The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

22 August 2005

DC Talk Host Fired Over Islam Statements


DC Talk Host Was Target Of Islamist Campaign

Confirmation of WMAL/Washington talk host Michael Graham's removal from the ABC station has been made with his just-released statement.

Graham had been suspended for making comments local fringe Islamists from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found offensive, now we've learned he won't be returning to WMAL.

CAIR has been linked to terrorist group Hamas.

Official ABC reason: insubordination, for apparently not doing enough "outreach" after an incident where Graham called Islam itself a "terror organization".

In a Jewish World Review column, Graham further ticked off Mickey's suits with this (via Michelle Malkin):

I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it.

But it is the plain truth: Islam is a terror organization.

For years, I've been trying to give the world's Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical-American's complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting "asalaam alaikum," taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago.

Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that "Islam is a religion of peace."

But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean "nobody." Certainly not the group of "moderate" Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith.

When asked the question "Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam," they could not answer "Yes. Always." Instead, these "moderate British Muslims" had to answer "It depends."

Previous Radio Equalizer coverage on the issue is found here. Michelle Malkin's recent piece can be found here.

At this moment, he's still listed as a host on the WMAL site. Ads specific to Graham's show are still shown.

Because WMAL is an American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) shop, Graham has a number of potential grievance options. Usually, terminations for cause can be the trickiest for broadcasters, because they are easier for the union to fight than if he were let go for performance (ratings, revenue) reasons.

Also stunning: WMAL Program Director Randall Bloomquist, a longtime industry veteran, hasn't been seen at the ABC building in a week and isn't returning messages or emails.

Has he also been fired? He wasn't scheduled to be away for the week. Speculation is running high tonight that Bloomquist, Graham's direct supervisor, is the second casualty of the CAIR campaign.

The Radio Equalizer is waiting for a response from ABC.

So far, ABC has never told listeners why Graham has not been heard on the air, forcing them to rely on newspaper accounts and blogs for the latest.

Here's Graham's statement:

Contact: Michael Graham

Radio Station Gives In To CAIR Demands, Fires Host For Comments Regarding Islam

The following is a statement from Michael Graham, former mid-morning host at ABC Radio's 630 WMAL in Washington, DC:

The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC.

On July 25th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that I be "punished" for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism.

Three days later, 630 WMAL and ABC Radio suspended me without pay for comments deemed "hate radio" by CAIR.

CAIR immediately announced that my punishment was insufficient and demanded I be fired. ABC Radio and 630 WMAL have now complied. I have now been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed "offensive," and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology.

ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as "additional outreach efforts" to those people or groups who felt offended.

I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired.

It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldn't specifically condemn Al Qaeda for three months after 9/11.

As a fan of talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show. As a conservative talk host whose job is to have an open, honest conversation each day with my listeners, I believe caving to this pressure is a disaster.

I for one cannnot apologize for the truth and I cannot agree to some community-service style "outreach effort" to appease the opponents of free speech.

If I had made a racist or bigoted comment -- which my regular listeners know goes against everything I believe in -- I would apologize immediately, and without coercion. When I have made inadvertent fact errors in the past, I apologized promptly and without hesitation.

But we have now gone far beyond that, with demands that I apologize for the ideas my listeners and I believe in. It is not a coincidence that, after my suspension on July 28th, WMAL received more than 15,000 phone calls and emails protesting my removal from the airwaves.

Why such a huge response? It wasn't about me; The listeners I spoke to said they felt betrayed by my suspension because the vast majority of them agree with me on the subject of Islam. By labeling my statements as unacceptable, these listeners felt that WMAL management was insulting them, too.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I care about the listeners of 630 WMAL. I respect them and I appreciate the amazing support they have given me.

I could not dishonor their principled support for free speech by giving into these demands. I cannot join ABC Radio in bowing to CAIR's wishes. And I will not apologize for my opinions or retract the truth.

The whole point of the Michael Graham Show is what my listeners and I call the "natural truth," those obvious facts about modern life that the p.c. police and mainstream media believe should never be discussed. That includes the tragic, but undeniable relationship between terrorism and Islam as it is constituted today.

The conversations my listeners and I had on this subject were not offensive or bigoted in the least. In fact, Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR (who has appeared on my show several times) credited "criticism from talk radio" in part for the recent fatwa against terrorism issued by a group of US Muslim scholars. Ironically, it was issued the day before I was suspended.

