Fox News contributor Rick Santorum, who is considering running for president in 2012, invoked President Obama's race while talking about abortion recently, saying* it is "remarkable for a black man to say, 'No, we are gonna decide who are people and who are not people.' " (Santorum addressed his remarks today in a statement to The Brody File blog of the Christian Broadcasting Network. The statement is after the jump.)
Interviewing Santorum, CNSNews' Terry Jeffrey started the discussion with a quote from Roman philosopher Cicero about there being a "true law ... conformable to nature" that "must for ever reign, eternal and imperishable." When asked whether he agreed with Cicero, Santorum replied, "Absolutely," adding, "There are two laws: there's the secular law, there's manmade laws; then there's a higher law, the sacred law, universal law, the natural law that's -- that we learn in America by a march through faith -- through the moral code that faith teaches. ... And that law is one that sits over the secular law." Santorum continued:
SANTORUM: So when we had slavery in this country, it didn't -- slavery did not conform to the natural law. And as a result, there was agitation, always. Abortion doesn't conform to the natural law. Why? Because we don't -- all life should be respected. And so, this agitation of having laws that are in -- secular laws that are inconsistent with the natural law is something that we've dealt with in America from its very founding. And -- but we have to recognize that there's a place for the articulation of the sacred law ... or the natural law, or the universal law and that they need to be in the public square, and they need to be involved in the political discourse because there are moral components to every single law we pass.
Santorum then went on to criticize the "elite," "the planners," and "the smart people," who say, " 'No, this is how we're gonna do things.' " Santorum added: "And if the sacred law and the secular don't match up, as the Supreme Court has done on numerous occasions -- whether it's marriage, or abortion, or a whole host of others issues -- they've sort of pulled that discussion, that, you know, perfect remedy, and pulled the plug on it and said, no, we're gonna impose our remedy -- an imperfect one based upon the elites of our culture."
Bringing the discussion to "current, concrete issues," Jeffrey asked, "We asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ... this past summer whether she believed Jesus had a right to life from the moment of conception. What's your -- did Jesus have a right to life from the moment of conception?" Santorum replied:
During his January 14 Fox News show, Glenn Beck ranted about purported members of what he called the "intelligent minority," nefarious figures from government, finance, media, and academia who he says believe they can and should control everyone's choices, "not just in politics, but everywhere." Of the nine individuals Beck singled out for attacks, we identified eight as being Jewish.
In a post on his Atlantic blog titled, "Glenn Beck's Jewish Problem," national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg writes:
It's become clear to me that the Fox commentator Glenn Beck has something of a Jewish problem. Actually, he has something of a modernity problem, and people with modernity problems tend to have problems with Jews, who more or less invented modernity (Einstein, Marx, Freud, Franz Boas, etc.)
After listing the eight Jews Beck attacked, Goldberg continued:
It is fair to ask if Beck knows that these people are Jewish (It is not widely-known that Rendell is Jewish, I think). But Beck is a smart person, and has researchers at hand with access to Wikipedia. Further, most of these people on Beck's "big lie" list are already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web, so an extended Google search, in some cases, would show that much of the opposition to some of these people is motivated by anti-Semitism. That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.
Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ) has called on News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch to fire Beck, because of what JFSJ president Simon Greer calls Beck's "Jewish problem." Greer cited Beck's attacks on George Soros, as well as on the largely Jewish rogues gallery. In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Greer stated: "We find it hard to believe that it was only coincidence that eight of the nine individuals on his list alleging a shadowy alliance to control the Americans through propaganda were Jewish."
A few days ago, The Washington Times joined other conservative media in defending Sarah Palin over her use of the term "blood libel." The term, as many have noted, historically refers to the anti-Semitic charge that Jews use the blood of Christian children in some religious rituals -- a myth that has long been the source of anti-Jewish violence. In an editorial hitting back at Palin's critics, liberals who "scramble[d] to score points from murder," the Times decried the "ongoing pogrom against conservative thinkers" and warned against the "hateful bile that inspires many of today's liberals."
The Times further stated:
The last two years have seen a proliferation of similar baseless charges of racism, sexism, bigotry, Islamophobia and inciting violence against those on the right who have presented ideas at odds with the establishment's liberal orthodoxy. Columnist Paul Krugman took advantage of the murders to tar conservative icon Rush Limbaugh and Fox News superstar Glenn Beck as "hate-mongers." It's this sort of reflexive and dastardly mudslinging that drowns out reasoned discussion of public-policy alternatives and poisons the well of political debate in America.
While it is laudable for people to rise above the "reflexive and dastardly mudslinging" that permeates the political debate, the Times frankly has no business lecturing others on "hateful bile." This is the same newspaper that has happily published hate-filled screed after screed against gay men and lesbians, progressives, and Muslims. It has also perpetuated right-wing smears of President Obama.
In the latest entry in our ever-expanding Obama Derangement Syndrome series, the right-wing media are attacking Michelle Obama for a letter she addressed to parents in the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Conservatives are professing outrage that Obama would dare speak of "tolerance" following a shooting rampage that left six dead and over a dozen wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft, who's not known for turning away any opportunity to attack the Obamas, led the charge this morning with a post titled, "Michelle Obama: We Can Use the Tucson Shootings to Teach Our Children Tolerance ...Huh?" Hoft writes: "Some disturbed mental case goes on a shooting spree at a Safeway after months and years of bizarre behavior and Michelle Obama wants your kids to be more tolerant? That's so not right."
