Selfridges in the Bullring is an architectural symbol of modern Birmingham (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
Earlier this year, an American commentator who claims to be a so-called “terrorism expert” told Fox News that Birmingham, England’s second city, is “totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go.”
Now another so-called expert, Wayne Simmons, has shown how unreliable Fox News is when it comes to explaining what is going on in the world.
Wayne Simmons, who has been a regular Fox News commentator, claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades. But he was arrested two days ago [15 October 2015] for allegedly fabricating his experience with the CIA.
CNN Money has reported that Simmons appeared in court on Thursday, where he faced charges of major fraud against the United States for falsely claiming to be a former “outside paramilitary special operations officer” – a padded resume that federal officials said he used to gain government security clearances.
This frequent guest on Fox News was often described by the channel as a “terrorism analyst” and former CIA operative. He would routinely issue outlandish and false claims on national security matters, including his assertion that there are “19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities” in the US.
In this week’s indictment, federal agents said they also believe Simmons had a “significant criminal history, including convictions for a crime of violence and firearms offenses, and is believed to have had an ongoing association with firearms notwithstanding those felony convictions.”
Other charges include wire fraud and making false statements to the government.
According to CNN, a Fox spokesperson said Simmons “was never a contributor for Fox News,” and that he only appeared on the network as an unpaid guest.
So much for truth, reliability and credibility when it comes to Fox “News”.
The same channel managed to demonstrate no embarrassment last January about Steve Emerson, the founder of the self-styled “Investigative Project on Terrorism,” who has been called to testify as an expert witness called to at least one US Congressional committee.
He was supposed to be offering Fox News his expertise on the attacks in Paris in Januaru. Instead, he launched into an amazing “expert” account of dangerous parts of Britain being controlled by Muslims, giving details of “no-go zones” in France, Belgium, Britain and many other parts of Europe.
Some expert. As more than a million people marched through Paris in a show of unity after the attacks in France, he told Fox news that Birmingham is a “country within a country” and he agreed with the programme presenter Jeanine Pirro that England’s second city is a “caliphate.”
He told his American viewers that Europe is not doing enough to combat the rise of Islamic extremism. “You basically have zones where sharia courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost, a country within a country,” this self-styled “expert” claimed.
Emerson said these no-go zones are in London and Birmingham, and claimed police brutality against non-Muslims is common place: “And parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.”
“So there’s a situation that Western Europe is not dealing with,” he claimed.
But it is even worse in Birmingham, he claimed. There, he said, is an entire city where non-Muslims are not welcome. He states: “And in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”
His claims have amused, amazed and bewildered people living in Birmingham. Many took to Twitter, starting an hilarious hashtag #FoxNewsFacts.
Emerson later apologised, saying he had “made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry.”
He went on to say: “There was no excuse for making this mistake and I owe an apology to every resident of Birmingham. I am not going to make any excuses. I made an inexcusable error. And I am obligated to openly acknowledge that mistake.”
But the damage had been down, and what he said is probably going to be believed and repeated as fact by gullible viewers. He has added fuel to the fire and doubtlessly helped to stoke Islamophobia in America.
I am visiting Birmingham next week for a mission meeting in the city centre, before going on to Lichfield. I am not going to be listening to Steve Emerson, Wayne Simmons, or any other “experts” on Fox News on my way.