Denver Post columnist and local radio host Mike Rosen drew criticism this week when he questioned the citizenship status of President Obama. Media Matters looks back at his long record of extreme and hateful rhetoric.
Rosen Goes 'Birther,' Says He's Suspicious Of President Obama's Birth Certificate
Rosen: "I'm Not Certain Obama's Birth Certificate Is A Fraud, But I'm Suspicious." From his Denver Post column on May 31:
Coffman separated himself from "birther" activists who express certainty that Obama wasn't born in the U.S. On that matter, Coffman said, "I don't know." Neither do I. I'm not certain Obama's birth certificate is a fraud, but I'm suspicious.
What Coffman did say was that Barack Obama is not an American "in his heart." With that I also agree, emphatically. I can't read Obama's heart but I can appraise his words, his history, and his actions as president. He's cut from the same cloth as leftist academic ideologues, blame-America-firsters and would-be revolutionaries. Their vision of America is a wistful, utopian notion of a socialist paradise, a country we have never been. They're hyper-critical of our actual history, and deeply resent so many of our heroes, institutions, values and the lifestyles of "bourgeois" Americans who stand in the way of their utopian fantasy. [Denver Post, 5/31/12, emphasis added]
Columbia Journalism Review: Denver Post's Credibility 'Took A Hit' With Decision To Publish Rosen's Birther Column. From the Columbia Journalism Review:
For a sense of what not to do, meanwhile, check out the website of The Denver Post. The Post's coverage area has recently seen what might be called a "birther lite" controversy, sparked when incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman said this to supporters: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American." [...]
[The Denver Post's] credibility took a further hit thanks to the paper's decision to publish on Thursday a column by Mike Rosen, an AM radio host at Denver's KOA, under the headline "Mike Coffman was right about Obama in the first place." Much of the column is devoted to agreeing with Coffman's statement that Obama is not an American "in his heart," and to pillorying the president with a barrage of culture-war epithets: "leftist academic ideologues, blame-America-firsters and would-be revolutionaries," etc., etc. To my eye, it's poor writing and poor political argument, but if the Post wants to make sure the Fox & Friends niche is represented in its opinion pages, that's the paper's choice. [Columbia Journalism Review, 6/1/12]
Rosen's Islamophobic Rhetoric
Rosen: Build Park 51, Then 'Hijack' A Plane To "Blow It To Smithereens." From an October 2010 debate between Rosen and Colorado AM 760 radio host David Sirota about the proposed construction of an Islamic community center in New York City:
SIROTA: We are supposed to have a country that has religious freedom. My ancestors came here because of religious freedom. A lot of people came here because of religious freedom and I think saying that the acts of --
MODERATOR: 10 seconds.
SIROTA: -- 18 people on 9-11 represents 1.5 billion Muslims across the land and trying to use that to spur Islamaphobia is grotesque.
MODERATOR: Time. Mike, 30 seconds.
ROSEN: I think they should be allowed to build it followed by the hijacking of an Iranian plane right into that building and blow it to smithereens. [Media Matters, 10/8/10]
- Rosen Later Described His Comments As "Satirical." [Media Matters, 10/14/10]
Rosen Wrote His Own Anti-Sharia Law Amendment. From his Denver Post column on January 19:
In November 2010, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative creating a statute that prohibits judges from basing their rulings on international law and barring judges from applying Islamic Sharia law in their rulings. Last week, a federal appellate court overruled Oklahomans, declaring the law unconstitutional on the grounds of religious discrimination in singling out Islam for special scrutiny.
While I agree with the spirit of the Oklahoma law, it appears its authors may have erred in how it was worded. The remedy for that is to rewrite the law in more general terms. I'd propose something like the following language (I'll leave it to the lawyers to perfect it):
"In the event of any conflict between the U.S. Constitution or the constitution of this state, on the one hand, and the laws or requirements of any religion or any foreign laws, on the other hand, in its rulings, the courts of this state shall rely solely on the federal and state constitutions and U.S. law." [...]
Sharia law prescribes and encourages wife beating, marital rape, honor killings, cruel and unusual punishment (including whipping, mutilation, death by stoning and crucifixion), slavery, death to infidels and apostates, and jihad -- to say nothing of the unjust disposition of parental rights and property to spurned wives. The excesses of Sharia law range from archaic to uncivilized to barbaric. These are vestiges of a backwards culture that are an affront to values and principles Americans hold sacred. It's bad enough that millions of people in other lands are subject to this form of tyranny and that some of them risk their lives in seeking to reform it, but even a sniff of it has no place within our borders. [Denver Post, 1/19/12, emphasis added]
Rosen's Habit Of Comparing Liberals To History's Villains
Rosen Compared Unseating Obama To The Struggle To "Defeat Nazi Germany." From his Denver Post column on February 16:
There are political outliers who assert there's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. They believe the nation is doomed if we follow either. I disagree. More likely we'll muddle through steering a more rightward or leftward course. I'd prefer rightward. But I see trillions of dollars worth of difference between Republican supply-siders who want to balance the budget within our tax capacity, and left-wing Keynesians, like Paul Krugman, who boast trillion-dollar deficits are an economic stimulus, and want to double up. There are stark differences when it comes to energy, labor unions, social policy, education and, most important, limited government. Democrats are inherent statists.
