It should tell you something that MTV is still highly valued by Hollywood as the televised center of the coolness universe. Why else would a top movie star like Tom Cruise dress up ridiculously as a fat, bald, bearded guy and embarrass himself in a profanity-littered skit on the MTV Movie Awards?
Cruise opened the show by saying he was going to take the program, put it up his posterior, and make it a diamond. He welcomed viewers to “Relax, and enjoy my two-hour giant s---.” And so it began, an apt description for the two hours that followed.
What is it about celebrities that they have to – absolutely must – be obscene in front of audiences with millions of impressionable children watching?
Broadcast networks have had repeated trouble at awards shows with celebrities cursing. But on cable television, which fears no fines or discipline from the Federal Communications Commission, MTV doesn't see profanity as a shocking accident. On this show, it was an intentional profanity barrage. If you love infantile cursing as dearly as MTV does, it was a stimulating profanity bath.
The last two presidents have been elected on the very dubious campaign promise of “changing the tone” of Washington. Either could have proven his sincerity by shredding the press credentials of the White House press corps Dean of Mean, Helen Thomas. Her tone was nasty, and her “questions” usually meant more as insults than as requests for information. Still, presidents and journalists alike bowed and scraped before her, as if she were the Queen of All Media.
Her reign ended with an implosion. A rabbi and two high-school kids in yarmulkes exposed Thomas as not merely anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic. Asked her opinion about the Jews at a Jewish heritage event at the White House, this daughter of Lebanese immigrants said they should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and when asked where they should go, she snapped “home” to Germany and Poland, where so many were massacred in the Holocaust.
Thomas apologized quickly, then retired from her Hearst column after these remarks. Whether it was voluntary or mandatory is unclear. What is clear, however, is that some in the press returned immediately to kissing her ring. “Few White House correspondents ever achieved her high profile and respectability,” raved Jeremy Peters in the New York Times. “From her coveted seat in the front row of the White House briefing room to her ability to cow even the most hardened White House press secretary, Ms. Thomas was a legend in Washington.”
Comedians often pride themselves on being irreverent, and in today's popular culture a favorite thing to ridicule is religion. The network Comedy Central has made laughing at religion its bread and butter. Their irreverence has limits, however, and it has nothing to do with taste. When radical Muslims wrote ominously online that the creators of "South Park" could end up like Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh - shot eight times on the street - mockery of Muhammed was formally and publicly censored.
Within weeks of that very public retreat, Comedy Central announced plans to work up a series laughing at Jesus Christ called "JC," a half-hour animated show about Jesus trying to live a normal life in New York City to escape the "enormous shadow" of his "powerful but apathetic father." God the Father is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ is the "ultimate fish out of water."
Beyond the glaring double standard there is this question: Where is the market demand for an entire television series dedicated to attacks on Jesus Christ? What did Jesus Christ do to Comedy Central that they must relentlessly mock Him by portraying him defecating and talking about his "yummy, yummy crap" on "South Park" and roast him on specials titled "Merry F--ing Christmas"? Why the visuals of Jesus Christ being stabbed to death? Of the Blessed Virgin Mary menstruating? To call these attacks "juvenile" is an insult to juveniles.
Bill O'Reilly recently hosted a “culture warriors” segment at Fox News where both “warriors” agreed that homosexuality is morally acceptable. That same no-debate mentality has been a regular drumbeat on the Fox television series “Glee,” a musical drama/comedy about a high school glee club in Lima, Ohio.
This show is wildly popular because of the music. Songs performed on the show sell feverishly on i-Tunes within hours. It’s not a hit because it's a political or social debate forum. But just as it dazzles viewers with musical performances, it’s hammered hard against traditional values at every turn. How does “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy make it tilt into utter intolerance? It isn’t through smash-mouth indoctrination. The treatments are subtle, but unmistakable.
