who are involved, at some level, of clearing out some of the materials from his room, what does this tell us about what we’re up against here, specifically in the Boston plot, and this question of, “Are we any safer?”” 

“Widening plot?” Until they can put a finger on who, if anyone, trained the older brother, Tamerlan, the “widening plot” amounts to three young idiots doing something phenomenally stupid. That these imbeciles, which one official referred to as “the Three Stooges,” tried to (poorly) cover up something of this magnitude doesn’t make them part of a grand terrorist conspiracy that makes America less safe; it just makes them dumber than a sack of hammers. No lovable goofball ending here, just a lot of jail time.

But it wasn’t a total fear-fest. Mr. Gregory did accidentally allow Sen. Patrick Leahy to make a point that interferes with the whole “It’s all Obama’s fault we’re under attack” narrative:

DAVID GREGORY: –how vulnerable we are and what we’re doing about it?

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Oh, there are questions should be asked. I know I chair a committee that handles the State Department’s budget. We put in extra money, a great deal of extra money, for embassy security.

DAVID GREGORY: I mean that’s what we’re hearing about– (Translation: ERROR! ERROR! That is off script! We can not blame Republicans for their actions!)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Let me finish. And that was blocked by the House. They said they didn’t want to spend the money. Whether that would have made a difference or not, I don’t know. Should we look at Benghazi? Yes. But keep in mind that’s just one place. We should look at our security throughout our embassies, because there will always be easy targets.

DAVID GREGORY: Were warnings ignored on Benghazi, Congressman, in your judgment? (Translation: Let’s get back to promoting the right’s conspiracies!)

Continue reading here…

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Student wrongly tied to Boston bombings found dead

This is a terrible tragedy.  The reports have been found to be true…

The Week

Rhode Island authorities confirmed Thursday that a body recovered this week from the Providence River is that of Sunil Tripathi, the missing Brown University student whom Reddit’s internet sleuths wrongly linked to the Boston Marathon bombing.

“We have confirmed the identity of the young man found in the water off India Point in Providence,” Dara Chadwick, a Rhode Island Department of Health spokesperson, said Thursday.

According to USA Today, the Brown crew team found his body Tuesday evening. It’s unclear exactly how or when Tripathi died — a medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death — but there is currently no suspicion of foul play. His family has said he struggled with depression, according to NBC.

Tripathi, 22, had been missing since mid-March. Yet in the frantic digital vigilante search online for suspects following the Boston Marathon bombing, Sunil somehow emerged as a potential suspect.

As soon as the FBI released the first photos of the suspects, now known to be Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, posters on Reddit and 4Chan raced to identify the two men. A leading theory soon emerged that Tripathi, given his recent disappearance, had snuck off to prepare for the attack. That speculation rapidly spread to Twitter, where Tripathi’s name became a trending topic. One Twitter user erroneously claimed that someone on the Boston Police Department scanner — itself an unreliable source of information — specifically named him as a suspect. Soon, news crews descended on his parents’ home looking for answers.

Except that Tripathi was completely innocent. The only evidence against him, it turned out, was that he’d gone missing at an inopportune time. As the New Yorker‘s Amy Davidson put it, those internet investigators had simply “looked at that video and saw who and what they may have wanted to see.”

The family, already grief-stricken at Tripathi’s disappearance, shut down a Facebook pageestablished to aid their search when speculation about his involvement in Boston, as well as a lot of ugly hatred, spread there. They released a statement proclaiming his innocence.

“The last eighteen hours have generated tremendous and painful attention — on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, as well as from television media inquiries— linking Sunil to the video stills released by the FBI yesterday afternoon,” they said. “Unequivocally, we have known that neither individual suspected as responsible for the incident in Boston was Sunil.”

On Monday, a Reddit moderator apologized to Tripathi’s family for allowing the hive mind to run so wildly out of control. “This event shows exactly why the no personal information until confirmation rule is in place,” the apology read. “Out of respect for Tripathi and his family, I ask that users here please remove any and all links about him. Thank you.”

In response to news of Tripathi’s body being found, his family issued the following statement Thursday through their reactivated Facebook page.

On April 23, our beloved Sunil was discovered in the waters off India Point Park in Providence, Rhode Island.

As we carry indescribable grief, we also feel incredible gratitude. To each one of you–from our hometown to many distant lands–we extend our thanks for the words of encouragement, for your thoughts, for your hands, for your prayers, and for the love you have so generously shared.

Your compassionate spirit is felt by Sunil and by all of us.

This last month has changed our lives forever, and we hope it will change yours too. Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it. The world needs it.

With love,

The Tripathi Family

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Body of student falsely accused of Boston attacks possibly found

Sunil Tripathi

Sunil Tripathi, missing since March, was wrongly identified as one of the Boston bomb suspects

According to the following BBC report, this is merely speculation at this time.  Yet, if it is true, what does this young man’s murder say about our country and our press?

