Children today are often so voracious and versed in the latest communications technology that they make their parents feel like Miles Standish and Betsy Ross. Three-fourths of young people between 12 and 17 now own cell phones, reports the Pew Internet and American Life Project. And get this: 87 percent of those who send text messages told researchers that they sleep with or next to their phones. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, and one in three send more than 100, or more than 3,000 texts a month. By contrast, only 30 percent of teenagers talk on those caveman “land line” phones.
But all this cell-phone (not to mention Internet) usage carries new risks – even new crimes.
Last year, the hot trend was sexting – teenagers sending each other lascivious messages (and often nude or semi-nude photographs). If a teenaged boy received a nude photo of a friend and e-mailed it to buddies or posted it on a Facebook or MySpace page, there was the very real possibility of being prosecuted for distributing child pornography.
Now there’s a new and related crime in the court houses. It’s called “sextortion.”
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The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina recalls a horror show on two levels. There’s the actual disaster which killed hundreds of people – and then there’s the media smear job on the Bush administration and first responders. No one should forget pompous grandstanders like “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams signing off three months after the floods from the Lower Ninth Ward: "This is a neighborhood that's been left to die."
How those network anchors loved hurricane hyperbole! Williams, for one, lectured the nation that the hurricane should “necessitate a national discussion on race, on oil, politics, class, infrastructure, the environment, and more.” He underlined that a top local radio station decided not to air President Bush’s remarks from the city since “nothing he could say could ever help them deal with the dire situation unfolding live in the streets of New Orleans, where people were still dying during his visit."
It never mattered to these nattering nabobs that, as Popular Mechanics magazine documented, Katrina spurred by far the largest and fastest rescue effort in American history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall, rescuing an estimated 50,000 residents.
The pop-music world is turning into a caricature of shamelessness, childishness and even spoiled-brattiness. To get attention quickly, some pop stars will try absolutely anything. The soul singer Cee-Lo Green has a new album coming out. How's this for art: His first desperate single is titled "F—- You."
The shock value is already working. A video was posted Aug. 19, and within four days, it had grabbed 1.4 million views on YouTube — another sign that YouTube is not a safe website for children. On Aug. 23, YouTube began requiring visitors to sign in to view the video, saying it "may contain content that is inappropriate for some users." That's quite an understatement. But it's also meaningless: it's unrestricted on Cee-Lo's personal website. Clicking on his MySpace page brings the song up automatically.
The entire song is obscene. It's stuffed with 16 uses of the F-bomb in under four minutes, erupting on average once every 14 seconds. It also has 10 uses of the S-word, and even two uses of "nigga." (Don't tell Dr. Laura Schlessinger.)
Last week, Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced on CNN that she was hanging up her headphones at the end of the year. If she could not exercise her freedom of speech, she said, she was not interested in the job.
Watchdogs on the left had pounced on a conversation she had with a black woman in which she proclaimed something that everyone with cable TV knows is true. The N-word is acceptable vernacular for black comedians on HBO, but it’s not something you can ever, ever say if you’re not black.
While making this point, Dr. Laura purposely said the N-word repeatedly during this proclamation, and that was all the Left needed to start contacting sponsors, suggesting they shouldn’t want their products associated with this viciously racist talk show. It didn’t matter that even liberal editorialists in The Washington Post declared that there was nothing at all racist in what the doctor said.
Ever wonder what those teenagers are listening to while wearing those iPod earphones? Maybe you'd rather not know. You will be horrified.
The Culture and Media Institute recently reviewed the top pop songs from May through July. To say that hedonism is in the air is an understatement. Of the 22 songs on the charts, a whopping 64 percent made at least one reference to sex, drugs or alcohol, or contained profanity. All 22 songs had music videos, and 68 percent of them featured sexualized dancing, alcohol, violence, or partying scenes.
