PolitiJim prayed about all night and this morning about whether to write this article. Unless you are blond or liberal you now know what I decided. I am going to attempt to write this with as little snark and sarcasm as possible for PolitiJim, but it is an important issue.
This particular article would not be necessary, if a certain prolife leader would have taken my invitation to cogently debate these issues – but every time I asked a specific question, he pulled a non-conservative tactic of accusing me of accusing him of not being Christian. Or something. His replies encompassed ANYTHING other than debating facts. So this particular piece is NOT to trash him, or to create more “Holy Wars,” but again to try and get down to OBJECTIVE truth. And I invite him to respond to each point and will even post his response on PolitiJim. (I’ll bet he won’t post this on LifeNews, however. Any takers? PolitiJim needs a new computer.)
We’ve already learned of Ann Coulter’s betrayal of the conservative movement in trying to make Mitt Romney and RomneyCare seem Bill Buckley-like, Matt Drudge’s sell out and now one of the leading Right To Life – Prolife advocates, Steve Ertelt. This GOP primary campaign has revealed more about character (and sadly) just how unprincipled many conservatives are.
Now Steven claims to “like” Jesus (I’m sure he really LOVES Him, but is incapacitated to say so in 160 characters). I, however hate the Steelers (except brother-in-Christ Troy Polamalu) and likely haven’t listened to “rock” music since a couple of years after being saved. But you would think Steven and I would basically have the same goals right?
In the heat of a Twitter “battle” (for lack of a better word), my Christian brother and head of the LifeNews organization tweeted this:
Here again, you would think we would agree, right? We hate people who CLAIM to pro-life (or claim to be consistently pro-life) but aren’t. We both also are TIRED of the misrepresentation. But here we differ. I claim the person misrepresenting their prolife view is Rick Santorum, and Steven Ertelt thinks it is PolitiJim.
But this head of a major publication for ProLifers (and former multi-state head of state Right To Life groups), has decided it is fair game to trash other prolife people who don’t support Rick Santorum, or who try to get him simply acknowledge inconsistencies about “his” candidate.
ProLifeMommy4Newt is a PolitiJim following friend and we are certainly birds of a feather. Both deeply committed Christians, trying to find respect in reason and – as you see from her Twitter name – Prolife like PolitiJim. And like PolitiJim, she is waging a war on an insidious development in the conservative movement. The ignorance or intentionally taciturn of truth.
Neither of us are looking to gloat, berate or be “right.” We simply want accuracy and balance. I tweeted out yesterday my true feeling. I said something to the effect of, “I would be much more willing to support Santorum if he wouldn’t pretend he wasn’t or had been wrong (or lied) about things he has.” Like the bible says, a man is known BY WHAT HE DOES, not but what he says. My concern is that not only does his pretense continue to make him unelectable reinforcing the hypocrite image he has in Pennsylvania, but that if he miraculously got elected he would actually betray the Prolife cause. Because he CONSISTENTLY has in the past.
So before PolitiJim was aware of the discussion, ProLifeMommy4Newt sent a Tweet and Ertelt responded in succession:
So notice a couple of things here. First, notice the “give me a break” comment to someone who is CLEARLY identified as a “prolife” mommy, - someone who Ertelt should see as an ally. There is no attempt to try and persuade her, just a defense (and somewhat arrogant) reply with a pat answer devoid of any actual “facts.” Not exactly “Like Jesus” moment, but I’ve had those too. So, ProLifeMommy attempts to bring up a “fact,” something (later) that Ertelt claims to be open to.
In fact she brings up FOUR facts. But look in the dismissive manner in which Ertelt answers. Condescension and arrogance and ACCUSING Prolife Mommy of making false claims and "Making stuff up.” Any chance he simply would ASK for proof? (We’ll address the actual facts below, but the Attack Count is now Ertelt SE=3, ProLifeMom PLM=0)
Ertelt never addresses Santorum’s enthusiastic (“a true conservative with principles like us”) endorsement of Romney in 2008, nor the campaigning (not just endorsement) for pro-partial birth abortion (and pro-cap and trade) candidate Christine Todd Whitman. We will take his other two assertions in order and see how they register on the PolitiJim Postulate Plumb line aka “PolitiPostulate”.
Sotomayor. Ertelt clarifies his error later that Santorum wasn’t in office when Sotomayor was “voted on” since indeed, Rick actually DID vote on her initial approval to the Federal judiciary in 1998. Unfortunately, he digs himself deeper:
Here is where I would like to ask Mr. Ertelt if his early snark to ProLifeMommy about giving him “a break on not being open to the facts” is appropriate. First, it is not only false that no one was focused on her in 1998 – it is BLATANTLY false. This was all covered in the Prolife NUTSS #2 article and sourced from ABC News which reported:
This was not a typical Circuit Court nomination. When Bill Clinton picked Sotomayor in June 1997, many conservatives believed her confirmation would put her in a fast track to the Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal editorial called her a liberal judicial activist. Rush Limbaugh said Clinton was putting her on a rocket ship to the Supreme Court. A vote to confirm her to the Circuit Court, many Republicans believed, would make it hard to vote against her if she was nominated to the Supreme Court.
