Sandy Rios is the right-wing radio host of Sandy Rios in the Morning on American Family Radio, as well as a regular contributor to FOX News and conservative blogger. Her on-screen/on-air persona takes an unfiltered, unapologetically hard line on current social and political issues such as marriage equality, women’s health issues, universal health care and gun control. When off the air, she serves as vice president of Family-Pac Federal, a political action committee dedicated to funding “pro-family, Conservative candidates,” and is the former president of both the Culture Campaign and Concerned Women For America.
She takes to the airwaves every morning, Monday through Friday, espousing her views on current events, taking calls from listeners, and hosting special guests such as Ann Coulter. Her style of political analysis mirrors the homophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and conspiracy theorist viewpoints of her conservative talk show peers such as Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity—all of whom she has enjoyed guest appearances with. A theme she promotes frequently throughout her work is the idea that there is a cultural war afoot against evangelical Christian values, painting an epic struggle in politics between good and evil, allies and enemies. She frequently cites victories in civil rights, free speech, and women’s health as proof that morality has disintegrated in America and the nation is on a path of self-destruction. Rios freely mixes political analysis with religious rhetoric, often asking or claiming that God will intervene in current events and enact retribution.
Like many other conservatives who continually attack President Obama, Rios delivers frequent paranoid diatribes against him, calling Obama a communist and a radical Muslim-sympathizer. In some of her more disturbing anti-Muslim and anti-Obama segments, which are often intertwined, Rios has accused President Obama of building bridges with Islamic leaders at the expense of American and Christian lives. “We have every right to suspect a dangerous connection,” she writes, between President Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood. In the aftermath of the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood by former Army Medical Corps officer Nidal Hasan, Rios and others blamed Obama and his tolerance of Muslims for the incident.
Sandy Rios recently received negative media attention for statements she made at the conservative 2013 Values Voters Summit. She delivered a speech describing Matthew Shepard’s murder as a “complete fraud” and manipulative tool of the LGBT movement to gain popular sympathy (watch: http://bit.ly/19zRGu6), capitalizing on the publishing of a new book by Stephen Jimenez which purports the motive for Shepard’s murder stemmed from a “drug deal gone bad” and not his sexuality.
Fighting the steady advance of the LGBT rights movement has been one of Rios’s staple topics of discussion recently, especially as the tide appears to be shifting toward a more tolerant, or at least silent, stance within the Republican Party platform. In 2011, she wrote bitter articles questioning Mitt Romney’s commitment to conservative values and she recently wrote a blog post condemning moderation with regard to marriage equality, urging Republicans to hold to the party platform that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. She accused those, like Dick Cheney and Laura Bush, who have eased their stances on the issue of “fickle, feckless leadership in dangerous times.” She has linked such events as the advent AIDS, the Penn State sex abuse scandal, and reports of poor national scholastic performance to gains in equal rights for LGBT persons and is a strong proponent of the so-called “ex-gay” movement.