Updated below: Bob Parks has video. Updated below: MTV apologizes.
"Ready to make the censors' ears bleed?"
That's how Anna Kendrick summed up MTV's attitude toward decency June 6 during the network's annual Movie Awards broadcast.
It wasn't just the censors who endured a two-hour swear-fest. The television audience had the pleasure of hearing 30 percent of the vulgarities uttered throughout the night. A Culture and Media Institute review found the 122-minute show littered with at least 100 bleep-worthy words - that's more than one per minute not including commercials.
The network's censors caught 70 curses. They included 47 variations of "f---," 11 uses of "s---," two of "a------," one slang for breasts, and nine that were unidentifiable.
At least 30 made it past the censors, including...
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Viacom's Comedy Central is developing an animated show practically designed to offend Christians. But the network's handling of recent controversy over depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad illustrates a stark double standard in how the entertainment media deal with issues of religion.
Comedy Central announced it is developing the script for an animated show tentatively titled "JC." According to the network's release, the show is about Jesus Christ "wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow to live life in [New York City] as a regular guy." The announcement described God as "all-powerful yet apathetic" and said the show would be a "playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb."
The show promises to stand in sharp contrast to the network's treatment of another religious figure: Muhammad. In 2006, Comedy Central censored a segment of "South Park" that depicted Muhammad. In April of this year, the network added audio bleeps to the second of a two-part episode to cover any mention of the prophet, as well as an end-of-show speech about freedom of expression and giving in to intimidation. The first episode of the story arc featured Mohammad hidden inside a moving truck and a bear costume.
This censorship came in response to a threat from a radical Islamic website, based in the United States, which warned that "South Park" creators would face violent retribution for "insulting" Muhammad by featuring (although not showing him) on the episode.
“cinematic Viagra for Western cultural imperialists”-Salon.com
Of all the criticisms that could likely be launched against Warner Bros.’ new “Sex and the City 2” movie, the media have latched onto the film’s reported depictions of misogynist policies in Muslim nations.
It was USA Today thatcalled the movie“an affront to Muslims.” Reviewer Claudia Puig wrote that director Michael Patrick King “is out of his league attempting to comment on the inequitable treatment of Muslim women. He ends up mocking religious beliefs and making Carrie and her friends appear insensitive.”
The Washington Post this week published a pair of articles promoting and praising the Washington,D.C., government for increasing the cost of its “free” condom program and making it easier for kids to get the prophylactics.
The city is reportedly upgrading from Durex brand condoms to the more widely advertised Trojan brand. The decision was based on name recognition, not evidence that Trojans are better at preventing pregnancy or protecting against sexually transmitted diseases. The city will also start offering Trojan’s larger size condom, dubbed Magnum.
The brand switch will cost the city “an extra few thousand dollars” in addition to the $165,000 the program cost in 2009, according to theMay 21 report. Reporter Tim Craig wrote that the city is “grappling over how to make government-issued condoms more appealing.”
An expansion of the program also makes it easier for school children to obtain condoms – not from their parents or guardians, but from the “cool teachers.”
Media Research Center Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor told “Fox & Friends Sunday” May 23 that attacks on Rand Paul aren’t about skin color, but another kind of race: the 2010 elections.
Paul, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky (and son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul), has come under fire from the media – particularly MSNBC – for comments he made suggesting he would not have supported parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Paul criticized policies including those mandating desegregation in private business because he believes they infringe on Free Speech. He also stated that he believes discrimination and racism are “horrible” and that he doesn’t want government-sponsored discrimination in the public spehere.
Gainor told “Fox & Friends Sunday” that the attacks on Paul were primarily about race – but not skin color. Instead, they’re about the 2010 political race for control of Congress.
“This isn’t about race, this is about the race, the 2010 race, the 2012 race,” Gainor said. “They don’t care if they take down Rand Paul whatsoever. They care if they take down Republicans. They want to make their caricature of Rand Paul, not who he really is but just what they say he is, they want to make that the poster child for the election in 2010 and so they can use it to wreck the GOP – and the media are just buying into it hook, line, and sinker.”
That appears to be Jim Cramer's philosophy. The CNBC "Mad Monday" host told NBC "Today" show viewers Dec. 2 that comparisons between the current economy and the Great Depression were inappropriate.
"[T]hat's got to be taken off the table," Cramer told "Today" host Meredith Vieira. "There have been enough things done by this government to absolutely preclude that. I, myself, do not want to use that term ever again on the ‘Today' show even to compare it. Things are very different. We do need help from Europe; we need help from China. But take the Great Depression talk off the table. That is scare tactics."
