On a special Saturday edition of MSNBC's Hardball, while previewing that night's presidential candidates forum hosted by evangelical leader Rick Warren, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd seemed to suggest that it is not out of the ordinary for evangelical Christians to feel "personal hatred" toward a Democratic presidential candidate. Todd, who is normally relatively balanced in his coverage of politics, once even admitting to being a "fan" of the MRC despite a history of working for liberal Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, made the uncharacteristic remarks as he contended that the forum would give Barack Obama an opportunity to keep evangelicals from feeling "personal hatred" toward him. Todd: "It's a huge opportunity for Obama tonight to at least not be hated by the evange-, look, these folks are not going to ever support him. They know what kind of judges he's going to appoint. It's going to be judges that evangelicals aren't going to be happy with. But they're not going to, if they don't have a personal hatred of him, then that's a good thing for Obama."
Update: NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reports that Todd has since apologized for his comments.
Quite a feat: CNN has pulled off the MSM equivalent of describing a spiral staircase without using one's hands. It has managed to produce a segment on "honor killings" and related violence in the UK . . . without using the word "Muslim" or "Islam." CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon introduced the segment this afternoon at 1:37 PM EDT.
DON LEMON: Women forced into marriages, or killed for having the wrong boyfriend. So-called "honor crimes" are often committed by fathers or brothers when daughters do something that supposedly brings shame on the family. It's on the rise in Britain, and authorities, they are very worried about it. Our Paula Newton reports.
Self-censorship toward radical Muslims continues to be a problem in corporate America. The latest casualty: a book by author Sherry Jones about Aisha, the favored wife of Islam's founder Mohammed, whom he is said to have betrothed when she was less than ten years old.
Writing in today's Wall Street Journal, Asra Q. Nomani tells how the book, "The Jewel of Medina," got canceled by would-be publisher Random House thanks to a politically correct professor of Islamic studies named Denise Spellberg:
In an interview about Ms. Jones's novel, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group, said that it "disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now." He said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received "from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."
After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Mr. Perry said the company decided "to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."
Imagine if the principal of a Catholic school in the metro D.C. region was found guilty of failing to report an allegation of child sexual abuse. It'd be considered worthy of front page news for the Washington Post, at the very least a front pager for the paper's Metro section.
Yet reporting the conviction of Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan on July 31, the Post buried the story on the 6th page of the Metro section. Here's how staffer Tom Jackman opened his story:
The director general of a controversial private Islamic school in Fairfax County has been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse and fined $500.
Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, head of the Islamic Saudi Academy on Route 1 in the Mount Vernon area, was arrested last month by Fairfax police, who said Al-Shabnan had been informed of the possible sexual abuse of a 5-year-old student at the school. School authorities are required by law to report alleged child abuse within 72 hours.
In yet another example of why the west might not beat the onslaught of radical Islamofascism, Minette Marrin of the Timesonline thinks she has found a solution to the clash of cultures. Marrin details the extremism evinced by too many Muslims in England and then posits a solution: ban all religion. Talk about an absurd idea. It's as foolish as throwing out the baby with the bath water. It also discounts thousands of years of worthy and enlightened western culture influenced, guided and based on Christian philosophy.
In To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups, Marrin's wooly headed prescription also serves as a fine example of the most shallow of PC, postmodern "thinking." Famed French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré once said that, "to doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." It is a lesson in discernment and critical thinking that escapes most on the left, and specifically this prosaic, anti-intellectual Timesonline columnist.
Barack Obama returned to Chicago Sunday and made an appearance before the UNITY minority journalists' convention (including the whole soup of black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalist solidarity groups.) The Chicago Tribune's Swamp blog found some journalists were restrained, and some were not:
At UNITY, the applause was restrained, after organizers reminded conference participants that the appearance was being nationally broadcast and they should make every effort to maintain "professional decorum."
Still, Obama received a standing ovation from many in the audience at the start and end of his appearance. There was also a rush toward the stage after his speech, as Obama shook hands and signed autographs.
One journalist was also overheard wishing him luck, while another squealed, "He touched me!" as she left the ballroom.
Obama offered up his support for "affirmative action" programs, and addressed the idea that he's dissing Muslims and he dispels rumors he's a Muslim:
Bloomberg News is acting as if they know how "many Muslims around the world" feel about Barack Obama. In Bloomberg's considered opinion, Obama is "just an American with a Muslim middle name" and won't "advance" the "interests" of Muslims. The main point that Bloomberg seems to be trying to sell is that Barack Obama's Muslim past will not make him tend to bow to world-wide Muslim sentiment. Bloomberg is obviously doing their best to prop up the Obama campaign by trying to allay fears that Obama will be a disaster on foreign policy. This is a perfect example of agenda journalism disguised as news.
