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Why is PBS using our money to make a film that we’re not allowed to see???

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
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HH: Sit down, you’re going to have smoke coming out of your ears. Do you care about the Islamist threat to the United States? Do you wonder where terrorists are and what the West is doing about them? Well, there’s a new movie that’s been made by none other than Frank Gaffney and his friends at the Center For Security Policy, www.securefreedom.org, and you could see it, except for the fact that PBS will not let you see it. The scandal broke today. I’m joined by Frank Gaffney from an airport payphone. Hello, Frank, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

FG: Hello, Hugh, and thank you for the send up. May I just make two quick clarifications?

HH: Please.

FG: This is actually a film that was not made by our Center For Security Policy. It had nothing to do with it. A partnership that I forged with one of my colleagues there, and a terrific filmmaker by the name of Martin Burke has produced it with the help of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, that is to say your tax dollars at work. And the Center’s website, just again for the record is www.securefreedom.org.

HH: It’s www.securefreedom.org, and you’re going to have 30 seconds. We should call you back. Hang up on Frank and call him right back. In the meantime, I’m going to play Frank on the Diane Rehm show today confronting PBS hobnobbing big guy, Robin MacNeil, about MacNeil’s decision to censor this film. This is from the show today:

DR: Frank Gaffney, you’re on the air.

FG: Good morning, Diane, and good morning, Robin. We are among a small team of filmmakers who had a film selected for the Crossroads series, and unfortunately, apparently, those who have been responsible for making the final decisions on it found our treatment of moderate Muslims, anti-Islamist Muslims, in the face of the efforts by Islamist Muslims to suppress them, in America, in Canada, and in Europe, to be too hot to handle, and insisted on dramatic changes that would have really gut the film and its content and its message. The film has been suppressed, in short, by PBS at the moment.

DR: Suppressed, Robin?

RM: Which film is that?

FG: This is a film called Islam Vs. Islamist.

RM: Yes, I’m very familiar with it, and I can answer the charge. It is not been suppressed. It has been, it was rejected for the twelve because it was considered highly one-sided in its approach to, and alarmist in its approach to exactly what the woman in Texas was just saying.

HH: Well, Frank Gaffney, alarmist and one-sided about the war against the Islamist jihadists. I guess that’s a charge to which you’ll cop?

FG: Well, actually, I won’t.

HH: I know. Go ahead, it’s a set up.

FG: No, we went to great lengths, under enormous pressure from PBS, to dumb down this film to keep it from being hyperbolic, let alone alarmist. The thing that comes across, though, Hugh, if Americans can actually see this film as opposed to having it be censored by PBS, is that it is alarming what these anti-Islamist Muslims are telling us. They’re alarmed. They’re frightened, not only for their own lives, which are in many cases literally at risk, but for what they see happening to Western societies where these Islamists are insinuating themselves and creating what they call parallel societies. And perhaps your audience is aware of this unbelievable ruling by a German judge, one of the countries under assault from the Islamists just a weekend or two ago, in which she found that a Muslim woman could not divorce her Muslim husband because he was beating her, on the grounds that the Koran permits him to beat her, a prime example of the parallel society that we’re chronicling in this film, and that we think the American people are entitled…they paid for it, they’re entitled to see it.

HH: Frank Gaffney, tell us again the name of the film.

FG: The name of the film is Islam Vs. Islamist: Voices From The Muslim Center.

HH: Voices from the Muslim center.

FG: And it is ready to go. It is a powerful film, not because, again, of hot, you know, narration or music, but because of the power of the stories told by these anti-Islamist Muslims themselves.

HH: Now Martin Burke, whom you partnered with in producing this, and I want again make clear, even though you’re with the Center For Security Policy, it is not a Center For Security Policy film, and you are not working on it as in your capacity of Center For Security Policy. But Martin Burke is an experienced filmmaker?

FG: He is quite accomplished. He has done a number of feature films, documentaries and others, and has been keenly following this story, actually going back to twenty years ago when he made a documentary about the Wahabis and the Islamists and the Soviets and the evolving story in Afghanistan.

HH: When we come back, Frank, I want to make sure people know they’ve got to contact Pat Harrison at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, clear the rights to this film, let someone else show it, no prior restraint of controversial films because Robin MacNeil doesn’t like them.

– – – –

HH: Continuing to speak with Frank Gaffney, president of the Center For Security Policy, www.securefreedom.org. Did I get that right, Frank?

FG: You got it right this time.

HH: All right, www.securefreedom.org, also producer, along with Martin Burke, of a new film, Islam Vs. Islamist: Voices From The Muslim Center, originally funded by, well, funded completely by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, meaning your money, pursuant to a competition to bring new voices about crucial issues to the screen. And Frank, how did that actually happen?