"I'm reluctant to start talking like that," Cramer said of describing the current recession as "the longest since World War II," as Vieira did. "I've adopted a ‘just the facts, ma'am,' approach, kind of a little bit more of a ‘Dragnet' approach, so to speak. Because when we give those characterizations what happens is we can affect things."
He was right. Comparisons to the Great Depression are way off the mark - Cramer makes them enough, he ought to know.
But the furious news segments glossed over the fact that the company's conference - reported to cost $300,000 - was likely funded by outside investors, not AIG. Kennedy explained:
The facts about these big AIG meetings are that sponsors, predominately financial product providers and other vendors, subsidize large portions of the budgets for these meetings. They directly underwrite or reimburse for expenses as well as rebate after the fact based on sales made to and through AIG. Attendees also pay to attend.
The term “Fairness Doctrine” – applied to liberals’ efforts to require talk radio to offer balanced views – harkens to Soviet propaganda, according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
“It’s one of the great misnomers of our time. It’s, you know, ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ almost like a Soviet term,” Gainor said on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Nov. 9. “It should be Censorship Doctrine. That’s what they’re trying to do.”
“They’re trying to clamp down on radio because the left and the media control every other facet of where we get our information: entertainment media, print media, you know you’ve got TV, you’ve got NPR, you’ve got Air America,” Gainor said. “The one thing they don’t control, the one way Americans get their information is talk radio.”
Several high-profile Democrats in Congress have expressed interest in revisiting the so-called Fairness Doctrine – although President-elect Obama has said he opposes it.
The first term of President Barack Obama will bring nationalized health care, attacks on the coal industry, higher government spending and higher taxes, according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
On “Fox & Friends” Nov. 6, Gainor highlighted BMI’s most recent Special Report, America 2012, a look at what some of Obama’s major policies proposals will do to the American economy and to Americans’ wallets. The report also examines how the media promoted liberal, big-government proposals throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.
Gainor told viewers the commonly reported number of some 47 million uninsured Americans is “wildly wrong. They [both presidential candidates and the media] were claming 47 million people without insurance, the number probably closer to eight to 15. You don’t have as much of a problem if you’re pushing that.”
Obama will “try to put forth the plan for nationalized health care that the media have been supporting throughout the campaign,” Gainor said. But during the campaign, the media failed to examine the cost of Obama’s proposal, which some estimates put as high as $452 billion, Gainor added.
Leave it to the foreign press to explain one of the major problems with American over-regulation and subsidies.
The Financial Times published a series Oct. 22 and 23 examining a subject the U.S. media have largely ignored: the effect ethanol mandates and subsidies have had on the ethanol market, investors, and food prices. Here's a hint: the effects are not good.
The first report highlighted the billions of dollars in losses investors have suffered after fluctuations influenced by legislation. Congress passed a mandate in 2005 requiring 7.5 billion gallons be mixed into the gasoline supply by 2012. They doubled that goal in an energy bill in 2007, requiring 36 billion gallons by 2022.
"Congress and the president created a multi-billion dollar market for corn-based ethanol virtually overnight," the report said, leading to a surge of investment culminating in late 2006. But as more ethanol plants came online and the price of the fuel dropped, the companies' values started declining even as the price of corn continued to rise.
The Nobel Prize Committee's decision to award the economics honors on left-wing New York Times Paul Krugman is right in line with the organization's tradition of honoring conservative-bashing writers and scientists, according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
"They've given Al Gore, they've given Jimmy Carter, they've given the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," Gainor told Fox News Channel's "Your World" host Neil Cavuto Oct. 13. "The last three literary awards have gone to left and lefter writers and according to this paper called The New York Times there's a lot of critics who are questioning whether the committee is actually making decisions based on reasons other than best literary reasons."
"Maybe that's keeping with how they're making all their decisions," Gainor said.
Sen. John McCain's decision this week to suspend his campaign and return to Washington to help address the financial mess wasn't an example of his campaign slogan "Country First." Instead - according to Democrats and the media - it was a chance for McCain to sabotage the deal so he could take credit for rebuilding it.
"Some Democrats suspect that he tried, that he's coming in, working with the House Republicans to blow this up so he can put it back together and get some credit," ABC Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos said and "World News with Charles Gibson" Sept. 25. "It's not clear that he's signed on entirely to the House Republican plans."
