Egypt has a new president: Let the fear mongering begin!

Fox News put up video that identified a speech by hard-core preacher Safwat al-Hegazy as being delivered by Egypt's new President Mohamed Morsi within hours of Morsi's victory.

Bernat Armangue/AP
Egyptian supporters of former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq react after hearing the final results of the elections in Cairo Sunday. Mohammed Morsi was declared Egypt's first Islamist president on Sunday after the freest elections in the country's history, narrowly defeating Hosni Mubarak's last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

Egypt's first freely elected, and first civilian, president is the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood is in many ways the founder of modern Islamist movements, with roots extending back 84 years. Though it long ago abandoned violence as a political tactic, and was harshly repressed by ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his predecessors, it remains a highly controversial organization. In US political circles, it's hardly uncommon to hear to the organization mentioned in the same breath as terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. More reasonably, many Egyptians fear the organization will seek to replace Egypt's civil code with Islamic law. After all, the group's primary slogan is "Islam is the solution."

But the organization also has a history of pragmatism, and caution. Egypt is waiting for a national address from their new president any moment now, and all indications from the Brotherhood is that it will be conciliatory, with promises from Morsi to include secular-leaning Egyptians in his new government. Downtown Cairo was flooded with Morsi supporters, celebrating the stunning turn of events: A man once imprisoned for political crimes by Mr. Mubarak is now president -- Mubarak is now in jail, and will probably end his days there.

But sure as the dawn will come, some outlets in the US scarcely hesitate to turn up the volume of fear and disinformation. Shortly after Morsi's victory was announced earlier today, the Fox Nation website of Fox News put up a short unsigned blog headlined "Muslim Brotherhood Takes Egypt, Cleric Declares: 'Our Capital shall be Jerusalem, Allah Willing.'"

Embedded in the short blog is a video, which identifies the source as "Breitbart Non-syndicated" that purports to be a speech from Egypt's President Morsi. Before the speech begins, the following text appears upon the screen: " introduces... Egypt's newly elected president as declared by the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, Israel's new neighbor."

Then a fiery sermon begins with a bearded man, the prayer callous on his forehead prominent: "Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina," he says, according to a translation provided by the US State Department-funded Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organization founded by a retired Israeli colonel. "It shall be in Jerusalem, Allah willing. Our cry shall be 'millions of martyrs march towards Jerusalem.'"

Scary stuff, right? Egypt's new president, within hours of his victory, essentially promising to immediately launch war on Israel. There is of course one problem. The man in the video isn't actually Mohamed Morsi. It's the preacher Safwat al-Hegazy delivering an address in support of Morsi a few weeks ago. Morsi later distanced himself from Hegazy's remarks, saying ""Jerusalem is in our hearts and vision. But Cairo is Egypt's capital."

It says at the top of the misleading video "Brietbart non-syndicated," but appears to be the source of the misleading text. is the right-wing website founded by Andrew Breitbart. Here's that website's post today on the video.

Make no mistake. The political sea-change in Egypt is going to create challenges for foreign powers and shift relationships built with the Egyptian autocracy over decades. A Morsi government will not be as reliably friendly to Israel's interests as Mubarak's was. The militant Islamist group Hamas, based in the Gaza strip, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. It's worth bearing in mind that the Egyptian military has sought control over Egyptian foreign policy -- as suspicious of the Brotherhood as Israel is. And the Egyptian economy will be more reliant than ever for foreign aid in the immediate future. The US, eager for Egypt not to make any provocative moves over its peace deal with Israel, is likely to play a restraining role as well.

Misinformation serves no one, though many will be taken in. At the time of this writing, the Fox Nation blog had 6,100 recommendations from Facebook users.

Follow Dan Murphy on Twitter.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to