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Thursday, August 14, 2008
AIM Strikes Back
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Bethany Stotts takes us to task in an Aug. 12 Accuracy in Media column for noting that in an earlier item she wrote, she seemed to be ignoring that John Hagee appeared to be retracting his apologies for his hateful remarks about Catholics and blaming Hurricane Katrina on God's desire to smite gays. She writes:

"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,” Krepel writes.

The author then goes on to quote Pastor Hagee’s apology about his comments connecting Hurricane Katrina with God’s wrath on homosexuals.

Krepel fabricates a sense of contradiction, underplaying Hagee’s consistent stance on his belief in God’s sovereignty.


Pastor Hagee said at the 2008 CUFI summit that “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.”

In both instances, Pastor Hagee was consistent in his assertions about God’s sovereignty and control over human events.

The question is not whether Hagee was consistent in invoking "God’s sovereignty and control over human events"; it's whether his insistence that his critics "do not understand the Bible view" means that Hagee still believes the claim he had to publicly retract because of those critics -- that God sent Katrina to smite gays.

As for Hagee's statements about Catholics, Stotts notes "If Pastor Hagee were intent on 'attacking' Catholics, it wouldn’t make much sense to invite them to his Summit. During the banquet Pastor Hagee recognized Bill Donohue and two other Catholic leaders as his honored guests." Stotts added an excerpt from Hagee's Christians United for Israel speech in which he proclaimed his "greater understanding" of Catholics, adding, "Perhaps Krepel didn’t actually listen to Pastor Hagee’s speech?"

Well, we never claimed to be going by anything beyond AIM's own video of excerpted remarks by Hagee and others from the CUFI event. But we'll concede the point that Hagee genuinely appears to want a rapprochement with Catholics.

Stotts wasn't done with us, however: 

Krepel’s column is most dishonest in that not only does he focus on unrelated—and unfounded—topics, but criticizes this correspondent for getting distracted by the very purpose of my original article. “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,” writes Krepel. Mr. Krepel thereby shows that he either failed to grasp the original message of the article or intends to mislead his audience about AIM’s reporting. 

He writes,

“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.”

Regardless of the arrogance communicated by his claim to know how a person he has never met would act in a hypothetical situation, Krepel’s argument is logically inconsistent.

We can agree to disagree about to what extent Hagee is McCain's Rev. Wright. But it's not at all arrogant to forward the claim that Stotts has a interest in minimizing the McCain-Lieberman-Hagee triumverate to benefit McCain -- indeed, that seemed to be the whole point of her original article. And certainly these sorts of double standards, real or hypothetical, exist on both sides of the political spectrum -- Stotts might want to have a chat with her AIM seniors on the subject of political scandals reported in supermarket tabloids. And besides, as Peggy Noonan might say, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Stotts concludes by claiming that we "focus more on fitting Accuracy in Media’s reporting to a preconceived ideological model rather than the dissemination of truthful and accurate information." But by immediately labeling us as a "left-wing blog," she does the exact same thing, never mind that we don't endorse candidates or advocate for political viewpoints, left-wing or otherwise.

Finally, nowhere does Stotts link in her column to the article of ours that she's criticizing. What's up with that? 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT

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