An interesting twist in last week's arrest of four Muslim men charged with plotting to bomb New York synagogues was reported Monday: the younger brother of one had a deadly liver disease that Medicaid wouldn't cover.
Makes you wonder if this revelation will be used by media to advance President Obama's universal healthcare plans.
In addition to the anti-Catholicism present in the forthcoming release of "Angels & Demons", there's another politically correct element to the movie adaptation of the Dan Brown novel that's worth noting: Hollywood's aversion to portraying radical Muslims as the bad guys.
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent David Martin reported on the "soft approach" to terrorism in Saudi Arabia: "Each time the United States releases Saudis from the prison at Guantanamo, the kingdom dispatches a 747 to Cuba to pick them up...the Saudi government is paying for cars, homes, even marriages for these reformed jihadists."
After explaining that "...more than half the so-called 'detainees' will probably never go before a jury because the U.S. government does not have a case that will stand up in court," Martin went on to describe a Saudi Arabian program for released detainees: "What we found is a rehabilitation program that attempts to make solid citizens out of holy warriors by convincing them Bin Laden has it all wrong."
Not only did Martin highlight the Saudi efforts to "rehabilitate" terror suspects, but he explained: "Some Saudis have been in Guantanamo for seven years, and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hadlaq believes the longer a man is there, the harder he is to treat." Martin then asked Hadlaq, a Saudi psychologist who runs the program: "They come out of Guantanamo hating Americans?...Is there evidence that Guantanamo has made them more radical?" Hadlaq replied: "I think so, yes. Because, in their journey, you know, from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, they have faced a lot of torturing. It's so important to deal with this, you know, issue of torture."
In response, Martin added: "‘Torture’ is, of course, a loaded word, but at the very least, the treatment en route to Guantanamo was rough, and provided the raw material for Al Qaeda propaganda videos to drum up new recruits."
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
I will begin this right at the top by saying that I don't care a whit if the appointment of any American official brings hope to Egyptians. After all, an American official should be concerned with America's interests not Egypt's. Not that I am saying that American officials or appointments should necessarily have as a chief criteria for appointment an interest in the denigration of any foreign land, but that what's good for America should be any new official's chief concern.
However, apparently the L.A. Times thinks that it is germane to U.S. interests that Egyptians are "rejoicing" that President Obama has appointed a female American Muslim to his administration. In, "Muslim woman's appointment as Obama advisor draws cautious optimism" from April 22, Noha El-Hennawy is reporting from Cairo that Egyptians are happy with Obama's purported outreach to Muslims.
Newsweek greeted the coming of Easter with a black cover, and the headline "The Decline and Fall of Christian America," spelled out in red in the shape of a cross. Inside, it was more declarative: "The End of Christian America." Why? Because they found that the percentage of self-identified Christians had fallen 10 points since 1990. Okay, then let’s compare. How much has Newsweek’s circulation fallen since 1990? Just since 2007, their announced circulation has dropped by 52 percent. It would be more plausible to state "The End of Newsweek."
At the end of 2007, Newsweek reduced its "base rate" (or circulation guaranteed to advertisers) from 3.1 million to 2.6 million, a 16 percent drop. At the end of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that Newsweek, faced with an estimated 21 percent decline in ad pages, could soon drop that circulation number by another 500,000 to 1 million readers. In February, the magazine confirmed the million-issue drop, saying it would drop to a base of 1.9 million in July and 1.5 million readers by January 2010.
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.
Here is something that you NewsBusters fans can help me with because I am having difficulty deciding what is going on with this one. We have a shooting incident in Minnesota perpetrated by three Muslim Somali immigrants but for some reason almost every single media report about the incident omits the names of the shooters, names of obvious North African or ethnic origin. So, the question is, did the Old Media in Minnesota purposefully leave the names unreported so that they could cover up the fact that the criminals were Somali immigrants? And, if so, why would they do this?
We start with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that reports that "three suspects were in jail Sunday following a shooting in Lakeville that injured four other people." Apparently one of those arrested took umbrage at being told to leave a party and began shooting up the place as he and his friends left. But, all we get from the StarTrib is "three suspects." No names or descriptions.
The current cover of Newsweek advertises a story on "Taliban Chic" in London, and it’s natural to assume it might be another story lauding the "burqini." Instead, it’s a chilling look at how the openness of London (and Western society) can create space for Islamic radicalism.
