Pete Hegseth is not a journalist.
It is important to keep this fact in mind when viewing a recent video report he produced for Fox & Friends, an embarrassingly bad morning show frightened people wake up to on Fox News. Hegseth is a decorated military veteran and failed Republican politician from Minnesota. In recent years he's become a frequent contributor to Rupert Murdoch's right-leaning news station.
Last Friday, Hegseth filed a report about his experience on the streets of Minneapolis, where he was in hot pursuit of the connection between Somali-American life in the Twin Cities and terror recruitment to groups like ISIS. (Three young Somali-Americans are going on trial on charges that they planned to fight with ISIS in Syria; six others have already pleaded guilty.)
Viewers who did not know much about Minneapolis, or its Somali-American population, prior to seeing Hegseth's story are probably still hiding under the covers.
Hegseth's story has a number of problematic moments. Watch how he "reports" on "Islamic schools" — "at least two, likely more" of which are in Minnesota — and proves they teach shariah law, and nothing about American government, by... talking to one guy on the street.
The Fox report goes from questionable to provably inaccurate with Hegseth's next swipe at reporting.
"While many first-generation Somalis come to America looking for a better life," he says, "we had a hard time finding people in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood who spoke English."
Cut to: Hegseth getting turned down for three man-on-the-street interviews by people who say they don't speak the language. Welp, point proven, Pete. Excellent work. Now, quick!—get out of that dangerous place and back to the Fox News bunker!
There are real numbers on this, if Hegseth wanted them. According to U.S. Census estimates, there are about 7,000 people five or older in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. Of those, 3,300 only speak English at home, while about 3,700 speak another language primarily. Some 72 percent of Cedar-Riverside speaks English "very well" — not bad, considering more than half of them are speaking another language at the dinner table.
An estimated 2,400 residents there speak languages that aren't Spanish, Asian or Pacific Island, or European. Of these, 38 percent speak English "very well." Old people (65 and up) are the least likely to make this claim, with 93 percent saying they don't; for kids aged 5 to 17, 64 percent speak English very well.
Perhaps Pete Hegseth had a "hard time" finding people who wanted to speak English to him.
Later the same day Fox's spooky story aired, there was a "Take Back the Night" anti-sexual violence event at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). One of the keynote speakers was Ilhan Omar, who's trying to become the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature in American history. Omar's bid has been endorsed by former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, among others. She lives in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and speaks English. Very well.
For some reason, Hegseth's reporting on the Twin Cities brings us back to another recent on-air attempt he made.
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