" BECK: Welcome to the "Real Story."
Last fall, I aired a special on radical Islam. It was called "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda." Got to tell you, that got so many people I mean just out of their minds and nuts. I found out quickly about the extraordinarily powerful and influential groups in this country that want to make sure that you only see one side of Islam. And, believe me, I heard from every single one of those groups.
For the first time in my life, I really started to understand how political correctness and personal agendas are silencing the voices of moderate Muslims and those in the media who want to speak out about a perversion of a religion. That`s why I was so glad when I originally heard that PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, had spent millions of taxpayer dollars to finance an 11-part documentary series called "America at a Crossroads," to, quote, "explore the challenges confronting the post-9/11 world."
Well, one of the 11 parts, the most interesting, at least to me, was one called "Islam versus Islamists." This is just another word for extremist. This episode focused on how moderate Muslims everywhere, from the U.S. to the U.K. to France, are clashing with Muslim fundamentalists.
But the real story is, you`re probably never, ever going to see this documentary. PBS says they`re delaying the release because the film, quote, "is a mess." They say it has no structure. It wasn`t ready in time. It`s weak. It`s incoherent. Bladdy, bladdy, bladdy, bladdy. I got two pages from PBS explaining.
To be honest with you, after reading their explanation, if I hadn`t have gone through the "Exposed" experience on the program, I probably would have been inclined to believe them. Unfortunately, I`ve seen how these things work from inside the newsroom.
What you have to understand -- and you`ll only get this from standing in a newsroom -- is there are two completely different schools of thought on who`s responsible for radical Islam. There are those that believe from the West and poverty causes the problem and, in some cases, we deserve everything we get, while others, like me, tend to blame the madrassas, the culture of hate, the extremists themselves who are only interested in a political agenda.
That clash of ideas is real, and it is happening in newsroom all over the globe. And I bet you that PBS is no different. But unlike the others who will take this material on, PBS has another problem. It`s called government money.
When you`re a taxpayer program, when you are funded by you and me, there`s another level of political correctness that you have got to worry about or else you run the risk of alienating enough people, and you put yourself out of business. That`s why I think the real story is simple: PBS is frightened.
They are scared of the groups that will inevitably threaten them with the boycotts, lawsuits. More importantly, they are scared of a lobbying campaign in Congress that could threaten their very funding. When your budget is at stake, it is only natural to stay away from controversy. But let me ask you this: Where is the controversy?
Why is it OK for me to show what the media calls a firebrand radical cleric that is spewing hate against the West, but it somehow or another is controversial for me to show a Muslim denouncing that same cleric? Why can we run Osama bin Laden`s latest propaganda video on the 6:00 news, but everybody`s got to walk on egg shells if we want to put on a Muslim who says that`s not what the Koran says, the Koran preaches peace?
There are two sides to every story, and PBS has one, but my gut and my honestly limited experience tell me that the truth lies closer to the filmmakers. Of course, there is an easy way to settle this. We called PBS. Let me see the film. PBS, I`ll watch it with an open mind. Let me look at it. If it is incoherent or just really unbalanced -- honestly, I hope you`re right. I`ll get that message out for you. I hope the film is a mess, because that means it`s being pulled for a plot, not politics.
Unfortunately, knowing what I know, I sincerely doubt that`s the case, and PBS ain`t going to show it to me. Martyn Burke is the film`s producer. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, he is from American Islamic Forum on Democracy. He is one of the moderate voices featured in this documentary and a new contributor to this program.
Martyn, let me start with you. You believe your film is being tampered with in ways that undermine journalistic independence. What does that mean exactly?
MARTYN BURKE, PRODUCER, "ISLAM VS. ISLAMISTS": Yes, well, I`ll give you one example. We were doing an investigative report on how the Nation of Islam, the so-called black Muslims, in Chicago were being funded by the Saudi Arabian fundamentalists through the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. And PBS, through WETA, the flagship station in Washington, appointed an adviser to oversee our efforts, and that adviser was from the Nation of Islam.
BECK: My gosh.
BURKE: I have never, ever heard of an investigative unit having to report to a person from the very place they are investigating. That was the first thing. And, of course, we protested that. We said, "This is just not journalism as we understand it in America."
BECK: OK. So everybody knows, let me just give a quick highlight of who you are. You`re the guy who did the documentary on the "Pirates of Silicon Valley." I mean, you`re not some jokester. You`re not me doing a special. And you had real, credible journalists on this project with you.