The "anthem" of the summer seems to be the song "California Gurls" by Katy Perry, the ex-Christian singer who kick-started her career with the hit "I Kissed a Girl (And I Liked It)" in 2008. She's so "mainstream" this year that she hosted the Teen Choice Awards on Fox.
It was deceptive. At a White House dinner with Muslims celebrating Ramadan, Barack Obama finally weighed in on the Ground Zero mosque controversy. Incredibly, he lectured Americans about the religious freedom of Muslims “that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan.”
Those were prepared remarks, a clear and very deliberate effort to skirt the issue. But this time, it was blatantly sophomoric, too.
Of course there is a legal “right.” That doesn’t make it the right thing to do. After causing an instant national uproar, Obama saw the need to flinch. The next day, he suddenly announced to CNN that “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there.”
Hugh Hefner, America's most celebrated and legendary pornographer, has less and less reason to celebrate. His Playboy magazine empire is crumbling — he may even be bought out by competitors — and his prototypical leering pose with girls young enough to be his great-granddaughters is now just plain creepy. His 2009 Christmas card featured 83-year-old Hefner standing between two 20-year-old twins who are his newest live-in girlfriends. Each was wearing a pink tank top with "Hef" painted on it in white. Hefner's women are forever the plastic toys under his tree.
Into this sad picture comes documentary filmmaker Brigitte Berman with a gushy new two-hour infomercial titled "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel." How gushy is it? Washington Post critic Michael O'Sullivan found "the Hugh Hefner in this movie is Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and William Kunstler all rolled into one."
In fact, Berman is so in love with her subject's cultural and political influence, she told one interviewer that when the news came out that Martin Luther King Jr. had cheated on his wife, Coretta, "that never affected 'I have a dream,' so I found it really curious" that Hefner couldn't be seen more as a civil rights hero and less as a seedy porn king.
Terence P. Jeffrey has written a new book. It is required reading for any conservative worried about, but perhaps not understanding, exactly what the Obama regime is trying to do to America. That demographic includes every conservative who hasn't yet read Jeffrey's new book.
First, there are disclaimers. Jeffrey is a friend and a colleague, and editor-in-chief of CNSNews.com, a division of the Media Research Center, which I head.
The second disclaimer is more an admission: When I read the title of Terry's new book, "Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life," I didn't much care for the title. Control Freaks -- a little too hyperbolic, maybe? Then I read it. There is no hyperbole here. If anything, the problem's with the subtitle. Liberals aren't planning to ruin our lives. They're well on their way.
"Control Freaks" is a book a serious conservative will have a hard time putting down. It's a book that will make a serious liberal rethink his worldview.
Great Britain has a new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and what a mess it is as they face is the largest budget deficit in Europe. Where, oh where, will they cut the budget? Horror of horrors, one obvious target is funding for the arts “in the land of Shakespeare.” When the the Empire is so broke National Health Service is refusing people hip replacements, it's probably not a good idea to suggest it's more important to fund the ballet.
Especially when the government-bankrolled ballet is “The Spirit of Diaghilev.”
Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post reports the usual line we hear in America about arts funding, that taxpayer monies provide artists with “independence,” and all that blather. But then he quite seriously maintains that government is a “beacon for controversial pieces, such as one staged last year at Sadlers Wells in which” – are you ready for this? – “the pope sexually abuses an altar boy through an interpretive dance.”
There’s something oddly funny about the cluelessness of liberal media companies when their ratings fall or their subscriptions collapse. They just refuse to admit, even consider that the business problem could be (at least in part) their own incessant liberal agitating. Instead, they seem to double down and make things even worse.
ABC’s Sunday show “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” could never beat NBC, so what did the ABC braintrust do? They promoted the Bill Clinton spin artist to an everyday anchor job on “Good Morning America.” Then they doubled down and replaced him with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who is married to another Bill Clinton spin artist, Jamie Rubin. Can it get more insular?