That's the real tragedy here. The people who most need free speech and open dialogue on the issues facing Islam today are America's moderate Muslims. These are people of good will who have the difficult job ahead of reforming and rescuing their religion. They need all the help they can get.

The decision to give CAIR what it wants-a group with well-publicized ties to terrorists and terror-related organizations--will make it harder for the reformers to successfully face Islam's challenges. Still worse, silencing people like me will make it easier for Islamist extremists to dismiss all sincere calls for reform as mere "bigotry."

When CAIR is able to quell dissent and label every critic a "bigot," the chilling effect is felt far beyond ABC Radio and 630 WMAL. If anyone is owed an apology, it is the moderate, Muslim community who have been failed once again by the mainstream media.

Update: coverage from LGF here, Backcountry Conservative here.

Update: LaShawn Barber has her version here. She doesn't believe it's a First Amendment issue.

Update: from new WorldNetDaily story:

Graham's suspension stems come from characterizing Islam a "terrorist organization." Graham explained that when a significant minority of a group conducts terrorism and the general population of that group does not denounce it, it is safe to conclude that the group promotes it. He drew an analogy between Islam and the Boy Scouts.

"If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization," he said.

"If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder – and the scoutmasters in charge simply said 'Could be' – the Boy Scouts would have driven out of America long ago."

Your Amazon orders that originate here, regardless of what you end up ordering, greatly help to support this effort. Thanks!


  • Will the MSM of America protest this outrage or will MSM continue as planned be in bed with the Muslim community by favoring them as blindly as London's media did?

    By Blogger Mike, at 21 August, 2005 21:23  

  • I am outraged at both the money scandal with Air America and Michael getting fired.

    I am trying to put together a story. Could you please let me know if they ok'd the corporate jet?

    Another thing, did you notice that a week after you broke this story, Cindy showed up? A connection? If they can inverstigate you...? lol. Thanks.

    By Blogger Rosemary Welch, at 21 August, 2005 21:56  

  • I feel like we are being sold down the river.

    The truth is suppressed, the borders are wide open and we are sitting ducks.

    By Blogger SactoDan, at 21 August, 2005 22:02  

  • Rosemary, we don't know who Rhodes thought had a corporate jet, one or more of the boardmembers, apparently.

    We're not sure how she eventually reached TX.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 21 August, 2005 23:21  

  • There's a new word verification feature which we pray will stop the comment spam.

    Simply type the letters you see before clicking the Login and Publish button.

    Let's hope this stops the ad spammers in their tracks.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 22 August, 2005 00:57  

  • MoK:

    Thanks, have been trying to reach various ABC folks, we'll see what we eventually hear. Odd Mr. Berry says Graham hasn't been fired. I've heard from Graham, he sounds sure of it.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 22 August, 2005 01:36  

  • The ABC station manager said:

    Thank you for your email. I had not heard of Michael's decision [not to beg and grovel before CAIR] until now. We have given him the option to [whine and beg before CAIR and thereby] return to the air [or else take a hike].

    Really? With no strings attached?

    By Blogger RD, at 22 August, 2005 02:04  

  • In addition our discussions with Michael were made independently without discussion or influence by ANY third party.

    I if your employee angers a third party - Zod - and then Zod, in anger, demands that your employee bow and kneel before him...

    And THEN, YOU "independently" command your employee to "kneel before Zod" - are we to believe that Zod had no influence on your behavior whatsoever?

    By Blogger RD, at 22 August, 2005 02:50  

  • The gutlessness is by Disney. They, like all of the festering pestules that is Hollywood, cares more about the bucks they gross in Islam lands than in free speech at home. In fact Disney doesn't care about anything other than making money by any means necessary......

    By Blogger Howard, at 22 August, 2005 08:07  

  • Mr. Berry has tried on the dhimmi-jacket and says "it fits just fine." Mick here has done the same.

    Under Islam, you simply cannot say certain things. Otherwise you get beheaded, stoned, dismembered, or otherwise incapacitated. Mick and Mr. Berry will sympathise from the sideline, wearing his dhimmi jacket.

    By Blogger al fin, at 22 August, 2005 11:16  

  • I have gotten narry a response from anyone at wmal. I have written them and their abc cohorts, I called berry and got v.m. I have not gotten anything except silence, escept from Michael himself!

