Imagine the hand-wringing that would ensue among secular journalists were Franklin Graham or Bishop Harry Jackson to write a memoir with a mainstream media religion reporter on board as a credited co-author. Surely much ado would be made about an ostensibly objective journalist assisting a politically engaged, conservative clergyman to write a book the proceeds of which would go into his ministry's coffers. After all, how can you objectively cover such individuals after having helped them raise their public profile and financially benefited their pet cause(s)?
Now contrast that with the silence that's sure to greet Religion News Service reporter David Gibson's services as scribe to Sister Simone Campbell, the left-wing nun who was a convenient unofficial ally and surrogate for liberal Democrats last year as she savaged Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. As a national reporter, Gibson has covered Campbell as part of his beat as a national reporter for RNS.
The Guardian is unapologetically left-of-center editorially, but being a British publication, its geographical and cultural separation from the journalistic elite on this side of the pond helps inoculate it from venerating the sacred cows and cozying up to the favored pundits of the liberal media here in the States.
A prime example of that is Stuart Kelly's review of UC Riverside professor and Huffington Post blogger Reza Aslan's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Where American reviewers have praised Aslan's writing style if not his chops as a religious historian, Kelly took on both (h/t Michael Gryboski; emphasis mine):
As regular readers of NewsBusters are well aware, the Washington Post's Style section has a habit of frequently ginning up puffy human-interest stories about all kinds of liberal politicians and celebrities. It's rare that they do a positive profile of a conservative or libertarian.
So it's worth pointing out when they do just that. In a 26-paragraph profile, Post staff writer Megan McDonough highlighted Arlington, Va., resident Remy Munasifi, a libertarian conservative YouTube sensation, whose most recent parody video "Blurred Junk" takes a swipe at Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (that video embedded below). Here's a taste of McDonough's article. For the full thing, go here.
The paper that gave you an obsessive focus on George Allen's "macaca" gaffe and Bob McDonnell's master's thesis is doing its best to run block for Terry McAuliffe. Just take today's front-pager by staff writer Paul Schwartzman, "Va. governor's race drips with venom," which amounts to 44 paragraphs of concern trolling about mean-spirited, partisan sniping in the Virginia governor's race between Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe.
Of course, Schwartzman opened his story with and seemed chiefly concerned about the Cuccinelli camp's creative swipes at McAuliffe, whom, you may recall Schwartzman portrayed as "laid back" and "easygoing" in a puffy July 29 article:
The Reuters news wire has an interesting little piece today that reveals that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos not only seems to have agreed to buy the Washington Post for much, much more than its market value, but that agreed to the initial asking price rather than try to haggle it down.
Our friend Steve Ertelt over at LifeNews.com caught the New York Times in an incredible display of cold-hearted clinical language in service of political correctness. The occasion was an incredibly heartbreaking story of a 30-year-old New York woman who was killed when a tree fell on the park bench on which she was sitting. The woman, Yingyi Li-Dikov, was six months pregnant with a baby girl who also perished in the accident.
But the only use of the term "baby" was found only at the close of the article, when Times staffer Sarah Maslin Nir [pictured below page break] quoted distraught widower Aleksander Dikov lamenting the loss of his wife and child. Otherwise Maslin Nir referred to the dead unborn child as a fetus:
In Sunday's edition, the Washington Post perhaps unintentionally did conservative critics of Reza Aslan a favor by printing liberal religion scholar Stephen Prothero's review of the UC Riverside creative writing professor's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
"Aslan is more a storyteller here than a historian" who doesn't bring "much new here other than [his] slick writing and cinematic sensibilities." "In the end, 'Zealot' offers readers not the historical Jesus but a Jesus for our place and time — an American Jesus for the 21st century, and more specifically for a post-Sept. 11 society struggling to make sense of Christianity’s ongoing rivalry with Islam," Prothero argued, adding in closing that in Aslan's eyes:
As my colleagues Kristine Marsh and Katie Yoder reported earlier, hundreds of conservative, pro-life women turned out in Lafayette Park across from the White House on Thursday to protest the Obama/Sebelius contraception mandate, which was originally scheduled to take effect on August 1. You may recall that administration officials pushed back implementation of the religious freedom-infringing mandate to January 1, 2014, even as the president has selectively chosen to push back enforcement of ObamaCare's employer mandate to January 1, 2015, to fall after the midterm elections.
Of course, while the media made a virtual hero out of Sandra Fluke in 2012 for her pro-HHS manage stance, the liberal media have completely censored the thoughtful and articulate voices of Women Speak for Themselves (WSFT). Searches of our DVR system and Nexis yielded no coverage from the Big Three broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC. Likewise, searches of Nexis and Google News revealed there was not even a news brief in major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post.
