Liberal political pundits frequently remind Americans that words matter, which makes broadcast network reporters' coverage of Arizona's new crack down on illegal immigrants so appalling.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law on April 23 that would make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to not carry documentation proving they are in the country legally. The bill gave state law enforcement the power to determine the immigration status of any person during "any lawful contact." Amid allegations that this law would lead to "racial profiling," Brewer later amended it to allow law enforcement to only check the immigration status of those involved in a "lawful stop, detention or arrest."
Reporters on ABC, NBC and CBS misled the American people about the law by calling it "anti-immigration" twice as often as correctly identifying the law as "anti-illegal immigration" and reporting, as ABC's Bill Weir did on the April 24 "Good Morning America, "Police [in Arizona] now have the power to stop anyone and make them prove they are legal."
Given the contentious debate over the proper role of religion in American public life, you'd think an important Supreme Court ruling on the issue would be a big story to the network news. But the Court's April 28 finding regarding a cross on a World War I memorial in the Mojave Desert elicited a yawn from CBS's "Evening News," a 78-word report from NBC's "Nightly News," and a one-sided segment from ABC's "World News with Diane Sawyer" that fretted if the Court "move[d] the bar on the separation of church and state."
The cross in question is part of a memorial built in 1934 in the federal-owned Mojave National Preserve to honor fallen WWI veterans. Lower courts ruled the cross unconstitutional and had it covered with a box, despite efforts taken in recent years by Congress to avoid constitutional questions over it by transferring that portion of the Preserve to private owners.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled this was not a clear-cut violation of the separation of church and state.
"The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion. Kennedy noted specifically about this cross that it "evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten."
Usually a man bemoaning the lack of positive role models for girls would receive feminist plaudits, but not from Bonnie Erbe and certainly not when he talks about the need of role models for young women who want a family and a career.
Daily Beast's Peter Beinart ticked off Erbe, a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report, when he urged President Barack Obama in his recent column to nominate a mother to the Supreme Court because he thought that it would provide a good role model for women.
Nevermind the fact that Beinart argued his case partly because a woman nominee would help swing the Court further left or that the tenets of feminism teach that a woman can do anything she wants.
Nope, Beinart's opinion "annoys" Erbe and, according to her April 27 blog post, is "also dumb" and "offensive" because motherhood isn't a worthy option in her eyes.
The 2010 NFL draft showed that it's not enough to be a star football player anymore. Character counts now too.
Tim Tebow, and the Denver Bronco's drafting him as first-round pick, was the big story out of the NFL draft. Despite a phenomenal college career in which he won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, led the Florida Gators to two national championships, and lived out his Christian beliefs, many expressed doubts over Tebow's ability to compete on the professional level.
For publicly stating his Christian beliefs, Tebow has been called a "religious fundamentalist, lightning-rod misfit," told he "has a long way to mature from a business perspective," and his family and friends were compared to "Nazis."
Time's Nancy Gibbs celebrated the birth control pill's 50th anniversary in her May 3 cover story by hailing the greater employment opportunities for women that resulted from its wide-spread use. But she failed to explore the downsides of it.
The Pill became widely available in 1960, first to married women who wanted to control their fertility and later, to single women. And though the 1960s led to the sexual revolution, Gibbs claimed that it wasn't the Pill itself that caused the "liberalization of attitudes" regarding sexuality. However, the anecdotes she included in the article discredited that argument.
"Margaret" told Gibbs her thoughts about sex with her boyfriend (who refused to wear a condom) before and after going on the Pill.
"I was too scared of getting pregnant to risk using nothing though he tried to convince me," explained Margaret. According to Gibbs taking the Pill "was a revelation" for Margaret. "The second I went on the Pill," she continued, "all the mess and worry and holding my breath every month to see if I got my period was completely lifted off my shoulders. I wish I had used it from the get-go. You forget how that anxiety can rule your life."
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Apparently HBO's advertising and marketing divisions don't know if Dr. Jack Kevorkian is a killer or not. Promos for the company's new movie, "You Don't Know Jack" feature actor Al Pacino as Kevorkian, along side the question, "Is this the face of a killer?" To HBO, the answer is no, he's not a killer, if the movie's synopsis and trailer are any indication.
"Provocative, obstinate and complex, Jack ultimately risks it all in his fervor to change the prevailing laws and challenge society's attitude towards the right to die," read the film's synopsis. The movie premieres April 24.
