Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Whose side is PBS on?

When uber-liberals like Dick Durbin, Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer steer clear of a Muslim-American group because of questionable ties, you'd think the news media would be wary as well. Not PBS.

I was stunned when I watched "The Muslim Americans," part of PBS' America at a Crossroads series of documentaries. The show was a puff piece for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. There's little doubt that CAIR has terrorist links. Here's what Durbin and Schumer had to say:

Durbin: "[CAIR is] unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect."

Schumer: "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism"รข€¦"intimate links with Hamas"
Yet PBS' documentary merrily quoted top CAIR officials as completely legitimate. There was a brief disclaimer that labeled critics as "pro-Israel" and "right-wing bloggers." Lots of attention was given to a Wheaton man, a Muslim-American, who has been stopped a few times at airports because his name is spelled nearly identically to a terrorist suspect. That man, with the help of the ACLU, has filed suit in federal court. Sorry, but I wasn't moved by his hardship.
From some of the trailers I had seen, I was prepared for the show to be a puff piece for Islam. It was that and a lot worse. It was, in fact, a propaganda film for Islamism. For example, "The Muslim Americans" refused to acknowledge even the potential for home-grown Islamic extremism in the US. Nor did the documentary exhibit any interest in finding out about Islamic radicalism and its implications for America and its Muslim community.

The overall impression the viewer was left with was that life for American Muslims after 9/11 had taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Hate crimes, discrimination, racial profiling and airport hassles, Muslim mosques firmly "in the crosshairs of law enforcement" -- this, apparently, was now typical of Muslim life in America. One of the interviewees even claims that she stopped attending mosque out of fear that doing so would get her labeled as a "terrorist." Interestingly, this message seems to have escaped many of her co-religionists, since the mosques shown in the documentary were invariably full.
We've been warned by Walid Pharis, Steve Emerson and many others that radical Islamists are trying to influence American public opinion through a variety of front groups, foundations and academics. CAIR is at the forefront of the disinformation campaign. That means PBS is an agent of disinformation. It proved that even more starkly when it refused to run another documentary that took a more critical look at Islamic groups in America.

Democrats like to whine about Fox News. But when it comes to propaganda, Fox is not even in the same league as PBS.

The skewed message the film conveys is likely to be persuasive only to those who have remained blissfully unaware of the complex reality of Islam in America -- perhaps because they get most of their news from PBS and NPR. That reality includes the fact that while most Muslims are indeed decent, law-abiding citizens, much of what passes as the Muslim establishment in America is in the hands of zealous Islamists. More than a few of its leaders are extremists that not only preach radical Islamist ideologies and hatred, but aid and abet terrorism.
And, all funded by your tax dollars.

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