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.
"Good Morning America" continued its seemingly endless promotion of "Angels & Demons" on Wednesday, highlighting the film for a third day and almost 17 minutes thus far this week. Once again, co-host Diane Sawyer completely ignored the anti-Christian story elements in the film, including members of the Catholic Church brutally slaughtering a secret society, while talking to star Ewan McGregor.
Even when McGregor, quite unprovoked, brought the subject up, Sawyer avoided the issue. "However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all. I wouldn't have wanted to do it if there had been," he explained. (See Townhall for video.) However, an impending twist in the film makes that claim quite ridiculous. [Spoilers below the fold]
In a letter dated today and a press teleconference held at 9:30 EDT this morning, Media Research Center president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell joined other conservatives in calling on President Obama to withdraw Harry Knox from the presidential Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.:
Harry Knox is the hate-filled antithesis of this noble objective. Knox is a virulent anti-Catholic bigot, and has made numerous vile and dishonest attacks against the Church and the Holy Father. He has no business on any Council having to do with faith or religion.
Co-signers to the letter include lay Catholic and conservative leaders such as Judie Brown of the American Life League, Kate O'Beirne of the National Review Institute, American Spectator publisher Al Regnery, Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council, and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.
A list of some instances of Harry Knox's anti-Catholic bigotry is available at MRC.org here. Knox's virulent hatred of Catholics extends from the top down, from Pope Benedict XVI to the rank-and-file member of the Knights of Columbus:
Leo Penn, the father of famous actor Sean Penn, was hauled before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the 1950s and harassed, spied upon and ultimately blacklisted for his political views (he attended a pro-union meeting called to support other black- listees.)
He refused to accuse others, and lost his livelihood for a period of time, but went on to direct many TV shows including Star Trek, The Law and Mr. Jones, and I Spy.
So where are the free-speech warriors? How about Sean Penn and the rest of the Hollywood elitists who think the First Amendment was written solely for their benefit? Penn has made millions playing everything from a stoner in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” to gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain in a horrific attack in San Francisco that also resulted in the death of San Francisco mayor George Moscone.
"Good Morning America" continued its hyping of "Angels & Demons" on Tuesday, a film that accuses the Catholic Church of participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society. While talking to director Ron Howard, GMA co-host Diane Sawyer mostly glossed over the film's controversial elements and again referred to the movie as a "great, spiritual scavenger hunt."
She prompted the director to spin himself as not wanting a fight, saying, "And you're relieved. 'Cause I read somewhere you said, 'I don't like controversy.'" At no point did she mention Catholic League President William Donohue and his organization's opposition to the film or the nasty column Howard wrote on the Huffington Post where he attacked, "I guess Mr. Donohue and I do have one thing in common: we both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda" (referring to the group's criticism of the film).
An explosive, front-page investigation on Sunday (5/10/09) in the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) "repeatedly" returned teachers and aides credibly accused of child molestation back to classrooms, and these individuals then molested children again. The jaw-dropping story, by Times staffer Jason Song, is incredibly angering, and the tales of abuse are stomach-turning. (An accompanying audio slideshow at the Times web site is quite disturbing.)
In the last several years, media outlets have endlessly ripped and tarred the Catholic Church for mishandling episodes from decades ago. Meanwhile, these episodes in LAUSD are all quite recent. One documented case dates back to just last year!
"Angels & Demons" star Tom Hanks received zero critical questions or challenges when he appeared on Monday's "Good Morning America" to promote a movie that features the Catholic Church ordering a brutal massacre in order to silence a secret society. Instead, Sawyer referred to the film, a prequel to "The Da Vinci Code," as a "scary, spiritual scavenger hunt." After playing a clip of Hanks' character in the film asserting that he has no religious beliefs, she moved on to talking about how the movie star still gets nervous when he acts.
It's not as though Hanks didn't open himself up to questions about the film's validity. He admitted to Sawyer that in a few years, this movie, like every one he's made, will be subject to wondering "if moments are proper or authentic. Or if it actually, really, has some purpose in its reflection of, like, the human zeitgeist and that's where you find out whether or not you were telling the truth or not." Wouldn't this have been a good point to jump in and debate some of the assertions made in the book and movie? Sadly, Sawyer remained silent.
Contrast the gentle way that the ABC host treated Hanks with the grilling of Mel Gibson in a 2003 "Primetime" special on "The Passion of the Christ." Regarding accuracy and his film about Jesus Christ, Sawyer pressed for specifics: "What about the historians who say that the Gospels were written long after Jesus died, and are not merely fact, but political points of views and metaphors? Historians, you know, have argued that in fact it was not written at the time [of Christ]. These [gospel writers] were not eyewitnesses."
The NewsBusters publisher appeared on the May 8 "Fox & Friends" to address how the media consider Hasselbeck "controversial" for teaching her kids to believe the Bible's creation account rather than labeling liberal co-host Behar "controversial" for suggesting that teaching children creationism is "child abuse."