There’s the mockery of famous social conservatives. In April, the show's villain and most popular character, cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, proclaimed "You may be two of the stupidest teens I've ever encountered. And that's saying something. I once taught a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin." Interestingly, this Fox Entertainment show has even mocked Fox News. At one point, a pregnant cheerleader is thrown out of her house by her heartless Christian father when he learns of her condition, but only after he's excited by the news that it’s time for Glenn Beck on TV.
PBS station managers made a big push last year to drive any trace of “sectarian” Christianity out of the taxpayer-funded broadcasting system, banning any church services or religious lectures that appeared on a handful of stations. They ultimately compromised and banned any new church programming. But on at least one program, PBS sounds like it’s declaring war on Christianity, including smears on Christianity that are not based on reality.
If that sounds shocking, imagine what the average Christian PBS viewer might have thought as he watched Tavis Smiley’s weeknight talk show on May 25. The guest was ex-Muslim and atheist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there to promote her latest book, “Nomad.” Smiley claims to be a Christian, but he attacked Ms. Ali for “idealizing Christianity” and recklessly turning people away from Islam.
Right out of the box, Smiley was out to make a point. “You say unapologetically and rather frankly that your mission here is to inform the West about the danger of Islam,” he began. “What danger do we need to be made aware of?”
CBS announced its new fall lineup to advertisers and the entertainment press on May 18. After all the jawing and legal wrangling back and forth over televised profanity, and whether it's somehow not profane if it's blurted out accidentally, CBS has ended the debate over accidents. The artists formerly known as the classy “Tiffany Network” have very deliberately introduced a new show called “$#*! My Dad Says.”
That's right – the fecal curse word starting with an S in the title. They pronounce it “Bleep My Dad Says.” They could simply have called it “Stuff My Dad Says” and not lost a scintilla of descriptive power. All they would lose is the childish wish to offend.
Michael Schneider of the trade publication Variety joked that it's too bad they didn't use an exclamation point and then a plus sign in the title after the dollar and pound signs, so the keyboard strokes would look more like the actual curse word. He actually gave CBS credit that they did not “wimp out” and sensibly clean up the show title. In the old black-and-white days a sitcom like this would simply be named after its star, “The William Shatner Show.” Nowadays the title selection requires talent – of a 12-year-old.
Radio talk-show host Bill Press is the tiniest of fish in the radio ocean, but this minnow’s all over the place complaining about the whales. The problem is, of course, that if the market is any kind of measurement, no one knows, or cares, that he’s written a book. So he’s written a column to self-tout “Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America’s Airwaves.”
Press writes about the good ol’ days of civil discourse, but “that's not what we hear nonstop today.” And who’s to blame? “Honest disagreement on the issues has been replaced by a barrage of ugly name-calling from today's ministers of hate on the right.”
OK, then let’s see the evidence. But first, let’s dispense with the Michael Savage examples, shall we? Press cites this phony as screaming to a gay activist, “You should get AIDS and die, you pig!” That is true, but Press doesn’t tell you that a) that was not on his radio show; it was on MSNBC, and b) Savage was loudly condemned by conservatives (like yours truly), and MSNBC was congratulated when he was fired, though some of us also pointed out that MSNBC should never have hired this bigot in the first place. That example is evidence Press is doing a clip job, not a research project.
The 2010 World Cup opens in South Africa in a few weeks. As a sports event it is unrivaled in its popularity. It promises to bring a half-million soccer fans to that country.
But it will also draw out the worst of the worst. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the economic promise of an expected half a million largely male incoming consumers is attracting a massive influx of prostitutes from across the border in Zimbabwe. Hotel managers are guessing that as many as 40,000 ladies of the evening are assembling from as far away as Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Venezuela.
This is not the first time this unholy amalgam of sports and the sex trade has materialized. Evidence shows this to be the norm.
The last World Cup competition four years ago in Germany, where prostitution and brothels are legal and tax revenue-generating, attracted thousands of “sex workers” to exploit the crowds. It made a dirty joke out of the tournament motto “A time to make friends.”
Liberal reporters always think that the liberal politicians they’re covering are the smartest people in the room. In fact, when they’re opposing something, they’re so smart that they don’t have to read the policy they’re discussing. They have a clairvoyant sense of how wrong it is.
