Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and guest Laura Ingraham on Sept. 23 highlighted the left's latest line of attack on Tea Parties: that they're crazy. Ingraham characterized the attacks as an attempt to distract from the liberal record and said the critique "doesn't work."
"As you may know, the Tea Party was racist for about six months as the far left tried to demonize the movement," O'Reilly said when introducing the broadcast's "Top Story" segment. "But now things have changed; the Tea Party is simply ‘crazy.'"
He showed clips from a report by the MRC's Culture and Media Institute illustrating liberal commentators and journalists attaching the "crazy" label to Tea Parties and Tea Party candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle and others.
Ingraham suggested "the critique doesn't work" because more Americans are in line with the Tea Party's views than with the liberal establishment.
ABC News has changed the headline of an online video to "Christine O'Donnell's Masturbation Argument" from the more inappropriately suggestive "Christine O'Donnell's Masturbation Stance," but that doesn't mean the network has grown up about the sex-related beliefs of conservative candidates.
ABC posted video on its news website Sept. 16 from a monologue by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who hosts a late night show on its network. The network's social networking team also publicized the link via Twitter using the "masturbation stance" pun. The headline on the video has since been changed, but the Twitter message remains active.
"Nobody knows what this woman does for a living, if anything," Kimmel said. "All we do know is that she's gone on the record to oppose masturbation, for real." He referred to a 1996 documentary that aired on MTV in which O'Donnell made a Biblical argument against self-pleasure based on Jesus's exhortation that lust in the heart is the same as adultery.
In a slam on another prominent conservative's family, Kimmel joked that, "I have a feeling Christine O'Donnell opposes masturbation in the same way Bristol Palin opposes premarital sex." Bristol Palin, of course, had a baby out of wedlock and now publicly advocates abstinence before marriage.
Derek Fenton, the man who burned pages of the Koran while protesting the planned Ground Zero Mosque in New York City, lost his job at NJTransit because of his demonstration. The network news outlets couldn't care less. None of the networks - ABC, CBS, NBC - have mentioned Fenton's name, according to a review of show transcripts.
Maybe they spent all their free speech-debate interest back in 2006 when they hurried to defend a Colorado teacher who was suspending after he compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler.
Jay Bennish made headlines in March 2006 after one of his students released a tape of Bennish comparing Bush to Hitler and declaring that America was the world's most violent nation. Bennish was suspended - placed on paid leave - while officials reviewed his conduct. (He was eventually reinstated.)
All three networks defended him by characterizing his comments as free speech.
Legendary filmmaker Woody Allen recognizes that religion makes people happier, but still views religious faith as a "delusion" worthy of the same respect afforded a fortune cookie.
In an interview published Sept. 15 to promote his upcoming movie, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," Allen told The New York Times, "This sounds so bleak when I say it, but we need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can't."
"To me, there's no real difference between a fortune teller or a fortune cookie and any of the organized religions," Allen told reporter David Itzkoff. "They're all equally valid or invalid, really. And equally helpful."
When asked whether he thought reincarnation was more plausible than the existence of God, Allen said, "Neither seems plausible to me. I have a grim, scientific assessment of it. I just feel, what you see is what you get."
Comedian Bill Maher took his anti-religion, anti-conservative views off HBO and into the mainstream Sept. 13 during an appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show." Maher told host Jay Leno he's against the Ground Zero Mosque, because he's "against a mosque anywhere. I'm against a church anywhere, or a Hindu temple or a synagogue."
Maher declared that houses of worship are "places that people go to retell nonsense stories from a time before men understood what a germ or an atom was, or where the sun went at night. They try to telepathically communicate with their imaginary friend. These are places that fleece people, and scare people and they perpetuate mass delusion. We shouldn't build any of them."
But Maher conceded that because the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, "they should be able to build them anywhere."
He also attacked conservatives and Sarah Palin, calling her an "evil dingbat."
Vanity Fair writer Michael Joseph Gross has already admitted to one error in his profile of Sarah Palin, but the contradictions and controversies surrounding his hit piece continue to stack up.
In a Sept. 7 post on The Corner, Katrina Trinko "refudiated" Gross's characterization of Palin as vicious, vengeful, and fake. Unlike Gross's sources, almost all of which were anonymous, Trinko provided citations.
Gross had cited "people who know" suggesting Palin's relationship with close friends Kristan Cole and Kris Perry had "deteriorated." But Cole reportedly told Trinko the charge was "absolutely not true. I don't know where they get this stuff from, honestly."
