Was It Something We Said?
Just about a month ago we were in the Visitor Center in our nation’s capital hosting a public forum on domestic terrorism, Islamic radicalism, and the threat of shariah law within the United States. The Heritage Foundation, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Westminster Institute co-sponsored the event with our radio station WMAL and helped assemble a distinguished panel of foreign policy, military, and legal scholars.
With the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and the forthcoming Congressional hearings scheduled by Homeland Security Committee Chair Peter King on the extremely controversial subject of radicalization within the American Muslim community, the meeting could not have been better timed. Not surprisingly, the auditorium was filled with listeners to our morning radio show, The Grandy Group, who had been following our regular reports on Islamic extremism for the last several months.
The hour and a half panel discussion was lively and informative and was over much too soon for the audience who left the theater wanting more. We adjourned the meeting with the strong sense that we had struck a nerve in the public conscience. The cumulative effect of the Fort Hood massacre, the Christmas Day and Time Square bomb attempts, and the efforts to erect a huge Islamic Center at Ground Zero in Manhattan had left many Americans feeling insecure in their own country and mistrustful of their public officials.
The attorney general of the United States had refused to acknowledge any connection between the murderous actions of Major Nidal Hasan and calls for violent jihad preached by radical imams over the internet and in mosques throughout the United States. The director of national intelligence had demonstrated his own lack of it by testifying that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “secular organization,” a statement he later recanted. And the slings and arrows of Islamaphobia were already targeting Congressman King, who had yet to call his first witness. Our audience was clearly fed up with political correctness and nostrums of multiculturalism. They wanted an open and uncensored discussion on the spread of Islamic extremism and we pledged to give it to them.
Two weeks later we were off the air.
Despite the consensus of the panel participants and the audience that the forum was an unqualified success, station management was strangely reserved when we returned to work. In fact, we were told we needed to “tone down” the Islam stuff. At the time the Islam stuff amounted to periodic reports from experts in law enforcement and Middle Eastern politics usually on Friday for a-20 minute segment between 8 and 8:30 am. In a broadcast week that spans 20 hours (Monday through Friday, 5 to 9am), this did not seem like an excessive emphasis, particularly on a subject which almost always lit up our call-in lines and spawned numerous emails during and after the broadcast.
To this regular component we added stories during the week that we would have ordinarily covered during any broadcast day. This would include the developing situation in Egypt and Tunisia as well as any relevant statements by the president or members of his cabinet. In addition, as a way to gin up interest in our Capitol Hill event we added a very short segment once a day during the week of the forum, called “Islam for Dhimmies.” In the ideology of jihad, dhimmitude refers to the status of vanquished non-Muslim populations, a second- class citizen status not completely unlike the Jim Crow laws that materialized in this country after the Civil War.
These pieces were never any longer than 3 minutes and were designed to show how our nation’s slavish devotion to multiculturalism was beginning to undermine basic freedoms. It would be difficult to assess whether they had any impact on our show’s popularity since they lasted a sum total of four days.
Of course, any broadcast entity has the absolute right to edit the content of their programs. So when station managers told us to tone down the Islam stuff and we did not (at least in their view), they were completely justified in getting rid of us. For the record, this was not an acrimonious parting. One of us who was not under an employment contract was told not to return and the other who was decided under the circumstances that he could no longer work for the company. Management did what they felt they had to do. We did what we felt we had to do. No complaints and no regrets.