This is the fifth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics:
The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season" (note how the AP photo at right uses "holiday" and not "shopping," even though there is a C-C-, Chr-Chr-Christmas tree in the picture).
The frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later.
The cumulative results of all three search sets during the past four years are in this graphic.
Year-to-year changes have often been subtle. That is anything but the case with the results of the first set of searches I did at roughly 10 a.m. ET. In the context of the current economy, they are stunning, and very revealing:
Blogger Amanda Hess of the Washington City Paper suggests a new story for The Washington Post on the gay left waging war on the Catholic Church over the city council's imposition of "gay marriage" rules without a referendum:
A new Web site hopes to use the oldest trick in the book to combat the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage: A good, old-fashioned forced outing!
At ChurchOuting.org, you’re invited to scroll through a list of every Achbishop, Bishop, and Reverend in the Archdiocese of Washington, zero in on one you know is gay, and then submit your “detailed account of how you know the priest in question is being hypocritical through his silence.”
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.”
Here is more proof there is a vast chasm between Fox News and Fox Entertainment in Hollywood. In Wednesday night’s episode of Glee, a heartless Christian dad character is – of course – a big Glenn Beck watcher. The biggest liberal joke on the series is the pregnant cheerleader Quinn who leads the "Celibacy Club," who is preparing for the chastity ball, but the secret of her pregnancy gets out at the dinner table.
I don’t have the precise Beck quote, but it was an "ooh, Glenn Beck’s on" moment. TV Squad summarizes: "But the whole thing brought to light a lot about Quinn's home life: her dad watches Glenn Beck, is a heartless loser, and her mom won't stand up for her. That's all the important stuff."
In fact, she is thrown out of the house, because that’s apparently what Beck-watching Christians do when their teens get pregnant. They’re uninvolved, clueless alcoholics who don’t really know their children.
Headline wording choice can set the tone for liberal bias, and a November 18 Washington Post Style front-pager is a classic example.
Profiling Pentecostal preacher Bishop Harry Jackson, the Post titled staffer Wil Haygood's story "Seeking to put asunder," an obvious allusion to Jesus's declaration about the holy nature of matrimony (Matthew 19:4-6 KJV):
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Of course, that scriptural passage succinctly illustrates Jackson's point: Christian doctrine regarding marriage is that "from the beginning" God's design was one man and one woman in a "one flesh" union, but the effect of the headline's allusion is the same. The paper is portraying Jackson as a man who aims to "put asunder" loving, committed gay couples who are "married."
Openly gay actor Ian McKellen recently told Details magazine that he proudly defaces Bibles left in hotel nightstands, ripping out pages containing verses which condemn homosexual behavior. USA Today's Leslie Miller picked up on this yesterday for the paper's "Faith & Reason" blog, after spying a blog post by colleague Barbara De Lollis in a November 16 post for her Hotel Check-In blog for USA Today.
For her part, De Lollis relayed the news item and wondered, "Could word of McKellen's habit spark a movement?" De Lollis went on to ask:
A petulant Washington Post columnist -- who two months ago insisted "Reality Makes Gay Marriage Debate Obsolete" -- took to her computer yesterday to hack out a screed against the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, painting the Church as "uncharitable and cruel" reactionaries, playing "political hardball with the District" and literally throwing the homeless out into the cold November rain.
Allison Kilkenny, a self-styled “political humorist,” ripped the Catholic Church on the Huffington Post on Thursday for threatening to pull the plug in its social services in Washington, DC if same-sex “marriage” is legalized there. Kilkenny labeled the Church the “Inexplicably Evil Organization Most Disconnected From Real People,” and bashed Pope Benedict XVI as a “decrepit former Nazi youth.”
The “humorist” (pictured at right, courtesy of Wikimedia) began her screed, titled “Catholic Church Threatens to Stop Feeding Homeless Over Gay Marriage,” by comparing the Church to Goldman Sachs, and used her “evil” label only after three sentences (perhaps showing a bit of restraint on her part): “A few days ago, I wrote about Goldman Sachs’s transition from a bank holding company into a public relations disaster machine. I argued that Goldman’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has been behaving like he wants to be attacked by a ferocious mob. Now, it appears the Catholic church is determined to unseat Blankfein in the ‘Inexplicably Evil Organization Most Disconnected From Real People’ category.”
Four paragraphs later, after spinning the content of the Archdiocese of Washington’s November 10 letter to the DC city council (which warned that the proposed legislation which would legalize same-sex “marriage” wouldn’t “permit Catholic Charities and other religious service organization to freely function as religious entities serving the needs of the District” and called for the expansion of “appropriate safeguards to protect religious freedom and to preserve the ability of...service providers to continue to serve the...unmet needs of the residents of the District”), Kilkenny used the tried-and-true priest sex abuse bludgeon against the Church (language warning):
Since Friday's massacre at Fort Hood, NewsBusters has been covering the efforts of several news outlets, including the New York Times, to warn of Muslim persecution in America.
This is quite a departure from the treatment offered other religious groups by the Times, particularly the paper's disgraceful coverage of Mormon persecution at the hands of rabid protestors in California.
