Steven Emerson (Fox News 'Terrorism Expert' is an idiot

Is David Cameron correct when he said that Steven Emerson is an idiot?

Emerson said; “Birmingham is “a totally Muslim” city “where non-Muslims just simply don’t go”.

Cameron said; “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ day. This guy’s clearly a complete idiot.”

Anyone who calls himself a “terrorism expert” is an idiot. So, yes. And yes, Birmingham is most certainly not a no go area for non Muslims. A no go area for non Brummies? Yup.

Yes, he was an idiot but has since apologized for the whole thing. More gems:

Where’s the debate? He’s not just an idiot, he’s an ignorant idiot.

To move this a little bit more to Great Debatable territory, since there is already a BBQ pit thread, let me take the liberty of expandind the OP.

How can a person who is capable of writing multiple books, winning a George Polk award for journalism, and founding a fairly well regarding think tank, say something so clearly bone headed on national TV. Non-Musilms no allowed in Birmingham? Municipal police enforcing a veiled dress code? No one who knows anything, much less a so-called terrorism expert can entertain these notions for an instant.

In his apology Emerson claims that he was misled by “sources”, but one has to wonder who these sources were. Any source that would make such a claim is not likely to be one known for great integrity, and anyone with the slightest bit of critical thinking ability would double check such a remarkable claim if it came from a dubious source.

As I see it there are three possibilities.

  1. Steve Emerson really is an idiot who believes everything he reads, and just lucked into all of the acclaim he achieved
  2. Steve Emerson is quite intelligent but suffering from severe Confirmation bias, such that even the most ludicrous claims will be given credit provided it supports his preexisting belief that the Muslims all part of a world wide conspiracy that is one step away from world domination
  3. Steve Emerson doesn’t believe a word of what he’s saying but thinks that the rubes will eat up anything he says. Unfortunately in this case he may have stepped a little too far in the direction of the implausible and easily disproved.

ETA: For bonus points, can anyone track down what could have possibly been his “source” for this?

It seems to me that there’s a huge overlap between 2 and 3. The easiest way to sell a con is to believe the con yourself.

It’s sort of like claiming New Jersey is populated by Space Aliens. Easy to disprove - but to do so, you’d have to actually go to New Jersey. :smiley:

I’m going to see if I have time later, but an educated guess for now is that it has to do a lot with the media bubble many on the right are getting into in recent years.

It is very close to the one that caused the “what to think about legitimate rape” that tripped many republicans in a previous election. In an echo chamber many items that are considered “incontestable truths” are really so and continue to be repeated so often that they become “common knowledge” in right wing circles; but the basic mistake of many moderates or independent that are on the right is to continue to think that most of the Republicans or conservatives out there that are the sources of the flawed information are as moderate as they are.

There’s nothing “unfortunate” about it. The fact WE are laughing at such a preposterous claim doesn’t mean the boneheads didn’t eat it up, and they will not read or hear of (or, if they do, believe) Emerson’s retraction. Millions of Fox News viewers now honestly believe Birmingham is a closed Muslim city, and they will continue believing that. Emerson was successful.

Emerson of course did not believe such a thing and probably had his apology written before he even made the initial comment. The fact that it’s false is not relevant; by saying it, he convinced millions it was true, and having to apologize won’t change their minds.

It is the same for the old and completely false claims that the bigots against muslims made about the France and the sensitive urban zones, things that are false and claimed only to promote hatred.

Steven Emerson and David Cameron. All they need is one more and a few lessons is saying “Nyuk Nyuk!” and “Sointenly!” with the proper accent.

The problem is some people who don’t actually live there will believe this and I may be related to them:(

He was giving the answer they wanted to hear. He’s an idoit, but he’s a professional idiot - there is a very big difference.

I’d go with some variation of #3. What he said is obvious crazy talk, but not that much more obvious than a lot of the other crazy talk that gets said on Fox. I also see as crazy or crazier stuff from right wing idiots on Facebook. It has to come from somewhere.

My guess is that this guy forgot which segment of the crazies he was talking to at that moment.

During college I studied abroad for a year and lived in Selly Oak, only a suburb of Birmingham but I’ve been all over the city. Its just one anecdotal data point but I don’t think Steven Emerson knows what he’s talking about at all.

Of course I can easily imagine that he said it entirely for effect. I suppose that the worst thing that can happen to an individual like that is to be ignored. saying something totally outrageous certainly got him noticed.

I had never even heard of him before this.

For a discussion of the nonsense Emerson spouted, we have What about these Muslim “no-go areas” in France? in Great Debates (for now).

For piling on insults against Emerson and Fox, we have So, Birmingham (England) is a Muslim City. Most stupid/crazy thing I’ve heard from Fox News. in The BBQ Pit.

This thread is closed.