Last week Fox News’s Sean Hannity was uniquely supportive of journalist/activist Pamela Geller, hosting her on his show 5 nights in a row (including one evening with guest host, Eric Bolling). Ms. Geller remains under ISIS death threat for conducting a thoughtful Garland, Texas event upholding freedom of expression in defiance of Islamic Sharia totalitarianism, enforced by would be mass murderous jihadist attackers, who were fortunately slain by an intrepid policeman. (The Garland event can be viewed in full here; and its 30 minute highlights, here). Earlier this week, Hannity courteously provided Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, featured at the Garland free speech conference, a forum to explain his views.
Sadly, Hannity’s humane behavior was the exception at Fox News, and he was apparently forced to abide Fox News’s Sharia-complaint ban on actually showing the Garland conference’s liberty-affirming symbol—courageous ex-Muslim artist Bosch Fawstin’s brilliant drawing (shown above), which garnered first prize at the exhibit. Megyn Kelly, who conspicuously distanced herself from the conference organizers, also towed the Sharia-complaint line. Despite Kelly’s “passionate” rhetorical endorsement of free expression, she never displayed Fawstin’s drawing, emblematic of the craven hypocrisy decried in Robert Tracinski’s cogently entitled analysis, “Mohammed Cartoons: If You’re Not Publishing, You’re Pretending.” Jeanine Pirro stepped all over her Saturday evening (5/9/15) monologue warning of the threat of Sharia supremacism by concluding that the Garland event was a “dumb move,” segueing into an utterly uninformed, rather hostile interview of Geller, and kowtowing to Fox’s interdiction on display of the Fawstin drawing.
Worse still were Fox News’s “sorry seven” (a composite of hosts/guests), whose sniping, ignorant, and cowardly commentary was summarized in a series of extracts by Brendan James. The Fox News statements of Donald Trump best illustrate this toxic genre of sheer idiocy and cowardice—the latter made all the more despicable by the phony bravado with which it was conveyed.
I watched Pam Prior [sic], and it looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing? Drawing Muhammad and it looks like she’s taunting people…what are they doing drawing Muhammad? Isn’t there something else they can draw? They can’t do something else? They have to be in the middle of Texas and on Muhammad? You know, I’m one that believes in free speech, probably more than she does. What’s the purpose of this? She’s taunting them…I don’t know, maybe she likes risk. What the hell is she doing?
Overall, Fox News’s coverage of the Garland free speech conference was appalling—it amounted to journalistic dereliction of duty, indeed malpractice, for willful sins of commission and omission. I have elaborated on this depressing phenomenon at these blogs (here; here; and here), and yesterday (5/13/15) in an interview with Tom Trento, who attended and scrupulously recorded the entire Garland event. Please watch our interview embedded below, starting at 13:40.