Memo to media: Pamela Geller does not belong on national television
Research ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG & BROOKE OBIE
Numerous mainstream media outlets have recently hosted right-wing "Atlas Shrugs" blogger Pamela Geller to discuss the controversy surrounding a proposed Islamic community center set to be built blocks away from Ground Zero. However, Geller's history of outrageous, inflammatory and false claims, particularly when it comes to issues related to Islam, demonstrate that she cannot be expected to make accurate statements and should not be rewarded with a platform on national television.
Media bring Geller into the mainstream, telling nation she is a credible source
MSNBC hosts Geller, who suggests the Islamic center is a "triumphal mosque" on "conquered lands." MSNBC News hosted Geller on July 14 to discuss plans to construct an Islamic community center containing a mosque two blocks away from the ground zero 9/11 site. She speculated that funding for the Islamic center could be "tied to jihad or terror" and asserted that it is "insensitive," "humiliating" and "offensive" to build a mosque at the site. Geller further stated:
GELLER: We know in Islamic history that they build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of sacred lands of conquered lands. So how is building a mosque, looking down at the cemetery of ground zero where they're still finding remains outreach?
CNN's American Morning hosted Geller to argue that the Islamic center was being built on Ground Zero's "cemetery" and to rail against "Mosque-ing the workplace" and against "introducing Muslim prayer into public schools." On the July 14 edition of CNN's American Morning, Geller argued that "to build a 13-story mega mosque on the cemetery, on the site of the largest attack in American history, I think is incredibly insensitive." She also described the mission of her group, Stop Islamization of America, as being based on the beliefs that "Islam should be westernized, that America should not be Islamisized. We don't believe in Mosque-ing the workplace. We don't believe in introducing Muslim prayer into public schools."
NBC Nightly News gave Geller platform to discuss community center controversy. On the July 13 edition of NBC's Nightly News, Geller said of the proposed Islamic community center: "Why should there be a mosque in there? On the top floor, looking down at Ground Zero?" Under her name, NBC featured the text: "Stop Islamization of America." Geller then added: "It's offensive to people."
CNN Newsroom hosted Geller to say building the community center near Ground Zero is a "kick in the head" to Americans. On the June 6 edition of CNN Newsroom, Geller said that for Muslims to "pray next to" Ground Zero is "repugnant," and a "kick in the head" to Americans. Journalist Ahmed Soliman pushed back, saying:
Fringe groups like Pamela's, what they are doing is number one, spreading the erroneous misinterpretation that the terrorists like al Qaeda want to spread about Islam. And number two, simultaneously feeding the propaganda that al Qaeda uses to recruit which is that America is anti-Muslim. Now, Ms. Geller and her group may be anti-Muslim, but the rest of America, for the most part, is not. [retrieved via Nexis]
Fox & Friends hosted Geller to say building the community center near Ground Zero is "stab[bing] Americans in the eye." On the May 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Geller defended her billboards that provide people with information on how to "Leav[e] Islam" as being religious freedom, and criticized the building of a mosque in New York City near Ground Zero as "stab[bing] Americans in the eye."
Fox News' Huckabee hosted Geller to discuss Islamic community center. On the May 15 edition of Fox News' Huckabee, Mike Huckabee hosted Geller to discuss the community center that is to be built near Ground Zero.
Geller routinely uses downright outrageous, hateful rhetoric
Geller: Obama "is a third worlder and a coward" who's "appeas[ing] his Islamic overlords." In an April 13 blog post, Gellerwrote: "Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords. All this is going down while Obama plays footsie at his nuclear nonsense campfire -- sucking up to Iran's enablers while beating up our allies."
Geller: Liberal Jews are "lost souls," "self-hating wretches." In her January 25 Newsmax column, Geller wrote that Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League "has come out against a great and wonderful friend of the Jews, Rush Limbaugh." Geller added that this "is symptomatic of a deeper problem: I have for years derided Jews in America and the Jewish lay leadership for tolerating and supporting clear and present enemies of the Jewish people among our senior ranks. It is a sickness of the soul." She further wrote, "The liberal Jew worships at the church of human secularism. These lost souls are married to their liberal dogma" and asked, "Which Jews support deleterious characters like Foxman? Which Jews give blood money to these self-hating wretches?"
