C-SPAN is a public service created by the American cable television industry: To provide C-SPAN's audience access to the live gavel-to-gavel proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and to other forums where public policy is discussed, debated and decided -- all without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view.
It's surprising, then, that C-SPAN has repeatedly simulcast the show of Iowa radio bigot Jan Mickelson, an apparent birther who is virulently anti-gay. In a speech at a conservative event last month that was broadcast by C-SPAN, Mickelson said that because President Obama "has left out 'equally endowed by our Creator" in his recitation of the Declaration "even after he's been told several times that he's an Arab" for doing so, his actions must be "deliberate" and are therefore "evil."
On Tuesday, C-SPAN dedicated two and a half hours of airtime to giving Mickelson's show, which he describes as "fairly right of center," a national audience.
It's unclear how a hateful voice like Mickelson's fits into the thoughtful, balanced and bipartisan tone that C-SPAN and its corporate funders say they are seeking to undertake. In a statement to Media Matters, C-SPAN declined to comment on Mickelson's rhetoric, but acknowledged that the network has aired Mickelson's show ten times as a part of their efforts in "simulcasting local radio stations... with the intent of giving national audiences a sense of local debate and discussion."
So for C-SPAN, broadcasting Mickelson's record of vitriol is justified since it is just part of the local flavor of Iowa. Below the fold are just a few of the incendiary remarks C-SPAN disregarded when deciding to provide a national platform to Mickelson's "local debate."
Mickelson: President Obama Is "Evil" For Leaving "Endowed By Our Creator" Out Of Declaration Of Independence. Mickelson spoke extensively at the Conservative Principles Conference in March, sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and broadcast by C-SPAN:
MICKELSON: Interesting that President Obama has left out "equally endowed by our Creator" several times now from the "rights" clause of the Declaration of Independence, even after he's been told several times that he's an Arab.
Therefore, this is NOT an accident. This is NOT an oversight. It's deliberate. It's purposeful. It's evil. [Mickelson's Speech to the Conservative Principles Conference, 3/26/11 via CSPAN.org]
Mickelson: "Two Guys Pretending To Be Sexual Mates Are Making A Mistake." Speaking at a fundraiser for the Iowa Family Policy Center in 2010, Mickelson reportedly made a series of disparaging comments about the homosexual community. According to The Iowa Independent:
Christians can't "tolerate" same-sex marriage because to do so would be to give up beliefs and accept the homosexual lifestyle as "healthy and normal," radio host Jan Mickelson said while introducing GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at a public event Wednesday. [...]
"Personally, I think two guys pretending to be sexual mates are making a mistake," he said. "More than that, they are violating the design of their bodies. More than that, they are sinning against their maker. More than that, they are likely to shorten their lives in this world and impair their destinies in the next." [Iowa Independent, 2/25/10]
Mickelson Suggests AIDS Is God's "Invention" To "Punish" The "Stupid Behavior" Of Homosexuality. From The Iowa Independent:
The gay rights movement has worked hard to convince society that AIDS does not discriminate, but that is a lie, conservative radio host Jan Mickelson said on his WHO-AM show Thursday.
Mickelson was responding to reports that a Republican candidate for the state legislature was rebuked by the state GOP chairman for statements on his Facebook page claiming AIDS was a punishment from God for homosexuality. Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn denounced the statements as "inappropriate" and said they "in no way represent the beliefs" of the party. Mickelson said Strawn is a victim of propaganda.
"For the chairman of the Republican Party to say, 'AIDS doesn't discriminate,' well of course it does," Mickelson said. "It discriminates against people who engage in stupid behavior." [...]
Mickelson said it all comes down to God's law, or natural law, which "also applies to sexual disorders."
"So, does God punish homosexuality? Does he punish sodomy? Well, no, he doesn't get off his throne and say, 'Hey, I'm gonna get that guy.' Well not directly," he said. "Most of God's laws, which another way of saying God's law would be natural law, that is, law that is consistent with the nature of the universe because it was built in such a way, most of God's laws are self enforcing. God doesn't have to do anything. So if you skydive without a parachute, does God punish people who do that? No, but one of his inventions does. Gravity. If you skydive without a parachute, you're going to die. Should you blame God for that?"
When a caller brought up that it's promiscuity that increases the risk for AIDS, and therefore Mickelson should support legalized same-sex marriage because it would lower promiscuity in the gay community, the host scoffed, saying promiscuity "defines the lifestyle."
"Homosexuality is intrinsically promiscuous, because it violates the design of our bodies," he said. "There is no safe way to do that."
The push for same-sex marriage has nothing to do with love or promoting monogamy, Mickelson said.
"The marriage license is not relevant to promiscuity amongst the gay population," he said. "It is designed to do one thing, and that is to get access to the back pockets of the taxpayers. This is about the Benjamins. Not about the institution." [Iowa Independent, 8/20/10]
- Clear Channel Issued On-Air Statement Criticizing "Factual Errors" In Mickelson Comments. From The Des Moines Register:
Clear Channel Communications today issued an on-air response to comments by commentator Jan Mickelson who said some education efforts about AIDS destigmatizes the "stupid behavior" of homosexuality.
The station noted Mickelson is entitled to his opinion but said his comments "confused strong opinion with medical fact and contained factual errors regarding HIV/AIDS, its spread and current efforts to inform the public about this disease." [Des Moines Register, 8/26/10]
Mickelson Has "Returned To" Obama Birth Certificate Theories "Several Times." Mickelson hosted birther Jerome Corsi to discuss President Obama's Obama's birth certificate. From The Iowa Independent:
"President Obama refuses to release his original birth certificate," Corsi said, adding: "Hawaii claims to have a birth certificate that says Obama was born in Hawaii. I was in Hawaii, I hired a private investigator who went to all the hospitals... who were operating when Obama was born. None of them claim to have any record of Obama's birth."
This is an urban legend that Mickelson has returned to several times. However, multiple groups, FactCheck.org and Snopes.com among them, investigated the claims that Obama could not be president because he was born in Kenya and had citizenship in other countries, determining that he did in fact have a valid birth certificate from Hawaii. FactCheck even found a birth announcement for baby Barack Obama in a 1961 Honolulu newspaper.
Corsi is also known for co-authoring "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," a book filled with error-laden attacks on the military service record of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry; and "Obama Nation,"a book written to oppose Obama's candidacy for president and described by FactCheck.org as "a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods."
The end of the afternoon program was a one man tour de force of Mickelson proclaiming the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was never legally ratified, and thus, children of foreign born parents are not citizens of this country even if they are born here. [Iowa Independent, 3/12/09]
Mickelson: LGBT Community Is A "Religious Cult." From The Iowa Independent:
After being publicly rebuked by his employers two weeks ago, WHO-AM radio host Jan Mickelson defended his controversial statements about HIV/AIDS, saying Tuesday that the backlash is all about politics.
"You're dealing with a religious cult and they're advancing their worldview," Mickelson said of the "homosexual lobby." "And they're using politics to do it." [Iowa Independent, 9/9/10]