It was a segment that embarrassed "60 Minutes" and proved Scott Pelley doesn't do his homework, at least not where editing his own segment is concerned, or knowing the caliber of the people he is giving a platform.
It comes at about 4:26 in the video below, Pamela Geller being introduced by Scott Pelley as someone who writes a "far right wing blog" that mixes news and opinion, but also dabbles in "conspiracy theories," which is the kindest way you can spin crackpot hatemonger who also happens to have written a book about Pres. Obama claiming he's waging a "war on America." Geller's agenda is clear and has been for years. She's a flame throwing neoconservative propagandist whose goal is to incite Americans against Muslims instead of offering a bridge to moderate worshipers of Islam, something that would actually help U.S. national security interests. In other words, she's part of the problem, not the solution.
Geller kept writing, calling the project "an act of jihad" and "a grotesque flag of conquest on Ground Zero."
"To what degree are you obliged to tell the truth in your blog?" Pelley asked.
"That's all I do is tell the truth," she replied.
"To be accurate in your blog," Pelley asked.
"Okay, Scott," she replied.
"You moved the mosque to Ground Zero. It's not gonna be there. It was never intended to be there," Pelley pointed out.
"That building is Ground Zero. And I will say something else. Truth is the new hate speech. And you and I live in so tawdry an age that just telling the truth makes you a hero. And yet, there are so few heroes. Or makes you a devil, in the eyes of the media. That's all I do is tell the truth," Geller said.
Branding the Cordoba House as the "Ground Zero mosque" was a piece of extremist marketing meant to inflame people and create an emotional backlash. But allowing Ms. Geller to defend the indefensible of her writings and positions is only trying to legitimize hate.
There are plenty of other Americans who are against the Cordoba House who don't write hate filled screeds about all things Muslim, including Palestinians, while peddling truthiness that resembles the worst anti Islamic propaganda only meant to incite instead of inform. Just about anyone else would have been a better choice for "60 Minutes."
Ms. Geller has no business being interviewed and given the mantle of legitimacy through "60 Minutes" citing her as the "Islamic center's most ardent critic," to which she claimed to actually be a heroine for speaking the truth. Nothing could be further from the truth than Ms. Geller's rhetoric. She incites the mob, which has always been her primary goal, including against Pres. Obama. Today she takes out after First Lady Michelle Obama on her blog for her associations, evidently not understanding that reaching across all lines helps bring people of unlike minds closer together. Neoconservatives don't do diplomacy, not even when it's paramount for American security.
Geller's claim that the Islamic center is a "mega mosque" is not only ignorant, but a lie. At least "60 Minutes" proved that, also showing that Muslims are also praying at the Pentagon chapel, one of the three Ground Zero locations.
To add insult to Geller's appearance, "60 Minutes" also gave a few moments, however fleeting, to New York candidate for governor, the known racist Carl Paladino, who has also fathered a child by a woman not his wife, which showed him saying he'd make sure the Cordoba House wasn't built (at around 6:00 min. in the video): "As governor, I will use the power of eminent domain to stop the mosque." Mr. Pelley didn't bother to do his homework here either, ignoring Mr. Paladino's racist email smears against Pres. Obama or the hard core porn emails he distributed.
Though the segment did give the developer, Mr. El-Gamal, his first interview, as well as offer Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf a moment to also get his very important message of tolerance out, using Geller and Paladino was irresponsible, because few individuals have shown more hatred and intolerance towards Muslims, but also Pres. Obama, than these two individuals.
Taylor Marsh is a political analyst and veteran national political writer out of Washington, D.C.
Follow Taylor Marsh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/taylormarsh