Here’s another case in point: Newsweek’s subscriptions collapsed a couple of years back. How could it not be (at least in part) the umpteen Obama-worshipping cover stories that caused some subscribers to cancel. Then they really abandoned the “News” half of their title and wrote cover stories like “We’re All Socialists Now” and “Is Your Baby Racist?”
Newsweek was put on the market, and the market has spoken: a $1 sale.
There’s something entirely believable about the Newsweek sale. A left-winger pretending to be centrist sold it to another left-winger pretending to be centrist. Newsweek is a dying magazine because no one wants to read their left-wing propaganda masquerading as ‘news.’ The $1 price tag, then, is probably just about right.
For more information on the sale, read the NewsBusters’ story here.
It never ceases to amaze that Oliver Stone thinks Ronald Reagan was a dunce. When it comes to judging iron-fisted dictators and anti-American despots, Oliver Stone is the intellectually incurious simpleton. He thinks Reagan was stupid because he clung to an all-encompassing ideology. But so does Stone. He thinks every evil in the world came from corporations, especially American corporations, including those he uses to make himself millions.
How else would you explain the (new) mess Stone (again) has made as he prepares a 10-part documentary for Showtime on "The Secret History of America," including evaluations of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. In an interview with the Sunday Times of London, Stone declared Hitler was a monster, but he was apparently still America's fault: "Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Doctor Frankenstein," Stone said. "German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support."
Andrew Breitbart is going to be fine. He's done nothing wrong. I wonder if Ms. Sherrod, who is such a champion of transparency, will publicly disclose who is putting her up to this. And I also hope this champion of honesty will stop lying about Fox News. I'm also waiting for Ms. Sherrod to publicly apologize for accusing anyone opposed to nationalized healthcare of being racist. Last time I checked, that was more than half the country.
Managing Editor's Note: What follows is an open letter from NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell to Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli about the controversial [now defunct] e-mail listserv JournoList, founded and operated by the Post's Ezra Klein.
The JournoList scandal is getting worse every day and The Washington Post is at the center of it. Blogger Ezra Klein ran the operation and at least three other staffers were members. (Blogger Greg Sargent claims he wasn't a member after he joined the Post.) In addition, at least one member of Slate and two from Newsweek, also owned by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, were members.
The almost constant revelations of political activism and journalistic conspiracy raise an enormous number of questions about Post policies, professionalism and ethics. As a conservative, and therefore a member of the movement JournoListers sought to demonize, I feel Post readers are owed full disclosure.
Any understanding of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes clear this list and the Post's involvement violate a number of ethical guidelines. In fact, much of the code seems to have been ignored. Here are just a few examples from the code.
Tucker Carlson's website The Daily Caller has unearthed a treasure trove of liberal journalists talking (nastily) to themselves in a private e-mail list about how they should use their media power to remake the world in their image.
The funniest thing about this expose of “JournoList” was witnessing journalists say it was unfair to leak these e-mails when reporters had an “expectation of privacy.” More than 90,000 pages of secret documents on Afghanistan have been leaked and journalists are tripping over each other in a mad stampede to cover the story. Everyone should laugh heartily at leak-devouring journalists getting a fistful of their own bitter pills.
The saddest thing about all this is the confirmation (as if it were necessary) that liberal journalists really aren't journalists first. They're political strategists. They pretend to be the Hollywood version of Woodward and Bernstein, the brave sleuths digging out government malfeasance and corruption. But in reality they're the Woodward and Bernstein who plotted how to get Richard Nixon impeached and ready the way for pacifist and socialist “Watergate babies” like Chris Dodd and Henry Waxman to take seats of power. Ethics are only relevant if they’re a weapon.
The surprise box-office boom for the cartoon “Despicable Me” is making it clear again to Hollywood this summer that family films are the most likely to be top-grossing films. “Toy Story 3” is number one for 2010, not only among the critics, but among the people as well. “Despicable Me” already has broken into the top ten box-office hits for the year to date with almost $130 million in ticket sales.
