White House soirée, part deux: Beck, Bennett, Ingraham, Medved, and others met with Bush

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE & ANDREW WALZER

In an August 1 blog entry on Townhall.com, syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt wrote that "President Bush invited ten talk show hosts into the Oval Office for an hour of conversation today -- Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett, Neal Boortz, Scott Hennon, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, Janet Parshall and me. This was an off-the-record conversation, and so I won't be quoting the president." Blogger (and Media Matters for America Web producer) Oliver Willis noted Hewitt's post, and Talkers Magazine's website published a photo of the group.

Several conservative talk radio show hosts reportedly met with President Bush in September 2006, as Media Matters for America documented.

Below are examples of some noteworthy comments, previously documented by Media Matters, from several of President Bush's guests:

Glenn Beck

  • On the June 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing an alleged Al Qaeda/Taliban training camp "graduation ceremony" shown on a tape obtained by ABCNews.com, Beck said: "I was surprised, because I really thought speaking at a suicide bomber graduation ceremony, I would just -- I -- maybe [former President] Jimmy Carter was booked and that's why he didn't speak at the commencement ceremony." Beck has also referred to Carter as a "waste of skin" and contrasted him with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who, Beck said, was not a "bigger waste of skin" because "[a]t least evil is using that skin."
  • On the June 4 broadcast of his radio show, Beck said of the marriage of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Elizabeth Harper Kucinich: "How did that happen? ... You think it's dope?" Beck went on to speculate whether she was under the influence of "some sort of ... date rape drug," describing the drug he had in mind as "not powerful enough to actually knock you out, but it's powerful enough to, like, make you think that you're not standing next to Dennis Kucinich and making out with him." Beck continued: "I was thinking cyanide. That would be the only thing that would really dull the senses enough. Even then, your dead body would be like, 'Dennis Kucinich has his tongue in my mouth.' "
  • On the May 10 edition of his radio show, Beck said that he "wouldn't vote for [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [I-CT] as president ... because of the way the Middle East would use it," but also asserted, "That's not saying the same thing as I wouldn't vote for a Jew for president." He did not explain the distinction he drew between asserting that he would not vote for Lieberman, who is Jewish, and asserting that he wouldn't vote for any Jew for president.
  • On the April 30 edition of his radio show, Beck likened former Vice President Al Gore's fight against global warming to Adolf Hitler's use of eugenics as justification for exterminating 6 million European Jews. Beck stated: "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government." The Anti-Defamation League denounced Beck's remarks, saying they were part of "a troubling epidemic on the airwaves, where comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust are becoming all-too facile."
  • On the March 15 broadcast of his radio show, Beck referred to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) as "the stereotypical bitch."
  • On the February 12 broadcast of his radio show, Beck featured Philadelphia-based conservative radio host Dom Giordano, who claimed that "the mainstream media has dubbed [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] to be African-American" and said, "If you start to, you know, delve around the edges, say, 'Wait a minute, isn't he mixed race? Weren't we told that last year?' Or whatever, biracial. Not allowed to say that anymore." Beck responded by saying "he's very white in many ways," adding, "Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, 'What does he mean, "He's very white?" ' He is. He's very white."

    Beck later attempted to clarify his comments to his executive producer and head writer, Steve Burguiere. Beck claimed that Obama "is colorless," adding that "as a white guy ... [y]ou don't notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?" Beck also said: "I guarantee you, there will be blogs today that will have me being a racist because I say that."

  • During an November 2006 interview with then-Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies,' " a comment he later stated was "poorly worded" and "wish[ed]" he "could take back and rephrase."
  • Beck warned that if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West."
  • He has said that "[t]he Middle East is being overrun by 10th-century barbarians" and "[i]f they take over ... we're going to have to nuke the whole place."
  • During a discussion of the "politically correct world we live in," Beck claimed that Braille on walls (used to identify rooms for blind people) "drives me out of my mind." He then said, "Just to piss them [blind people] off, I'm going to put in Braille on the coffee pot ... 'Pot is hot.' "

Bill Bennett

  • During the February 9, 2006, edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Bennett claimed that "people" who got "a good, close look" at Muslims rioting over perceived anti-Islamic cartoons would say that "these people are unhinged." Later discussing a young Iranian woman sentenced to death for stabbing a man while defending herself during an attempted rape, Bennett claimed "the incident "is a peek into the soul of that faith [Islam] when it's run through a government." He added: "Catholicism is as Catholicism does; Judaism is as Judaism does; and, by God, Islam is as Islam does. And what it's doing right now, I wouldn't want to be associated with."
  • During the September 28, 2005, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bennett told a caller that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," but then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."