Throughout the trailer, viewers hear Pacino demanding, "When a law is deemed unmoral by you, you must disobey it. You must disobey it." Prior to that he stated, "What we're doing here today is groundbreaking" and "If a person's allowed to die, you do it quickly, painlessly, you don't let him whither away."
Viewers also hear actress Brenda Vaccaro, who plays Kevorkian's sister, defending him to protesters, "He's leading society to an age of enlightenment, you idiots!"
For years, pop culture hyped "hooking up" as fun, easy and largely without consequences. Teens and young adults bought into the hype, much to the chagrin of educators and parents, but some young women who experienced the consequences of these casual sexual encounters are now rejecting the "hook up" culture.
CNN took notice of the changing behavior among college women - and some pop stars like Lady Gaga - in an April 19 article and attributed the shift to "the emotional devastation of many college students, particularly girls whose hearts are broken by the hook up scene."
"Hooking up" refers to anything from kissing to sexual intercourse with a stranger, an acquaintance or a friend. No matter what the activities or with whom, a lack of commitment is the defining trademark of a hook up. Studies have shown that 75 percent of women have "hooked up" with another person while in college. As CNN noted, "the number is usually higher for men."
"Glee" marked its April 13 comeback with a grand tradition in entertainment: a gratuitous slam at Sarah Palin's intelligence.
Sue Sylvester, a conniving high school cheerleading coach played by actress Jane Lynch, told two cheerleaders, "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."
If anyone at NBC News has a sense of irony, they hide it well. Ironic is about the best you can say about a supposedly reputable, unbiased news organization taking up with a magazine called The Advocate. But there was NBC last month, announcing with a straight face (pardon the pun) a new partnership with The Advocate, a gay-oriented magazine.
According to Media Bistro, "The magazine's online home, Advocate.com, will use NBC resources to produce daily news segments that will run online and on air via "The Advocate On-Air. NBC News, in turn, may use content and writers from The Advocate to report on issues relating to the LGBT community."
Painting conservatives as racists is a favorite pastime of the mainstream media and a recent move by Republican Virginia governor Bob McDonnell gave them more ammunition to do just that.
McDonnell issued a proclamation on April 2 stating April would be Confederate History Month, but failed to note the role slavery played in the U.S. Civil War that lasted from 1861-1865. Commentators and journalists seized upon McDonnell's omission as proof that conservatives are inherent racists, despite an apology and later inclusion in the proclamation of a strong statement condemning slavery.
In his apology, McDonnell called slavery an "abomination" and explained that the proclamation was "solely intended to promote the study of our history, encourage tourism in our state in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and recognize Virginia's unique role in the story of America."
These allegations of racism against conservatives have percolated in the media since Barack Obama's election in 2008. "Confederate" or "Confederacy" has been used 60 times in news reports on ABC, CBS and NBC since November 4, 2008, but it's this proclamation, coupled with the anger over the recently passed health care reform, that had some in the media wondering if conservatives were ready to wage Civil War Redux.
GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) issued a "Call to Action" on April 7 urging its members to "hold CNN accountable" for a segment that allowed someone other than a gay rights activist to talk about homosexuality.
CNN's Kyra Phillips spoke with California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and former homosexual Richard Cohen about the possible repeal of a California law that required the State Department of Mental Health to research the "causes" and "cures" of homosexuality during a April 6 "Newsroom" segment.
GLAAD claimed "the segment tried to give the appearance of ‘balance,'" but complained that the segment was "unacceptable" because of "the airtime afforded the disreputable Cohen to tout ‘healing' gay people, coupled with a lack of information about the harm caused by such practices."
GLAAD should realize that it can't win them all. The truth is that CNN has a history of airing unbalanced reports about homosexual issues - most of which favor proponents of gay rights. The organization even recently gave the network two separate awards for it's "excellence" and its "outstanding" segments regarding gay issues.
The broadcast networks couldn't ignore Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, so instead they used it this year to smear the Catholic Church as a harbor for abusive priests.
ABC, CBS and NBC featured 26 stories during Holy Week about Pope Benedict's perceived role in the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now facing. Only one story focused on the measures the church has adopted in recent years to prevent abuse. In 69 percent of the stories (18 out of 26) reporters used language that presumed the pope's guilt. Only one made specific mention of the recent drop in the incidence of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.