The call of the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was never meant to be a popular gig with the world. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you," Jesus taught his disciples (John 15:18-19, ESV).
So when I saw that the Washington National Cathedral's dean the Rev. Gary Hall was the subject of a puffy 29-paragraph profile by the Washington Post's Sally Quinn -- "A clergyman intent on engaging the masses"* -- it was safe to assume that Hall's views by heavily accommodating to the wider culture while throwing historic Christian teaching under the bus. Hall failed to disappoint, nor did Quinn, who naturally presented Hall as an engaging, thoughtful, and cool cleric who was a religious leader in tune with liberal urban Washingtonians.
You knew the warm fuzzies for Pope Francis couldn't last that long. While the media initially went gaga over Pope Francis, hoping beyond hope he was some liberal reformer who would open up the Catholic Church to all kinds of heterodoxy, the reality is slowly setting in. The first-ever Latin American pontiff is warm, genial, charismatic, and an excellent communicator with both the public and the press, but he's solidly conservative in doctrine, particularly the issue of biggest concern for the liberal media: sexual ethics.
The other day, it was TIME's Tim Padgett, blasting the pope over the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Today it's Vanity Fair contributing editor Janine di Giovanni, who penned an attack on Francis in a "world news" feature at the Daily Beast that was not tagged as commentary and headlined, "What About Women, Pope Francis?" Out of the gate, di Giovanni went after the bishop of Rome (emphasis mine):
"A Hoodie. A Symbol. A Museum Piece? What will become of Trayvon Martin's sweatshirt, the latest piece of trial evidence to capture the public's fascination?" That's how the editors of the Washington Post-owned free tabloid Express grabbed the eyeballs of Washington Metrorail riders this morning.
Manuel Roig-Franzia's cover story on page 12 -- "Iconic Evidence Has Unclear Fate: Supporters view Trayvon Martin's hoodie as more than a trial artifact" -- seems to be spun off from a July 31 Post Style section front-pager, "Where's the Evidence," which looked more broadly at "iconic exhibits" of evidence in high-profile trials such as the infamous glove in the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the Bushmaster rifle used by D.C. snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. But the closing paragraphs of Roig-Franzia's Express piece chiefly served as a vehicle for MSNBC host the Rev. Al Sharpton to promote his designs on Trayvon's hoodie, not to mention Sharpton's insistence that Martin is the Emmett Till of the millennial generation (emphasis mine):
As I argued yesterday, the unanimous state court ruling in New York blocking Mayor Mike Bloomberg's ban on fountain soda cups larger than 16 ounces in capacity would be portrayed in the liberal media as a setback to a well-meaning public health effort and a boon to big business. True to form, taxpayer-subsidized NPR is peddling this spin to readers of its website while completely ignoring how the ruling is a win for consumer choice or how continuing to litigate this in courts may be a waste of taxpayer money.
Today another New York state court upheld an earlier decision in March that invalidated outgoing Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-maligned "soda ban" which restricts many establishments in the Big Apple from selling soda cups larger than 16 ounces in capacity. As the media report on the court ruling, watch for a) the media to paint the ruling as a "blow" to an "ambitious," well-meaning effort by Bloomberg to save the city from corpulence and b) the ruling as a victory for Big Soda, even though the litigants in the case happen to be the New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
For two examples of this media narrative, I submit for your consideration two wildly different publications, Politico and, sadly, the Wall Street Journal. First Politico. Here's how Kyle Cheney opened his July 30 post, "Appeals court cans N.Y.C. soda ban" (emphasis mine):
While most liberal media outlets have been positively giddy about Pope Francis's off-the-cuff remarks to the media about gay Catholics, Tim Padgett is having none of it, complaining, accurately, that the media have misconstrued the pontiff's comments. But Padgett's beef is not with inaccurate secular media outlets but with the church itself. "Catholic doctrine still vilifies homosexuality, and no amount of priestly 'love' makes that okay," huffed the sanctimonious headline to Padgett's July 30 story, "Pope Francis and Gays: 'Loving the Sinner' Is Still Intolerance."
"As TIME’s Stephen Faris has noted, while the Pope’s remarks might be a welcome and humane sentiment, they hardly represent a break with Catholic church doctrine, which still condemns homosexuality. The Vatican’s catechismal stance regarding the LGBTs in our midst remains the same: The church may love the sinner, but it hates the sin," complained Padgett in a post on the Time Ideas blog. Visitors to the main Time.com page were greeted this morning with a huge teaser headline which prompted readers to check out the piece, tagged as a "viewpoint" entry, not an objective news story [see screen capture below]:
Americans hold "[a] complicated mix of views on abortion," the Washington Post insists, reporting the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll with interesting data on some roiling controversies in the nation's political discourse regarding abortion. "Poll: Most in the U.S. back stricter time limits, not rules that hinder clinics," a subheadline to Juliet Eilperin's page A6 story in the July 26 paper reads.