A former Palin aide, Ivy Frye, also contradicted Gross's characterization that she parted ways with Palin "on bad terms." "I didn't leave on ‘bad terms,'" she said in a statement. "Gross' 8 page hit piece is a complete work of fiction from beginning to end."
The author of a 10,600-word Vanity Fair hit piece on Sarah Palin is defending his work, claiming he set out to defend the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, but that the resulting article "was forced on me by the facts."
Michael Gross appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Sept. 2 to discuss his article in the October issue of Vanity Fair. The piece depicts Palin as a volatile, vengeful, mean-spirited figure, although Gross only managed to find one person willing to speak critically of Palin on the record.
"The worst stuff isn't even in there," Gross said on "Morning Joe" when asked about the extreme picture he paints of Palin. "You know, I couldn't believe these stories either when I first heard them and I started the story with the prejudice in her favor. I have a lot in common with this woman. I'm a small town person, I'm a Christian. I think that a lot of her criticisms of the media actually have something to them and I figured she'd gotten a bum ride but everybody close to her tells the same story."
Yet for someone so supposedly enamored with Palin, Gross sure turned quickly. He said Palin is "a person for whom there is no topic too small to lie about," citing a speech in Wichita in which Palin contradicted other statements she'd made about finding out her son, Trig, would have special needs.
Another day, another media hit piece aimed at Sarah Palin. Surprise, surprise.
A 10,600-word article in the October issue of Vanity Fair reads like the rambling diaries of a spurned middle school student. Writer Michael Joseph Gross ran through a list of ill-sourced, hearsay attacks on Palin designed to depict her as a raging psychopath - a far cry from the down-to-earth "hockey mom" she portrays in public.
But in more than 10,600 words, Gross managed to cite just one person to criticize Palin on the record. Colleen Cottle, who served on the Wasilla City Council when Palin was mayor, complained that she "had no attention span" and "does not understand math or accounting." Heavy-hitting stuff, that.
None of the others Gross apparently interviewed were named, he said, "because they are loyal and want to protect her (a small and shrinking number), or because they expect her prominence to grow and intend to keep their options open, or because they fear she will exact revenge, as she has been known to do."
If you thought media coverage of the Aug. 28 "Restoring Honor" rally hosted in Washington D.C. by Fox News host Glenn Beck seemed like just another attack on conservatives, you're not alone. As noted by the Daily Caller's Jim Treacher, much of the coverage had a common thread: describing the crowd as "overwhelmingly white."
While the term was certainly used in coverage of Beck's rally, it's not a new label. "Overwhelmingly white" is a prime example of the media's groupthink on Beck, Tea Parties, and the conservative movement in general. Virtually every major "mainstream" media outlet has used the phrase in just the past year to describe conservative events.
But even as the media criticize Tea Party and other conservative rallies for an apparent lack of diversity, they struggle to bring minority voices into their own operations.
All three broadcast networks have described the Tea Parties as "overwhelmingly white." So have CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the Agence France Presse, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Journal and US News & World Report. Many of those organizations are the very ones the news industry discusses as having failed to make diversity goals for staff.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might consider checking out the polls. He's under the impression 100 percent of 9/11 families support building the Ground Zero Mosque at the current planned location.
"The family members, they do care," Bloomberg told "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart Aug. 26. "And the family members that I've talked to - and I'm chairman of the board of the World Trade Center Memorial - 100 percent in favor of saying, ‘These people, if they want to build a mosque, can build a mosque. The lives of our loved ones were taken because the right to build a mosque or say what you want to say was so threatening to people.'"
Even Stewart, who takes Bloomberg's side in supporting the mosque and has mocked opponents in several episodes of the hit comedy news program, couldn't let Bloomberg's exaggeration go unchecked.
"I think the difficulty always is, unfortunately, I'm sure there are veterans who fought over there who feel we shouldn't," Stewart said. "I'm sure there are family members, maybe you haven't heard of them, who feel we shouldn't."
Is it a case of removing the plank from your own eye before removing the speck from your brothers - or political correctness run amok?
In a tweet Aug. 26, ABC "20/20" anchor Chris Cuomo told his 987,000 followers not to condemn Muslim violence because other religions have perpetrated violence in the past.
"To all my christian brothers and sisters, especially catholics - before u condemn muslims for violence, remember the crusades....study them," Cuomo tweeted around 9:30 am.
So does past violence justify modern violence? If so, maybe Cuomo should take his own advice and study the Crusades. Even a brief study would reveal a much more complicated situation than Cuomo's tweet suggests about who struck first.
