Monday, May 4, 2015

Press Describes Controversial Anti-Muslim Group as Controversial Anti-Muslim Group, Whitlock Objects

MRC Watch Dept. - On Sunday, two gunmen opened fire on a Garland, Texas venue hosting an event by the politically fascist anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative. The AFDI was holding an art contest judging drawings of the Prophet Muhammad -- the winner was to receive $10,000. Islam regards any visual depiction of the Prophet Muhammad to be a blasphemy, which, one would think, would remove any question as to the anti-Muslim nature of the event, even if one knew nothing more about it, but today, Scott Whitlock not only objected to the news networks' absurdly tepid suggestions it was an anti-Muslim event but also objected to any hint in the coverage of the nature of the AFDI:
"After armed gunmen opened fire at a free speech event in Texas on Sunday, all three networks on Monday chided the sponsor organization as 'notorious' or 'controversial.'"
...both of which are uncontroversial characterizations of the AFDI, which is openly, loudly, virulently anti-Muslim and perpetually mired in controversy as a consequence. As Whitlock's own quotes from the news stories make clear, there was no "chiding" involved in this. Indeed, some of the press outlets chided by Whitlock seemed to resist bluntly noting this information. On Good Morning America, host George Stephanoloulous asked, "How about the event itself? The organizers said it was organized to take a stand for free speech. Is it fair, also, to call it anti-Muslim?" As if this was even an open question. CBS This Morning reporter Omar Villafranca said "the group's president Pamela Geller has been accused of being anti-Muslim," as if this was anything other than an uncontroversial matter of public record.

Reporter Ryan Owens did much better when he correctly noted the AFDI is "notorious for its anti-Islamic views." Whitlock characterized this as "reporter Ryan Owens spun."

Whitlock cites part of a CNN article which quotes part of the AFDI's self-description from its own platform:
 The American Freedom Defense Initiative says it has several tenets, including:
• Freedom of speech, "as opposed to Islamic prohibitions of 'blasphemy' and 'slander,'" which quash open dialogue about jihad and Islamic supremacism, the group says.
• "The freedom of conscience -- as opposed to the Islamic death penalty for apostasy."
• Equal rights of all people, "as opposed to ... institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims" in Sharia law, or strict Islamic law.
Sounds like a bunch of freedom-fighters, eh? Because it would render rather difficult his effort to present as controversial reporters calling the AFDI "controversial," Whitlock declines to quote the rest of the article, which recounts the AFDI's controversial history, including its demagogic attacks on the "ground zero mosque" in New York and its efforts to place anti-Muslim ads in major metropolitan subway lines (" One ad depicted slain American journalist James Foley moments before he was beheaded by ISIS. The ad read, in part, 'IT'S NOT ISLAMOPHOBIA ... IT'S ISLAMOREALISM.").

While including that AFDI self-description and unequivocally calling the Texas event "a free speech event," Whitlock also declines to share with his readers the fascist political orientation of the AFDI, which, again, is a matter of public record. The group's platform, which has been publicly available for anyone to read for at least two years, calls for, among other things, government surveillance of mosques, government closing of mosques that are found to advocate "jihad or any aspects of Sharia that conflict with Constitutional freedoms and protections," a ban on immigration of Muslims into non-Muslim nations and so on. Pamela Geller, the org's founder, is a reactionary crackpot who, when not wallowing in insane anti-Muslim conspiracy theories[1] or hobnobbing with European fascists, calls for things like banning the burqa worn by Muslim women.

In brief, the AFDI cares no more about freedom than the murderous creatures who tried to shoot up its event.



[1] For example:
"The Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal in the West, according to an internal captured document entered into evidence in the largest Hamas funding trial in US history, “is eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” All of the major Muslim organizations in the US are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. That is not a conspiracy theory, that is conspiracy fact."
Uh huh.

[This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog dedicated to a critique of the Media Research Center.]

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