NBC's Matt Lauer gave a "Today" show guest a free pass when she insisted that director/criminal/former fugitive Roman Polanski did not rape a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Debra Tate, sister of Polanski's late wife Sharon Tate, told Lauer, "There is, as I said, rape and there is rape. It was determined Roman did not forcibly have sex with this young woman. It was a consensual matter."
Lauer's response was simply, "Right."
Tate continued, "I am a victims' advocate, and I know the difference." Lauer agreed, saying "And I understand that, and yes, there is a difference."
Tate was the latest in a parade of Polanski defenders to appear on network television.
At no point in the interview did Lauer bring up the grand jury testimony of the 13-year-old girl which refuted the idea that Polanski's encounter was not "forcible" and that it was consensual. Only later did he note that Polanski did commit statutory rape.
Adultery did not fare well during a September 24 "Nightline" broadcast about the issue, but that didn't keep ABC's Cynthia McFadden from asking an evangelical pastor if he felt "a little intolerant" for his conservative views on the subject.
McFadden moderated a debate that tried to answer the question, "Are we born to cheat?" but appeared to mock Pastor Ed Young's responses whenever she could.
The proponents of adultery who appeared on the panel included Jenny Block, an author and participant in an open marriage, and Noel Biderman, the president and CEO of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to help people begin extra-marital affairs. To be fair, Block and Biderman did face some tough questioning about their views, but they did not receive the same derision McFadden levied at Young.
For all that critics have hailed ABC's "Modern Family" for its non-stereotypical portrayal of a gay couple, the show itself is stereotypical Hollywood propaganda.
"Modern Family," filmed in a mock-documentary style, examines the lives of three couples from one family. Patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill) is married to a much-younger, feisty Colombian woman. His daughter Claire is married to Phil who treats parenting like playtime. Jay's son Mitchell, is gay, and when the show began, has just adopted a baby with his partner Cameron.
Producers treated the 12.7 million viewers who tuned in Wednesday night for the premiere to a pro-gay adoption speech within the first two minutes of the program.
Perez Hilton has proved that demonstrable talent or skill is no longer a prerequisite for fame. These days, all that's needed is a proclivity for peddling the sleaziest material imaginable.
Hilton created a career for himself out of enhancing paparazzi shots of celebrities with crude white drawings of genitalia and bodily fluids and posting them on his blog, PerezHilton.com. He regularly described young actresses in the most misogynistic terms imaginable, relentlessly attempted to bring gay celebrities out of the closet and reserved a special brand of hate for conservative women, such as referring to "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck as "Elisab----" or re-posting lesbian comedian Margaret Cho's graphic oral sex fantasy about Sarah Palin. As a reward, his Web site reportedly receives 24 - 30 million views per month.
The mainstream media aided Hilton's rise to the top of culture corrupters. Since 2006, he has been the focus of 49 television news reports. He has been cited as an "expert" on all things related to Hollywood in 32 news stories. The Los Angeles Times recently labeled the blogger a "tastemaker."
It's standard journalistic practice to put the most important information at the very beginning of an article. For ABC News, it appeared the most pertinent facts about Irene Vilar, a woman who had 15 abortions in 16 years, were her fears about how pro-life activists would receive her new book, "Impossible Motherhood."
ABC reporter Susan Donaldson James perpetuated the myth of raging pro-life activists in her September 21 article about Vilar. Her lede read, "Irene Vilar worries that her self-described ‘abortion addiction' will be misunderstood, twisted by the pro-life movement to deny women the right to choose." Vilar, now a mother of two, told ABC, "no book like this has ever been written. I just imagine the ‘baby killer' and I could be a poster child for that kind of fundamentalism. And there are my little kids in all of that."
Vilar told Donaldson James, "she has already sensed ‘an inkling of hatred," a point noted in the third paragraph. By the fourth, Donaldson James had described the precautions taken by Vilar and her husband.
Bonnie Erbe, contributing editor to U.S. News and World report and host of PBS' "To the Contrary" recently compared conservative Christians to terrorists.
