US News’s on-staff radical feminist Bonnie Erbe returned to attacking pro-lifers, her favorite subject of ire, in a blog entry on Monday. This time, she singled out “20-something abortion foe” Lila Rose, a junior at UCLA, for her “dishonest” and “pointless” undercover videos which she has taped at several Planned Parenthood locations. She seems to be most upset by how Rose has “created a public relations nightmare” for the abortion-mongering group, and called for the young woman’s prosecution for “trespassing, fraud, and whatever other law she violated” for impersonating a 13-year-old statutory rape victim. The blogger later told pro-lifers to just “go away,” since they will “will never succeed in banning abortion.”
Erbe began by excerpting Robin Abcarian’s fair profile of Rose in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, introducing her as a “20-something abortion foe who videotapes counseling sessions at Planned Parenthood clinics in which she poses as a 13-year-old impregnated by an older man.” The blogger saw two large “crimes” in this activity -- it has gained Rose quick notoriety in the “netherworld” of the pro-life movement, and it has given Planned Parenthood a few headaches:
CNN’s resident curmudgeon Jack Cafferty blamed Republican losses in the 2008 election, in part, on their use of the “socialist” label against Democrats during his regular commentary on Friday’s Situation Room. After reporting on a “conservative faction of the Republican National Committee” wanting to use this label against their opponents, and how they petitioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele to consider a resolution about it, he continued by labeling this faction “hardliners.”
Before reading some of the viewer responses to his commentary, he returned to gushing over Michelle Obama, suggesting that she might be president in the future. Cafferty also told one apparently conservative respondent who used the fascist and communist labels to “lighten up.”
The commentator made his regular “Cafferty File” commentary seven minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He began immediately with his swipe at Republicans: “Wolf, it seems like some Republicans still have not figured out that they lost big-time last November, in part, because the American people are sick and tired of their style of politics. Exhibit A: a conservative faction of the Republican National Committee wants the party to brand Democrats as socialists.”
CNN correspondent Alina Cho went out of her way to highlight First Lady Michelle Obama’s “meteoric rise to style icon status” and how it has inspired the fashion industry during a report on Thursday’s American Morning. After detailing how a dress Mrs. Obama wore on the cover of Essence magazine ended up selling well, she commented that “the bottom line is designers are looking at Michelle as a muse now.” Cho also detailed how the apparent Obama-inspired fashion craze has expanded to cosmetics and fitness classes.
Co-anchor Kiran Chetry introduced Cho’s report, which began 17 minutes into the 6 am hour of the CNN program, by trumpeting how “nearly a 100 days into her role as first lady, it’s become clear that she’s really a one-woman stimulus package for the fashion industry.” The CNN correspondent continued with similar lofty language: “Michelle Obama’s meteoric rise to style icon status has surprised even those in the fashion industry. For months, we’ve been watching everything she wears, and in many cases, we’re going out and buying it. So designers are sitting up and taking note. They’re thinking it’s time to cash in.”
During a panel discussion on Tuesday’s No Bias, No Bull program, Jane Velez-Mitchell, the Headline News anchor who replaced Glenn Beck after he switched over to the Fox News Channel, vehemently defended Perez Hilton’s crude remarks against Miss California USA Carrie Prejean. After TruTV’s Lisa Bloom blasted Hilton’s use of “the ‘B’ word and the ‘C’ word, that rhymes with ‘rich and runt,’” Velez-Mitchell replied, “Why is it that people should be very polite when they’re told that they’re second-class citizens?...If someone said to you...I don’t think you should have the right to get married, wouldn’t you be ticked off?”
The panel discussed the controversy between Prejean and Hilton, and besides Bloom and Velez-Mitchell, included CNN correspondents Erica Hill and Jessica Yellin, and anchor Roland Martin. Despite her criticism of Hilton, the TruTV anchor twice expressed her support for gay marriage. Velez-Mitchell herself is not an uninterested party on the wider issue of same-sex “marriage,” as she is an open lesbian who defended anti-Proposition 8 protesters during her Headline News program in November 2008: “I believe that gay marriage should be a right for all Americans. In other words, this should be ok across the country” [video available here; her remarks start 5:25 in].
Michael Lindenberger of Time.com, in a April 20 article titled “Ten Years After Columbine, It’s Easier to Bear Arms,” found it “odd” that “whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out,” despite the “massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen” in the following decade. He also quoted extensively from a young gun control advocate in the online article, without including any arguments from the opposing viewpoint.
Lindenberger first gave his reflection on the anniversary: “Monday April 20 marks 10 years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold permanently etched the words Columbine High School into this nation’s collective memory. What happened that day in 1999 also seemed to wake America up to the reality that it had become a nation of gun owners — and too often a nation of shooters. The carnage in Littleton, Colorado...seemed to usher in a new era of, well if not gun control, then at least gun awareness.”
The Time.com writer continued with a seeming lamentation: “In the decade since, massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen have continued — including the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people and wounded many others. But something odd has occurred. Whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out.”
CNN has displayed a double standard in its coverage of the difficulties involving the extended family of Sarah Palin versus that of President Barack Obama. Two programs on the network on Thursday evening used multiple soap opera references to describe recent occurrences in the “Palin family saga.” This contrasts with two incidents involving the aunt and half-brother of the president, which have received minimal coverage from the network.
Anchor Roland Martin began the soap opera imagery in his promo for a segment about Palin on the No Bias, No Bull program: “Folks, talk about ‘The Young and the Restless’ -- these days Governor Sarah Palin must be feeling like she’s living in a soap opera. It’s everything from her daughter’s unplanned pregnancy, to a family member ending up behind bars, and it’s not over yet. We’ll catch you up with all the real-life Palin family drama.” After a commercial break, a CNN graphic referenced another daytime TV title at the beginning of the segment: “Palin: The Days of Her Lives.” The anchor also used a similar line, speaking of the “days of the Palin lives.”
On Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Jeffrey Toobin voiced their skepticism about the hundreds of Tea Party protests across the U.S., with Toobin stating how it was “disturbing” that there was a “edge of anger at the government” at the rallies. He continued, “There is a real -- a real hostility that is not just politics as usual among some of these people....I think it’s indicative of trying to tap into an anger that’s beyond rationality on a part of a small group of these people.” Amanpour also asked if the protesters were “really out of step with the majority of Americans.”
Amanpour, filing in for host Anderson Cooper, began the segment just after the beginning of the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Before turning to Toobin, she brought on the network’s senior political analyst David Gergen and asked him a cynical question about the Tea Parties: “David -- is this, David, a grassroots movement, or is it something just whipped up for this moment?” Gergen began with an admission: “Well, Christiane, at first, I must confess, I did not take these very seriously. But they do seem to have gained traction in the last couple of weeks. And they have -- I think they are giving expression to what is a groundswell of a vocal minority, who are increasingly alienated and opposed to what the president is proposing -- is putting forward, the agenda he’s advancing.”
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper followed his colleague David Shuster into the gutter on his Anderson Cooper 360 program on Tuesday in making a vulgar “tea-bagging” joke about Republicans/conservatives. After CNN’s senior political analyst David Gergen remarked that Republicans were “searching for their voice” after two electoral losses, Cooper quipped, “It’s hard to talk when you’re tea-bagging.” [audio available here]
Cooper had Gergen and chief business correspondent Ali Velshi on to comment on President Obama’s economic speech earlier that day at Georgetown University. Cooper had asked Gergen about the Republicans’ “positioning” in response to the speech. The analyst touted how the GOP was “in disarray” and that they “have not yet come up with a compelling alternative, one that has gained popular recognition.” Cooper replied, “Tea-bagging. They’ve got tea-bagging.”
CBS anchor Harry Smith and Bill O’Reilly traded light blows with each other on Tuesday’s Early Show, as the Fox News Channel host marked his 100th consecutive month at the top of cable news ratings. Smith jabbed his guest about his 12 years on the same network: “Couldn’t hold a job at any other place?...Is this the longest continuous employment you have ever had?” O’Reilly didn’t take it lying down, however, and got in his own hits at Smith, such as joking about how the CBS anchor apparently hangs out with President Obama.
After beginning with his employment jab at O’Reilly, Smith asked the Fox News anchor about the piracy off the coast of Somalia. O’Reilly replied by recommending the arming of merchant ships and the posting of security guards onboard. He also got his first ribbing in at Smith: “A few security guards? Look, you got more security around you, Smith...here than they have in the boats.” The CBS anchor quipped back, “I need it....We’ve got guys like you coming in and I never know what’s going to happen.” O’Reilly further recommended that a blockade be initiated off the Somali coast.
