The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

24 February 2005

MA: Open Season on Media With More Suits

Yet another suit filed against a Boston-area media concern by someone claiming to be defamed. This time it's against, of all places, Fox 25, known for their light and fluffy news coverage.

Hard to believe a story with this kind of substance ever made the cut with all of the important traffic accidents, warehouse fires and endless sports stories that fill each newscast.

At the rate things are going these suits are going to quash any hope that real news will ever be covered again on television, radio or in the print media. In particular this type of suit is designed to cut down on reporting about suspected terrorists.

The problem with these actions is that you end up repeating the charges against you. Few remember the original story but now there you are in every media outlet in town refreshing their memories. The key for Fox 25 will be to prove somehow that their report had merit and/or that he is a public person or figure.

(Boston Herald)

A leader of the Islamic Society of Boston filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday against WFXT-Fox 25 News because the station broadcast a report saying he is a member of a terrorist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban, a psychiatrist and chairman of the board of directors of the ISB, denies he is a member of the terrorist group. His lawsuit, which is asking for at least $4 million, claims Fox erroneously based its November 2004 report on a ``sole source,'' Dr. Ahmed Elkadi, who allegedly was president of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States between 1985 and 1995.

Abou-Allaban's lawsuit charges that Elkadi was severely impaired with dementia - resulting from cerebral infarctions and a hemorrhage - at the time of his interview with the Fox network local affiliate.

Attorney Harvey Schwartz, representing Abou-Allaban, said, ``For a Muslim American, this is a nightmare. The stereotype is already that you're a terrorist. And here they are on TV saying you're a terrorist.''

Station spokeswoman Maggie Hennessey-Nees said Fox-25 had no comment on the lawsuit yesterday.


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