How cravenly dishonest are mainstream media “reporters”? Here’s a case study.
Back on November 23, BuzzFeed’s Christopher Massie contacted me:
I’m Chris Massie, a reporter with BuzzFeed News. I wanted to ask for your take on Donald Trump’s comments last week and over the weekend on the issues of whether to take in Syrian refugees and on how to treat Muslims in the US.
Specifically, I’m talking about his call for the surveillance of mosques, his remark that he saw Muslims cheering the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey, and when he said that he’d put in place a database to track Muslims. Trump also said he would send Syrian refugees out of the country if elected.
Do the policies he’s proposed last week line up with your views?
I also know you’ve been critical of Trump’s responses to the “Draw the Prophet” contest and also of his unwillingness to answer questions about whether he would uphold the Constitution over Sharia law.
Did his comments last week change your opinion of him at all? Do you think he would follow up on those ideas if he’s elected?
If you’d prefer to discuss this by phone, please give me a call at 914-xxx-xxxx.
Thanks for your help.
Massie contacted Pamela Geller as well — she writes about her unpleasant experience with this smear artist here. Since Massie was with BuzzFeed, I had a fair idea that Massie was hoping to get something that he could use to try to defame Trump, or Pamela Geller and me, or both, but I decided to answer anyway, and sent him this:
I’ve called for surveillance of certain mosques for years, as a matter of national security. In April 2013, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, of which I am Vice President, called not just for surveillance, but for the closure of three mosques that have extensive connections to jihad terrorists: the Islamic Society of Boston, the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, and the Noor Mosque in Columbus, Ohio. Details here: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/04/afdi-calls-for-closure-of-mosques-that-breed-jihad-terror
The freedom of religion is not a blanket permission to plot sedition and violence. It does not infringe upon the freedom of religion of Muslims for mosques that have demonstrably been involved in jihad terror activity to be put under surveillance.
I don’t know what Donald Trump saw after 9/11, and cannot comment upon it. Certainly reports that Muslims were publicly celebrating were widespread at the time.
The database idea is something I have never advocated, and do not support. I believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Even from a practical standpoint, it would be useless, as many jihad plotters have been converts to Islam (Terry Loewen, Christopher Cornell,etc.) who presumably would not be in the database unless they voluntarily registered. Instead of a database of all Muslims, mosques and Muslim organizations should institute transparent and inspectable, honest programs teaching against the understanding of Islam represented by the Islamic State, and teaching against the aspects of Islamic law that conflict with Constitutional values and freedoms.
The Saudis and the Gulf states are taking no Syrian refugees at all. Why? Because there are jihad terrorists among them. The Islamic State boasted last February that they would soon inundate Europe with 500,000 refugees. The Lebanese Education Minister recently warned that there were 20,000 active jihadis among the Syrian refugees in camps in his country. An Islamic State operative boasted in September, shortly after the migrant influx into Europe began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 terrorists had already entered Europe. Consequently, it is unwise in the extreme to take any Syrian refugees.
Trump’s comments did not change my opinion of him. He is a thoughtless shoot-from-the-hip blowhard who is degrading American politics: the campaign for President as reality TV. Moreover, I don’t support everything he has recently said, as I just explained. I do not believe he would follow up on these ideas if elected. Right now he is pandering to the frustration that many Americans feel over being constantly lied to by the government and by you people in the media about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. But his remarks after the Garland event show that he has no appreciation of the importance of the freedom of speech, and no understanding of how seriously it is threatened today. We don’t need yet another enemy of free speech in the White House to succeed the man who said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
Massie followed up with questions pressing me about who I did support, but ultimately didn’t run any piece at all. He probably wanted foaming-at-the-mouth irrational “Islamophobia.” Cogent and rational answers surprised and disappointed him, and had to be deep-sixed. But yesterday he surfaced again:
Hi Robert and Pamela,
I wanted to ask what you guys think of the statement Trump put out today, where he calls for a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. I know both of you were opposed to his earlier calls for a Muslim database on constitutional grounds and this proposal would seem to be even more extreme than that. Do either of you have any thoughts on today’s statement?
Thanks again for taking the time to discuss this with me.
Warier this time, I responded:
What’s the purpose of your inquiry? Are you trying to smear Trump by association with us (as supposed “bigoted Islamophobes”), or find some fissure among foes of jihad terror that you hope to exploit in order to defeat all efforts to stop the advance of jihad terror?
No, I was asking for the same reason as before. Both of you are prominent activists in this field and I’m interested in your thoughts on developments in the presidential campaign, in which Trump is currently a leading candidate. As I said in my last email, even though I didn’t write anything about the last time we spoke, I found your comments interesting, which is why I asked your thoughts again today. I’d still be interested in hearing them, if either or both of you gets a chance.
Now, over the years I have learned never to trust mainstream media journalists, as they are never honest, never fair, and never interested in portraying resistance to jihad terror in anything but a negative light. But their inquiries always present a dilemma: does one try to get a word in, knowing that they will probably publish something anyway, or reject the corruption of the whole enterprise? I opted to try to get a word in, and sent him this:
No one has some natural right to enter the U.S. Trump is suggesting a temporary measure, and in view of the intelligence failures involved in Tashfeen Malik’s passing background checks from both the FBI and DHS, and the stated plan of the Islamic State (ISIS) to embed jihadis among the refugees, and the fact that two of the Paris jihadis were recent arrivals into Europe as refugees, it is prudent to call a halt and try to devise some genuinely effective vetting measures — although that will be impossible as long as Obama’s policy of denying the reality of jihad continues. Must our commitment to “multiculturalism” and “diversity” override any concern for national security? Are our elected officials so afraid of being charged with “racism” and “bigotry” that they will remain committed to a program that very likely will result in the entry of more jihad killers into the U.S.? How many Americans must be killed before we consider the security aspects of immigration and the refugee crisis?
