Right-Wing Media Use Rick Perry Ad To Disparage Obama's Church Attendance

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Right-wing media are claiming that President Obama and his family went to church on Sunday because of an attack by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that Politico has called "one of the most audible dog whistles so far this cycle about President Obama." This follows a week of Fox News hyping the Perry ad's charge that Obama is waging a "war on religion."

After Fox Amplified Perry Ad Accusing Obama Of Waging "War On Religion" ...

Perry Promised To "End Obama's War On Religion" In Ad That Has Been Likened To "Dog Whistles." In an article headlined, "Rick Perry TV ad hits gays, President Obama 'war on religion,' " Politico reported:

Rick Perry's latest spot in his Iowa ad buy rotation is another faith-based appeal, but one that is openly critical of gay rights and that has one of the most audible dog whistles so far this cycle about President Obama.

In the spot, entitled "Strong," Perry says, "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again."

The hit on gay rights has become a staple of Perry's faith pitch, after getting a hard push yesterday, but the comment about Obama's "war on religion" will rather easily be read as trying underscore the perception among some voters of the president as "different," and a reminder of the false assertions that the Christian chief executive is really a Muslim. [Politico, 12/7/11]

Bill O'Reilly: Perry "Hail Mary" Was "A Smart Move." Bill O'Relly claimed that Perry was "turning to his Christianity" with the ad, calling the ad "emotional" and "a Hail Marry pass." O'Reilly concluded that running the ad was "a smart move." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/8/11, via Nexis]

Fox's Hemmer: "Some Would Say" Perry's Ad Is "Powerful." During an interview with Perry on America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer said: "You're on the air already with a, some would say, a powerful ad that goes toward what you consider liberal attacks on religion in America." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 12/8/11]

Tucker Carlson: The Obama Administration Hates "Traditional Christianity." During a panel discussion on Hannity about Perry's ad, Daily Caller editor and Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson said: "That ad's not right. There's not a war on -- they don't hate religion. They hate traditional Christianity." [Fox News, Hannity, 12/7/11]

Fox's Eric Bolling: Perry Ad "Really Hits Home." On The Five, co-host Eric Bolling said of Perry: "He's going after Obama's war on religion. It's provocative, so we're going to talk about it." Later in the segment, Bolling praised the ad again, calling it "very effective." He added: "This ad really hits home." [Fox News, The Five, 12/7/11, via Nexis]

Fox's Todd Starnes Used Perry Ad To Accuse Obama White House Of Routinely "Attacking The Christian Faith." Fox News' Todd Starnes claimed that in his ad, Perry "decided to address the big elephant in the pew as we head into 2012 -- the Obama administration's relationship with religion -- specifically Christianity." Starnes opined:

The evidence of his White House attacking the Christian faith, however, is plentiful. [FoxNews.com, 12/8/11]

... Right-Wing Media Credit Perry's "Dog Whistle" Ad For Obama Going To Church

Washington Examiner Headline: "After Perry Attack, Obama Displays Christian Faith." A Washington Examiner blog post tied Obama's public attendance at church to Perry's ad with a headline that read: "After Perry attack, Obama displays Christian faith." [Washington Examiner, 12/12/11]

Drudge Hyped Suggestion That Obama Attended Church Because Of Perry Ad. The Drudge Report hyped the Washington Examiner post:

[Drudge Report, 12/12/11]

Limbaugh Echoed Drudge: "What Does Obama Do" After Perry Attack? He "Goes To Church." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated: "So Rick Perry questions Obama's religion or whatever he did in the debates, and what does Obama do? Goes to church yesterday for the first time since Easter." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/12/11]

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