So, how do the folks at Bloomberg know what the world's Muslims think about Barack Obama? Is it polls? Did they conduct extensive interviews or research on how Muslims feel about Obama? No, it seems more like Bloomberg's opinion is loosely based on the opinions of the three Muslims they quote and a broad interpretation of one poll on Obama and one on Muslim opinion of the US in general. It seems a rather wild leap in logic from the "evidence" they present to assume that they have a firm grasp on the opinion about Obama of all the world's Muslims.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used a sloppily worded statement by an 83-year-old decorated veteran, retired Colonel Bud Day, who volunteered for both World War II and the Vietnam War, and who ended up spending 30 months as a POW, a man whom Olbermann called "dangerously deluded" and derided as a "slob" and a "clown," to paint John McCain as agreeing with what the MSNBC host referred to as Day's "racism and religious hatred." After quoting part of a recent statement by Day in which he referred generically to "the Muslims," instead of "Muslim extremists," as wanting either to "kill us" or to force Americans to "kneel," Olbermann suggested that McCain "agrees" that Muslims in general are the enemy. As he tagged Day as "Worst Person in the World," Olbermann slammed McCain: "And you heard him [Day]: John agrees with him. As of tonight, John's campaign has refused to repudiate Day's racism and religious hatred. Maybe John needs to get rid of this clown but fast. Bud ‘The Muslims are Going to Kill Us' Day, today's ‘Worst Person in the World.'" (Transcript follows)
Last week, the BBC aired a new TV series titled "Bonekickers" touted as a "groundbreaking" show where "history comes alive," and a series that is "Based in fact." The premier episode, though features an odd thing if "fact" is the aim of the Beeb's new TV series: a Christian beheading a Muslim. Yeah, THAT is really a "fact" based premise, isn't it?
Of course, the few remaining Christians in Britain have found themselves a bit put out by this "fact based" show where it is a Christian beheading a Muslim instead of the other way 'round.
And it isn't just a beheading, the entire episode turns our current "fact based" reality on its head as the plot gives us a group of "right wing Christians" bent on purging England of its immigrant population, a group the TV series is fictionalizing as the "White Wings Alliance." In a day when extremist Muslims the world over are killing people for not being a Muslim, this show features the exact opposite situation. Christian "extremists" killing innocent, moderate Muslims. For what reason? Only the Beeb knows for sure.
OK, I am wondering here if the hanging of a black Southerner by the KKK in the American south would be reported by the Chicago Tribune in the same kind of vague language of “cultural” murder as a recent Muslim murder in Georgia was treated? More likely, of course, the story would be immediately pegged to the racist, white motives that actually led to the murder. In essence that is how the Chicago Tribune mishandled their reporting of another so-called Islamic "honor killing" that occurred in Georgia this week. They wrote about the "culturally rigid Pakistani" immigrants and said that "honor killings" occur with "other South Asians" without ever once mentioning that this is more often than not a Muslin practice. Instead of pegging this murder to Muslim "culture" the Tribune makes it a vague and nondescript "culture" so that the reader is unaware of the connection with Islam.
Rutenberg went to Culver City, Calif. to profile leftist filmmaker Robert Greenwald and his cottage industry of anti-McCain films. While Rutenberg chided two conservative filmmakers for making dubious claims in their anti-Obama videos, Rutenberg found nothing misleading or objectionable in Greenwald's films, or anywhere else on the left end of the Internet.
Check this contrast:
The change has added to the frenetic pace of the campaign this year. "It's politics at the speed of Internet," said Dan Carol, a strategist for Mr. Obama who was one of the young bulls on Bill Clinton's vaunted rapid response team in 1992. "There's just a lot of people who at a very low cost can do this stuff and don't need a memo from HQ."
That would seem to apply to people like Robert Anderson, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina whose modest YouTube site that features videos flattering to Mr. Obama and unflattering to Mr. McCain, or Paul Villarreal, who from his apartment in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, has produced a harsh series of spots that attack Mr. Obama and make some claims that have been widely debunked.
Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe has done it again. Now, usually Z is one of those columnists that is sure every white American is a racist and many of his columns are based on that assumption, but it looks like he is branching out from his normal black/white identity politics angle and adding a new twist to his column. You see, Z has just discovered that whites don't hate only blacks, they hate Muslims too. How inclusive, eh?