BBC News

The body of a man found in a Rhode Island river may be a student mistakenly identified as one of the Boston bombers, authorities say.

The state medical examiner’s office is trying to determine whether the dead man is Sunil ­Tripathi, 22, who has been missing since March.

Members of a university rowing team found the body on Tuesday evening.

Mr Tripathi has been described as the other victim of the bombings after he was wrongly identified a suspect.

Police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly told the Boston Globe it was “very possible” that the body is Mr Tripathi.

Brown University’s rowing coach called police after spotting the body floating in the Providence River.

Mr Tripathi, a former Brown University student, was last seen in his apartment in Providence on 16 March.

On Monday social media website Reddit issued a public apology for its coverage of the Boston bombings after it wrongly named specific people as suspects.

Those mistakenly identified as suspects included Mr Tripathi.

Mr. Tripathi’s sister, Sangeeta, told the BBC of her family’s anxiety at how fast “completely unsubstantiated claims were spreading”.

She described how media surrounded their family home after her brother was wrongly named.

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O’Reilly Demands To Know Why Obama Didn’t Condemn Islam Immediately After Boston Bombing

Think Progress

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly chose on Tuesday night to slam President Obama for failing to condemn Islam in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings and claimed that American Muslims aren’t doing enough to stand up against jihad.

During his “Talking Point Commentary” segment, O’Reilly called the President “seriously wrong” for urging the country on Friday to not to jump to conclusions about the bombing suspects’ motivations.

“It’s all about motivation and it’s all about a specific group of people,” O’Reilly declared, referring to Muslims. He then went on to say that suspected Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan were definitively jihadists, stating that “only radical Islam allows terror murder.”

What O’Reilly failed to mention is that Obama’s Friday statement was made before anything was known about the brothers or what led them to place explosives at the Boston Marathon. The FBI didn’t release the two suspects’ pictures until Thursday afternoon, kicking off a massive manhunt. While on Friday morning the media learned that the two were ethnic Chechens, that information alone provided no further knowledge of the motivation behind the attack. Only after questioning alleged bomber Dzohkar Tsarnaev in custody did authorities learn that thewars in Iraq and Afghanistan provided at least part of the impetus for the bombing.

While attacking Obama for not speaking out against radical Islam, O’Reilly begrudgingly acknowledged that there are Muslim countries that are our allies, particularly those that utilize “secret police” to combat terrorism. He was disappointed, however, that more Muslims — including Muslim-Americans — aren’t doing their part to help combat radicalism. “Most Muslims on this Earth are good people, but they are not helping to neutralize the jihad,” he said. “They are not standing up against it in any numbers. And that includes American Muslims. They largely remain silent.”

Watch O’Reilly’s statements here:

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who appeared on the program, shared O’Reilly’s views that Obama isn’t doing enough to speak out about the threat that Muslims pose. Despite their worries, it was Muslim-Americans who found themselves the targets during the media’sexcessively flawed coverage of the attacks. At least one Muslim woman was attacked based on the media’s shoddy reporting.

Counter to O’Reilly’s claims, there are many instances of Muslim communities standing upagainst radicalism in their ranks. Just this week, a Toronto imam was lauded for reporting suspicious behavior to the Canadian authorities, leading to a possible major terrorist plot being foiled. Leaders of the Muslim-American community also reiterated their opposition to terrorism at a press conference held on Friday.

 

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CNN’s John King admits ‘dark-skinned male’ gaffe damaged credibility

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Grio

CNN anchor John King became the subject of widespread criticism after he inaccurately reported that a Boston bombing suspect was in custody and that they were a “dark-skinned male.”

Even before his reporting was proven false, King was ridiculed for his choice of words by numerous figures including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Daily Show host Jon Stewart.

The National Association of Black Journalists even issued a statement condemning him:

There have been various reports identifying a potential suspect as “a dark-skinned individual”. [sic] This terminology is not only offensive, but also offers an incomplete picture of relevant facts about the potential person of interest’s identity. When conveying information for the public good, and which can help law enforcement with the help of a vigilant public to keep the country safe, it’s important that such facts be put into proper context.

NABJ in no way encourages censorship but does encourage news organizations to be responsible when reporting about race, to report on race only when relevant and a vital part of a story. Ultimately this helps to avoid mischaracterizations which might encourage potential bias or discrimination against a person or a group of people based on race or ethnicity.

Now King is speaking out about what he calls “bad information” that hurt his “credibility.”

“I’ve been at this for nearly 30 years,” he said during an interview with Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP. “I’ve covered a couple wars and a lot of breaking news and a lot of cops-and-robbers situations. I’ve got a pretty good track record, but when you do something like this it’s embarrassing.”

While King has taken responsibility for his error he has also reiterated that he is not racist.

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