Right-wing blogger Pamela Gelller has been a frequent guest on television news programs to discuss the controversy about the building of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, a controversy that her group, Stop Islamization of America, has been largely responsible for driving. She has used these appearances as a platform to make outrageous, inflammatory, and false claims.
Media provide platform for Geller's falsehoods and outrageous claims
On Fox, Geller falsely claimed Obama gave "seminars in Sharia finance" a week "after he nationalized some banks." Geller claimed on the July 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends that Obama "was giving seminars in Sharia finance" a week "after he nationalized some banks." While Geller did not specify when this action supposedly occurred, she's presumably referring to a claim she made in a July 5 blog post, when Geller referred to "the Treasury's Islamic Finance 101 Seminar in Nov 08 right after the AIG takeover," which numerous right-wing media outlets also objected to at the time. Obama took office in January 2009. As Media Matters has noted, the Bush administration hosted a similar seminar in 2002.
On MSNBC, Geller falsely claimed NYC mosque is scheduled to open on 9-11-11. On the August 10 edition of MSNBC Live, Thomas Roberts hosted Geller, who falsely claimed that "it's September 11, 2011, when the mega-mosque is scheduled to open." In fact, the executive director of one of the groups spearheading the project as well as the imam involved have flatly denied that the center is slated to open on September 11. During the segment, Roberts did not correct her claim.
Geller absurdly compares NYC mosque to building a KKK "shrine" near black Alabama church. On the August 11 edition of Fox & Friends, Geller absurdly compared building an Islamic cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York to building a Ku Klux Klan "shrine" near a black church in Alabama.
On CNN and The O'Reilly Factor, Geller falsely claimed the NYC mosque would be "looking down on the sacred ground of Ground Zero." On the August 4 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor (accessed via Nexis), Geller falsely claimed that the Islamic center would be "looking down on the sacred ground of Ground Zero, where they're still finding human remains." Geller repeated this falsehood on the August 17 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees. But as an Associated Press "fact check" article has noted:
No mosque is going up at ground zero. The center would be established at 45-51 Park Place, just over two blocks from the northern edge of the sprawling, 16-acre World Trade Center site. Its location is roughly half a dozen normal Lower Manhattan blocks from the site of the North Tower, the nearest of the two destroyed in the attacks.
On FBN, Geller pushed the "ugly narrative" that Obama is "taking ... cues from Hamas," instructing British PM to "blame Israel" for the "jihad flotilla" incident. On the July 30 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, David Asman hosted and encouraged Geller's baseless claim that the Obama administration is "taking their cues from Hamas and passing it on to the British government" by instructing British Prime Minister David Cameron to "blame Israel" for the flotilla incident in the Gaza Strip. She has it on the good authority of a "highly placed confidential source ... in the U.K." From America's Nightly Scoreboard:
ASMAN: British Prime Minister David Cameron slamming Israel, calling Gaza, quote, a "prison camp" and condemning the blockade of the Gaza Strip. But folks like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are pointing to new reports that Gaza is enjoying a period of unprecedented prosperity, including shopping malls and new resorts popping up along the coast, and that critics of Israel's blockade are distorting the facts. Pamela Geller, author of The Post-American Presidency, joins us now to talk about what's going on. Where did he get this idea that Gaza is a prison camp?
GELLER: Well, it is part of the Islamic narrative. Per person, Gaza receives more money than any other nation on the Earth, and we're looking at situation where there's an obesity problem in Gaza. Meanwhile, there are people starving in Darfur -- you never hear about them. It's part of -- it's part of an ugly narrative. When they talk about a humanitarian mission, it is always under cover of arms.
ASMAN: Well, you think about -- I was in Abu Dhabi recently, and you think about the trillions of dollars that people in the United Arab Emirates have -- and God bless, it's their money, they should have it. But the fact is they put a lot of that into Gaza. That is a lot of cash going in there. Plus, we have these videos of the shopping mall and other places that show that it is not as Hamas, which is a terrorist organization -- it still is a terrorist organization -- it is not their propaganda that's the truth, it's this that is the truth.
GELLER: It's shocking -- the amount of money that the EU and that America has pumped into Gaza. And even when you look at foreign aid, look at Pakistan. We have given them so many billions of dollars. And you look at India, where we've given none, and look which is the more successful country?
ASMAN: OK, well here's the shocker. The narrative for David Cameron -- who we think got it wrong on what's happening in Gaza --
GELLER: We know got it wrong.
ASMAN: -- you say comes from the Bush -- or the, I mean, the Obama administration?
GELLER: Yes. When Cameron slammed Israel for the jihad flotilla, where they defended their soldiers, the original thought was that it came from the British [Foreign] Office. But the British Foreign Office expressed shock, and a highly placed confidential source said it was Obama.
ASMAN: Highly placed confidential source where? In the United States government? In the Israeli government?
GELLER: In the U.K.
ASMAN: In the U.K., in the U.K. And you say that you actually have a second source?
GELLER: Yes, I have a second source. And actually another journalist wrote about it, subsequent to -- independent of my --
ASMAN: So our government which does declare Hamas a terrorist organization --
GELLER: For now --
ASMAN: -- is taking their cues from Hamas, propaganda-wise, and passing it on to the British government?
GELLER: Listen, this is all pointed to in my book. This is Obama. This is Obama. Obama has an anti-Semitic history that people don't want to discuss. He has, for his whole life, had anti-Semitic friends, allegiances, alliances. During the --
ASMAN: Didn't he just make up with Benjamin Netanyahu, though?
GELLER: That was a November photo-op. No, he did not make-up. Because by their acts, we shall know them, and so we know him. His calling the flotilla -- the jihad flotilla -- tragic, the tragic loss of life, the murderers, the would-be murders, what was tragic about that? What was tragic about the Jewish soldiers defending themselves? We have the video. It's in black and white. They went down to check for arms.
ASMAN: But you're saying, again, this is the key point -- whether or not the narrative came from the Obama administration?
GELLER: The narrative came from the Obama -- Obama's people whispered into Cameron's ear that in Turkey he should say that he should blame Israel for the flotilla incident. And it is shocking.
ASMAN: If that's true -- well, it certainly is shocking, if that's true.
Geller routinely uses 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, Geller wrote: "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, 2009, post -- headlined "VICTORY! SWISS BAN MOSQUE MINARETS IN A LANDSLIDE VOTE" -- 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)."
Conspiracy theorist Geller has repeatedly demonstrated her lack of credibility
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 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: "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 entitled, "Muslim Tries to Light a Bomb on DC to Denver Aircraft," 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 March 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 May 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."