Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First They Came for Rush and Lou Dobbs

The Catholic Bishops relearn the lesson of Pastor Niemöller and the totalitarian mindset. Will the UCC?

"….in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside." -- John F. Kennedy, America's First Catholic President, in his Inaugural Address

First they came for Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs.

And the Catholic bishops did not speak out.

Now they are coming for the Catholic bishops.

Who will speak out now?

Not, alas, the United Church of Christ.

Let's go back into recent history -- 2009 to be exact.

It was a story that involved the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a blatant, full-on attack on the right of free speech and a free press -- the First Amendment. As I wrote here, here, here, here, here, and here three years ago, the Catholic bishops had managed to get their denomination involved in the leadership of a group calling themselves So We Might See.

What was So We Might See? It was presented by one of its prime sponsors, the United Church of Christ (alas my own denomination, of which more in a bit) as a group of the lofty like-minded religious simply concerned with violence in the media. Specifically, seven major denominations were involved. They were listed by the group as the United Church of Christ, U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Islamic Society of North America, United Methodist Communications, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and "several other faith groups."

In fact, under the guise of stamping out "hate speech," this instantly emerged as an effort -- partially funded by a $40,000 grant from the George Soros funded Media Democracy Fund -- to intimidate conservatives in the media through the Federal Communications Commission, when not getting them off the air completely. It turned out then-FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, previously a longtime Senate Democratic staffer, had even traveled to New York to meet privately on September 30, 2009, with the members of So We Might See before delivering a speech to an event sponsored by the liberal leadership of the UCC. A mere 16 days later the UCC had a petition going, in the name of So We Might See and its seven denominational members, which was to be sent to the Federal Communications Commission. It was a petition that featured one name and one name only.

Guesses please? Anyone? Anyone?

Very good! Yes! It was Rush Limbaugh, of course.

So We Might See went about this task by presenting to the FCC -- mind you this was after a closed door meeting between the group and a left-leaning FCC Commissioner -- with a Petition for Inquiry into Hate Speech in the Media and Request to update report on The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes which you can find here. In which they preposterously accused Rush of being responsible for the beating of two Mexican men by four American teenagers. Why? Because he opposed illegal immigration in a broadcast.

Literature accompanying all of this went on to specifically call for getting Lou Dobbs off of television, (the "Drop Dobbs" campaign) as well as Glenn Beck, while targeting Bill O'Reilly and Michael Savage by name. It took little imagination to understand that there was an implied threat to other TV and radio conservatives like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Fox News as well.

There was a considerable blowback from outraged Rush listeners and fans of the others when the news of my investigation, replete with links to original sources, appeared here in The American Spectator. The blowback hit the sponsors -- the coalition of seven major religious denominations -- like a tornado. The effort as presented effectively collapsed.

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