Remember this the next time ABC toots its own horn as a defender of free speech. Michael Graham, a popular talk-radio host on ABC-owned WMAL in Washington, D.C., publicly declared that "Islam is a terror organization." Under pressure from a radical Islamic group, ABC fired him.
Left alone as a sentence, Graham's charge is a wild overgeneralization. But he didn't utter a sentence. He delivered an entire series of oral essays over a four-day period exploring the point.
Graham plainly stated in print and on the air that he had "great sympathy for Muslims of good will who want their faith to be a true 'religion of peace.' I believe that terrorism and murder do violate the sensibilities and inherent decency of the vast majority of the world's Muslims." But his main point was unquestionably clear and disturbing: Millions of Muslims refuse to condemn terrorists in their midst and tell pollsters that suicide bombings and other acts of terror are defensible.
With their firing, it's clear that the timid ABC brass wasn't listening to Graham. It was listening to the Council on Islamic-American Relations, a radical lobby that fights so-called "Islamophobia" in the media. CNSNews.com reported that CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper went so far as to blame a recent alleged hate crime against a pregnant Muslim woman in Virginia on Michael Graham.
ABC Radio hasn't always been this exquisitely sensitive to critics.
Just before Thanksgiving 1992, one ABC Radio host claimed that Pat Robertson's political influence showed that American values had "degraded from precise, clear-headed common-sense awareness to fuzzy-brained superstitious nonsense." Controversial? Yes. But the ABC man continued attacking the religious right: "In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan urged the nation to adopt family values and to return to old-time religion. Similarly, Adolf Hitler launched a family-values regimen. Hitler's centered on his ideas of motherhood. Fanatics in the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party, the Hezbollah, or any other intolerant organization, refer to themselves as religious warriors. As warriors, fanatics censor the thoughts of others and love to burn books."
That host's name was ... Hugh Downs, ABC's longtime anchorman at "20/20." We noted that he had tied Christians to Nazis and terror groups, and ABC was fine with that.
But ABC stands out as an outlet that's hypersensitive to CAIR types. It's not hard to find a pile of examples of the Disney "news" crews bending over backward to avoid labeling Hamas and Hezbollah as "terror" groups. Consider: