Tuesday, April 17, 2007

PBS Bias Cover-up

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., of National Review, wrote a great piece outlining the attempt by PBS to suppress the film Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center because it depicted radical Muslim terrorists in an unfavorable light:

On March 21, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee... challenged the leaders of those two organizations concerning their handling of the film Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center. The film was produced at a cost of some $675,000 in taxpayer funds for the PBS series “America at a Crossroads,” which will begin airing next week. As one of the executive producers of this documentary, I was surprised, and gratified, by Rep. Jim Walsh’s questions.

The congressman from Syracuse noted that he had seen the documentary, and he wanted to know why, considering how things stand in the world, PBS would not allow it to be viewed by the American people, whose taxes had enabled it to be made.In seeking an explanation, Rep. Walsh remarked that Islam vs. Islamists “highlights the plight of moderate Muslims at the hands of their Islamist brethren.” He continued: “[It] answers a very important…and very timely question. After the attack on the World Trade Center, the bombings in Madrid in the commuter trains, the bombings in London on their commuter trains, in Turkey and other places…I heard the question asked over and over and over: ‘Where are the moderate Muslim voices? Where are the people of that same religion? Where’s their voice of outrage and condemnation over these attacks?’”

“The answer,” Rep. Walsh explained to PBS President Paula Kerger and her CPB counterpart, Pat Harrison, “is that there’s a concerted and substantial effort on the part of radical Wahhabist Islam to silence these voices with physical intimidation [and] verbal intimidation. And [the filmmakers] document it in the United States, in Canada and around the world: Denmark, France.”Then Walsh threw down the gauntlet: “Based on what I’ve heard, there has been a longstanding and concerted effort to ensure that the American people, who paid for the production of this documentary, do not see it.”

The responses to these remarks were, at best, inaccurate and misleading. Two exchanges are illustrative. At one point, PBS’s Kerger told Rep. Walsh that Islam vs. Islamists had “not been rejected for air. The film is still in development and production. The film that you have is not a finished film.” Mr. Walsh replied, correctly, “I spoke with the producer. That film is finished.”Then CPB’s Harrison interjected: “The problem is…they have two hours of material. They must get it down to one.” The congressman held up the finished, 52-minute show, saying, “I believe this…DVD is an hour long.”


It is no small irony that, in a $20 million, taxpayer-underwritten series like “Crossroads,” whose very purpose is to expose PBS’s audience to a broader array of filmmakers’ stories and perspectives, our film is being black-balled by the Left, which largely decides what will be broadcast on publicly funded airwaves.

I respectfully ask that the American people, civilians and journalists alike - leave radical Islamic terrorists to defend themselves. Muslims already have terrorist-supported groups like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) to lobby on their behalf, and of course far-left students routinely march with Muslim radicals on college campuses.

I would hope that some of our oldest (publicly-funded) journalistic institutions would not succumb to similar pandering idiocy with the enemy.

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