Pam Geller Colleague Slams CNN For ‘Targeting’ Her Instead of Radical Islam

After an interview with Pam Geller on New Day, CNN’s At This Hour followed up Thursday with a testy interview of Geller’s colleague Robert Spencer, who ripped the media for attacking Geller and their unwillingness to confront radical Islam. 

Cuomo accused her of provocative language and claimed she was throwing stones. Later in the day, when Spencer was asked by co-host Kate Bolduan how they can fight ISIS, Spencer responded with an attack on CNN: 

What we are doing is trying to show what needs to be done in order to win this war, and that is to show we will not kowtow to violent intimidation. They are trying frighten Americans into silence and submission. They are trying to say you have to do what we say, you have to not do what we want, and do what we want, and if you do not, we will kill you. And the mainstream media, including CNN, is going along. 

After being questioned if his groups – Jihad Watch and the American Freedom Defense Initiative – would change what they were doing, he was authoritative in asserting that “[w]e're never going to surrender and we’re never going to submit. The media is submitting by not showing the cartoons and kowtowing to these violent threats and intimidation.”

This time, co-host John Berman jumped in to defend the media’s coverage of the Geller story. Despite the interview just hours earlier on CNN where Chris Cuomo went after Geller for her group’s anti-Islam rhetoric, the CNN personality flatly denied that they were doing so: “Well look, leave the media aside for a second. The media didn’t target Pamela Geller, the media didn’t attack that conference you had in Garland, Texas.”

Berman’s inaccurate statement clearly hit a nerve for Spencer, who shouted, “The media targets Pamela Geller all the time, are you kidding! She gets hit pieces all the time from CNN and everywhere else.” Not backing down from his original comment, Berman hit Spencer for “pointing fingers” rather than discussing the issue. 

Spencer was correct in saying that the media have gone after Pam Geller for her statements on Islam. It’s unfortunate that CNN seems more committed to attacking Geller and Spencer than addressing the real issue, Islamic extremism.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below. 

CNN
At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan
June 4, 2014
11:04 a.m. Eastern

KATE BOLDUAN, co-host: Let’s continue this discussion, though. Let’s bring in Robert Spencer, he is with the American Freedom Defense Initiative as well as the director of Jihad Watch. Robert, you work hand in hand with Pamela Geller, tell us, when did you become aware of this threat?

ROBERT SPENCER: Well, the way we found out about it, as a matter of fact, was through CNN. When they contacted Pamela Geller for comment asking her what she thought about having been the target of this Jihad terror plot, and this was the first that she had learned about it. FBI officials had said that something was afoot, but had not been specific. However, it has to be said, to their credit, that they were obviously on the case, and they knew that this was coming down and they stopped it from happening. And so, even if they didn’t fully inform us of all that was going on, they did their job. 

JOHN BERMAN, co-host: The Boston police commissioner has essentially said that the thoughts of going after Pamela Geller, that was more wishful thinking, that the real target in the end did appear to be Boston police officers. Nevertheless, Robert, you’re appearing right now at an undisclosed location, Do you fear for your safety?

SPENCER: There's no doubt about it. This is not a joke and it’s not wishful thinking in the case of the Pamela Geller plot. I can tell you that the FBI met with her last week and they told her that something serious was afoot, but they didn't give her specifics. Now we know what it was. But this was never a joke, this was never wishful thinking. He only changed his mind on Tuesday morning. He was actually going to go to New York until the morning he was killed when he attacked the police officers. So this was a very real plot. And of course there is every reason to take seriously their threats against Pamela Geller and they said everyone who is associated with her. So I take that seriously and I take precautions as well. 

BOLDUAN: So, Pamela has said some things that have stuck out recently I wanted to ask you about. She has said that ISIS is here, ISIS is in America and this is war. With that in mind, especially in light of this threat, and the threat you guys have been under, from your perspective, how do you wage that war? How do you fight that enemy? What's your prescription, if you will?

SPENCER: What we are doing is trying to show what needs to be done in order to win this war, and that is to show we will not kowtow to violent intimidation. They are trying frighten Americans into silence and submission. They are trying to say you have to do what we say, you have to not do what we want, and do what we want, and if you do not, we will kill you. And the mainstream media, including CNN, is going along. 

BOLDUAN: Going forward in light of this threat, you don't change – you don’t change what you guys are doing? 

SPENCER: We're never going to surrender and we’re never going to submit. The media is submitting by not showing the cartoons and kowtowing to these violent threats and intimidation. That's just the wrong thing to do because it’s only going to encourage more violent threats and intimidation. 

BERMAN: Well look, leave the media aside for a second. The media didn’t target Pamela Geller, the media didn’t attack that conference you had in Garland, Texas. 

SPENCER: The media targets Pamela Geller all the time, are you kidding! She gets hit pieces all the time from CNN and everywhere else.

BERMAN: The media had Pamela Geller on this morning to talk about this. We are having you on to discuss this. Let's continue to discuss it rather than pointing fingers. Pamela Geller, one of the thing she did say is you have a couple more initiatives in the works. 

SPENCER: That's right. 

BERMAN: I wondering if you will tell us here what you are planning going forward. 

SPENCER: We're going to be announcing those very soon. And they do involve the cartoons of Mohammed that the media refuses out of fear to show. And we are the only ones who are willing to stand say we are not going to be frightened and cowed into silence and submission. The Jihadis made the cartoons the flashpoint, we didn't. The Jihadis made the cartoons the point at which the freedom of speech is being challenged. If we do not meet them on that point, then the freedom of speech as a whole will be lost. 

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.