Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative have launched a new series of bus ads, this time in San Francisco, California, and the results in the media are typical of the distortions constantly thrown at Geller and her ad campaigns.
Without allowing for a response, the San Francisco Examiner, for instance, gave the space to attack Geller to one Nathan Lean, editor in-chief of Aslan Media, a left-wing, progressive site dedicated to pushing Muslim issues. Aslan is also heavily influenced by Iran and its Mullahs.
In his March 20 piece, Lean claimed that Geller and partner Robert Spencer “desire to ignite a culture war along faith lines” and equated the pair to Osama bin Laden because both considered themselves “freedom fighters.” Lean also said that Geller-Spencer are supporters of the violence in Britain perpetrated by some members of the English Defense League and that the advertisement campaign is “destroying” the cause of liberty.
Lean also promulgated the known false story that a Youtube video sparked mass terror attacks across the Middle East last year. Absurdly, he linked Geller-Spencer to that video with tangential “evidence.”
Geller and Spencer wrote a response to the Lean piece but feel confident that the San Francisco Examiner will not publish it. In an interview, Geller noted that the paper did not contact her about Lean’s editorial ahead of time or offer her any room for response.
While Lean pontificated on how Geller is “destroying” the “cause of liberty” and freedom of speech with her ad campaigns, he has himself in the past been an advocate for stopping people from speaking out against Islam, has enlisted the support of hackers to “take down” Robert Spencer’s site, Jihad Watch, and hinted that he could expose the home addresses of anti-jihadists to intimidate them into silence.
One constant theme of the coverage by the SF Examiner is to call Geller and Spencer “anti-Islamic.” This is a mischaracterization. With their work, the pair speak out against radical Islam specifically, not Islam in general. They are anti-jihadism, not anti-Islamic.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart, Geller said that the San Francisco media “are really twisting the entire message and the news coverage is a fiction. And why? Because maybe too many people will agree with me.”
Geller brought up the claims by Theresa Sparks, head of the Human Rights Commission in San Francisco, that it is easier to get a transgender operation in Iran than it is in the U.S. For her misleading claim, Geller called Sparks a “useful idiot.”
“Well it is [easier] because gays are not allowed in Iran. You are forced to get a transgender operation in Iran. Not all gay men want to be women,” Geller said.
“It’s a difficult war we face. It’s like David and Goliath with the media,” Geller said. “The media is hostile to the voices of freedom and the truth. This is a war in the information battle space and the media is just hostile.”
“They are afraid of the truth. They are afraid that people will come to agree with us and they constantly advance a mythical narrative of Islamophobia every time and always it’s an ad hominem attack,” Geller insisted.
At one point in Lean’s San Fran Examiner piece, he claimed Geller and Spencer have a “desire to ignite a culture war along faith lines.” Geller called this “hysterical.”
“My desire is that all people should be free,” she said. “I am a human rights activist. I elected to do this work despite that my name is smeared and I’m marginalized because I know this work is righteous. My work is dedicated to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and individual rights. And I make no apology for this, either.”
Lean equated Geller and Spencer to Osama bin Laden because the terrorist also considered himself a freedom fighter. “Bin Laden viewed himself in precisely the same way,” Lean said, essentially portraying Geller and Spencer as somehow just like the murderer. This sort of illicit moral equivalence is typical of the tactics leveled against Geller.
“I’m fighting bin Laden’s message of death and violence and because I’m fighting that it equates me to him? This is devoid of any kind of moral compass, but this is the narrative of Islamic supremicists,” Geller told Breitbart News.
“This is the art of the smear taken to the next level. They always use the word ‘extreme’ in a negative way, but is extremism in the pursuit of the truth or in love a bad thing? I don’t think so. They are trying to make all passion and belief a bad thing.”