What will it take for CNN to fire Rick Santorum, and why do double standards appear to persist that protect white conservative men in cable news but not their colleagues of color?
It’s a perennial question, one I’ve been on the receiving end of and that was raised most recently by Rick Santorum’s latest ignorant, bigoted, and controversial comments in a career built on such comments. At a recent speech for the ultra-conservative Young America’s Foundation summit, the CNN commentator and former senator echoed the talking points of racists when he incorrectly alleged that white European Christians “came [to America] and created a blank slate; we birthed a nation from nothing.” His White Nationalist Guide to U.S. History conveniently omitted colonization, slavery, murder, and theft—and dismissed Native Americans with the claim that “there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”
I was utterly shocked that a former Republican presidential candidate who once compared homosexuality to bestiality and then landed a lucrative contract with CNN would say something so offensive! It’s comforting to know that it still pays to be a bigot during a pandemic and recession. While Santorum has apologized for some of his past homophobic comments he’s never done so for his many Islamophobic ones—including conflating radical Islam with mainstream Islam, saying “Sharia law is evil,” advocating for Muslim profiling, believing that the U.S. Constitution does not protect Islam in the same way it protects Christianity, and associating with hatemongers such as David Horowitz all while obsessively pushing a line about Muslim birth rates in Europe, where natives are supposedly giving ground in a “war” with radical Islam: “Europe is on the way to losing. The most popular male name in Belgium – Mohammad. It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys.”