Tuesday, 10 April 2007
FEAR OF FOXING
Here is a commentary by the incomparable Ed Morrissey about the Democratic
candidates who are using every excuse in the book to avoid being on Fox....in
the hopes that it will marginalize a network with far more viewers than any
cable alternative in the country. Yeah, right.
You can read Ed every day at http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/ and
I hope you make a point of doing so.
Democrats Fear Fox, Part
Democrats have once again gone running in fright from Fox News Channel for a political debate -- or more
accurately, have run from fear of their anti-war base. Hillary Clinton and
Barack Obama join John Edwards in refusing to appear on Fox for a debate
sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus:
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton
(D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) yesterday joined former North Carolina
senator John Edwards (D) in deciding to skip a debate scheduled for September
that Fox News is co-sponsoring with the Congressional Black Caucus.
Liberal activists, particularly the online
group Moveon.org, have called for Democratic presidential candidates not to
participate in debates by Fox, which they say is biased against Democrats.
Clinton campaign aides said she would participate only in the six events
sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee and two other events she had
already agreed to. Several candidates, including Edwards, last month withdrew
from a debate that Fox was co-hosting with the Nevada Democratic Party and
would have taken place in August in Reno.
Aides to Obama, Edwards and Clinton said the
candidates will participate in a debate that the Congressional Black Caucus is
co-sponsoring with CNN in January in South
Hmmm. I wonder why these courageous Democrats
only feel free to speak when appearing on CNN. I mean, the Congressional Black
Caucus doesn't seem to feel the same fear as the candidates. They had their 2004
debates on Fox, and they survived the ordeal -- twice. Those debates included
Edwards on both occasions, and he wound up on the ticket for the
Once again, I will ask this question: how can
we expect these candidates to face off against America's enemies when they can't
bring themselves to face Fox? Do they expect that this demonstration of
cravenness to actually impress anyone but the radical defeatists of
Some will suggest that the Republicans boycott
CNN in response. That would be a huge mistake. First, the choice of venue for
these debates, especially in the primary, is almost meaningless. Second, we
don't need both parties to act like shrieking little children at the sight of a
mouse. The eventual President represents the entire nation, not just a party --
or in this case, a faction of a party -- and the candidates who model that in
the primaries and the general election will have the greatest chance of success.
Besides, CNN didn't do anything in this case to earn Republican enmity except be
the unfortunate cave in which these courageous Democratic candidates chose to
But hey, it's still early in the campaign.
Perhaps by the time the primaries arrive, Democratic presidential candidates
might even have the stones to make appearances without MoveOn's
Today, NBC announced that Don Imus will be suspended from his MSNBC simulcast
for two weeks. The network is doing this because, last week, he referred to the
Rutger's women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's".
Read the following article from www.newsbusters.org,
and see if you can find something at least as offensive (in this case, the bold
print is provided by Newsbusters' Mark Finkelstein):
Maher: Bush Administration
'Stupid and Arrogant In a Way Only the Religious Can Be'
Mark Finkelstein on April 10, 2007 -
If Don Imus' racially bigoted remark merited a
two-week suspension by MSNBC, for how long will MSNBC and HBO ban Bill Maher after his bit
of religious bigotry on today's "Imus in the Morning"?
on to discuss Imus' imbroglio, engaged in this repartee with the
DON IMUS: I used to think that all of these things that the
administration did were either because of the war criminal Vice-President and
that psychopath who was over at the Pentagon, because of them, or because of
stupidity. But I really believe, in my heart, that it's arrogance, and
maliciousness and mean-spiritedness. Mike Lupica and I, the columnist, tried to
find out, and we know everybody, well, not really, when was the last time
Vice-President Cheney was at Walter Reed Hospital and they wouldn't tell us and
we couldn't find out. We've narrowed it down to hadn't been in the last year. So
it's that kind of cynicism and that kind of arrogance and that kind of meanness
is what I think we're dealing with as opposed to, I was trying to cut them some
slack saying they're just stupid but I think it's way beyond that.
