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Fox News Fires Another Salvo In Its War On Liberal Clergy

Reported by Ellen - April 8, 2010 -

Does Fox News have a purity test for religious leaders? It's hard to conclude otherwise. A few weeks ago, Glenn Beck lectured his viewers about the dangers of Marxism infiltrating churches. There also seems to be a growing list of clergy Fox News is eager to demonize and smear. There’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of course, Louis Farrakhan (the uber black boogeyman until Wright came along and, as this segment proved, still a contender), Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. Joseph Lowery and now Father Michael Pfleger. Pfleger has been attacked on Fox News before but that was mostly in connection with Barack Obama. On Tuesday night’s (4/6/10) O’Reilly Factor, Pfleger was demonized all on his own, just for being too liberal and for hanging out too much with Farrakhan. And it was not the first time. This time, the excuse news peg was that Pfleger was being honored by the Catholic Church. With video.

O’Reilly opened the segment by describing Pfleger as “one of the most radical Catholic priests in the country.” Then, apropos of nothing except to demonize Pfleger – with a racial tinge – O’Reilly played a clip of Pfleger mocking Hillary Clinton in a way that suggested there was a racial component to her 2008 competition against Barack for the presidential nomination.

O’Reilly’s guest for the segment was someone with the same anti-Pfleger viewpoint, Dennis Miller. Miller called Pfleger “a classic hoodlum priest archetype.” Miller never explained what that meant, other than to go on and accuse Pfleger of being too self-aggrandizing.

O’’Reilly stepped back and said he was going to “stick up for (Pfleger) a little bit” by acknowledging that “Pfleger does do good work.” He added, “It’s a minority church, a poor church. He has a lot of programs, anti-gang programs, drug programs, educational programs… But you are correct, in saying that he likes attention drawn to himself. He will tell you the more attention he gets, the more money he can raise, the more social justice he can impose or whatever he wants to do. So it’s a split decision on Pfleger. But I’m surprised at Cardinal George who, you know, is basically endorsing Pfleger’s radicalism… by giving him this award.”

Miller, a Fox News contibutor, responded by playing the Farrakhan card. “I know Louis Farrakhan at this point in his life is nuttier than the Deluxe Pecan Log in a Stuckey’s. And you should not, as a man of the cloth…

O’Reilly interposed, “be hanging with him.”

“…rub elbows with him,” Miller continued.

“ That’s a good point,” O’Reilly said.

Maybe Fox News should just follow Glenn Beck's lead and issue guidelines for what constitutes an acceptable church and an acceptable pastor.