Jeanine Pirro provided a textbook demonstration of media bias against the Catholic Church during her stint as a substitute host for CNN Headline News's "The Joy Behar Show on March 29. Pirro never gave her guest a chance to defend the church and interrupted him six times within 1 minute, 59 seconds.
Pirro is a former Westchester County, N.Y., district attorney and judge who now hosts the TV program, "Judge Jeanine Pirro." She also appears on network and cable news programs as a legal analyst.
First, she stacked the deck. Pirro hosted a panel discussion about the recent allegations that Pope Benedict XVI failed to act when confronted with evidence about priests sexually abusing children. Of the three panelists, only Catholic League president Bill Donohue defended the church. The other participants included Kevin Cullen, a Boston Globe reporter who was part of the investigative team that broke the 2002 story of the Boston diocese covering up sexual abuse and Jeffery Anderson, an attorney who has filed thousands of suits against the church since 1983.
Pirro told Anderson he was "right" in one instance, and then proceeded to call one of Donohue's argument's "hogwash," despite the fact that The New York Times backed up the claim that Benedict, as a cardinal, did not know that a priest in Germany accused of sexual abuse was transferred and allowed to serve in another parish.
How dare pro-life activists have an unassuming Web site and advertising campaign that doesn't explicitly condemn abortion!
That was the message Susan Dominus conveyed in her March 26 New York Times article, "In Subway Ads on Abortion, a Pretense of Neutrality."
Dominus attacked recent ads for abortionchangesyou.com, a Web site in which anybody touched by abortion can anonymously share their feelings and learn that they are not alone. Dominus began her story by noting the innocuous nature of the advertisement, but turns on the Web site after revealing its association with Project Rachel, a Catholic initiative.
After describing the advertisement, Dominus disparaged all pro-lifers by saying, "as anti-abortion strategies go, it is relatively oblique - a far cry from a brick in the window or a death threat to a member of Congress."
All three broadcast networks reported allegations of abuse by Catholic priests during their nightly news programs on March 25. But none of them provided an objective report.
ABC, CBS and NBC ran a combined total of 13 sound bites from victims and victim advocates, who claimed the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, covered up sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy.
They alleged that Murphy abused 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee, WI, throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Only NBC's report included a defender of the church: George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Despite a claim by Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander, that "accusations of journalistic overkill" in the newspaper's recent coverage of same-sex marriage are "off-base," the Post itself keeps piling up evidence of its pro-gay agenda.
The Culture and Media Institute found that between March 3, the day after same-sex couples could being applying for marriage licenses in the District of Columbia, through March 10, one week later, the Post devoted nearly 543 inches of column space (almost four full pages) to the new law and what it meant for local gay couples. Supporters of the changed policy were quoted 10 times more than opponents.
Alexander spoke with CMI last week about its review of the Post's coverage, but between March 18 and March 25, the newspaper devoted another 191 inches of column space to gay rights. Thirty-four different pro-gay quotes appeared in four stories, one of which was written by a bisexual, while the opposing view did not appear at all.
Seth MacFarlane marked the five-year-anniversary of Terri Schiavo's court-ordered death by staging a preschool musical about it in his crass FOX cartoon, "Family Guy."
MacFarlane denied Schiavo human dignity in the March 21 episode by referring to her in lyrics sung by cartoon preschoolers as "the most expensive plant you'll ever see" and a "vegetable," and noted "her mashed potato brains."
The child who played the role of Schiavo's husband, Michael, ultimately concluded, "There's only one solution, it's in the Constitution, we've got to pull the plug."
Huffington Post blogger Tamara McClintock Greenberg gave one more reason in support of same-sex marriage - without it, her friends "might be forced to leave the country."
Greenberg lamented her friends' situation: "As same-sex partners, not only do they lack the basic rights of any couple in love to marry, since one person is an immigrant on a student visa, they may have to move to another country that acknowledges gay rights and marriage."
With that unique argument out of the way, the rest of Greenberg's post was a textbook-perfect liberal screed against those standing in the way of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. She was ashamed of America and compared it to countries where atrocious human rights violations are committed everyday. She blamed Christianity for our intolerance, and argued that homosexual couples are no different than heterosexual couples.
