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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 03:10 PM ET, 04/26/2012

CNN’s Dana Loesch revives the ‘madrassa’ story

It’s mayhem out there in the world of media provocation. Examples are piling up:

●Ted Nugent, a Washington Times columnist, fantasizes about chopping off the heads of political opponents — not in the Washington Times but at an National Rifle Association convention.

●John Derbyshire, a regular contributor to National Review, gets ousted from the conservative journal for a racist piece he penned for Taki’s Magazine.

●Robert Weissberg, a very occasional contributor to the National Review, loses his irregular contributorship over a “noxious” presentation on white nationalism that he’d given to an American Renaissance conference.

●Dana Loesch, a CNN contributor, endorses the act of urinating on Afghan soldiers on her radio show.

Loesch issued more nonsense this week, as exposed by Media Matters. A caller was riffing off President Obama’s claim that he wasn’t born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth. ”But he was born with a Koran in his hand.”

Loesch, ever the crusader for factual integrity, scolded the man, saying, ”I am sorry, but we don’t have any documentation regarding what he had in his hand at birth. Please do not stretch the truth on my radio show.”

That’s a joke.

What Loesch actually said was this: “Well, yeah, I mean he . . . went to one of the madrassas over in Indonesia for a while, so he knows, I mean, he, which is kind of like the equivalent in Islam of a Catholic school in Catholicism. So there’s that.”

Media Matters, which watchdogs conservative media, attacked the formulation:

Back in 2007, Obama’s campaign made clear that Obama spent two years in a predominantly Muslim school while living in Indonesia but did not attend what Americans think of as a “madrassa.”
While the word generally means “a Muslim school,” the American media have most commonly applied the word to schools that sprang up in South Asia after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and engage in anti-Western “political indoctrination.”

To get Loesch’s take on her invocation of “madrassa,” I sent along these questions to her:

Hi Ms. Loesch: I am a media reporter for the Washington Post and have a few questions about your comments about President Obama having attended a madrassa. 1) What do you think of reports that have vacated his claim? Are you skeptical of them? 2) Have you discussed this matter with CNN? 3) Do you plan to address this again? 4) What is your view of the criticism from [Media Matters]?

That inquiry fetched this response from Loesch:

When MMfA acknowledges that they’re under fire for repeatedly publishing antisemitic content, when they can explain why they coincidently received money from SEIU to target black conservatives in the wake of Kenneth Gladney, when they clarify what they meant when they accused the US of bombing Al Jazeera, and when they detail how often they convene with the White House on strategy (i.e. DOJ story), then I’ll be interested in responding on a nonstory from this joke of a far-left propaganda smear site. Until then, I’m more interested in seeing stories on why we have 300 dead Mexicans and two dead border agents on Eric Holder’s watch.
Thanks for reaching out, it is genuinely appreciated.

OK, so that explains how Loesch feels about Media Matters. But I pinged her back: “But do you have any response to the non-MMFA portions of my inquiry?” Her response: “The entire thing is an MMfA portion.” In another blast, she wrote that “ ‘madrassa,’ doesn’t mean ‘terrorist school.’ I made this point on air, by the way, that it’s similar to a Sunday school. Why was that not included in their smear? I find it interesting that the first response from MMfA is to think ‘terrorism.’ That says more about them, and their ignorance of the word and religion, than me.”

There’s no way that this blogger is burrowing into the “madrassa” semantic rabbit hole with Loesch. You do not need to be a scholar on world religious education and culture to capture the essence of her exchange with the “Koran” caller. She was expressing ideological kinship with him. The only part of her response that matters is the words “Well, yeah.”

When Loesch in January cheered on U.S. Marines who were videotaped urinating on the corpses of Taliban soldiers, CNN released this statement:

CNN contributors are commentators who express a wide range of viewpoints — on and off of CNN — that often provoke strong agreement or disagreement. Their viewpoints are their own.

At the time, I wondered whether applauding corpse urination really qualified as a “viewpoint.” In search of another defense of Loesch’s “viewpoint” on whether our president once attended a madrassa, I contacted CNN repeatedly for comment. Given that the network did such yeoman’s work in 2007 to debunk the Obama-madrassa connection — with a story titled “CNN debunks false report about Obama” — I figured that it would be eager to defend the legacy of its own work.

CNN didn’t respond by deadline, so I’ll issue its statement instead: Dana Loesch has shown that she’s unafraid to push the limits of taste and fact, which is why we need her so badly on our otherwise buttoned-up network.

After dipping into Loesch’s CNN archive for a good spell, I can see why the network hasn’t broken things off. She provides perspective and punch, often entangling herself in interesting conversations with others on the air. It’s just too bad she shows her real self on other platforms.

By  |  03:10 PM ET, 04/26/2012

Tags:  dana loesch, cnn, president obama, madrassa, media matters for america, marines taliban, urination

 
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