Editor's Note: In the wake of the CNSNews.com interview with potential presidential hopeful Rick Santorum and his criticism of President Obama’s support for abortion rights, numerous major news outlets including Politico, National Journal, the Wall Street Journal, and the Daily Beast have accused Santorum of playing the “race card” while discussing human life and personhood protected by the Constitution.
Santorum said this: "The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer: Is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that human life is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”
What follows is NewsBusters publisher/Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell's reaction to the media attacks on the former Pennsylvania senator.
This has nothing to do with a supposed "race card." This isn’t even just about Rick Santorum. The media whirlwind whipped up on these accusations are nothing more than the continuation of an ugly and dishonest attempt to distort, delegitimize and damn conservative principles and conservative leaders.
Anyone who actually watched this interview can see that Santorum paralleled what many pro-life leaders have compared in the past. Just ask Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Day Gardner, Rev. Childress or any number of other black leaders who have also called abortion the civil rights issue of our day.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, during a discussion of conservative talker Glenn Beck’s "Restoring Honor" rally, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson dismissed Dr. Alveda King – niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former Georgia state representative – as a "figurehead or puppet" of Beck because of her scheduled participation in the rally.
And, even though she and her father took part in the Civil Rights Movement and even endured having her home bombed in the 1960s, Robinson went on to suggest that she really is not one of the "keepers of [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s] legacy" because she is supposedly "estranged from the rest of the King family."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, August 27, Countdown show on MSNBC:
On Sunday’s Good Morning America, during a report which focused on FNC host Glenn Beck’s "Restoring Honor" rally and the negative reaction from civil rights activists like the Reverend Al Sharpton, ABC correspondent Tahman Bradley declared that "the crowd was almost all white, giving critics an open door."
It was after recounting that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece – Dr. Alveda King – was a speaker at the rally, Bradley noted the racial makeup of Beck’s event:
TAHMAN BRADLEY: Dr. King's own niece, Alveda King, spoke.
DR. ALVEDA KING, NIECE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: We need to rebuild America.
BRADLEY: An obvious effort to try to show inclusion on this historic day, but the crowd was almost all white, giving critics an open door.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We're not giving them this day. This is our day, and we ain't giving it away.
And similar to reports on the rally that aired on GMA on Friday and Saturday, ABC used such labels as "controversial" and "conservative" to label Beck or his followers, but did not use ideological labels to refer to Sharpton, nor was the left-wing activist’s own controversial history mentioned. For example, in the opening teaser, substitute host Ron Claiborne asserted that the rally was "led by controversial conservatives Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin."
On Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, during an interview with Dr. Alveda King – a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. known for her pro-life activism – substitute host Ron Claiborne challenged her to defend her participation in conservative talker Glenn Beck’s "Restoring Honor" rally in two out of the three questions he posed to her. The ABC host asked if she was "comfortable aligning yourself" with Beck – considered "inflammatory and divisive" by "many people." After failing to get Dr. King to criticize the conservative talker, Claiborne seemed to appeal to her to "understand at least" why some agree with Democratic Congressman John Lewis’s assessment of the Beck rally as an "affront" to the Civil Rights Movement. Claiborne's second and third questions:
Many people call Glenn Beck's political views and style inflammatory and divisive. Are you comfortable, are you comfortable aligning yourself with someone who once called President Obama a racist?
Well, Congressman John Lewis, who, of course, stood beside your uncle 47 years ago and marched many times for civil rights, has said that Beck's rally is an affront to what the Civil Rights Movement stood for. When you hear that kind of talk, can you understand, at least, how some people could interpret it that way?
The interview with Dr. King came right after a report filed by correspondent Claire Shipman which, similarly to her report from Friday’s GMA, assigned such labels at "right-wing" and "controversial" to Beck, while the Reverend Al Sharpton’s own controversial history was not mentioned, nor was his liberal ideology.