Geller on Obama's Israel policy: "Jews Refuse to Get on Obama's Trains." In a post apparently responding to Obama's opposition to settlement growth, Geller wrote, "Jews refuse to get on Obama's Trains." She added: "Obama is pressuring Jews to "evacuate" from parts of Israel? And what Warsaw ghetto does the muhammadan [sic] president have in mind? I think I am gonna hurl. The Jews will not go. The Jews will not submit to this century's nazis [sic] and Mansourian poser. No way, bloodsuckers. Not again. Never again."
Geller on transgender Obama appointee: "What a freak show this presidency is." In a January 4 blog post, Geller responded to a report that Obama named a transgender appointee to a Commerce Department position by stating, "Does Obama know anyone who isn't wacky, radical, militant, judeophobic, socialist, marxist, pedophilic? ...... Does he chill with anyone who is normal? Isn't there one Marilyn Munster in the family? What a freak show this presidency is."
Geller: Obama "wants jihad to win. That's what he is doing." In an April 1 blog post titled, ""President Jihad: Obama Encouraged Violent Palestinian Muslim protests against Israel," Geller claimed Obama "is agitating Muslims against Jews" and stated, "The President of the United States is advancing jihad against the oath of office that he took." Geller also stated in an April 11 post, "President Sarkozy called [Obama] 'a madman,' 'a lunatic.' Perhaps, I don't know -- but one thing is for sure: Hussein is a muhammadan. He's not insane ...........he wants jihad to win. That's what he is doing. Of course, to the western mind, the rational mind, the logical mind, the American mind, that is insane."
Geller called Democrats "National Socialists." In a March 13 blog post, Geller wrote, "National Socialists [Democrats] Obamacare: Sheeps to 'Slaughter Solution.'" She added, "The buzz on Capitol Hill is that the Democrats are now considering what is being called the 'Slaughter Solution' that will allow ObamaCare to be signed into law WITHOUT HOUSE MEMBERS EVEN HAVING TO VOTE."
Geller: Senate Democrats supporting health care reform voted "to rape the American people." In a December 21, 2009, blog post, Geller wrote of the cloture vote for health care reform: "The moochers and the looters, the crooks and degenerates voted at 1 am this morning to rip the constitution to shreds, to rape the American people and to nationalize medicine." She added that passing the bill on Christmas Eve would be "an act of treason and blasphemy."
Geller declared "VICTORY!" after Swiss established ban on minaret construction. In a November 29 post to her Atlas Shrugs blog -- headlined "VICTORY! SWISS BAN MOSQUE MINARETS IN A LANDSLIDE VOTE" -- Pamela Geller commented: "The Swiss have hand [sic] enough. They actually had the spine to take back their country. I wonder how the religion of peaceniks will react...in their usual tolerant and pacifist manner?"
Geller: "Obama Goes Full On Nazi." Geller headlined a November 9, 2009, post "Obama Goes Full On Nazi: Subject: "Democratic consultant says he got a warning from White House after appearing on Fox News."
Geller: " 'Kick a Jew' days ... are part of this growing evil Evil unleashed with an anti-semite in the White House." In a December 14, 2009, post, Geller wrote:
It's as if the floodgates of hell have been thrown open. The moratorium on the holocaust is officially over and all the savages are free to incite, hate and destroy. Clearly those "Kick a Jew" days discussed here and here in schools are part of this growing evil Evil [sic] unleashed with an anti-semite in the White House.
Geller: "Obama is bringing his jihad to Illinois." In a December 15, 2009, post, Geller responded to reports that Guantanamo Bay detainees may be housed at the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois by stating: "Obama is bringing his jihad to Illinois. Has anyone asked the people of Chicago if they want KSM's soul mates in their state? Obama's treachery is breathtaking. A killer's paradise."