Neal Boortz

  • During the June 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Boortz offered a suggestion he said he got from a listener's email: "When we defeat this illegal alien amnesty bill, and when we yank out the welcome mat, and they all start going back to Mexico, as a going away gift let's all give them a box of nuclear waste." Boortz continued: "Give 'em all a little nuclear waste and let 'em take it on down there to Mexico. Tell 'em it can -- it'll heat tortillas."
  • On the June 18 edition of his radio program, Boortz advocated building a "double fence along the Mexican border, and stop the damn invasion." Boortz continued: "I don't care if Mexicans pile up against that fence like tumbleweeds in the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. Let 'em. You know, then just run a couple of taco trucks up and down the line, and somebody's gonna be a millionaire out of that."
  • On the June 11 edition of his radio show, a caller asked, "Why can't we just load them on planes and keep on loading them until they're back?" Boortz later responded, "We're not gonna throw these people out of airplanes with taco-shaped parachutes."
  • On the October 16, 2006, edition of his radio show, Boortz declared: "Islam is a virus. It is a deadly virus that is spreading throughout Europe and the Western world," adding that "we're going to wait far too long to develop a vaccine to find a way to fight this."
  • On the August 3, 2006, edition of his radio show, Boortz asked his audience, "[H]ow incompetent, how ignorant, how worthless is an adult that can't earn more than the minimum wage?" Boortz continued: "You have to really, really, really be a pretty pathetic human being to not be able to earn more than ... the minimum wage."
  • On the July 19, 2006, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Boortz claimed that "at its core," Islam is a "violent, violent religion," and called "this Muhammad guy ... just a phony rag-picker." Boortz asserted that "[i]t is perfectly legitimate, perhaps even praiseworthy, to recognize Islam as a religion of vicious, violent, bloodthirsty cretins."
  • On the June 6, 2006, edition of his radio show, Boortz stated that "[s]o many" of the victims of Hurricane Katrina "have turned out to be complete bums, just debris."
  • While discussing protests in Los Angeles against proposed immigration restrictions, Boortz, on the March 27, 2006, edition of his radio show, suggested the U.S. government should "store 11 million Hispanics" who entered the country illegally in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans and in the Houston Astrodome before deporting them to their home countries.

Laura Ingraham

  • As the weblog Firedoglake first noted, during the November 7 edition of her nationally syndicated talk radio show, Ingraham urged listeners to jam the phone lines of a voter assistance hotline sponsored by the Democratic Party. Ingraham stated: "I want you to call it and I want you tell us what you get when you call 1-888-DEM-VOTE. They're on top of all of the shenanigans at the polling stations. One problem: you can't get through." Minutes later, while talking with a listener who called the hotline, Ingraham said: "Let's keep 'dem' lines ringing."
  • On the October 30, 2006, edition of CNN's Larry King Live, when asked by host Larry King if she "agree[d] that more than 50 percent of the public would support stem cell research," Ingraham replied: "I think more than 50 percent of the public would probably approve of public executions of child molesters, but it doesn't mean that we actually do that, Larry. I mean, please."
  • On the July 19, 2006, broadcast of her radio show, Ingraham stated that Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas -- who is of Lebanese descent -- "represents Hezbollah in the White House press room." Ingraham made her comment after playing an audio clip of a July 18, 2006, press briefing, during which White House press secretary Tony Snow said, "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view," in response to an assertion by Thomas that the United States had not made an effort to stop Israel's attacks on Lebanon and that the "perception of the United States" was that the government supports "collective punishment against all of Lebanon and Palestine."
  • On the March 21, 2006, broadcast of NBC's Today, Ingraham decried NBC News for "report[ing] only on the IEDs [improvised explosive devices], only on the killings ... only on the reprisals" in Iraq, and for "reporting from hotel balconies" instead of in the field. Following the explosion of a car bomb in Baghdad a week later that killed two members of a CBS News crew and severely wounded a third, Ingraham defended her remarks.