Stephanopoulos' suggestion was similar to accusations made by Sen. Barack Obama, McCain's Democratic opponent in the presidential race.
The Obama camp has called McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and return to the capital to help work on a bailout plan a "political stunt." In a Sept. 25 statement, reported by Politico, Obama's team said McCain's move was "aimed more at shoring up the Senator's political fortunes than the nation's economy."
CNN’s “best political team on television” is proving itself to be the best at closing its eyes, plugging its ears and repeating “la, la, la, we can’t hear you” when it comes to Republicans addressing economic concerns.
In its coverage of the Republican National Convention September 3 and 4, the cable network accused the GOP of ignoring the economy at least 27 times. The criticism originated from Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign, and CNN picked it up and ran, according to analysis from the Business & Media Institute.
Nevermind that five of the Republican convention’s headline speakers –President George W. Bush, former Sen. Fred Thompson, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin and presidential nominee Sen. John McCain – all addressed some aspect of the economy. That’s not including other speeches that were not broadcast.
The department announced August 28 the economy grew at 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2008, up from initial reports of 1.9 percent. The revised number exceeded expectations for growth, which economists had put at around 2.3 percent.
But to announce the good economic news - the growth was well above the 1.9-percent average quarterly growth over the last two years - would have undercut one of the main themes of Sen. Barack Obama's speech accepting the Democrats' presidential nominations: an economy in turmoil.
"We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more," Obama told the crowd of more than 80,000 Democrats at Invesco Field in the Denver.
That's what NBC's "Today" show did August 26 in a segment attacking online dealmakers. Co-host Meredith Vieira warned shoppers could find "mysterious and unwanted charges on their credit cards."
"Kathy Danzer wanted to reconnect with old classmates, so she bought a subscription on a popular high school reunion Web site," correspondent Natalie Morales reported. "But when she got her credit card bill there was another unexpected charge: an additional $12.99 for something called ‘GREATFN.'"
With all the complaining - not to mention the foreboding soundtrack the segment featured - a viewer might think Danzer and others like her had trouble getting refunds for the money they mistakenly spent. But that wasn't the case, as the company refunds money to unsatisfied customers, Morales admitted at the end of the segment.
It's not often that you can point to The Washington Post as the voice of reason, but the paper has its moments. One such was the August 12 oil drilling editorial that debunks three major "‘truths' masquerading as fact" about offshore drilling.
The piece, headlined "Snake Oil," showed how groups like the liberal Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) misconstrue the issue in their opposition to expanded drilling. The NRDC has recently taken out ads in the Post and other papers detailing its opposition to drilling - downplaying the amount of oil available offshore, claming existing leases are going unused and maximizing the environmental "danger" of drilling.
While the editorial argued against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because it "should be preserved," the Post went on to explain why drilling offshore makes sense.
The paper explained how the estimates of 18 billion barrels of oil offshore are based on old measurements. Data from the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) are out of date. In a similar situation, the Post wrote, the department estimated 9 billion barrels were beneath the Gulf of Mexico. "By 2006, after major advances in seismic technology and deepwater drilling techniques, the MMS resource estimate for that area had ballooned to 45 billion barrels."
But those poll numbers gave way to more media spin in an ABC "World News Saturday" report August 9.
"After years of debate over the reality of global warming, 80 percent of those polled now say they accept it as fact," anchor Bill Weir reported. "Seventy-three percent say it is a threat to today's children and 63 percent believe people and industry are to blame.
The broadcast networks exhibited gross mismanagement in their coverage of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage powerhouses now in need of a $25-billion government rescue.
"It's partially a bias and partially just sort of gross mismanagement on their part," Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor said on CBN's "Newswatch" July 30. "All they had to do was pick up a Wall Street Journal. You know people at the network news shows read the Wall Street Journal at least sometimes. The Journal's been on this case since February 2002 when they had a piece headline, ‘Fannie Mae Enron?'"
The networks - ABC, CBS and NBC - ignored six years of concerns about the two companies' management, Gainor wrote July 28.
"The combination of stock losses, government fines and proposed bailout comes close to $150 billion," he wrote. "It's a huge story largely ignored by network news until a taxpayer bailout was almost guaranteed."
But the networks were more interested in attacking private companies with Enron comparisons than likening Fannie and Freddie to the infamous corporate debacle.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines "several" as "being of a number more than two or three but not many." Nevertheless, the Times used the term instead of the more accurate "two," subtly exaggerating the image of restaurant closure.