A soon-to-be published study in the journal Reproductive Health that found states with a high level of residents who subscribe to conservative religious beliefs also have high teen birth rates sparked Erbe's September 18 observation that Christianity and radical Islamic terrorism share distinct similarities.
Erbe did not find this conclusion "surprising," and noted that "most of these ‘religious' states are also so-called red states." From there she bashed red states as uneducated and poor, and argued that those factors combined with "increased religiosity tend to intertwine and build on each other." Erbe offered as proof the following example:
Did the photo editors of Marie Claire and Maxim switch places for a day?
It sure seems that way, considering the picture of a lip-locked Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page that accompanied their joint, profanity-laced interview in the October issue of Marie Claire. [Photo after the jump.]
Conducted by writer Jessica Henderson, Page and Barrymore promoted their new movie, "Whip It," and attempted to blur the lines of friendship and girl-on-girl romance in the interview.
To liberal media outlets, Warren Hern, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country, has been worthy of praise as a doctor who boldly stands up for his beliefs in the face of intimidation - a lonely humanitarian braving violent death for the sake of his patients.
That's the picture painted by TV and other media. What's missing from the portrait is Hern's belief that humans are "malignant ecotumors," his refusal to be called an abortionist, and his strident denunciations of the pro-life movement.
Attention has turned to Hern in the wake of the May 31 murder of Kansas late-term abortionist (and Hern friend) George Tiller. Since then, Hern has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR. Print media, including the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune have cited him.
Esquire magazine devoted 9,000 words to Hern in its current issue, which sparked his Aug. 12 appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show and praise from Keith Olbermann.
While Elle magazine hyped Miley Cyrus' entrée into womanhood with another sexualized photo shoot, Marie Claire's current issue gave a nod to a promising trend among tween and teen girls: modest fashion.
Writer Amanda Robb detailed the efforts of the faith-based Pure Fashion program, a program she labeled "Barbizon Modeling Schools for Sandra Dee types." According to the Pure Fashion Web site, it seeks to "help young girls develop into young ladies." Pure Fashion consists of seven monthly training sessions and concludes with a fashion show that highlights modest clothing.
Of the program as a whole, Robb conceded, "In the era of sexting and ‘Gossip Girl'-esque man-eating, there's something intriguing about Pure Fashion, which teaches its young charges that self-esteem isn't measured in terms of inches above the knee."
But fashion magazines lean liberal, and Robb tempered her praise of the program with an obligatory and brainless dig at the idea of Christian modesty: "Faith-based efforts to promote primness can be worrisome; one need only look to Tehran, Kabul and Jerusalem to find the disturbing phenomenon of ‘modesty police.'"
Newsflash: The media doesn't understand that the Catholic Church is not a democracy, and that the Vatican is not swayed by public opinion.
The proof of this disconnect came from ABC "World News Sunday" anchor Dan Harris and correspondent David Wright during the Aug. 16 "World News" broadcast. Wright's report on American nuns facing an apostolic visitation, labeled by Harris as "a controversial investigation," portrayed the Vatican as a big, bad bully of American nuns.
While some in the media have been dusting off their love beads, bell-bottoms and broomstick skirts in an effort to wax nostalgic about Woodstock, the VFW has reminded its members that the world did not stop for those four days in August 1969.
In fact, for 109 American soldiers, the world ended that weekend.
Much has been made over the "half a million strong" that flocked to a dairy farm in rural New York to celebrate music and peace. Richard K. Kolb instead compared the coverage Newsweek and Time gave to the festival while shortchanging American efforts in Vietnam.
An iconic child (now teen) star performs a pole dance at an awards show aimed at teens. Most of the media shrug. Welcome to Hollywood 2009.
At the Teen Choice Awards, which took place Aug. 9 and aired Aug. 10 on Fox, Miley Cyrus, the 16-year-old Disney-created star of the wildly popular "Hannah Montana," franchise performed "Party in the U.S.A." Clad in short-shorts, high-heeled boots and a tank top that revealed a black bra, Cyrus danced around a pole affixed to the top of an ice cream cart.
