Inventing a Terror Hoax

No one really knows what police tipster Eunice Stone heard Ayman Gheith and two other Arab-American medical students saying at a Shoney's restaurant in Georgia. The evidence now suggests that the whole sorry episode was based on a misunderstanding, but that hasn't stopped pundits from simply assuming that the medical students were perpetrating a deliberate hoax. "Almost uniformly, the cable press corps simply assumed that Gheith and his colleagues had behaved inappropriately," writes Bob Somerby. "Had Gheith and his friends staged a 'hoax,' 'prank' or 'joke?' Connie Chung's producers didn't know. Brian Williams didn't know. The heinous Sean Hannity didn't know. John Zarrella didn't know. But all over cable, pundits simply assumed that the students had engaged in some sort of misconduct. And the fact that this story was so plainly racial makes their conduct that much more disgraceful."