Less than a week after the event, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has finally agreed to give my organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a room for a panel discussion on how social media is censoring conservatives.
BY PAMELA GELLER, BREITBART NEWS, February 22, 2018:
This was the culmination of a process that began last September when I first contacted Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union (ACU), the sponsoring organization of the CPAC, and applied to become a sponsor of the CPAC in order to being able to host an event. I was willing to pay the full price for this sponsorship. The CPAC did not allow it, but months later they finally gave me a room – and then put numerous obstacles in the way, finally pulling the plug.
The deal they eventually offered me came with a number of constraints. One of their ACU sponsors, the American Principles Project (APP), had a room he didn’t use and would let us use it. But even then, this would not have been an AFDI sponsored event. The CPAC would not allow this. Instead, they said my event had to be sponsored by the APP, a group I had never heard of before.
My unfamiliarity with the APP was not important. The problem of social media censorship was fundamental, the most critical problem conservatives face today. So it was great news. We moved on.
In working out the final details with CPAC, I endured a lot. CPAC officials have placed one checkpoint after another. They gave us a room, but after announcing where the event would be, they told us the room was not available. They moved us from a room for 150 people to a room for 70.
The CPAC then told us that the speakers attending my event would have to buy tickets to enter – and the tickets weren’t cheap, running up to $ 300. Then, late Tuesday night, I got a call from Terry Schilling, the member of the ACU board of directors running the APP, asking me to remove one of the speakers from the panel. I refused.
A free speech panel won’t drop a speaker for saying something that offended the left.
It was Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit that they wanted to ban, because of his send on the Florida shooting, arguing that some of the pro gun control students who received so much media attention were likely trained. As a result, Hoft was attacked by people like Chelsea Clinton and Paul Krugman – and the CPAC dropped out.
Whenever a leftist is attacked, the left surrounds the wagons and defends their own. Whenever the left attacks a conservative, the establishment right throws that conservative to the wolves.
Yet our panel had aroused enormous interest. It was the most discussed panel at the CPAC. The advert on Breitbart had thousands of comments.
Shilling said Breitbart News that the cancellation was “completely a call from Pamela and completely avoidable”.
However, by banning a speaker, APP effectively canceled the panel. They would not have allowed the panel without him, and they knew I would never have done the panel without him. They made it inevitable.
Schilling also said, “I’m scrambling right now to put together a new panel on this one, because she sabotaged it.”
What are you talking about? They never had a panel. They had an empty room. This is how it was offered to me – like an empty room that I could put a round table in. It was a small space available that came with APP’s CPAC sponsorship package. It was offered this last Monday. APP had nothing to do, “no new panels to put together”. I organized the whole event.
Breitbart’s article further quoted Schilling: “’I didn’t want the whole conversation to be about Jim Hoft. And guess what? Now it is. ‘”Yet the APP signed on Jim when I sent Schilling the entire list of speakers on Monday. Even worse, Breitbart reports that Schilling “acknowledged that Hoft had helped his father, Robert Schilling, in his successful run for Congress in 2010 – specifically, by to expose the incumbent Democrat’s disrespect for the US Constitution, but said “personalities” shouldn’t be at the center of the panel. “
Schilling added: “This has nothing to do with the CPAC. This was my calling. “
Shilling And CPAC – is a member of the ACU board of directors. He and Dan Schneider put this last-minute solution together. And it was Schilling who did all of this on Hoft, when Tucker Carlson and others pointed out the same things Hoft did. The CPAC won’t throw Tucker under the bus. But Hoft and me? Sure.
This is just the latest in how the CPAC has worked to sabotage true conservatives. The longtime Geller relationship and AFDI members are familiar with my ten-year struggle with CPAC. This year’s scam is different from how the conference threw me out in previous years. After hosting very successful events there every year from 2008 to 2012, they started to exclude me, inventing new excuses every year. Last year they even told me that I was being denied due to the “negative press coverage” I had previously given them for being banned in previous years.
It’s ironic. In a conversation last week with ACU’s Dan Schneider, I asked for the hatchet to be buried and said we had to unite and have a “big tent” if we were to defeat our common enemy. I said that of course we will not agree on all issues, but that is not who we are – that is who the left is, marching collectivistically. I was respectful, even deferential. I was only interested in the mission: to bring this essential message to the ground. Those of us who have been at the forefront of the lines of fire in the information battle space must communicate with like-minded freedom lovers: we must build an army. What could be the reason for ACU to block it?
Schneider told me there were four qualifiers for acceptance and I passed them all, except that I had been critical of the CPAC for the past year. I said it was a year ago after the last CPAC. I was a couple of days before the one year deadline. And it could not be that the CPAC did not allow dissent. He said obviously yes, but the CPAC didn’t like my “choice of words”.
And clearly, with all the roadblocks they built to make sure my event this year wouldn’t happen, they still don’t like dissent.
This problem – the suppression of free speech on social media – affects all of us on the right. Indeed, it is the most critical issue of the day: if we are stripped of the means to communicate with each other, it is all over. It was the free people who spoke freely on social media, outside the reach of the media establishment, who got Donald Trump elected president of the United States.
The Democrats were in social media power with the 2008 Obama election, and here we are ten years later and the RINOs are still fighting not against the left, but against the more effective leaders of the right. The work my organization and I do is critical and unique. Tackle the most serious problems of our time. The CPAC should invite us, not ban us.
We cannot accept the silence of our colleagues. We can disagree, of course, and argue. But to ban and close us? No, that’s what the left does. It is not who we are.
Pamela Geller is president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of The Geller Report and author of the bestselling book, FATWA: Hunted in America, as well as The post-American presidency: the Obama administration’s war on America Other Stopping the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to Resistance. Follow it up Twitter or Facebook.