Congressman Ted Poe of Texas exposed this liberal arrogance on May 13 at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. He was questioning Attorney General Eric Holder on the “controversial” (to the media, that is) Arizona immigration law. He asked an elementary question, although to liberals, it was shocking in its insolence: “Have you read the Arizona law?”
Holder’s response: “I have not had a chance. I grant that I have not read it.”
An incredulous Poe shot back that it wasn’t exactly a night’s worth of reading: “It's 10 pages. It's a lot shorter than the health care bill, which was 2,000 pages long. I'll give you my copy of it, if you would like to have a copy.”
From Uppsala, Sweden comes the news that cartoonist Lars Vilks was attacked and head-butted by an angry Muslim at a university lecture. A group of Muslims surrounding him shouted “God is great!” in Arabic as the cartoonist laid on the floor, his glasses broken. Ever since Vilks impolitely drew the prophet Muhammad's head on a dog, he’s been a wanted man. Even the American terrorist wannabe nicknamed “Jihad Jane” plotted to kill him.
This explains why Comedy Central’s “South Park” has been censoring images that might offend Muslims. The executives at Comedy Central (and their parent company Viacom) regularly pledge allegiance to freedom of expression, but don't really believe it – not when they ponder someone cracking their skulls at a Beverly Hills restaurant.
It's not just “South Park.” Jo Piazza of Foxnews.com reports that after the failed Times Square bombing, Comedy Central's “The Daily Show” told their “senior Islamic correspondent” Aasif Mandvi not to comment further on it. One writer for a scripted drama told Piazza that in one of his show's final episodes there had been a minor plot involving a Muslim extremist. Last week, “it was removed and the script was rewritten.”
It’s clear that Mohammed is off limits – and it’s just as crystal clear that Jesus Christ remains the juiciest of targets.
It’s more than a little tiresome to contemplate that every current liberal Supreme Court justice was touted by the national media as a moderate or even a conservative when they were originally announced, from John Paul Stevens to Sonia Sotomayor. Dan Rather even claimed the last retiree, David Souter, was dangerously “anti-women’s rights” when he was nominated in 1990. So it was less than shocking that the latest liberal nominee, Elena Kagan, drew the same phony “moderate” baloney.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer greeted the nomination with goo: “She is expected to play a role as somewhat of a conciliator, the bridge across the conservative and liberal wings of the Court. In fact, she loves opera, which Justice Scalia loves.” What more evidence of her judicial philosophy do we need?
The Federal Communications Commission is assigned the duty of enforcing broadcast decency provisions of the Communications Act of 1934. But Barack Obama’s FCC seems to think the indecency-discouraging mission of the FCC is as outdated as Glenn Miller, even as the airwaves sound more like Ozzy Osbourne.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is an aggressive regulator, thumbing his nose at a recent court decision that underlined he has no statutory authority for his power lust to rein in Internet service providers. Feeling no need to wait for a Democratic Congress to grant him that authority, Genachowski is planning to reclassify broadband providers as telecommunications companies, so he can gain new powers to “protect consumers” and “save” the World Wide Web.
Meanwhile, indecency on the broader band of broadcast TV – which Genachowski is bound by law to enforce – is being utterly ignored. Seth MacFarlane, the super-wealthy spoiled man-child of Fox Entertainment, has clearly read the tea leaves, and is flaunting the FCC directly.
Editor's Note: NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President President Brent Bozell released the following statement today regarding the broadcast and cable news media's silence about President Barack Obama's use of a crass sexual slang term to refer to Tea Party members.
If President George W. Bush had slurred the gay-rights movement during his presidency, it would have immediately dominated the news of every single national media outlet. Reporters would have pummeled the Administration and demanded an explanation and apology for the offense, and rightly so. You don’t smear anyone – let alone fellow Americans who elected you to office – regardless of your political differences.
