"Good Morning America" reporter Nick Watt smeared Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders as a racist on Saturday's edition of the ABC program. Watt, who interviewed the director over his new movie about radical Islam's incompatibility with Dutch culture, sneered, "You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?"
Wilders is under fire from Islamic protests in much of the Middle East and has been criticized by the Netherlands prime minister. GMA co-host Kate Snow seemed skeptical as well. Speaking of Wilders's movie, she derided, "So, is this hate speech or free speech?" Snow failed to explain how, exactly "hate speech" is not also free speech. At one point, after Wilders touted the superiority of western culture, Watt incredulously replied, "What do you mean, better?" Leaving no doubt as to what his opinion is, Watt closed the segment by asserting, "Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames."
A transcript of the March 29 segment, which aired at 7:16am, follows:
KATE SNOW: Also this morning we'll tell you about a controversial new film, it criticizes the Koran. A Dutch director attacking Islam's holiest book and says Muslims should change their ideology. The film has ignited real protests around the world. So, is this hate speech or free speech? We'll talk to the filmmaker himself."
SNOW: David, now to the furor over a film. Earlier this month there were protests in Pakistan and Europe in anticipation off a film that criticizes the Koran, Islam's holiest book. The director defends his short movie and spoke to ABC's Nick Watt at the Hague.
ABC GRAPHIC: FANNING THE FLAMES: FILMMAKER DEFENDS ANTI-ISLAM MOVIE
NICK WATT : The 17-minute movie shows terrorist attacks and quotes lines from the Koran. 'Where ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks and fight them until there is no dissension.'
GEERT WILDERS (FILMMAKER): The Koran is not an old book somewhere in the shelves where nobody is looking at it. But, this is indeed often the base of a lot terrible things happening throughout the world.
WATT: Wilders wants Holland to ban all Muslim immigration and he wants Muslims to change their ideology, which he likens to Nazism.
WILDERS: I believe that our culture is far better than the Islamic culture.
WATT: What do you mean, better?
WILDERS: Well, we have a separation of church and state. We treat women equally.
WATT: Last night, the website hosting Wilders' movie took it down. They explained, following serious threats to our staff. In Holland and across Europe there is anger. Many Muslims do feel insulted, but so far no violence. There have been demonstrations in Pakistan and elsewhere. Anticipating trouble, the Dutch prime minister condemned the movie.
JAN PETER BALKENENDE (DUTCH PRIME MINISTER): We believe it serves no purpose other than to cause offense.
WATT: This is what happened when a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of the prophet Mohammad in 2005, violent protests around the world, more than 100 people were killed.
ABDOU BOUZERDA (ARAB EUROPEAN LEAGUE): I think that this political message is even worse than the cartoons, which were drawn in Denmark.
WATT: You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?
WILDERS: No, I'm nothing. Once again, I am not a racist because I have nothing against any race.
WATT: For now, Dutch Muslim leaders are urging debate and restraint. And if things turn nasty--
WILDERS: If unfortunately it would happen, of course the people who use this violence and use this non-democratic means can be the only ones held responsible.
WATT: Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames. For "Good Morning America," Nick Watt, ABC News, the Hague.