Beck-led Fox News "czar" witch hunt moves to ridiculous smear of Anita Dunn

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

In attacking Anita Dunn, claiming that she "worships" her "hero" Mao Zedong, Glenn Beck has targeted yet another Obama administration official in his Fox News-assisted witch hunt of President Obama's so-called "czars." Beck and Fox News have previously attacked with falsehoods and spurious claims White House officials Kevin Jennings, Cass Sunstein, Harold Koh, and Van Jones.

Beck identifies latest target: White House communications director Anita Dunn

Beck falsely claimed Dunn "worships" Mao Zedong, "her hero." Throughout most of his October 15 Fox News program, Beck falsely claimed that Dunn "worships" and "idolizes" "her hero" Mao Zedong. In fact, in the video that Beck aired as evidence to support his claims, Dunn offered no endorsement of Mao's ideology or atrocities -- rather, she commented that Mao and Mother Teresa were two of her "favorite political philosophers," and based on short quotes from them, she offered the advice that "you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths" or "let external definition define how good you are internally."

Beck ignored numerous conservatives who previously spoke similarly of Mao. In airing footage of Dunn calling Mao and Mother Teresa two of her "favorite political philosophers" and using those comments to falsely link Dunn to the murder of tens of millions of Chinese under Mao's reign, Beck ignored numerous conservatives -- including Barry Goldwater's "alter ego" Stephen C. Shadegg, Cato Institute president Edward H. Crane, and GOP strategist Ralph Reed -- who have approvingly cited the tactics of Mao, Vladimir Lenin, and the Viet Cong, stating that they had used those tactics in their political work, or have otherwise highlighted their philosophies. Moreover, in a 2008 presidential campaign speech, Sen. John McCain stated that "there was a lot of people who said that my political career was not going to succeed. In fact, in the words of Chairman Mao, it's always darkest before it's totally black" [emphasis added]," as The Washington Independent noted.

Attack on Dunn follows extended Fox News smear campaign against Obama advisers

Fox News' Hannity repeatedly smeared Kevin Jennings with the false claim that he ignored statutory rape and supported NAMBLA. During his relentless attack of Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, Sean Hannity repeatedly ignored evidence to falsely claim that Jennings ignored the statutory rape of a 15-year-old student, even advancing the falsehood after the claim had been widely debunked. Hannity also advanced the falsehoods that Jennings supported NAMBLA and sought to indoctrinate students about homosexuality.

Beck falsely claimed that Sunstein advocated for forced organ donation. Beck previously falsely claimed that Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, "believes that everyone must be an organ donor." In fact, in a book, Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler advocated for approaches to organ donation policies that "would be likely to save many lives while also preserving freedom" (emphasis added) and did not advocate for mandatory organ donation. Beck and Fox Business host Eric Bolling have both identified Sunstein as targets in their witch hunt against people they have identified as Obama administration "czars," and Sunstein was also on Hannity's "top 10" list of dangerous "czars."

Beck falsely claimed Sunstein argued that "you should not be able to remove rats from your home." Beck also claimed on September 9 that Sunstein said "you should not be able to remove rats from your home if it causes them any pain." In fact, in the introduction to a book of essays he co-edited, Sunstein did not advocate against rat removal, but rather said, "At the very least, people should kill rats in a way that minimizes distress and suffering." Sunstein also stated that, from a utilitarian perspective, "[i]f human beings are at risk of illness and disease from mosquitoes and rats, they have a strong justification, perhaps even one of self-defense, for eliminating or relocating them."

Beck falsely claimed Van Jones is a "convicted felon." On August 11, Beck accused Van Jones, who he described as Obama's "green jobs czar," of being a "convicted felon ... who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating." In fact, as Eva Paterson, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has explained, "Van [Jones] has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime."

Fox News hosts falsely claimed Holdren called for forced abortion, forced sterilization. Fox News hosts including Beck, Hannity, and Jim Pinkerton have attacked Obama science and technology adviser John Holdren, claiming that he supports forced abortion or forced sterilization as a method of population control. Holdren was also on Beck's and Bolling's target lists and Hannity's "top 10" czars list. Responding to Beck's claim that Holdren "proposed forced abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population," the website PolitiFact.com concluded that "the text of the book clearly does not support that. We think a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions." PolitiFact gave Beck's claim "pants on fire" status. Indeed, Holdren and his co-authors advocated for noncoercive means of population control.

Hannity repeatedly smeared Koh, claiming Koh "advocates the use Sharia law in America." Hannity has also claimed that Harold Koh, the State Department's legal adviser, "advocates the use of Sharia law in America" and that Koh has said "Sharia law can be applied in American courts." The claim has been denied by Koh himself during Senate testimony, Koh's spokesman, and the organizer of the event at which Koh supposedly made the remarks about Sharia law. In addition, University of California-Davis law professor Anupam Chander wrote in an April 2 blog post that "[i]n the 71 articles penned by Harold Koh that appear in the Westlaw law review database, there is but one article that mentions Sharia," and in that article, Koh "denounces the government of Iran for 'impos[ing] a strict form of Sharia law that denies basic rights to women and minorities.' " Koh was also on Hannity's "top 10" list czars list.

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