In the letter, Michelle Obama writes that the tragedy "makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in -- and the world in which our children will grow up," and tells parents that it provides "an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons -- about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away."
She goes on to write:
We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way -- whether it's by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.
We can teach them the value of tolerance -- the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.
We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
That was apparently too much for Rush Limbaugh, who replied: "I don't know if she got the message that her husband attempted in his inimitable, exclusive, and brilliant manner Wednesday night."
Once again, in their rush to attack President Obama, conservatives failed to check the accuracy of their claims. Yesterday, as part of their attacks on Obama over his widely praised speech at the memorial for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting, conservative media figures cooked up the claim, absent any evidence, that the White House was behind the memorial's "branding." They accused the White House of coming up with the memorial's slogan, "Together We Thrive," and the design logo of the T-shirts that were handed out to attendees. Some even admitted that they had no evidence on which to base their claim.
Today, the "Truth-O-Meter" at PolitiFact.com rated the conservative claim "False," writing that "officials at the University of Arizona said the White House had nothing to do with the name or the logo." Discussing Michelle Malkin's post claiming that Obama was behind the event's branding, PolitiFact continued:
"The name of the event and the logo for the event were done entirely by the university," said Johnny Cruz, a spokesman for the University of Arizona. "Branding of the event was not done in consultation with the White House, or any elected officials or political organization."
The T-shirts were also the university's doing, Cruz said.
"That was the university's idea," he said. "We wanted to give people something to remember, to symbolize the community spirit."
The university bought the shirts without the use of taxpayer dollars, although he wasn't sure if the cost was borne by donations.
"Almost everything was done by the university," Cruz said, including selection of the location for the event and planning the agenda. Once the president accepted an invitation, he said, the White House helped coordinate some logistics, such as security, but that was the extent of the White House involvement.
And "Together We Thrive" was conceived by a University of Arizona student, he said.
Right-wing media that ran with the claim include:
During an interview on MSNBC's Hardball, Media Matters President and CEO David Brock accused Glenn Beck of being "responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year." Indeed, in each of the three examples Brock cited -- Gregory Giusti, Charles Wilson, and Byron Williams -- the incendiary and often violent rhetoric spewed by the Fox News host and elsewhere on the network was said to be a motivating factor, if not the inspiring factor, in the men's actions.
On Monday, we highlighted how upset CNN's Erick Erickson seemed to be with people not talking about a "saving faith in Jesus Christ" following the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is Jewish. In response, Erick Erickson wrote in a January 12 RedState post:
The atheists and twinkie eaters at Media Matters, also known as the Westboro Baptist D.C. Branch, are enraged that I dared mention Jesus and the absence of discussing him in the debate over Arizona.
The Westboro Baptist Church is an extremist anti-gay group known for protesting the funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group claims the soldiers' deaths are inflicted by God to punish the United States for accepting the "sin" of homosexuality. Members often carry signs reading "God Hates Fags" at the protests, which is also the name of its website.
The group had recently announced it would picket the funeral of a 9-year-old victim of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, before agreeing not to protest, reportedly in exchange for air time on two radio stations. According to ABC News, "[t]he group still plans to picket Friday's funeral of U.S. District Judge John Roll, and at the intersection where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot."
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck claimed that lawmakers are considering "a ban on guns" in light of the recent shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Beck has previously stoked fears that the government or President Obama "will slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun."
Neil Cavuto just can't catch a break. Today, another CEO of an American company shot down his pet theory that President Obama's tax policies are somehow harmful to the success of American business and the economy. Cavuto, ever skeptical of even the slightest economic upswing, refuses to believe the facts: notably, that Obama's position that tax cuts should not be permanently extended for the richest Americans is not what is keeping American companies from hiring workers.
During an interview with Tractor Supply Co. chairman and CEO Jim Wright about how companies plan to expand in 2011, Cavuto suggested that the recent success of Wright's company could face "uncertainty" in two years following the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest earners. Cavuto also went on to suggest that the health care reform law would further cast a pall over American business. But Wright squarely put his company's success and/or failure on the shoulders of consumers:
WRIGHT: Well, probably the best thing, being a retailer, we have a tremendous amount of data. Going back to the early days of 2008, we saw consumers change very abruptly. As a result, we called the recession three weeks into that year. So anything that would give us pause right now would be a change in the behavior of our consumers, not the behavior or the consumer confidence.
Similarly, in an interview with Cummins Inc. chairman and CEO Theodore "Tim" Solso a week ago, Cavuto suggested that businesses were unwilling to expand because they were "scared" of Obama and "scared that tax rates might not last much longer beyond the two years they've been extended."
You would think that by now, what with the "Happy Holidays" promos and its own "Holiday Party," Fox would just forget the whole "War on Christmas" war. For years now, Fox has heavily promoted this idea that "secular progressives" are engaged in a so-called "war" on Christmas, declaring over and over that the holiday is "under attack." In its efforts to continue this overhyped, manufactured non-controversy, the network has taken to misleading viewers and even has accused the Democrats of "waging their own War on Christmas."
When all that failed, Fox tried to rebrand the "War on Christmas" -- the "War on Christianity" -- except that facts, predictably, got in the way of that campaign. Today, Fox has a new culprit to go after for supposedly waging a War on Christmas. It's attacking the NBA for scheduling five games on Christmas Day.