Newsweek reporter Sami Yousafzai clearly wrote in the spirit of the new Newsweek: a first-person account with no real objectivity or detachment. But it was gripping, as he began by describing how he came to London after being shot by Islamic radicals in Peshawar, Pakistan. Hoping for a safe environment, he was disturbed to discover London youths dressed like the Taliban: "I saw a tall young Afghan who reminded me of my would-be assassin, striding down the street like a bad dream."
One has to wonder about the thought process of some people. Dan Gilgoff, Faith reporter with U.S. News and World Report and Huffington Post writer, is a perfect example of what I am talking about. After a February 23 posting on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's Catholic faith, Gilgoff followed up the next day with a post claiming that Sarah Palin fans were smearing Jindal over his supposedly "secret Muslim" faith. Where did Gilgoff get such a ridiculous idea? Why, from just two commenters that posted on his entry of the 23rd, that's where.
That's right, just two people claiming in the comments section of his U.S. News post that Jindal was a secret Muslim was enough for Dan Gilgoff to decide that Sarah Palin's entire support base is smearing Bobby Jindal as a secret Muslim. Just two people. Two nuts is enough for U.S. News and World Report to slander Sarah Palin and all her followers as crazy, racist, hatemongers.
During the 3:00PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell discovered the source of sexism in the Middle East was not Islamic fundamentalism, but rather, capitalism: "And to another big story, is oil behind sexism in the Middle East? It's a provocative new theory out there today, suggesting the real culprit of the lower status of women in the Middle East is because of the region's oil wealth."
O’Donnell then turned to Sally Quinn of the Washington, who wrote about the theory on the newspaper’s On Faith blog: "This is a hot topic, Sally. Do you believe that oil is behind sexism in the Middle East?" Quinn replied: "Well, I do think that it has a lot to do with it...when you have an oil-rich country, there's much less manufacturing, so that there are fewer jobs for women. But also because the country is so rich that women don't need to work and therefore they're comfortable and they stay home."
Later, O’Donnell concluded: "But it's a very interesting question, it's not necessarily Islam, it may be more, and you would know this better than I, as -- because of what you're doing -- it may more be the wealth of that country." Quinn replied: "Well, it is the wealth. The -- part of it, too, has to do with culture. I mean, that they come from a culture where women don't work. And so, because the oil-rich countries, all of the jobs that are involved around oil are much more male-oriented jobs."
Does the media show religious discrimination in their news judgment? The founder of a TV network devoted to improve the image of Muslims being charged in the beheading of his wife is not a story the major media have leaped on. On Friday, news broke that Muzzammil Hassan, founder and CEO of Bridges TV, was charged with murdering his wife Aasiya after she filed for divorce. After some Nexis research, here’s a listing of major media outlets that have yet to report it: ABC, NBC, NPR, the NewsHour on PBS, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
But on November 12, 1993, all these networks (including NPR) reported within hours on the charges made against Chicago's Catholic cardinal at the time, liberal-leaning Joseph Bernardin, by a 34-year-old AIDS patient, who had just "remembered" he was sexually abused 18 years after the alleged event, and wanted $10 million for his anguish. It led newscasts on CNN and NBC. Connie Chung's sensational introduction on the CBS Evening News typified media reaction: "The Roman Catholic Church in America was rocked today by charges of scandal against one of its most prominent leaders and reformers." (The accuser, Steven Cook, recanted the lawsuit in March of 1994.)
Updated: while the Nexis search showed no CBS story on the beheading, MRC's Kyle Drennen found a news report on Wednesday's Early Show.
The Muslim founder of BridgesTV, a cable network whose slogan is “connecting people through understanding” and which tried to “improve the image of Muslims in the United States,” was arrested on Thursday, for allegedly killing his estranged wife in a manner normally associated with Islamist terrorists -- chopping off her head.
Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher, reported on Friday that Muzzammil Hassan, “a prominent Buffalo area businessman who founded the BridgesTV network to improve the image of Muslims in the U.S.,” had been charged with second-degree murder in the beheading death of his wife Aasiya Z. Hassan. Mitchell quoted from the network’s website, which described Mrs. Hassan’s “instrumental role in the creation of BridgesTV since she came up with the idea for the network.” The picture of the couple is still up on the website.
Update (13 Feb. | Ken Shepherd): Tomaso responds here, dismissing the notion that he exhibited any liberal bias. Commenters to his blog post are divided.
Condescending secular elitism isn’t just for the coasts anymore. It can even come from red state Texas.
