Media top headlines August 16
In media news today, CNN gets accused of ‘fear porn’ for hyping story about Florida teachers who died from COVID without context, MSNBC’s Joy Reid compares America’s religious right to the Taliban, and Snopes catches its co-founder plagiarizing
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was blasted for claiming Sunday that the U.S. supported the Taliban against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan in the 1980s, a decade before the Islamist group came into existence.
“That’s what this is: the horrible consequences of endless war and failed US policy going back to the 1980s when we backed the Taliban against the Soviets. Innocent people suffer the horrors of war while political leaders and arms-dealing corporations sit back and make billions,” the far-left Squad member wrote in a plea for the U.S. to open its borders to refugees from Afghanistan amid the deteriorating situation there.
Tlaib appeared to conflate the Taliban with what was actually the Afghan mujahedeen, various rebel groups united against the Soviet army under Islamic ideology and supported by the United States. One infamous member of the mujahedeen was al Qaeda terrorist leader Usama bin Laden.
Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces and the end of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1989, civil war continued to rage in Afghanistan as groups forming the mujahedeen splintered. The Taliban emerged in 1994 as a major faction fighting in the war.
Critics, including some liberal journalists, quickly corrected Tlaib over the false claim.
The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg suggested Tlaib didn’t “need to rely on fictions” to talk about America’s “screw-ups” in Afghanistan.
Journalist Zaid Jilani also corrected Tlaib and said the Afghan people had the right to defend themselves against a Russian invasion.
One critic suggested that if learning “complex history” was too much for Tlaib, then there were movies she could watch to get a better idea about the timeline.
Another critic pointed out that the Soviet Union had already been gone years prior to the founding of the Taliban.
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