Given recent liberal statements disparaging having children, it's easier to understand left-wing opposition to a pro-life amendment to the health care reform bill. Just one day after Rosie O'Donnell essentially stated that public funding of abortion would solve the problem of paying for "all of the unwanted kids and the half-million of them in foster care," she disparaged the QuiverFull movement as "even scarier" when she found it was made up of conservative evangelical Christians.
QuiverFull became a topic of discussion on O'Donnell's March 16 Sirius XM "Rosie Radio" after she mentioned that her new girlfriend enjoyed watching the TLC program "19 and Counting," about the Duggar family. [Audio available here .]
The Duggars have 19 children and are part of the movement, in which married couples forgo birth control to give God complete control over how many children they will have.
"That's their religion. It's a movement among [stated in a fake-Southern accent] conservative evangelical Christians," explained Pete Mele, a staff member.
"Oh. Uh-huh. Even scarier," O'Donnell interrupted.
In the media's eyes, the Boy Scouts of America are on par with bubble wrap - unimportant, disposable and something largely ignored unless someone wants to stomp on them.
The Boy Scouts celebrated its 100th anniversary last month. And as an organization in which over 110 million Americans have participated, including film director Steven Spielberg, 211 current members of Congress and Presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - and given the positive characteristics often associated with Scouts - hard-working respectful and loyal - it's logical to think the media would love to celebrate along with them.
But for the media, the gay agenda trumps everything else. As the Boy Scouts do not allow open homosexuals to serve in leadership roles within the organization, the Scouts will have to look elsewhere for commemoration.
ABC was the sole broadcast network to air anything about the Boy Scouts in the five weeks since the organization's anniversary. Two other segments aired on NPR. But while NBC and CBS could highlight the 50th birthday of bubble wrap and the Etch-A-Sketch, the 80th birthday of Nancy Drew, and the 60th birthday of the FBI's Most Wanted List, they couldn't muster even a mention for the Boy Scouts.
Ran 11 articles related to D.C.'s new law allowing same-sex marriage.
Devoted 543 inches of column space to the ruling - equal to nearly four full pages.
Printed 14 photos of gay celebrations, including a prominent one of two men kissing.
Quoted supporters 11 times more often than opponents - 67 to 6.
Repeatedly compared gay marriage to the historic civil rights movement.
Nobody can accuse The Washington Post of being objective when it came to covering the District of Columbia's decision to legalize same-sex marriage. The Post has reported on the event with a celebratory zeal more appropriate to The Advocate or The Blade.
NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" has consistency working in its favor: the biggest "victims" are its depictions of conservatives and Christians.
Part of "SVU's" appeal is its ripped-from-the-headlines storylines, but the program's writers frequently use these storylines to promote liberal agendas and to bash Christians.
Three different episodes have aired since February 10 and all promoted a liberal agenda. In the past month, audiences saw Christians portrayed as kinky sex addicts and murderers, heard propaganda that supports the idea of special punishment for hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and heard the detectives on the show refer to the abortion debate as "pro-choice or no choice."
March is Women's History Month, in which we acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions of women in history and in society today.
But for a select group of women - conservative women - their accomplishments and contributions are rarely celebrated but often demeaned and mocked in sexist - and crassly sexual - ways.
The Culture & Media Insitute looked back at what the media had to say over the past year about some of today's most prominent conservative women, including Michelle Malkin, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sarah Palin and Liz Cheney, and compiled a list of the 10 worst attacks on these women who dare to speak out in favor of conservative values.
Much of the criticism was the worst sort of misogyny with a dose of violence and disgusting adolescent sex references thrown in for good measure. The media outlets in question ranged from Playboy magazine to MSNBC to Sirius XM radio and included comments from both men and women.
The message that rang through loud and clear was that perspectives from conservative women were not appreciated or welcomed, and if a woman stepped out of line, she deserved whatever treatment she received.
Fox's family-friendly "American Idol" is headed down the tubes if Howard Stern and Perez Hilton have anything to do with it.
Stern, while now on XM Sirius Satellite Radio, dominated the public airwaves for more than 20 years as a shock jock. Regular discussions on his show revolved around celebrities' sexual proclivities, complete with explicit language. Strippers and porn stars were regular guests. As of 2005, the FCC had fined him more than any other radio broadcaster to the tune $2.5 million. He migrated to satellite radio to escape FCC rules.
