CNN Dumps Rick Santorum Over Native American Comments; NCAI says ‘Justice is Served’

At the heart of Santorum’s offensive remarks were claims that European settlers “birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here.”  

Since April, news network CNN has been under fire for its ties to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum after he made comments to a conservative youth organization disparaging Native American culture. On Saturday, a CNN spokesperson confirmed that the network and Santorum had “parted ways.”

At the heart of Santorum’s offensive remarks were claims that European settlers “birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here.”

“I mean, yes we have Native Americans,” he said. “But candidly, that— there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

Immediately after the comments came to light, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp decried Santorum as “an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,” and said that “any mainstream media organization should fire him or face a boycott from more than 500 Tribal Nations and our allies from across the country and worldwide.”

“What European colonizers found in the Americas were thousands of complex, sophisticated, and sovereign Tribal Nations, each with millennia of distinct cultural, spiritual, and technological development,” she said. “Over millennia, they bred, cultivated, and showed the world how to utilize such plants as cotton, rubber, chocolate, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco.”

After Santorum was dismissed, Sharp issued a press release applauding CNN’s termination of its contract with Santorum and hailed the decision as one that “upholds the network’s profound responsibility to cover racial discourse equitably and responsibly.”

“I am thrilled that CNN is ensuring justice is served,” Sharp said. “This was never a matter of if a decision would be made; it was only a matter of when. I look forward to continuing to be a resource for CNN as the network works to combat racist and inaccurate narratives.”

After the comments came to light, Santorum was absent from the network for a week. When he did appear again on “Cuomo Prime Time” in early May, anchor Chris Cuomo confronted Santorum on the remarks. Santorum attempted to walk them back but stopped short of fully apologizing.

According to HuffPost, who spoke with a CNN executive about the contract termination, “leadership wasn’t particularly satisfied with that appearance. None of the anchors wanted to book him, so he was essentially benched anyway.”

“I think after that appearance, it was pretty clear we couldn’t use him again,” the executive said.

In addition to NCAI, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) had called for Indigenous journalists to avoid working with CNN.

“The Native American Journalists Association strongly cautions Native American and Alaska Native reporters from working with, or applying to jobs, at CNN in the wake of continued racist comments and insensitive reporting directed at indigenous people,” the group said in a press release.

Native Business Magazine

Native Business Magazine

Carmen Davis - Founder, Publisher and Executive Editor

Mrs. Davis is the founder, publisher and executive editor of the only Native American wholly owned and operated national tribal business publication, Native Business Magazine, and the producer of the annual and nationally attended Native Business Summit.

Mrs. Davis is also president of Davis Strategy Group has over 23 years of service to Indian Country and as an entrepreneur she has successfully established, operated, managed and grown several businesses in multiple sectors. She is equal parts a strategic visionary and behind-the-scenes implementor, essential in guiding and overseeing every process of brand development, business expansion, nation-to-nation relationship building and more.

She was named in 2009 as one of the first recipients of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s, “40 Under 40” award which recognizes up and coming community and business leaders from across Indian Country.

Previous

Next

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

X