PJ Media

Is Tavis Smiley the New Rosie O'Donnell?

If you’ve ever fallen victim to one of these guilt-tripping PBS fundraising appeals and actually sent ‘em a check, I’d call and cancel my subscription now!

Call them up and just say two words: “Tavis Smiley.” They’ll instantly know why you’re mad.

Smiley is the host of a nightly PBS TV broadcast which claims to be a “hybrid of news, issues, and entertainment.” But let’s be clear: he is, in all-too-many ways, simply Al Sharpton with an updated hair style and a better sense of fashion.  Like the Reverend Al, he’s a political opportunist and a shameless self-promoter with a bad case of “hate America” politics.

But up to now, he’s just been another annoying liberal TV host playing the usual game of racial-victim politics.

Well, that was up to now, because in the blink of an eye Smiley’s just gone from being an annoyance to a guy who willfully insulted seventy-five percent of the American population who proudly identify as Christians.

How’d he do this?

Recently, Smiley’s guest was none other than Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the internationally renowned social critic and author of Infidel. She was on the show to promote her new book, Nomad.

If you are unfamiliar with this woman’s amazing and courageous story, Hirsi Ali fled a traditional Muslim life in Somalia, a life that included being the victim of female genital mutilation as a child, and eventually made her way to the Netherlands where she rejected Islam and literally underwent an intellectual awakening.  She now lives in America.

Hirsi Ali’s name made international headlines after her colleague, Theo van Gogh, was butchered by a Muslim assassin in broad daylight in the middle of a busy street in Amsterdam. The Muslim immigrant vowed to kill both van Gogh and Hirsi Ali after the release of Submission, a film they made together that spotlighted the treatment of women under Islam.

It’s also important to know that Hirsi Ali lives under the constant watch of security guards, since her life continues to be threatened by Islamic extremists.

This was the woman who walked onto Tavis Smiley’s PBS show to promote her new book. Nomad calls on key institutions of the West — universities, feminists, and Christian churches — to wage a war of ideas against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

However, Smiley was in no mood to hear Hirsi Ali’s arguments that placed Islam in a bad light.  He wanted to assert the old leftist claim that Islam is always and everywhere “a religion of peace.”

Look at this jaw-dropping exchange between Smiley and Hirsi Ali:

Smiley: But Christians do that every single day in this country. …

Ali: Do they blow people up every single day?

Smiley: Yes, Christians. Every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine — I mean I could do this all day long. There’s so many more examples of Christians — and I happen to be a Christian — that’s back to this notion of you idealizing Christianity to my read. There’s so many more examples, Ayaan, of Christians who do that than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work.

Beyond the irritating liberal arrogance is the complete ignorance of the facts involved here.

Let’s ignore momentarily the dozens of terror plots — all designed and organized by Muslim-Americans — that have been uncovered and thwarted by this nation’s security forces.  I will instead direct Smiley’s attention to these attacks against Americans:

  • 1993: The World Trade Center bombing in New York killed 6 people.
  • 1996: The Khobar Towers bombing killed 20 and wounded 372.
  • 1998: The bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania left 224 dead and 4,000 injured.
  • 2001: On 9/11, 19 hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 perished.
  • 2009: U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 at Texas’ Fort Hood.
  • 2010: Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square.

Uh, where’s a similar listing of Christian-inspired acts of violence, Mr. Smiley?  The sweeping ignorance, or political blindness, of Smiley’s claim that “Christians do that (commit acts of terror) every single day in this country” is nothing short of astounding.

Unlike Islam, Christian scripture does not guarantee paradise to those who kill in the name of their faith. But the Koran does offer the fruits of paradise to “those who kill for Allah.” Suicide bombers have been lured to their deaths with this promise and the offer that they will be free from the fires of hell if they kill an infidel and, in the process, die.

But facts don’t matter to Smiley or those who bend themselves into contortions attempting to portray Islam as a victimized religion.

Hirsi Ali, trying hard to maintain her composure, looked incredulous as this clown of a TV host wandered into Rosie O’Donnell land. “Every day people walk into post offices, they walk into schools,” Smiley said.

This claim is similar to the one made by O’Donnell, the crazed ultra-leftist, who also claimed that “radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam.” If Rosie didn’t hit for the other team, she and Tavis would make a great couple.

But Tavis’ passing shot, that the Columbine shooting had something to do with Christianity, simply has to be addressed.  According to the investigation into the 1999 Colorado massacre, the acts of the two deranged youths who shot and killed 12 students had nothing to do with religion — any religion.  In fact, the two punks made fun of those who asked for God to save them — before shooting them.

Smiley’s smear of Christianity was so appalling that Michael Getler, the PBS ombudsman, issued a statement targeting Smiley’s bizarre on-air exchange with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  The ombudsman said: “I don’t think he made his case.”  Ya think?

Getler noted that the only example Smiley offered of Christian terrorism was the Columbine shooting, which he said “had nothing to do with Christianity.”

But Smiley did offer another “example” of so-called Christian violence.  Pulling out the tea party movement for one more bashing, he claimed that tea party activists “are being arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people ‘nigger’ as they walked into Capital Hill, for spitting on people.”

I’ve addressed all of these claims before on The Hicks File — claims which have been shown to be completely false. There was no malicious spitting on anyone, the N-bomb wasn’t dropped on black elected officials, and if arrests were made of people threatening elected officials this had nothing to do with tea party activism — and had no connection whatsoever to Christianity.

The bottom line is this: Tavis Smiley’s a fool who has shown himself incapable of approaching a serious issue like Islamic extremism with an ounce of intellectual integrity.

Instead, as a pampered and privileged liberal media figure, he chose to slander Christianity and lose a battle of wits with a woman whose life bears the scars of Islam.