Corrected from earlier | Just when you thought the whole Wendy Davis obsession was dying down, Vogue has up and done a puffy profile of the Texas state senator and abortion rights absolutist for its September issue. Now, I know you're tempted to run out to the newsstand and snatch up a copy, but apparently the Daily Beast's Erin Cunningham did America a favor with a blog post today about the "13 Things You Didn't Know About Wendy Davis."
"From her love of Victoria Beckham to her teenage rebellious phase [here are]13 things we learned from Vogue’s September-issue profile of Wendy Davis," the subheader for Erin Cunningham's August 15 post gushed. Predictably full of pablum and puffery, Cunningham closed her short piece on a absurdly trite note:
In the center of the Daily Beast's website is a "Cheat Sheet" digest which teases "must reads from all over" the Web. The Cheat Sheet typically runs a thumbnail image and caption, as well as a one-word reaction from editors in red-lettering. [see screen captures below page break]
Of the East Coast's most prestigious papers -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post -- only the Journal today failed to note Jesse Jackson Junior's Democratic Party affiliation, with staff writer Devlin Barrett failing to mention that fact in his 11-paragraph story. For their part, Washington Post staffers Ann Marimow and Rachel Weiner did mention Jackson is a Democrat, but that came 13 paragraphs into their 32-paragraph front-pager in the August 15 paper.
A protest sign depicting the severed head of George W. Bush dripping blood. A photoshop of the infamous photo of South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong officer with President Bush's head photoshopped on the victim's body and "Kill Bush" as the caption.
Those are just two of "10 images mocking George W. Bush that were far worse than a harmless rodeo clown" that conservative blogger and columnist Michelle Malkin posted to her eponymous blog yesterday afternoon. "Over the years, I’ve meticulously chronicled progressive haters and their rank hypocrisy. It’s time for yet another refresher course as the libs go nuts over a rodeo clown," Malkin noted in introduction.
Thanks to some clever thinking from his staff, President Obama has an "ambitious plan to expand high-speed Internet access in schools that would allow students to use digital notebooks and teachers to customize lessons as never before," the Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb giddily gushed in the lead paragraph of his August 14 front page article "Obama pushes Internet proposal."
"Better yet, the president would not need Congress to approve it," the Post scribe added. The catch, obviously, is that the so-called ConnectEd program "would cost billions of dollars" and so the president "wants to pay for it by raising fees for mobile-phone users" by getting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the plan. Of course, that's just a tax on the American consumer by a different name, and it's taxation without representation to boot, but Goldfarb waited until about halfway through his article to get to any constitutional objection to the scheme:
In his August 13 story, "North Carolina's Attack on Voting Rights," the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie insults his readers' intelligence with tired, discredited left-wing talking points about the new North Carolina voter ID law.
Let's take a look at a few of them below. First there's the Republicans-are-disenfranchising-college-voters meme, which is my personal favorite:
Conservative PR guru and Reagan biographer Craig Shirley has an excellent piece over at Breitbart in which he explains why it is utterly detestable that anti-American leftist Jane Fonda was cast as Nancy Reagan in the new Hollywood film Lee Daniels' The Butler, and not, it's not just her infamous pose with North Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns.
Fonda, Shirley notes, sought to slam the door on Vietnamese "boat people" who were fleeing the brutal Communist regime, while other Americans across the political spectrum -- Shirley commends leftie folk singer Joan Baez for her advocacy of the boat people -- stood up for human rights and for welcoming asylum seekers (emphases mine):
When it comes to reporting on North Carolina's new voter ID law, NBC News's Pete Williams is an improvement over his colleagues at MSNBC, who practically portrayed the new law as the ghost of Jim Crow coming back to haunt the Tar Heel State with a new spin on the detested poll tax. That said, the peacock network's senior justice correspondent did not give viewers of the August 13 Nightly News a balanced or accurate portrait of the law, and indeed suggested that the law was motivated by racial and partisan animus.
Williams began his segment -- titled "The Fight to Vote" in an onscreen graphic which accompanied substitute anchor Lester Holt's introduction -- by noting the plight of one "Alberta Curry, who lives near Fayetteville [and] has voted in every presidential election since 1956." Ms. Curry, an elderly African-American woman, "doesn't have a birth certificate and says it will be hard to comply with North Carolina's tough new voter ID Law" which "was passed a month after the Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act," Williams complained. After dispatching with Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's point of view in a brief soundbite, Williams listed three changes rendered by the new law, the first of which was misleading:
Our friends at Breitbart.com caught how liberal Politico writer Glenn Thrush dutifully set about as gaffe goalie for prospective Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, defending her "Medgar Evans" gaffe as a mere "verbal typo." "Gaffe is accidental truth. Verbal typo is [a] brain fart," Thrush helpfully explained via Twitter.
In and of itself, it's no big deal, Breitbart's John Nolte admits, but for the obvious liberal media double standard in what passes for political reporting these days. "[T]oday's mainstream media is merciless at using slips of the tongue to undermine the competency of Republicans. Democrats, however, always get a pass. Even if the gaffe is noted by the media, it is never used to define or undermine the pol," Nolte concluded. Thrush's eagerness to rush to Hillary's rescue illustrates that it's not just bias by omission conservatives have to contend with, but an actual positive attempt by liberal journalists to act as Democratic gaffe goalies. Expect more Glenn Thrushes to come out of the weeds as the campaign season heats up and conservative bloggers and Twitter users make sport of their verbal faux pas.
The Washington Post reporter today that Mayor Vince Gray (D-Washington, D.C.) confirmed it was he who pressured gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to back out of Saturday's city-sponsored concert honoring the late Martin Luther King, Jr. McClurkin was the target of local gay activists because of comments he made in 2002 in which he testified about how he used to practice homosexuality but repented of that lifestyle because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Although a group of local African-American pastors are furious about Gray's "insidious bullying tactics" and "outright infringement of Pastor McClurkin's civil rights," the Washington Post downplayed that angle in today's page B3 story, burying their outrage in the final third of the 9-paragraph article, "Gray made call to cut gospel singer from show." "Gay activists objected to scheduled headliner at King memorial," noted the subheader, giving the casual reader scanning the page no indication that McClurkin's treatment by the mayor has sparked outrage.
On Friday, I noted how ostensibly objective religion reporter David Gibson of Religion News Service has been tapped by Sister Simone Campbell to co-author her memoirs. Proceeds from the project will go into the coffers of NETWORK, Campbell's left-leaning "social justice" organization. Campbell, you may recall, addressed the Democratic National Convention last year and was a mini-celebrity on the Left for her attacks on Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his signature Ryan budget plan.
A review of Gibson's writing about Campbell's anti-Ryan budget "nuns on the bus" tour last year and this year's bus tour focused on immigration reform shows that Gibson's treatment of Campbell's politicking reads more like hagiography than objective journalism. Let's walk through a few samples. Here's Gibson from a September 6 item dutifully passing along highlights of Campbell's speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention (emphasis mine):
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: