Yesterday, Greg Sargent highlighted a New York Times piece in which Rep. Peter King revealed that he will not be having law enforcement officials testify on his hearings about the supposed “non-cooperation” of the Muslim community with authorities.
On Fox News this morning, though, King apparently changed his mind:
KING: I will have them on. That is, again, a totally phony charge. What I said in the New York Times is it’s hard to get active law enforcement professionals to come forward and say publicly what they say privately. But I will have law enforcement people testify.
What does appear to be difficult is finding officials willing to testify to the false argument that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement. If all of King’s sources get cold feet when asked to publicly defend their claims, maybe King should re-evaluate their credibility.
The Family Research Council has a pretty bad track record on sticking to the facts, especially when it comes to abortion in health care, so it should come as no surprise that their testimony on H.R.3, the misleadingly named “No-Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” contains glaring errors.
President Obama has urged Americans to find common ground on the controversial issue of abortion. Americans have come together, 67 percent of us, in what may be the only truly bi-partisan agreement possible: That whatever our differences on abortion, we can agree that the federal government should not subsidize it. This is the common ground on abortion in America. H.R. 3 would make that common ground statutory law.
This is preposterous for a number of reasons. First, by definition Common Ground consists of policies that address the root causes of abortion and enjoy broad support from pro-choice and pro-life people alike. Since H.R.3 opens up broad new restrictions on abortion access, including restricting abortion coverage in private plans, it does not have pro-choice support and therefore is not common ground.
Finally, it’s more than a bit rich that FRC is now portraying itself as a champion of common ground given its track record of attacking key planks of the common ground platform, such as improved access to contraception, comprehensive sex education and more governmental support for pregnant women and families.
In another poll*, voters were asked, “Should the federal government provide funding for birth control for low-income women” and 66% of evangelicals agreed. (42 percent strongly agreed compared to 30 percent who disagreed, 21 percent strongly disagreed.)
This is real common ground — commonsense policies supported by supermajorities of the American people that address the root causes of abortion and promote stronger and healthier families. And if FRC were as interested in helping the families they claim to represent as they are in stoking the flames of the culture wars, they would get behind it.
A little-noticed press release on Friday from the House Committee on Homeland Security (chaired by Rep. Peter King) included a big update to King’s upcoming hearings on “radicalization” in the Muslim-American community.
In the “Long-term Outlook” section, the release notes an important change in the description of the hearings:
In March, the Committee will convene the first in a series of hearings examining al Qaeda’s coordinated radicalization and recruitment of people within the American Muslim community.
On Friday afternoon the White House announced the new members of the White House Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Advisory Council. Much like the initialcouncil convened two years ago, the new group of advisors draws on prominent leaders of religious denominations, nonprofit organizations and congregations who have remarkable records of leadership and service:
Susan K. Stern, Special Advisor on Government Affairs to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals
Andrea BazÃ¡n, President of Triangle Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to building a prosperous and culturally rich region across North Carolina
Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Policy Link, a nonprofit organization that strives to advance economic and social equity
Brian Gallagher, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Way Worldwide
Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Lynn Hybels, co-founder and Advocate for Global Engagement at Willow Creek Community Church
The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative and Masorti Rabbis
Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America
Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator (Global Leader) for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
Additional members will be announced in near future. Full biographies of the new Advisory Council members are available here.
Last week we tracked down Rep. King’s false claim that 80% of mosques are controlled by “radicals,” exposing it as having originated without evidence from a single, obscure scholar in a 1999 speech.
But our friends at Media Matters, doing what they do best, have released a comprehensive timeline of the appearance and evolution of this “zombie lie” over the last 10 years.
The report is both an impressive display of research and a telling insight into the “echo-chamber” of right-wing media. Having been introduced into the chamber, a falsehood like this finds its way to a broader audience of people inclined to believe and retell it, with each subsequent use only enhancing its perceived credibility.
This is particularly true of statements that speak to people’s deepest anxieties (like terrorism), confirming their existing biases and providing easy support for preferred political positions. Another prominent example is the infamous “death panel” myth that’s proven difficult to dispel since its humble appearance in a Sarah Palin tweet two years ago.
So it’s essential to firmly and consistently correct these statements whenever they appear. Big thanks to Media Matters for doing just that.