Gossip blogger Hilton built his career by enhancing paparazzi shots of celebrities with crude white drawings of genitalia and bodily fluids and posting them on his site, PerezHilton.com, and outing gay celebrities. He injected politics into the Miss USA pageant last spring as a judge when he asked about same-sex marriage. He continually harassed former Miss California Carrie Prejean on his Web site after she expressed a belief in the traditional view of marriage in response to his question.
After "Idol" judge Simon Cowell, known for his brutal honesty, announced on Jan. 11 that this would be his last season as part of the wildly popular singing competition, Stern and Hilton both pitched themselves as his replacement, and entertainment journalists applauded.
According to ABC, CBS and NBC, an athlete involved in a three-month-old sex scandal is more newsworthy than a statement of principles signed by more than 80 conservative leaders.
Not just more newsworthy. The broadcast network morning shows devoted more than 30 minutes of coverage about Tiger Wood's statement to the press on his sexual "indiscretions" scheduled for Feb. 19. By contrast, the Feb. 17 signing of the Mount Vernon statement by 80 prominent conservative leaders received zero coverage. Both CBS and NBC sent camera crews to the event.
ABC provided the lion's share of the Tiger coverage, giving more than 17 minutes of airtime to the Woods story. A crisis management professional, a family therapist and two sports writers were brought on to speculate about the impact his expected apology would have on Woods' image and career, as well as the pros and cons of his wife Elin appearing alongside him.
Woods coverage on CBS clocked in at more than nine minutes while NBC, currently covering the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, gave Woods only four-and-a-half minutes.
CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference begins Feb. 18. Conservative leaders will rally the troops before the mid-term elections in November and discuss the future role of conservatives in politics.
One person who will not be in attendance is Meghan McCain, despite the year-long media attempt to make citizens believe she is somehow representative of conservatives. She tweeted on Feb. 11, "I have no idea where this weird rumor I am speaking at CPAC came from, it isn't true and I will not be attending or speaking."
McCain, the 25-year-old daughter of former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and a writer for The Daily Beast, has taken it upon herself to tell the GOP what needs to be fixed within the party. Because she calls herself a Republican, media outlets have perpetuated the notion that she is also conservative. By doing that, they've pushed a liberal social agenda that directly conflicts with conservative values.
Writer Kathleen Parker, herself no stranger to conservative bashing, praised McCain last spring as "one smart cookie" who "in a matter weeks ... has created a brand, presenting herself as a fresh face of her daddy's party and voice of young conservatives."
Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and a contributor to MSNBC, suggested last summer that "maybe what the Republican Party is going to have to do is skip a generation and wait for the Meghan McCains to come of age so they can run for office and take over the mantle of the party."
The case of a murdered woman who turned out to be an abortionist gave "Law and Order: SVU" writers the opportunity to frame the abortion debate as "pro-choice or no choice" during the Feb. 10 episode.
Ultimately, Audrey Hale's profession had nothing to do with her death but the twist allowed writers to get in a few shots against pro-life activists (calling them "fanatical nuts") and portray the doctor as an unsung hero committed to her job.
Detectives John Munch and Tutuola, played by Richard Belzer and Ice-T, questioned the lead suspect, Dalton Rindell, about his beliefs regarding abortion.
"Which are you, pro-choice or no choice?" asked Tutuola.
Apparently in Rosie O'Donnell's world, people who don't subscribe to her beliefs are less than human, and she surrounds herself with people of like mind.
The former "View" moderator took the opportunity during the Feb. 8 broadcast of her Sirius XM radio show, "Rosie Radio" to outline how she tried to "humanize" her former colleague, Elisabeth Hasselbeck. O'Donnell's comments stemmed from a discussion about the conservative backlash to her recent HBO documentary about families, "A Family is a Family is a Family."
"I have that horrible, horrible, optimistic view that I could reach one of them. Remember, after Columbine, I used to write Wayne LaPierre letters, who was the head of the NRA at that time, saying, ‘Surely, sir, you can understand,' as if he's gonna [agree]," she explained. "It's sort of what I thought about Elisabeth Hasselbeck, too. I'm gonna love her, regardless of what she says, I'm gonna love her and the love, then, is going to win through in the end."
She continued, "I was positive of this, and we sort of got it a little bit. We started to sort of humanize her. Remember, after she came to my house, she actually said on television how she thought our family was so great? Can you imagine the amount of hate mail she got from her constituency?" [Audio available here.]