Republicans, led by Majority Leader Trent Lott, delayed Sotomayor’s confirmation vote for more than a year. When the vote finally happened, 29 Republicans — including most conservative stalwarts like Mitch McConnell, Phil Gramm, Jon Kyl and even John McCain — voted no.
Santorum joined every Democrat in the Senate and 24 other Republicans in voting yes. Sotomayor was confirmed by a vote of 67 to 29.
Perhaps Mr. Ertelt wouldn’t accept this publication. How about a ProLife source like… his own LifeNews? Not only does he reference EXTREME positions known at the time, Mr. Ertelt advocates:
Although the brief was written 20 years ago by someone other than Sotomayor and may have been done without her knowledge or consent, some abortion advocates appear to have their smoking gun to allow them to support Sotomayor with fewer reservations than they have thus far.
For pro-life organizations, the brief will likely be another piece of evidence leading to opposition of her nomination.
Not on anyone’s radar? Nothing to retract?
On her 2009 Supreme Court nomination, “Mr. Consistently Pro-Life” not only did he do NOTHING to stop her, or anything to express his displeasure at the nomination – HE TRIED TO SUBVERT THOSE CONSERVATIVES WHO WERE! (Sorry for the yelling.) He went on record saying (essentially) it wasn’t worth the effort and we needed to be “pure” on this. (And by pure he means roll over and play dead.)
PolitiPostulate Score: (PLM = +2, SE = –2). (You get negative points for asserting a falsehood, but I gave him a pass on the “research your facts” false accusation to ProLifeMommy).
Mr. Ertelt, please restore our faith in your integrity by acknowledging these fact.
Ertelt assertion on Planned Parenthood.
Being as gracious as I can, I’m willing to concede that Mr. Ertelt simply didn’t read ProLifeMommy’s tweet carefully. His first response that Santorum funded Planned Parenthood was that he consistently voted AGAINST it. BOTH of these are true. But then the guy who “Likes Jesus” doubles down.
Calling a prolife mommy, a “Mister” isn’t exactly staying above the fray. Claiming (in all caps) that Senator Santorum ALWAYS voted specifically against it simply being a bad journalist. Especially when PLM sends his VIDEO INTERVIEW where Rick Santorum ADMITS that he voted for funding via Title X that funded services (albeit not abortion) through Planned Parenthood. (Approximately at 4:30 mark).
PLM asks if SE has SEEN the video (which if he would, would at least get him to admit that Rick Santorum didn’t ALWAYS vote against Planned Parenthood, right?)
Ok – maybe my readers can find it but I can’t get the Bill Clinton legalese voice over out of my head on this one. (Whoops. Snark. Sorry!) Seriously though, Editor Ertelt completely whitewashes his earlier assertion. It turns out this is a SERIOUS problem for him by the way. Ertelt ran a story in LifeNews in February slamming Ron Paul’s ad for saying that Rick Santorum “supported Planned Parenthood.” There’s only one problem. The ad never says that.
As you see the ad merely points out NOT that Rick Santorum is for funding Planned Parenthood, but that his supposed steely resolve to be the principled prolife candidate isn’t all that ….well, consistent.
The journalistic integrity of LifeNews is important. It is arguing statistics and facts about the horrors of taking unborn lives (or in the case of Obama “just born” infanticide). If a media outlet can’t get this right, how do we use it as a reference for FAR MORE important issues to defend our views to those that already skeptical? As of this publishing, LifeNews still has no retraction or clarification EITHER in the misleading title, or in the misleading portrayal of the Paul ad.
In fact, the article goes on to wax eloquent about how strong of prolife record Rick Santorum has. And you know what – HE DOES!. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. But LifeNews becomes more propaganda than principle when it says he “frequently” has a 100% prolife record, without just saying what it is. NOT a 100% lifetime prolife record. It’s not so hard to tell the truth, really. On Title X it also parses words saying that Santorum “has joined the effort to revoke all funding for Planned Parenthood via Title X.”
Again, technically true but not accurate. On two counts. First, this misleads the fact that Santorum’s positions have radically changed. As the Washington Post gleefully points out the hypocrisy by documenting Santorum saying in the Arizona debate: “I’ve always opposed Title X funding,” and then in 2006 saying, “I support, you know, Title X.” Again, LifeNews is NOT presenting accurate information to it’s readers to make an informed opinion. They essentially are falsely accusing Ron Paul of saying something he hasn’t, trying to “puff up” Santorum to look like a 100% prolife candidate and never giving the facts how often he has digressed on abortion issues. That’s not to say he is NOT an overall prolife advocate. He still clearly is. But we prolife conservatives would expect a Jesus-liking journalist to just give us the juice WITH pulp and let us strain it – rather than being spoon fed some campaign line from the Santorum camp.