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: So they label Elisabeth as controversial or as the conservative but Joy Behar is always labeled the comedian!
While reporting on a popular Miami priest, Father Alberto Cutie, getting caught on a beach with a woman, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with CBS religion analyst Father Thomas Williams and criticized the Catholic Church for requiring a vow of celibacy for priests: "The Catholic Church, as you know, has been criticized, and you and I have talked about this, for being outdated and losing both parishioners and people who may want to serve, because it is so rigid. Do you think it's time for the Catholic Church to reconsider the vow of celibacy that it requires of its priests?" Williams replied: "Well, I'm not really sure. I think you can't attribute an act of unfaithfulness to the institution itself. It would be kind of like saying that adultery is caused by marriage. It doesn't really make sense."
Just before talking to Williams, Rodriguez admitted: "I should, in the interest of full disclosure, say that Father Albert is a family friend whom I've known for many, many years." At the end of the segment, Rodriguez added: "Yeah, just a couple of weeks ago he [Father Cutie] officiated my niece's wedding. I haven't talked to her about how she feels about this. But yeah, we've known him for many, many years. And he wants to continue serving God." Instead of taking Rodriguez off the story because of this personal connection, its appears CBS kept her on it because they thought it added an interesting angle, even if it made objectivity impossible.
For those who were shocked by Obama "faith" advisor Harry Knox knocking the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic men's group, as an "army of oppression," he is not alone. Gay activists are now taking pride in getting Knights charity drives crushed at supermarkets.
Metro Weekly, a D.C-based gay "news" magazine, honored a man for his "Storefront Stand" -- he harassed Knights of Columbus volunteers raising funds for the mentally disabled (usually with Tootsie Roll candies) outside a Safeway store in northern Virginia. Allison also succeeded in getting other Knights thrown off one Giant supermarket's property. To passers-by at Safeway, Brad Allison compared the Knights to the Ku Klux Klan: "It is a bit of an extreme point to be making, but I thought it was effective."
That's an especially uneducated taunt, considering the Klan was viciously anti-Catholic. Allison also lied to the public by claiming the Knights don't do charity work. Here's Will O'Bryan's account in Metro Weekly:
Time and time again, on-air talent from MSNBC's daytime news coverage has tried to distance itself the far left-leaning commentators on the network during prime time hours.
However, David Shuster has no qualms taking a position publicly and incorporating it into his daytime news coverage. Shuster, who has been outspoken in his support for same-sex marriage, abandoned the pretense of journalistic objectivity and launched into a shouting match/debate with Brian Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) on MSNBC on May 1.
"Explain how it is that the gay couple or the lesbian couple down the street has any impact on my marriage or on yours?" Shuster asked.
While most of the mainstream media yawned at news that former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon was refusing Notre Dame's Laetare award due to the university honoring pro-choice President Barack Obama, USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman sure hasn't.
The religion reporter/blogger found her own unique, passive-aggressive way to slam Glendon's stand on principle by suggesting she's a self-righteous hypocrite.
In her April 30 post, "Who's a good enough Catholic for Notre Dame's top honor?", Grossman delighted in excerpting a satirical open letter by Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin, who penned a blog post for America magazine making light of the university's pressing need to find a new person to honor with the coveted Laetare Award (emphasis mine):
Jessica Valenti, founder of the vaguely pornographic sounding Feministing.com, has decided that there is no such thing as virginity in America's young girls and the Today Show is entirely pleased with itself to give her a national TV venue from which to say so. Never mind how silly it all sounds.
On April 23 Valenti and Today pushed the idea that sexually active girls should not be thought of as a problem, that an expectation of virginity is harmful, and that religion is a baneful influence on young women today. Valenti says that if young men can have their sexual exploits given a wink and a nod, then so should the sexual activity of young girls.
Naturally, being a good left-wing, feminist, Valenti draws all the wrong conclusions and advocates all the worst solutions to address the real problems in American society. Just as naturally, NBC gives a legitimate stage for her absurd proclamations and ill-thought-out prescriptions.
As millions of Christians attend church every Sunday without attracting much attention in the New York Times, it’s a little surprising to see it defined as front-page news when an "overflow audience of more than 100" showed up at an atheist event in South Carolina. "More Atheists Are Shouting It From the Rooftops" read the headline on Monday’s front page from religion reporter Laurie Goodstein. Whenever the godless gather in a Southern state, it’s apparently time to wake the neighbors:
More than ever, America’s atheists are linking up and speaking out — even here in South Carolina, home to Bob Jones University, blue laws and a legislature that last year unanimously approved a Christian license plate embossed with a cross, a stained glass window and the words "I Believe" (a move blocked by a judge and now headed for trial).
They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.
1. A former Catholic priest comes forward Monday (4/20/09) to claim that another priest abused him as a teenager nearly 30 years ago. (The accused priest has no other similar public complaints and denies the allegations against him.)