Admittedly, the pole moves were a small portion of her performance, but it raised the question of whether a pole belongs in any dance choreographed for a 16-year-old performing for others her age.
There's no consensus yet about the wisdom of a Spanish toy company making a doll that simulates breastfeeding. If consensus does eventually solidify, hopefully it won't be around Joy Behar's take. For "The View" host, the doll is a direct attack on feminism.
The doll, Baby Gloton ("gluttonous baby"), is sold with a halter top for the owner to wear, embedded with computer chips where a woman's nipples would be. When held to the chest, the baby moves its lips and makes a sucking sound. When moved away, the baby cries or can be "burped" like a live baby would be after a feeding.
"You know, to me, it's like programming little girls for their future. You know, just in case you want to have a career, no," Behar stated in her opposition to the doll. She offered her own experience as proof of this "programming." "I always played with dolls so when I became a woman I wanted a baby. But I think that had to do with that," Behar explained.
It's been a long time since MSNBC could pretend to be anything but a shill for liberal politicians, policies and causes. Any remaining doubts about that can be dispelled by surveying the network's recent coverage of the controversy over gays in the military.
Cable news' self-described "place for politics" covered the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" administrative policy six different times between July 27 and July 29. Opponents of the current policy were able to state their case unchallenged, while network anchors made it clear that they were themselves in favor of allowing openly homosexual men and women to serve in the armed forces. Not one defender of the current policy appeared in any of the conversations about "don't ask, don't tell."
Conversations about the policy, which bans openly gay men and women from serving in the military, were keyed around the actions of Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress, kicked-off a seven city tour sponsored by the gay rights' activist group Human Rights Campaign to increase public support for his bill that seeks to allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Gillibrand announced that the Senate Armed Services committee agreed to hold a hearing on the policy in the fall, the first since 1993, when former President Bill Clinton instituted the policy as a compromise.
According to Newsweek, polyamory is here to stay and “the traditionalists had better get used to it.”
Polyamory, reporter Jessica Bennett explained in her July 29 article, is the act of “engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person – based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.”
While Bennett acknowledged that keeping track of multiple partners’ (and their partners) needs and wants isn’t for everybody, she concluded, “perhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings – in a culture where divorce has become a commonplace – are clear.”
Bennett offered Terisa Greenan’s arrangement as an example of a successful polyamory situation. Terisa, who is married to Larry, is also the girlfriend of Matt and Scott. Matt is married to Vera, who is dating Larry, Terisa’s husband. Matt and Vera have a child together. Terisa, Larry and Scott live together in a house in Seattle, which Matt, Vera and their child visit during weekends.
Sound creepy? Not to Bennett. And she reassured critics in both the conservative and gay movements who expressed fear of polyamorists seeking government benefits and harming their respective causes. “The majority of them don’t seem particularly interested in pressing a political agenda; the joke in the community is that the complexities of their relationships leave little time for activism.”
Youngsters' curiosity about sex used to be sated by late night, soft-core flicks on premium cable channels. Now, they simply have to tune into ABC.
ABC news programs have featured 76 segments about sexual activity in the last six months. The majority of these reports were related to political sex scandals or crime cases that contained a sexual element, but 11 promoted alternative sexual arrangements such as men who become women, Web sites dedicated to helping married people cheat on their spouses and even people who carry on romantic relationships with objects like F-15 fighter jets and the Eiffel Tower.
For Hank Stuever of the Washington Post, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie, "Bruno," is a reflection of America's "giant case of sex phobia."
Cohen's movie tells the tale of Bruno, a gay Austrian fashionista who embarks on a quest for fame (to become "the most famous Austrian since Hitler"). Its depictions of gay sex and a gay man flamboyantly flaunting his sexuality caused worry among gay activists about an increase of homophobia, despite a statement from Universal Pictures that the film aimed to "shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia."
