ABC's World News Sunday reported Rev. Jerry Falwell's September 22 attack comparing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to "Lucifer" and quoted Tony Perkins attacking Democrats who discuss their faith. ABC did not, however, include Clinton's response to Falwell's comments, nor did the network note that for all of Perkins's talk of a "disconnect" between Democratic faith and policy, some religious groups have identified what they say are inconsistencies between Christian tenets and GOP policies as well.
Loading the player leg...
The September 24 broadcast of ABC's World News Sunday referenced Rev. Jerry Falwell's September 22 attack on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) comparing the senator to "Lucifer" and quoted Family Research Council president Tony Perkins again attacking Democrats who profess their faith, saying: "There is a disconnect between their talk and their walk. And people see that." ABC did not, however, include Clinton's response to Falwell's comments. Nor did ABC note that for all of Perkins's talk of a "disconnect" between Democratic faith and policy, some religious groups have identified what they say are inconsistencies between Christian tenets and GOP policies.
As the Associated Press reported on September 24, Falwell, at the September 22 "Value Voters Summit" conference, said: "I hope she's the candidate, because nothing will energize my (constituency) like Hillary Clinton. ... If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't." The AP also noted the response from Clinton's press secretary, Philippe Reines: "Working for someone who believes in the Golden Rule, we're not going to engage in such vitriolic discourse -- but it seems that a new low has been reached in demonizing political opponents."
ABC, however, quoted Falwell's smear and reported his explanation that the comments were "tongue-in-cheek" but gave no indication that Clinton's office has responded:
LIZ MARLANTES (ABC general assignment correspondent): Senator Hillary Clinton has long been a favorite Republican boogeyman. So it's no surprise that at a summit this weekend for religious conservatives, the Reverend Jerry Falwell offered up some red meat. "I hope she's the candidate," Falwell said, "because nothing will energize my constituency like Hillary Clinton." He added, "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't." Today, Falwell said the comments were tongue-in-cheek. But his larger point about the Republican Party's need to energize religious conservatives is hardly a joke. In 2004, strong turnout by Christian voters inflamed over gay marriage helped push George W. Bush over the top in key states. This year, there are signs some of that enthusiasm is waning.
ABC went on to quote Perkins attacking Democrats who "are talking openly about faith," such as Senate candidates Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (TN) and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr.:
MARLANTES: Senate candidates like Harold Ford in Tennessee and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania are talking openly about faith. And two new organizations, FaithfulDemocrats.com and Red Letter Christians, are reaching out to religious voters from the left.
BRIAN McLAREN (pastor, Red Letter Christians): If we don't pay more attention to poverty, we're never going to solve problems of national security.
MARLANTES: Christian conservative leaders say they welcome these efforts by Democrats. But they say the rhetoric doesn't always match reality when it comes to where the party stands on key social issues.
PERKINS: There is a disconnect between their talk and their walk. And people see that.
ABC gave no indication, however, that Republicans find themselves in a similar situation. As Media Matters for America noted, The Washington Post has reported that religious groups have protested Republican-led efforts to cut programs for the poor and to legalize controversial interrogation tactics used in the war on terror, which these groups have condemned as "torture."