Islam vs. Islamists: We Report - You Can't Decide
By haystack Posted in Special Features — Comments (11) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Hundreds of thousands of YOUR money spent to censor yourself...
In this first installment of a two part series, I bring you a tale of how YOUR money gets spent and wasted, and all in the name of furthering an agenda none of us would tolerate if we actually knew it was going on or were willing to admit it.
Worse, the agenda in question runs wholly counter to what America needs most: an understanding and appreciation for what SOME in the Muslim world are trying to do to take back their religion of peace.
The controversy centers around a film that was made FOR PBS/CPB and funded...ostensibly... by you and me at the tidy little sum of $700,00.00. The larger project has a $20 million dollar (yes, MILLION) budget; a series called "America at a Crossroads" which is/was intended to be:
[A] major public television event premiering on PBS in April 2007 that explores the challenges confronting the post-9/11 world — including the war on terrorism; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the experience of American troops serving abroad; the struggle for balance within the Muslim world; and global perspectives on America’s role overseas.
Aimed at creating a national dialogue surrounding the crucial issues explored in the series, an extensive media and outreach campaign in more than 25 communities accompanies the series. The campaign features screening events with the filmmakers and their subjects in discussions with United States military personnel, leading policy experts, leaders of the Islamic community, scholars from across the country as well as members of the public. Integrated Web and educational initiatives further extend the campaign.
Why then would PBS EXCLUDE the film Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center" that WE just spent 700 grand to make?
Why, because one of the Producers, Frank Gaffney Jr. (who is a founder of The Center For Security Policy) was involved, and heaven forbid we allow card-carryin' Conservative-minded folk to get anywhere NEAR the pristine waters of a never-liberal-biased operation such as PBS and CPB.
More below the fold...
I don't know Gaffney or Burke, nor any of the players here. I DO know, in the for-profit movie biz this sort of thing goes on all the time. The studio invests, later decides there is no profit (or their pristine image may take a bad PR hit) and they shelve films...daily I'd bet. Were this the same case, there'd be nothing more to say.
In THIS case however, I paid for the investment and up front costs, and I deserve a screening to make up my OWN mind. Everyone of YOU have done likewise, and deserve the same-a view.
So what's the story here?
Well, I personally heard Gaffney on Rush the other day talking about this story. He's quite upset over the issue, and NOT because his movie isn't getting air time. His critics will argue otherwise, but the facts behind the PBS decision speak for themselves.
Martyn Burke says that the Public Broadcasting Service and project managers at station WETA in Washington, D.C., excluded his documentary, Islam vs. Islamists, from the series America at a Crossroads after he refused to fire two co-producers affiliated with a conservative think tank.
"I was ordered to fire my two partners (who brought me into this project) on political grounds," Burke said in a complaint letter to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supplied funds for the films.
Burke wrote that his documentary depicts the plight of moderate Muslims who are silenced by Islamic extremists, adding, "Now it appears to be PBS and CPB who are silencing them."
Now, consider the PBS response(s):
Mary Stewart, vice president of external affairs at WETA, said Burke's documentary was not completed on time to be among 11 documentaries that will be aired beginning Sunday. Stewart said the picture may be broadcast by PBS at a later date.
"The film is a strong film," Stewart said. "I'm still hoping to see this in the Crossroads initiative."
Jeff Bieber, WETA's executive producer for Crossroads, gave a substantially different explanation. He said Burke's film had "serious structural problems (and) . . . was irresponsible because the writing was alarmist, and it wasn't fair."
"They're crying foul, and there was no foul ball," Bieber added. "The problem is in their film."
So, let me see...VP of External affairs says it is only because the film wasn't done on time...but that it was "strong", while the Executive Producer for the series suggests the movie was just bad and the writing "unfair."
For me, given my 40 plus years of experience in viewing PBS-sponsored programs, I'm not so sure anyone in that organization has possession of an unfiltered definition of the word "fair" but that could just be me.
I ventured off to find my own answers about the film itself. It seems to me that pulling the plug on this film runs counter to everything we should be trying to do in this country to educate ourselves about Islam, its various sub-membership coalitions and groups, and how they see the world...from their own mouths.