Stuever offered Post readers an inside look on July 9 at what it felt like to be a gay man watching "Bruno" and concluded that the movie didn't teach anything "other than sex is basically a total gross out."
There's no doubt about it. Celebrity is the media's top priority.
Michael Jackson's June 25 death overshadowed all other news for almost two weeks.
Nightly news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC featured at least one story each night about Jackson since his death. More than half of those broadcasts aired since June 25 lead with a story about Jackson. A Pew poll found cable news devoted 93 percent of its coverage to Jackson on June 25 and 26. The broadcast networks joined CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in airing Jackson's July 7 memorial from Los Angeles' Staples Center.
Despite a separate Pew poll that found 64 percent of people believe there was too much coverage of Jackson, the media continue to hit the story hard. CNN's Don Lemon even labeled critics of the coverage "elitist," and said, "Michael Jackson is an accidental civil rights leader, an accidental pioneer. He broke ground and barriers in so many different realms in artistry, in pictures, in movies, in music, you name it. So, no, I don't think it's overkill."
ABC gave pro-abortion advocates free advertising last night with its "World News Sunday." During the report, an abortionist unequivocally stated that late-term abortion is "really a miscarriage of a stillborn fetus."
Anchor Dan Harris framed Steve Osunsami's segment as a look at why doctors risk their lives to perform abortions given the "constant threat" of violence they face, as evidenced by last week's murder of abortionist George Tiller and recent comments from Tiller's accused killer that "similar attacks are planned all over the country."
Harris teased the segment "Tonight, we talk to late-term abortion providers who fear they are targets. Why do they do it?" He stated in his introduction, "Why would a doctor take that risk? And why would a woman make that choice?"
It seems like abstaining from sex is now the only thing that shocks in our sexualized culture.
Cosmopolitan magazine, best known for its "75 Ways to Drive Your Man Wild"-type articles, turned its spotlight on virgins in its July issue.
Editors splashed "Virgins in Cosmo! (We Thought This Day Would Never Come)" across the cover to advertise Molly Triffin's article about why some women in their early 20s choose to remain virgins.
Not surprisingly, none of the seven women featured in Triffin's article, "Why They're Still Virgins" cited religious reasons for abstaining from sex. Nor did they express interest in staying virgins until marriage. All of the women cited not meeting the right guy as at least one reason for waiting. Yet the majority of the woman also appeared to feel it necessary to prove they're not totally puritanical when it comes to sex.
George Tiller, the Kansas doctor notorious for his commitment to performing late-term abortions, was killed May 31 while attending a Sunday morning church service.
By his count, Tiller performed 60,000 abortions. His clinic, Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, was one of only three clinics in the United States that offered abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy.
Loss of human life is a tragedy and should be reported as such, and premeditated murder is always wrong - something all the mainstream pro-life groups were quick to affirm in the wake of the killing. But in reporting this tragic story, the news media have much to say about a man who helped provide women with the "right" to end their pregnancies, but have little to say about lives he helped to end. In failing to highlight what Tiller's work actually entailed, reporters do nothing to help their audience understand why this man was targeted.
Nobody can accuse the broadcast networks of objectivity when it comes to gay "rights."
ABC, CBS and NBC combined devoted nearly 11 minutes of air time during their evening and morning news shows to the May 26 California Supreme Court ruling that upheld Proposition 8, the 2008 state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. The networks gave gay rights activists more than seven minutes of air time, through interviews and footage of their protests, while they gave Prop 8 supporters less than one minute to talk about their victory.
After the winner of "American Idol" is crowned, the appropriate action is to congratulate the newly crowned Idol on his success. Yet on May 21 media focus was clearly elsewhere. That day, reports on all three networks' morning broadcasts, marveled at how Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert and gave unusual attention to contestants who did not win, but are still successful, leaving little doubt that these hosts and reporters believe something wasn't right about Allen's victory.
