On August 10 I debated two Muslim spokesmen at a conference in Michigan. The next day, Dawud Walid of the Michigan chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations published a piece in the Detroit News entitled “Freedom of speech does not mean accepting the voices of incivility,” containing the usual defamatory charges, claiming ” that I purvey “hate speech” (without a single example, of course) and saying I shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in the debates (which shows you who he thinks won them).
Immediately I submitted a rebuttal piece to the Detroit News, and I received this response from Henry Payne, one of the paper’s editors: “Robert – Henry Payne here, Dawud’s editor at the Detroit News Politics blog. I encourage you to take advantage of the Comments section immediately after Dawud’s piece published at Detroit News.com. Thanks.”
To that I responded: “The comments section? Are you telling me you won’t give me op-ed space to rebut his smears? By what standard of journalistic fairness do you justify that?”
That got a response from James David Dickson, Op-Ed editor of The Detroit News:
Dawud’s piece didn’t appear in the paper, but what we can do is offer you a 350-word rebuttal that we will run in print and online.
Send that to me and we’ll run it next week.
So thinking that the Op-ed editor of the paper was offering me space for a 350-word op-ed, I chopped down my rebuttal to that size and resubmitted it. And today it ran…as a letter to the editor. You’ll note that his email to me said nothing about the letters section, which is far less well-traveled than the op-eds and blogs of any paper. It was the old bait-and-switch.
This is, obviously, deliberate, as the Detroit News, like all other papers, tries to manipulate its readers’ opinions by what they choose to feature, what they choose to bury, and what they choose to ignore altogether. In featuring Walid’s piece and not giving me remotely equivalent space to rebut, their bias is naked and open.
Please write, politely and calmly, to James David Dickson, Op-ed editor of the Detroit News (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let him know what you think of their featuring the writings of an operative of a group that has been declared by the Justice Department to have multiple links to Hamas, a jihad terror group. Ask him why they allowed him space to defame me with half-truths, distortions, and lies, for the crime of defending the freedom of speech and equality of rights for all before the law, and then denied me equivalent space to respond — while being deceptive about what exactly they were offering me.
This is not about me as an individual being treated unfairly by a minor newspaper in a dying city. It happens not just to me but to everyone trying to resist jihad violence and Islamic supremacism. It is, in microcosm, what happens in the mainstream media every day: increasingly mainstream publications are essentially public relations arms for groups like Hamas-linked CAIR and other Leftists and Islamic supremacists, while giving voices of freedom short shrift. If we care about the freedom of speech, which is the foundation of any free society, and the ability to counter the ever-more rigorously enforced ideological lockstep in which we are being forced to march, we must not let this kind of thing stand.
Tell Dickson that — email@example.com. Also Henry Payne, Editorial writer, cartoonist and columnist, The Detroit News: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, here is my truncated rebuttal piece, buried in the Letters section of today’s Detroit News. My original title, matching Walid’s, was “Freedom of speech means airing inconvenient truths.” They have shortened it into incoherence. Note also that what I sent them contained numerous links to support my assertions about CAIR; they did not include them, but were careful to include a link to Walid’s piece.
Airing inconvenient truths
Re: Dawud Walid’s August 13 blog post, “Freedom of speech does not mean accepting voices of incivility”: Earlier this month, at Eastern Michigan University, I debated two Muslim spokesmen. Dawud Walid of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was so threatened by my presence that he wrote on The Detroit News” Politics Blog, criticizing event organizers for giving me a “dignified platform.”
Why is CAIR so afraid that I might be heard?
Walid accuses me of fomenting “ethnic and religious intolerance.” But he doesn’t offer a single example of my supposed “bigotry” and “hate speech.” He doesn’t because he can’t: I don’t engage in any “hate speech” or “ethnic and religious intolerance.” Actually, I speak and act in defense of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and the principle of equality of rights of all people before the law.
I”ve trained the FBI, U.S. military groups, and intelligence agencies, explicating how Islamic jihadists use texts of Islam to justify violence. Since Walid professes to oppose the understanding of Islam advanced by those jihadists, he shouldn’t object to my doing that.
But he does. A clue as to why comes from his affiliation with CAIR. 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 Hezbollah. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR”s California chapter distributed a poster telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has ever been implemented.
CAIR mounts campaigns of defamation against anyone who speaks out against jihad terror, hurling spurious charges of “hate” and “bigotry” to intimidate Americans into thinking that there’s something wrong with resisting jihad violence.
That’s at the heart of their campaign against me.
The ugly result of Walid’s smear campaign will be to render Americans mute and defenseless against the advancing jihad. That’s an outcome all free people should reject.