Even more ridiculously, Z imagines that white Muslim haters in "red states" are forcing Barack Obama to distance himself from his Muslim background. In fact, according to Z, Islam is the victim of white America's newest "red scare" and Obama is feeling the heat because of that undue hatred. It all means we are "Holding Muslims at arm's length" to Derrick Z. Jackson.
Great news for free speech fans that likely won't get reported much of anywhere outside the rightosphere: the national Canadian "Human Rights" Commission has declined to prosecute a "hate speech" allegation against columnist and author Mark Steyn and the magazine Maclean's.
The allegation, brought against Steyn as part of an effort by the Canadian Islamic Congress (that country's resident apologists for radical Islam comparable to CAIR here) to use the government to censor critics of Islam. It was the second of three motions before three separate bodies to be dismissed; Steyn still awaits the decision of the British Columbia provincial commission.
The national commission did not announce the dismissal publicly so here's the Maclean's reaction:
Former top Democratic aide-turned ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday spun Barack Obama's repeated exclusions of Muslims as a way to "combat this issue" that he is a follower of Islam. Reacting to a question by "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts about Muslim voters feeling snubbed by the Democratic presidential candidate, Stephanopoulos admitted that the campaign is distancing itself from anything Islamic.
He then justified, "What the Obama campaign makes no apologies for, though, is trying to combat this issue that's really running around e-mail chains all across the country that Barack Obama is a Muslim. He is not." Stephanopoulos continued, "And they feel that they have to take every possible step they can to combat these rumors." In other words, the fact that the Obama campaign excluded two Muslim women from a campaign rally last week is an understandable reaction for someone trying to "combat rumors?"
The New York Times's hypersensitivity towards perceived attacks on Obama was on display in Friday's "Ad Campaign" review by Julie Bosman. Under the heading "Scorecard," Bosman described the Obama's first ad of the general election campaign as an effective counterattack against anti-Obama "smear e-mail and Internet innuendo."
This advertisement tries to define Mr. Obama and his life story in the face of smear e-mail and Internet innuendo about his heritage, questions about his patriotism and accusations about his liberal record. It emphasizes his devotion to work, both personally and in his record, highlighting legislation that shows his compassion for working-class Americans and veterans -- and his toughness with welfare recipients. With its flag pin and statements on patriotism -- the commercial is called "Country I Love" -- it seeks to put to rest any doubts about his devotion to the United States. The advertisement addresses the problems Mr. Obama needs to address and tacks him back to the center.
In yet another example of why the west could be too weak to fight the sort of global terrorism that takes the form of Islamofascism, a textbook monitoring group is charging that American textbooks have been cleansed of mentioning the violence inherent in the Islamic "Jihad." Now, our children will not be taught what "Jihad" truly means, nor that it has been used as an excuse to kill their fellow citizens because our schools have sanitized Islam of all outrage and violence. Will the media follow this story and report that our children are being exposed to Islamic propaganda like this?
According to the New York Examiner, the American Textbook Council reports that textbooks approved for middle and high schools students have caved in to a politically correct cleansing of Islam and dumbed down history critical to a fuller understanding of Muslim history -- one that reflects on our own times.
Only in the west can one see a school that hosts a day when school children are encouraged to dress like, act like, and "learn about" those trying to kill them and all in a day that the country is in the midst of war. And only in the west would the media help celebrate such an outrageous example of support for what, in truth, are our enemies.
On May 9, the kids of the Amherst Middle School in Amherst, New Hampshire, were forced to parade about their school dressed as "Saudi Arabians" so that they could "learn from people around the world" in a happy day of multiculturalism. But, what they ended up being taught was the wholly sanitized version of how wonderful Saudi society is instead of the truth.
Sadly, the Milford (NH) Cabinet, a small newspaper group in the Granite State, is full of uncritical praise and wonder at the multicultural extravaganza forced upon these children unawares. Worse, they didn't do any reporting on how this day of appeasement came to be held.
Mika Brzezinski realizes that the latest looniness emanating from Barack Obama's church poses political problems for the presidential candidate. But as a person of pallor, the ever-so-PC Morning Joe-er doesn't want to judge a black church—even when the most recent rantings come from the mouth of . . . a white preacher.
Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Father Michael Pfleger guest-preaching this past Sunday at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Pfleger, a fixture on the radical Chicago scene whose endorsement of Obama [h/t Michelle Malkin] until recently appeared on the official Obama campaign website, mocked Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire tears as a sign of her frustrated sense of white entitlement. The screencap shows Pfleger making like Hillary wiping away those tears.
(Watch video above, context included, fast-forward to 3:40 for Brzezinski's humorous comment.)
