Normally, it would be a "dog-bites-man" story - overtly liberal media figures promoting a liberal, big government policy initiative. But when the left-leaning Project for Excellence in Journalism notices a trend, and the New York Times deems it worth reporting, something funny is going on.
On June 21, the Times' "Media Decoder" blog suggested that historians studying how ObamaCare passed "might assign a bit of the credit to liberal talk show hosts." The article cited a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (no right-wing outfit, that) showing that, during the lead-up to health care reform passage, "liberal hosts like Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz" spent nearly twice as much airtime on health care reform as did their conservative counterparts.
Left-wing hosts "spent 44 percent of their airtime talking about health care from June 2009 to March 2010, while conservative hosts spent 26 percent of their airtime on the subject," according to the article. Further, MSNBC gave it 32 percent of its airtime, while Fox gave it 20 percent.
Something about the soccer World Cup brings out the missionary in the mainstream media, and every four years they strive to bring the good news of "the beautiful game" to the ignorant American masses.
This year is no different. The 2010 World Cup is set to begin in South Africa on June 11. More than just covering the month-long event, the media are already doing their best to hype it, overstating its popularity in the United States and its potential appeal to U.S. sports fans. From Time magazine dedicating an entire issue to "The Global Game," to CBS's helpful "The World Cup Guide for Americans," the public is being brow-beaten to catch "World Cup Fever."
And while soccer partisans may try (mostly unsuccessfully) to score on point-by-point comparisons to baseball or football, the most compelling argument many media outlets can muster is, "The rest of the world loves it. We should too."
The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with "American exceptionalism" - the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America's rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.
Hence Americans are "xenophobic," "isolated" and lacking in understanding for other nations and their passion for "the planetary pastime," as Time magazine put it. But, they are confident, as America becomes more Hispanic, the nation will have to give in and adopt the immigrants' game. On the other hand, the media assure the public that soccer is already "America's Game," and Americans are enthusiastically anticipating the World Cup, even though the numbers don't bear that contention out.
So, every four years they return with renewed determination to force soccer's square peg in the round hole of American culture.
It seems when John Lennon sang "Imagine" (aka. The Worst Song of All Time) he was talking about ... Denmark. That must be the point of a curious piece on The Washington Post's ever-more ironically named "On Faith" blog.
In an article titled "One nation Under God and a lot of stress," Alyce M. McKenzie, professor of homiletics at the Perkins School of Theology, was quite taken with her son's description of life in Copenhagen, where he'd studied for a semester. She furnished a laundry list of admirable aspects of Danish society - mostly the usual stuff American liberals cite to illustrate Europe's superiority:
...riding a bike or walking just about everywhere, having lights that go on and off automatically, recycling all glass bottles, drinking tap water, being able to let your baby in its stroller bask in the sun a bit while you go in and pick up a few groceries for tonight's meal, beautiful public spaces, green parks where people enjoy leisure time, high-speed and clean trains [what is with the liberal obsession with trains?], not being obsessed with work to the point that family and leisure are devalued, and, by all accounts, a happiness factor that exceeds ours.
And -- big bonus for a liberal trapped by "the convenience oriented, car-driven culture in suburban Texas" -- Denmark even has an exotic word that captures a concept we dull Americans couldn't have originated (think "feng shui"). "[H]ygge, which translates [as] ‘coziness,' or, more accurately, ‘tranquility,' is a complete absence of anything annoying, irritating, or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle and soothing things."
That's cat nip to liberals who dream of being swathed in bubble wrap and bike helmets by the nanny state. And for McKenzie, "This started me wondering why, in the Bible belt, my own life doesn't have as much hygge as the Danes." Her answer: the Danes aren't burdened with all that God baggage.
There is a scene in Hamlet when the prince tells Polonius (the Joe Biden of medieval Denmark) to look after the newly arrived theater troop, making sure they are "well used."
Polonius sniffs, "My lord, I will use them according to their desert."
