'Fox And Friends' Exclusive: Notre Dame In Uproar Over Obama Speech

March 24th, 2009 6:05 PM

Major media began shielding Barack Obama from criticism early in the presidential primaries. It's no surprise, then, when they continue to do so today. However, the media's collective, instinctive tone-deafness in regard to grassroots activities continues to stun and amaze.

NewsBusters has so far noted several grassroots efforts that have been ignored – despite similar left-leaning efforts getting fantastic coverage. For example, there was Noel Sheppard's initial entry on the Chicago Tea Parties, and the tiny amount of coverage they received. Then, there was Warner Todd Huston, noting the San Francisco Chronicle's preferential treatment of an anti-Wall Street protest. For the magnum opus, however, we turn to the entire mainstream media's blind eye – pointed squarely at the University of Notre Dame.

As many a faithful Catholic would tell you, President Obama is decidedly pro-choice (meaning, of course, pro-abortion). Indeed, in the Senate he co-sponsored the “Freedom of Choice Act” and he received the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice America over equally pro-choice Sen. Hillary Clinton in the 2008 campaign.

This week, many faithful Catholics may also be able to tell you that President Obama has been invited by Notre Dame University president Father Jenkins to give this year's commencement speech. Given the above two facts, many devout Catholics – although not likely “ardent Catholic” Nancy Pelosi – are understandably outraged.

This situation was given full coverage by “Fox and Friends” this morning - complete with an interview with Katie Walker, communication director of American Life League (transcript provided below). The competition, however, have much more pressing things to which they devoted their air time; such as discussions of their favorite board games (CBS’s “Early Show”), hosting a Big 'n Rich concert (ABC’s “Good Morning America”), and discussing the latest developments on “The Biggest Loser” (NBC’s “Today”)

If you were watching the more newsworthy morning show on Fox, however, you would find that the Cardinal Newman Society and CatholicVote.org have launched a Web site petition drive aimed at convincing Fr. Jenkins to retract the presidential invitation. According to Ms. Walker, the petition had over 40,000 signatures this morning - as of right now, the count on www.notredamescandal.com stands at just over 86,000. If Notre Dame were to retract their invitation, that act could tarnish the beloved Obama Aura.

So who was today's Biggest Loser in the media? That particular game ended in a tie.:

Fox and Friends

GRETCHEN CARLSON, “Fox & Friends” co-host: The president of the University of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins invited President Barack Obama to give the commencement speech to their graduating class in May. But that invitation is sparking criticism now from Catholics across the country.

STEVE DOOCY, co-host: Boy is it, Gretchen One group is going as far as to call it an outrage and a scandal. Katie Walker is with American Life League. She's live in D.C. Good morning, Katie.

KATIE WALKER, American Life League: Good morning thanks for having me.

DOOCY: I’m Catholic. When I was in church on Sunday, that’s the number one thing, even bigger than the AIG bonuses – was, can you believe Notre Dame would invite the President of the United States given his stand on abortion and stem cell research which the Catholic Church is completely against?

WALKER: Exactly. I think the question now is, does Notre Dame University want to be identified as a Catholic university or do they want to take Our Lady off of that famous dome?

CARLSON: So many of the students are outraged? Is that what it is Katie or is it mostly alum [sic]?

WALKER: It's students, alumni, Catholics, pro-lifers across the country. The phones have been ringing off the hook. The Newman Society has put together a Web site, www.notredamescandal.com. I think at last count, there were over 40,000 signatures. American Life League, my organization’s been on the ground at Indiana. We're putting together events and protests talking to students. And mostly wev’e focused on talking to potential students and donors – do they want to be identified, do they want to attend this university?

DOOCY: I think you just touched on the third rail when it comes to universities, especially during a deep recession: donors. I’ve heard from some people on the board who say, “we can't believe that they would do that, we’re not going to send in any money this year.”

WALKER: Exactly. Exactly.

CARLSON: Here’s the interesting thing, Katie, is that the majority of the student body, apparently is enthusiastic about President Obama coming to speak. He won the campus mock election 52.6 percent to 41.1 percent over Senator John McCain.

WALKER: Well, I think the last few months might have changed things quite a bit. President Obama has proven to be the most radically pro-abortion President in history. Since his election he has endorsed using our federal funds to fund abortion overseas. He is rescinding conscience protections, taking away our freedom of religion essentially. His presidential appointees have been radically pro-abortion. So, I think the answer today in March might be a lot different than November. And that's the answer that we’re seeing among the students that we’re working with.

DOOCY: Well, Katie here’s what the University says. Father Jenkins, the president, said:

The invitation to President Obama to be our commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

DOOCY: A quick reaction from you?

WALKER: Well, that's fascinating because Father Jenkins in a similar press release not too long ago said that Catholic social teaching was the foundation on which the University of Notre Dame stands. So, the foundation of Catholic social teaching is life, personhood, the dignity of every human being.

CARLSON: A lot of pressure I believe on Father Jenkins right now, for that invitation to Barack Obama. Katie Walker American Life League Communication Director thanks for joining us this morning.

WALKER: Thank you for having me.