    On the May 31 broadcast of her show, Ingraham stated that when she "brought up the hotel balconies, that was coming right off a Richard Engel report from a hotel balcony about the latest IEDs going off." She added that "[a]ll the guys [troops] I talked to in Iraq were tired of it, and I was speaking for them." Noting ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff's injuries in Iraq, Ingraham later stated that although "our hearts and prayers go out" to the "brave" journalists in Iraq "who are on the ground, getting the facts out," "I will not change my view that giving context in this reporting is important." She continued: "[Y]ou have to see the forest through the trees, here. The insurgents not only know how to play to the press, they manipulate -- let's make that very clear."

  • On the April 11, 2005, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Ingraham stated that Democratic Sens. John Kerry (MA), Joseph R. Biden Jr. (DE), and Barbara Boxer (CA) are "on the side of" North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il because of their opposition to John R. Bolton, President Bush's then-nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Mark Levin

  • On the April 5 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Sean Hannity asked Levin, host of WABC's The Mark Levin Show, why he referred to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as "Stretch." Levin replied: "You could bounce a dime off her cheeks. The woman has had so many face-lifts."

Michael Medved

  • On the September 18, 2006, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Medved stated that the "crucial issue" of whether "the violence and the bloodshed and the horror and the misery and ... the disgusting behavior throughout the Muslim world ... is ... based upon some problems within Islam itself" was "the subject of my conversation with the president of the United States on Friday, when I had the privilege of sitting with him in the Oval Office for 90 minutes." Medved was apparently referring to a reported meeting held by Bush at the White House on September 17, 2006, which also included Boortz, Hannity, Mike Gallagher, and Ingraham.

    Medved asserted that "there are problems with Islam, as a faith, as a culture, as a vision of civilization, or actually a vision of barbarism in the world" and that these "problems ... go very, very deep." Later in the program, Medved confirmed that he believes there is "a violence problem in the Muslim world because that is an inherent problem in Islam" and that "a core foundational difference between Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, if you will, even Hinduism and Islam" is that Islam is "a primitive religion."

  • On the August 2, 2006, edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Medved dismissed as "ridiculous" Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel's call to "professionally shun[] Mel Gibson and refus[e] to work with him even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line" for making anti-Semitic remarks. Medved declared that Emanuel is "[filmmaker] Michael Moore's agent, and Michael Moore has done far more damage to the Jewish community, particularly regarding the issue of Israel, than anything Mel Gibson has ever done."

Janet Parshall

  • On the July 3, 2006, edition of Salem Radio Network's Janet Parshall's America, Parshall hosted Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Regnery, December 2004) and a founding member of the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a "hate group." The League of the South is a neo-Confederate organization with approximately 9,000 members. The SPLC described the group as "rife with white supremacists and racist ideology." Michael Hill, who founded the league alongside Woods in 1988, wrote to members of his organization in 1998: "The day of Southern guilt is over -- THE SOUTH WAS RIGHT -- and let us not forget that salient fact. NO APOLOGIES FOR SLAVERY should be made. In both the Old and New Testaments slavery is sanctioned and regulated according to God's word. Thus, when practiced in accord with Holy Scripture, it is NOT A SIN. Our ancestors were not evil men because they held slaves. This issue is our Achilles Heel, and the only way to deal with it is to confront our accusers boldly and without guilt. After all, what we are really upholding is GOD'S WORD. Let us fear Him, and we'll fear no man."
  • During the January 17, 2006, edition of Larry King Live -- dedicated to a discussion of the implications of "the buzz around" award-winning film Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features, December 2005) -- Parshall referred to the adoption of children by same-sex couples as "state-sanctioned child abuse" and asked if Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was murdered in 1998, had been "looking for trouble in all the wrong places." Opining on gay marriage, Parshall called it a "pretend family," arguing that "God himself" defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and that "everything else is a fraudulent misrepresentation." She then asserted that allowing a gay couple to adopt constituted "state-sanctioned child abuse because you've purposely taken away either a momma or a daddy, and mom and dad are both necessary in a child's life."
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