The story STILL isn’t completely told until you realize that Rick Santorum HIMSELF has laid the standard on how we should judge him. In Santorum’s own words:
“I can’t imagine any other organization with its roots as poisonous as the roots of Planned Parenthood getting federal funding of any kind.” April 2011
I guarantee someone will object to VIDEO evidence of Santorum’s
lie because it happens to have been caught and linked by HuffPo.
Note that this was LAST APRIL. So if he “can’t imagine” Planned Parenthood getting funding “of any kind,” wouldn’t it be fair to say that he disagrees with Mr. Ertelt’s own defense that the mere ProLifeMommy is simply too stupid to understand Title X?
The “non-zombie” ProLifers who actually like to think for themselves are quite at a loss what is so hard with Santorum supporters like Ertelt who can’t simply acknowledge that truth. As I’ve written before, it isn’t Rick’s lack of a completely perfect record that bothers me. It is his habitual lying and political maneuvering around it that first made me wary of him.
Running PolitiPostulate Score: PLM = +4, SE = –4. Running Attack Count is now SE=4, ProLifeMom PLM=0 for the “Mr.” without any apology.
Mr. Ertelt, please restore our faith in your character by apologizing to ProLifeMommy for trying to attack her documented facts that Rick has NOT “always” voted against Planned Parenthood or even Title X.
CATCHING UP ON POLITIIM
And now we come back to the initial tweet of Mr.E saying that he was losing respect for prolife people who mischaracterize. Not an especially thankful acknowledgement of my praise to him –but whatever. As I read through the back-tweets and realize that the Editor of LifeNews is backhanding a fellow prolife advocate and Christian, I’m trying to remain objective. I ESPECIALLY holding down my extreme displeasure of Mr. Ertelt’s utter lack of these facts or – as a supposed journalist – attitude in not even acknowledging basic truths.
I’m a little less charitable – but TRYING to keep it civil.
This whole discussion could have STRENGTHENED the ProLifers together (and helped Mr. Santorum’s image by the way), had he only said something like:
Yes, I’m disappointed that Mr. Santorum voted for Sotomayor in 1998, but he has a strong enough stance on prolife issues that I’m choosing to overlook it.
But he didn’t. Instead he turns to page 13 of the James Carville political maneuvers manual and responds:
Frankly, I’m more than a little shocked at this point because I just got done saying “I appreciated” Mr. Ertelt and that he was a “warrior” for prolife causes. Even the girls who turned me down for the first 7 high school dances weren’t this cruel. (Ok, one of them was but my therapist tells me “hose nose” could be considered an affectionate term and I’m going with that.) And yet I digress.
Can someone show me how asking a fellow Christian to admit that “truth” and “honesty” are paramount is attacking his faith in Jesus Christ? Or moreover, what it has to do WITH THE ARGUMENT and facts at issue?
As PolitiJim readers know, I am QUICK to correct ANYTHING factually in error but it might take me a few days to apologize for my errors. But eventually do. Steven (we are told he doesn’t want to be called “Steve” in his bio), claims to have totally debunked EVERY one of my “false charges” in tweets to ProLifeMommy. I’m encouraged by this since he seems to immediately be familiar with the very well researched and documented PolitiJim article in question. I nicely ask for links so I can double check my facts (wait, isn’t HE supposed to be the journalist here?), but you won’t believe his response:
It appears to me that he is hiding behind some fake offense (didn’t Jesus say TAKE NO OFFENSE?) in order to actually debate ideas. In the middle of this I also tweeted:
Response from Steven Ertelt?
He DID actually tweet PLM a link to support his supposition that Santorum had NEVER voted for Planned Parenthood. But it was already debunked LifeNews article that falsely portrayed the Paul ad. In terms of REAL dialogue, REAL give and take of ideas and REAL debate it was bupkis. Even mild mannered @GintheGin who is NOT taking sides and just observing the timeline adds:
Response from Steven Ertelt?
Actually – I responded to a number of tweets that now have disappeared off of his timeline. At one point he DOES seem like he’s open to debate – and then runs away. (You can read MY SIDE of them in my timeline or here, showing me responding to his comments – but his are gone. Next time I’ll copy them faster.) Here is one that he scrubbed:
But I try to get him back on track after he is then FURTHER offended by pointing out that he is not answer the questions, but attacking my portrayal of his Alinsky tactics.
