Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Pamela Geller, founder, editor and publisher of the popular and award-winning weblog AtlasShrugs.com. She has won acclaim for her interviews with internationally renowned figures, including John Bolton, Geert Wilders, Bat Ye’or, Natan Sharansky, and many others, and has broken numerous important stories — notably the questionable sources of some of the financing of the Obama campaign. Her op-eds have been published in The Washington Times, The American Thinker, Israel National News, Frontpage Magazine, World Net Daily, and New Media Journal, among other publications. She is the co-author (with Robert Spencer) of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (forward by Ambassador John Bolton) — just released on July 27.
FP: Pamela Geller, welcome back to Frontpage interview.
Geller: Thanks, Jamie.
FP: Congratulations on the victory you just achieved in terms of the bus campaign your group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) is seeking to conduct in New York City to expose the Ground Zero mega-mosque for what it really is. Tell us about your victory.
Geller: Jamie, last Friday, my organization the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), my colleague Robert Spencer and I filed a lawsuit against the city of New York for refusing my SIOA “Preservation of Ground Zero” bus campaign. Unbelievably, New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) refused the campaign because it contained “911 images” and associated the Ground Zero mega-mosque with 9/11 – even though mosque leaders have been associating the mosque with 9/11 every chance they can get.
The full text of our complaint is here.
But on Monday, the MTA has recognized the justice of our position in our lawsuit, and agreed to run our ad as originally submitted.
FP: What is the significance of this victory?
Geller: This is a great victory for freedom of speech, and we are grateful to our attorneys David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise for mounting such an effective defense against politically correct censorship.
Glazov: Give us some background and details. How did all this unfold?
Geller: Jamie, last month, I signed a contract with CBS Outdoor to run a “Preservation of Ground Zero” bus ad campaign. The campaign was paid for in full.
Here is the ad I submitted:
The ad was refused. When I asked on what grounds, CBS Outdoor told me that the city said that “images of 9/11 were not allowed.”
FP: How did you react to that?
Geller: I was floored. I said, “It is American history. How can it be banned? What about Pearl Harbor? Is that censored too? On what grounds are 9/11 images banned? It is unconscionable.”
The CBS Outdoor representative told me: “You can’t run the plane.”
I asked CBS/MTA to provide me with the guidelines for these seventh-century censorship restrictions. They never did. And so, with the help of my art director, the talented and singular Big Fur Hat, I removed the plane and submitted a new ad with the following note:
Will, Still waiting for the MTA guidelines. Please respond to my previous queries. Here is the new art …… please know that I strenuously object to you changing my artwork and my message in the process. It’s American history. I am floored. However, since you and/or the MTA are unwilling to change your position, I have no choice but to run the advertisement with your edits.
CBS refused this ad as well. They said I had to remove the smoke.
FP: The smoke?
Geller: Yes, the smoke. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. When I spoke to CBS’s representative concerning the second rejection of my Ground Zero bus ad, he said that the MTA “doesn’t want to associate the new building” – that is, the Islamic supremacist Ground Zero mega-mosque – “with Ground Zero.” He added that the showing of the burning buildings “hurts people.”
FP: How did you answer that?
Geller: I said: “Hurts people? I find bus ads proselytizing for Islam hurts apostates. Are you going to take those bus ads down? Are you saying images of the largest attack on American soil are censored? Are Pearl Harbor images censored? Gettysburg, too?”