PFAW’s Letter to NPR

Yesterday, Kyle pointed out Bryan Fischer’s appearance on Morning Edition, where he was billed simply as a representative of the American Family Association. If a respected media outlet like NPR is going to give a platform to someone like Fischer, it needs to make clear the long record of hate speech he brings with him. PFAW President Michael B. Keegan reached out to Alicia Shepard, the NPR Ombudsman with this note:

Dear Ms. Shepard:

I was surprised yesterday to hear the voice of Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis at the American Family Association, on Morning Edition. I wonder if the show's producers knew of Mr. Fischer's record of extremism and hate speech against Muslim Americans and gays and lesbians.

People For the American Way's RightWingWatch.org blog tracks Fischer in his roll as a blogger and radio host for the AFA, where he makes no attempt to disguise his extremism. Just in the past year, Fischer has:

Yesterday, in response to People For's call that GOP leaders distance themselves from Mr. Fischer, he repeated his comparison of gay men to domestic terrorists. On Tuesday, Mr. Fischer defended his call for deporting Muslim Americans, saying "we are doing them a favor by repatriating them to their homeland where an entire nation shares their values."

Of course, Mr. Fischer has the right to air his opinions, no matter how hurtful. However, he should not be given air time by a nonpartisan news organization without some disclosure of his record of hate speech.

I also hope that Mr. Fischer is not, as Morning Edition implied, representative of the Tea Party movement as a whole.

This weekend, he will be appearing this weekend alongside leaders of the Republican Party, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, and 2012 presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Pence. We have alerted these public figures to Mr. Fischer's record and urged them to denounce Fischer's remarks lest they lend credibility to his extremism.

Similarly, I urge NPR to resist lending credibility to an extremist like Fischer by providing him with a national platform without alerting audiences to his record of vocal bigotry.

Thank you for your time,

Michael B. Keegan

President, People For the American Way

 We’ll keep you posted on the response.