After reading this from me and Pamela Geller’s response (again, here), Massie wrote back:
Thanks for these responses. Robert, I assure you I have no intention of twisting your words.
I just want to be clear (so as not to misrepresent your views)–it seems like both of you support Trump’s proposal today? Does this change either of your views of Trump’s candidacy as a whole?
Unless some reliable way can be discovered to discern jihadis trying to enter the country, I don’t have a particular problem with this. The Islamic State has explicitly instructed its operatives entering the US to appear “moderate” — don’t wear a caftan, don’t carry a Qur’an, don’t wear a beard, don’t go to mosque. Even if there were any sanity in the Administration’s approach to this threat, which there isn’t, the efforts of ISIS members to conceal their allegiances and intentions make vetting well-nigh impossible.
I will never support Trump for President, even were he to knock on my door, get on one knee, and ask for my vote. I could never support a candidate who advocates kowtowing to violent intimidation and submitting to the Islamic supremacist war against the freedom of speech, as he did after the jihad attack on our event in Garland, Texas.
And that was that. Here is what they published. Pamela Geller’s screenshot shows that a headline on a similar August piece was even worse: “Top Racists and Neo-Nazis Back Donald Trump.” Now they have this: “White Nationalist And Anti-Muslim Fringe Embrace Trump Proposal,” by Andrew Kaczynski and Christopher Massie, BuzzFeed, December 8, 2015:
A coalition of America’s top white nationalists again praised an initiative from Republican front-runner Donald Trump, this time praising his plan to restrict Muslim immigration to the United States….
Then follow fifteen paragraphs recounting how people that BuzzFeed characterizes as white supremacists and neo-Nazis support Trump’s proposal. Only after that do Pamela Geller and I come in. The implication is clear: resistance to jihad terror is just another strain of the hatred and racism that manifests itself in white nationalism and neo-Nazism. The fourteen dead bodies in San Bernardino, and the well over a hundred dead bodies in Paris, and the thousands of other victims of jihad terror don’t concern Massie or his accomplice Andrew Kaczynski in the least: in their narrow little hard-Left world, opposing the ideology that incites such hatred and violence is just like being a racist or neo-Nazi.
Anti-Muslim activists — a distinct group from the white nationalist movement, which has historically directed its racism at blacks and Jews — also embraced Trump’s proposal.
Note the familiar smear of “anti-Muslim.” Kaczynski and Massie apparently believe that it is “anti-Muslim” to oppose jihad massacres, boasts of imminent Islamic conquest, honor killing, female genital mutilation, the death penalty for leaving Islam, etc. It is they who are thus “anti-Muslim,” for even as they no doubt think that Islam is a religion of peace, they assume, or want their readers to assume, that opposing jihad terror, Islamic supremacism and other elements of Sharia oppression is “anti-Muslim.” Opposing the violent and supremacist jihad doctrine is in reality no more “anti-Muslim” than opposing Nazism was “anti-German.”
“No one has some natural right to enter the U.S.,” anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer, director of the site Jihad Watch, wrote BuzzFeed News in an email, adding that Trump was suggesting a temporary measure and citing the role of “intelligence failures” in the attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Paris. “Must our commitment to ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘diversity’ override any concern for national security?”
The anti-Muslim provocateur Pamela Geller also praised the suggestion.
“Ant-Islam activist.” “Anti-Muslim provocateur.” So standing for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law is “anti-Islam” and “anti-Muslim.” Here again, in their haste to smear us, Kaczynski and Massie reveal more about their own assumptions about Islam than they do about us.
“Obama’s negligence and jihad denial necessitates emergency measures. The San Bernardino jihad rampage is a direct result of Obama’s jihad denial,” she said.
Neither Spencer nor Geller, however, supports Trump as a candidate, because they believe he is not anti-Muslim enough. In particular, both broke with Trump after he denounced as “disgusting” a “Draw the Prophet” event hosted by a group the two founded, which was attacked by two gunmen in May.
Geller told BuzzFeed News last month that she preferred Ted Cruz, arguing that “Trump doesn’t understand the importance of freedom of speech.”
Spencer, meanwhile, wrote yesterday, “I will never support Trump for President, even were he to knock on my door, get on one knee, and ask for my vote. I could never support a candidate who advocates kowtowing to violent intimidation and submitting to the Islamic supremacist war against the freedom of speech, as he did after the jihad attack on our event in Garland, Texas.”
So for Kaczynski and Massie, even standing up for the freedom of speech against violent jihadist intimidation is “anti-Muslim,” such that Trump, in opposing our stand, was “not anti-Muslim enough.” Trump denounced our free speech event that was held in Garland, Texas on May 3. For all his braggadocio about opposing jihad and stopping Muslim immigration, he appears to have no understanding of the necessity of standing up to efforts to bully us into silence and to force us at gunpoint to accept Sharia restrictions on the freedom of speech. Our Garland event was responding to the jihad murders of the Charlie Hedbo cartoonists in Paris. Trump would apparently have us kowtow and submit, and self-censor our words to please Muslims, in the face of those murders.
But as far as Kaczynski and Massie are concerned, all that just means that we think Trump is not “anti-Muslim enough.” So BuzzFeed excoriates Trump for advocating something that is perfectly Constitutional — stopping Muslim immigration — but is apparently fine with him standing against a core Constitutional principle: the freedom of speech.
Politely let these “journalists” know on Twitter what you think of their journalistic ethics: @BuzzFeedAndrew and @chrismassie.