BURKE: Yes. Well, if I can even take that a step further, we hired a team which included a Pulitzer Prize nominee from last year for his coverage of Islam in Europe. We had a woman and her team from Toronto, Canada, from "The Toronto Star," who were profiled in the "New York Times" as being one of the top journalistic teams in this field.
We had investigative reporters from Scandinavia who had won every award in their field. This was a first-rate team, which we had to -- which we, my partners, Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev, had to convince them and they had to convince us. This was a rigorous interpretation of the facts.
BECK: All right. Zuhdi, what was it that was in this that America is just not going to see?
DR. M. ZUHDI JASSER, AMERICAN ISLAMIC FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY: It was basically about, I believe, the struggle of moderates and why -- you know, when you ask, where the moderate voices? Martyn basically interviewed some of the imams, interviewed some of the leading Muslim propagandists locally that have tried to suffocate our voice at the American Islamic Forum that don`t want me to get out the fact that I love the spirituality of my faith and I want to raise my kids Muslim, but I don`t want them to hijack my faith for their political motives and their political agenda.
BECK: Let me further this with you, because you are, in many ways, to Muslims, you are a credible voice, where PBS came back to me today and said, "Irshad Manji is on." And I love Irshad Manji. She`s been on this program. But I will tell you that, because of her lifestyle, a lot of Muslims say, "Well, she`s not really a Muslim," et cetera, et cetera.
You are a guy who lives every word of the Koran in all of its ways, correct?
JASSER: Yes. I mean, you could call me a social conservative even. And, you know, I love the spirituality, but my choice to live socially conservative is mine alone. It should not be governments`. It should not be the imams`. And they`ve stolen our pulpits for their political agenda. And when we get a story, a documentary that shows how the only pulpit I have to speak from is the media, they want to suffocate that and not let the world hear about it.
BECK: Martyn, your film was called irresponsible because it`s alarmist and unfair. How much danger do you think -- you`ve been in this business for a while -- how much danger do you think there is when there`s this kind of political correctness and pressure going on to get another side out of a story? How much trouble are we in?
BURKE: Glenn, first of all, the comments on our film became increasingly hysterical from the PBS people after we decided we were not going to be apologists for the Islamists who are silencing the moderate Muslims around the world.
And by silencing, I mean, we traipsed around Paris with a guy that had police protection 24 hours a day. We spent time with a member of parliament over in Denmark who is under police guard because he is a member of parliament. The Islamists do not want their own to participate in democracy.
And, by the way, a very important thing that you mentioned. They will call people like Zuhdi not real Muslims, because he believes in a Western way of life, because he believes in democracy and separation of church and state.
And, by the way, that`s exactly what PBS is doing to them. They sort of have told us, in so many words, that people like Zuhdi have become Westernized so they can`t really be Muslims. This small group -- and I want to emphasize, it`s a small group within WETA and PBS -- have decided they speak for the Muslims.
BECK: OK. Let me ask you this, because there was -- when we did "The Extremist Agenda," I mean, I`m not kidding you, people were on the phone trying to get the special pulled all the way until it aired. There are people who vehemently disagree. Do you believe it was out of fear or these people just say, "It`s not that big of a problem"?
What`s their motivation for this, do you believe?
BURKE: I think there are two different reasons. One is, I committed the unforgivable sin in their eyes of being partnered with two conservatives, Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev. And shortly after they took over the series, they flew to Toronto, Canada, where I was for a while and met me and said, "Fire your partners."
I said, "Wait a minute. I did a film on the Hollywood 10, on blacklisting in Hollywood, and I am not about to fire my partners for their political beliefs." And they uttered a statement that I never thought I would hear in America. They said, "Don`t you check into the political beliefs of the people you work with?"
BECK: Oh, my gosh.
BURKE: For the record, I just want to say, I couldn`t have cared less about the politics of the people we put on the air in this show, or I say on the air advisedly, because I have socialists, I have people who are conservatives on the air. It did not matter what their politics were.
BURKE: They were the moderate Muslims who had a right to speak out.
BECK: Martyn, Zuhdi, I would love to spend more time on this subject. I`d like to invite you to the radio program tomorrow. Let`s try to work that out, and thanks.
That is "The Real Story" tonight. If you`d like to read more about this or if you`ve found a real story of your own, please tell us about it. Go to glennbeck.com and click on "The Real Story" button. Back in a minute."