A typically silly mainstream media piece, but not as evil as some of them. “In flap over mosque near Ground Zero, conservative writers gaining influence,” by Michelle Boorstein for the Washington Post, August 18:
Long before President Obama waded into the vociferous debate over a proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero, a group of conservative writers and bloggers critical of Islam had seized on the issue and helped transform it into a national political spectacle.
While some have dismissed them as bigoted attention-seekers, their attacks on the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan have gained currency in recent weeks among some Republican leaders. And their influence appears to be growing.
They are organizing a Sept. 11 rally against the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan that will feature former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. They advise the FBI and other government security agencies on the threats posed by Islamic radicalism, headline “tea party” events and attract millions of readers concerned or curious about Islam to Web sites with names such as Jihad Watch, Creeping Sharia and Stop Islamization of America.
“People on the Hill, their staff read these sites, they show their bosses. . . . They push these subjects into the spotlight, often at a time when major media isn’t doing that,” said Cliff May, a columnist and former spokesman for the Republican National Committee who runs a think tank focused on religious extremism and religious freedom.
The most colorful — and perhaps most visible activist at the moment — is Pam Geller, a former New York Observer publisher who has appeared in a bikini and a super-tight Superman costume challenging Islam.
It has become a favored theme of the Left’s take on Pamela Geller to point out that she appeared in a bikini, etc., as if that fact in itself negates the validity of everything she says. And certainly taking that tack is easier for Michelle Boorstein than actually thinking about the arguments that Pamela makes and formulating some coherent response to them.
Through her blog, Atlas Shrugs, television interviews and appearances at political and civic rallies, Geller has become one of the chief organizers of opposition to the mosque as well as efforts to build other Muslim prayer centers around the country….
Geller has become a prominent voice in the debate despite the fact that she once promoted the view that Obama is Malcolm X’s love child.
This is lazy propagandizing at its very finest masquerading as journalism. If Michelle Boorstein had bothered to do any research, she would have found this statement, which has only been up at Atlas Shrugs for nearly two years: “UPDATE: The ‘Atlas says that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child’ charge has gone viral among leftards and lizards. The only problem with it is that it is false. I am not the author of this post, and I posted it because the writer did a spectacular job documenting Obama’s many connections with the Far Left. The Malcolm X claim is one minor part of this story, and was of interest to me principally as part of the writer’s documentation that Stanley Ann Dunham could not have been where the Obama camp says she was at various times. I do not believe that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did — but there remain many, many unanswered questions about his early life and upbringing.”
She frequently warns that Muslims are trying to impose repressive sharia law on the United States,
One wonders if Michelle Boorstein has noticed that the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Ground Zero mosque is an open proponent of Sharia who has called for restrictions on the freedom of speech in the U.S.
…refers to the president’s holiday message to Muslims as “Obama Ramadamadingdong” and promotes a Web site, Religion of Peace, that claims to tally the number of people killed around the world by Muslim extremists.
Is there something wrong with the tally at Religion of Peace? Boorstein doesn’t say — and she doesn’t say, of course, because she doesn’t know. She just knows that the tally is so high, it doesn’t fit in with her politically correct presuppositions. So it must be false. And in more sloppiness, Pamela Geller’s article about Obama’s Ramadan message was entitled “Obama Ramadanadingdong” (not “Ramadamadingdong”); Pamela did not refer to his speech itself by that name.
She has helped fund controversial taxi ads in Washington, New York and other cities asking: “Is your family threatening you? leaveislamsafely.com”
No mention from Michelle Boorstein of Islam’s death penalty for apostates.
Geller often partners with Robert Spencer, a best-selling writer who is less flamboyant but perhaps more influential.
Spencer, the author of “Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs” and “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran,” has consulted on Islamic extremism with government security officials, including the U.S. Central Command, the U.S. Army Command, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to his Web site, Jihad Watch.
The site, which was launched in 2003, had its busiest month ever in July, with 2.9 million visitors, up from 665,000 a year ago, Spencer said.
Jihad Watch is widely read in many quarters in Washington, particularly among conservatives.
Daniel Pipes, perhaps the most prominent U.S. scholar on radical Islam, said he considers Spencer a “serious scholar.”
“I learn from him,” said Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank, who writes a biweekly column for the National Review.
When Spencer lavished praise on Gingrich earlier this month, the Republican posted it on his Web site.
Gingrich is scheduled to speak at an anti-mosque rally on Sept. 11 being organized by Spencer and Geller. Also scheduled to speak is former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who wrote the forward for the pair’s new book about Obama, “The Post-American Presidency.”
Gingrich has actually dropped out. The rally will go on.
Charles Johnson, creator of the national security blog Little Green Footballs, called Spencer and Geller “very influential.” Listening to Gingrich’s comments about Islamic law, he said, “Newt sounded a lot like he got it from Pam Geller.”
“The national security blog Little Green Footballs”? That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in weeks. A Rabelais, a Jonathan Swift at his most bitingly satirical couldn’t have come up with a more unlikely description for that disgusting lie-and-hate factory. I have no doubt that Michelle Boorstein had at least the rudimentary decency as to leave Johnson’s libelous charges on the cutting-room floor.
Their efforts to rally public opinion against the mosque appear to have had an impact. A CNN poll conducted this month showed that 68 percent of Americans oppose the idea of building a mosque two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood.
While there is no new data on whether American views toward Islam have shifted since a spate of homegrown terror attacks and the furor over the mosque, Muslim American leaders worry that it has. They accuse the bloggers of fueling religious hatred.
Muslim Americans “are becoming fearful, uncertain, asking, ‘What is the future?’ ” said Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani diplomat and current American University professor.
Ahmed believes the shaky economy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and tension over immigration combined with the election of the first non-white president have left Americans anxious. “Islam at this moment in time focuses all the intensity and passion,” he said.
Akbar Ahmed knows better — which is probably why he keeps ducking discussion or debate with me.
Brian Levin, a hate crimes expert who used to work with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the bloggers gain traction partially because they make points about American Muslim extremism that “the mainstream media consistently ignore.”…
Video from June of a rowdy town meeting in Staten Island, N.Y., about a proposed mosque shows Spencer being cheered when he states his name. Those who turned out to oppose the mosque said they heard about the meeting through Geller’s Facebook page.
Asked if his ability to make money — through Web site donations, book sales and speaking appearances — has improved, Spencer said, “It’s changed a lot,” but wouldn’t elaborate. He said only that he and Geller were able to raise $50,000 in recent months for their bus and taxi ad campaign. …
Yes, and we raised it through a large number of small donations from readers and concerned citizens. It is interesting, isn’t it, that Michelle Boorstein and others in the mainstream media have no apparent concern about where the mosque organizers are getting their $100 million, despite their contradictory statements about it, but they are very, very concerned about the relative pittances we’re dealing with.
Asked if he was being deliberately combative and provocative, Spencer chuckled.
“Why not?” he asked. “It’s fun.”
I am fairly sure that I did not say that in connection with my work, but rather in connection with my attempts to draw out Michelle Boorstein and convince her that running interference for Sharia was not in her personal best interests, but in either case, Michelle Boorstein doesn’t know when her leg is being pulled.