Monday, June 25, 2007
This column by Jack Kelly is timely, coming on the heels of recent rumblings about restoring the so-called Fairness Doctrine on the part of the Democratic Party. The recurring theme is that anything that deviates from the leftist point of view -- even including their stereotypes of certain groups -- must be suppressed:
Canadian filmmaker Martyn Burke ... made a documentary. "Islam vs. Islamist," which was financed in part by a $675,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Got that? If you're not ready to blow up the West, you're not a real Moslem! That reminds me of how you're likewise not really black, or gay, or female unless you're a leftist. And, of course, the PBS objected to the fact that two of Mr. Burke's partners were conservatives. I guess you're not really qualified to make a documentary or express an opinion either, unless you're a leftist.
Mr. Burke hired journalists who reported from Denmark, France, Canada and the United States. There are a great many moderate Muslims, they found, but they don't speak out because they are intimidated by threats of coercion, ostracism and physical violence from the Islamists in their communities.
Mr. Burke's findings are important, but this column is about why the Public Broadcasting System chose not to air his documentary.
PBS had two objections, Mr. Burke told Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The first was that Mr. Burke showed "favoritism" to those Muslims who don't want to blow up their neighbors.
"Basically, the attitude...was that the Muslims we were portraying as the moderates were in some way, in their view, not true Muslims because they were Westernized," Mr. Burke told Mr. Steigerwald. "They felt the Islamists somehow represented a truer strain of Islam."
(As an interesting aside, note that only Moslems don't have to be leftists! Apparently, wanting to destroy America is enough from them. Interesting confession, that.)
The column's main value is in its cataloguing of various recent events in the left's campaign against freedom of speech. A major weakness is that it merely attacks the left for being "hypocritical" in its complaint that talk radio is dominated by the right -- since it effectively controls television. This merely sets the left up to get itself off that particular hook -- and to look "fair" besides -- by proposing that the Fairness Doctrine also apply to television. At the same time, this conservative hypocrisy canard also results in them failing to stand up for freedom of speech, which is obviously under threat, and property rights, which any form of the Fairness Doctrine would also violate, and which could stand a little rediscovery anyway.