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This is priceless. In yesterday's NYT The Lede, Robert Mackey discusses Secretary of State Clinton's treatment by Egyptian protesters during her recent visit to Egypt. Clinton was met with taunts of "Monica! Monica!" outside the new U.S. consulate in Alexandria and her motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and shoes. Protesters outside of her hotel in Cairo yelled chants and bore placards suggesting that Clinton, the Department of State and the Obama administration generally had rigged the recent Egyptian presidential elections in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. Does the latter accusation resonate with conspiracy allegations in the Western right-wing Islamophobic blogosphere? It does, and for good reason. Let's delve a little deeper into Mackey's piece entitled "Jeers for Clinton in Egypt were Inspired by Anti-Islam Conspiracy Theories of U.S. Bloggers."

[A big hat-doffing to Issandr el-Amrani of The Arabist, who also pens occasional editorials for Egypt Independent. Interested in thoughful and informed commentary on Egypt? Don't skip el-Amrani...]

Mackey's setup is worth quoting in full:

The news that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s motorcade was pelted with shoes and tomatoes by Egyptian protesters, who also taunted her by chanting “Monica! Monica!” as she left the U.S. consulate in Alexandria on Sunday, delighted conservative bloggers in the United States.

What has attracted less attention, however, is the extent to which the Egyptians who vented their rage during Mrs. Clinton’s visit appear to have been inspired by fears that the Obama administration harbors a secret, pro-Islamist agenda which originated with American conservatives.

Mackey then notes some key figures whose rhetoric was reflected in the protests against Clinton including Tawfik Okasha (former NDP [Mubarak's party] parliamentarian and owner of al-Fara'in satellite channel, where his reactionary political views are on full and continous display) who addressed the crowd of protesters in Cairo. Okasha is the Egyptian Beck / Limbaugh / Hannity / Boortz, and much of his conspiracy-laden rhetoric regarding behind-the-scenes American manipulation of the Egyptian presidential election hews closely to that of Western, specifically American, right-wing media.

Mackey continues:

Pressed by American reporters to explain where they got the idea that their new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, had been foisted on them through a U.S. plot, rather than the will of the majority, several Egyptians cited information gathered from American blogs or news sites.
And the estimable "sources" for this information? No more than the predictable web of right-wing Obama-hating chatter-boxes, the mouthpieces of the Islamophobia Industry amply documented by the Center for American Progress in their 2011 report "Fear, Inc.: the Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America" [warning: pdf]. When queried, one Egyptian protester cited Michele Bachmann's interview in Time (hey, at least we know someone still reads Time, at least the International Edition), to wit that "the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda.” Another protester cited an ultra-conservative Canadian blogger who was herself quoting Lucianne Goldberg (there's a blast from the past, eh?). The real horror-show is the approving citation of a conversation between Jerry Boykin and Frank Gaffney, the gist of which is that not only is the Obama administration actively aiding the rise of militant Islam in the Middle East and North Africa, but also planting agents of the Muslim Brotherhood within our own government, among them Huma Abedin.


True, this is a small sample of "sourcing" the information underpinning these protesters' beliefs. Nonetheless, the indebtedness of Okasha to the network of right-wing (anti-Obama, Islamophobic, CT-mongering) media fronting "Fear, Inc." and the direct citation of some of this network's mouthpieces (Bachmann, Boykin, Gaffney) point to a darkly ironic scenario in which Western RW talking heads simultaneously decry and delight in the slogans and actions of protesters whose viewpoints are shaped, both indirectly and directly, by those selfsame talking heads.

Mackey's piece is well worth the full read...

Originally posted to angry marmot on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 06:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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