MAHER: Stupid and arrogant, in a way only the religious can
That drew a hearty, extended laugh from
Imus.View video here.
Later, Maher let it be known that he had just finished a movie
dedicated to mocking people of religious faith.
MAHER: I've had this
thing, as you know, about religion for a long time. I do think it's the root of
so much evil and I just think that there's a lot of people in this country who
are on to that, who believe that. . . People are catching on about the silly
stories, about the space gods who come down. And it makes people fight, and
it makes people think weird. And you don't have to go into George Bush thinking
God made him president, how well all that worked out. So it's just something I
had to do, I just felt a need to make a really funny, funny documentary about
religion. So me and Larry Charles who did Borat went off for a couple of months
and I think we've got a funny movie in the can. We'll
-Imus voices a racial slur about the Black members
of Rutgers' women's basketball team (there are 8 of them) and he's put to pasture for
two weeks -- maybe this will be the beginning of the end of his show
altogether. As I said yesterday, Imus' demise would not at all suprise me;
-A week later, on the SAME SHOW, Maher refers to people
of faith as stupid and arrogant, and religion, generally, as being the root of all evil.
This is a direct insult to every practicing Christian, Jew and Muslim
-probably over 100 million people in the USA alone. And MSNBC
- the cable network that just suspended Imus - is going to
do.........what? Are they going to ban Maher from their shows for
two weeks? Two seconds? How about HBO, which carries Maher's show, Real
Time? Any suspension there? Any statement deploring his offensive comments?
This is the unbelievably blatant double standard we live under in this day
and age. A vile insult to Blacks is potentially career ending.
An even more vile insult to people of faith is fine and dandy.
When do they learn? When do WE learn?
THE NEW CENSORSHIP
Lamentably, most countries in the world censor their broadcast and print
media. People in these countries "know" whatever the government wants
them to know, nothing more.
We are hugely fortunate not to live under such censorship. Our
government celebrates the free exchange of ideas. While we might agree or
disagree with them, we know that all viewpoints can at least be
heard. So, of course, our PUBLIC BROADCASTING SYSTEM honors free speech by
giving us all sides of the issues. Right?
Well, not so fast.
Here is a horror story of censorship for you, courtesy of PBS --- that's
right, the Public Broadcasting System that is largely funded by taxpayers.
See how you feel about it:
Producer: PBS dropped
'Islam vs. Islamists' on political grounds
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 10, 2007 12:00 AM
The producer of
a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped
for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than
300 PBS stations nationwide.
Key portions of the documentary focus on Dr.
M. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix and his American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a
non-profit organization of Muslim Americans who advocate patriotism,
constitutional democracy and a separation of church and state.
Martyn Burke says that the Public Broadcasting Service and
project managers at station WETA in Washington, D.C., excluded his documentary,
Islam vs. Islamists, from the series America at a Crossroads after he refused to
fire two co-producers affiliated with a conservative think tank.
was ordered to fire my two partners (who brought me into this project) on
political grounds," Burke said in a complaint letter to PBS and the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting, which supplied funds for the films.
that his documentary depicts the plight of moderate Muslims who are silenced by
Islamic extremists, adding, "Now it appears to be PBS and CPB who are silencing
A Jan. 30 news release by the corporation listed Islam vs.
Islamists as one of eight films to be presented in the opening
Mary Stewart, vice president of external affairs at WETA, said
Burke's documentary was not completed on time to be among 11 documentaries that
will be aired beginning Sunday. Stewart said the picture may be broadcast by PBS
at a later date.
"The film is a strong film," Stewart said. "I'm still
hoping to see this in the Crossroads initiative."
Jeff Bieber, WETA's
executive producer for Crossroads, gave a substantially different explanation.
He said Burke's film had "serious structural problems (and) . . . was
irresponsible because the writing was alarmist, and it wasn't
"They're crying foul, and there was no foul ball," Bieber added.
"The problem is in their film."
