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Counting the Reasons to Defund

The 20 Most Memorable Leftist Excesses of Public Broadcasting

Everyday Christian Terrorists

1. PBS host Tavis Smiley insists America has a terrible Christian terrorist problem (2010). 

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    Tavis Smiley is a black radical who’s written books with titles like Hard Left (1996). NPR gave him a talk show in 2002, and then he took his act to PBS for a half-hour weeknight talk show in 2004. On May 25, 2010, he interviewed author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an atheist former Muslim and bold critic of radical Muslims.

    Smiley demanded to know: “You say unapologetically and rather frankly that your mission here is to inform the West about the danger of Islam,” he began. “What danger do we need to be made aware of?” Ali brought up the deaths of 13 at Fort Hood and the failed Times Square bomber, and said jihadists “got into their minds that to kill other people is a great thing to do and that they would be rewarded in the hereafter.” Smiley shot back: “But Christians do that every single day in this country.”

     Ali couldn’t believe her ears: “Do they blow people up every day?” Smiley’s response: “Yes. Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine is. I could do this all day long.” 

    Smiley would not be dissuaded. Christianity has a much darker record in America every day than Islam, he insisted. “There are so many more examples of Christians -- and I happen to be a Christian. That’s back to this notion of your idealizing Christianity in my mind, to my read. There are so many more examples, Ayaan, of Christians who do that than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country, where you live and work.”

     PBS ombudsman Michael Getler offered an understated thumbs-down: “I thought Smiley went off course here in a way that was guaranteed to be inflammatory....one would think that Smiley would have been better prepared to make what was certain to be a controversial case.” But there was no apology or punishment from PBS. Smiley’s still on for 30 minutes every weeknight.