Yet ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN haven’t even lifted an eyebrow since news broke that President Obama used the raunchy ‘teabagger’ slur to demean the hundreds of thousands of Americans who comprise the Tea Party movement. Reporters should be asking questions like:
Everyone knows that the quickest way to become a popular Republican in the media’s eyes is to denounce the Republicans as too extreme and conservative. The latest example is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who became an instant media sensation when he abandoned his dreadfully losing GOP campaign for the U.S. Senate to run as an independent. Chris Matthews pushed the storyline as a “Stalinesque purge” of moderates.
Obama strategist David Axelrod crowed about how great the Democrats looked as a result: “We have a big tent. They have a lean-to now.” This, from the party that hasn’t tolerated a pro-life presidential or vice-presidential nominee since Jimmy Carter tried to straddle the fence in 1976. This, from the liberals who are presently trying to “purge” Sen. Blanche Lincoln in a Democratic primary in Arkansas. This, from the party that successfully purged Sen. Joe Lieberman from its ranks.
When we think of comic-book superheroes, most of us who grew up in the last century think of mild-mannered reporters, or perhaps urbane millionaires with a secret identity, who fight crime heroically. They collar the bad guys and deliver them to justice. Even the supervillains they’d fight always seemed to escape so they could resurface in a later issue, and the struggle of Good vs. Evil continues.
That is not what a customer will find if he makes the mistake of taking in the new movie crudely titled “Kick-Ass.” The concept seems innocent enough – teenage comic-book devotee with absolutely no powers puts on a goofy wetsuit and tries to be a hero. But that's just the first few minutes.
What follows next is an entirely different movie, a gory slasher film, except the vigilante mass murderer is an 11-year-old girl in a costume that included a purple wig and a plaid private-school skirt. This little “Hit Girl” doesn't play by any moral rules, however. In her first mass-murder scene, she even double-spears a prostitute armed with only a broken booze bottle.
Arizona officially joined the South this month. In other words, it became for our Northeastern media elitists a state dominated by backward, slack-jawed racists. The Associated Press marked the passage of a tough new anti-immigration law with the leftist version of a Welcome Wagon: “The furor over Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants grew Monday as opponents used refried beans to smear swastikas on the state Capitol.”
Disagreeing with the left – and more importantly, handing them a political defeat – brings a lot of ugliness these days from the forces of “tolerance.” Character assassination is required. A citizen of Arizona cannot be concerned about higher rates of crime and strained government budgets without being Mexican-food-smeared as an adorer of Adolf Hitler.
But what’s truly outrageous if not surprising is that the same media that visibly quivered with anger that anyone would draw a Hitler moustache on their hero Barack Obama now present these Nazi smears as not an embarrassment to the left, but as a way of augmenting the left. The “furor was growing” over the tough new law, they dutifully report.
When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement, President Obama promised he would appoint someone like Stevens, who “knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”
In the world of politics, that phrase is self-explanatory. In the cultural arena, it’s more murky. When it comes to First Amendment cases on broadcast indecency, who is the “powerful interest” and who was the “ordinary citizen”? The roles are now reversed.
The president can’t use that analogy, because the powerful interests are now in Hollywood, facing the millions of regular Americans who oppose graphic violence, gratuitous sex, and avoidable profanity on television. Sadly, judges like Stevens have labored ever harder to protect perverse televised “expression” like orgy scenes or “wardrobe malfunctions” on CBS as somehow the sun-kissed summit of all free-speech causes.
They suggest that “news” shows don’t go into reruns. But it certainly seemed that way when Bill Clinton marked the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing by repeating the same reprehensible smear from 1995. “Anti-government talk” emanating from conservatives naturally, inevitably led to 168 lives snuffed out in the wreckage of the Murrah Federal Building.
On the night of April 16, ABC substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas red-carpeted Clinton’s latest attack with the title “Watch Your Words” on the screen. Vargas identified talk radio and Tea Partiers as the culprits: “There is a lot of attention tonight on comments made by former President Bill Clinton, who has weighed in on the angry anti-government rhetoric, ringing out from talk radio to Tea Party rallies. He warns that sometimes firing people up with caustic comments can have unintended and dire consequences.”