It happens over and over again. And still the “executives” are caught off guard. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Nobody needs a graphing calculator. Bring out the whole family, and you bring out a bigger audience. It’s summertime, and the kids are bored. If the whole family doesn’t go, the driving-aged teenager gets assigned to take the young ones to the movies, sometimes more than once.
(Memo to Hollywood: Really, truly, this is how it works.)
Managing Editor's Note: NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell today reprimanded members of the press in light of the recently exposed e-mails from the now-defunct JournoList that show a blatant, deliberate campaign to smear conservatives. That statement is published below. Click here for more background on JournoList.
The revelation of these e-mails simply proves that we have been right all along. The liberal media have no interest in being fair or unbiased. In fact, they are deliberately violating any sense of journalistic ethics.
There is no excuse – none- for the attitudes and lack of professionalism these so-called journalists displayed not only in these e-mails but in their reporting. Any member of the media that was privy to these Journolist emails, and remained silent, is just as much to blame as the folks that crafted these e-mails. Their silence indicts them.
We said in 2008 that the media were making excuses for Jeremiah Wright and now we have the proof. Just today we learned from the Daily Caller that these people went so far as to say that Rush Limbaugh ‘deserves’ their hate. Sadly, I am not surprised, as this is what we have been exposing year after year about the media. And it’s exactly why Americans refuse to trust them.
Almost from the moment Barack Obama declared he would run for president in 2007, our enraptured media elite has been accusing anyone who would stand in Obama’s way with racism. The question was never whether Obama was ready to govern the country, but whether the country was ready for the historic awesomeness of Obama.
Pity the NAACP. We now have a black president, and they must convince (racist) America that there still exists the need for a national association to advance “colored people” in our society. How to do it? Identify and condemn as “racists” anyone or any group opposed to Barack Obama.
Apparently you cannot sincerely oppose a crushing tax burden, a useless “stimulus” bill, ObamaCare, or any other element of his socialist agenda without being tagged as a bigot.
Managing Editor's Note: Earlier today, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell demanded that the media cover the explosive video footage of an NAACP banquet speaker admitting her racist views and abuse of power that led to her resignation as a Department of Agriculture official yesterday. The full text of that statement is found below:
The liberal media are deliberately spiking the shocking video that reveals an NAACP banquet speaker admitting her racist views and actions. We’ve waited a full 24 hours to see if any coverage of this exposé would surface. So far, nothing but crickets. The ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning ‘news’ shows have all failed to even mention the damning video admission that is dripping with disdain for white people and that caused the official to tender her resignation.
Worse yet, it comes from the NAACP, the same organization that has feverishly accused the Tea Parties of racism. The thoroughly untrue accusation against the Tea Parties has been propped up and propelled by the incessant reporting of these same networks. Yet they decide to thwart this story about the NAACP.
The only thing more newsworthy than the charges of racism are the hypocritical charges of racism. The media must report this scandal.
On July 12, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City warmly offered the TV networks exactly what they wanted: the shredding of the FCC's lamely enforced rules against broadcast indecency. As of now, the network stars can swear at will in front of impressionable children. These judges did not rule narrowly on the focus of the case – “fleeting expletives” that networks aired unintentionally. They ruled broadly in favor of all expletives.
There’s no other way to say this. The ruling is idiocy.
Judge Rosemary Pooler, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, concluded the FCC's prohibitions against F-bombs and S-words are somehow “unconstitutionally vague.” She claimed they weren't suggesting it was impossible for the FCC to construct a constitutional decency regime. But the decision made it clear these judges don't think the FCC should even bother.
“The observation that people will always find a way to subvert censorship laws may expose a certain futility in the FCC's crusade against indecent speech,” Pooler wrote. Note the wording. “Censorship laws.” “Crusade.” It is precisely the language of Hollywood lobbyists.