A recent court ruling found that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research violates laws prohibiting the government from using taxpayer money for research that destroys an embryo. The ruling has sent the evening network news broadcasts reeling.
While ABC's "World News" briefly reported on the ruling Aug. 23, the NBC "Nightly News" and CBS "Evening News" have both aired reports suggesting that the ruling would end life-saving research - in spite of the fact the embryonic research can continue if privately funded, and federal funding of adult stem cell research is unaffected.
NBC's Robert Bazell reported Aug. 24 that the ruling "left a lot of researchers fairly stunned." CBS's Wyatt Andrews called the ruling "a shock." But was it really? Neither report mentioned that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was severely restricted under the Bush administration, and was only widened by the Obama administration in July 2009.
A new song by hip-hop star Cee Lo Green is making its way around the Internet, largely based on the shock value of the song’s title, “F**K YOU,” and its generous use of the obscenity in the lyrics.
The song, which clocks in at 3:46, offers 16 instances of the “f-word” – that’s once every 14 seconds. The singer directs the curses toward his former girlfriend and her new beau. “I see you drivin’ ’round town with the girl I love, and I’m like, ‘f**k you,” Cee Lo sings at the start of the upbeat, catchy tune.
The song also features 10 uses of s**t, two of a**, and two partial uses of the n-word.
A video posted on YouTube Aug. 19 from the CeeLoGreen account displays the lyrics in rhythm with the tune. It gathered steam over the weekend, propelling it to over 1.4 million views as of the afternoon of Aug. 23. The video’s information promises a full version “next week.”
After being pressured by gay advocacy groups in July to allow homosexual couples to enter the "Today" show's wedding contest, NBC's "Today's Wedding: Modern Love" will feature ... no gay couples.
Co-host Ann Curry noted the contest received "hundreds of videos and applications," but that the show had narrowed it down to four couples. After all the controversy surrounding the show's decision to open the contest to gays and lesbians - even though New York State does not license same-sex marriage - all of the finalists are heterosexual couples.
Viewers will decide which of the four couples will have their wedding and honeymoon planned by and broadcast on "Today."
NBC had originally announced the contest would only be opened to heterosexual couples, but the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) pressured the network into reversing its decision.
The decision was seen as yet another move by NBC illustrating its bias in covering the gay lifestyle. In August 2008, NBC Universal told the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, "Your Victories are Our Victories." In April 2010, the network announced a partnership with the gay magazine The Advocate.
What's the best way to address rising debt and deficits? According to one liberal blogger, it's not cutting spending, but taxing churches, that will solve America's financial woes.
"[Americans] should have the right to support any institution they feel supports their views," William K. Wolfrum wrote on Alan Colmes's Liberaland blog Aug. 17. "But that does not mean the State should reimburse people or churches for their beliefs."
He argued that because churches take "political stands" - opposing gay marriage or abortion, for example - they should not enjoy tax-exempt status. But, to be fair, Wolfrum appears to show no favoritism.
"The most important aspect of removing tax-exempt status from churches or religious entities is that it must be all-encompassing," he wrote. "Whether you believe a certain religion is ‘true' or ‘false' makes no difference. Scientology should be taxes, as should Islam. The Catholic church should be taxes, as should synagogues. There are no favorites. Whether you believe in L. Ron Hubbard, Jesus, a tree, Mother Earth or Allah, it is time for the tax man to cometh."
A lot of liberals think Glenn Beck is full of, well, manure, but one artist Michael Murphy has taken it further than most. He did a picture of Beck using manure instead of paint. And now, anti-Beck demonstrators have hired Murphy to create a sculpture ... honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
The Washington Post reported Aug. 17 that Murphy will unveil "The People's Memorial to King" in Washington, D.C., on Aug 28, the anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Conservative television and radio host Glenn Beck is scheduled to host a rally that day at the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his speech in 1963. The sculpture unveiling is part of a counter-demonstration called "Celebrate the Dream," which the Post described as "a grass-roots network of artists, community organizers and social activists."
But the Post's report ignored an intriguing link between the conservative activist and liberal artist: Murphy's 2009 portrait of Beck, which used "bull manure" as paint.
A "progressive" political activism campaign has launched a new project apparently aimed at engaging opponents in civil discourse about important issues of the day.
Their motto: "F*ck Tea."
Setting its sights on the Tea Party movement, the Agenda Project has launched an online store to sell shirts and mugs with the slogan and inform visitors of some statistics about the Tea Parties - none of which are sourced.