Geller: "It is well known that Obama allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth," and he only visited Pakistan while in college because of "jihad or drugs." In an August 1, 2009, post, Geller discussed rumors of a Palin divorce being spread by bloggers, including one supposedly tied to CNN and stated:
Let's understand this. CNN won't touch the birth certificate issue, the Rezko/Auchi corruption, Obama's anti-semitism, his ACORN/SEIU ties and corruption, and other legitimate stories that need investigation. But they write fiction about Palin. Daily. So why not tell the truth about Obama and his reported strange sexual predilections? My question is, it is well known that Obama allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth. Very seedy stuff. Why aren't they pursuing that story? Find the ho, give her a show! Obama allegedly trafficked in some very deviant practices. Where's the investigation?
Geller further stated of Obama's trip to Pakistan during college: "Back in the early 80's, there were only two reasons to travel to Pakistan. Jihad or drugs. I think he went for the drugs and came back with jihad."
Geller on Dome of the Rock: "The dome has got to go." On September 27, 2009, Geller posted an image of Muslims praying at the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam's holy sites, and stated, "On Erev Yom Kippur, Muslims attack Jews in Jerusalem. The dome has got to go. It is sitting atop the great Jewish temple. The dome has got to go. It's time to push back and stop indulging evil. Evil is made possible by the sanction you give it. Withdraw your sanction (paraphrasing Rand)."
There's no reason to expect conspiracy theorist Geller to make accurate statements
Geller claimed Obama's birth certificate is a "forgery." In an August 4, 2009 column, Geller claimed that according to a "digital forensic examination specialist" called "Techdude," the birth certificate Obama posted on his fightthesmears.com website was a "forgery." She further stated that there is "something on Obama's birth certificate" that "he does not want us to see" and that "there is know way of knowing" whether "all the documentation on Obama's birth certificate and citizenship is in order." Geller also speculated about Obama's birth certificate at length on her blog, dating back to July 2008. In August 2008, FactCheck.org reported that they had "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." FactCheck.org also noted that "a birth announcement that had been published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, Aug. 13, 1961."
Geller runs with fake Obama quote from fabricated Columbia thesis. After an August 25 post on the blog Jumping in Pools claimed that Obama attacked the Constitution and Founders in his Columbia thesis, right-wing media ran with the "report," despite the fact that it was tagged as "satire." In an October 23 post, Geller wrote, "EXCERPTS FROM OBAMA'S COLUMBIA THESIS REVEALS AMERICA'S WORST NIGHTMARE IS IN THE OVAL OFFICE." She added that the writings revealed "an America hater." She also posted the claim on her twitter feed. Geller later posted an update to her blog that stated: "I am looking for the link for the ten pages .........and I can't find it. But he did say this very thing." Her blog post has since been taken down.
Geller mistakes AP paraphrase for an Obama quote to accuse him of "a slip of the foreign tongue." In a May 31 post, Geller quoted an Associated Press article that stated (emphasis in the original): "More than just barbecues and family time, Memorial Day is the chance to honor members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country, President Barack Obama says." Geller responded: "Uh, whose country? Brother Obama's latest slip of the foreign tongue." However, the words "their country" can only be attributed to AP's paraphrase of Obama's remarks, they do not appear anywhere in his actual address. In fact, in the second paragraph of the address, Obama referred to "our country's flag."
In her post, Geller also called Obama "our Nancy boy" because he moved his Memorial Day speech due to rain.
Geller falsely claimed Kagan is "an admirer of an architect of German national socialism, Nazism." In a July 2 post, Geller wrote, "How broken are we that we would consider an admirer of an architect of German national socialism, Nazism, to sit in one of the most powerful judicial chairs in the world? The Obama freak show continues and we are his victims. Kagan cannot, must not, will not be confirmed." Geller's claim was based on a Human Events article that said Kagan's undergraduate thesis "cited the theories of an influential German Marxist [Werner Sombart] who notoriously switched allegiances to Nazism after Adolf Hitler attained power." However, at no point did Kagan indicate that she shared or sympathized with Sombart's ideology. As Media Matters has noted, Kagan's thesis explored historical questions about socialism and did not express personal support for socialism, or Nazism.
