On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly offered up numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations while discussing the Senate's consideration of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Chris Matthews allowed Sen. Trent Lott to suggest that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist did not make the decision to have the Senate consider the Marriage Protection Amendment during an election year, because Frist "[doesn't] control totally what the schedule might be." In fact, Frist publicly stated in mid-May that Senate debate on the proposed amendment would occur in early June, and then moved to have the Senate consider the motion on the first day it was in session in June. At the conclusion of the interview, Matthews told Lott, "I'm getting to like you too much."
Fox News host Brit Hume stated that "Democrats and those who support them" are divided over a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, but Hume overlooked the much deeper Republican split on the issue, as evidenced by a Senate vote related to the amendment. Hume introduced a report by Fox News correspondent Major Garrett by stating that a vote on the proposed amendment "is expected to break almost perfectly along party lines, the Republicans for it and Democrats against," but continued: "Nevertheless, the issue has divided some Democrats and those who support them."
On his radio program, Michael Savage read from a New York Times article about the arrest of 17 Canadian residents on charges that they were planning a terrorist attack, noting that one of the suspects is a "well-known and fiery figure ... in the Toronto area's South Asian community" and the imam of a mosque. Savage then declared: "Whenever you see the word 'South Asian,' substitute the word for 'terrorist,' or reference to 'terrorist.' " Savage then reclassified the word "imam," stating, "that's another code word for trouble-making bum who should have been thrown out of the country."
On his radio show, Neal Boortz stated that "[s]o many" of the victims of Hurricane Katrina "have turned out to be complete bums, just debris," and called "thousands" "deadbeat[s]."
On Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, American Values president and former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer asserted that "the American people" believe that a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage "is important." In fact, according to recent polling, when asked to prioritize the most pressing issues facing the country, most respondents have cited the war in Iraq, the economy, energy prices, terrorism, and immigration, but very few listed same-sex marriage.
On Fox News' Special Report, chief White House correspondent Bret Baier falsely reported that "President Bush won all 11 states" that passed bans on same-sex marriage in the 2004 election. On the same program, Washington Post staff writer Jeffrey H. Birnbaum repeated the inaccurate claim when he stated that "all those states passed those referenda" and "all of them voted for President Bush for re-election." In fact, Sen. John Kerry won two of the states that passed referendums banning gay marriage in 2004, Michigan and Oregon.
On NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert, during an interview with Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE), asked Biden if same-sex marriage was one of the issues "that the Republicans used successfully to demonstrate that the Democrats were out of sync on cultural -- and values." But leading up to the 2004 election, polls found that the public was split equally on which party better represented their values, and more recent polling indicates that more people think Democrats better represent their values than do Republicans.
David Horowitz referred to Princeton University professor Cornel West as a "black airhead," adding that he "is blessed with these unearned and undeserved perks solely because he's black." Horowitz further described West's work as "useless" and claimed that he "hasn't written as scholarly paper or book in twenty years (if ever)."
On CNN's Paula Zahn Now, correspondent Deborah Feyerick outlined Parents & Friends of Ex-gays & Gays (PFOX) president Richard Cohen's efforts to promote a conversion therapy that purportedly "cures" homosexuality. But while noting that Cohen is an "unlicensed therapist," that conversion therapy is deemed "dangerous," and that a person counseled by Cohen said he was driven "to the edge of suicide" by the counseling, Feyerick failed to mention that Cohen was "expelled from the American Counseling Association (ACA) for multiple ethical violations," as The Washington Post has reported.
On The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson said "Islam is essentially a Christian heresy" that "picked up snippets of the gospels," and other Biblical texts and is now taking "everything that Jesus said" and "transport[ing it] into this fictional Mahdi." Robertson also perpetuated Jewish stereotypes in a discussion about the need for Israeli soup kitchens, stating that "When you think of Jewish people, you think of successful businessmen" who are "very wise in finance and who are prosperous." Robertson later added that "[i]t shocks people" to find out "there's poverty in Israel," because "Jewish people" are "very thrifty" and "extraordinarily good business people."
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Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that President Bush "is against" a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and misleadingly stated that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "came out against" such an amendment. In fact, Bush called for a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, and White House press secretary Tony Snow reaffirmed that Bush "supports" a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage at a recent press gaggle. Furthermore, McCain recently suggested on Fox News Sunday that if the federal courts strike down the right of individual states to define marriage, he may support a federal constitutional amendment.
On May 17, Pat Robertson once again warned 700 Club viewers of "vicious hurricanes" and a possible tsunami after saying on May 8: "I go away at the end of each year to pray, and if I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms."
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Fox News' John Gibson responded to criticism of his remarks that advised his viewers to "[d]o your duty" and "[m]ake more babies." Gibson said: "My concern was simply that I didn't want America to become Europe, where the birth rate is so low the continent is fast being populated by immigrants, mainly from Muslim countries, whose birth rate is very high."
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