So PolitiJim reels off a series of questions (all documented) with his usual response:
Just in case you supposed he was offline, he did suddenly respond to a well meaning tweet from
So suddenly Steven sees the need to not “trash” each other like he did ProLifeMommy. This is great news to me. However, I never saw the apologetic tweet to her.
What this means.
This is important to me for a couple of reasons. We have chastised liberals for years for playing the Clinton game. It goes something like this:
- Liberal correctly accused of error by inquisitor.
- Liberal asked to clarify, admit or apologize.
- Liberal accuses inquisitor of exactly same, parses or diminishes it’s importance.
- Inquisitor now points out BOTH factual error AND obfuscating behavior of liberal.
- Liberal declares inquisitor is ….(fill in the blank, racist, sexist, homophobe, hypocrite, demeaning toward others, insensitive, ignorant, trying to play games, blah, blah blah) – ANYTHING other than answering the charge.
- Liberal then declares that we should all get along and all this “animus” isn’t healthy for the (country, party, issue, blah, blah, blah), and “can’t we all get along.”
- Liberal suddenly declares themselves the winner and the truth NEVER gets out. Worse, it demonstrates to others that the truth doesn’t matter.
You saw this play out here with a LEADER of what is supposed to be the BEDROCK of the social conservative movement – the Prolife movement. He pulled EVERY ONE of these tricks without ever truly DEBATING THE ACTUAL ISSUE. Then, when someone stepped in to say “play nice” he was all over that – but still unwilling to debate facts.
Worse, he attempted to get away with lying. (Yes, lying.). From earlier in the conversation, he asked (by various people actually) why he is one sided on Santorum:
He mentions that he has defended Gingrich on his site and Twitter column so I have no explanation for the COMPLETE ABSENCE of any negative tweets on Santorum (despite vulgarity, accusations of voter fraud, likely ineligibility, etc.) and yet he not only retweets the Gingrich layoff news but also this:
So Prolife Publisher is all principle and balance, right? Completely neutral EXCEPT any pro-life candidate, correct?
Well, that is so good to hear that you journalistic integrity is completely intact. And I totally understand that you as an American citizen are different from your role as Editor of LifeNews and wouldn’t let any bias creep in. We appreciate you for that. Like all other mainstream reporters and editors, you SPECIFICALLY do not endorse anyone publically so that bias is not called into question right?
Hmmmm. According to the Santorum site they saw your personal declaration to cast your vote for Rick Santorum as endorsement. In fact, you call it “the highlight of your precinct.”
American Journalism Review says:
Journalists should not reveal their political views,
Twitter or no Twitter.
In pre-Twitter days, what he did would have been akin to standing up at a public meeting to express his views, which would have been a firing offense at any decent newspaper… So, no, the emergence of social networking has not changed the rules on how journalists should interact with the public. …to reach out to readers, to engage them in discussions about its mission and what it might do better to serve readers, nothing about the new venues changes the old rules about a reporter's obligation to be, and appear to be, neutral. From that flows credibility, and credibility is the basic reason for a newspaper's business success.
Mr. Ertelt, let’s dispense with the running score of who is documenting these issues correctly and who is not. And just as a sweetener, I’ll throw away the score on “personal attacks.”
How about we debate REAL issues about abortion among the candidates. In the old William Buckley, Jr. spirit I submit:
Resolved: Rick Santorum has not been consistently pro-life and, in fact, has betrayed his pro-life views an uncomfortable number of times.
I’ll even give you my complete arsenal of data so you can come prepared. It’s been out on PolitiJim for 2 weeks, re-titled Pro-Life NUTSS for Santorum Part 2. I do NOT include the complete lack of ANY attempt in all of his years in congress to author or co-sponsor a personhood amendment, but it includes documentation of:
- He continues to lie that he was once pro-choice although there are two recorded references and testimony from his own family.
- He refused direct appeals by pro-life groups to help stop the funding of Planned Parenthood through the Global fund.
- He lied about the necessity to endorse and campaign for an ardent pro-abortion candidate over a VERY qualified pro-life one. MULTIPLE times.
- The Specter vote is killing unborn babies in Pennsylvania. Today.
- He also dumped TRUE prolife candidate Mike Huckabee overboard for Mitt Romney who not only promised pro-abortionists he would be a “stealth” GOP candidate, but his RomneyCare facilitated the involvement of Planned Parenthood in the program. BY NAME.
- He took campaign money from Asian sweatshop concerns where that industry had documented cases of forced abortions. It also seems he actually CHANGED legislation for cash, but that is another story.
If you refuse to SERIOUSLY investigate these issues, or if you attempt to downplay their importance because of a bias for Santorum, please don’t bother.
I simply can’t take another dishonest conservative media person who is unwilling to put truth first, and politics second.
Thanks for listening.