Why No Coverage of This Odd Obama Remark about Religion?
As the media were blanketing airwaves and newspapers with nonstop coverage of old controversial religion-related remarks by Rick Santorum, something happened that compelled the media to also raise questions about a far more controversial remark that President Obama had made regarding religion.
Did you miss the widespread news coverage these past days in which that really odd comment that Obama made about religion came back to embarrass him and embroil him in great controversy?
Yes, you missed it -- such coverage never occurred. It should have -- and the fact that it didn't tells yet another distressing story about the double-standard of media bias.
That Rick Santorum once told a Catholic college audience that Satan was targeting America, and that he has also said that what John F. Kennedy said about the separation of church and state made him feel like throwing up is -- no question about it -- controversial and something about which he should be questioned and about which it is perfectly legitimate for the news media to ask both supporters and opponents.
The media advanced this story with great zeal. And the consequence of their sharp focus was that many Americans saw Rick Santorum as sort of weird.
To those who maintain that media focus on Santorum's Satan and throwing-up over JFK remarks was a bit excessive, expect this rebuttal: well, the media just loves controversy, so if you say something that is controversial, expect it to be a major news story.
Half-true. Clearly the media is for stirring up as much controversy as it can when it could hurt a conservative. But any controversy that has the potential to hurt a liberal, especially Barack Obama, has nowhere near that kind of appeal for them.
Consider this latest compelling evidence of double-standard bias:
At the very time that the media was so forcefully focusing on religion-related remarks made by Santorum, news broke that a court in Iran had just ordered a 34-year-old married father of two to be put to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. And supposedly, not a single journalist in the mainstream media connected the dots between that action and these incredibly foolish and manifestly false words that Barack Obama had said about Islam:
Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance.
Obama said this in his June 2009 Cairo speech that the media praised to the high heavens -- literally. Remember how Newsweek editor Evan Thomas gushed: "Obama's standing above the country, above-above the world, he's sort of God...he's the teacher"?
How can it be that it did not occur to a single one of the best and brightest of America's major news media journalists that it might be interesting to ask Barack Obama if, in light of an Iranian court's ordering a death sentence for the crime of converting to Christianity, he still stands by his assertion that Islam shows us "the possibilities of religious tolerance"?
While gleefully pouring controversy over Santorum, as they would with any conservative, they covered for Obama by not asking him obvious questions that would have stirred up controversy that would still be raging. Such as:
Which specific words and deeds did Obama have in mind that made him conclude that Islam was demonstrating for us "the possibilities of religious tolerance"?
Does this ordered execution for conversion from Islam cause Obama to reconsider his view that Islam equals religious tolerance?
A media that did not see itself as playing a supporting role in Obama's re-election campaign would have a field day contrasting this stark fact of barbaric intolerance with Obama's mind-bogglingly foolish false praise.
They would be reminding the American people that since his arrest for his conversion to Christianity two years ago, Youcef Nadarkhani's release has been demanded by human rights groups around the world; by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and by the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Mexico, and in a bipartisan congressional resolution that has 89 co-sponsors.
They would be reminding us that the Obama White House issued a statement condemning "in the strongest terms" that death sentence that has been imposed "for the sole reason of his refusal to recant his Christian faith" -- and they would be contrasting this with his "controversial" assessment of Islam's record in the area of religious tolerance.
They would be demanding that every leading Democrat -- Biden, Reid, Pelosi, every Democratic member of Congress, every Democratic candidate for office -- declare his or her agreement or disagreement with Obama's viewing Islam as some model of religious tolerance.
They might even, just to keep things going, ask Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan where they stand on Obama's "controversial" view.
Yeah, of course the media will do this only in my dreams. It would smack too much of how they treat conservatives. I get that. Blind followers never question.
The media do not put such tough, embarrassing questions to Obama because they see themselves as his allies and their role as his protectors.
Fred J. Eckert, author of the new book That's a Crock, Barack, is a former conservative Republican congressman from New York and twice served as a U.S. ambassador (to the U.N. and to Fiji) under President Reagan, who called him "a good friend and valuable advisor." He's retired and lives with his wife in Raleigh, NC.