The New York Daily News was even more explicit, with the headline “Bubba: Tea Party Ticking Time Bomb.”
Six years after "The Passion of the Christ," anyone expecting a renaissance in faith-based movies has largely been disappointed. This is not to say such movies aren't produced. Every now and then, there's a movie made for this audience, but the audience won't hear about it from the movie critics because these elites aren't interested.
Last weekend, a new film premiered called "Letters to God." A title can't be more explicit about its plot. It's a movie about a 9-year-old soccer-crazy boy stricken with cancer, and the inspiring letters he writes each day to God. It's about prayer — certainly not a favorite topic for secular, sybaritic Hollywood.
When this movie arrived in offices of movie critics at major newspapers and magazines, the splashing sound you heard was the vomit hitting the floor.
It's a rare occurrence that the MRC and the typically left-leaning Dana Milbank agree, but this time he is spot on. Indeed, President Obama must have made world leaders feel as if they were transported back to a ‘Soviet-era Moscow' for the media restricted nuclear energy summit instead of arriving in the capitol of the free world."
But are we really surprised? After all, this is the same President who has won lavish praise from some of the world's most brutal dictators including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro."
In the mind’s eye of the conservative movement, the Tea Party phenomenon right now is maybe the crucial factor in slowing socialism in Washington, on everything from the federal health care takeover to the hidden taxes of cap-and-trade legislation.
It’s also a fascinating visual. When was the last time you saw such a spontaneous eruption of conservative grass-roots anger, coast to coast? On both counts the Tea Party movement should be cause for massive television coverage. Except for one thing. It’s a conservative uprising, so it gets different treatment.
It’s ignored as long as possible, and when it’s no longer possible to be ignored, it’s savaged.
Editor's Note:What follows is a statement Mr. Bozell released earlier today wherein he declared the intentional disparaging and false reporting of the Catholic Church and its leader Pope Benedict XVI an atrocity, and demanded the media immediately end their exaggerations:
The Catholic Church has always endured unfair characterizations from the left-wing media, but the most recent and phony ‘news’ coverage of the sexual abuse scandal has reached a new and alarming low.
Last week dozens of news outlets – including the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, New York TimesCBS, MSNBC– reported that the abuse scandal is ‘widening.’ That is absolutely and unequivocally false. The scandal isn’t growing. As Catholic League President Bill Donohue aptly noted, citing evidence from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, abuse is shrinking in the United States, with an even more rapid decline over the last five years.
Variety is a Hollywood trade publication, but it can be hard to figure out where the entertainment industry ends and the industry's journalistic apple-polishers begin. Exhibit A is a commentary by Brian Lowry trying to compare the news media's current hate objects -- the tea party tax protesters -- with the entertainment media's hate objects, the activists opposing Hollywood-distributed vulgarity.
Lowry dismisses both movements as hopelessly lost in the past, insisting the tea parties "sound strangely familiar, mirroring increasingly futile attempts to arrest changes and recapture simpler times in television -- an ongoing Tea Party on the tube. In spirit and tone, these criticisms in the political arena sound very much like those leveled against network television by the Parents Television Council and other lobbying groups pushing back against a perceived erosion of broadcast standards."
A "perceived" erosion in TV standards? Is there anyone on Planet Earth -- or on Planet Hollywood -- willing to argue that standards of decency haven't eroded?
Our secular liberal media elites are never more poisonously insincere than when they recommend that conservatives should move closer to liberals, for their own good. Witnessing the relentless media attacks on the Catholic Church, no member of the flock should assume that the agitators at Newsweek or the New York Times know best how to steer the faithful – or even believe they want to help the faithful. Much like Ted Turner, who called Catholics “losers,” his media colleagues see Catholics – and particularly Pope Benedict XVI – as loathsome political obstacles.
