The woman behind the “Draw Muhammad” cartoon exhibit blasted the “cowardice” of the American news media in covering her story during an interview published Tuesday – and singled out specific personalities by name for criticizing her fight against Islamist extremism.
Fox News’ host Bill O’Reilly was among them.
Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, has been battling what she considers “creeping Sharia” in the United States for years, from the proposed “Mosque at Ground Zero” in New York in 2010 to court battles over provocative pro-Israel advertisements on public transit in major cities like New York and Washington.
And at virtually every turn she’s attacked by the very people who should be defending her — and would be if she were black, a Muslim or “Black Lives Matter” rioter. (Being a woman alone doesn’t get you very far with lefties if you disagree with their pet causes.)
But the “Draw Muhammad” contest — one that was attacked by armed Islamists armed to the teeth with murder in their hearts — brought her into conflict with supposedly conservative commentators too.
In an extensive Q&A interview with The Hollywood Reporter, arguing again that however her actions are views are described– whether they are “provocative,” or “insulting” to Islam – they’re protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
That’s the same amendment that protects Geller’s most vicious critics in the media – something Geller understand, but her critics do not — left, right, or simply utterly misguided.
Here are some excerpts of The Hollywood Reporter interview.
Are there any TV hosts who have been particularly hostile to you during interviews?
Yes. Martha MacCallum, Erin Burnett, Alisyn Camerota, Chris Cuomo — although he let me speak and make my case.
How about behind your back?
Yes. Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham. They said I was insulting the entire religion … Roman Catholics don’t like their religion mocked or the mockery of other religions, but Roman Catholics don’t kill when their religion is mocked — and so no one talks about “provoking” them or “respecting” them. … Why must we condescend to Muslims and think they cannot learn that? It’s the low expectation of soft bigotry.
Why shouldn’t cartoons insulting a religion be regarded as hate speech instead of protected free speech?
There is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. “Hate speech” is a subjective judgment. If it were outlawed, the authority with the power to decide what constitutes it would have the power to control the public debate.…
Did any TV host say something that struck you as particularly wrongheaded?
CNN’s Erin Burnett said I relished being a target of beheading. It’s madness. Who self-promotes to get killed?
Are there any TV hosts you’d like to face off with but who won’t have you on?
Bill O’Reilly. I expect he knows he would be shown up.
Anyone with even casual experience of watching O’Reilly — or reading O’Reilly his numerous books — probably knows the idea of the guy being afraid of being shown up by anyone is hard to believe.
And that would be one debate that would be worth watching.
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