On its own website, the Agenda Project claims its goal is "to build a powerful, intelligent, well-connected political movement capable of identifying and advancing rational, effective ideas in the public debate and in so doing ensure our country's enduring success."
It's not often you see an obituary as snarky and bitter as the one written by British columnist Johann Hari announcing what he called the "slow, whining death of British Christianity" in the UK edition of GQ and online at The Huffington Post.
Citing an unlinked ICM study, which is not available on the organization's website, Hari called on reader to "put your hands together and give thanks, for I come bearing Good News. My country,Britain, is now on the most irreligious country on earth."
Hari called Christianity, "superstition," "weak," "cruel," and based on "intimidation." He predicted that, "As their dusty Churches crumble because nobody wants to go there" and predicted that "the few remaining Christians in Britain will only become more angry and uncomprehending."
While he mentioned Judaism and Islam twice, Hari focused his ridicule on Christianity and the Church of England. He used the survey to call for an end to government support for Anglicanism.
If you thought the media's obsession with Chelsea Clinton's July 31 wedding went a little overboard, you're not alone. A new poll has found that a majority of Americans think there was too much coverage of the wedding at the expense of real news.
The News Interest Index Survey, conducted July 29 through August 1 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found that 58 percent of respondents felt there was "too much" coverage of the Clinton wedding.
As the Culture and Media Institute reported, the three broadcast networks - ABC, CBS and NBC - aired 87 stories about Clinton's nuptials between July 25 and August 1. That represented a 48-percent increase over coverage of former first daughter Jenna Bush's wedding in 2008. Networks had reporters on the scene in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and brought in gossip columnists and celebrity wedding planners to dish on the event.
But at what cost? Other news happened over the weekend, after all, including continued drama in the Gulf of Mexico and fallout over the leak of classified documents related to the war inAfghanistan, as well as economy and immigration issues.
Did you hear Chelsea Clinton got married over the weekend? If it seems like that's all the media talked about, you're not alone.
The broadcast networks - ABC, CBS and NBC - aired 87 stories about Clinton's July 31 nuptials between July 25 and August 1. Four major newspapers - The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today - printed 21 stories during the same time period.
Coverage of Clinton's wedding was decidedly enthusiastic. The "CBS Evening News" July 31 reported it at the top of the broadcast, ahead of the oil spill. Anchor Jeff Glor announced the "wedding of the century" that "has clearly captured the nation's attention."
NBC's "Saturday Today" show brought in "celebrity wedding planner" Colin Cowie and US Weekly Editor Lindsay Powers to dish on all the gossip surrounding the event. The show mentioned Clinton's wedding in seven stories on July 31.
On Thursday, the parent company, which licenses the Playboy name to international publishers, distanced itself from the controversy.
"We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal," Playboy's vice president of public relations, Theresa Hennessy, reportedly told the gossip blog Gawker in an email. "It is a shocking breach of our standards, and we would not have allowed it to be published if we had seen it in advance.
Marking the death of an atheist by depicting Jesus Christ in sex scenes might seem like a non-sequitur. Somehow, it made sense to the Portuguese edition of Playboy magazine.
The magazine features an actor portraying Jesus in at least four pornographic photos, including the cover, where he cradles an apparently dead - and bare-breasted - woman. Another photo depicts Jesus watching a lesbian kiss, while another shows him observing a topless woman reading a book.
The images are reportedly meant to commemorate the death of Portuguese author Jose Saramago. He wrote, among many other books, "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ," which "explored the psychological motivations that led Jesus to become a prophet." Saramago later wrote that the controversy around the book led him to move fromPortugal to the Canary Islands.
It's not the first time an international edition of the "men's magazine" has caused a stir by depicting a Christian figure. In its December 2008 issue, the Mexican edition featured a model dressed - barely - like the Virgin Mary
Someone get Lee Greenwood on the phone; he's going to want to know about this.
In a front-page Style section report July 5, The Washington Post breathed a sigh of relief that Independence Day gives Americans a break from those God-heavy holidays like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.
If the folks at Newsweek had a Bartlett's handy, they might know that Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
But The New York Times reported June 30 that the Washington Post Company is committed enough to the failing magazine's liberal ideology that it has rejected a bid from a conservative buyer.
"The Washington Post Company, which put the magazine up for sale in May after efforts to stem its financial losses failed, has rejected overtures from the owners of Newsmax, the monthly conservative magazine," Jeremy W. Peters reported. Another potential buyer, hedge fund manager Thane Ritchie, was also rebuffed, according to Peters' sources.
