The controversy over the CPAC Peoples' Choice Blogger Awards continues to develop, with a response from John Hawkins, printed below. Here is the original blog entry, followed by John Hawkins' response:
03 06 original post:
In a shocking development that should alert all conservatives to behind-the-scenes manipulation of CPAC and other conservative organizations, the winner of the voting for an important award for bloggers has been barred from receiving it. Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs reports:
I was surprised and honored that Jihad Watch was among the nominees for the People's Choice Blog Award, sponsored by Right Wing News and TheTeaParty.net, to be awarded at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2013. [see voting results below:]
As you can see from the vote above, Jihad Watch won decisively, getting over 50% of the vote in a field of fifteen. And I received confirmation of the victory from one of the organizers of the CPAC blog awards when I asked him when voting officially ended:
Subject: Re: You've Been Nominated For A People's Choice Award At the CPAC Blogger Awards
Date: March 2, 2013 2:58:26 AM EST
To: Robert Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org
It officially ended at midnight. You won!
But as time went by and no announcement was made of this victory, and the voting continued despite my having been told that it officially ended last Friday night and that I had won, and the promised links and other placement promised to the winning blog didn't materialize, I started to wonder. So I contacted the organizer who had written me telling me I won and asked him what was going on.
He told me that there was a slight problem: the Tea Party group, which co-sponsored this People's Choice Blog Award, didn't want to allow me to receive it at CPAC next week unless I promised not to criticize Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan as I accepted the award.
I told the organizer that I couldn't agree to that. He asked me if I had planned to talk about Grover and Suhail. I said no, I hadn't, but I had to now.
So that's that. The People's Choice Blog Award is now the Grover's Choice Blog Award. I will not be going to CPAC and will not be receiving this award.
Click here to read Robert Spencer's bill of particulars on Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, whose sensitivities to Islamic supremicism are now being reflected by conservative organizations willing to ignore the threat of jihad.
I would like to hear from CPAC, Right Wing News, and especially TheTeaParty.net about why the voters have been overruled. All three organizatiosn should tell their constituents -- that includes all conservatives -- their versions of the story, and specify how much direct and indirect financial suppport they receive from Norquist, Suhail, and organizations in their sphere of influence.
Update: John Hawkins has provided AT with a response which we are happy to publish:
I am the one who talked to Robert Spencer. I told him that I didn't care what he said about the ACU to bloggers, in interviews outside the door, on radio row or anywhere else at CPAC, but I've known Robert for years and I asked him as a personal favor not to rant about his feud with the ACU when he received his award.
He said he couldn't do that. If he got his award, he absolutely had to trash the ACU after he received it.
That was basically the end of the conversation because there was just nothing left to say after that.
But, it's extremely important to note that at no point did I tell him not to come or say he wouldn't be allowed in the room. So, any suggestion that he was banned from attending is absolutely, unconditionally not true. In fact, my assumption was that he would be there to get his award until I saw that post on his website, which was extremely disappointing.
Robert did win the award, I personally ordered his plaque today and per an email I received earlier, I believe someone will be there to pick his award up for him at the ceremony.
Ultimately, I thought the blogger awards should be about bloggers being recognized for the great work they're doing. Robert apparently thought it should be about the problem he has with the ACU. I'm very sorry he feels that way and I'm extremely disappointed that he went so far as to falsely claim that he was barred from getting his award to drum up PR for himself.
Update: Robert Spencer offers a response.
John Hawkins' account of what happened between him and me is highly tendentious to the point of being outright dishonest.
John represents his telling me not to speak about Norquist and Khan's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic supremacists as a "personal favor" he was asking of me, not to "rant" and "throw a tantrum." The ties that Norquist and Khan have to islamic supremacists are not a matter of a rant or tantrum, but a serious issue that is causing immense damage to the conservative movement and the Republican Party's ability to oppose Barack Obama's consistent enabling of Islamic supremacism domestically and internationally. It needs to be raised, yet as I told John when we spoke, I had no intention of doing so at the awards ceremony until he conveyed to me the order not to do so -- which order only impressed upon me anew the need to call attention to this problem.
Also, John never represented this to me as a "personal favor." He stressed to me repeatedly that he was conveying an order from higher ups which he told me he was further ordered not to name to me. And while he did make clear that I was welcome to come and accept the award, he also made it quite clear that I was not to say anything about Norquist and Khan (the ACU was actually never discussed), and that one was conditional on the other.