Denver’s Archbishop Chaput: We did not agree to FCC probe of Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Dobbs.
Are we verging on the scandalous?
The American Spectator has learned that Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has specifically denied that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to an attack on talk radio and Fox News personalities. Contrary to an FCC filing and media package released by the interfaith group So We Might See, a “Media Justice” project run by the United Church of Christ and funded in part by left-wing billionaire George Soros. The USCCB Communications office also says specifically to a complaining Catholic “that, although USCCB is one of the groups constituting So We Might See, USCCB did not join the petition of which you complain.”
To another angry Catholic the USCCB said: “Please note also that, although USCCB is one of the groups constituting So We Might See, USCCB did not join the petition of which you complain.”
Get that? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is denying that it signed onto a formal petition to the FCC naming Rush Limbaugh by name as a purveyor of hate speech. The debate is perhaps best represented by one concerned Catholic’s question to this column: “Who is correct? I don’t see any official statement from the USCCB denying or confirming.”
In point of fact, this response to that question from the USCCB to a Catholic Spectator reader is what seems to come closest to answering the question:
Please note also that, although USCCB is one of the groups constituting So We Might See, USCCB did not join the petition of which you complain. USCCB shares So We Might See’s general commitments to improving access to broadband among the under-served; to reducing violence in all media; and to reducing the excess of advertising in children’s programming. But USCCB does not join in every action of the group, as in the case of this petition.
Responding to an inquiry from a member of his diocese, the Archbishop says instead that “the USCCB feels that its involvement has been misrepresented” by So We Might See. Separately, the USCCB says its is interested in other issues like Broadband.
Can you say “scandalous”?
The USCCB was portrayed by So We Might See, led by United Church of Christ Office of Communications, Inc. Executive Director the Reverend J. Bennett Guess, as supporting an FCC investigation into remarks made by “several TV and radio commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Lou Dobbs.” The alleged remarks, on the immigration issue, were labeled as “hate speech” by the group.
In fact, what the USCCB had agreed to, says Archbishop Chaput, was specifically outlined in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on July 29, 2009, in reference to a “Petition for Inquiry into Hate Speech in Media.” The letter, obtained by the Spectator and written at the request of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, cited no one in talk radio or on Fox News, nor did it mention either talk radio or Fox News in general. Nor did it ever say the USCCB was signing on to the So We Might See Petition, the impression that was given by the e-mail from the United Church of Christ to its own members. Instead, the USCCB said it supported “a broad public forum in which to raise and debate (hate speech and other issues) in a respectful manner.”
So We Might See, it was revealed in this space last week, was launched with a $40,000 grant from the Media Democracy Fund, which in turn receives funding from the Open Society Institute, an organization associated with left-wing billionaire George Soros. The group’s remaining funds have been supplied by the liberal Ford Foundation and the Otto Haas Trust. According to the Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media, the UCC’s Reverend Guess is listed as the sole “key personnel” involved with the group, although the website for So We Might See lists two others, including longtime media activist Cheryl Leanza. Leanza is listed by the UCC as working with Guest in the UCC Office of Communications.
As revealed in this space last week, the group had a private lunch with FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps on September 30th of this year, apparently to discuss the petition and the issue of hate speech on talk radio and Fox News.
The Archbishop’s response, accompanied by a copy of the USCCB’s July letter to the FCC, is striking in terms of the difference between the actual position of the USCCB and as it was presented by Guess.
• Reverend J. Bennett Guess: “Together, we can express our concern about the frequency and tone of anti-immigrant remarks made by several TV and radio commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Lou Dobbs.”
• Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: “The USCCB is not specifically attacking any public journalist or commentator.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?