Geller also posted a photo of Kagan - who is Jewish - photoshopped to look like she is wearing Nazi uniform:
Geller claimed Qatari diplomat incident was an "act of Islamic terror" and rushed to attack Obama. In an April 7 post on Atlas Shrugs entitled, "Muslim Tries to Light a Bomb on DC to Denver Aircraft," Pamela Geller wrote, "NBC is reporting that a muslim [sic] passenger attempted to light an explosive device on board an aircraft from Washington to Denver, sources tell NBC News -- this on the day that Obama said jihad and Islamic terrorism does not exist (neither does his birth certificate)." The NBC report to which she linked -- a "breaking news" Twitter feed -- said only that "a passenger attempted to light an explosive device on board an aircraft from Washington to Denver, sources tell NBC News." The post made no mention of the passenger's religion. Geller called the passenger "[t]he jihadi committing this act of Islamic terror." Before Geller updated her post to reflect new information, she wrote: "Fighter jets were scrambled to bring the plane down. G-d only knows what would have happened if the the [sic] air marshals on board hadn't tackled him..."
Geller falsely claimed Farrakhan, Ayers and Wright visited White House. In a Marcy 26 post, Geller wrote:
There are consequential, disturbing revelations to be found when flipping through the visitors list at the White House. Bill Ayers is there no less than three times, Louis Farrakhan at least once, but there is also a separate visit for his family, and the infamous hater Jeremiah Wright is there at least five times (four times under Jeremy, one under Jeremiah)
She added, "These are terrorists, inciters to genocide, America haters, the underbelly of an ugly America -- and they are in the House." In fact, the New York Times reported back in October 2009 that the White House said "visitors by the names of William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright were not the same two men who stirred controversy for Mr. Obama in his campaign." In January, White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen stated that the "Louis Farrakhan" in the list is not the well-known individual with that name.
Geller absurdly claimed Obama administration wearing purple as sign of solidarity with SEIU. In a March 26 post titled, "Flying the gangsta colors at the White House: SEIU, The color purple," Geller wrote (emphasis in the original), "Yes, it seems this can no longer be written off as pure coincidence. The color purple is the fighting color of this administration. It is painfully clear who and what is running the show. Historically the color purple has signified royalty which, ironically, is exactly how the power mad pres thinks of himself. But this is SEIU, all the way. The Chicago way." As evidence, Geller claimed Obama wore a purple tie when he signed the health care law. But in other photos and videos, the tie appears to be a grey-ish blue. Geller also posted a photo of Democratic lawmakers who she said were wearing "purple ties," but they are clearly blue. And she claimed that Robert Gibbs and Andy Stern wore "matching purple bracelets." However Gibbs had explained in a March 15 tweet that he was wearing the bracelet in support of a family friend who "is bravely fighting cancer."
Geller baselessly claimed Obama may have visited Louis Farrakhan when he went to Chicago for Memorial Day. In a My 30 post, Geller wrote: "How did the President of the United States spend his Memorial day weekend? Honoring the glorious dead by laying a wreath at Arlington cemetery?? Not a chance. It is unclear, but he may have pow-wowed with race baiter, Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan, a frequent visitor to the White House." However, Geller provides no information that suggests Obama met with Farrakhan. She noted that Obama attended a dinner at the home of Marty Nesbitt, which is near the home of Farrakhan, and that the press pool reportedly clashed with some of Farrakhan's men, concluding, "The whole story stinks. Did Obama see Farrakhan or not?"
Geller calls Obama "the Muslim president." Geller's blog contains 267 posts tagged, "Muslim in the White House?" In a June 2, 2009, post, Geller called Obama "The Muslim president." Calling it a "critical issue," Geller wrote in January 2008 that "Obama went to a madrassa in Jakarta," that "he practiced Islam" and that "if Obama makes it to the big house, Israel is screwed. Finished." On May 30, 2009, Geller wrote that with his Cairo speech, Obama "proved everything I said to be true." In fact, CNN debunked the "madrassa" falsehood back in January 2007 and as Newsweek stated, "Barack Obama has never been Muslim and never practiced Islam."