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Maddow's dishonest attack on Rick Santorum

By Scott Tibbs, February 10, 2012

One of Rachel Maddow's favorite targets on her TV program is Rick Santorum, and her dislike for him was on display again last week when she complained about his defense of drug companies.

Maddow cut to a clip of Santorum explaining that if drug companies are not allowed to get a return on their investment, it would freeze innovation. Santorum explained to a woman with a sick child that the child is probably alive today because drug companies thought they would make money from the drug he is using. If there is no profit motive, Santorum said, that drug might not exist.

Maddow replied with her usual snark that Santorum is saying drug companies should be able to charge whatever they want on his faith, family and freedom tour.

Santorum was not saying that we should not have compassion on people who are having difficulty with medical bills. He was explaining that, from a public policy standpoint, the most effective way to encourage the innovation that leads to new drugs and the best way to lower prices is to encourage market forces and competition.

One of two things is going on here. Either Maddow genuinely did not understand what Santorum was saying or this "journalist" did understand Santorum's argument and chose to dishonestly ignore the explanation and instead take a veiled shot at Santorum's Christian faith. I find it very difficult to believe that an intelligent woman like Maddow did not understand the argument, so dishonesty is the most logical explanation for the disconnect between what Santorum actually said and Maddow's "interpretation" of what Santorum said.

We can have a discussion about what is the most effective method of encouraging lower prices and more innovation. In order to have that discussion, we need to honestly deal with the positions taken by our opponents rather than go directly to a veiled personal attack. Maddow's uncivil dishonesty does not encourage discussion.

Maddow followed up by bringing in EJ Dionne to discuss Christianity as a social justice movement instead of dealing with things like abortion and same-sex marriage. Dionne made the laughable argument that "Jesus didn't talk about abortion. He talked a lot about the poor."

That argument only works if you assume the red letter text in the New Testament is the only part of the Bible that is the Word of God. This idea is directly opposed to orthodox Christianity's position for two thousand years. Christians have always considered the entire Bible to be the inerrant and inspired Word of God.

There are many examples of protecting the innocent in God's Word, and it doesn't get any more innocent than the unborn. Job 29:16-17 describes Job's righteousness by his statement that he broke the jaws of the wicked and snatched the prey from his teeth. Proverbs 24:11-12 commands us to rescue those being led away to death.

But when it comes to abortion, Jeremiah 32:35 is one of the best verses in Scripture. God rebukes the nation of Israel in the strongest terms, saying that their practice of infant sacrifice was so terribly wicked that it did not even enter into His mind that they would do such a horrible thing. What would God say about the fifty million unborn children that we have killed for our own economic security and convenience?

It is true that God commands Christians to care for the poor, and the church must take this responsibility seriously. (Notice this command is to us directly, not for us to outsource it to government.) But to dismiss protection of the unborn because we do not have a record of Jesus mentioning it is an incredibly intellectually dishonest argument, given the plethora of Scriptures about protecting the innocent.