Was the 1960s campaign more civil than it is today? That's the question Glenn was asking the audience on radio this morning as he reviewed a report from Paul Wilson and the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute.
In the report posted on TheBlaze, Wilson explains:
During the 1960 presidential campaign, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy was attacked for his Catholic faith, then viewed by many as subversive and un-American. Anti-Mormon bigots are now targeting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his Mormon beliefs, which are now viewed by many “progressives” as a “transparent and recent fraud.” But in those 50 years, the role of the media has changed significantly.
A June 2012 study performed by American National Election Studies (ANES) found that 43 percent of liberals would be “less likely” to vote for a Mormon candidate for religious reasons. An essential point, given how often news outlets highlight Romney’s religion.
In 1960, major media outlets refused to tolerate religious bigotry, characterizing it as “bilge” and calling its practitioners “small-minded and prejudiced persons … not representative of America.” In 2012, supposedly “mainstream” outlets have given opponents of Mormonism a platform to call the church the “Salt Lake City empire of corporate greed,” obsessively labeled Mitt Romney as Mormon, and even engaged in anti-Mormon bigotry themselves. These anti-Mormon voices have been amplified by the liberal echo chamber.
The difference is more than 50 years – the difference is politics. In 1960, media outlets defended Kennedy, who was part of a faith whose members traditionally voted Democratic. In 2012, those same media outlets are attacking Romney, who belongs to a faith whose members typically support conservative causes and vote Republican.
How did the media treat Kennedy differently back in 1960? Glenn read a passage from the New York Times on radio this morning:
As the campaign opens, there will always be in any election and between elections small‑minded and prejudice persons who have a newer rocket compulsion to feel superior to somebody or an urge to blame some racial or minority group for their own individual failures or misfortunes. But these people are not representative of America. They have rarely determined elections in the past and they will not determine the one that is coming. Millions of Catholics, protestants, Jews and people of no formal faith will testify in a prejudice of faith cannot be endorsed in this country without doing political damage to the persons or candidates who endorse it.
But what is the New York Times saying now? Glenn explained, "They're calling Salt Lake City the empire of corporate greed. They're talking about magic underwear. They're talking about, they're bashing baptism for the dead despite the fact that it's in the New Testament."
Glenn discussed the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead for anyone who didn't understand.
"You're just allowing that person to choose. If you believe in that ‑‑ see, I mean, I think this is the most compassionate thing. If you believe in it, that it's a gateway, that Jesus said you've got to be baptized, okay, great. You've got to be baptized. Okay. Good. So what happens to all those people, are they just going to burn in the fires of hell that went before, before Jesus?" Glenn asked.
Glenn explained that the ritual is just offering the deceased a choice, and that in no way does "baptism for the dead" force anyone to be converted to Mormonism or Christianity in their belief system.
"Let's say you don't believe in the religion and we baptize for the dead. You don't believe in it. It's nonsense. How did his baptism hurt you in any way?" he added.
"You don't agree with it, so what's the big deal?"
Glenn, not wanting to limit the discussion to Mormonism, asked the audience to look at how Rick Santorum was treated by the media.
"Let's make this about religion. Because look at what they called Santorum. Santorum was (called) a cultist, too," he said. "He was a Papist and a cultist."
"When it's a situation with Rick Santorum or are something, the religion's scary. It's this reason to fear him," Stu said, adding that when people bring up Jeremiah Wright the media decides to ignore it - even when he says radical things like the government developed HIV to kill African Americans.
"But that's not scary," Glenn joked.
Stu added, " But Rick Santorum wants traditional marriage. Fear him."
"I mean, the double standard is well covered but absolutely crystal clear in this case," Stu explained. " And, you know, here we have a situation where a guy is trying to run. It's not like this is some weird thing that might happen in the future. Mitt Romney is running for president right now. He's one of two guys who might win it. And this is a story in which they continue to trash him, they continue to mock his faith. "
"If you really think that you can't vote for somebody because he's black, because he's Catholic, because he's Mormon, you really have nothing going on in your life. And boy, are you going to be surprised on the other side of life. You're going to be surprised. We're in this together, gang," Glenn concluded.