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Is mainstream media allowing the Council on American-Islamic Relations dictate who they will and won’t debate?

Friday, August 18, 2006

HH: Talking now with Frank Gaffney, president of the Center For Security Policy. Frank, good to have you on, as always.

FG: Thank you, Hugh. Nice to be with you.

HH: Well, I’d like to cover a lot with you, but I want to start with a disturbing…and you have to understand, Larry Kudlow’s a friend of mine, he’s a friend of yours. I love the Kudlow & Co. But what happened today had to be producer error, not host error, and I want you to tell people what happened.

FG: Well, I’m not even sure it’s producer error as much as it’s an outrageous pronouncement by the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, namely that they would not deign to appear with me on Kudlow & Co. today. The reasons were not related to me, but I have the feeling they have something to do with they’d like to pick their audiences. They’d like to be able to continue to promote themselves as something very different than what they are, which I believe is a front organization for Islamist leaning, if not tied organizations and viewpoints whose purpose is to dissemble with the American people about the nature of the threat we face in the world today, namely from Islamo-facism. And this issue, of course, all arose over the President stating last Friday, correctly, that we were at war with Islamic facists, Islamist facists. He, I think, framed the issue properly that way, talking about an ideological warfare that we’re engaged in, and that requires us to fight it with those tools as well. CAIR objected vehemently, denounced him, denounced those of us who’ve subscribed to this view. And now is, you know, intent on not going up against people like myself, who are able to say look, this is what CAIR does, this is what it has done, this is where it came from, and this is where it would like to continue to mislead the American people about the nature of the enemy we face.

HH: Now Frank, I still remain surprised, though, that having booked you, you were unbooked.

FG: De-booked.

HH: De-booked, because that is ceding control of your…the content of your…I’ve never done that in 17 years in the business.

FG: Yeah.

HH: And the one time that a producer told me we could not, we had to de-book someone, I refused to do the show. I walked out, because it is…it gives control of your show to other people.

FG: Yeah.

HH: And it cannot be done.

FG: Well, listen. I know that people look to you as a leader in professional ethics in this business for that very reason. You, I think, subscribe to a standard that would have rejected this in a heartbeat.

HH: It would have said so, okay, find yourself another forum, CAIR. But you’re not coming…now what I hope would happen, I hope you write a column about this, because it ought now to be the routine of everyone in America, that CAIR is not invited on, unless and until they appear with you and debate it full. I mean, your friends at Hardball, everyone else ought to know that you are the guy they won’t go up against, and that sorry, CAIR, you’re not getting…you don’t get to set the agenda. You get to have a role in the discussion. It’s America. You’re wrong, but you get to have a role. But you don’t get to twist it.

FG: Yeah. Nothing would make me happier. I think there’s a lot to talk about, about CAIR’s roots as a Hamas political influence operation, a lot to talk about, about its several officers who have been convicted of involvement in terrorist activity, a lot to talk about in terms of the spinning that goes on every day, and frankly, the kinds of things of which this is a piece, trying to dominate the treatment of the most important issues of our time.

HH: What’s interesting is I have had CAIR on this program a lot, once with you, I think.

FG: Indeed. We’ve had a debate on your show.

HH: But it wasn’t Ibrahim Hooper.

FG: No.

HH: It was, who was it?

FG: A local California guy, as I recall.

HH: Oh, Hussam Ayloush. That’s right. A very well spoken character who came on for a long period of time, had a…but we called up CAIR tonight to invite him to come on, not opposite you, just to come on and talk about anything and this? They turned us down. Turned us down for tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day as well. Again, if it isn’t a patsy, they don’t want to do it.

FG: Well, look. In the end, they wound up going up against our friend, Jed Babbin, and you know he’s no patsy.

HH: Well, I know, but they didn’t know it was coming, either, my guess, or that they dare not try and do two vetoes.

FG: I think that they’ve said they would talk to Jed, but you know, Jed is an incredibly omnisicent guy, considering the waterfront he covers. But he can’t cover all of them, and this is one that we’ve specialized in, and I think that’s the reason why CAIR didn’t want to have a discussion with me.

HH: You’ve drawn…

FG: I look forward to a debate about him.

HH: I’ve seen your map. Well, you tell him, anyone that calls you about this instance, you tell him that the invitation is open here for both of you at any time, but it’s got to be Hooper. No more second string. Last thing, Frank. We’ve got thirty seconds. Did Israel lose?

FG: They suffered, I think, not just tactical defeat, but a strategic defeat, and we helped perpetrate it.

HH: Agreed. And does Olmert’s government survive?

FG: I hope not. I don’t think they can afford any more of these defeats.

HH: Frank Gaffney, always a pleasure. We’ll catch up more next week.

End of interview.

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