Skip to comments.My CAIR-Inspired Firing [Michael Graham]
Posted on 08/23/2005 6:39:18 AM PDT by OXENinFLA
The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC.
On July 25th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that I be punished for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism. Three days later, 630 WMAL and ABC Radio suspended me without pay for comments deemed hate radio by CAIR.
CAIR immediately announced that my punishment was insufficient and demanded I be fired. ABC Radio and 630 WMAL have now complied. I have been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed offensive, and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology. ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as additional outreach efforts to those people or groups who felt offended.
I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired.
It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldnt specifically condemn al-Qaeda for three months after 9/11.
As a fan of talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show. As a conservative talk host whose job is to have an open, honest conversation each day with my listeners, I believe caving to this pressure is a disaster.
I for one cannnot apologize for the truth and I cannot agree to some community service-style outreach effort to appease the opponents of free speech.
If I had made a racist or bigoted commentwhich my regular listeners know goes against everything I believe inI would apologize immediately, and without coercion. When I have made inadvertent fact errors in the past, I apologized promptly and without hesitation.
But we have now gone far beyond that, with demands that I apologize for the ideas my listeners and I believe in. It is not a coincidence that, after my suspension on July 28th, WMAL received more than 15,000 phone calls and e-mails protesting my removal from the airwaves.
Why such a huge response? It wasn't about me; the listeners I spoke to said they felt betrayed by my suspension because the vast majority of them agree with me on the subject of Islam. By labeling my statements as unacceptable, these listeners felt that WMAL management was insulting them, too.
I cannot speak for anyone else, but I care about the listeners of 630 WMAL. I respect them and I appreciate the amazing support they have given me.
I could not dishonor their principled support for free speech by giving into these demands. I cannot join ABC Radio in bowing to CAIRs wishes. And I will not apologize for my opinions or retract the truth.
The whole point of the Michael Graham Show is what my listeners and I call the natural truth, those obvious facts about modern life that the P.C. police and mainstream media believe should never be discussed. That includes the tragic, but undeniable relationship between terrorism and Islam as it is constituted today.
The conversations my listeners and I had on this subject were not offensive or bigoted in the least. In fact, Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR (who has appeared on my show several times) credited criticism from talk radio in part for the recent fatwa against terrorism issued by a group of US Muslim scholars. Ironically, it was issued the day before I was suspended.
Thats the real tragedy here. The people who most need free speech and open dialogue on the issues facing Islam today are America's moderate Muslims. These are people of good will who have the difficult job ahead of reforming and rescuing their religion. They need all the help they can get.
The decision to give CAIR what it wantsa group with well-publicized ties to terrorists and terror-related organizationswill make it harder for the reformers to successfully face Islam's challenges. Still worse, silencing people like me will make it easier for Islamist extremists to dismiss all sincere calls for reform as mere "bigotry."
When CAIR is able to quell dissent and label every critic a "bigot," the chilling effect is felt far beyond ABC Radio and 630 WMAL. If anyone is owed an apology, it is the moderate, Muslim community who have been failed once again by the mainstream media.
A very special note to everyone who emailed and called on my behalf:
Again and again through this ordeal, as people pressured me to just give in, say what CAIR wanted to hear and get my job back, I thought of you. I cannot express how much your support meant to me. I don't know that I'm doing the right thing by fighting this fight. I only know that I believe it's the right thing, and I believe it with all my heart.
Your support, your words of encouragement, your anger that the forces of P.C. fear have this much powerthese all helped me do what I needed to do. Thank you.
In the coming days, I hope I'll have some good news for you about how we can continue our conversation. So please stay tuned, please stop by here each day and check it.
Trust me, this isn't the last you've heard from me.
Michael, are you sure you've been fired?
I've had several people tell me that ABC Radio says I'm not really fired, that I have "chosen" not to go back to work. I don't know what to say to that except that I received a hand-delivered letter very late Friday announcing that I was "terminated immediately." If there is some other definition of that other than "you're fired," I am not familiar with it.
Hope that Michael Graham gets a national show and soon.
The First Amendment and I have been evicted...
Nonsense. The government is not involved, and private employers are not required to air every view. They have the right to broadcast whatever opinions they wish, and if a host doesn't air those opinions they have the right to pull him off the air (pursuant to whatever contract he has).
This is not a First Amendment issue. As sympathetic as I am to him, his silly hyperbole doesn't help.
As a private business, ABC had the right to fire the man. But it was craven and foolish and (let us hope) it may not come out quite the way they planned.
Maybe Fox will hire him!
Sorry, CAIR, gotta be honest. Does this mean if I say something critical of Islam, I lose my job, too? Curious how Muslims can say all kinds of bizarre crap about Christianity and Judaism, and nothing happens to them.
Pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up on D.C.'s 1160 AM (currently carries the Tony Snow show).
"If he said President Bush is Terrorist or the Republican Party is a Terrorist Organization, would he have been fired?"
Most of the people who say those things don't have jobs.
I'm sure CAIR would not object if a Muslim radio personaity called the Jews monkeys and Christians infidels and crusaders.
This is broadcast radio - not XM or Satellite and thus controlled by the FCC - so in a way there actually is government involvement.
This has become a he said/they said type situation because WMAL is disputing Graham's position on the entire issue.......much like in a divorce - there are 3 sides to every issue: his, hers, and the truth.....the latter of which we will most likely never know.
It will be interesting to see him on Bill O'Reilly tonight.......I haven't been watching much TV of late - but I do plan on catching that this evening.
Anyone for trying an illegal termination lawsuit ?
The station does run a disclaimer that "opinions voiced are not necessarily the opinions of the station".
MG's ratings were not impacted. Further, MG was performing his job as discussing his opinions and this listeners opinions.
A lawsuit might be a good idea and even if it loses, it at least serves notice that firing someone for viewpoints that are unrelated to job performance (ratings) might not wash.
Graham should simply compile a list of Islamic sources (including the Koran and Hadith, as well as contemporary sources from prominent imams and mullahs) that explicitly condone violence against "infidels." It wouldn't be hard to do. Then he should send that list to CAIR and to ABC and demand that CAIR publicly repudiate those sources. If they refuse, Graham is vindicated.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. It has nothing to do with an employee on a radio station saying things the owners of the station don't like.
This fellow might be smart in his commentary about CAIR but he shows he's a dunce when it comes to the first amendment. And, by the way, it seems to me that Michael Graham now has a WIDER audience and is more well known today he ever has been before. In his "business" that's a good thing. And, he has been "speaking freely" about his firing and his commentary on CAIR all over the place. he has hardly been silenced and appears to have actually found a bigger voice. A voice that has no "right" to be heard, just the right to speak.
CAIR is one of 100's of thousands of tax exempt entities that in my view should not be tax exempt at all. CAIR is a 501 (c)(4) and donations to them are not tax deductible but I wonder why we allow a tax exempt status to such a group. We need to rethink the laws governing so-called nonprofits in America and kill off a lot of these groups that are in business to push their own political agendas, enrich their handlers or just outright launder money. A charity should be a charity, not PETA or CAIR or even Juducial Watch for that matter. Makes these people operate these businesses and tax them unless they are actually doing charitable work.
I waonder how many people in the MSM will rally behind Graham? Apart from Fox, probably very few.
And by the way, CAIR, how many Islamics knew about 9/11 in advance, and said nothing to prevent it? And how many Islamics suddenly got the urge to leave the United States in a big hurry on September 12th? And how many of your brother Islamics in the U.S. are still actively supporting Al Qaeda?
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