"God's bodykins, man," snaps Hamlet, "much better: use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"
Obviously, Polonius and Hamlet weren't talking about the players' arid, sandy region. "Deserts," despite the old-style spelling meant their "just desserts" or what they were due. Old Polonius, a palace insider, was just reflecting polite society's disdain for actors during Shakespeare's time, telling Hamlet he'd put them up in a style befitting lowly itinerant entertainers. But Hamlet understood that, given the fallen nature of humanity, we need to treat everyone better than they deserve.
Every member of Shakespeare's audience, from a laborer to the queen herself, might have nodded in understanding at that line, accustomed as they were to the concept of original sin.
Here's a story the liberal Hollywood and media establishment should love:
A remote rural community; a beautiful, innocent woman betrayed by her husband, falsely accused of immorality and condemned to horrible death by a cruel male power structure that hides behind religion; her only ally a courageous, dignified older woman who, when she cannot stop the tragedy, bravely determines to tell the world.
If you're an entertainment maven in Los Angeles or New York, what's not to love? Except that it's not set in Puritan New England or contemporary Texas. And the dignified aunt isn't played by Susan Sarandon. The dialogue is mostly in Farsi, so it lacks the southern drawl that helps liberals identify the bad guys.
"The Stoning of Soraya M." is set in an Iranian village in 1986. The woman is the victim of Sharia law. It addresses misogyny, injustice, human rights abuses and narrow religiosity. It is anti-violence and deeply pro-life, in the broadest sense of the term. In short, as The Weekly Standards Stephen F. Hayes wrote, "it is an important film," and it should have received attention from the people who like to think of films as important. But the people who control Hollywood's most prestigious awards ignored it.
Last week, the Culture & Media Institute published a study of The Washington Post's coverage of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. CMI found overwhelming bias in the Post's reporting during the seven days after gay couples could begin applying for marriage licenses. The celebratory tone of many of the articles was enough to merit charges of bias, but CMI had numbers to back them up.
During an online Q & A on March 15, CMI got the opportunity to ask Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli about the biased reporting. Here, in full, are the question and the answer:
Alexandria, VA: In the week after gay marriage was legal, the Post devoted 543 column inches to gay issues. Those stories quoted gay marriage advocates 67 times compared to opponents just 6 times. How can you defend how the Post has handled this story, especially since for all your push for home rule, this decision never even went to the voters who likely would have rejected it.
Marcus Brauchli: The polls don't necessarily support your view that gay marriage would have been rejected by voters (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/06/AR2010020602300.html). But, in any case, the issue of gay marriage crosses a lot of important terrain--civil liberties, religion, local economics, national politics and, yes, home rule. I don't know how you're counting quotes. We quoted many people who were able to marry because of the legal change; it's hard to see how you'd cover a change of this magnitude without talking to the people most affected by the change. I can assure you, though, that we were just as intent on reflecting the views of those who opposed the ideas as we were those who favored it."
Hmmm ... Here's a quick summary of CMI's analysis:
Special C-SPIN Coverage of the Toyota Recall Hearings [Satire]
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
REP. WALDEN (R-OR.): Secretary LaHood, are Toyotas safe to drive?
SEC. LAHOOD: We believe that the Toyotas listed on our Web site are not safe to drive - unlike the sporty, affordable Chevy Cobalt.
REP. SUTTON (D-OH.): So, you're saying that a woman - a minority woman - driving a Toyota is putting her life at risk?
SEC. LAHOOD: Yes ma'am there is a significant risk of her Toyota accelerating, uh, unwantedly. Now had that woman checked out the surprisingly affordable Buick Enclave ...
REP. DINGELL, (D-Mich.): Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you for your forthright testimony here today, and I'd like to ask you if you think these problems in vehicles built at Southern plants might be the result of negligence of workers who are unhappy? I mean workers whose job security and retirement are in constant jeopardy, and who've been denied the opportunity to collectively bargain? Who lack representation?
SEC. LAHOOD: If you mean to imply, Congressman, that these safety issues wouldn't have occurred in cars built in UAW plants, uh, you're absolutely right. Now, for the union professionals who build the luxurious Cadillac Escalade, there's union quality behind every turn of the wrench.
REP. WALDEN: Now let me ...