We get plenty of news clips about burning effigies of our President, and protests against cartoons and the resulting carnage whenever you upset them. These things only serve to further isolate us from them-we are given every reason to form stereotypes, develop deep-rooted bigotry against them, and stand in fear of what they might do to US. Is this fair? No. Is it realistic? Absolutely.
So, if there are Muslims in the world that DON'T believe in the image the radicals among them are perpetrating around the globe, why wouldn't we want...NEED to hear their story?
Because Conservative minds are wrapped around the writing of the movie? Give me a break.
Consider THIS article from Contributing Editor M. Zuhdi Jasser at Family Security Matters, who suggests a different issue is at work here (be careful, they have been accused of being Conservative thinking as well):
I have previously discussed the harm of our government’s enabling of Islamists (like CAIR, MPAC, MAS, MSA, or ISNA) in the United States and how the governmental endorsement of Islamists publicly empowers them and allows them to dodge their responsibility of countering Islamism as an ideology. This order of magnitude is greater in impact when it concerns the media’s inability to wage the debate of the “struggle for the soul of Islam”. Stories about Islam and Muslims have been more and more ubiquitous since 9-11 and now are actually commonplace. Yet, the actual debate within the Muslim community has barely begun. Where’s the disconnect? Look no further than the Islamist enablers in the media.
When so many ask across the nation, “where are the moderate voices of Islam?”, one cannot help lately but exclaim that they are being suffocated by misguided political correctness and by Islamist influence within mainstream media and government. The PBS censorship of the documentary, Islam vs. Islamists, highlights one of the best examples to date of the symbiosis of both government complicity and media complicity with the Islamist ideology.
Pretty strong words.
Word has gotten out about PBS shelving the film, and is spreading. Jennifer Harper has this to say Washington Times:
A documentary billed as "the film PBS doesn't want you to see" found an audience yesterday. Producers who say their movie was shelved by the nation's Public Broadcasting Service for political reasons screened the production privately at a theater a few blocks from the White House.
About 60 people watched "Islam vs. Islamists," a provocative and often disturbing account of threats faced by moderate American Muslims at the hands of their more radical brethren and the growing "parallel Islamic society" within the borders of Western nations, including the United States, Canada, France and Denmark.
A dozen members of Congress will view the 52-minute film on Capitol Hill today.
Interesting that Congress can see the film, but we (who sent them to Washington) are not sufficiently able to discern for ourselves the simple from the more complex meanings held within it.
Whether the movie is good or bad, strong or weak, on time or delayed...we should be given access to it because it is OURS to begin with. What we may glean from it, like with any other film from Fahrenheit 911 to the Passion of the Christ is ours to decipher for ourselves. And what if, per chance, some good might have come from it had we been given the opportunity?
In an interesting piece at the NovaTownhall Blog, the possibility is in the title itself: "What if they found the secret to world peace but no one got the memo?" Food for thought. The piece suggests PBS pulled the plug:
Because the topic of the film is the question that so many of us have been asking since September 11, 2001: "Where are the moderate Muslims?" - and some don't like the answer one little bit.
Powerful interest groups, it turns out - some of whom govern a massive, oil-laden Arabian kingdom, some of whom simply do the kingdom's bidding, and some of whom blindly follow wherever the nose-ring of multiculturalism leads them - don't like the fact that the documentary reveals the extensive Saudi/Wahabbi money trail in the development of Islamic institutions in the U.S., and exposes the widespread conspiracy against Islamic reformers. Thus there has been pressure on PBS and the CPB to spike the film.
Interestingly, CNS goes a far step further HERE and HERE when it suggests that "Moderate Muslims Speak Out, But Not on PBS" and that "PBS Accused of Same Tactics Radical Muslims Use Against Moderates."
I have been granted access to a DVD of the film. I will be back in a couple days for part 2...and will give you my personal opinion (instead of having to take PBS and CPB's word for it) about what I think, and whether it is strong or unfair...
I don't plan to be surprised by what I find.