Back on November 4, 2008, when gay marriage was outlawed for the second time by popular vote in the Golden State, angry protestors stormed the streets. Word quickly spread that Mormons had played a big role in getting the ban to pass prompting gay activists to attack Mormon citizens in fits of rage.
Unlike now, the Times wasn't worried about protecting a religious group from an angry backlash. Quite the contrary, when rumors of the Mormon influence on the proposition grew, the Times was more than willing to actively build the case against them.
On November 15 of that year, the paper used prominent space on its front page to print a hit piece titled "Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage."In the middle of a literal culture war on the streets of California, the Times thought it wise to convince gays and lesbians angered by the proposition's passage that Mormons were single-handedly responsible:
"The clergy should stay off Capitol Hill," MSNBC's Chris Matthews flatly declared on the November 10 "Hardball." Matthews fumed with disgust as Politico's Jonathan Allen told him that Catholic bishops lobbied Democrats to pass the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill last week.
"I understand the [pro-life] argument" that the bishops brought to the table, Matthews added, but huffed that they should not "show up" on the Hill.
After the commercial break, Matthews took to the air again to clarify that it was not in fact bishops but staffers with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) who lobbied the Democrats. Such a distinction, he insisted, was important.
On Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that Fox News is a racist organization that would hold race or religion against its employees in awarding promotions, as he used the show’s "Worst Person" segment to slam Fox and Friends co-hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Peter Johnson, for raising questions about whether Muslims serving in the military should be treated with more attention. While every show in MSNBC’s primetime and morning lineups has a host who is white and non-Muslim, Olbermann suggested that the Fox and Friends hosts would have trouble succeeding at FNC if they were Muslim or non-white. Olbermann: "Since we’re asking questions, I have one for Carlson, Johnson, and Kilmeade. You guys ever wonder if you all succeeded inside a company like Fox mostly because you’re not Muslim or black or Asian or Hispanic?"
Olbermann's allegation ignores FNC personalities like Geraldo Rivera and Julie Banderas, who have hosted their own shows; and Juan Williams and Michelle Malkin who have both guest hosted for The O'Reilly Factor in addition to their work as contributors. Even on Fox and Friends, Lauren Green used to read the show's news briefs.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the "Worst Person in the World" segment from the Friday, November 6, Countdown show on MSNBC:
Astronomers and physicists who feel motivated to rationalize their way out of the religious implications of the “Big Bang,” typically conjure up unsubstantiated theories divorced from the scientific rigor they claim to champion.
This disconcerting assessment is forcefully presented in a series of essays published as part of a new book authored by David Berlinski, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute and a noted mathematician. The same atheistic impulses at work within cosmology are evident throughout the scientific community, he argues.
Catholic News Agency reports The New York Times refused to publish an op-ed submitted by the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, that complained that Times news reports and opinion columns were anti-Catholic. Archbishop Dolan wrote the "most combustible example" was "an intemperate and scurrilous piece" on the opinion pages of the Times by Maureen Dowd.
"In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans."
The New York Times's Maureen Dowd spent some time in Catholic school as a youth, but judging from her latest rant/column, she didn't learn too much about actual Catholicism.
Dowd's anti-Catholic screed reveals that of someone who knows almost nothing about the Catholic faith. She also deceives her readers about a number of topics, including a 2004 letter issued by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI.
HBO's hit series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has pushed the comedic envelope for many years, but what happened in Sunday's episode was so disgraceful it's already received comment from the Catholic League's Bill Donohue.
The set-up is the show's star and producer Larry David is taking some medication that is making him urinate quite forcefully.
It's so powerful that while urinating in his assistant's bathroom, he accidentally splashed some of it on a picture of Jesus Christ hanging on a nearby wall.
The Los Angeles Times has joyfully discovered a way to keep the clergy misdeeds of the Catholic Church forever in the minds of its readers and the public: the obituary page.
Take a look at the obituary of former bishop G. Patrick Ziemann. At over 900 words, it's not so much an obituary as it is a gleeful relishing by Duke Helfand and the Times over the sins of a Catholic authority.
In a recent news article (Fri. 10/23/09) and a pea-brained editorial (Sat. 10/24/09) regarding Anglicans joining the Catholic Church, the Los Angeles Times again displays its utter ignorance of the Catholic faith.
The Times' editorial is yet another weak attempt to air the paper's position that homosexual acts and women priests should be fully embraced by the Catholic Church.
We'll have to wait and see if the so-called outside-the-box thinking once praised by some of liberal media elites will get the same reception with this latest edition.
In 2005, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner released the book "Freakonomics" that provided cover for the pro-abortion movement in America by suggesting legalized abortion lowered crime and had a positive impact on society.
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.)
Two Republican chairmen in South Carolina have apologized for an op-ed article that made a clumsy comment about wealthy Jews being fiscally prudent. Reporter Robbie Brown and The New York Times's headline writers quickly let us know the two offenders were Republican: "2 South Carolina Republicans Apologize for Reference to Jews."
It made quite a contrast from how the Times treated a Democratic candidate for Congress who circulated truly scurrilous claims against her Jewish opponent in a 2008 primary election.