SEC. LAHOOD: I'd also like to say that the quality doesn't end at the factory door...
REP. WALDEN: Thank you...
SEC. LAHOOD: ...and it extends to those famous Mr. GoodWrench Mechanics...
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC's Fox & Friends Feb. 17, to discuss how the networks have covered President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package in the year since its passage.
Using research from MRC's Business & Media Institute, Bozell told cohost Gretchen Carlson that, of 172 stories ABC, CBS and NBC have run on the stimulus, just 90 of them (52 percent) included any criticism of the massive spending program.
Asserting that the media have failed in their responsibility to cover the stimulus, Bozell said, "Remember, the president said very simply - he said we needed $787 billion because we needed to create jobs, jobs, jobs. That's what he said this was all about. He said if we didn't do this, we were going to have - we were going to go from 8 percent unemployment, to 10 percent unemployment."
Holding up for the camera a paper reading "7.7%," Bozell said, "This is where we stood at unemployment when this bill was signed. We spent $787 billion. This is where we stand today." He produced a second paper that read "9.7%."
"So two things are true here," Bozell said. "No. 1: This bill bombed. No. 2: What happened to the $787 billion, and where are the national news media?"
The Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Stuart Varney's Fox Business program on Feb. 12 to discuss a new BMI report about network news coverage of last year's $787 Billion stimulus package. The report found that ABC, CBS and NBC did their best to put a positive spin on the stimulus.
"All three networks were close to 3 to 1 in picking supporters to comment on stories, as opposed to anybody who might be critical," Gainor told Varney.
Asked about the new $15 billion "jobs bill" under consideration in the senate, Gainor told Varney, "Now the problem we've got is that the government solutions the New York Times and, frankly, the network news shows have always been backing, trying to make look good, are all these big government solutions that hire people for government programs. America has one of the highest business taxes on the globe. You fix that problem, and businesses will be able to hire again."
It's always nice to see Hollywood pitch in and do its bit for the nation. In WWII, Tinsel Town mobilized to help defeat the Axis powers. Today, the heirs of that proud tradition are going all out against today's forces of evil - medical insurance companies.
At least, that's the impression fans of Fox's "House M.D." got from the show's Feb.8 episode. Detailing a hectic day in the life of Princeton Plainsboro Hospital Administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), three of the episode's four story lines involved insurance.
In one story line, a former patient was suing the hospital for reattaching his severed thumb. The surgeon who had done it explained that, "his insurance only covered 60 percent of his in-patient expenses," so the patient wanted only the least expensive option. The surgeon reattached it anyway. "I wasn't going to let him throw his thumb away over a few dollars." Owing the money for the procedure to the insurance company, the man protested to Cuddy that he was in danger of losing his house.
In another scene, Cuddy was consulting a patient with cancer was convinced that human breast milk was his only cure. When she refused to write him a prescription for it, he accused her of being "some type of shill for the insurance company." He had paid premiums all this life, he said, and never been sick a day, but was now being denied the only thing that would save him. Cuddy assured him her refusal had nothing to do with insurance, and the scene ended.
Only a liberal could imagine that addressing the federal deficit and creating jobs might be mutually exclusive. On MSNBC's Feb. 3 "Morning Joe," Chrystia Freeland of The Financial Times asked Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., whether she agreed with President Obama's stated intention of addressing the deficit next year.
"Senator, we've also heard from the president that next year - in his budget for next year - he is going to be focusing on deficit reduction, and he thinks its gonna be time be worried about that," Freeland said. "Is that too soon? Are you worried that the president should really be focusing right now still on stimulating the economy?"
Stabenow took the cue to launch into anti-Bush boilerplate. "Well we have to be focused on both and it's tough," she said. "I mean this president not only inherited the biggest deficit we've ever had, but the biggest deficit in jobs that we've ever had. We've got over 15 million people without jobs right now - bread winners no longer able to bring in a pay check."
Maybe it’s just happy coincidence. Maybe Hollywood really is taking White House suggestions for its scripts. Or maybe liberal group think has evolved to the point where they don’t just think the same things, they think them at the same time.