On Wednesday’s No Bias, No Bull program, CNN anchor Roland Martin forgot the first part of his show’s title and featured three “progressive Christian” guests who all criticized the “religious right” and affirmed his view that you can “love God, go to church every Sunday, and not be a die-hard social conservative.” He did not host one religious conservative on his panel. The anchor even promised to check up on the three and “see if you guys are able to put this [progressive Christian] movement together, and we’ll follow it to the conclusion.”
Martin began the segment, which started 41 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, with his usual criticism of social conservatives: “I’m an evangelical, but I think the faith should focus on more than just abortion and whether marriage should just be between a man and a woman. As police brutality, poverty, funding inequality in our schools, the high infant mortality rate in our inner cities -- they’re all issues that I, as a Christian, care about, but they rarely top the religious right’s agenda.” He then asked as his general question to his guests, “So, is there a place for progressive evangelicals in this country?”
As you might expect, all three of his guests -- the Reverend Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland Church, Reverend Serene Jones, president of the Union Theological Seminary, and Frank Schaeffer -- all answered this question affirmatively, and each one had their criticism of religious conservatives. Martin first asked Schaeffer if he believed that “progressive Christians have been meek and silent, and frankly, being bullied by social conservatives into submission.” Schaeffer not only acknowledged that he believed this, but later went so far of blaming the “religious right” for the Iraq War and the bad economy. He even accused them of being “anti-American,” because in his view, “they hate pluralistic diverse America. What they want is a homogenous white America most of the time.”
In a promo on Thursday’s Early Show, CBS asked if same-sex “marriage” is “inevitable in all 50 states,” and during their segment on the issue, seemed to answer this rhetorical question affirmatively. The network also lined up four sound bites from three individuals who supported the legalization of such unions against one from a leader of a conservative organization. Additionally, correspondent Priya David made one factual error about California’s Proposition 8 during the report.
David began the segment by outlining which states had passed same-sex civil unions, which states permit domestic partnerships, and which states “offer full marriage rights for same-sex couples.” She continued by actually using a political label for the “marriage” states: “In allowing same-sex marriage, Vermont has joined its neighbors in the north, Massachusetts and Connecticut, which are traditionally liberal states. But now there’s support in a place you might not expect.”
CNN’s Rick Sanchez returned to blasting conservatives on Wednesday’s Newsroom program, blaming the recent murder of three Pittsburgh police officers on the Fox News Channel and other media on the right: “That weekend tragedy involves a man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers in cold blood. Why? Because he was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, ‘Our rights were being infringed upon.’” He tag-teamed with Media Matters fellow Eric Boehlert to argue that conservative media personalities like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity were offering “garden-variety fear and hate mongering...night in and night out.”
One could be sure that Sanchez would be pointing his finger squarely at his competitors on the right from the first moment he mentioned the gun issue, which was 13 minutes into the CNN program. After playing audio of gunshots from the Pittsburgh murders, he gave the following promo: “What you’re hearing there is three police officers killed by a man who thought President Obama would take away his guns. Who put that thought in his head? And how many more Americans believe that? Could it be 1.2 million Americans? You’re going to see why I’m asking that question.” Sanchez gave a further hint that his target was Fox News during another promo ten minutes later: “Are Americans being fed a pack of lies about President Obama and guns laws? And is it creating a gun buying panic? ‘We’ll report, you decide.’ That’s not too obvious is it?”
Wednesday’s Early Show picked up where The Tyra Banks Show left off in interviewing Levi Johnston, the ex-fiancé of Bristol Palin, as well as his sister and mother, and continued the media’s coverage of the “family feud” between the Palins and the Johnstons. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez asked Levi’s sister Mercede if the Palin family was “snobby.” She also asked the young man if the Palin family was “lying” about the circumstances of his relationship with Bristol and the subsequent breakup.
Rodriguez asked Levi Johnston some obligatory sappy questions, such as what his son Tripp meant to him, and if his “heart was broken” over the way things turned out. She devoted nearly the entire interview to trying to get the Johnstons’ side of the story, and only brought up the Palin family’s side in one question to Levi: “Sarah Palin, through a spokesperson, has denied a lot of the things that you’re saying. So either you’re lying or Sarah Palin is lying. Which is it?” After trying to get the young father to be more specific in his less than direct answer to the question, the anchor asked again, “So they’re lying?” He answered, “Yeah.”
