Steven Emerson Issues Apology For Fox News Gaffe — But He Has A History Of Similar Mistakes

Jonathan Vankin - Author

Jan. 12 2015, Updated 9:23 a.m. ET

Steven Emerson, a Fox News “terrorism expert,” has issued an apology for a bizarre claim he made in an interview on the network during its coverage of last week’s terror attacks in Paris, France. For some reason, Emerson went on Fox News and asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, that country’s second most populous metropolis, had become “totally Muslim.”

Emerson also claimed that Birmingham was so completely dominated by presumably hostile Muslims that “non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” In fact, Emerson said that Birmingham was just one of what he implied were numerous “actual cities” to have come under Islamic rule.

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Emerson quickly apologized, and took full responsibility for what he called his “terrible error,” even announcing his intention to make a charitable donation to an unspecified group in Birmingham.

“I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful,” Emerson continued.

But what Emerson did not say is how it was possible in the first place for him to make an “error” of such extraordinary proportions.

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Emerson was once considered a leading authority on Middle Eastern terrorism, serving as a CNN commentator in the early 1990s, and producing an award-winning PBS documentary, Terrorism Among Us: Jihad in America.

He had previously authored a book criticizing covert military and intelligence operations under the administration of President Ronald Reagan, as well as a book about the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, in which he attributed that act, which killed 270 passengers and crew, to Iran.

But in recent years, Emerson has come under criticism for erroneous writings and statements, such as his claim that the Boston Marathon bombings in April of 2013 were carried out by “a Saudi national” whose “burns on his skin match the explosive residue of the bomb that exploded.”

Even when the claim turned out to be totally false, Emerson continued to assert that the “Saudi national” was in the process of being deported as part of a cover-up of Saudi involvement in the bombing — another claim that proved false.

Emerson also claimed that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing — which was actually carried out by American right-wing extremists — and that Palestinian terrorists were receiving training in Mexico on how to build tunnels for Hamas. He has called for racial profiling of Muslims, as well.

The profuse apology he issued for his “error” regarding Birmingham, England, which actually has a Muslim population of approximately 20 percent, was an unusual step for Emerson, who was once described by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh as “poison.”


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