Whatever the case, just a day after President Obama’s “surprise announcement” in his State of the Union speech that he intends to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” policy, the issue surfaced again in prime time. And the inclusion of propaganda in a TV drama was even more incongruous and gratuitous than Obama’s sop to his left wing.
The Jan. 28 episode of Fox’s forensics-based crime drama, “Bones,” centered on the murder of a gay man, and the writers took the opportunity to inject some standard talking points about the inequity of gays being unable to marry and the threat of physical violence from straight men.
Told ya so. When reports first surfaced a few weeks ago that Focus on the Family was planning to run a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl broadcast featuring University of Florida quarter back Tim Tebow, the Culture & Media Institute predicted liberals would be upset.
Like clockwork, an article in the Huffington Post on Jan. 25 reported that "a national coalition of women's groups" that includes the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority is demanding that CBS reconsider its plans to run the ad.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner who led the Gators to an NCAA championship, is a famously outspoken Christian noted for wearing Bible verses on his game day eye-black. He is also a walking pro-life story: the Super Bowl ad will relate how Tim's mother, against the advice of doctors, carried him to term in a dangerous pregnancy while on a church mission to the Philippines.
We don’t yet know the outcome of the Jan. 19 Massachusetts Senate special election. But the very fact that the Democrats could lose the seat formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy to a conservative who’s made blocking healthcare reform a centerpiece of his campaign, has liberals sputtering implausible explanations.
On Jan. 19, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and liberal radio host Nancy Skinner appeared on CNBC with Larry Kudlow to discuss the ramifications of the election for healthcare. Both suggested that Democrat Martha Coakley was in danger of losing to Scott Brown is because Democrats hadn’t been liberal enough on health care.
Although he predicted Coakley would hold Brown off, Dean said, “Let me agree with something Larry said (far be it from me to ever do such a thing). But I do think this is clarity – about clarity of message and I think the Democrats haven’t had a clear message.”
The problem, from Dean’s perspective, was that compromise had watered down and complicated the health care bill. “Look at what we’ve done. We’ve passed this health care bill, which has, you know, just been a very messy, ugly process – or we’re about to pass a health care bill,” he said, predicting it would pass with or without a Coakley victory. “The best way to [have a bill that works and can refute GOP arguments] was to pass an extension of Medicare to people below 65. Everybody knows what Medicare is, it’s easy to understand, you don’t have to make deals with the health insurance industry. So this is about clarity of message, and Scott Brown has a clear message and the Democrats don’t.”
Americans love to talk sports. Polite Americans don't talk religion. So when those two things meet, the news media has no idea what to make of it.
Unfortunately for journalists, sports and religion - Christianity in particular - seem to be publicly mingling more often these days. Some star athletes are more outspoken in their faith, while many others regularly find themselves in need of spiritual, if not legal, redemption.
Liberals in the media don't understand religion and religious people, so when they surface on the playing field, the resulting coverage veers wildly from awkwardly respectful to clueless to downright contemptuous.
Fox's Brit Hume caused a firestorm by suggesting on air that Tiger Woods could find "forgiveness and redemption" in Christianity, rather than the casual Buddhism the golfer has said he practices. Woods, whose marriage and career are in melt-down because of his serial infidelities, should "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world," Hume said. And in doing so, the former anchorman committed several mortal sins in modern secular America.
Nobody is happier to oblige than ABC News. On Jan. 8, “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer and weatherman Sam Champion worried that the cold weather engulfing much of the world just may be the result of climate change.
With his unconventional pass delivery and a physical style that seems just as comfortable running the ball anyway, some wonder if University of Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow will achieve NFL glory. But football fans just may get to see the story of the Heisman Trophy winner and unapologetic Christian impact the pro sport's biggest game of the year.
Colorado-based conservative group Focus on the Family reportedly may buy a Super Bowl spot for an ad about how Tebow’s mother carried him to term despite a difficult and dangerous pregnancy.
If true, it would be just another example of Tebow annoying the secular left. The quarterback is as famous for wearing Bible passage citations on his game-day eye black as for winning an NCAA championship. As NewsBusters has detailed, that practice – and the faith it symbolizes – is irksome to some commentators.
Thank goodness for the Washington Post. If not for the paper’s Dec. 22 Health & Science section, readers might not know about the myriad “Christmas Perils” they face this time of year. But with its big, color-illustrated article, they’ll be sure to only kiss under the mistletoe, not eat it.
The Post’s Rachel Saslow set up the piece, writing, “Most people picture an idyllic Christmas morning scene: sipping eggnog around the decorated tree while opening gifts from Ma and Pa.” But potential tragedies – severed digits, unpleasant gastro-intestinal episodes, even love handles – lurk on the periphery of this domestic portrait. In Saslow’s words, “Not to be too bah humbug about it, but what if you get sick from that eggnog?”
Indeed. The Post listed several holiday hazards, gave stats about the risks, and ways to prevent them. In the case of that suspect eggnog, the Post admitted, “There are no specific eggnog-related data, but the CDC estimates that one in 50 consumers could be exposed to a contaminated egg each year.” But if you cook the egg, no harm no fowl. So gently heat your eggnog to 160F. And “If you're baking cookies, don't lick the spoon if there are eggs in your batter.”
Got an idealized notion of Christmas? A cherished memory, or a favorite carol or story? The simple smell of pine needles in your living room? Do you insist on celebrating the birth of the savior?
If so, you’re at war, like it or not.
The main war on Christmas – we’ll call it the conventional war – has been well-documented, and it goes on, with victories and defeats for both sides. In Loudoun County, Va. on Dec. 1, the Board of Supervisors reversed a ban on religious holiday displays on the courthouse lawn. (The one supervisor who voted “no” said, “I am concerned that this motion would turn the courthouse grounds into a public circus.”) Meanwhile, in Arizona, public school children remain unable to use Christmas themes when decorating ornaments for the Capitol Christmas tree.
There is plenty to report from the conventional front. But there are other fronts. There is the sexualization of the holiday, either in service to commercialism or out of the lefty arts community’s desire to be “transgressive” (read, vile and offensive). And there are the attempts squash the mysteries and magic that accompany even a traditional secular Christmas.
So from “living” lingerie mannequins to Frosty’s “porn collection,” and from the lies you tell about Santa to our president’s “non-religious” observance, here are some dispatches from the war on Christmas, 2009.
What’s that hissing sound? Al Gore’s fuse? Steam coming from Barbara Boxer’s ears?
Probably, but mostly, it’s the sound of gas escaping the climate change balloondoggle. Assuredly, there’s no shortage of UN envirocrats ready and willing to plug the holes. And our president will soon lend his special hot air to keep it hovering over Copenhagen.
But it’s starting to look like a matter of time before, like the recent “Balloon Boy” hoax, the airship flutters to the ground and panicky rescuers find there’s nobody in it. (Ha ha! It was all a stunt to get on the new reality show, “Groupthink,” in which a bunch of climate scientists spend the winter in a freezing apartment trying to convince the audience the ice in the bathtub is .2 mm thinner than it was last episode.)
The latest hole to appear is the leaked draft agreement from the Copenhagen climate summit. Britain’s exquisitely green Guardian newspaper reported on Dec. 8 that “developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.”
When your rights and responsibilities as a parent come in conflict with the liberal education establishment, who wins? Parents in Ames, Iowa just found out, and it’s not them.
Over the weekend, the Ames Library Board voted 6 -1 to allow the continued display and distribution of the magazine Sex, Etc. in the teen section of the public library. Sex Etc. is a free periodical written “by teens, for teens,” and published by Answer, a sex education advocacy group based at Rutgers University.
Local parent Joyce Bannantine noticed the magazine display, which encourages teens to take a free copy, in the teen section of the library. After flipping through it, Bannantine started a petition to have the library remove the display and to treat Sex, Etc. like any other periodical. Library Director Art Weeks, and ultimately the Library Board, disagreed.
So what had Bannantine and more than 100 petition signers so upset? After all, Sex, Etc. is a journal published under the auspices of a respected university, with sex education as its subject. "I thought it was too graphic for the age," Bannantine told local TV news KCCI. "Most of the kids that use the teen section are 12, 13 and maybe 14."
