Robert Spencer has complained for several years that “Muslims and Leftists” refuse to debate him on his ideas. He issued an open challenge to debate. I accepted this challenge and agreed to a radio debate over a year and a half ago, yet Spencer has been running away from me ever since. To see the chronology behind Spencer’s debate-dodging with me, check out Sheila Musaji’s article Danios vs Spencer: 18 months and Spencer still avoiding a debate.
Initially, Spencer had used my anonymity as an excuse to get out of debating me. After over a year and a half, he seemed to finally put this condition aside and agreed to debate me. I offered Salon Radio as a possible choice for venue and moderator, to which Spencer initially agreed. Shortly thereafter, however, Spencer chickened out of this, claiming that Salon Radio was not a neutral venue. He then insisted upon ABN Sat, a loony right-wing Christian channel with anti-Muslim shows on it like Jihad Exposed.
Remember: Spencer rejected Salon Radio because it was not neutral enough, but meanwhile he has debated Muslims on ABN, which is the last thing on earth that could be called “neutral”. Anyone see the double standard?
I agreed to ABN, just to get the debate moving along. After this, Spencer emailed ABN saying: “It will be interesting in any case to see his face on camera.” When did I ever agree to that? Remember: I’ve always said that I am willing to engage in a radio (audio) debate with Spencer, so why the insistence that I do video? After prolonged negotiations (designed to waste my time?), ABN finally refused to host the debate if I would be “audio-only” (as was my condition from the very beginning).
ABN claimed that it was against their policy to have one of the debaters be “audio-only” and that each debater must be on Skype (with video). This seems to be nothing but a boldfaced lie made by ABN, since here is a debate they hosted just within this last year in which one of the debaters used Skype (video) and the other used the phone (audio only). It seems that Spencer and ABN are colluding with each other in order to find an excuse to get out of the debate, because Spencer knows that he cannot defend his ideas.
So, the reality is that nothing has changed, and Spencer continues to use my anonymity to dodge the debate with me.
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Moment of truth time for Robert Spencer: instead of wasting everyone’s time negotiating over venue and moderator (all of which seems to be designed to dodge the debate), I challenge you, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch, to a head-to-head debate using a format similar to bloggingheads.tv (no moderator needed) and audio only (like this debate or the one Spencer just did with “Spengler”–readers will note Spencer’s own words there: “Yes, it’s a video, but it’s audio only”).
We can make this debate happen right away. Nothing fancy is required, no gimmicks, no third party needs to be negotiated with. All we need is a recorded telephone conversation between you (Spencer) and I (Danios). Then, we can put the recording of the debate on our respective websites (on LoonWatch and if Spencer wants, on JihadWatch).
As for the topic, we can debate the contents of Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). I argue that this book is completely misleading, whereas Spencer argues that nobody has been able to refute the substance of it but just smear him instead. We’ll go through the book chapter by chapter and see where the truth lies. Spencer, if you can’t defend the contents of your book, what are you but a fraud?
A generous time limit can be set for the debate so that we can have a real substantive discussion. I say we stick with what we both found reasonable initially: three hours.
Spencer, I’m trying to make this debate actually happen, whereas you keep trying to find ways out of it. The ball is in your court now.
This is the moment of truth to see if Spencer wants to debate or just wants to flee from me. I think the question most of us have is: what excuse will Robert Spencer come up with next to chicken out of the debate? Is Spencer too scared to pick up a phone and debate with me? I think so.
Robert Spencer just went on a tweet splurge, attempting to do damage control in order to hide the fact that he is dodging the debate with me. He argues: “Every debate [on ABN] has same format.” This is clearly a lie that both ABN and Spencer are sticking to, despite the fact that we have clear evidence to the contrary: as I already pointed out above (a point Spencer ignored), here is an ABN debate in which one of the two debaters was “audio only”, just as I requested. Their insistence that all debaters must appear on video is something new that they invented for me, just as a way to give Spencer an out.
Like I said, there’s nothing new here: Spencer has chickened out of the debate with me as usual, using my anonymity as a cheap excuse. He has rejected my new debate offer above, saying about me: “He wants uneven playing field.” How would that be an “uneven playing field” to have no moderator and just go head-to-head? Here Spencer is guilty of projection: he is the one who insisted on ABN, a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel, that would be completely in his favor. Meanwhile, I accepted this “uneven playing field”–to Spencer’s advantage! This is yet another case of Spencer putting reality on its head.
Lastly, Spencer gets out of my new debate offer by arguing that he will only accept it if I accept a “university invitation.” He knows that I won’t accept because it would require compromising my anonymity, something I am unwilling to do at this point in time. Therefore, we’re once again back where we were, with Robert Spencer dodging me in debate, using my anonymity as his ultimate fall back excuse and cop-out. Why, Spencer, did you waste all of our time by making us think a few days ago that you were ready to stop running? Please don’t keep wasting everybody’s time.