The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Last year many Americans were convinced the H1N1 virus, commonly called the swine flu, would turn into a pandemic. That’s no surprise given the fear mongering media.
News media helped make the case for the government to rush a vaccine and the government spent over a billion dollars producing those vaccinations. But now, according to the April 1, 2010 Washington Post millions of vaccines are still unused – 71.5 million vaccinations will soon expire and may even have to be thrown away.
Washington Post writer Rob Stein reported that of the 229 million vaccinations created by the $1.6 billion “government-led program,” not even half have been administered, partially because of “production problems” which set back the delivery time.
Update [Ken Shepherd, managing editor]: Scarborough responds via Twitter, insisting he was joking [see more at bottom of post]. Video embedded to the right.
Joe Biden is the "greatest Vice President of our time."
No, dear reader, I have not lost my marbles. I'm merely citing MSNBC's token quasi-conservative Joe Scarborough, who said on this morning's edition of "Morning Joe":
We understand that Joe Biden's numbers are going down, which I think is just stupid because all he has done is – I mean, he's become, in a couple of short months, the greatest vice president of our time.
Not content to allow his credibility to go down in flames alone, Joe took the rest of the Brew Crew with him:
Hard to imagine that if George W. Bush were still in office journalists would hesitate a moment to invoke his name in identifying a culprit for the current shortage and delay in delivery, well beyond the schedule promised by HHS's Centers for Disease Control, of the vaccine for the H1N1 “swine flu” virus. Remember Katrina? Coverage Monday night matches what I've seen over the past several days with no mention of Obama or his administration, beyond reporting his issuance of a “national emergency” decree, as journalists instead cited “federal officials” and “the government.”
On the CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith reported: “Now to the H1N1 flu. Federal health officials admitted today their projected timetable for producing the vaccine was way off. They originally said there would be about 40 million doses by the end of the month. But as of today, there's less than half that number.” Subsituting on the NBC Nightly News, Ann Curry blandly announced: “President Obama declared the swine flu pandemic a national emergency over the weekend, but still the amount of vaccine to protect against it is running way behind what the government had promised.”
The nation's gaffer-in-chief Joe Biden really stepped in it last week with his remarks about how Americans should avoid flying and taking the subway to avert coming down with the swine flu. It's safe to say the conventional wisdom around the country and inside the Beltway is that Biden really blundered.
But not to Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom, which in the May 11-18 edition gave Obama's veep a mere sideways arrow, hinting that role in pushing Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) to become a Democrat mitigates his political foot-in-mouth disease:
Biden: Stupidly tells “Today” we shouldn’t travel. Stick to bringing GOPs across the aisle.
Of course, that presumes Specter as newly-minted Democrat is a master stroke, which is not necessarily the case. Indeed the evidence seems to point to the contrary.
Brian Alexander, an MSNBC.com contributor with his Sexploration column, has apparently delved into the world of political commentary with this new piece which ties conservatives to viral racism in the media.
The title itself is a little misleading:
Amid swine flu outbreak, racism goes viral
Anti-immigrant hatred spreads on talk radio, Web sites
If we're targeting conservative talk radio, and Alexander is, then the term ‘anti-immigrant' should be corrected. Conservatives aren't anti-immigrant, they're anti-criminal, much like liberals are anti-tax filing. Loving your country enough to request that anyone who wishes to be a member abide by their immigration laws, is not anti-immigrant, and making such an assessment by accusing the entire conservative philosophy as being racist is... well ... anti-intellectual. But then, that is the norm for commentary presented by MSNBC.
Further down in the column, Alexander explains that the real problem isn't just talk radio and Web sites in general. No, the main problem is actually racist conservatives (emphasis mine throughout):
After days of media alarm regarding the H1N1 virus, or "swine flu," ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" provided a calmer analysis on April 30.
Medical editor Dr. Timothy Johnson told anchor Charles Gibson the "good news" about this flu virus and admitted that "sometimes we as the media" "do overreact."
"In an amazing feat of modern science Charlie, they've been able to send out this sequence for scientists to study and they've found a couple of interesting things. One - there's an amino acid that's missing in this virus that is found in more lethal viruses suggesting that this may not be, at least in its current form, as lethal as some had feared," Johnson told ABC viewers.
"There's also a suggestion that its enough like past flu viruses, particularly the 1957 virus, that is may have produced immunity over the years especially in older people. Which may, and I stress the word may explain why older people do not seem to be getting it yet," Johnson continued.
CBS's Katie Couric and ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson tried to provide cover Thursday night for Vice President Biden's gaffe about the swine flu threat, which forced two cabinet secretaries and the White House spokesman to correct his advice to avoid planes and subways, as Couric asked an expert to confirm “that's not terrible advice in certain situations, is it?” and Johnson spun it into a positive, proposing: “In an ironic way, the reaction -- the information that has come out in reaction -- has been very informative.”
