Wes Vernon
August 22, 2005
The enemies of free speech are on the march
By Wes Vernon

We are at war. Hello? What part of "We are at war" does the Disney Company not understand?

ABC-Disney has fired Michael Graham, a talkshow host on Washington's WMAL which the company owns.

Why? Because he challenged Islam to issue an unequivocal non-mealy mouthed denunciation of the terrorists who advocate violence in the name of Islam.

As Graham explains it and regular listeners to his show will verify this is what happened he said on the air that unless and until Islam issues a no-holds-barred separation from the terrorists who purport to speak for it, Islam would have to take on a certain amount of responsibility for what these murderers do.

As he put it, "Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization." That flat statement was obviously intended as a wake-up call to moderate Muslims. It serves to answer questions of many Americans who were put off by slow halting statements from Islamic groups after 9/11.

Here is the complete Graham statement: "Because of the mix of Islamic ideology that-rightly or wrongly-is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam's name with impunity, Islam has sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn't have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims will step forward and reclaim their religion."

What on earth is wrong with that? If anyone committed the totally evil violent mayhem of 9/11 and other suicide bombings in the name of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism, it is hard to imagine responsible leaders of any of these other faiths taking as much as thirty seconds to totally disassociate themselves from it and to cast out anyone who engages in or incites murder against innocent women and children in their name.

The energy behind the effort to get Graham fired came from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which pounced on the above statement without bothering to put it in the context in which he placed it i.e. the complete and unequivocal disowning of the terrorists no hedging, no fudging. He was highlighting a sad fact that in some parts of the world, moderate Muslims have been silenced, and the radicals have taken over.

As Graham explained it on John Gibson's Big Story on Fox News Monday, he issued that challenge on WMAL for four days in a row. After each broadcast, he would check with management, and the executive suite at the station said there was no problem.

A few days later, he was suspended without pay.

A CAIR spokesman had said he did not want Graham fired just punished. So he was suspended. Given that Graham has a wife and four kids to support, one would think going without a paycheck for a few weeks would fit the description of "punished."

But no. After the suspension was announced, CAIR demanded that he be fired. Apparently, CAIR leaders saw WMAL's willingness to suspend Graham as a sign of weakness, so they demanded he be fired hopefully to shut him up for good.

As Graham puts it, "It appears that ABC Radio has caved in to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldn't specifically condemn al Qaeda for three months after 9/11.

That's quite a list of bloodthirsty outfits to ignore. Ralph de Toledano, the dean of Washington columnists, has fingered Hamas as the most dangerous of the terrorist groups even more than al Qaeda, he says. And columnist Joel Mobray reports that Hezbollah "is responsible for murdering more Americans than any other terrorist group besides al Qaeda."

Graham says he finds it outrageous "that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show."

To compound the offense, Graham says, management wanted him to apologize on the air for his remarks and to agree to perform "additional outreach efforts" to those groups who felt offended.

"Offended?" Here's what offends me (and should offend moderate peace-loving Muslims). While we're at war against terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam, the politically correct establishment apologizes. Many Americans are deeply offended by that. When is someone going to perform an "outreach effort" to them?

The late Walt Disney would have to be turning in his grave these days. To think that his successors at today's Disney Company have caved to those who threaten our way of life. He would be ashamed.

In congressional testimony focused on the enemies of this country in the era immediately following World War 2, Disney said, "I feel that they [anti-American elements] really ought to be smoked out and shown up for what they really are, so that all of the good free causes in this country...that really are American, can [go about their business] without the taint of communism."

Substitute "radical Islam" for the word "communism," and you can see that Michael Graham not the weak-willed execs at today's Disney is in the mold of the show-business giant that founded the company that bears his name.

Alas, this is but one example of what is a concerted nationwide plot to shut up conservatives in the media. More on that later.

© Wes Vernon

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