CNN latched onto two separate poll results on Monday that indicated that about half of Americans view the Islamic world negatively or don’t trust Muslim allies as much as other allies, and indicated that President Obama and others in authority need to be “educators” for the public about Islam. The network brought up the polls’ results on seven different occasions during their programming that day.
During the 8 am Eastern hour of American Morning, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour first brought up a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 55 percent of Americans “concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam” and that 48 percent “hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam.” After she read these results, substitute anchor Carol Costello responded, “I think the difference is that many Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of -- kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.”
Later, near the end of the noon hour of the Newsroom program, Amanpour appeared again, this time with anchor Tony Harris. He asked the correspondent to “talk us through some recent polling in The Washington Post that suggests that the president is going to have to play the role of educator-in-chief when it comes to explaining Islam to many in America, even as he works for better relations with the Islamic world.” Amanpour first answered that President Obama was “trying to smooth...over and correct” the “terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world over the past eight years.
It appears that CNN’s “Michelle mania” has reached a new level. After referring to the Obamas as the “royal family of the United States” on April 1, the network conducted a web “quick vote” on Monday on whether the first lady should run for her husband’s position in 2020.
The results, however, did not bode well for “mighty Michelle,” as one guest on CNN labeled Mrs. Obama. Before the poll was taken down, 83% were opposed to the idea, while 17% were in favor. As the graphic states plainly, it is not a scientific poll.
As much as this “Michelle mania” is apparently running rampant abroad, as the network would lead you to believe from these reports, these results may mean that “America’s unofficial royalty” have some obstacles to overcome before any political dynasty could become a reality.
In an interview on CNN.com on Friday titled “Zakaria: Obama disappoints as world leader,” author and CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria threw cold water on the media’s laudatory coverage of President Obama’s trip to Europe: “Although he brought a lot of star power -- the talk of the week -- at least in certain circles in Washington, New York and London -- has been that President Obama is failing in his role as leader of the free world.” He cited a columnist overseas to support his opinion, something that hasn’t really been done in the media’s coverage of the trip. Zakaria also plugged the central thesis of his book, “The Post-American World” -- that the “rest of the world is rising to meet the United States’ position -- economically, politically and culturally.”
The unnamed correspondent who interviewed Zakaria began by asking what the anchor/author thought about the president’s trip. After dropping the “failing” word, he cited a recent column by British columnist Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian, that “President Obama looks neither like JFK nor FDR but rather JEC -- that’s James Earl Carter -- better known here as Jimmy Carter.” The interviewer countered, “But it appears everyone is fawning over him.” Zakaria answered, “President Obama has encountered a Europe that is more resistant to his policy proposals. The French and Germans have their own proposals. The Chinese and Russians have come with their own demands. And everyone expects him to apologize for having caused this mess in the first place.”
Two journalists appearing as guests on CNN on Wednesday and Thursday praised “mighty Michelle” Obama for being “stylish,” “successful,” and for showing “an interest in wanting to reach out to people who may feel they’ve been disenfranchised or held at a distance from the power structure.”
Eighteen hours later on Thursday’s American Morning, the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan tried to sell how Mrs. Obama could aid her husband on the international stage: “[She] helps people to get more of a human sense of the administration. And also, I think that for many people, there was, to some degree, a sense of being closed off to the rest of the world or closed off to those who are kind of outside of the mainstream by other administrations. And I think this is a way of trying to build those bridges in a way that is very non-confrontational.”
CNN correspondent Alina Cho loaded the regal language into her report on Wednesday’s American Morning about Europe’s “apparent love affair” with Michelle Obama. Besides the obligatory Jackie Kennedy references, Cho gave a preview of the first lady’s tea with Queen Elizabeth II: “On today’s schedule: tea with the queen, and insiders say the queen and America’s queen bee will be fast friends.” The correspondent even compared Mrs. Obama to Princess Diana. She also referred to the Obamas as the “royal family of the United States.”
Cho began her report by hyping the first lady’s popularity, how it apparently isn’t exclusive to the States, and how it could overshadow her husband the president: “Tina Brown, as you know, joked about an hour ago that Sara Brown is a beautiful girl but, you know, everybody sort of knows that right now, at least, she pales in comparison to Michelle Obama. Of course, the big question is, could she overshadow the president?...So, you know, there’s no denying that Michelle Obama is a rock star in America, but how is her style and personality playing abroad? Well, the early reviews are very good. The apparent love affair with the U.S. first lady is flourishing in Europe.”
