fbpx
 

ATLANTA — CNN has fired Rick Santorum, its conservative senior political correspondent, almost a month after the former Pennsylvania U.S. senator and twice-failed presidential candidate made disparaging comments about Native Americans during an event on April 23 at a Young America's Foundation event.

At the event, Santorum said the country was set up based on Judeo-Christian principles, and that White settlers “birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,” he said, adding, “I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” A video emerged days later that was shared thousands of time on social media platforms.

His comments drew the ire of Native Americans across Indian Country. Many Native Americans called for his immediate firing; including in an op-ed on Native News Online.

“Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,” National Congress of Americans Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp wrote in a statement published by Native News Online late last month.

After hearing about the push back from Native Americans and even some CNN anchors who would not allow him on their programs, Santorum said his words were taken out of context. He never apologized for his remarks. 

Help our Indigenous-led newsroom create journalism that inspires, uplifts and informs Native Americans. Make a donation to Native News Online.

On Saturday evening, NCAI released a statement on Santorum's firing from CNN. The statement said NCAI President Sharp applauds CNN's termination of its contract with Santorum. Sharp says CNN's decision upholds the network's profound responsibility to cover racial discourse equitably and responsibly.

"I am thrilled that CNN is ensuring that justice is served," President 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."

President Sharp emphasized the importance of partnerships with American Indian tribes, journalists, and media to develop creative solutions that address inaccurate portrayals of Indigenous peoples and Native erasure in the media.

IllumiNative, a nonprofit initiative designed to increase the visibility of – and challenge the negative narrative about – Native Nations and peoples in American society, posted on Facebook Saturday evening that said

"Finally, CNN has taken the correct action to #RemoveRick after his racist comments that whitewashed history and Native American’s contributions to US society. News organizations must take quick and decisive action to combat racism and white supremacy.

CNN must rebuild its trust with the Native community. We call on CNN to take action to diversify its lineup of contributors and staff to include Native peoples. The network must establish an Indigenous Affairs Desk, staff must undergo regular comprehensive anti-bias training and the network must adopt clear standards and policies to ensure respect for Native peoples and Indigenous cultures."

Want more Native News? Get our free daily newsletter today.

Editor's Note: This article was updated to include statements from NCAI and IllumNative on Santorum's firing.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (October 2, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Citizen, Justice Mark Montour,  Appointed State Appellate Court Justice
Hundreds Gather in St. Paul for Boarding School Survivors Candlelight Vigil
Walk to Freedom for Leonard Peltier Halfway to Washington
President Biden Welcomes a “Conversation” about Atlanta Braves’s Name and the Infamous Tomahawk Chop

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]