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Ammar Campa-Najjar, seeking to replace Rep. Duncan Hunter, shrugs off Fox News headline

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Ammar Campa-Najjar
Democratic congressional candidate for California’s
50th Congressional District, Ammar
Campa-Najjar.

Fox
News


  • Democratic congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar
    is running against Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who a subject
    of a federal indictment that alleges he and his wife misused
    $250,000 of campaign funds for personal expenses.
  • A Fox News headline on Friday earned some criticism
    when it incorrectly linked the Democratic candidate
    Campa-Najjar to the deeds of his dead grandfather, whom he
    never met.
  • Campa-Najjar’s grandfather, who led an arm of a
    terrorist organization, was killed by Israeli forces in 1973,
    sixteen years before the California candidate was
    born.
  • Campa-Najjar called the Fox News headline unfortunate,
    but encouraged readers to read through the entire article,
    which he described as “pretty balanced.”

A Fox News headline earned some
criticism on Friday when it incorrectly linked a Democratic
congressional candidate to the deeds of his dead grandfather,
whom he never met.

Twenty-nine-year-old Ammar Campa-Najjar is
challenging Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s
50th Congressional District, where Hunter is now embroiled in a
federal indictment that
alleges he and his wife misused $250,000 of campaign funds for
personal use.

On Friday, Fox News published a feature story on Campa-Najjar’s
family history, which included a mention of his grandfather,
Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, who led an arm of the Black September
terrorist organization.

Fox News’ headline read: “Grandson of terrorist rises in race
against indicted GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter.” That headline was
widely criticized on social media and readers accused Fox News of
trying to link the 29-year-old Democratic candidate to the
actions of the grandfather he never met.

Fox News later changed the headline to: “Grandson of Munich
terrorist rises in race against indicted Rep. Hunter, disavows
dark family past.”

Black September is responsible for the killings of 11 athletes
and coaches during the Munich Olympics in 1972. Yusuf was was
killed by Israeli forces in 1973.

Reactions to the Fox News headline were swift

“We do not support the candidacy of @ACampaNajjar but one does
not have to support him to know that this @FoxNews headline is
DISGUSTING,” The Reagan Battalion, a conservative organization,
wrote on Twitter.

“@ACampaNajjar is not responsible for what his grandfather did
SEVENTEEN years before he was born, he is an American just like
every other!”

Campa-Najjar, a Palestinian-Mexican American who worked for the
Labor Department under the Obama administration, called the
headline unfortunate and a “quick take,” but encouraged readers
to look beyond the mention of his grandfather.

“The content is pretty balanced,” Campa-Najjar told Business
Insider in a phone call on Friday afternoon, adding: “I’m moving
past it.”

Although Fox News writes that Campa-Najjar has come under
“scrutiny of his dark family past,” it does include his
campaign’s statement that says in part: “while he’s proud of his
heritage, he is ‘American first.'”

“Every man is responsible for their own actions and their own
crimes,” Campa-Najjar said to Business Insider.

As the US Justice Department pursues charges against Hunter and
his wife, Campa-Najjar’s campaign said it is energized to
potentially upset the traditionally Republican seat in San Diego
County. During interviews on cable news, Campa-Najjar highlighted
Hunter’s service in the US Marine Corps, but didn’t shy from his
corruption charges.

“I think this does change the race,” Campa-Najjar told Fox News
host Neil Cavuto during an interview. “I just want to say that
Congressman Duncan Hunter honorably served our country abroad. He
fought the battles that we wage abroad for someone like me could
have the luxury to fight the ones we have here at home.”

“I think Washington chewed him up and spat him out,” Campa-Najjar
added. “And he lost his way.”

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