For years, the family of imprisoned former USF professor Sami Al-Arian insisted that their nemesis and most dogged chronicler, Tampa Tribune investigative reporter Michael Fechter, was doing the bidding of anti-Arab forces.
Today, they got some more ammo for their argument in the news that Fechter has resigned from the paper to take a job working for Al-Arian critic Steven Emerson.
"It just proves what we've known and asserted all along," said Laila Al-Arian, Sami's daughter. "I can say we're not surprised by it."
Trib editor Janet Coats confirmed Fechter's resignation and said his last day is today. He could not be reached for comment.
Other longtime critics of Fechter's work were abuzz with the news. One, Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, "The Tampa Tribune should revisit his work and act accordingly." He characterized Fechter's reporting on Al-Arian as unobjective and slanted. "Fechter was not serving journalism but was serving the interests of an anti-Muslim agenda."