PBS Documentary Ignores Mosque Controversy


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© Jack Cashill
AmericanThinker.com - February 01, 2011


he documentary, Chautauqua: An American Narrative, that premiered last night, January 31, on PBS nationwide missed the one drama that might have made the program interesting.

As I noted on these pages last summer, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf -- he of Ground Zero Mosque fame -- had been attempting to build a sawed-off version of the same on the grounds of the venerable and historically Christian Chautauqua Institution in western New York State.

Fully endorsed by the powers that be at Chautauqua, the mosque initiative represented the culmination of the self-destructive progressivism that has been imposed on the Institution for at least the last decade.

My post on American Thinker caught the attention of Buffalo, New York, radio and TV stations and created a minor firestorm on the Institution grounds. Most of the summer residents had been unaware that such an initiative was underway. Upset at the embrace of Islam by an administration that had been quietly suppressing conservative thought, Christian or Jewish, some number of residents launched their own "Free Chautauqua" protest movement. http://www.freechautauqua.com/.

As it happens, the PBS program showed a newspaper listing in which Rauf was listed as a speaker, but it otherwise ignored the brewing dissent on the grounds. Indeed, the program played out like an infomercial. The filmmakers' only tiny critique of the Institution was its failure, despite its presumed best efforts, to attract more people of color. In progressive quarters, racial diversity, of course, is a cause to be promoted, but ideological diversity, alas, is a problem to be solved.

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