Talking with Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Couric pointed out how “the Vice President created a bit of a brouhaha when he said he would tell his family to avoid confined public spaces, but that's not terrible advice in certain situations, is it?” Ashton supported Couric's premise, suggesting “common sense precautions apply here,” so “people who have weakened immune systems, who have cancer, are HIV-positive,” if they would avoid people “a week ago, they should do it today.” But Biden was not warning just those with such vulnerabilities.
This wasn't the first time Couric helped Biden. Last year, when candidate Biden declared in a taped interview with Couric that “when the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on television,” she ran the soundbite in which he had cited FDR to denounce Bush's handling of the economy, but failed to point out his historical error: FDR was not in office at the time of the 1929 crash and his “fireside chats” were on the radio.
CNN amped up the alarmism about swine flu April 30 when co-host John Roberts interviewed Dr. Martin Blaser of NYU without rounding out the segment with other opinions.
Roberts asked Blaser to put the virus, which had already sickened 109 people in ten states, "in perspective."
Blaser responded, "This is a pandemic. It's all over the world. Right now it's early and it's mild so everybody's at risk. But right now the risk is low."
On April 29, the World Health Organization raised its alert level to stage 5, which "is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries," according to WHO Web site. Phase 6 is "the pandemic phase."
Roberts also asked Blaser to respond to a prediction by John Barry, author of a book about the worst flu epidemic in history, that this virus would act in the same manner.
"John Barry, who wrote a fabulous book on the 1918 flu pandemic called ‘The Great Influenza', thinks this is just the opening act of a very long play. That this virus is probably going to go away for a little while and then maybe next winter or early next year come back with a vengeance. What do you think?" Roberts asked.
As Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services on April 28, the media continued its biased coverage of her controversial appointment. News outlets ignored the reason GOP senators had delayed her confirmation - her pro-abortion extremism - and focused instead on the importance of having the Secretary in place to combat swine flu.
But the media failed to note that since the creation of The Department of Homeland Security epidemic-fighting efforts are no longer headed up by HHS. Homeland Security is supposed to work with the Center for Disease Control. The CDC is led by Acting Secretary Richard E. Besser since the Obama Administration has yet to nominate anyone for the top job, something the media, with exception of CNN's Ed Henry, haven't reported.
An interview with Former Secretary of HHS Donna Shalala on "Fox and Friends" April 29 asks if having no director at the department had an impact on the swine flu crisis. Shalala said, "If you remember we transferred the emergency powers for this kind of outbreak to the Department of Homeland Security when it was created. So that power is no longer in HHS. There is no question though that the CDC plays a lead role here and it's very important to get a CDC director as well as the Secretary sworn in."
Once again, in its quest for a scapegoat for a crisis facing society, the media has set its sights on a large corporation.
A segment on the April 28 "World News with Charles Gibson" by ABC correspondent Jeffrey Kofman, reporting from La Gloria, Mexico, went after Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) for operating a pig farm near the city where the swine flu pandemic is believed to have originated.
"When people heard here that a case of swine flu had been traced to this area, few were surprised," Kofman said. "And in the next breath they'll tell you they think they know where it came from."
"Two million dead," Alonsozaldivar and Sullivan wrote. "Hospitals overwhelmed. Schools closed. Swaths of empty seats at baseball stadiums and houses of worship. An economic recovery snuffed out. We're nowhere close to what government planners say would be a worst-case scenario: a global flu pandemic. But government leaders at all levels, and major employers, have spent nearly four years planning for one in series of exercises."
"MSNBC News Live" anchor Contessa Brewer on Tuesday speculated as to whether supposed obstructionism by congressional Republicans may end up hampering the response to the swine flu outbreak. Talking to Republican strategist Tucker Bounds and Democratic strategist Peter Mirijanian, she asserted, "Let me ask you, Health and Human Services secretary has not been confirmed. You have a missing director of the CDC. The surgeon general is not there."
Specifically addressing Bounds, Brewer quizzed, "Do you, Tucker, think that Republicans are in any way to blame for standing in the way of those important positions- when you're facing swine flu- from being filled?" Bounds, of course pointed out that Democrats control both the Senate and the House. As for the CDC, Obama has not even nominated a candidate. Regarding the position of surgeon general, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was considered, but took his name out of contention. No one has picked to fill the spot. So, how, exactly, would Republicans be to blame? Brewer didn't say.
Some financial indicators took somewhat of a shock over swine flu fears on the first day after the swine flu fears were realized.
"But on Wall Street today and overseas, travel-related stocks took a beating over flu fears," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said on the April 27 "NBC Nightly News," reporting that U.S. airline stocks were hit hard, down a little over 8 percent on the news.
"If this lasts two months and spreads across the globe, then the global downturn will intensify," Zandi said. "Millions of more jobs will be lost, unemployment will rise, and this recession will last well into 2010."