As you might expect, Jon Stewart and CNN commentator Jack Cafferty’s combined act on Monday’s Daily Show consisted of some serious discussion of the economy intermixed with unoriginal jabs at former President George W. Bush’s speech pattern and high praise for the Obamas. Stewart even half-jokingly suggested that if Obama “doesn’t do well,” (perish the thought!), “we can still blame it on Bush” [audio available here].
Cafferty was on the Comedy Central program to promote his new book, “Now or Never.” After the two initially joked about this title and the title of his last book (“It’s Getting Ugly Out There”), the commentator made his first joke about Bush. Stewart asked, “Are you feeling less confident in our ability to pull this out? Is your perspective that we truly are in a nosedive?” Cafferty replied, “I don’t know. You know, I’ve got -- I’ve got some faith, I think, in the new president. He’s capable of making a declarative sentence, a cohesive thought.” When the audience applauded, Stewart quipped, “Big grammar fans.”
The CNN commentator then continued to gush over Obama: “I like Obama. I think he’s a bright guy. He’s a former editor of the Harvard Law Review, former senator, president of the United States, and he goes on The Tonight Show and says, arguably, the stupidest thing he’s ever said in his entire adult life.” Oh, it’s definitely arguable, Jack
On Monday evening, CNN’s Roland Martin began his eight-week run as fill-in anchor for Campbell Brown on her Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull program, who took maternity leave with the upcoming arrival of her unborn baby. As the show began, he gave an “opening statement” of sorts as to how he hoped to anchor the program: “I’m not going to bother with the silly notion of who’s a liberal or a conservative on this show. I voted for Obama and also for George H.W. Bush -- Republicans and Democrats. On some issues, I might be called a liberal -- on others, a conservative. I judge people based on the issues, and refuse to be pigeonholed and wedded to the ridiculous notion of ideology. Our goal on this show is very simple, that is to speak truth to power, no matter the party or the person.”
Given this track record, it’s no surprise that the anchor did his best to obscure the issues concerning President Barack Obama’s upcoming commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame. He moderated a panel discussion with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and Father Jim Martin of America magazine, a Catholic publication which regularly dissents from Church teaching. He teamed up with the liberal Catholic priest to incorrectly give the impression that the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty rises to the same level as its opposition to abortion.
During a segment on Friday’s Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull program, CNN tried to perpetuate left-wing stereotypes about gun owners, and sent mixed messages about whether or not President Obama and his administration is pushing for gun control. Correspondent Sean Callebs interviewed two Texas professionals who owned guns and concluded, “A nurse, an attorney -- not the usual portrait of Second Amendment diehards.” After asking a gun store owner if he was “profiting on this fear” of new gun control measures, Callebs expounded on the concerns of gun owners: “In fact, it may not be rational at all. It might even be paranoid. But one thing is certain. Many gun owners believe this president is somehow out to curb their rights and they’re stocking up just in case.” [audio available here]
Both Callebs and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tried to assure their viewers that gun control was “way off the agenda right now” of the Obama administration, despite the fact that a graphic on the news crawl stated plainly that President Obama “wants to make expired Assault Weapons Ban permanent.”
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez characterized those making light of President Barack Obama’s frequent use of a Teleprompter as being on the “far right” during a segment on Friday’s Newsroom program (audio available here). He also used a skit from liberal comedian David Letterman’s show on CBS which made fun of former President George W. Bush’s consistent verbal stumbles to underline his point.
Sanchez made the comment during a segment with comedian Carlos Mencia. He asked Mencia if he had heard of the Obama/Teleprompter humor coming from conservatives: “Hey, have you heard what’s going -- you know, the far right this week has been saying that President Obama is too stupid to talk without a script.” He then played Letterman’s skit, titled “Teleprompter Versus No Teleprompter,” which pitted an excerpt from President Obama’s first address to Congress against a clip from a town hall meeting given by former President Bush, with predictable results.
Erbe began by expressing her glee at the opportunity to write about this: “The controversy over Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address is too tempting for me not to join, so here goes.” Not to nitpick Bonnie, but you got the name of the institution wrong. Notre Dame University is in Lebanon. The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana is the University of Notre Dame. The difference does matter.
When he’s not gushing over the Obamas, you can make a fair bet that CNN commentator Jack Cafferty is bashing conservatives, and he returned to one of his favorite subjects of scorn during his regular “Cafferty File” segment on Thursday’s Situation Room -- Sarah Palin. He labeled three quotes from a recent speech the Alaska governor gave as “painful.” He concluded his commentary by remarking that “whoever said truth is stranger than fiction must have met this woman.”