    This is a sad and extremely angering day! That FREE speech has died at the hands of abc/disney- who support everything wrong with this country.

    It wont be long now before we are all silenced? (Note blogger put a flag button up to silence us!_I removed my navbar!)

    If you aren't politicaLLY CORRECT YOU WILL BE SILENCED!


    By Blogger KC, at 22 August, 2005 15:33  

  • It should be no surprise if we all feel a bit more terror after this firing. After all, that's what the host said CAIR and Islam are all about. CAIR just plays the urbane Sinn Fein to Islam's IRA. The tactics in these matters are so repetitive that I think there must surely be a manual somewhere for the construction of the political face of a terrorist network. If there is, it seems a shame that we decent people haven't read it.

    By Blogger Doug, at 22 August, 2005 18:05  

  • How many other pressure groups do you think WMAL and ABC Radio would have so readily caved to? If CAIR demands that WMAL replace Michael Graham with an imam or an al-Jazeera commentator who will spew anti-American hatred, will WMAL bend over and take it?

    Meanwhile, over at Air America, Randi Rhodes agitates for assassinating the president, and no one bats an eye.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 August, 2005 19:01  

  • This was a lousy decision on ABC's part. But LaShawn is right: this is not a First Amendment issue. Michael Graham is wrapping himself up in the Constitution here for dramatic effect, which is frankly a far more typical thing for a liberal to do (though their intepretation of said Constitution is far different than mine). But he is wrong to do so.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 22 August, 2005 19:21  

  • It is irrelevant whether this is a "First Amendment Issue." It is clearly a restriction of speech at the behest of a religious organisation, a religious organisation that supports terrorism. There is no freedom from being offended in the US Constitution, as far as I know. The Islamic organisations pushing their weight around to influence public speech in North America may eventually find someone seriously willing to push back. Hard.

    For some odd reason, muslims seem to believe that their willingness to blow themselves up in the act of murder endows them with a moral superiority. That is a very odd point of view. What is actually happening is that sane people try to avoid catching the attention of the terror enablers, for fear of being victimised. The enablers confuse this fear and uneasiness with the respect that people sometimes grant persons who have earned moral respect. Perhaps they can no longer distinguish between the two, or no longer care?

    By Blogger al fin, at 22 August, 2005 19:52  

  • Here's an email list of advertisers:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    By Blogger Beth, at 22 August, 2005 20:04  

  • WMAL's Chris Core weighs in with a group email to his listeners. It is disappointing, to say the least.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 August, 2005 11:45  

  • PhilM: With all due respect, you have scant basis on which to make the claim(s) that most readers here are "uninformed", "uneducated", "blindly toeing the line", "ignorant" or indulging in racism. And what on God's green earth is an "idealogue"?

    By Blogger RD, at 24 August, 2005 00:08  

  • [Bloggerguy] BS! Mr. Graham's statement "The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC" has nothing to do with the truth ... ABC could fire him if he had said that the sky is blue, if they had wanted to do so.

    Bloggerguy, WADR: Do you seriously believe Graham was arguing that ABC overstepped its legal rights as an employer? I think his point about the First Amendment was meant rhetorically, not literally. ("Don't patronize me, Charles...")

    By Blogger RD, at 24 August, 2005 23:27  

  • [PhilM] Calling me out on a typo (ideologue) indicates the weakness of your argument.

    So, "idealogue" was not an intentional pun of some sort...okay...nor a spelling mistake. It was a typo. You meant to type, "ideologue", but your hand accidentally bumped the "a" key on the way to typing an "o" happens.

    BTW, your retort - calling comments "ignorant" and a talk show host "stupid" - does nothing to advance your claim that those who agree with Mr. Graham are racists or ideological supremacists.

    Have you considered the possibility that it might be the folks from CAIR who represent the racists and supremacists in your scenario, and have the explaining to do? The question for them being, NOT "why do they hate Americans?", but why do they hate the rest of the world - the Dar Al-Harb - inconsolably?

    I'm sure Mr. Graham's comment seemed outrageous to you on its face. You indicated as much; and it's not every day that someone equates a "religion" with a "terrorist organization." Are you at all curious as to why this characterization might not be so farfetched after all, or are you only interested in making yourself feel better by patronizing others? We're waiting with bated breath.

    By Blogger RD, at 25 August, 2005 07:33  

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