'Cut Out Their Tongues!!'
Jude Wanniski
November 1, 2001


Memo To: Mark Shields, CNN “Journalist”
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Shame On You!!

The news has just reached me that you refused to appear with Bob Novak on the “Novak, Hunt & Shields” CNN program this weekend because Novak had invited Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam to be his guest. Shame on you, Mark. This is a not only a disgraceful act of unprofessionalism on your part, it is also a blatant example of why the extremists in the Muslim world think the only way they can get the attention of our Political Establishment is to commit acts of terror. You essentially told Novak that you will clamp your hands over your ears rather than hear what the most important godly Muslim in the U.S. has to say about the terrorism – Osama bin Laden being the most important satanic Muslim. Another way of putting it is to say “Cut Out Their Tongues!!!”

Of course it does not surprise me that Al Hunt, the third member of the team refused to take your place. Al has always been a weasel. While I think he would still be professional enough to come on the show if he had been regularly scheduled, if only to make points asking Minister Farrakhan when he stopped beating his wife, he saw a cheap way to bow out and embarrass Novak. If I were Bob, I would close down the show rather than appear with either of you again. But then, Novak tells me the CNN producers forced him to cancel Min. Farrakhan’s appearance because they did not want Novak to be the lone interviewer!! Both you guys surely know that I helped arrange the interview, at Novak’s request. Min. Farrakhan has become so used to being media bashed for being “anti-Semitic,” “bigoted,” and “a preacher of hate,” when he is none of those things, that he would only agree to doing it because he knows Novak is an honest reporter who only seeks the truth. When Novak got Min. Farrakhan to agree to do the show a month ago, it had to be cancelled by Min. Farrakhan after 17 other spiritual leaders of the Nation of Islam persuaded him not to do the show on the grounds that practically anything he said would be cast by the panel as being unpatriotic. Novak still told me that whenever Min. Farrakhan felt that the anger of September 11 had cooled sufficiently for him to do the show, the door would be open.

I’d thought that the speech and press conference Min. Farrakhan gave in Chicago on Sunday, September 16, would have made it clear to anyone with his ears open that he condemned the attacks and the Muslim perpetrators of the previous Tuesday. It must have been clear enough to the Rev. Robert Schuller, the televangelist, who Monday of this week appeared with Min. Farrakhan on a platform in Chicago for the purpose of opening a dialog between Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Three years ago, Mark, I twice publicly warned Sen. Jesse Helms, who was then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, that unless he held hearings into the reasons why Muslim terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 that they would return and bring down the twin towers!! Jesse clamped his hands over his ear, my friend, and my warning went unheeded. For politicians to duck and weave on something this important and controversial is to be expected. But this is why the Founders gave us the First Amendment to the Constitution. But what if we have a free press, but the press enslaves itself!!

And it has. Your disgraceful behavior has plenty of company in the Fourth Estate. I’ve tried for the last three years to get the major media to stop reporting that Farrakhan once said “Judaism is a gutter religion,” which of course would prove his anti-Semitism and bigotry. He never said that and he never said “Judaism is a dirty religion.” But no matter how many letters I write to The New York Times and The Washington Post and The Washington Times and worst of all, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, they continue to use that quote. Last week, the Associated Press again refused to alter its use of the quote. Last year the top guys at AP advised me they followed the New York Times, which was their excuse for using the “dirty religion” quote.” When the Times used it again a few weeks ago, I e-mailed Joyce Purnnik, the Times editor who had used it in a quote last year and when I asked for her source back then, she said she did not need a source, because she knows he said it. So last week I offered her $1,000 if she could find anywhere in Min. Farrakhan’s speeches or writings a single disrespectful word about Judaism. No answer. I can’t really place ALL the blame on her, Mark, because I’ve written the top editors of the Times about this with no result, and I’ve written to the president of the Times company, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. The NYPost editors by now know I’m right, but since my letters to Rupert Murdoch get no response, they can do as they please.

I have become a general nuisance and pest because the top of my chosen profession, journalism, has decided to cut out some tongues. I’m blowing up at you, Mark, because you went even further -- the straw that broke the camel’s back. Shame on you, but shame on all of those of your colleagues who hide behind the First Amendment to practice not a noble profession, but a gutter profession.