HH: We’ve got Champagne Frank in the house. Frank Gaffney is the president of the Center For Security Policy, he is also now a film producer, but a suppressed one. Frank Gaffney, I know you’re getting onto a plane, but I…after reading today about al Qaeda’s plans for a spectacular attack in Great Britain, and talking to Melanie Phillips and Gerard Baker, I just had to find out, it seems like Islam Vs. Islamist is about as timely as it possibly could be, and yet, it’s still not been shown. What’s the update?
FG: The update is our film about anti-Islamist Muslims, and the hope that they represent for all of us in the face of the kinds of people who apparently are determined to destroy us all, continues to be suppressed by the Public Broadcasting Service. And I’m sorry to say it’s being enabled in that suppression by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, CPB, which actually financed the film. With the film, in short, in limbo, the problem, as you say, is continuing to grow daily, the need to educate the American people about the problem, and give them hope as to how it might be managed by collaborating with and empowering these anti-Islamist Muslims, continues to be a message that is, as you say, as timely and as topical as ever, and we’ve got to get this film out. And I appreciate so much your efforts on our behalf.
HH: Now I read the Weekly Standard piece from last week, which I didn’t think was tough enough on CPB, or WETA, or PBS at all, but at least it brought more attention to it. How can people in this audience specifically help you, Frank, to get Islam Vs. Islamists aired?
FG: Two things. You know, we’ve been encouraging people to call Patricia Harrison at CPB, the president there, at 202-879-9600. So far, that hasn’t had the desired effect, but I think they should continue to do so. The other is we’re having a screening on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night for members of Congress. I would urge your audience to call their elected representatives, Senators and Congressmen, and encourage them to come. See the film. It is open just to members and their staff, but it is going to be a very important opportunity for them both to see the film, and also to talk to some of the people who starred in it.
HH: And when and where is that going to air on the Hill?
FG: Well, I’d just as soon keep that between me and the members of the Congress, to be honest with you, but I think they know where it is, and…
HH: Do they?
FG: In fact, Senator Lieberman and Senator Inhofe, and Congressman Brad Sherman and Trent Franks have all sent a dear colleague letter encouraging them to attend.
FG: And it’s really a perfect timing for them to do so.
HH: Excellent. Now has the Republican leader McConnell, with whom I spoke about the film last week, has he indicated any support for you guys yet?
FG: Not that I know of. I got a copy of the film up to his press secretary, which is what I was instructed to do, and haven’t heard anything further from him, but I’m hoping that with your good urging, he will take up the cudgel on this as well.
HH: You know, he’s got great outreach to the blogosphere, and so that’s it. Now Frank, they send me their propaganda from PBS that says you guys didn’t meet PBS standards. Now you don’t have to persuade me, because I know that that’s crap, I was a PBS guy for ten years, it’s just crap, but how are you responding to this?
FG: Well, we’re waiting for them to tell us in what ways we didn’t. And as of right now, our view is that they have not explained in any way the ways that the film needs to be changed to meet their technical standards. They have made all kinds of editorial changes, they’ve made all kinds of suggestions as to how the context and the structure of the film needs to be changed, which amounts to censorship in the words of Representative Jim Walsh, who by the way, is the ranking minority member on the Appropriations sub-committee that oversees their budget. But their view on the other question, the technical specifications, we are still in the dark about, so we’re hoping to hear from them on that momentarily. But so far, we’re still just being stonewalled.
HH: Frank Gaffney, no one has responded to our request for interviews. Who are they sending out there to flack for their suppression?
FG: As of right now, there’s been a woman at PBS by the name of Mary Stewart, I believe, who is the vice president for their programming, their external affairs, and she’s been the principal flack. And you know, her line is basically that the film isn’t finished, and actually, that’s up to us, and we say it is, and we’re ready to show it someplace else, if only CPB will let us do so.
HH: Now why…do they tell you why they will not release it for showing somewhere else if they don’t want it?
FG: No, I think they want it sort of both ways. Remember the old story about the dog in the manger?
FG: That they don’t want to show it, but they don’t want anybody else to show it, either? It really comes down to suppressing the film. I don’t know how else you describe it. But we’re determined to have it seen. As I said, we’ll be showing it on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night, and actually, we’re having a screening for media and other key people on tomorrow afternoon as well. So…
HH: And is the media responding?
FG: These are good opportunities, these are opportunities to both see the film and talk to the people who’ve been starring in it, and we hope that’ll make a real difference.
HH: Is the media interested in seeing it? That’s a great…
FG: Well, I think so. We’ve been getting a pretty good response, I think. Interestingly, Hugh, and I guess I owe a lot of this to you, Google said last night, at least, that we had 440,000 items referring to Islam Vs. Islamists. So we’re getting some traction.
FG: I’m hoping that it will translate into allowing this film to be seen. Free the film, as they say.
HH: Free the film. Frank Gaffney, I know you’re running for the plane. I’ll let you go. We will continue to give out the number for Patricia Harrison, and I hope you can get us a briefing on what happens after you get the members of Congress up there.
FG: Will do, Hugh.
HH: Thank you, Frank. And so here. Here’s the number for Patricia Harrison at CPB. She’s the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her number is 202-879-9600. And call you member of Congress and your Senator at 202-225-3121, and say hey, you’ve gotten an invitation to go see this movie. Maybe you won’t read books, but at least go see this movie. And work it, work it very hard. The Center For Security Policy will not supply the popcorn.
End of interview.