Federally funded films
The controversy involves a
collection of documentaries financed with $20 million in federal grants from the
corporation, which conceived Crossroads in 2004 to enhance public understanding
of terrorism, homeland security and other crucial issues in the post-9/11 era.
Independent filmmakers submitted 430 proposals. Full production grants were
given to 21 of those, including Islam vs. Islamists, which received $700,000.
Subtitled Voices From the Muslim Center, Burke says his film "attempts
to answer the question: 'Where are the moderate Muslims?' The answer is,
'Wherever they are, they are reviled and sometimes attacked' " by
Michael Levy, a spokesman for CPB, said the corporation set
up the Crossroads project and provided funding, but turned over management and
content control to PBS and WETA 13 months ago.
After that, Burke says in
his Feb. 23 complaint letter, he "consistently encountered actions by the PBS
series producers that violate the basic tenets of journalism in
PBS officials turned down interview
Debate about bias The dispute adds to a running debate about political bias
in the nation's publicly funded television business. In 2004, filmmakers
complained that CPB was pushing a right-wing agenda for the Crossroads series. A
year later, CPB President Kenneth Tomlinson sought to eliminate what he saw as a
liberal bias at PBS. He was forced to resign after an inspector general's report
found that he violated federal rules and ethics standards in the
Burke's credits include Pirates of Silicon Valley, a movie about
the founders of Microsoft, and The Hollywood Ten, a documentary about
blacklisted leftists in the motion picture industry during the 1950s.
the making of Islam vs. Islamists, Burke's co-producers were Frank Gaffney,
president of the Center for Security Policy, and Alex Alexiev, the non-profit
organization's vice president. Both men are neo-conservatives who have written
on the threat of "Islamofascism" to the free world.
Before filming began
last year, Burke says, Bieber asked him, "Don't you check into the politics of
the people you work with?"
Bieber said PBS was concerned that the Center
for Security Policy is an advocacy group, so its leaders could not produce an
objective picture. Because of that, he suggested that Gaffney be demoted to
Burke, who did not honor the recommendation, says that funding
was delayed and WETA began to interfere with his film until it was "expelled"
Among Burke's examples of tampering:
manager pressed to eliminate a key perspective of the film: The claim that
Muslim radicals are pushing to establish "parallel societies" in America and
Europe governed by Shariah law rather than sectarian courts.
grants were issued, Crossroads managers commissioned a new film that overlapped
with Islam vs. Islamists and competed for the same interview
WETA appointed an advisory board that includes Aminah
Beverly McCloud, director of World Islamic Studies at DePaul University. In an
"unparalleled breach of ethics," Burke says, McCloud took rough-cut segments of
the film and showed them to Nation of Islam officials, who are a subject of the
documentary. They threatened to sue.
"This utterly undermines any
journalistic independence," Burke wrote in an e-mail to WETA officials.
In an interview, McCloud said she showed a single video frame to a
Muslim journalist who was not a Nation of Islam representative.
in a January e-mail, McCloud told Crossroads producers that she had spoken with
Nation of Islam representatives and "invited them over to view this section."
She also wrote that they were outraged "and will promptly pursue litigation."
Stewart, the WETA executive, said McCloud was admonished for
Otherwise, however, Stewart said Crossroads
producers have dealt with Islam vs. Islamists in a fair and professional manner.
You may recall the blog I wrote about Dr. Jasser a short time ago (March 25th, to be exact). He
is an important - arguably the most important - voice of moderate Islam in the
United States. He is a proud Muslim and a proud American. He
condemns violence and hatred in the name of Islam.
And the documentary that would tell you about him has been dumped, after
being subjected to flagrantly unethical journalistic behavior on the part of the
producers (oh, but we HOPE to put it on another time, honest.....wink,
I don't know about you, but every time I see something like this my tolerance
for giving even one red cent to PBS diminishes. It's close to nonexistent
now and this drops it further.
With few exceptions PBS has about as much political diversity as Kilimanjaro
has drag strips.