Unreliable sources

Since Daniel Pipes is coming to speak at my school this Thursday, here's some helpful background on the prominent Middle East/ anti-terrorism scholar. This background can be subtitled: Two examples of Daniel Pipes' intellectual dishonesty.

They're really both about him distorting the language of others. In one, he complains about the media's refusal to use the word terrorism in describing the Chechen attack and basically, massacre, at the school in Beslan. He cites to twenty articles, most of which to describe the attacks as terrorism, but also use other words like hostage-takers or attackers, or what have you. So his complaint isn't that they don't use the word terrorism, it's that they sometimes use other words. Basically he wants everyone discussing terrorism to turn into a really bad writer. To be specific, the problem here isn't that every news agency clearly has the right approach to referring to terrorism, but rather that the examples which Pipes adduces do not support his point, and in fact run contrary to it.

In the other, he distorts Tariq Ramadan's language while arguing in support of the denial of Ramadan's visa. Ramadan was going to come teach at Notre Dame, but then had his visa denied because of some remarks he'd made. As the opening paragraph shows, the source linked to here is very far from neutral about Pipes in general, but his argument on this particular issue is solid independent of his other views on Pipes.

So, as far as I know, Daniel Pipes is not to be trusted.