When distraught mother turned anti-war left standard bearer Cindy Sheehan bowed out of a September 2005 speaking engagement at the University of Maryland after a mere 10 minutes, she turned to her spokeswoman, Karen Pomer, to appease her activist fan base. “She’s exhausted and she’s not feeling well,” Pomer dutifully explained, “but she intends to meet her obligations.”
The professional-sounding formulation of Pomer’s rapid response was not accidental. A committed activist in her own right, Pomer, a part-time documentary filmmaker, is a longtime publicist and organizer for the far left. Based primarily in California, Pomer has been in the employ of a number of local leftist groups, including Pacifica Radio and, more recently, the pro-Castro antiwar group Code Pink, where she has been a publicist since the onset of the Iraq War in 2003.
Where politics is concerned, Pomer has never had much use for notions of fairness or civility. In the summer and fall of 2003, for instance, Pomer emerged at the head of a smear campaign to thwart Arnold Schwarzenegger’s quest for the governorship of California. Central to Pomer’s efforts was smearing Schwarzenegger with any number of false charges, in the hopes that one would gain traction long enough to derail his campaign. In keeping with that strategy, Pomer stated in one interview that “Arnold Schwarzenegger is racist, fascist and sexist, and those are not terms I use lightly.”
In fact, Pomer offered no evidence to corroborate the incendiary claims. On another occasion, Pomer smeared: “He’s the kind of guy, if you met him at a bar, you’d want to push him off his barstool.” Appearing on the anti-Israel, anti-war-on-terror radio show Democracy Now! in late August, Pomer stated that Schwarzenegger was an “adulterer.”
That Pomer’s anti-Schwarzenegger campaign was grounded more in partisanship than substance did not prevent her from getting a hearing in mainstream media outlets. Newspaper’s regularly portrayed her as a politically detached civilian, moved by her experiences as a rape victim to speak out about the allegations of sexual abuse in Schwarzenegger’s past. By no means atypical was a September 2003 Washington Post story. Innocently casting Pomer as a “publicist for social cause campaigns who used to work in Hollywood,” the Post credulously reported that she organized protests against Schwarzenegger after hearing “stories that have been circulating around Hollywood for years.” Pomer expertly played the assigned part of the civic-minded citizen: “No one was coming forward to say anything” about Schwarzenegger, she lamented, “though the stories about him are notorious.” Of Pomer’s longtime involvement in far left causes, no mention was made.
This lacuna cannot be attributed to an absence of evidence. Pomer has compiled a long record of support for radical causes over the years. Among them is her organizing on behalf of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal. She has also organized rallies and protest marches against everything from the Iraq war to talk radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, the U.S. radio giant that leftwing activists like Pomer regard as the embodiment of all things politically evil.
Pomer, who is Jewish, also nurses a strong hostility to Israel and its supporters. In 2004, for instance, Pomer joined a coven of radical feminists in denouncing radio station KPFK in California, an affiliate of Pacifica Radio, for conducting an interview with longtime feminist activist Phyllis Chesler. A thought-policing open letter to KPFK, signed by Pomer, attacked Chesler for her support of Israel, and detailed a list of her intellectual crimes: “She has written publicly that she supports the occupation of Iraq and plans to vote for Bush in November, not to mention that she has been writing frequently for FrontPageMag.com — among her fellow columnists: Ann Coulter,” the later stated. Seemingly immune to the contradiction, the signatories noted that while they “welcome and respect diversity in programming,” it must be “in keeping with the mission of Pacifica.” Chesler’s views, they made clear in no uncertain terms, were discordant with that mission, and therefore verboten.
Far more tolerant is Pomer’s view of Israel’s enemies. In 2005, for instance, she contacted the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles to congratulate the paper for running an article sympathetic to Rachel Corrie, the radical activist accidentally killed while obstructing the Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts. Pomer praised Corrie, an implacable foe of Israel and a supporter of Palestinian terrorism, for her “message of peace and justice.”