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Conyers Responds To Bill Bennett Abortion Defence

Below is the response Mr. Conyers received from Salem Radio Network's President regarding Bill Bennett's comments last week. Please call me if you have any questions.

Salem Radio Network's Response:

Press Release

Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Michigan, 14th District

Ranking Member,U.S. House Judiciary Committee
Dean, Congressional Black Caucus

For Immediate Release: Contact: Dena Graziano
October 6, 2005 (202)226-6888

Conyers Responds to Salem Radio Network's Comments
Regarding Bill Bennett

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee sent the following response to Salem Radio Network's letter regarding Bill Bennett's comments last week:

October 6, 2005

Mr. Greg Anderson
Salem Radio Network
6400 N. Beltline Road, Suite 210
Irving, TX 75063

Dear Mr. Anderson:

I am in receipt your October 4 reply (enclosed) to my letter, signed by 56 of my colleagues, about remarks by Bill Bennett, a radio host employed by your company.

Frankly speaking, I believe your letter completely misses the point of why I and many others - including representatives from both the White House and the Republican National Committee and some of your sponsors - found these remarks so offensive. That is, in and of itself, disturbing.

Mr. Bennett gratuitously injected racial stereotyping into a conversation with a caller about social security and abortion, stating that aborting black babies would reduce the crime rate. Regardless of whether he intended to offer serious consideration of the idea of aborting every black baby, and that he said later that it would be "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible" to do so, Mr. Bennett stood by his contention that to do so would result in a lower

crime rate, thus perpetuating the negative stereotype that African-Americans are criminals. That I find to be a great problem; and, to date, neither you nor Mr. Bennett have explained why such stereotyping was needed or even bothered to apologize for linking race with crime in such a discriminatory fashion.

You and Mr. Bennett should know African-Americans do not commit the majority of crimes in the United States. Moreover, Freakonomics, the book that Bennett cited to advance his argument, does not address race at all - that was solely Bennett's contribution. Steven Levitt, one of the book's authors, offered the following refutation of Bennett's comments immediately after they were aired:

"(A) white person and a black person who grow up next door to each other with similar incomes and the same family structure would be predicted to have the same crime involvement."

I continue to look forward to receiving your company's response to the linkage of race and crime by Mr. Bennett as well as a list of sponsors for Mr. Bennett's show.

Please respond to my Judiciary Committee Office, 2142 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, tel. 202-225-6504, fax 202-225-4423.


John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member


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