By Susan MacAllen, www.familysecuritymatters.org
First, it was the Smithsonian and now it is the Public Broadcasting System. When liberals meddle in institutions that traditionally have been associated with public education – using public tax dollars – the outcome should alarm you.
The Liberal Left may be the greatest threat to freedom of speech in America. While in the past, many of us cringed as the ACLU advocated for the right of “artists” to display obscene photographs of homosexual foreplay and obscene paintings of Christ, we could not have imagined that within a few short years the same liberal philosophy would be responsible for the squelching of other deliberately selected ideas despite our tax dollars.
Filmmaker Martyn Burke has learned just how leftist the powers at PBS are. The road to the inclusion of his film Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center in the popular PBS series America at a Crossroads has been rocky from the beginning. The film means to explore the ways in which moderate Muslims in the U.S. are threatened and silenced by radical Islamists. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting fully funded the film with federal grants but, early on, PBS and project managers at an affiliated station demanded that Burke fire two colleagues that had brought him into the project in the first place. In a February formal letter of complaint to the corporation and to PBS, Burke stated that the demand was on political grounds: Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev were vocal conservatives and both have written on the threat of Islamofacism to the West. They also are president and vice-president, respectively, of the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank.
Burke says that before filming began, a Crossroads project manager, Jeff Bieber of WETA TV in Washington, D.C., said to him, “Don’t you check into the politics of the people you work with?” This is an ironic question, given that WETA created an advisory board to deal with the making of the film; the board included Aminah Beverly McCloud, director of World Islamic Studies at DePaul University. McCloud took segments of the film which she considered objectionable (insulting to radical Islam) and showed them to a Muslim journalist and to Nation of Islam leaders. This action led to outrage in the Muslim community over the film, and the Nation of Islam has threatened to sue. In other words, McCloud instigated the very thing the film tried to portray; the tendency of radical Islamists to use threats and lawsuits to silence moderate Muslims and others who object to their ideology.
Burke’s letter cited various other incidents of tampering with the film, including Crossroads managers beginning a new film after grants were already made which used the same interview subjects Burke had used, and overlapped with his material. WETA openly wanted a key theme in Burke’s film eliminated: the claim that Islamists work to establish parallel societies in the Western societies they inhabit, setting up Sharia law, and “Islamic Courts.” The evidence that this has been attempted repeatedly in Europe and America is extensive, but WETA apparently feels that this fact is too inflammatory for the general public to handle.
Martyn Burke is concerned about the hold radical Islam is taking in the West, and he is concerned about the silencing of moderate Muslims. He claims that the documentary asks, “Where are the moderate Muslims?” and explores ways in which they are “reviled and sometimes attacked” by radicals. He is also concerned that journalistic freedom and integrity is impossible in the atmosphere of censorship that is present at PBS and at liberal-bias news organizations across the country. America at a Crossroads was conceived only three years ago, originally in an effort to enhance public knowledge around issues of terrorism and homeland security in the wake of 9-11. The collection of documentaries it features is financed with $20 million in federal grants (taxpayer our own – money) from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Filmmakers are asked to submit film proposals for consideration. Competition is stiff: there have been 430 submitted proposals. Burke’s proposal was one of the 21 chosen, and he received $700,000 to make Islam vs. Islamists.
There are really two alarming issues in play here. The first is the increasing liberal bias in journalistic media; it has become so blatant that it will readily compromise its own integrity to keep a conservative view silent. In the case of Burke’s film, those holding the purse strings are making decisions about how to use our tax dollars to push a liberal agenda and silence a conservative view, regardless of how balance plays, regardless of truth. When Newsweek was forced to apologize for its published lie that U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo were throwing Korans on the floor, flushing them down toilets, and otherwise degrading them, we should have been amazed and outraged. Millions get their news from such news magazines, and the American public and those around the world assume that they print the truth. When major U.S. newspapers favor liberal editorial over hard news, we should be worried. And when institutions use federal taxpayer money to mold public opinion according to their own worldview, we should be scared.
The second issue at stake is the reluctance of the liberals in the U.S. to recognize the very real threat of radical Islam. Their reluctance is not only uninformed and unrealistic, but when they take steps to silence an opposite viewpoint, they put our future in jeopardy. We can confront radical Islam now by exposing its more sinister activities in the West – public education can go a long way toward stemming its increasing influence. Or, we can close our eyes and remain uneducated about it, and have a bigger, more violent conflict with it in the future, right on our shores. Just ask the Europeans.
It is core to the American character to be reviled by the idea of having one’s views molded by anything but truth. Yet, in a nation where non-partisan research organizations repeatedly warn that our news media is left-biased, and where our educational systems present Islam as equal to other religions, we are in fact having our thinking molded.
When one takes a look back through history at the dynamics in play when fascist movements took hold in peaceful societies, the patterns are always the same: well-meaning people downplay the dangers of a radical movement, and people with radical agendas downplay the dangers too. Those who speak out against the growing menace are shouted down, threatened and made to feel paranoid and crazy. This works to the advantage of radicals. In a society committed to “inclusion” and “fairness” and “understanding”, a radical ideology can easily take root.
A fascist ideology creeps into a society slowly, not overnight and in front of one’s face; it never announces its presence. It creeps in as it always has – through newspapers and books, into classrooms and the halls of universities until one day a public awakens and can hardly bear to remember the way it once was, and look at the way it has become, without its heart breaking.
FSM Contributing Editor Susan MacAllen writes a political blog, http://askew.blogharbor.com, and has written on an extensive array of subjects for over 20 years. She has lived overseas and been intimately involved in the French culture since the Muslim immigrant population emerged in the south of France. A Certified Veterinary Technician, she currently resides in the American West.