On The Dallas Morning News’s Religion blog Feb. 12, Bruce Tomaso wrote a post called “Alabama and Iran Have Something in Common.” It stemmed from a recent Gallup poll that asked people around the world, “How important is religion in your daily life?” The poll found, among many other things, that nearly the same percentage of the population of Iran (83 percent) and Alabama (82 percent) said that religion was important to them.
Tomaso thought this was a riot: “Since I've never been to Iran and haven't spent enough time in Alabama to have a well-formed opinion, I refrain from cleverly drawing further comparisons,” he wrote. “But that doesn't mean you wiseakers can't!”
CNN correspondent Zain Verjee, in a report posted on CNN.com on January 17, likened the expected large crowds for the inauguration of Barack Obama to the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca: “The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world.”
As Israel "assaulted" Hamas positions in Gaza with a ground offensive following an aerial bombardment, the New York Times's dispatches over the weekend began to slant toward pro-Palestinian sympathy, reminiscent of its biased coverage of Israel's attack on the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Ray Rivera attended a Times Square anti-Israel demonstration on Saturday that was filled with left-wing protestors. Yet no trace of that ideology made it into his Sunday story, "Rally Protests Fighting in Gaza -- Pro-Palestinian Crowd Marches to Israel Consulate." The text box claimed: "Across Seventh Avenue, others vent their anger at Hamas." As if the anti-Israeli protestors weren't showing anger toward the entire nation of Israel.
Anger over the Israeli assault on Gaza spilled into Times Square on Saturday, as hundreds of protesters condemned the attacks in a demonstration that stretched four blocks and clogged much of the city's central tourist district for several hours.
The protest came as Israeli troops began a ground incursion into the Hamas-controlled territory in what officials described as an effort to end Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel. The land campaign followed eight days of Israeli airstrikes that have killed more than 430 Palestinians, many of them civilians.
Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star is the quintessential example of a self-hating European, I must say. He is a journalist that sides with those who advocate the destruction of his own culture just so he can puff himself up that he "gets it" and he does this willingly ala the useful idiots of old. In his latest pretense at journalism, Potter takes such glee indulging his Bush derangement syndrome (BDS) that he ends up accepting the terms of what "insult" means among Muslim hatemongers and terrorists and employs that as a weapon against Bush and the USA. It does not occur to this writer at all that we should scoff at what they think is an insult because he accepts their cultural concepts in place of our own.
First of all, the Toronto Star gives our Euro-weenie the exalted status of "Mitch Potter, Europe Bureau," though it would have been better grammatically -- less clumsy at least -- to say he is "Mitch Potter, European Bureau," but be that as it may. What strikes us at first glance is Potter’s penchant for the insufferable style of too many "reporters" in today's world of woefully untalented journalists. That would be the appalling practice of the one sentence "paragraph."
As NewsBuster Dan Gainor has noted, Playboy Mexico thought it could make some pesos by peddling an issue with a scantily-clad Virgin Mary on the cover—just in time for Christmas. Today's Los Angeles Times contains an editorial denouncing the tasteless stunt. All well and good. But it set me to wondering. Did the LAT protest similar outrages against religous symbols when they appeared in the US?
The infamous "Piss Christ" comes to mind. Even more on point is the portrait of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by lacquered elephant dung and cutouts from pornographic magazines, that the Brooklyn Museum found worthy of display.
The Associated Press is as much as blaming the victim for the attack again with theirs headlined "Obama says he wants to 'reboot' America's battered image among Muslims." In this report we get the AP saying that the reason the Muslim world is mad at us is because of George W. Bush. But not a word is mentioned about why Bush might have been in a position of interacting so heavily with the Muslim world in the first place. How soon the AP forgets a little thing we like to call 9/11.
Using Obama's claim that he'll use his full given name, Barack Hussein Obama, as he's sworn into office, the AP trumpets how Obama will "repair America's reputation worldwide" after that dastardly Bush leaves the Oval Office. AP's thoughts on why Obama must undertake this grave effort, though, are interesting.
Apparently, if one calls an Arab-American an A** H*le, Reuters and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee want all Americans to know that this is to be considered a "violent hate crime." At least that is what it seems when looking over the very lose and sloppy definition of "violent hate crimes" in a recent story on the falling numbers of such crimes against Arab-Americans in the U.S.
While ostensibly a good story -- discrimination against Arab-Americans has decreased -- it is still odd that Reuters allows this Muslim advocacy group to define even name calling as a "hate crime" and "violent" at that. So many levels of behavior are categorized under the rubric "hate crime" here that it really makes a mockery of the term, if one is even disposed to accept such a term in the first place.