In Wednesday's story, both the online headline (the print edition headline is different) and a photo caption readily identified the offenders as members of the GOP, as did Brown in his first sentence:
Two Republican county chairmen in South Carolina have apologized for a newspaper op-ed article that stereotyped Jews as financial penny pinchers.
It was bound to happen - an inevitable character assault on former Miss California Carrie Prejean by a host from MSNBC, the place for misogyny, after K2 Productions, the company that directs the Miss California USA pageant, filed a publicity-seeking, lawsuit.
Prejean unintentionally created a firestorm when she answered a question from self-proclaimed gay rights activist and gossip blogger Perez Hilton during the Miss USA pageant. Her offence was to say that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Consider the following two stories. Pay attention. There will be a quiz.
1. The Obama administration has appointed Kevin Jennings as a "czar" inside the Department of Education. In addition to being the founder of a group called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Jennings once wrote a foreword to a book called Queering Elementary Education. In that foreword, he wrote, "We must address antigay bigotry ... as soon as students start going to school." In addition, Jennings has admitted that, 21 years ago as a 24-year-old teacher at Concord Academy, he advised a gay student sophomore*, "I hope you knew to use a condom," after the student confided he went home with a guy he had met the night before in a Boston restroom. Jennings has since admitted, "I can see how I should have handled the situation differently." Other controversial episodes have been attributed to Jennings.
It's hard to find fault with such an exemplary young man, but I have.
In a Monday story in USA Today, religion writer Tom Krattenmaker reported these findings:
"Tebow does his missionary trips to the Philippines under the auspices of his father Bob Tebow's Evangelistic Association. The Tebow organization espouses a far-right theology. Its bottom line: Only those who assent to its version of Christianity will avoid eternal punishment. The ministry boldly declares, 'We reject the modern ecumenical movement.'"
If Tebow is selling that, this Lutheran isn't buying.
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
Reporting the lead story on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner touted a new on-line poll conducted by Parade magazine about religion in America: “nearly a quarter of the respondents call themselves spiritual, not religious. And how about this? Half the people polled say they seldom, if ever, attend religious services.”
One supposed religious expert Teichner spoke with about the poll findings was Barnard College professor and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer, who argued: “And so you have all these religious options out there and we Americans are good consumers.” Teichner asked: “So you’re saying that Americans choose their faith or their spirituality in very much the way they shop a mall.” Balmer replied: “I think they do.” In 2006, Balmer wrote Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.
The Parade magazine cover story about the poll was written by Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation. In addition, Wicker is also a contributing writer for the left-wing blog The Huffington Post. Just days prior to the 2008 presidential election, Wicker authored a post entitled “Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun,” in which she claimed: “They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists....They’ve used their pulpits to endorse McCain...None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control. So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town’s people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand.”
In a Chicago Tribune article today that appears to open as an attempt at humor but quickly devolves into nastiness, NPR-dependent radio host and author Garrison Keillor, among other things, attacks social conservatives, blames them and not those who have brought legal actions for years-long fights over keeping religious symbols right where they are, and -- while conveniently forgetting that Republican Mitt Romney gave us the Massachusetts disaster known as CommonwealthCare that current Bay State Democratic governor Deval Patrick considers the model for ObamaCare -- ponders the pros and cons of cutting Republicans "out of the health-care system entirely."
There are few if any indications in the last 2/3 of his column that Keillor was attempting anything resembling humor. If he was, he failed.
According to the October 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly, advertising for The Invention of Lying, the new film from comedian Ricky Gervais, carefully conceals the atheistic subject matter of the movie. Writer Adam Markovitz explained that in the film, set in a world where everyone tells the truth, "The people...have no concept of heaven, faith, or God- until Gervais’ character fabricates ‘the man in the sky’ to placate them.’"
Markovitz observed, "What you don’t know- thanks to a carefully crafted marketing campaign- is the movie’s actual subject: religion." (The film’s distributors are Universal and Warner Bros.) The EW article quotes Gervais, who is himself a non-believer, insisting that the film is "not atheist propaganda." However, the comedian also added that Invention of Lying "shouldn’t affect [believers] or their God. From what I’ve heard of God, he’s tough."
ABC's "World News" is supposed to be above the fray, right? According to "World News" executive Jon Banner, his program didn't jump into covering the recent ACORN scandal because it is "not in the business of noise."
Earlier in the day, on four Sunday morning network news programs, President Barack Obama had urged the media not to engage in Taibbi's specialty. The networks shouldn't air rude, angry political behavior, because that only encourages it, the president said. ABC must have missed that memo.
Bonnie Erbe, contributing editor to U.S. News and World report and host of PBS' "To the Contrary" recently compared conservative Christians to terrorists.
A soon-to-be published study in the journal Reproductive Health that found states with a high level of residents who subscribe to conservative religious beliefs also have high teen birth rates sparked Erbe's September 18 observation that Christianity and radical Islamic terrorism share distinct similarities.
Erbe did not find this conclusion "surprising," and noted that "most of these ‘religious' states are also so-called red states." From there she bashed red states as uneducated and poor, and argued that those factors combined with "increased religiosity tend to intertwine and build on each other." Erbe offered as proof the following example: