"Gunny" Bob labeled Quaker organization "hate group" for criticizing his anti-Muslim comments

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Addressing public reaction to anti-Muslim comments he made on his May 8 show, Newsradio 850 KOA host "Gunny" Bob Newman in a website posting labeled a Quaker organization that criticized his remarks a "hate group." Further, on his May 11 broadcast, Newman called people who might protest at his book signings "holier-than-thou, politically correct, anti-First Amendment, namby-pamby fools."

On the May 11 broadcast of his Newsradio 850 KOA radio show, "Gunny" Bob Newman spoke indirectly about some of the public reaction to remarks he made on his May 8 show, including his suggestion that "every Muslim immigrant to America who holds a green card, a visa, or who is a naturalized citizen [should] be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times." As Colorado Media Matters noted, Newman also urged that the U.S. government "bug their places of work and their residences" and monitor "[a]ll mosques and community centers." He added, "If they don't like the idea, or if they refuse, throw their asses out of this country." Newman made the comments while discussing the breakup of an alleged terrorist plot to attack U.S. soldiers at New Jersey's Fort Dix.

In addition to his on-air remarks, Newman's Newsradio 850 KOA website also included several postings attacking critics of his statements. Before a change in content late on May 14, the site had featured an item titled "Leftist Hate Group Attacks Gunny" that labeled the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) a "leftist, anti-America, anti-Iraqi-freedom ... anti-US military hate group." The organization, founded by Quakers to pursue "service, development, social justice, and peace programs," on May 11 issued a press release condemning Newman's remarks and calling for him to be taken off the air. In the same web posting and a related one, Newman stated that the organization sent him an "ugly hate-speech email" in which it "chastised the Gunny's deep-seated desire to prevent Muslim terrorists from killing more Americans."

Since Colorado Media Matters pointed out Newman's May 8 remarks, groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the AFSC, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado publicly have condemned the substance of his statements. In addition, the progressive organization ProgressNow launched an online campaign asking the public to contact advertisers of Newman's show and urge them to withdraw their support of the broadcast.

On his May 11 program, Newman stated that, according to an acquaintance, visitors to "liberal hate blogs" are suggesting "that liberals should protest me and my right to freedom of speech" at signings of his new book, The War for America (Cumberland House Publishing, June 2007). Newman labeled people who might protest him as "holier-than-thou, politically correct, anti-First Amendment, namby-pamby fools" and asserted that "many of them qualify as fascists."

From the May 11 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:

NEWMAN: How 'bout this one: I spoke with a guy several days ago while having a cigar at Barlow's Premium Cigars & Pipes in Lafayette, Colorado, who told me that -- he keeps an eye on the liberal hate blogs, and apparently there are tens of thousands of them -- he keeps an eye on 'em. I don't know if he keeps an eye on 'em all. But he was reading on some of the blogs where some of the liberals are suggesting that they come -- I've got a new book being released next month called The War for America. And the suggestion is out there that liberals should protest me and my right to freedom of speech at the book signings that I'm gonna have scheduled. And I, I'm curious, if they do that, you know, if they, they come out -- because I'll be going all over the place on, you know, on the books, book signing tours. If, if the liberals come and they protest my right to freedom of speech, and they interfere -- you know, they're outside and they're trying to prevent people from exercising their rights, as liberals tend to do, you know, from, from trying to get through the door and, you know, get a signed copy of my new book, what should I do? I want your advice. What should I do? 303-713-8585. I'm Gunny Bob, Newsradio 850 KOA. 11:27. This is what we're talking about when it comes to the -- these holier-than-thou, politically correct, anti-First Amendment, namby-pamby fools, in, in my view, and fascists -- many of them qualify as fascists. Are we just supposed to let them get away with this? I don't think we can. We can't be doing that.

Later in the broadcast, Newman noted what he called "the irony and the hypocrisy" of those who would "protest my First Amendment rights with their First Amendment rights," calling it "the hate of the liberal left."

NEWMAN: I'm just curious because, you know, the liberal blogs, according to a, a source of mine who watches the liberal blogs, did say that, that some people are talking about protest -- when I have my book signings, that they're going to try to, you know, prevent people from getting into the stores and, and, and protest my First Amendment rights with their First Amendment rights, there's the irony and the hypocrisy. But, but they don't care about that. This is the hate of the liberal left.

Newman did not address the apparent contradiction of calling for protection of his civil rights while seeking to eliminate civil rights for a specific class of people -- Muslim immigrants -- based solely on their religion. In contrast, a May 14 article by the online political daily news site Colorado Confidential quoted Cathryn Hazouri, executive director of the ACLU of Colorado, as saying, "What Gunny Bob said is not only bigoted, it's totally ignorant of the U.S. Constitution. His statement suggests that the government should single out people of a certain religion and treat them differently. That violates the First Amendment."

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