David Shuster gets Bryan Fischer to admit he thinks that Native Americans are cursed
The goal of the Commentator Accountabilty Project, no matter what those who are in the project will tell you, is to give more power to the words those commentators have already spoken, and to use those words in order to place these activists in the proper context in our modern American cultural discourse.
Journalist David Shuster did an exemplary job of providing this context in his online program "Take Action News." Shuster consistently referred to American Family Association Director of Issue Analysis (and frequent conservative spokesperson) Bryan Fischer as an anti-gay activist, which of course, he is. But Shuster also did so much more than that. Let's rewind a bit.
A few years back, Fischer made one of the more outrageous statements in the entire CAP initiative - and that's saying something - when he claimed that Native Americans have "morally disqualified themselves from the land," and asserted that "many of the tribal reservations today remain mired in poverty and alcoholism because many native Americans continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition instead of coming into the light of Christianity and assimilating into Christian culture." Bryan's article was so out of line that another staffer at Bryan's own organization wrote his own column condemning Bryan's rhetoric, and the piece was promptly scrubbed from the internet (however, you can read a permanent copy here, courtesy of Warren Throckmorton).
Fischer, of course, has made hundreds of other outlandish claims in the years since. Many of these, like most of those collected in his CAP profile, are meant to dehumanize the LGBT community. Others aren't, like his comments on the day of the unspeakably sad Newtown tragedy — just hours after the shooting, in fact — when Bryan declared that the murder of innocent school children occured because "we’ve kicked God out of our public school system." For this he recieved considerable blowback, even from conservatives. He never apologized.
So Shuster wanted his audience to know whether the American Family Association's most prominent spokesman stands by both claims. In a word? Yes.
This comes from Shuster's "Take Action News." At around 1:34:00, Bryan clearly stands by his belief that the Native American population is "cursed" because they are not Christian enough, and he refuses to apologize for it. A few minutes later, he says that he "has absolutely no apology" to offer any of the parents who lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Then, at the 1:45:00 mark, Bryan says that we have not been struck since 9/11 because we sing "God Bless America" at baseball games. The whole thing is shocking, really:
Good on Shuster for holding Fischer accountable, something GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project works to ensure. And in a way, good on Fischer for at least having the fortitude to own his rhetoric and letting us all know where he stands. He said it, and he proudly stands by it. And any journalist who is interviewing Fischer for a story has an unquestionable responsibility to make sure the audience knows this.
This month the United States Supreme Court will issue decisions on two cases critical to marriage equality. GLAAD is working with media outlets and couples around the country to push for marriage. Follow GLAAD for up to date news about the Supreme Court's decision at www.glaad.org/marriage