On the August 12 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely asserted that an Associated Press article by reporter Michael R. Blood alleged that Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. is "an anti-Semite." Offering his assessment of the article, Limbaugh commented: "[Roberts] hates Jews. Yes, that's the story from Michael Blood in the Associated Press." But Blood made no such accusation.
In an article exploring the contents of recently released documents from Roberts's tenure as an aide to Reagan White House counsel Fred Fielding, Blood detailed Roberts's role in internal Reagan administration deliberations on whether to press the Soviet Union for information on the fate of Swedish diplomat and honorary U.S. citizen Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg disappeared in 1945, Blood reported, and a lawyer for Wallenberg's family alleged that he was being held by the Soviet Union as of the early 1980s. Blood reported that, based on Roberts's reading of a 19th-century law allowing the president to "seek the release of citizens seized by foreign governments," he argued against pressing the Soviet Union on Wallenberg's whereabouts. According to Blood, Roberts questioned whether the law applied to Wallenberg and recommended " 'essentially dodging' the question of whether the century-old law could be put to use" on his behalf.
At no point in his article did Blood ascribe anti-Semitic motives to Roberts. In fact, Blood quoted Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, stating that Roberts's position was reasonable. Limbaugh read Blood's quotation of Stern on the program, without noting that Blood's inclusion of the quotation undermined Limbaugh's claim that Blood was accusing Roberts of anti-Semitism:
LIMBAUGH: And [Roberts] advised Reagan to forego any effort to try to rescue a Jewish man, citizen of the United States. Advised Reagan that using a 19th-century law to pressure the Soviets on Wallenberg was not good. But Mark Stern, general counsel to the American Jewish Congress, said, "Roberts' memo was responsible given questions about applicability of the law to the Wallenberg case. Anything that's done for Wallenberg is all for the good, Stern said. But Roberts was a lawyer for the president. He took a reasonable position and I can't fault him."
Wallenberg has been lauded for his heroism in helping Hungarian Jews avoid capture by the Nazis. But, contrary to Limbaugh's claim, Wallenberg was not Jewish. (It is not known whether he is alive today.)
From the August 12 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Now, Judge Roberts may be clear on bombing abortion clinics, folks. He may have passed that test. But ... he hates Jews. Yes, that's this story from Michael Blood in the Associated Press. "As a Reagan White House lawyer, John Roberts urged the administration to dodge a proposal from the family of Raoul Wallenberg to pressure the Soviets of what they knew about the Swedish diplomat's disappearance at the end of World War II. Documents housed that the Ronald Reagan presidential library" -- that would be "liberry" for those of you in Rio Linda -- "Administration to invoke the 19th-century... in late '83, the family's lawyer, the Wallenberg's family lawyer, urged the Reagan Administration to invoke a 19th-century law giving the president the power to use such means necessary and proper to seek the release of citizens seized by foreign governments.
"At the time, some believed that Wallenberg, an honorary U.S. citizen, was languishing in a Soviet prison. The Soviets said he died in 1947. President Reagan previously had called in the Soviets to account for Wallenberg, who is credited with saving tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Hitler's death camps. But Roberts, Roberts, Roberts advised the White House to sidestep the proposal to use the old law for leverage with the Soviets. The family's lawyer, Morris Wolff, called Roberts's conclusion appalling. The Reagan administration had a unique opportunity to rescue Raoul Wallenberg at that very moment. I had credible evidence that Wallenberg was alive and well at the time, said Wolff. Roberts took not only an expedient response but a cowardly response, Wolff said in an interview."
So now Roberts is an anti-Semite. Judge Roberts has gone from blowing up abortion clinics to being an anti-Semite, next he's gonna be a racist. Next he's gonna be a homophobe, next he's gonna be ... who cares! He's gonna be a sexist, he's gonna be a white supremacist, who knows? Because the template that the left uses when they think of conservatives is gonna get exploited throughout this coverage and throughout this [inaudible]. So they've bombed out when he blew up abortion clinics, bombed out that he hates little girls with French fries, bombed out on a whole host of things. Now he hates Jews. And he advised Reagan to forego any effort to try to rescue a Jewish man, citizen of the United States. Advised Reagan that using a 19th-century law to pressure the Soviets on Wallenberg was not good. But Marc Stern, general counsel to the American Jewish Congress, said, "Roberts' memo was responsible given questions about applicability of the law to the Wallenberg case. Anything that's done for Wallenberg is all for the good, Stern said. But Roberts was a lawyer for the president. He took a reasonable position and I can't fault him."
"In a November 7th, '83 letter, Wolff told Reagan that Wallenberg's status as an honorary citizen allowed the president to pursue new action with the soviets. Under the 1868 law, a president is required to seek the release of any citizen who has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by any foreign government. Roberts, in his January 25th, '84 memo to White House counsel Fred Fielding recommended essentially dodging the question of whether the century-old law could be put to use on behalf of the missing diplomat. Among his concerns, Roberts feared the law would not stand up in court. At one point, however, he acknowledged it might apply to the Wallenberg case, deriding a State Department analyst who said it did not."
So he's anti-Semitic. Worked with Fred Fielding [inaudible]. Well, I don't know, Mr. Snerdley. The question was just asked, "How come a century-old campaign finance law didn't apply to Al Gore? Can't raise money out of your ..." I don't know. I'm just telling you here that they're pulling out all the stops, and it fits the template of these bigots, of these prejudicial leftists who just have this view of conservatives and Roberts, 'cause he's gotta be, he's gotta be anti-Semitic, he's gotta blow up abortion clinics, he's gotta be racist, he's gotta be a bigot, and he's gotta be a homophobe too.