David Horowitz falsely accused Media Matters for America of “crass doctoring of conservative statements” in a response to a Media Matters item noting that several conservative media figures -- including Horowitz -- defended Mel Gibson after he made a series of anti-Semitic remarks. In fact, Media Matters reprinted verbatim Horowitz's defense of Gibson from his appearance on the August 1 edition of Hannity & Colmes.
In an August 4 entry on his FrontPageMag.com weblog, right-wing activist David Horowitz falsely accused Media Matters for America of “crass doctoring of conservative statements” in an August 2 Media Matters item noting that several conservative media figures -- including Horowitz -- defended director, actor, and producer Mel Gibson after he made a series of anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested on July 28 in Malibu, California, on charges of driving under the influence. In fact, as is evident from the transcript Horowitz provided in his response to our item, Media Matters reprinted verbatim Horowitz's defense of Gibson from his appearance on the August 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, during which Horowitz said: “I think that a lot of the people who are jumping all over Mel Gibson see him as some kind of a conservative or as a Christian. There's a lot of hatred of Christians in this country.”
In his response, Horowitz claimed that Media Matters had misrepresented his statement when we wrote that he “even suggested that the anger over Gibson's comments is rooted in a 'hatred of Christians.' ” Horowitz wrote in his response that he had been speaking specifically to co-host Sean Hannity about how “the anger at Gibson after he apologized for his anti-Semitic remarks reflected anti-Christian sentiment, which is entirely different” (emphasis Horowitz's) from the anger over Gibson's comments themselves. It is true that, during the discussion, Hannity said: “What seems to me, David Horowitz, is that in this day and age, when people really mess up and that they really take responsibility and they really, honestly, and truly apologize, we seem to be unforgiving in a lot of ways. Don't you agree, David Horowitz?” But in his response -- which Media Matters reproduced in its entirety in our item -- Horowitz did not limit his comments to anger expressed after Gibson's apology; he attributed “hatred of Christians” simply to “the people who are jumping all over Mel Gibson.” Indeed, Horowitz immediately continued, “And one of the reasons I defended the film was that Christians have a right to their gospel,” referring to his defense of Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ (Newmarket Films), which had been discussed earlier during Horowitz's Hannity & Colmes appearance.
From the August 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, featuring Horowitz, Hannity, co-host Alan Colmes and University of California-Irvine professor Mark LeVine:
COLMES: Troubled actor Mel Gibson has checked into an alcohol rehabilitation program just days after a drunken driving arrest in Malibu late Friday. The Passion of the Christ director hurled anti-Semitic slurs at arresting officers and said, quote, “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” unquote. Gibson has since admitted making the derogatory statements and has asked the Jewish community to forgive him. We now continue with David Horowitz and Mark LeVine. David, is alcohol truth serum?
HOROWITZ: Hardly. You know, I was one of those who defended The Passion of the Christ. And I would still defend it. It is a, you know, powerful religious film. It is not anti-Semitic. Jesus is addressed as “rabbi.” His disciples, of course, are Jews. Simon the Cyrenian, who carries the cross for him to Golgotha, is a Jew. And Jesus in the film says no one is responsible for his death; it was foreordained. By which he means in religious terms that we are all responsible, gentile, Jew, and Muslim alike. A man -- I am really against hanging a man for -- this is a man in deep trouble. Obviously, he's put himself in rehab. I think the judgment on Mel Gibson should be passed when he is recovered, and we'll see what he does.
HANNITY: David, he said there should be no excuse. He said -- David Horowitz. He has said there's no tolerance for anyone who makes any type of anti-Semitic remarks. He said, “I want to apologize to everyone in the Jewish community for my vitriolic and harmful words.” And what he said that night when he was driving intoxicated. He said, “I want to go a step further. I want to meet with members of the Jewish community. I want to have discussions.” It seems to me, you know, if somebody admits they have a problem and they were, you know, admitting to -- it was in that condition, it seems that people want to believe it because they already had an agenda about The Passion. Isn't that -- probably an obvious conclusion?
HOROWITZ: Exactly. People deserve compassion when they're in this kind of trouble. I think it would be very ungracious for people to deny it to him. As a Jew, I feel much more threatened by people like Jimmy Carter when Israel is facing genocidal enemies who have sworn to destroy it and kill the Jews, and Carter is out there, wagging his finger at the Israelis. And all these people who want a cease-fire, which will leave Hezbollah intact and in place, Hezbollah being a Nazi army in Lebanon whose rockets are aimed at Israel. So, that's how I feel.
HANNITY: Well, David, I want to -- earlier, earlier --
LeVINE: If I could just jump in there --
HANNITY: Hang on a second, please, Mark.
LeVINE: Sure, sure, absolutely, Sean.
HANNITY: Earlier, the issue of [Rep.] Patrick Kennedy [D-RI] was brought up. Patrick Kennedy didn't -- didn't admit what his fault was. And that was part of the problem. We weren't getting the truth out. What it seems to me, David Horowitz, is that in this day and age, when people really mess up, and if they really take responsibility and they really, honestly, and truly apologize, we seem to be unforgiving in a lot of ways. Don't you agree, David Horowitz?
HOROWITZ: Well, I think this is all about politics. I think that a lot of the people who are jumping all over Mel Gibson see him as some kind of a conservative or as a Christian. There's a lot of hatred of Christians in this country. And one of the reasons I defended the film was that Christians have a right to their gospel.
From Horowitz's August 4 FrontPageMag.com blog entry:
Note the Media Matters claim: “David Horowitz even suggested that the anger over Gibson's [anti-Semitic] comments is rooted in 'hatred of Christians'.” In fact, what I actually said was that the anger at Gibson after he apologized for his anti-Semitic remarks refelected anti-Christian sentiment, which is entirely different. Unfortunately, many people, including the otherwise careful Andrew Sullivan, are regularly snookered by Media Matters' crass doctoring of conservative statements.