Steve Emerson, who gave misinformation while appearing on Fox News as a terrorism expert on Sunday, apologized to citizens of the United Kingdom, and said that he hoped it would not damage his career.
During a Sunday interview on Fox News, Emerson had opined that the entire British city of Birmingham was “totally Muslim,” and that “non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”
Birmingham residents and others on Twitter reacted by mocking Emerson with the hashtag #foxnewsfacts.
Speaking to the BBC on Monday, the so-called expert admitted that he had been wrong.
“As far as my statement, the statement about Birmingham, I was relying on information that was totally incorrect,” Emerson explained.
When pressed about where he had gotten the information, Emerson would not identify a source, written or otherwise.
“I have been in contact with people in the United Kingdom, and there are people — as well as law enforcement, and there are areas where law enforcement doesn’t go into in the United Kingdom,” he insisted. “But in terms of there being entire cities in the United Kingdom, I was totally misled — misinformed.”
“You know, I’m sorry, but I made an egregious error here in not doing my own homework,” Emerson added. “It hasn’t been pleasant, but I deserved what I got. I want you to know that I’m not making amends. I don’t want any pity whatsoever. I deserve any discomfort, whatever, because I made an egregious error. I want to apologize to all residents of Birmingham because it was a mistake that was inexcusable.”
Emerson told BBC that he could not predict how damaged his career would be after the mistake.
“The fact [is] that I hope my body of work speaks for itself over the last 25 years, but again, you know, the reality is I can’t predict the future,” he noted. “You know, having made that statement, I certainly don’t want, you know, something else to occur. I don’t want people to use this as an agenda to claim that there is, you know, there’s no such thing as radical Islam or that Steve Emerson has no credibility whatsoever.”
“I think my body of work speaks for itself. You know, I’ve made a few mistakes in my career.”
As for Fox News, Emerson said the network had not let him know if he would be appearing on the air again.
“They didn’t say anything to me at this point,” he remarked. “So, I’m waiting.”
Earlier on Monday, even British Prime Minister David Cameron had called Emerson a “complete idiot.”
“When I heard this, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool’s Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot,” Cameron said. “What he should do is look at Birmingham and see what a fantastic example it is of bringing people together of different faiths, different backgrounds.”
Listen to the audio below from BBC’s Radio 4, broadcast Jan. 12, 2015.