The McCain-Hagee Connection

Why is the press ignoring this hate-monger?

More than a week after John McCain’s endorsement by the anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic pastor John Hagee, the media continues to give the GOP nominee a free pass.

Consider the following pronouncements by Hagee, the man who McCain proudly introduced as an ally last week.

On Jews:

It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.


How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for his chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings he had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.

On gays:

All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

Hagee, of course, is also a virulent anti-Catholic, who has suggested that the pope is the anti-Christ, and that Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitism was the result of being educated at a Catholic school.

One would think that when a leading presidential candidate proudly touts the support of such a figure, the issue would receive close scrutiny from the press. But last week, once McCain assured reporters that, just because Hagee was endorsing him, it didn’t mean he agreed with everything Hagee said, the mainstream media essentially let the matter drop. Chalk another up for the Straight-Talking candidate.

That’s all the more remarkable given the high-profile grilling Barack Obama has received on the subject of Louis Farrakhan. In a recent Democratic debate, Tim Russert asked Obama to reject Farrakhan’s support. And in January, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen drew attention to the fact that a magazine controlled by Obama’s pastor had given an award to the Nation of Islam founder.

But so far, neither Russert nor anyone else at NBC News has seen fit to press McCain on the subject, and Cohen hasn’t chosen to write about it. And remember, Obama did nothing to solicit Farrakhan’s support, while McCain actively sought Hagee’s and appeared on stage with him.

We’ve asked both NBC News and Cohen whether they plan to, given their concern about Obama’s Farrakhan “ties,” and will let you know what we hear.

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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.