The Political Left is in a meltdown. There’s no way to sugarcoat the calamity. It is falling apart. It sees the tide has turned and a possible tsunami is building, ready to crest and explode in November, washing all their dreams away. How could this be happening to them?
Could it be that trillion dollar disaster otherwise know as the “stimulus,” that emergency measure needed to save the economy by creating millions of jobs except it’s accomplished absolutely nothing except putting our grandchildren yet another trillion dollars in debt? Or the auto company takeovers, something no one wanted and Congress never authorized as part of the TARP bailout fund? Or the appointment of one radical after another to nanny-state us all, including now the just recess-appointed Dr. Donald Berwick to oversee ObamaCare, a Marxist who proudly calls for the redistribution of wealth and who absolutely adores Britain’s onerous National Health Service, rationing and all? Or any one of a thousand other radical ventures proposed/discussed/enacted by this radical leftist regime?
The Bravo cable network has a new reality show called “Work of Art,” a competition dedicated to finding the next great American artist. The half-dozen contestants, 20-something aspiring artists all, enter the famous Phillips de Pury art auction house. Mr. de Pury himself ushers them into the special room where they are presented with a collection of paintings by Andres Serrano, the man who came to fame in 1989 with the ghastly photograph, sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts, depicting a crucifix dunked in a jar of urine. They are hugely impressed. The final painting they are shown is just that — the original "Piss Christ." They are in awe, quietly expressing their amazement at the talent. And then the door opens and in steps the master. The students freeze, eyes bright, mouths agape. The curator announces, "the great, great Serrano!" One girl instinctively bows reverently.
Serrano explains his art. "Life, art, politics. It's all the same s—-.... People in general always think their s—- is the best. So if you really want to see some real s—-, check out my s—-." Six times he utters the expletive; the students giggle with glee.
Editor's Note: What follows is a statement NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell released earlier this evening upon learning that CNN had fired its senior editor of Mideast affairs Octavia Nasr, who had expressed via her Twitter account sadness at the death of a Hezbollah terrorist leader whom she "respect[ed] a lot."
CNN has finally taken a step in the right direction in removing a terrorist sympathizer from their ranks. It’s a shame it took this amount of publicity and attention from organizations like the MRC to get the job done, as Octavia Nasr should never have been granted the position of authority to begin with. Unfortunately, CNN will have to deal with the consequences of how this affects their integrity and a growing public distrust of how they cover Islamic terrorism, but they took the right step in firing her.
The shallow and promotional TV coverage of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings illustrated once again how the shamelessly ABC, CBS, and NBC shape the political Play-Doh they offer to the American people as “news.”
First, there was the amount of coverage.Let’s put it this way: “coverage” is the wrong word. Entire days of hearings, filled with tough exchanges with Republicans on issues like the military, “gay marriage,” and abortion were swept under the rug. Instead, the one talking point every viewer was supposed to remember was this: Kagan is funny! She is really, really funny!
At one point in the hearings, they discussed the Obama administration’s very unfunny failure to stop the Christmas Day bomber from almost blowing up a plane as it landed in Detroit. That somehow turned into a joke about Kagan’s Jewishness. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has seemed desperate to ingratiate himself with Obama’s nominees, set Kagan up to joke that she probably spent Christmas at a Chinese restaurant.
Oliver Stone shocked many when his movie “World Trade Center” was released in 2006. It was a masterpiece, a meditation on two firemen trapped in a darkened tomb of broken concrete, twisted metal and shattered glass. They had rushed headlong into the collapsing skyscrapers, only to be buried alive. So many of their colleagues died, but in the end these heroes were located by searchers and rescued.