The CNN commentator also hinted twice during the segment that the Alaska governor was unintelligible. During the commentary, the commentator remarked that Palin “talked about why the Republicans lost in November, and seemed mostly to blame the press, at least I think that’s what she said.” Later, after Blitzer stated that the governor would be visiting Washington and that they were going to try to have her on the program, Cafferty laughed and replied, “Well, let’s hope so. Maybe you can understand her.”
Both MSNBC’s David Shuster and CNN’s Rick Sanchez pulled their scoop straight from Media Matters’ blog, and focused on Newt Gingrich’s Twitter comments criticizing President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, instead of the controversy over the speech itself. Shuster targeted the former Speaker of the House during the “Hypocrisy Watch” segment on Tuesday’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue program, saying that Gingrich was “already telling Notre Dame what to do,” even though he wasn’t Catholic yet and had gone through two divorces.
Almost a day later on Wednesday’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez devoted a whole segment to Gingrich’s Tweet, and also brought up the divorce issue: “Newt Gingrich couldn’t resist taking a shot at President Obama. He seems to infer that the president shouldn’t talk to a Catholic university because of quote, ‘values.’ Should Newt Gingrich, thrice married, go there? Really?”
BET anchor Jeff Johnson bizarrely likened the popularity of President Barack Obama to the reaction many Christians have to the name of Jesus during a segment on Tuesday’s Larry King Live on CNN: “There’s a joke sometimes -- when you can be in a church, and if you just say Jesus, the people will shout. I mean, now, if you just say Obama, people will shout.”
Johnson, who was the main correspondent for BET during the network’s coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign, participated in a panel discussion during the second half-hour of the CNN program with Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former McCain campaign advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer. King’s program aired immediately after President Obama’s press conference on Tuesday evening, and the three participants gave their reactions to the reporters’ questions and the executive’s answers and main issues.
On Tuesday’s Newsroom program, T.J. Holmes because the latest CNN on-air personality to forward the dubious claim that guns from the U.S. are a major factor in the rampant drug violence plaguing northern Mexico: “I don’t want to say enabling, maybe not the best word. But still, so many of the guns that are being used in Mexico are guns that come across the border from the U.S.”
His guest, columnist Sam Quinones of the Los Angeles Times, wholeheartedly agreed: “...[W]e can do a lot about the guns.....If you talk to Mexican officials, pretty much they don’t want to talk about anything but all the guns that are coming....down to Mexico and into the hands of cartel guys who are then killing cops, terrorizing a population, and killing off each other and so on.”
The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as “far-right militants” in another report.
ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.
Seemingly not satisfied with bashing the likes of former President Bush or Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty took aim at a more international target on Wednesday’s Situation Room -- Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. He joined PBS’s Bonnie Erbe and the Washington Post’s On Faith webpage in attacking the pontiff’s recent comment against the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa. Cafferty used the standard left-wing talking point that the Church is stuck in the Middle Ages: “It’s time -- it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century.”
After quoting the pope’s remark, Cafferty summarized the Church’s overall message of “encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.” He then actually blamed this message indirectly for the spread of the virus: “Obviously, the message has not delivered the desired results in Africa -- 22 million people in Africa infected with HIV. Not to mention right here in our nation’s capital -- a new report shows that three percent of Washington, DC’s residents have HIV or AIDS....One official says Washington rates are higher than parts of West Africa, and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.”
CNN’s Zain Verjee couldn’t seem to find any health care “experts” who agreed with Pope Benedict XVI during a report on Tuesday’s Situation Room about the “political firestorm” the pontiff apparently set off during his first visit to Africa. Verjee not only cited unnamed “experts” who disagreed with the pope’s statement that the distribution of condoms on the continent “increases the problem” of HIV/AIDS instead of helping it, but also found “some priests and nuns working with AIDS victims in Africa question the church’s anti-condom policy.”
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced the correspondent’s report, hyping how “Pope Benedict XVI is facing a condom controversy right now. That may be last thing he needs on his first tour of Africa, [which is] struggling to cope with a massive AIDS epidemic.” Verjee continued in this vein: “Pope Benedict XVI set off another political firestorm, even before he landed in Africa, saying condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis worse. He told reporters, ‘It’s a tragedy, but you can’t resolve with it the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.’