Two chains - Bennigan's and Steak & Ale - owned by the Metromedia Restaurant Group were closed across the country July 29 after the company filed for bankruptcy. The Times blamed the economy for the shutdowns.
A proposal in California to require emissions-rating stickers on new cars is another example of "government overreach," according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
Gainor told "America's Election HQ" host E.D. Hill on Fox News Channel July 7 that California's decision could affect other parts of the country because of its influence on environmental policies.
"California already affects the nation," he said. "At least 12 states copy their environmental regulations. California has the highest [gas] taxes at 75 cents a gallon and the second-highest overall cost of gas," Gainor noted.
The network news outlets - ABC, CBS and NBC - have missed a great opportunity to cover actual political news in the last week by failing to report on the loan scandal surrounding two Democratic senators, Business & Media Institute Managing Editor Amy Menefee told "Fox & Friends Weekend" June 21.
"This story has everything," Menefee said. "It has a former presidential candidate, Chris Dodd. It has two senators who are getting, like you said, sweetheart loans. It has Kent Conrad, another senator, who called the CEO of the lender to get his loan, which is not what we normally do, and then said, ‘Oh, I didn't get any preferential treatment and I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm going to give a charitable donation to remedy the fact that I didn't do anything wrong.'"
Menefee said it was "very sad" that the networks failed to report the scandal - not just because they refused to go after two Democrats, but because they missed an opportunity to expose the bailout plan Dodd has been defending.
While print media and cable news channels are all over the "sweetheart" mortgage deals given to two Democratic U.S. senators, network news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC are keeping mum even though the scandal involves one of their favorite targets: Countrywide.
"This is a huge story ever since Portfolio magazine broke with this story. Print media outlets have covered it, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the cable networks are there," Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor told "Fox & Friends" June 20. "And then you look at the evening news shows: they're non-existent."
"Good Morning America" highlighted how financial matters have Americans so stressed out, their health is literally deteriorating.
The segment, titled "Recession Depression," blamed personal issues on the "troubled" economy. ABC made yet another comparison between today's economy and the economy during the Great Depression. Only this time, the reference was used to predict a rise in suicides.
"The link between financial troubles and psychological problems is well documented," said ABC reporter Chris Cuomo.
Media coverage of the economy in recent months should make journalists wonder what kind of job they're doing, according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
"‘If it bleeds it leads' has always been one theory. That only works up to a point," Gainor told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto June 2. "When you are actually spinning the results so much so that they're more negative than the worst economic time period in American history, well then you really have to sit back and think, ‘Maybe we're just doing this wrong.'"
How does a former reporter for The Washington Post score a 2,200-word column on the mortgage mess in her former publication? Never mention personal responsibility.
Kathleen Day took blame to a new level June 1 when she failed to mention personal responsibility even one time in her lengthy column. Day, now a spokeswoman for the left-wing Center for Responsible Lending, was a financial reporter for the Post until mid-2007.
Day blamed just about everyone else - from Wall Street to banks to brokers, to the White House, to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to Congress to credit-rating agencies - for the problems in the housing market. But she never hinted that borrowers might share some blame.
The news media have covered recent economic trials with four times as much negativity as they covered the worst economic period in the nation's history - the Great Depression - a new study from the Business & Media Institute shows.
"They were four times more negative during the Bear Stearns buyout than the worst economic couple days in our country's history," BMI Vice President Dan Gainor said on "Fox & Friends" May 27, announcing the release of the new study, "The Great Media Depression."
You'd think gas prices are high enough as it is. But for some reason, the NBC "Today" show needed to make prices seem even worse by showing a picture of a gas station with above-average prices.
Co-host Ann Curry reported that "gasoline prices are up again. Today AAA said the average price for regular gas hit $3.80 a gallon."
But a viewer with the television on mute would have seen only video of a station with regular gas priced at $4.15 - 35 cents higher than the national average. Curry also added that, "in some cities it is much higher than [$3.80]."
"Gas prices hit yet another record high this morning and as you suffer, the oil giants are making billions," co-host Meredith Vieira teased at the top of the "Today" show. Well, with an introduction like that, viewers should expect a fair interview, right?
Michael Pollan, a long-time opponent of "agribusiness" - the food industry - was featured in a segment on his new book, "In Defense of Food: And Eater's Manifesto." Pollan advocates a return to an all-organic diet and offers tips for healthy eating.
Pollan praised "the authority of mom" and lamented that "the holders of culture when it comes to food (mothers) have been undermined by both the scientists and the food marketers."