As if we needed more proof that Christians are the only group left in America that it’s safe to make fun of. A popular YouTube video purports to be an ad for a Wii-like game system called “Mass: We Pray,” which will be available at Easter 2010. In reality, the anti-religious video is a commercial for a new video game.
In it, viewers see a family at home as a saccharine-voiced narrator reminiscent of the one from the old “Mr. Bill” skit on “Saturday Night Live,” says, “A family shouldn't have to wait until Sunday to worship the Lord. Now you can go to church every day without leaving your home.”
The family’s two children are then shown pantomiming the movements of priests and congregants during mass, using “the wireless cross controller,” a large white plastic cross with a rosary bead strap. “Every twist of the hand and nuance of a blessing is recreated onscreen,” says the narrator. The point, he explains, is to collect “grace points,” and move a number of pews toward the altar. “Then trade in your Grace points to unlock the Holy Mysteries. Add the kneeler accessory, and get off the couch and into the action.” Players can download the “seven sacraments and holy rituals expansion pack.”
The Culture & Media Institute’s report on network coverage of Major Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood murders continues to gain media attention. On Nov. 14, Fox’s “News Watch” program led off with CMI’s findings.
“The Culture & Media Institute noticed something about the news coverage,” said host John Scott said of the Ft. Hood shooting. “Until President Obama spoke on Tuesday at a memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood attacks, 29 percent of evening news reports mentioned that Major Nical Malik Hasan was a Muslim. 93 percent of the stories ignored any terror connection. But after the president hinted at what ABC called ‘Islamic extremist views,” all three networks mentioned terrorism.”
In a piece on Nov. 11 called “False Dichotomies,” Newsweek religion writer Lisa Miller advanced a very sensible argument regarding the Ft. Hood gunman. “The question about Nidal Hasan isn't whether he's a mental-health victim or a terrorist. He has shades of both, so let's not reduce him to a caricature.” Putting it another way, Millar quoted Georgetown professor Bruce Hoffman: “Just because somebody may be mentally unstable doesn't mean this isn't an act of terrorism.”
Given the incomplete and contradictory reports about Hasan’s activities and statements before the shooting, that seems wise. But rather than leave it at that, Miller ended up reinforcing aspects of the politically correct approach to issues of Islam and terror, and blaming Americans to boot.
Miller cited New York Times’ David Brooks in particular, and partially agreeing with those on the right that complain of the media’s politically correct desire to explain away Hasan as just a lone psycho (or even better: a psychological victim of Bush’s wars).
“Major Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill,” Miller wrote. “But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community.”
On Nov. 12, Bill O’Reilly led off “The O’Reilly Factor” by framing his “Talking Points” segment around a report from the Culture & Media Institute on the biased network coverage of the Ft. Hood Massacre.
“A new study, by the Culture and Media Institute, a conservative group, says the following: 85 percent of network evening news stories on Ft. Hood did not mention the word ‘terror,’ O’Reilly said. “In fact, in 48 reports, ABC, CBS and NBC referenced terrorism just seven times. Only 29 percent of the evening news reports even mentioned Major Hasan was a Muslim. Unbelievable. Of those mentions, 50 percent defended Islam. And before the president’s speech at Ft. Hood, 93 percent of the network evening news stories ignored any discussion about a terror connection. But after the president said that extremist views were involved, all three networks began to report a possible connection.”
The Style section of the Washington Post isn’t exactly a repository of old-fashioned small town values, which made staff writer Monica Hesse’s Nov. 12 article that much more surprising.
Her piece: “Publicly, a whole new lewdness,” related the stories of commuters, airline passengers and others exposed to “secondhand smut” – that is, people in the uncomfortable position of having neighbors watching porn in public on laptops and BlackBerrys.
“But the increasing popularity of laptops and handheld devices, and the prevalence of wireless Internet access, means there’s a greater chance of becoming a bystander to a complete stranger's viewing proclivities,” Hesse wrote.
One anecdote involved a woman who was on a long flight with her young children, when “her friendly seatmate cued up a cartoon on his laptop. Her four children were enthralled; she hoped listening in might keep them occupied. Then the cartoon characters started doing things that cartoon characters should not be doing. Naked things …”
As we survey the horror of the Ft. Hood massacre, it might be useful to remember that we’ve been here before, with another shooting 16 years ago. The circumstances were very different, but the reaction of the media and other elite – the excusing, the spinning, the slight regard for the victims – has been eerily similar.
On Dec. 7, 1993, aboard a crowded rush hour Long Island Railroad train from Manhattan to Hicksville, N.Y., a Jamaican immigrant named Colin Ferguson pulled a gun and began firing at fellow passengers. He killed six and wounded 19 before being subdued by three passengers.
The story of Ferguson’s trial is bizarre and tragic, played out against the backdrop of a “Bonfire of the Vanities” New York in the pre-Giuliani era. When the Nassau County commissioner quite sensibly called Ferguson “an animal,” Jesse Jackson parachuted in to condemn the comment as racist. Al Sharpton took time out from inciting arson and murder long enough to warn of a backlash against blacks.
On Dec. 13, the New York Times quoted one Doris Perkins, who, when she first heard about the crime, had hoped the shooter wouldn’t turn out to be black. “‘I figured if he was black, there was going to be hell to pay,’ said Mrs. Perkins, a black nurse from Jamaica, Queens. ‘I told my two teen-age sons to stay in the house and off the streets until this thing blows over.’”
Pity the staff at the Washington Post. Their compatriots at the New York or Los Angeles Times luxuriate in a sea of enlightenment, with blue state voters as far as the eye can see. But the Posties must live and work in uncomfortable proximity to Red State Virginia, with only the thin buffer of the Northern Virginia suburbs between them and the gun-toting snake handlers.
Every now and then the Post publishes the journalistic equivalent of an involuntary shudder at its plight. The latest was an Oct. 30 editorial excoriating Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP candidate for Virginia attorney general. What gave the Post the vapors are statements Cuccinelli made about homosexuality in an interview with the Norfolk-based Virginian-Pilot.
A new Pew Research poll has much of the left and the mainstream media in a bit of a panic. And at least several media outlets are about to try something new to address it.
With cap-and-trade legislation stalled in Congress and an important climate change summit coming up in Copenhagen in December, Americans just aren’t as convinced as they should be that a) there’s evidence the planet is warming (57 percent), b) that warming is a serious problem (35 percent) and c) that humans cause it (36 percent). All those numbers have fallen significantly from their peak a couple of years ago.
Luckily, a there’s no shortage of “journalists” standing up to fight this deplorable trend. Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, co-editors of the left-wing magazine Mother Jones, announced on the publication’s Web site that “we’re forging a collaboration with a range of news organizations – magazines, online news sites, nonprofit reporting shops, multimedia operations.’ The purpose? To “synthesize disparate data points” and coordinate coverage of “the most important story of our time.”
Further down, the editors wrote:
We're also part of a team reporting effort focused on the critical Copenhagen talks; visit MotherJones.com for details. And while you're there, create your own climate message: You can make a Mother Jones cover featuring a picture of your child (or grandkid/nephew/cat), add a note [imploring action on global warming], and send it to your friends, your members of Congress, and your president. We'll feature them on our site.
If we’ve learned anything in recent months, it’s that if you’re a racist, a Marxist, a Maoist, a domestic terrorist or any other variety of anti-American nut, the safest place to be is in the company of Barack Obama. If you can stay off the radar of Fox News and don’t get caught on tape giving advice on running a brothel for fun and profit, you get to influence the most powerful executive in the world.
Case in point: Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar,” Kevin Jennings. While nobody’s yet found out exactly what he knows about safe schools, we do know he’s an expert at pushing a gay agenda in public grammar schools. We know he’s praised the founder of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. And thanks to “the pro-family action center for Massachusetts,” Mass Resistance, now we know he’s an art maven. (Warning: site contains many offensive images from the installation. The site’s blog has also been flagged by Google as objectionable – which, given Google’s political leanings, may be a badge of honor.)