Allen and Lambert are very different. Allen, a married twenty-three year old, is a college student from Arkansas. He grew throughout the season as a performer and was often labeled as humble. Lambert, on the hand, was an edgy performer who has become known for his "guyliner," or extensive use of black eyeliner. Although he was a frontrunner and often praised by the judges, his sexuality was often questioned, especially after photos hit the Web in which he appeared to be kissing another man.
Since its announcement in March, the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to give this year's commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in law has been a big story for American Catholics. Pro-life Catholics were outraged and more than 366,000 people signed a petition urging Notre Dame to rescind the invitation. Somehow, though, the controversy didn't merit notice by the broadcast networks. They refused to cover it.
Yet after the fact, Obama's commencement address led ABC and NBC's evening news programs on May 17. (CBS' "Evening News" was preempted by golf, but anchor Russ Mitchell did offer a newsbreak that included a brief mention of Obama's address.) The broadcast networks' morning news programs, including CBS, also discussed Obama's speech. In each case they praised his words and ignored what had stirred so much controversy: the president's history of supporting even the most extreme abortion rights measures. And they turned to mostly liberal Catholics to provide context and perspective on the debate.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer stated yesterday after pageant owner Donald Trump proclaimed Carrie Prejean would continue her reign as Miss California, that the controversy over her defense of marriage as one man and one woman "is a good jumping off point for a conversation about same-sex marriage, about hypocrisy."
Based on Brewer's softball interview with "celebrity gossip columnist" Perez Hilton, it's clear she does not want a conversation. She wants Prejean to apologize for her beliefs and to Hilton.
According to Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh, "American Idol's" Adam Lambert could "be heading home" due to those homophobic Christians that watch every week.
Lambert, Setoodeh wrote in a May 12 blog post, "has been called the best ‘Idol' singer in the history of the show, thanks to his Celine Dion-like pipes. But he's also one of the most controversial, thanks to his Marilyn Manson-like wardrobe and his (not-so) ambiguous sexuality."
Despite the fact that Randy, Simon and Paula all like Lambert, and he's garnered enough votes to compete in the semi-finals of "Idol," Setoodeh warned of a "possible roadblock" to a Lambert victory:
Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater suggested conservatives in general and Fox News in particular are hypocrites for questioning why President Barack Obama failed to publicly observe the National Day of Prayer.
Fox & Friends is on fire this morning stoking the controversy over President Obama not publicly observing the National Day of Prayer as predecessor George W. Bush did. Lots of graphics about how many churches are near the White House. Much gnashing of teeth over the president slighting godly expression. No mention of Matthew 6:5-6:
"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret."
Based on Slater's timestamp and his note about the graphics, it appears his post was a response to the 7:08 AM EST discussion on "Fox & Friends" between co-hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade:
Chris Matthews apparently thinks the GOP is just one big bag of crazy.
MSNBC's "Hardball" host challenged Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on the Republican Party's commitment to addressing climate change during the May 5 broadcast. Matthews claimed to Pence that the GOP is not passionate about environmentalism because, "There are people that really are against science in your party who really do question not just the science behind the climate change but the science behind evolutionary fact, that we were taught - you and I - in our biology books. They don't accept the scientific method. They believe in belief itself."
Matthews prefaced his argument with, "There are people on your side of the argument who believe that all the prehistoric bones we've discovered in this world, all the dinosaur bones and all that stuff was somehow planted there by liberal scientists to make the case against the Bible."
Hear all that shattering glass? That's David Shuster's house. The MSNBC host threw his latest rock when he snidely thanked Samuel Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber for a "lesson in tolerance" during the 11:00 hour of MSNBC's live news coverage on May 5.
And now a lesson in tolerance from Joe the Plumber. In an interview with Christian [sic] Today, he says we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, even has some friend who are gay. But he says he doesn't let his gay friends, quote, anywhere near his children. Oh, and according to Joe, queer is not a slur. It just means strange and unusual. Thank you, Joe the Christian.
Christianity Today asked Wurzelbacher about his views on same-sex marriage at a state level and he responded: