Rick Santorum Smeared: An 'Oldie But Goodie'?

If someone associated your last name with fecal matter, you probably wouldn't think it should be characterized as "an oldie but a goodie." That's just what CNN anchor Don Lemon said on Saturday night after Sen. Rick Santorum talked to the newspaper Roll Call about his "Google problem." Vile gay sex columnist Dan Savage -- a man CNN has presented as an "anti-bullying" hero -- has insured that anyone who Google searches for "Santorum" gets his name defined by fecal matter.

“It’s one guy. You know who it is. The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It’s unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak,” Santorum told Roll Call. 

CNN's Don Lemon was speaking to Maureen O'Connor of the gossipy left-wing site Gawker (the same person who recently exposed the looking-for-adultery problem of GOP Rep. Christopher Lee of New York):

LEMON: OK. Let's talk about this Rick Santorum, Republican senator. He has a real issue with Google. Can you explain to us. It's kind of an oldie but a goodie. But there's something new is happening.

O'CONNOR: Yes. Well, for the first time, Rick Santorum addressed the fact that he's got a major Google problem. He has now thrown his hat in the ring and he wants to be a presidential nominee with the Republican Party for 2012 and he finally acknowledged that one of the biggest thing that everybody laughs about is that his name has become a sexual neologism. It dates back to 2003 when Santorum made a reference to gay sex and compared it to pedophilia and bestiality.

For the record, Santorum talked to a liberal Democrat AP reporter about the Lawrence vs. Texas Supreme Court decision on sodomy, and how it could be used to define the right to privacy very broadly. O'Connor continued:

After that, gay sex columnist Dan Savage started a campaign to rename the word santorum and to make it refer to the filthiest sexual neologism possible. They had a contest and now when you Google the word santorum, the first two hits you get are about that sexual neologism, not Rick Santorum. So he finally acknowledge it. He said it was a about vulgarity. This man has some serious issues if he's going to attack him. And the question is whether you can get actually get over something like that.

You know, it's one thing to try to bury a negative article about you. But it's something different to try to bury your name when you're getting Googled.

LEMON: Yes.

O'CONNOR: It's interesting. It's interesting because the way he's positioning it now, we've seen how, for instance, Sarah Palin, what she'll do is she'll say her critics are unfairly attacking her and that they're being unfair in the way that they malign her. He's taking a bit of a similar tactic saying this is a vulgarity attack. This is an unfair attack from a really vengeant part of the media. So that is sort of an interesting take on it -

LEMON: But we'll have to see how it plays out. Because it's hard to get stuff off of Google. And people pay lots of money to have it rise to the top. So Google, I don't know will be open to it. Thank you so much, Maureen. We appreciate it. Gawker.com, whenever we need an interesting read, that's where we go around here. We appreciate it.

Wikipedia puts the controversy this way:

Santorum is a sexual neologism for a "frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex," and was proposed by readers of American humorist and sex-advice columnist Dan Savage in 2003 to "memorialize" then-Republican U.S. Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania due to the controversy over his statements on homosexuality. Savage asked his readers to submit new definitions for the term.[1] The word became a successful Google bomb when Savage created a website for it, which unseated the Senator's official website as the top search result for his surname on the Google web search engine. On February 21, 2011, Stephen Colbert sarcastically proposed that the definition be changed, to induce more Googling and reinforce the definition.

Colbert the fake conservative urged his audience to keep the ugliness going (in fake protest):  "Click on those links! Over and over again! Make sure they know you're angry! This has gotta work, folks, because I am a huge fan of Santorum -- the senator! The senator!"

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis