Possibly in response to NewsBusters readers who passed on our item on the string of Pope Benedict-mocking jokes on NPR's game show "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos tells NewsBusters and other critics: lighten up, or be compared to radical Muslims. Isn't the ombudsman supposed to advocate for the listeners, not denounce them?
"If we keep jokes about the pope off-limits, we create a silencing effect that is far more damaging than the jokes themselves. We threaten to become like the intolerant extremists now most notoriously bedeviling the Muslim world, though other religions suffer from strains of fanaticism as well." Say what?
What did French president Nicolas Sarkozy ever do to the New York Times to incur such outsized wrath?
In a line of attack reminiscent of the Times's sordid attempt to link the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to the conservative movement, Paris bureau chief Steven Erlanger on Wednesday used the killings at a Jewish school in France ("Killings Could Stall Elections' Nationalist Turn") to suggest Sarkozy's tough-on-immigration re-election campaign rhetoric could be contributing to a violent anti-immigrant mood in France. (The gunman, whose identity was unknown at the time of filing, is apparently an Islamic extremist who trained with Al Qaeda.)
Maybe it's due to budget cutbacks at major establishment news sources, but I doubt it. Maybe it's because they believe nobody cares about news out of the Middle East. No, that can't be it. Or maybe it's because they think that people already know and understand the Muslim mindset. Well, after several decades of press attempts to keep it from us, that doesn't make any sense either.
Whatever the reason(s), which I'll get to, a certain piece of what one would think is pretty significant news out of the Middle East has gone unreported for the past five days going on six. What follows are three translations of related articles through Google's translation tool (which eliminates the budget excuse of "We need interpreters to translate these things from scratch, and don't have the money"):
Neil Munro of the Daily Caller reports on a double standard on religious-bashing ads in the New York Times involving Pamela Geller (pictured), the activist against radical Islam whose "venomous" rhetoric the Times finds offensive, especially after her involvement in the opposition to building a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero.
NBC and its hard left cable network don't seem to be on the same page. The morning after MSNBC bomb-thrower Ed Schultz condemned Republican voters for thinking President Obama is Muslim, on Tuesday's Today, NBC's political director Chuck Todd discounted the Public Policy Polling survey: "I think this question was designed to get a higher percentage in the answer than maybe what's actually true."
Todd explained the problem with the automated poll: "...the way the question was asked, I think it just was designed to get a higher number. Because there are some Republicans who...may not believe he's a Muslim, but like saying it because it's a way to attack him. It's sort of a way to needle him....it's certainly created a buzz among liberals who are trying to create a stereotype among base conservative voters."
As NewsBusters reported, HBO's Bill Maher on Friday disgracefully claimed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum homeschools his children to keep them locked up in his "Christian madrassa" where they won't be exposed to knowledge and reason.
On Fox New's Hannity Monday, the former Pennsylvania Senator struck back at the vulgar comedian saying, "My 12-year-old will out-reason Bill Maher" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All last week the knights in shining armor at MSNBC did their level best to rescue the fair damsels of the realm from the vile "War on Women" waged by the vicious ogres of the Right, you know, like Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum. But in the midst of hyping Women's History Month and International Women's Day (March 8), the liberal network failed to highlight a real story of women's oppression: a Pakistani-Austrian woman's tale of death threats and beatings at the hands of her reactionary Muslim mother.
What's more, this story, entitled "Why My Mother Wants Me Dead," was published at none other than The Daily Beast, a site whose writers and editors frequently appear on MSNBC programming.
As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, "Sometimes [Rick] Santorum sounds like he's creeping up on a Christian version of Sharia law."
In response to this nonsense, the Republican presidential candidate told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt later that day, "This is the intolerance of the Left. If you have religious beliefs that they don’t believe in, then they marginalize you" (video follows with partial transcript):
Willful ignorance combined with anti-Christian bigotry: not a pretty sight. Bill Keller, former New York Times executive editor turned Times columnist, put both on display on today's Morning Joe.
Joe Scarborough played a clip of Santorum criticizing President Obama and Hillary Clinton for at times speaking of "freedom of worship" rather than "freedom of religion." Santorum made his point crystal clear: merely having the freedom to pray is not enough. People must have the right to practice their religion outside the confines of the sanctuary. But Scarborough and Keller claimed not to understand what Santorum was saying. Keller then added his ugly coda: "sometimes Santorum sounds like he's creeping up on a Christian version of Sharia law." Video after the jump.
Just how far is MSNBC's Chris Matthews willing to go to shield President Obama from criticism this election year?
On Monday's Hardball, the host defended Koran burnings saying, "In Western religions when you have a religious article, the proper way of disposing it is burning it. So it's not a desecration...An American would never burn something to desecrate it. That would be a way of treating a holy object" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporting on violent protests in Afghanistan following accidental Quran burnings for Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Atia Abawi declared the incident "...follows a long line of insults that has intensified the public outrage towards the U.S., including last year's intentional burning of a Koran by a pastor in Florida and the video of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, in an attempt to defend President Obama’s recent apology for the accidental Koran burnings that set off riots in Afghanistan, equated his response to what a foreign leader would be required to do if his military inadvertently burned an American flag.
Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist correctly replied, “No because Americans wouldn’t go in the streets and start killing people” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As violent, deadly demonstrations have broken out in Afghanistan following the recent accidental burning of Korans, it's interesting to look back nearly three years ago when the U.S. military burned a shipment of Holy Bibles written in the Pashto and Dari languages. The military destroyed the Bibles rather than ship them back stateside apparently out of fear the American church that sent them would just try shipping them back through other channels to Afghanistan.
The al-Jazeera network was involved in the breaking of the story, but a search of Nexis found no stories from the time by the Washington Post or New York Times nor the ABC, CBS, or NBC networks about the disposal of the Christian holy texts.
The Chicago News Cooperative is -- or was -- a nonprofit journalistic entity that produces content for the Chicago edition of the New York Times. It will cease filing this weekend, having lost an expected grant. Among the delights Chicago readers will miss: Suggestions that the GOP is fueling anti-Muslim rhetoric and even hate crimes, under the label of objective reporting. David Lepeska contributed “A Group to Counter Anti-Islam Sentiment” to Friday’s Chicago edition of the Times, making unsubstantiated assertions and commiting bias by omission.
As anti-Muslim rhetoric rises locally and nationally -- some of it fueled by the presidential campaign -- a group of Chicago-area Muslims is battling back, using tactics including a television ad campaign and public forums against bigotry.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted how the Republican primary "has increasingly become laced with references to religion" and predicted that in the upcoming GOP debate on CNN, "[Rick] Santorum is likely to be peppered with questions about his remarks on what he called the President's 'phony theology.'"
Later in the report, Alexander touted Mitt Romney being drawn into the issue: "Romney has tried to narrow his focus to the economy. But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday he was asked how he would protect religious freedom and answered by attacking the President." After a sound bite of Romney describing how President Obama "hangs around" with people who have a "secular agenda," Alexander dutifully forwarded the White House defense: "The Obama campaign quickly fired back, calling Romney's comments 'disgraceful.'"
Christian evangelist Franklin Graham made some comments about President Obama on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday that have liberals across the fruited plain hopping mad.
So angered is MSNBC's Chris Matthews that on Tuesday's Hardball he said, "I think we should stop inviting this guy to talk about politics...he ain’t his father’s son" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Updated at 22:51 EST (see bottom of post) | Wiley Miller's "Non Sequitur" strip is syndicated in newspapers throughout the country, including the Washington Post. To the extent Miller delves into politics and social or religious critique, it's generally from the left.
Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, Miller's February 21 cartoon was entitled "Divine Intervention" and depicted a bishop in ecclesial dress at a bar, with five empty communion chalices in front of him, being cut off by his bartender (see cartoon below).
Republicans are deceitfully playing with words to avoid being slammed as homophobes, racists, and bigots, claimed CNN contributor L.Z. Granderson on Tuesday morning's Newsroom. Anchor Kyra Phillips simply let Granderson air his liberal diatribe without any challenge, and no conservative guest was brought on to respond.
Republicans "aren't fighting for Muslims and mosques," said Granderson of their claims of "religious freedom," but simply "fighting for Christianity." [Video below. Click here for audio.]
Mormon fear at the New York Times. The paper’s online “Room for Debate” section, which “invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues” on Monday asked “What Is It About Mormons?," inspired by the prospect of Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination for president. The fact that the Senate has for the last five years been led by a Mormon, Democrat Harry Reid, has failed to trigger similar concerns at the Times. The Times also shows it feels free to shower at least some religions with derision and mockery.
