Today the Tampa Bay Times published an inaccurate story regarding the Liberty and Justice for All Rally to be held on 1/21/12 on the St. Pete Waterfront. I responded to the reporter with the email below.
Hello Mr. Van Sickler,
I saw your piece in the Times today and am disappointed that instead of focusing on the many and vast positives of the Liberty and Justice for All Rally), you instead chose to focus on a divisive issue that has nothing to do with our event.
Your article published in the “St. Pete Times” section of the Tampa Bay Times today suggest that a representative from the Council on American Islamic Relations is somehow entitled to an invitation to represent the Islamic viewpoint at this rally. I am sure there are many members of the Islamic community who would disagree that CAIR represents all of them. Your article then advances the theory that our event is not meant to unify but to divide. You focus the majority of the article discussing a controversial issue that is, again, unrelated to our event. That controversial issue could more easily and appropriately be discussed in a separate piece on the issue itself.
I do appreciate the positive elements that your article did include such as the announcement of the event itself and pointing out that our event will feature a universal message that is both faith-based and secular: LOVE THEY NEIGHBOR! Thank you.
I am further disappointed that you allowed such a divisive and derogatory remark to be included in your article describing our event as “un-American” and that we were “making enemies”. Certainly, nothing could be further from the truth as it is the most wholesome, American and unifying activities to spend three hours celebrating “Liberty and Justice for All”.
As a side note, I have been working hard to find a speaker from the Islamic community but certainly could never invite Mr. Shibly from the Council on American Islamic Relations if he believes the event itself is “Un-American” and accuses those who attend of seeking to make enemies when in fact they are doing the exact opposite: embracing their fellow man in Love.
You should be aware now that we have reached out to a Local Islamic religious leader and also to The group the “American Islamic Forum for Democracy” and hope to have them speak if their schedule allows. Our imagry at the event will include Muslims in Prayer. However our main intent is to celebrate these principles of Liberty and Justice for All and we are not going to focus on trying to satisfy or represent every possible religious group in the area.
Finally, your coverage of this rally is in stark contrast to the wholly positive coverage of the Occupy St. Pete rallies in the Times and I never saw any such analysis and investigation of the speakers or leaders within that movement and their views, backgrounds and methods.
You will shortly be Carbon Copied on an Editorial I will submit to the Times on this topic.
Thanks again and feel free to contact me again if you wish to further cover this event.
David McKalip, M.D.
Clearly there was an agenda held by the reporter, but it didn’t seem to include accurate and complete coverage of our event.