During World War II, Admiral Bull Halsey disliked Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Patton hated Montgomery, Churchill despised Stalin, and Charles de Gaulle resented anyone who wasn't French. Nonetheless, they all joined forces to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Here are the $64 questions in 2012: 1) Is the overriding imperative to come together behind the Republican nominee to defeat Obama? Or, 2) Would you stand on uncompromising principle and see Obama win rather than elect someone of uncertain philosophical conviction like Mitt Romney? [Denver Post, 2/16/12, emphasis added]
- Previously, Rosen Decried Nazi Analogies. From his Denver Post column on June 28, 1996:
I wish people would stop making these gratuitous comparisons of any and everything to Nazi Germany. That was very serious business. Silly comparisons dilute its horror. We are not remotely anything like Nazi Germany if Marge Schott rides the pines for a couple of years. And who the hell are we anyway? Marge's temporary exile was meted out by her business partners not by you, me or the government. She's not going to Auschwitz. You'll probably find her lounging around at the country club or vacationing in Hawaii.
Maybe we ought to build a facsimile of a Nazi concentration camp and invite people who throw the expression around too loosely to spend a couple of weeks there as an inmate. We'd stop short of gas chambers, firing squads or incineration ovens, it'd be quite enough to replicate the day-to-day conditions. Maybe Marge could be camp commandant. [Denver Post, 6/28/96, via Nexis, emphasis added]
Rosen Has A Habit Of Conflating "Obama" With "Osama." From the May 30, 2007 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: Let's start with a little Osama -- excuse me, that, that wasn't intentional [laughing] -- Barack Obama. That'll happen every now and then with a lot of people, with no intention to connect the two nor any desire to be cute. It just kind of happens. That was completely unintentional. [Colorado Media Matters, 5/30/07, via Archive.org]
- Rosen Frequently Explained His Obama/Osama Conflation As Unintentional. Rosen previously called Obama "Osama," including three instances on his February 16 show. During that broadcast Rosen similarly claimed that he had made "an honest misstatement," explaining that "because of the mindset we have where we're familiar with Osama bin Laden," it is "easy" to say "Osama" instead of "Obama." [Colorado Media Matters, 5/30/07, via Archive.org]
Rosen Compared 2007 VA Tech Gunman To Michael Moore. From the April 26, 2007 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: Here's another thought; this was from an emailer the other day: "The Virginia Tech shooter shared some of the hateful views that many on the left have." You'll remember Cho talked about how much he hated capitalism, and he hated the rich. All right, this is left-wing dogma. Michael Moore might have said the same thing. But keep this in mind, if Cho -- the, the killer, the man who slaughtered those people at Virginia Tech -- if he happened to be a far-right nut, if he had espoused right-wing viewpoints, do you suppose the liberal media would have gone on and on about AM -- how AM talk radio was to blame? Hate radio, yada, yada, yada -- the template? You bet they would have. [Colorado Media Matters, 4/26/07, via Archive.org]
Rosen's Rhetoric Concerning Some Of The Most Vulnerable Americans
Rosen: "Very Few Of The Homeless Are Without A Place To Live." From his Denver Post column on May 10:
That term "homeless" is a generalized catchall that confuses the problem. The broad definition of homeless includes anyone "without an independent, permanent address." That means your 22-year-old daughter, out of college and temporarily between jobs, may be regarded as homeless if she moves back in with mom and dad.
Very few of the homeless are without a place to live, and that includes almost all children in families. They may be accommodated in traditional housing, living with a friend or relative (this is called "doubling up" and counted as homeless), or in a hotel or motel. Others are in emergency shelters, medical or psychiatric hospitals, detox facilities, jails, domestic violence shelters, etc. Even the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless concedes that only about 300 to 600 people in Denver are actually "camping out."
Through programs like Denver's Road Home, the public and private sectors have spent millions to deal with homelessness. This is laudable. There are tragic personal stories linked to alcoholism, drug addiction and mental disorders. Homelessness can be mitigated, but not entirely corrected. There will always be a homeless core of societal dropouts who, in less politically correct times, were called bums, vagrants or hobos. That includes street-people-by-choice who want no part of the rules and disciplines of homeless shelters, more than a few of whom regularly prowl the 16th Street Mall.
And that's a problem that can be corrected with this camping ban. They may still be homeless, but they can be homeless somewhere else where they don't disturb the peace and drive businesses and their patrons away. [Denver Post, 5/10/12, emphasis added]