It reads like the lyrics of the song in West Side Story where the "Jets" gang members sing to Officer Krupke claiming they are just misunderstood kids, not punks and criminals. The Minneapolis Star Tribune takes this approach to the story of young male Somali refugees that have taken residence in Minneapolis who have decided to go back to Somalia to "visit." The suspicion is, though, that are they going back to join terrorist gangs there. The Star Trib claims they absolutely are not in its coverage, however. Yet, for some unexplained reason, the Star Trib also leaves out the fact that Somali recruiters have been seen roaming the streets of Minneapolis encouraging Somali men to return for just that purpose, as well as other important details linking the “visits” with terrorism.
Why would the Star Trib leave out such important facts in the story?
From Beirut, Chawki Freiha reports* on a provocative editorial that appeared in the Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper on November 3 written by Abdelbari Atwan, the first journalist to have met with Osama bin Laden. Titled “Obama’s Historic Intifada,” Atwan praises the probable election of Barack Obama to the White House and claims that with Obama installed in Washington, Islam will be able to “impose its point of view” on the world.
As to be expected, Atwan’s editorial decries the Bush administration because it is “controlled by Zionists… whose objective is to destroy the Arab world and Islam.” Displaying true Muslim conspiratorial thinking, Atwan further claims that all Middle Eastern countries have been under the control Israel, even though the Arabs have the “largest wealth” in the world in petrodollars.
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Ray Suarez (pictured at right) thinks concerns over Barack Obama's liberalism are transparent proxies for something more sinister: racism. What's more, the PBS "NewsHour" reporter suggested that McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin is the campaign's point woman charged with "pil[ing] on the doubt" about Obama's fitness for office.
When interviewed by Eyeblast.tv last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by his company, is "pretty serious" about removing the "strange" videos that keep popping up on the site, especially videos "that can be used to incite bad outcomes." Apparently videos designed to incite Catholics don't fall into that category.
A YouTube user who goes by the moniker "fsmdude" has posted more than 30 videos under the title "Eucharist Desecration." Each video features an attack on a symbol that Catholics consider sacred -- by blow gun, nail gun, boiling, sword and cigarette in a few recent episodes.
The creator of the videos isn't subtle about his intent. He was angered by reports of a college student allegedly receiving e-mail threats from "fanatical Catholics" after the student snatched a wafer at mass, so "fsmdude" decided to repeatedly profane the Eucharist on camera for all to see.
Amid all the false media hubub about Sarah Palin being an alleged "book banner" comes much more serious news about the British publisher of "Jewel of Medina," a book about the child-bride of Islamic prophet Mohammed has been set afire:
Three men arrested in north London on suspicion of terrorism continue to be questioned by police. They are suspected of attempting to set fire to a publisher's office in Lonsdale Square, Islington.
The publisher, Gibson House, is due to release a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride, entitled "The Jewel of the Medina."
Writing in today's Washington Post, ombudsman Deborah Howell focuses on political cartoons and how in many cases they can cause offense. I was struck in particular by a few of Howell's offhand admissions most. The first is that the top editorial cartoonists across the country are mostly liberal.
That concession came after Howell had briefly profiled Pat Oliphant, one of America's best-known cartoonists, who attracted controversy over a recent cartoon that ridiculed GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Pentecostal faith and its belief in glossolalia, the ability to speak unknown languages in a moment of inspiration.
That is where the second admission comes into play. The Post, which has the ability to reprint any Oliphant cartoon as part of its deal with his syndicator, chose not to reprint the cartoon in its print edition even though it did so on its web site, something it did not do with the famous Mohammed cartoons:
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
Two weeks ago, my colleague Matthew Sheffield noted an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about a publishing company going back on its agreement to publish a historical fiction/romance novel centered around Aisha, a wife of the Prophet Muhammad. As of August 21, the mainstream broadcast media networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) are ignoring the controversy, even as more print outlets cover the developing story.
In her weekly Q&A session for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, reporter Deborah Solomon conducted a strongly hostile interview with Brigitte Gabriel, Lebanese-American journalist and opponent of radical Islam, while the headline blurb referred to Gabriel as a "radical Islamophobe."
The best-selling author and radical Islamophobe talks about why moderate Muslims are irrelevant, the lessons we should have learned from Lebanon and dressing like a French woman.
Is the Times calling Gabriel radical because she has an irrational fear ("phobia" or "-phobe") of Islam in general, or is "radical Islamophobe" a too-cute way of saying Gabriel has an irrational fear of radical Islam? Either way, the incredibly suspicious, hostile tone of Solomon's questioning is clear.