But as always, the phrasing of the question and the sampling of the poll respondents tell us a lot about the results. Here's the loaded language regarding the abortion clinic regulation (emphasis mine):
"New state restrictions on clinics that provide abortions could leave millions of women -- many of them poor and uninsured -- without easy access to cancer screenings and other basic health care services," worried Jake Grovum of the Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline news agency in his heavily-slanted July 24 piece at USAToday.com headlined "Anti-abortion measures may hit women's health care." Grovum quoted two foes of abortion regulation laws -- making sure to give one of them the last word in his 16 paragraph story. By contrast, he cited just one pro-life proponent of clinic regulation, Alabama State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin.
But aside from the article's imbalance and the all-too-common meme that women only have abortion clinics to turn to for free or low-cost health care -- patently untrue as we've noted time and again -- Grovum's article was off-base for suggesting that abortion clinics will become an endangered species in states which regulate them. By contrast, as Lisa Maria Garza of Reuters explained in her July 18 story, "Why many abortion clinics in Texas may stay open despite new law,"abortion-rights advocates who study changes in abortion laws for a living admit that clinic closures might not be a widespread as feared by the Wendy Davis-types in the pro-choice lobby (emphasis mine):
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Obama/Holder Justice Department would request a federal court to put a hold on plans by the State of Texas to put into effect new voter ID laws. The Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett has a short article on the development, "Holder Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Push," published shortly after the announcement at 10:05 a.m. Eastern time.
Barrett failed to directly quote any opponents of Holder's move, but did not that "The move is likely to anger conservatives who have long argued that the law has outlived its usefulness and punishes certain states—particularly in the South—based not on their current conduct, but on their past." But when it came to promoting the article on social media, a Journal social media staffer gave Twitter followers a decidedly pro-Holder spin, pitching the story thusly:
ObamaCare is a poison pill that has unintended consequences for part-time employees all over the country, including in the Washington Post's backyard. The liberal paper cannot simply ignore such developments, but when it covers such developments, you can be sure it will find ways to spin the story to take blame away from President Obama and direct it towards conservative Republicans.
Take Sandhya Somashekhar's July 24 print edition front-pager, "Health law's unintended impact on part-timers." The Post staff writer opened by introducing readers to one Kevin Pace, a Northern Virginia Community College adjunct instructor whose employer "slashed his hours this spring to avoid a Jan. 1 requirement that full-time workers for large employers be offered health insurance." "We work so hard for so little pay," Pace groused, "You would think they would want to make an investment in society, pay the teachers back and give us health care," he told Somashekhar, who similarly closed out the article by giving Pace the last word:
The Wall Street Journal's editorial board is rock-ribbed conservative, but its news pages often feature biased reporting that fits with the rest of the liberal media's narratives about conservatives and the GOP. Take Patrick O'Connor's 20-paragraph July 23 article, "Think Tank Becomes a Handful for GOP."
"For four decades, the Heritage Foundation was a stately think tank that sought to define conservative thinking for Republicans," O'Connor noted, lamenting that "Now, in one of the more significant transformations in the capital's intellectual firmament, it has become an activist political operation trying to alter the course of conservative thinking." In doing so, "[i]t now challenges establishment Republican leaders as much as it informs them, making waves in the process," O'Connor complained, going on to cite Republican congressmen complaining about Heritage's tactics, but failing to find pro-Heritage conservative GOPers to defend the organization.
The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has misplaced at least 2,000 high-tech radios, "creating what some within the agency view as a security risk for federal judges, endangered witnesses and others," the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. What's more, WSJ staffer Devlin Barrett noted, documents released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request suggest that the USMS's director, Obama appointee Stacia Hylton, tried to get agency officials to low-ball the estimate of how much money the lost radios cost the U.S. taxpayer. Oh, and did I mention that the missing radio problem goes back to 2011, when the USMS's Office of Strategic Technology complained that "the entire [inventory] system is broken and drastic measures need to be taken to address the issues"?
Earlier this summer, the Washington Post reported on another federal agency, the U.S. Park Police, misplacing thousands of guns. I noted at the time that the broadcast media failed to cover the story. The same appears to be true here. Of the broadcast network morning shows, only Norah O'Donnell of CBS This Morning very briefly touched on the development on Monday's edition:
Well, yesterday, a third federal court, this time the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, rebuked the president for unconstitutional recess appointments, as Tal Kopan of Politico reported here. Yet once again, the liberal broadcast news media showed absolutely no interest in the development, censoring the story from their July 17 evening newscasts and July 18 morning news programs.
Requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot is tantamount to an "assault on black America" that is "unforgettable, and, you could say, unforgivable."