Only the politically correct media could think a film about the dangers of radical Islam would be controversial … in New York City, the city of the World Trade Center attack by radical Islamists.
But that's exactly the case, as The New York Times has written seven separate pieces - including an op-ed and an editorial - on the ''firestorm'' over the movie ''The Third Jihad.'' The editorial, headlined ''Hate Film,'' criticized the New York Police Department's ''decision to show a hate-filled film about Muslims to more than 1,400 city police officers.''
Would someone please buy the Washington Post's Josh White a clue? He can't seem to get a handle on the "motive" for the actions of Yonathan Melaku (actually, I think White is pretending).
Melaku has just pleaded guilty and will be sentenced to 25 years in jail. Authorities say he vandalized military grave markers, shot at the Pentagon and military museums, and was working on an improvised explosive device. But the headline to White's story (HT Atlas Shrugs) and the reporter's content act as if no one has the foggiest idea what drop Melaku to do what he did (words which betray motivation are bolded):
Rick Santorum to John Heilemann [and by extension to MSM at large] on today's Morning Joe: "it's your responsibility to defend the president, not mine." Ouch! If Newt's deft dicing of John King and Juan Williams paid huge electoral dividends, Santorum might anticipate a much-needed bump after running roughshod over the New York mag reporter.
Heilemann had called on Santorum to explain his failure to correct a woman at a town hall meeting in Florida yesterday who said President Obama was an "avowed Muslim" and legally unqualified to be president. After noting that he has repeatedly been on the record saying that he doesn't believe PBO is a Muslim and recognizes that he is legally qualified to be president, Santorum said that he chose not to chastise an elderly and infirm lady. Then came Santorum's grand slam, as set forth above. Heilemann only dug himself deeper when he responded by saying that prez candidate McCain had always defended Obama on the campaign trail. Video after the jump.
With Muammar Qadhafi dead and Libya firmly in the hands of rebels, the attention of the major network media has shifted away from the North African country. But that certainly doesn't mean the unintended consequences of the late NATO-assisted revolution aren't barreling down the track.
Tripoli-based Time magazine contributor Steve Sotloff has an excellent piece at the magazine's website about how radical Salafist Muslims are enacting a reign of terror on fellow Muslims who don't subscribe to their radical theology. You can read the whole piece here.
It remains to be seen what sort, if any, attention the media at-large pay to post-Qadhafi Libya and the degree to which President Obama's actions in support the Libyan rebels has led to a dangerous post-Qadhafi power vacuum that could likely be filled by dangerous Islamists.
On Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, as guest Rick Santorum criticized President Obama because he refused to support a democracy movement in Iran that might have weakened the anti-America radical Muslim government of Tehran, but, by contrast, supported a democracy movement in Egypt directed against a pro-America government - which resulted in an election that recently handed more power in Cairo to radical Muslims - host David Gregory accused the GOP presidential candidate of being "patently contradictory." (Video below)
As he moved into the foreign policy portion of the interview, Gregory brought up a recent speech in which Santorum accused President Obama of engaging in "appeasement" against America's enemies, and then the NBC host defended Obama's foreign policy:
Imagine the media attention that would be garnered if any non-Muslim in the U.S. did something as sensationalistically violent and dramatic as to dress as Santa Claus and commit a mass murder against his own family at a Christmas gathering.
But this past weekend, a Muslim man in Texas who was reportedly angry at his family for becoming too westernized committed just such an egregious act, resulting in the deaths of seven people, as documented this morning by FNC's Fox and Friends. (Video below)
On the front of Wednesday’s Style section is another one of those anti-“Islamophobia” articles starring comedians. The Post’s Tara Bahrampour began: “Beware, America. The Muslims are coming, and they look and act suspiciously like you.” If “you” were a profane secularist, apparently.
Bahrampour is promoting a documentary film on a tour Muslim comedians made through Southern states called “The Muslims Are Coming!” It “includes interviews with comics such as Jon Stewart and Louis [sic] Black and commentators including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, explores freedom of religion and what it means to be a minority in America.” CNN can always be found fighting American “phobias” about minorities – well, not so much about the Catholics. Those, they promote.