By Tim Graham in Newsbusters:
Frank Gaffney’s film “Islam vs. Islamists” — ripped out of PBS’s post-9/11 film series “America At The Crossroads” like unsightly hair off PBS’s back — has now found a distributor in Oregon Public Broadcasting. Is that good news? It might be good that more of the public might have a chance to see it. But its new distribution deal with OPB means it’s completely optional for PBS stations to air it, and whenever they want — like 3 AM on a Monday morning. That’s a far cry from the prime-time national PBS feed, with all the public-relations weight that the “Crossroads” series managed.
In The Washington Post, Paul Farhi framed the tale with a narrative of bald-faced intervention by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is supposed to just hand over the money to PBS and shut up, like a kid who gets his lunch money stolen daily. The PBS elite talks a phony game of artistic integrity and independence, but it’s a liberal sandbox, and if you don’t have something liberal to say, your ball gets taken away. We might offer some kudos to the Post for noting the deal, and letting Gaffney speak:
“I am a person they regard as a conservative, and they regard the airwaves as a liberal domain,” said Gaffney, a former Reagan administration defense official who now runs the Center for Security Policy.
WETA and PBS officials denied this yesterday. “We had no problem with the concept or ideology,” said WETA spokeswoman Mary Stewart. “It was about filmmaking and documentary standards. We had no problem with the argument laid out in the film.”
One expects that the documentary will get all the more attention thanks to the fuss. From what I have heard, the movie does a good job of exposing the violent nature of Islam – but more in spite, rather than because, of Gaffney’s involvement. At the private screenings it’s had, apparently Gaffney has gone out of his way to explain away the manifest point that comes across, i.e., that Islam is violent. There does not seem to be any good explanation as to how this thing came to be made in the first place. I once asked Mr Gaffney whether Islamic violence was, in fact, rooted in Islam rather than some “extreme” distortion of it. He replied that, well, it didn’t really matter. I retrieved my jaw from the floor and left. Of course, for a really ripping documentary that pulls no punches, may I recommend Islam: What the West Needs to Know, due out on July 17?