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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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ElectionsCampaign TrailBilal Mahmood puffed up his resume—and the Chron doesn't seem to care

Bilal Mahmood puffed up his resume—and the Chron doesn’t seem to care

Neuroscientists say he's not a 'neuroscientist' (he's not an 'economist,' either)—but the dailies still let his claims stand without challenge.


When Bilal Mahmood announced his campaign for D5 supervisor in January, the Chron gave it big play, saying that 300 people had shown up for the “Stanford-educated neuroscientist and economist.”

Let’s just say the 300 was a stretch (and when the incumbent, Dean Preston, did his kickoff, where I counted at least 250 people, the Chron initially described the crowd as “dozens” before hearing complaints and changing the story).

Real neuroscientists say this is untrue. Only SFist has reported on it.

But so, apparently, was Mahmood’s description of his academic credentials. Four prominent neuroscientists with PhD’s in the field wrote to Mahmood several days ago to say that his claim was a bit sketchy. From the letter, which they sent to me:

Typically, neuroscientists engage in research related to the peripheral or central nervous system or measure and model behavior to understand the brain. Many career neuroscientists pursue extended graduate training in neuroscience, psychology, biology, or other related fields. Your LinkedIn cites your graduate training from Cambridge as a one year study of the intersection of business and biology.

(I don’t think he can fairly call himself an “economist,” either: He has no degree in economics from Stanford or anywhere else—his B.A. was in biology, and his Master’s Degree at Cambridge is in “Bioscience Enterprise,” according to his LinkedIn account.)

But so far, the Chron has said nothing. The SF Standard has said nothing. The only coverage of this letter, which was disseminated and is easily available, came from SFist reporter Joe Kukura, who quoted the letter at length. Kukura wrote that Mahmood had changed his website and deleted the reference to neuroscience after receiving the letter.

But he previous claims are still out there:

And none of the publications that have down fawning stories on Mahmood have published a single word about his clearly inaccurate resume, which he has repeatedly highlighted in his campaign ads.

I have written to the Mahmood campaign asking for a response, and have heard nothing.

I am not alone: Maxwell Turner, who actually is a neuroscientist, and who signed the letter, told me that Mahmood has not responded to him, either.

Candidates for political office often, shall we say, “polish” their resumes. But this is a bit beyond; Mahmood has used his at best dubious credentials as a key part of his campaign.

If Preston had done anything even remotely close to this, it would have been on the front page of the Chron.

But the city’s leading daily seems determined to go after the incumbent—and apparently, to let his leading opponent slide.

Journalism in San Francisco, 2024.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


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