FG: Well, it was a very exciting idea. About two, two and a half years ago, the CPB, as it calls itself, put out requests for proposals from 440 filmmakers, came up with ideas. We, working with Martin Burke, my other colleague, Alex Alexiev, helped put together the proposal. It was 35 out of 440 that was deemed meritorious enough to get a research and development grant. It was then down selected further, to be just one of twenty films that received a very substantial grant to actually make the movie. And at every step along the way, there was a rigorous competition, there was an opportunity for, you know, other films to go head to head with ours. And in each of these instances, with the help of a very distinguished board of advisors that CPB commissioned, ours was selected, because the story of these anti-Islamist Muslims, these endangered species, was recognized to be so compelling and so powerful, and the filmmaking of Martin Burke so, well, high quality, that we were given the go ahead. And in fact, the CPB at one point said we were going to be one of eight films. It’s now turned out to be one of eleven films that were going to be rolled out on the 15th of April, coming up very shortly. In fact, Robin MacNeil was on the Diane Rehm show, you played that tape earlier, for the purpose of promoting this series of films. Unfortunately, ours is not going to be one of them, as he said, in his own words, because it is alarmist, and extremely one-sided. And I just plead with Pat Harrison, a wonderful woman who runs the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and who has been very helpful to us to this point, to help allow us to have the opportunity to show this film on another network, since PBS is not going to do it, as soon as possible, because frankly, it’s very timely. American people need to know about it, and I think frankly, they need to know about it more than they need to know about Robin MacNeil’s vision of Muslims in America, which it turns out, according to his website, he, by the way, got a film as part of this series when he became the moderator, that was not selected as part of the competition. It wasn’t even submitted as part of the competition. It was one of a number of examples, Hugh, of instances in which it appears that the people at PBS were so determined to keep our film from being shown, that they actually commissioned another film outside of the competition to cover some of the same subject matter. But interestingly enough, according to Robin MacNeil, the Muslims in America are the Muslims of the Muslim Student Association, a very well known Wahabi front organization, credited with recruiting terrorists on American college campuses. And that’s the subject of his film, his vision of American Muslims, as opposed to the anti-Islamist Muslims that are featured in ours. And that’s the man who’s deciding, it appears, at least in league with others, deciding as to which of the films is one-sided, or alarmist. And I’m afraid…

HH: Let me give a phone number for Pat Harrison.

FG: May I give you a new number?

HH: Yes, please go ahead.

FG: Because I had a correction on it. 202-879-9600. And again, I hope people will call Pat Harrison, the president of CPB, at 202-879-9600, thank her for allowing this film to be made over the objections of PBS, by the way, and plead with her, please, to see her way clear to ensuring that the American people can see this film on another outlet soon, as I think they deserve to. It’s after all their money that went into making it in the first place.

HH: Now Frank Gaffney, I want to make sure everyone understands, this was not some out of left field, or right field whack-job propaganda piece. This went through the whole PBS process, and at the very last minute, they said nah, we’re not going to show it, because we don’t like the message. I must say, that is extraordinarily offensive to any 1st Amendment-minded…it might be technically acceptable under PBS guidelines, but it just offends the idea of those of us who deal in the world of ideas every day.

FG: Well, I’m hoping that the larger story will come out here, Hugh, because if you are as minded as I know you are, and I’m sure most of your audience are, there will be much to find offense with here, not least of which was, if you can believe it, after those advisors who helped vet these films in a very high quality way from CPB’s point of view, PBS became responsible, with WETA, their flagship station in Washington, for the film. And at that point, our problems grew enormously. And importantly, they hired as advisors five people, one of whom was a publicly acknowledged, in fact, avowed admirer of Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. And it happens that one of the features of our film is an insight into how the Wahabis started buying the Nation of Islam with $1 million dollars to build black Wahabi mosques in America. This woman not only was completely inappropriate for advising on a film, had an obvious conflict of interest, but much worse, she took our film in the rough cut form, and showed it to the Nation of Islam. And the WETA people, and the PBS people, found nothing wrong with that at all.

HH: Anyone covering this from the Washington Post, Frank Gaffney?

FG: Not yet, not yet, but we’ve just begun to tell this story, and I’m very grateful to you for giving me this much time to do it on your show, which leads the nation, as always.

HH: Well, I’m hoping again, people should call Pat Harrison at 202-879-9600, and at the same time, contact a media writer, any media writer, at any newspaper, and ask them why aren’t you covering the suppression of Islam Vs. Islamist: Voices From The Muslim Center. Frank Gaffney, can they find you at the Center For Security Policy if they have follow-up questions?

FG: They certainly can. I’d be delighted to do it.

HH: www.securefreedom.org, and once again, the number for Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Pat Harrison, ask Pat Harrison to clear the rights so that we Americans can see the movie out money made, Islam Vs. Islamist: Voices From The Muslim Center. Pat Harrison’s number is 202-879-9600.

End of interview.

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