Stone maintained it wasn’t a political movie, and for the most part, it wasn’t. It was a personal story. But this movie was also a gift to our country, a reminder not to forget this dark day’s victims and its heroes. It was only political in that it was patriotic. It reminded us all across our country of how our fellow Americans in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania were mercilessly murdered. It came closest to politics (or patriotism) when the firemen were found by a man who vowed to join the War on Terror. Sadly, that was but a brief hiccup in Stone’s career, a befuddling, out-of-character career move. In most of his movies, Oliver Stone is clearly not a fan of America, both her leaders and her policies. Think “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Platoon,” “JFK,” “Nixon” and “W.”
Now he is promoting a new documentary called “South of the Border,” which debuted June 25. Its philosophy is illustrated by the poster: The American eagle’s talon is pierced by a large thorn coming out of a blood-red South America. It’s no overstatement to say Stone deeply adores the trend of Yanqui-bashing leftists coming to power, from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to Evo Morales in Bolivia to Lula da Silva in Brazil.
It's not cute when reporters play dumb. Last year, when Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, CBS anchor Katie Couric said labeling her “won't be easy.” CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews found “no clear ideology” in her public record. This week, the Washington Post embarrassed themselves with a front-page story claiming “Obama has not chosen outspoken liberals in either of his first two opportunities to influence the makeup of the court.”
That ridiculous sentence collides with a June 8 report by liberal Los Angeles Times legal reporter David Savage. “The early returns are in, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor is proving herself to be a reliable liberal vote on the Supreme Court. Cases this year on campaign speech, religion, juvenile crime, federal power and Miranda warnings resulted in an ideological split among the justices, and on every occasion, Sotomayor joined the liberal bloc.”
It’s been two months since Comedy Central censored Mohammed out of their cartoon “South Park.” Even the utterance of the name was bleeped. The blog Revolution Muslim quoted the world’s most notorious terrorist as an inspirational figure. “As Osama bin Laden said with regard to the cartoons of Denmark, ‘If there is no check in the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.’”
But there has been no ceasefire in Comedy Central’s war on Christianity. The attacks on Catholic Americans just keep coming. On “The Daily Show” on June 17, fake correspondent Samantha Bee interviewed two priests and two nuns who are watchdogging Goldman Sachs for a liberal interfaith group.
Jon Stewart started the Catholic-bashing in his introduction: “Sometimes it’s easy to spot the villain in a story. Sometimes it’s not.”
We’re entering the summer vacation season and conservatives continue feeling confident that an electoral wave is going to wash over the opposition come November. Polls show there is a great and growing dissatisfaction with Washington, which is not new, except the face this time around is that of Barack Obama, and the public is revolting over his administration’s incessant attempts to grant the federal government ever more power and resources.
But success in the fall is not guaranteed, and even if it ends in a GOP takeover of the House, as many predict, questions remain. Have Republicans learned anything from the disasters of ’06 and ’08? Will Republicans embrace real conservatism and put some real restraints on Obama’s lust for power? Will conservatives be able to make a mark on the country, or will they return to their fecklessness during the Bush years?
One disturbing tendency of the old regime is coming back: fiscal conservatives are already selling out social conservatives in an attempt to build winning coalitions without them. How many times must the GOP learn this is suicide? To win, conservatives must have not a “truce” between fiscal and social conservatives, as Gov. Mitch Daniels has unfortunately called for, but a strong, healthy alliance, with the common goal of victory.
“Who was Bob Hope?” To anyone over 35 that seems like such a strange question. Bob Hope, everyone knows, was one of the greatest American entertainers of the 20th century, and whose greatest public service was his decades-long commitment to U.S. troops all over the world for many decades, which earned him the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors.
And yet it's quite possible that a senior graduating from high school this month would scrunch up his face with a puzzled look over the question. It is why it was refreshing to hear that the Library of Congress has a new exhibit called “Hope for America: Performance, Politics and Pop Culture,” drawn from the Bob Hope Collection, which was donated to the Library by the Hope family in 1998.
Unfortunately, as with so much that affects our popular culture, this man’s legacy is also an excuse to unveil a leftist political agenda, the likes of which Bob Hope would be the first to denounce.