Topic: Accuracy in Media
Bethany Stotts writes in an Aug. 1 Accuracy in Media article:
Pastor John Hagee, the head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) gave a fiery critique of the media at CUFI’s third annual Summit last week. “For several months we’ve found ourselves in the middle of a vicious national media firestorm,” said Hagee, who has been condemned for calling Hurricane Katrina God’s wrath on homosexuals and for calling the Catholic Church “the great whore.”
Hagee criticized the media for twisting his words and for not being willing to accept the “Bible view.” “The problem is that in the marketplace of ideas, a.k.a the media, they do not understand the Bible view. Many of the attacks on us stem from this unfortunate fact,” he said. “For the moment I am happy to report to you that the storm has passed, but I do emphasize ‘for the moment.’”
Stotts ignores that Hagee's new apparent defense of his inflammatory remarks -- and more specifically, his claim that his critics "do not understand the Bible view" -- seems to contradict his previous retraction of them. Hagee retracted his Katrina remarks by saying, "[U]ltimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy." And in a letter to the Catholic League, Hagee wrote:
I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful. After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.
AIM also has video of selected remarks by Hagee and Lieberman. In it, Hagee also says:
For several months, we found ourselves in the middle of a vicious national media firestorm. They say the first casulty of war is truth. What is true in a shooting war is also true in a media war.
It is simply surreal to experience turning on the television and her angry talking heads condemn you for saying things you never said. ... It is deeply troubling to pick up a newspaper and read sweeping condemnations of things you did in fact say but which are not new or controversial to those who believe in an all-powerful God who is sovereign and intervenes in human history.
Mark Twain said, and I quote, "The man who does not read a newspaper is uninformed, and the man who does read a newspaper is misinformed." That ought to be in the Bible somewhere.
Is Hagee now un-retracting his retractions and standing by his attacks on Catholics and gays once again? It appears so. Why didn't Stotts notice that?
Perhaps because she was too busy trying to decouple Hagee from McCain, even though prominent McCain supporter Joe Lieberman was a featured speaker at Hagee's CUFI event. Stotts complained that Lieberman's CUFI remarks were reported "as those of a close McCain confidant, even though the speech was advertised as independent from the McCain campaign." Would Stotts let Obama get away with Barack Obama, for instance, claiming that a close adviser who, say, spoke at an event that also featured Rev. Jeremiah Wright was acting "independent" from him? We suspect not.
Stotts further complained that "Many columns deliberately connect Pastor Hagee to the McCain campaign" without noting that McCain's campaign specifically sought Hagee's endorsement.