At least according to MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews, who opted to close out his July 17 program -- and lead into veteran race-baiter Al Sharpton's PoliticsNation -- with a screed against his native Pennsylvania's voter ID law, the constitutionality of which is being challenged in a state court (video and transcript follow the page break):
Updated below: Wemple doubles down | Are you genuinely offended and angered by Rolling Stone magazine putting a glamour-style photograph of Boston bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its August 1 edition, plugging its corresponding cover story, "The Bomber," by promising readers a look at "How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster"?
You are? Well, you're certainly not alone, but Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple thinks you're just another cog in "our country's tedious outrage machine." From his July 17 blog post filed shortly before 11 a.m. and headlined, "To Rolling Stone detractors: Please":
When it comes to racism in the South, the Washington Post is content to presume guilt until innocence is proven.
In his July 16 20-paragraph Style section front-pager "Echoes of the past," Washington Post writer Wil Haygood effectively compared the not-guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial to previous instances where juries in Southern states failed to convict racists accused of murdering black Americans like Emmett Till and Medgar Evers. "A Southern jury -- when it comes to race and the perception that a black person has been wrongly accused or harmed -- operates under the wide whispering shadow of history," Haygood insisted, adding, "[T]here exists a roster of names and cases that has exploded onto the national scene and claimed headlines against the backdrop of race and geography: the Scottsboro Boys, Emmett Till, Isaac Woodward, Medgar Evers, the four girls killed in the Alabama bombing."
"Abortion center closes after run of difficulties" lamented a Washington Post headline on the front page of the July 15 edition's Metro section. "New regulations hamper relocation effort," a subheadline for staff writer Tom Jackman's story noted.
But deep in his 20-paragraph story, Jackman noted that the Fairfax City, Va., clinic, Nova Women's Healthcare, was sued in late 2011 and that court documents in that suit referred to sick patients "lying down in corridors... and, in some instances, even vomiting." In the 16th paragraph of his story, Jackman admitted that "One filing said witnesses would testify that this was a daily occurrence." Virginia's new abortion clinic regulations did not take full effect until June of this year.
MSNBC's initial -- not to mention its ongoing -- reaction to acquittal of George Zimmerman on charges of second degree murder and manslaughter was predictably heavily focused on race and laden with melodramatic hand-wringing.
But it may be anchor Chris Jansing who took the cake in early Sunday morning coverage when she asserted that pre-teen boys were "crawling into bed" with their parents in fear that night as a result of the verdict:
On Thursday, my colleague Jeffrey Meyer noted how the Washington Post's Mike DeBonis failed to explain to readers how unionized retail outlets would benefit from an exemption in the cynically-titled Large Retailer Accountability Act, the D.C. Council bill that would require large retail chains like Walmart to pay employees at least $12.50/hour.
Today, to their credit, Post editors did publish a 12-paragraph piece by the Post's Lydia DePillis, who noted that it was "labor leaders" who "drafted the bill originally" and attempted to blackmail Walmart, saying "they would pull the bill if" the company "agreed to collective bargaining." DePillis also quoted an anonymous source on a city councilman's staff explaining "when all labor pulls in one direction, that is a powerful thing to this council." All the same, DePillis still failed to explain just how pro-union and anti-worker's rights the Act would be, nor did she quote any opponents of the bill in her story.
Ever since the Newtown mass shooting, the liberal media have pushed for a fresh round of federal gun control, insisting that such measures are needed to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands, even though the efficacy of such measures is doubtful. But what about guns potentially falling into the wrong hands thanks to the malfeasance or incompetence of government officials? Shouldn't the media highlight those instances and call the government to account for them?
Well, the Washington Post reported in Friday's newspaper that the "U.S. Park Police has lost track of thousands of handguns, rifles and machine guns in what a government watchdog agency concluded is the latest example of mismanagement on a police force trusted to protect millions of visitors to the city's iconic monuments." Even so, it appears the broadcast networks have thus far ignored the story.
The Wall Street Journal may be best-known for its conservative editorial page, but its ostensibly objective reporters are a far different story. Take Jess Bravin, the Journal's Supreme Court correspondent, and his wildly different takes on the Voting Rights Act case vs. the gay marriage cases.
Although all those cases were 5-4 decisions and although each of them involved overturning or invalidating legislation enacted overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote in Congress or, in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, by the voters of the State of California, Bravin predictably followed the liberal script in how he framed the outcomes.
National Public Radio enjoys a brand new and quite costly state-of-the-art facility just north of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The new facility "includes a cafe with chefs, a gym with a trainer, a staffed wellness center, plug-ins for electric cars and other perks" and that begs the question, "Does an organization that well-heeled still need taxpayer money?"