But while acknowledging the headache Pfleger poses for Obama, Mika was oh-so-loath to comment on the substance or tone of the remarks themselves. Excerpts from her discussion with Tucker Carlson, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist:
The cover of this week’s Newsweek read "Obama, Race, and Us." But the cover story isn’t really a news report at all. It’s Newsweek’s Evan Thomas playing Obama adviser, writing a memo offering all his wisdom on behalf of the Democrat. When you really want the Democrats to win, you apparently start telling them how they should (and shouldn’t) do it. The headline was "Memo to Senator Obama: Given his successes, it's easy to argue that Barack Obama doesn't need advice. But how he'll handle race going forward is by no means a settled issue. Our open letter." Thomas also repeats the incessant Newsweek dirge that Obama's being smeared as a Muslim on the Internet.
Thomas oddly argued that Obama will be the beneficiary of gaffes (not the provider?), but must provide the people with solidly liberal policy alternatives that will be the more helpful to the lower-income voters than the Republicans:
You are asking the wary to trust you, so your promises, and policy, must ring true. Your opponents will make gaffes, and you'll be able to capitalize on them. Last week Clinton referred to Robert F. Kennedy's June 1968 assassination in defending her decision to keep her campaign going. (She later said she regretted if her comments were "in any way offensive.")
When France 2 TV helped stoke a new wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment and violence by presenting the world footage it claimed to show the Israeli military targeting and killing a Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, a scene that has been invoked by Osama bin Laden and many other terrorists and suicide bombers, the American news media also ran the story, showing the footage numerous times on major television news shows. But evidence has mounted over the years that Israeli troops likely were not the ones producing the gunfire seen in the video. And the sources of the footage at France 2 TV are under increasing fire for their role in the matter, last week losing a court battle to media critic Philippe Karsenty, who goes so far as to charge that the al-Dura footage was actually a staged scene, and that the boy may still be alive, part of what has become a reportedly common practice of Palestinian film makers as they record scenes of fake violence to be used as propaganda. A look at such filmmaking and acting has been examined in the documentary Pallywood, complete with a corpse in a fake funeral procession that gets up on its own after falling off the stretcher after the "Jenin massacre" hoax, and an ambulance that arrives immediately next to the body of a man literally two seconds after he is supposedly shot. CBS's 60 Minutes was among those accused of being duped into using scenes of staged violence as if they were real. (Transcripts follow)
Wednesday's Hannity and Colmes showed viewers clips of Barack Obama making contradictory statements from Sunday and Tuesday about whether Iran was a serious threat, with the Illinois Senator on Sunday saying "they don't pose a serious threat to us," but on Tuesday saying "Iran is a grave threat." Pollster Frank Luntz also sparred with FNC's liberal co-host Alan Colmes over whether it would be wise to meet with dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler, and got Colmes to admit that "I might" meet with Hitler. Luntz: "Would you talk to Hitler?" Colmes: "It would depend upon the circumstances. ... I might." (Transcript follows)
The segment began with a clip of Democratic Governor and Obama supporter Bill Richardson talking about Obama's desire to "talk to the Iranian leaderhip," and the clip of Obama talking about Iran were soon played, as they had been played on the previous night's show:
BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1, DATED MAY 18: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us.
"Good Morning America" on Thursday picked up an attack on John McCain that has grown popular in left-wing media outlets and turned it into a Brian Ross investigation of the senator's "pastor problem." In a preview, co-host Diane Sawyer solemnly intoned, "This morning, John McCain's pastor problem. Is the preacher McCain calls a spiritual guide fueling the fire of Muslim hatred in America?" Investigative reporter Ross then preceded to warn how the Arizona senator's appearance with a pastor who loudly attacked Islam has "badly complicated" McCain's attempts to reach out to the Muslim world. [audio available here]
Where did Ross find the various clips of the Reverend Rod Parsley condemning Islam and standing on a podium with John McCain? The story has already been touted in liberal outlets such as Mother Jones magazine and heavily featured on the website Brave New Films,a creation of Robert Greenwald, best known for documentaries bashing Fox News and Wal Mart. (Despite this, Sawyer touted the "exclusive" nature of the investigation.) Additionally, the web version of Ross's story featured a misleading attempt to more closely associate McCain and Parsley. The ABC News headline asserted: "McCain Pastor: Islam Is a 'Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil.'" McCain's pastor? The Republican presidential candidate sought the reverend's support in February 2008. McCain is not a member of Parsley's World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio.
