Conservative media are baselessly accusing the Obama administration of "apologizing" to China for Arizona's immigration law during a discussion on human rights. In fact, the State Department official who commented on the talks in no way said they "apologized"; he said the exchange was part of an "open discussion" about "how each of our societies are dealing" with discrimination issues.
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State Dept. official did not indicate the U.S. "apologized" for the Arizona law
Posner said "part of a mature relationship is" not just discussing "the other guy's problems." During a May 14 State Department briefing on the United States' human rights talks with China, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner was asked whether there were "any areas in which China sort of turned the tables and raised its own complaints or concerns about U.S. practices around the globe or at home?" He responded:
Sure. You know, I think, again, this goes back to Ambassador Huntsman's comment. Part of a mature relationship is, do you have an open discussion where you not only raise the other guy's problems but you raise your own and you have a discussion about it? We did plenty of that.
We had experts from the U.S. side, for example, yesterday talking about treatment of Muslim Americans in an immigration context. We had discussion of racial discrimination. We had a back-and-forth about how each of our societies are dealing with those sorts of questions. So throughout the day yesterday and again today, we had a discussion about the relationship of food safety, law, human rights today.
So I think the tone of the discussions was very much not we've got all the answers, we're telling the Chinese how to behave. It was framed in an international context, international standards.
We're both obligated, and let's talk about things that we're both dealing with and try to figure out, can we help each other? And where we have differences, how do we mitigate those differences?
Posner said they discussed AZ law because discrimination is "very much being debated in our own society." Later, Posner was asked: "Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And if so, did they bring it up? Or did you bring it up?" He responded:
We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session and as a troubling trend in our society, and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination. And these are issues very much being debated in our own society.
Conservative media twist Posner briefing to claim Obama administration "apologized" to China
Fox & Friends repeatedly claimed Posner said the U.S. "apologized" for AZ law. On the May 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said, "Michael Posner, who is an assistant secretary of state to Hillary Clinton actually -- to the Chinese, to the Chinese government -- has apologized for Arizona's racist law." After playing a clip of Posner's "early and often" comments, co-host Gretchen Carlson said Posner put the Arizona law "on the same par" with China's human rights violations, like "brutaliz[ing] the nation of Tibet" and jailing those who "cross into their country without the right papers." Later in the program, Doocy called the comments an "apology tour," and the following on-screen graphic appeared:
Beck: U.S. apologizing to "the people who will drown your children in a rice paddy." During an interview with Glenn Beck, Doocy said the U.S. was "apologizing to the Chinese for what's going on down in Arizona," and Beck responded: "Who are these people? I swear to you, I don't even -- I don't even understand them. Look, America has always been a family. We're a family. We have our squabbles. We have our disagreements. We're left, right, in the middle. But we're a family. This administration has taken our dirty laundry and made us into the villains worldwide. Do you notice he said 'we brought it up'? We brought it up early and often. To the Chinese -- the people who will drown your children in a rice paddy."
Morning Joe: "We're doing a little apologizing." On the May 18 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Willie Geist said: "We're doing a little apologizing. Here's what happened. The United States officials in those talks used the Arizona immigration law as an example of how horrible our country is, calling it American discrimination." After playing a clip of Posner, Geist said, "Many people, not just conservatives, but many Americans railing against this, going after the Obama administration for apologizing to China about human rights." Host Joe Scarborough -- who has previously called the Arizona law "offensive," "frightening," and "un-American" -- said, "Oh my God," and added, "The administration needs to get in front of this," because China has the "worst human rights record on the globe." MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan said it "plays right into the Republican theme, which is Obama apologizing."
Hannity: "State Department wasted no time apologizing yet again for the U.S." On the May 17 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said: "The U.S. and China met to discuss human rights, and the State Department wasted no time apologizing yet again for the U.S." Hannity added: "Leave it to team Obama to apologize once again for America. One of the world's greatest human right abusers."
Morrissey: "The Obama administration continued its Apology Tour into a second year, this time taking it by surrogate to Beijing." In a Hot Air post, Ed Morrissey accused the Obama administration of "continu[ing] its Apology Tour into a second year, this time taking it by surrogate to Beijing," and claimed: "It doesn't make the Obama administration sound 'mature' to call Arizona racist for tasking its law enforcement agencies with enforcing the law. It makes them look illiterate, closed-minded, and weak." [emphasis in original]
PowerLine: "Apologizing for Arizona" is "unfreakingbelievable, even for the Obama administration." In a PowerLine blog post, John Hinderaker wrote, "This is unfreakingbelievable, even for the Obama administration." Hinderaker reprinted part of an Associated Press article on Posner's conversation with China and asked: "Is it unfair to say that the Obama administration consists of a bunch of anti-American ignoramuses? If so, why?"
NewsBusters: "Obama Administration Apologizes to 'One-Child China' for Ariz. Illegal Immigration Law." On May 17, Jill Stanek wrote at NewsBusters: "Apparently China's reprehensible one-child policy -- with its forced abortion, forced sterilization, female feticide, and female infanticide -- comes nowhere close to AZ's human rights violations of attempting to enforce federal illegal immigration laws." Stanek claimed there was "yet another subliminal reason for a weak administration such as Obama's to attempt to appease China: China's increasingly lopsided male-to-female ratio only increases the odds its military will surpass ours in short order."
Fox Nation: "Obama Admin Apologizes to China for AZ Law." The Fox Nation linked to Hinderaker's PowerLine post under the title, "Obama Admin Apologizes to China for AZ Law." From the Fox Nation:
RedState: "[T]he Obama Administration is apologizing to China for Arizona's existence." RedState's Erick Erickson also linked to PowerLine under the title, "You Think China's Gulags Are Bad? Let Me Tell You About Arizona." Erickson claimed, "You cannot parody the Obama Administration," and accused the administration of "apologizing to China for Arizona's existence."
Malkin: "Who is Michael Posner, and why is he apologizing to China?" Michelle Malkin called Posner "the former head agitator at the transnationalist Human Rights First, who represents the textbook State Department mindset of pandering to the worst America-bashers without hesitation or shame" and claimed the State Department "isn't just stuck on stupid. It's stuck on American self-sabotage."
Hoft: "Obama Adminstration [sic] Now Apologizing to Communist China for Arizona Immigration Law." Jim Hoft wrote on Gateway Pundit: "A disgusting new low for Team O ... Obama Administration officials apologized early and often to the Communist Chinese regime for Arizona's ID check law during last week's talks. For the record...The communist regime they apologized to has slaughtered millions of its own citizens and has a record of harvesting body organs from political prisoners." Hoft also claimed that "Obama is now bowing to China over Arizona's ID law."