The "main reason" Newsmax was turned away? It's "conservative political ideology ... is at odds with the editorial bent of Newsweek, which strives to be apolitical in its news coverage though is often criticized as being left-leaning," Peters wrote.
"He's got the whole world in his hands?" To one atheist, it's more like ‘He's got the whole world under his thumb."
David Smalley, the editor of American Atheist magazine and a self-described "civil rights activist," wrote in a personal blog post June 7 that Christian daycare "a form of child abuse."
"In short, by starting your child off in a Christian environment, you are heading them down a path of forced ignorance," Smalley wrote. "At least let your child begin in a secular world, and if he or she chooses Christianity after an age of accountability, then so be it. But forcing them to learn things as fact that you don't even know to be true is a form of child abuse: inducing psychosis with thoughts of good and evil watching over them, as if they are constantly being graded or evaluated."
Smalley further stereotyped and generalized religion-based childcare by suggesting "it's bad for positive self-esteem, and slows social development later in life."
If $1.3 billion is unaccounted for and the media don't report it, did it really happen?
According to an American Life League review of Planned Parenthood's annual reports, the organization received more than $2 billion in federal grants and contracts between 2002 and 2008. A June 16 Government Accountability Report, however, found that the organization spent just $657.1 million of taxpayer money in the same time period.
The $1.3 billion discrepancy failed to catch the attention of the nation's major media outlets. None of the networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) or major newspapers (Los Angeles times, The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post) reported it.
A Culture and Media Institute review of coverage found that only one newspaper listed among Nexis' "major newspapers" - The Houston Chronicle - even mentioned the GAO report. The Chronicle's June 16 article noted that Planned Parenthood spent $657 million of federal money over seven years, but did not mention the income/outlay discrepancy.
Sometime-comedian Janeane Garofalo never passes up an opportunity to slam conservatives or, apparently, Christianity. The Huffington Post gave her an opportunity June 24 to kill two birds with one stone.
In an interview promoting her upcoming special on a network called EPIX, Garofalo compared the most widely-read book of all time, the Bible, to a Bill O'Reilly autobiography and a children's book authored by former President Bush.
When asked by a Huffington Post reader which of those three publications she'd rather read, Garofalo said, "Actually that's like six and one half, that is six and one half right there." Presumably, she meant to use the popular idiom, "six of one, half a dozen of the other."
"That's just three works of fiction targeted to a child-like audience so any, all, any one, none," Garofalo said. "I don't know how to read either, so that's kind of a drag."
Where does a 1990s rap star fall on your list of immigration law experts? For the media the answer is: pretty high.
Rapper "Chuck D," whose real name is Charles Ridenhour, has released a new single criticizing Arizona's controversial immigration law, which he says "brings racial profiling to a new low."
In the song, "Tear Down That Wall," Chuck D compares Border Patrol agents to the Gestapo and equates immigration law to "modern day slavery." In a statement explaining the song, he called Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to sign the law "racist, deceitful ... and mean-spirited." He has even said "the governor is a Hitler."
Putting aside his misinterpretation of the law - likely due at least in part to media mischaracterization - one has to wonder what qualified Chuck D as an expert on immigration law enforcement. According to ABC, it's his past "very public feud" with Arizona.
Comedy Central just can't stop attacking Christianity.
On June 16, comedian Louis C.K. appeared on the network's popular "fake news" program, "The Daily Show," where he launched into an attack on the pope over the sexual abuse scandal plaguing the church.
"I was going to say that the pope f***ed boys and I didn't have time," C.K. blurted out as host Jon Stewart started wrapping up the interview. "I do think he does. Can I defend that before we go away?"
Stewart attempted to minimize the unprovoked attack saying, "I don't think that that's true, although, they bleeped it. I don't think that that's true."
Maybe President Barack Obama watched a little too much of the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night. The language seems to have rubbed off.
Paul Bedard at U.S. News and World Report caught an interesting exchange on CNBC this morning about Obama's use of "ass" in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer. Obama asserted to Lauer that he wanted to know "whose ass to kick" over the oil spill in the Gulf.
Squawk Box co-host Becky Quick criticized President Obama for using "the A word" on the Today show, saying he set a bad example for kids.
"If you're the president of the United States and you go on the Today show, which is a morning show, where you're going to have a lot of kids who are sitting around watching this, I think you choose your words a little more carefully," Quick said.
"I think using the a-word on the Today show when you're talking to Matt Lauer, yeah, that disturbs me," Quick said.
Quick said that it's "silly" to use inappropriate language to prove that you're mad.