Joy Behar should remove the blinding plank in front of her own eye before removing the splint in front of others. Expressing her outrage that a West Virginia Hillary Clinton voter erroneously labeled Barack Obama a Muslim, Behar opined on May 13's "View" that some people "refuse to accept the reality." "The View" co-host did not mention that some of these reality deniers include Behar herself.
In the past, the daytime chat diva has spouted off many false remarks, putting her leftist ideology before the facts. Joy fed her viewers false information about the vice president’s record on the Marriage Amendment and falsely charged the Bush administration with airing the "swift boat" ads. Behar has also, without evidence, smeared Republican presidential candidates of ties with the Ku Klux Klan and accused Republicans of giving Senator Tim Johnson a stroke.
Left-leaning journalists don't just pull their punches when it comes to criticizing liberal politicians, they also seem paradoxically inclined to do so when it comes to discussing radical Islam. This curious phenomenon (curious in that modern liberalism is highly secular and radical Islam decidedly is not) has repeated itself many times over the years and is really one of the most bizarre behaviors I've seen in politics.
As strange and morally obtuse that we on the center-right believe the western liberal press to be on this issue, surely the more frustrated people have got to be clear-thinking liberals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who face the task of trying to get their ideological compatriots to stand up for rationality and civil society. It's a difficult task made even more frustrating by the high degree of self-censorship among liberal media elites. Writing earlier this week at the Huffington Post, Harris (an equal opportunity critic of all religion) recounts how the Washington Post refused to run an article he wrote on the "Fitna" movie that the paper deemed "too critical" of Islam.
Such behavior originates in not just the usual double-standard westernized religion faces but in a very real fear among left elites that criticizing Islam is a physically dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, as Harris writes, this behavior just exacerbates the problem:
Imagine that a "documentary" film-maker—whose most notable former credit was a work advancing the notion that extra-terrestrials did indeed visit Area 51—brought forth a new work suggesting that key elements of the Prophet Mohammed's story had been fabricated. What are the odds ABC would devote a segment of Good Morning America to a respectful interview of the filmmaker and discussion of his work?
But that's exactly what ABC did regarding someone who has produced a documentary ["Bloodline"] calling into question key aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Here's how GMA weekend co-anchor Bill Weir introduced the segment this morning:
Well, here's a question, was Jesus married with children? Was the Resurrection a trick pulled off by his widow? The possibility, the world's greatest cover-up, was the basis of the smash novel and movie The Da Vinci Code. And though those ideas have been largely dismissed by academics as fiction, documentary film-maker Bruce Burgess believes he has now found evidence to advance that theory. Here's a clip from his new film.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN’s series titled “The League of First Time Voters,” featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on “American Morning” and CNN’s “Newsroom” program on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked, “When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?” Later, he asked, “You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?” [video available here]
After his “War on Terror” question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez asked, “Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?” Two people, one man and one woman, answered, and they listed a variety of reasons. Sanchez then asked his “bin Laden” question. After woman answered affirmatively, he followed-up by asking, “We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?” Two others answered his question as well.
When John Paul II traveled to Syria in 2000, he became the first pope ever to visit a mosque. He stood in Damascus's Umayyad Masjid, kissed the Qur'an and stated, "For all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness." It's no wonder many Muslims look back on John Paul's reign as the golden days of interfaith relations--and as Pope Benedict XVI's first few years as anything but.
On Monday, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson highlighted and seemed to glorify anti-America comments made by a young Egyptian woman, whom the show interviewed as part of a regular series about young people in other countries, who compared the States to a dumb "jock" that in a few years will "die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation."
The young woman, named Ro'ya, charged: "In the past, if the States was a strong country, it was because it had thinkers, but right now, it's kind of like, it's kind of like a jock, okay -- very powerful, very athletic, in a couple of years, die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation." Without challenge, Weir added: "Ro'ya says she would only live in America if it would help Americans understand the Arab world. She'd much rather move to Italy..." (An online version of the story can be found at ABCNews.com.) (Transcript follows)
On World News Sunday, ABC anchor Dan Harris filed a report on Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to America, labeling the Catholic leader as "sometimes controversial," and calling him a "hard-liner" for "strenuously condemning divorce, homosexuality, and abortion." Harris also suggested that he has a "tin ear" because of a 2006 speech in which he used a quotation of a historical figure calling Islam "evil" that sparked riots by Muslim extremists around the world, without mentioning that the Pope later clarified that it was not his personal view that Islam is evil. (Transcript follows)
Before a commercial break, Harris plugged the story: "And coming up here on World News this Sunday, who is Pope Benedict? The sometimes controversial Pope comes to America this week."