Without doubt, this article by Shane Harris in the Daily Beast is the most incoherent to date of all the slanderous pieces on Dr. Walid Phares, counterterrorism and foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump. The Beast is owned by Barry Diller’s IAC Corporation and Diller has publicly stated that if Trump wins the Presidency, he will “either move out of the country or join the resistance" and that he would “cross the street” to avoid the Republican frontrunner to whom he hasn't spoken for over 30 years. Not unexpectedly, the Beast has been running anti-Trump articles regularly with an eye to dig up dirt from any quarter.
The hit piece on Phares, though, takes the cake.
Dr. Phares serves as provost for BAU International University in Washington D.C. which is in the process of applying for accreditation. For the Beast, Harris runs with a series of hysterical accusations against the school by former students who claim they were dismissed for writing critically of Turkey’s President Erdogan who apparently worries so much about what journalism students in the US write about him, he pressured BAU to dismiss them. (Nota bene: New English Review has published innumerable article critical of Erdogan with nary a peep from Turkey.)
The school says they were dismissed for not passing their English language proficiency exams - period, end of story.
Still, no allegation appears too far-fetched for Harris, who claims Phares must have been in on the dismissals in order to do the bidding of Erdogan even as he also admits that Phares is a “critic of the Islamist Government in Turkey” which he certainly is, recently calling Erdogan’s Turkey “no model of democracy.” Who says it has to make sense? They worked “Trump Crony” into the title and that’s good enough for the Beast.
Adem Arslan, the student at the center of the story seems to be a devoted follower of the well-known Turkish Islamist Fetullah Gulen – referring to Gulen as “venerable” in this article and yes, it appears his English could use quite a bit of work. Gulen, incidentally, helped Erdogan come to power, but the two men have since fallen out and are locked in a battle of charges and counter charges.
The Beast has also run a number of stories in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. The Iran lobby has reached out to smear Phares (an unflagging Iran deal opponent) and this may be another part of that effort. Or, it may just be that Barry hates Donald so much that the Beast will take any negative piece on Trump or his advisors. Either way, it’s a shoddy piece of journalism all around. And to think, the Beast swallowed Newsweek!
Agree that the "Daily Beast" has become a loudspeaker for the Iran Deal and an online artillery against anyone, from the right or the left, who opposes the Iran regime. But there are good liberals at the "Beast" who should start thinking better. If the "Beast" is progressive they should stand with the liberals of the Middle East. They should stand with the Iranian opposition, with the Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian liberals who oppose the fascist Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood. Why are American progressives carrying the water for fascist regimes instead of expressing solidarity with the democrats of the Middle East. This won't look good on their resumes' when historians will judge. Besides the "Beast" savages Walid Phares though the latter is a champion of liberalism in the Arab and Muslim world. Phares in Lebanon was a social democrat and a founder of a workers union. The Beast never read his pieces and yet smeared him in 2011 and again in 2016. Meanwhile Phares was leading a wide support to the civil societies of the region. Unfortunately The Daily Beast is in line with the most oppressive and fascist regimes and forces in the region, against the liberals of the Middle East. The latter won't let their champions, including Walid Phares be slandered by faux-liberals.