And Fox News once again gives the Council on American-Islamic Relations a platform without breathing a hint of the truth about the group. Judson Berger's bias is obvious and heavy-handed, but he is just another mainstream media reporter: the Society of Professional Journalists has done all it can to ensure that unsavory Islamic supremacist groups like CAIR a free pass, while anyone who dares speak the truth about the Islamic jihad is regarded with intense skepticism at best and open contempt at worst.
In any case, Berger's piece is ironic: it is an object lesson in what happens to those who dare to speak the truth about the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. And so it is a vivid illustration of why our conference is so urgently needed.
"CPAC Session on Jihad, Free Speech Attracts Complaints," by Judson Berger for FOXNews.com, February 17 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A panel discussion on the threat posed by "Islamic supremacism," Shariah and political correctness has been scheduled for this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, stirring complaints from some American Muslims that the exercise amounts to Muslim-bashing.
Longtime Jihad Watch readers will know that this is always the complaint whenever anyone ventures into these areas. The one who are always insisting most loudly that honest discussion of the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism somehow involves the implication that all Muslims are being called terrorists or evil are almost invariably apologists for jihad terror -- not the anti-jihad activists who are being thus criticized.
The two-hour session, titled "Jihad: The Political Third Rail," is set for Friday morning, right in the middle of the three-day annual summit of conservative icons and activists in Washington, D.C.
Scheduled to speak are Steve Coughlin, a former Pentagon specialist on Islamic law who was fired two years ago, allegedly under pressure from pro-Muslim officials, and Wafa Sultan, an author and prominent critic of Islam. The discussion is billed as a window into Islam's "war on free speech," the "encroachment" of Shariah -- or Islamic law -- in the West and efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate American society.
Overall, CPAC is attuned more to political strategy and domestic issues, but organizers of the "Jihad" session have been trying to stir the pot with what they call a blunt and objective discussion of Muslims' attempts to harm the West while silencing criticism.
Notice that Berger portrays the Islamic war on free speech as something we are merely claiming is taking place. He probably made no effort to find out whether such a thing was really going on at all. He probably has no idea that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), to which Obama just sent a special envoy, has for years now spearheaded an effort at the UN to compel member states to criminalize what it calls "defamation of religions," but by which it clearly means any honest discussion of the texts and teachings of Islam that jihadists invoke to justify violence and supremacism. In 2008, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the OIC, which is the largest voting bloc at the United Nations today, warned the West about "red lines that should not be crossed" regarding free speech about Islam and terrorism.
But Judson Berger apparently knows or cares nothing about any of this. He thinks we're just stirring the pot.
Mission accomplished. The pot has been stirred.
"It's unfortunate that a conservative conference would be in any way associated with Muslim bashers and Islamophobes," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's a free country. They're free to be anti-Muslim bigots if they like, but it's really up to the organizers of CPAC to determine if they're going to allow their conference to be associated with the hate-filled views of those who will be speaking."
It's unfortunate that FoxNews would quote the likes of Ibrahim Hooper, known affectionately here as Honest Ibe, without informing its readers about CAIR's background. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case -- so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR's cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Honest Ibe Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. CAIR has warred against free speech in the past.
But Judson Berger doesn't tell you any of that. He just lets Hooper defame the conference organizers and speakers without even bothering to look into the other side of the issue. While he obviously spoke with Pamela Geller, Berger did not contact me for this article. Nor does he seem to have given Pamela a chance to respond to Hooper's smears.
The session appears to be attracting attention on both sides of the issue. While CAIR and a few blogs have blasted CPAC for putting on the event, co-host Pamela Geller said she's already gotten hundreds of RSVPs.
"It really will be enormously informative," she said. "Conservatives want to know."
Geller, publisher of the AtlasShrugs.com blog, is putting on the talk with Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer. Both are fierce critics of Islam.
Anyone, non-Muslim or Muslim, who isn't a "fierce critic" of a totalitarian, supremacist ideology that is making war against unbelievers in order to subjugate them as inferiors under the rule of that totalitarian legal system, deny women's rights, and extinguish the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience, ought to embark upon a serious reevaluation of his values and priorities.
Geller said CPAC and the American Conservative Union, which sponsors it, do not do enough to draw attention to the issues being discussed and have tried to avoid such topics in the past.
Referring to a Saturday session titled, "You've Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives are Against the War on Terror," she said it was "incredible" that the only other related session at CPAC was taking the opposite approach.
Arguing that self-imposed censorship is crippling U.S. understanding of the wars it is in, she noted that the Pentagon's recent report into the Fort Hood shooting did not mention possible religious motivations behind the attack.
"When nowhere in that document was Islam or Jihad mentioned, then Houston, we have a problem," Geller said. "People need to understand what is the motivation."
Geller is a lightning rod for controversy, even without a forum on Islamic Jihad. Her Web site ranges in content from critiques of the Obama administration to alerts about Muslim terror attacks to more conspiratorial and outrageous postings. One blog last August questioned why the media were not reporting President Obama's "strange sexual predilections" and suggested that Obama traveled to Pakistan in the 1980s "for the drugs and came back with Jihad."
Now Berger brings out his hatchet. These statements are from this Atlas Shrugs post. In it, Pamela Geller argued that the mainstream media was avid to print every lie about Sarah Palin, but never investigated similar rumors, and much more substantial allegations, about Barack Obama. It is a call for consistency from the mainstream media -- but Berger here presents two quotes that by themselves suggest that Geller was gratuitously retailing innuendo about Obama. The one with the shady journalistic ethics here is Judson Berger, not Pamela Geller.
Geller said she anticipated being depicted as anti-Muslim for the CPAC session, but was not concerned about the event drifting over the line from thoughtful discussion on political correctness to virulent tirade on Islam as a whole.
"I'm not worried, because if everything is racism, then nothing is racism," she said....
Obviously from her remark about racism, she was saying that when CAIR and its allies level this charge indiscriminately, it loses all force. She was not by any stretch of the imagination saying that she didn't mind if the event became a "virulent tirade on Islam as a whole."
This kind of hit-and-run reportage ought to earn Judson Berger the contempt of every respectable journalist. Except there are hardly any respectable journalists left. He is just another run-of-the-mill mainstream media hack, worthy of the company of Michael Kruse, Meredith Heagney, Phil Keating, S. I. Rosenbaum, and innumerable others.