One can conclude from all the coverage of sexual-abuse charges that those charges aren’t really the primary point for the “truth” seekers. These leftist media elites have hijacked those heinous actions for a much broader goal. Theirs is a very political crusade, with the goal of sacking Pope Benedict and “reforming” the ancient church in their hipster image, one that celebrates gay bishop Eugene Robinson’s Episcopalian gospel of “tolerance” and “inclusion” and “pluralism.” That kind of church would pose zero threat to the global goals of the left. In that kind of church, there is no stained-glass ceiling to untrammeled abortion and unlimited “marriage” of everyone to everyone.
Many -- too many -- red-blooded American boys grow up on Japanese video-game systems from Sony and Nintendo. Their cultural interests can extend into Japanese cartoons ("anime") and some even discover Japanese pornographic cartoons ("hentai"). How so? Boys play games and watch cartoons like the "Dragon Ball Z" series, but can quickly surf the Web and find related cartoon titles like "Dragonball X," only to learn they are hard-core porn.
But that isn't all video-gaming boys can discover. CNN reports that Japanese porn also extends to sick video games that center on raping girls and women. One such game is called "RapeLay." The game begins with a young teenage girl on a subway platform who asks the video player in a high and tiny voice, "Can I help you with something?" The player then chooses a method of sexual assault. Players can also follow the girl onto the train and assault her older sister and her mother. Rape is not an option on the menu; rape is the entire point of the game.
When the Republicans shocked the liberal media elite by winning back Congress in 1994, they had been demonized for months. But it took the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995 for Bill Clinton and all of his "objective" media devotees to really pull the violence card and smear that mass murder all over Newt Gingrich and conservative Republicans, blaming it on their "anti-government" rhetoric.
In 2010, our partisan liberal media aren't waiting for the elections to arrive. An arrest of "Christian militia" activists in southern Michigan led Washington Post columnist (and former reporter) Eugene Robinson to proclaim implausibly on March 30: "The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction -- the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day -- and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies -- is calibrated not to inform but to incite."
Editor's Note: In a statement released today, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell denounced CNN for relying on bigoted anti-Catholic singer Sinead O'Connor as a credible source to discuss recent allegations brought against the Catholic Church in the cable network's repeated interviews with her. Those comments are posted below.
Sinead O’Connor is a despicable, hate-filled person who has no business being portrayed as a reasonable voice to discuss the Catholic Church that she has disgraced for the past twenty years.
CNN’s decision to have her on as a credible source to bash and criticize the Pope and the Catholic Church is like having the KKK on to criticize President Obama, or Nazis on to criticize Jews. It’s disgusting, unacceptable, and disgraceful.
When CNN decides to have legitimate, non-bigoted guests on, perhaps Americans will begin to trust them again as a viable news source.
[The following message was originally posted on my Facebook page.]
I have said many times that the greatest opposition to the Left can be found in conservative talk radio and every major conservative talk show host should concern himself, or herself, with what inevitably will be ferocious personal attacks. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.
It was only a matter of time before Sean Hannity would find himself with a big, fat target on his forehead, too. Now that he is set to launch his new book, Conservative Victory, the left is going out of its way to smear him.
I have looked at the charges being brought against him. David Frum published an excellent analysis of these charges and concluded, as did I, that they were utterly bogus. That, of course, won't stop the Left. They are now taking these bogus charges and calling for IRS investigations.
It seems like it's been quite some time since our National Endowment for the Arts has shocked the public with an outrageous grant for a ridiculous "artist" whose art flourishes only when the taxpayer is forced against his will to subsidize it. Sadly, that means these "artists" must take their talents elsewhere in search of public funding.
Subsidizing sleaze apparently is not shocking to Australia. Siobhan Duck of Melbourne's Herald Sun reports, "A television comedy about a bong-smoking dog that has sex with a cat and a teddy bear has received $1.5 million of federal and state taxpayers' money."
Wouldn't you be so proud if you were a taxpayer Down Under? The federal agency Screen Australia contributed $400,000 to the first season and $580,000 to the second. The state agency Film Victoria contributed $210,000 for the first set of shows and $294,048 towards the second.