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On the February 9 edition of CNBC's Kudlow & Company, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Peter Beinart confronted Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights president William Donohue over his 2004 statement that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular." Donohue defended the statement.
As Media Matters for America has noted, various news outlets have reported Donohue's criticism of John Edwards' decision to retain two bloggers hired by his presidential campaign. Donohue has characterized the bloggers as "anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots." In a February 8 press release, Donohue asserted that Edwards' "goal is to loot the pockets of the Soros/Hollywood gang, and they -- like him -- aren't offended by anti-Catholicism. Indeed, they thrive on it."
From the February 9 edition of CNBC's Kudlow & Company, which also featured host Larry Kudlow, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, radio host Bill Press, and Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway:
BEINART: It's absurd. It's absurd we're talking about this issue given the magnitude of the problems facing the country. What those women said was absolutely disgusting.
UNIDENTIFIED GUEST: Agree.
BEINART: I would never defend it in a million years. But I think the question -- there is --
KUDLOW: Then why didn't he fire them and keep them fired, Peter?
BEINART: It seems to me there is --
KUDLOW: Keep them fired.
BEINART: There is --
KUDLOW: I mean, you know, this reflects on Mr. Edwards' judgment.
BEINART: Let me say. If you were to go through -- if I could just -- if I could finish --
KUDLOW: This reflects on his character, Peter.
BEINART: If you wouldn't mind --
KUDLOW: Why didn't he keep them fired? That's my question.
BEINART: If you wouldn't mind letting me finish, Mr. Donohue. You have made anti-Jewish, anti-gay comments --
DONOHUE: I didn't say a word. What are you talking about?
BEINART: Bill Donohue has made anti-Jewish, anti-gay comments --
DONOHUE: No, I haven't.
BEINART: -- which are as bad as what these women -- you said that the secular Jewish Jews in Hollywood hate Christianity. That's a horrible, bigoted --
DONOHUE: Wait a minute. Wait, wait.
BEINART: -- statement, so it seems to me the question becomes --
DONOHUE: Peter. Peter --
BEINART: -- what is our standard here?
DONOHUE: Peter, the Jewish Forward said in 2004 that Jews run Hollywood. Are they anti-Semitic?
BEINART: You said they hate Christianity, Mr. Donohue.
DONOHUE: Oh, we like the movies that are coming out of Hollywood. They're very nice to Catholics.
BEINART: No, no. Did you say that or not?
DONOHUE: They're very nice to Catholics.
BEINART: You said that secular Jews in Hollywood hate Christianity.
DONOHUE: What world do you live in? What world do you live in? Have you seen what they -- what movies they make about Catholics?
BEINART: Yeah. Do you defend that statement?
DONOHUE: I defend the fact -- there's two parts to the statement. One part is, right out of the Jewish Forward: Jews run Hollywood. If you think it's the Chinese, make your case. And do they make nice movies about Catholics, or do they make lousy movies?
BEINART: You said they hate Christians.
DONOHUE: What kind of a -- well, oh, I'm telling you --
BEINART: You say -- you made a blanket statement about secular Jews in Hollywood that hate Christians.
DONOHUE: No, I'm talking about -- no, I'm talking about the movies that come out of Hollywood, and the predominant ones -- you got [director Martin] Scorsese. He's not Jewish. It's the people in Hollywood. There's a mindset about this, and I think you should talk to The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, which have said that the Hollywood studios are dominated by Jews. I tried to even qualify it more than that.
BEINART: You're bobbing and weaving more than Edwards.
DONOHUE: I'm not going to put up with it. I'm not the issue here, Peter.
KUDLOW: I want to -- I want to get Frank --
DONOHUE: You want to take me on on this, I'll take you on any day of the week.
KUDLOW: Hang on a second, Bill. I want to get Frank --
PRESS: Hey Larry, this proves why this issue is not going to win.
KUDLOW: No, Bill Press, please. Let me bring in Frank Luntz, who's been very patient and extremely well-mannered.