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Congressman Joe Sestak Smeared On FOX News

Reported by Ellen - March 21, 2007 -

Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak was smeared as a terrorism-enabler last night (3/20/07) on Hannity & Colmes as the result of his decision to speak at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) event. The only guest was the dubious “expert” on Islamic issues, Mark Steyn. Steyn’s larger purpose seemed to lie in smearing CAIR but he obviously didn’t care a fig that Sestak got tainted in the process. Unfortunately, Sestak was not there to defend himself. For those who think that Democrats should refuse to appear on FOX News, watch the video at the end of the post and tell me if you think Sestak’s absence advanced his cause.

Alan Colmes read a statement from Sestak’s office to Hannity & Colmes about his speaking engagement at CAIR. One would think Sestak was invited on the show but I’m not sure. Note: I sent an email to Sestak’s office seeking clarification. Colmes noted that Sestak’s office said that 250 of his constituents will be attending the CAIR event. “Look, you don’t have to agree with everything the organization stands for but why not let them hear his point of view?” Colmes asked.

Because, apparently, to Steyn some constituents are more worthy than others. “This is not an organization that mainstream American political figures should be assisting in passing off as the responsible, respectable voice of Islam in America,” Steyn, a Canadian, answered.

One could argue that Steyn is not a pundit that mainstream news outlets should be passing off as a responsible, respectable voice of either conservatism or on Islamic issues. Steyn is a high-school drop-out and former disk jockey turned critic of Islam. More importantly, he has a history of faulty judgments. For example, The Guardian Unlimited said this about him:

Apart from predicting that George Bush would win the 2000 presidential election in a landslide, Steyn said at regular intervals that Osama bin Laden "will remain dead". Weeks after the invasion of Iraq he assured his readers that there would be "no widespread resentment at or resistance of the western military presence"; in December 2003 he wrote that "another six weeks of insurgency sounds about right, after which it will peter out"; and the following March he insisted that: "I don't think it's possible for anyone who looks at Iraq honestly to see it as anything other than a success story."

No part of Steyn’s dubious record was revealed to the viewers. Furthermore, in the latter part of the interview (Sean Hannity’s portion), Steyn accused CAIR of trying to have him fired from two magazines. Hardly a fair and balanced guest! Predictably, Hannity warmly referred to Steyn as “my friend.”

The result of Steyn’s exclusive booking was that he and Hannity had free rein during Hannity’s portion to smear away at CAIR and, by implication, Sestak. For example, Steyn complained to a sympathetic Hannity that CAIR is filled with bullies who want to stifle free speech. “They just don’t get America,” Steyn piously said. The inference was clear - 31-year Navy Vet and former three-star Admiral Sestak was not as good an American as the Canadian Steyn.

Breaking in to end the discussion, Colmes said “Let’s not silence Congressman Sestak’s opportunity to speak to this group, then, and let’s have free and open dialogue and let him give them his point of view.”

Steyn paused a moment, obviously thrown by the dilemma of supporting the American Way or attacking CAIR. “If you want dialogue with someone who thinks the Koran should replace the US Constitution then I think that is not a conversation worth having.” By the way, I could find nothing on CAIR’s website to back up Steyn's allegation that CAIR wants to replace the Constitution.

So, assuming Sestak was offered the opportunity to appear, did he do himself a favor by refusing? All views welcome but they must remain civil and respectful.