2. A former school teacher was sentenced Wednesday (4/22/09) after pleading no contest to eight felony counts, including having sex with two girls under the age of 16. The man "admitted to having intercourse with the girls, performing oral sex with the teens and taking extremely explicit nude photographs of his victims -- including pictures of him with one of the girls - before sending the images over the Internet."
Now it's quiz time! To which story did the Los Angeles Times devote two generous color photos and a 640-word article? Which story did the Times totally ignore?
Want to see the bitterness of media elitism? Take a look at what San Francisco Chronicle's environmental blog, "The Thin Green Line," thinks of the public's attitude about global warming.
According to an April 17 Rasmussen Reports poll, only one out of three voters believes global warming is caused by human activity. For Cameron Scott of the Chronicle's "The Thin Green Line," this isn't due to the public's ability to discern a hoax when they see one, but a so-called "disinformation campaign," as he explained on an April 18 post.
"This is the most successful disinformation campaign in the history of the world (it's largely financed by fossil fuel companies)," Scott wrote. "There is virtual scientific unanimity on the issue: Natural planetary trends alone cannot account for the rapid changes we are currently witnessing."
With a rich history of giving unprecedented coverage to alternative sexualities and gender identities, it’s no surprise that ABCnews.com features 1,100 + word article about a small town transgendered mayor.
Stu Rasmussen is the mayor of Silverton, Oregon. He made national headlines as the first transgendered mayor in the nation after he won his November 2008 election. Rasmussen, who is sixty, has spent “50 years to get comfortable in [his] body” and in 2000 “adopted the twins,” as he called it, and got breast implants.
But Rasmussen may be making more headlines as RDF USA, the production company that shot hit ABC shows such as “Wife Swap” and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” confirmed that they were shooting Rasmussen in Silverton the week of April 6, according to the abcnews.com article by Sarah Netter.
Happy Easter, Catholics. Your pope is not much different from a secular politician exercising damage control. Fortunately, President Obama is helping him "repent faster" when he steps into controversy.
That's the message being sent by the "On Faith" editorial staff with their excerpts "From the Panel" published in the April 11 print edition of the Washington Post. A partnership with Newsweek, "On Faith" is edited by the magazine's Jon Meacham and the Post's Sally Quinn.
"What's Behind Pope's Apologies?" asks the headline. An editorial note gives readers the question asked "On Faith" panelists:
On this Good Friday, many churches will be offering screenings of Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, now five years old. It's easy to forget how feverishly the liberal media insulted the film and its maker. Three days before the film came out on Ash Wednesday 2004, CBS "humorist" Andy Rooney railed on 60 Minutes:
“I heard from God just the other night. God always seems to call at night. ‘Andrew,’ God said to me. He always calls me ‘Andrew.’ I like that. ‘Andrew, you have the eyes and ears of a lot of people. I wish you’d tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that’s one of your current words. They’re crazy as bedbugs....Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him?’”
In our 2004 Special Report on religion coverage, Ken Shepherd and I reported on how the number of stories on religion increased, due in part to controversy over The Passion. But then we explored the tone of that coverage, a tone hostile to Christian orthodoxy:
ABC reporter Bill Weir didn't exactly grill "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane when he interviewed him for "Nightline's" ongoing "Seriously Funny" segment on Monday. The journalist failed to bring up some of the most egregious examples of MacFarlane's cartoon vulgarity, including a March 8 episode that featured bestiality jokes, a gay-hating Jesus Christ and an 11-way gay orgy.
Instead, Weir only vaguely alluded to such instances and asserted, "But, like those other cartoons, his shows raise the most ire with religious and parental watchdog groups. If there is a taboo line, chances are MacFarlane has leaped over it." He did read off a list of topics the show has skewered and then wondered, "Where is the line for you? Is there a line or is that the point?" Once again, however, Weir had no specifics to follow-up. Did he ask about the October 19, 2008 episode in which the program's baby character, Stewie Griffin dressed up as a Nazi and wore a McCain/Palin button? No. MacFarlane, a Barack Obama supporter and liberal Democrat, wasn't forced to talk about that particular low blow.
The University of Maryland recently decided that prayer is not allowed during commencement addresses, but pornographic films are allowed on campus. University officials cited “academic free speech” as the reason to allow the film. Occurring nearly simultaneously, both incidents have garnered extensive media coverage. The question is, will the media question the University’s inconsistency in applying First Amendment principles?
In an arbitrary sweep of political power, the University of Maryland Senate voted to eradicate the practice of prayer at graduation ceremonies. According to the university paper The Diamondback, “The senate approved a proposal that eliminates a prayer invocation at the university's annual commencement ceremony in a 32-14 vote after a lengthy debate that touched on the controversial issue of the separation of church and state.”
The university has a tradition of allowing an “all-inclusive” invocation to be given at the beginning of each commencement address by any one of the fourteen university chaplains.
The hubbub over conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh proclaiming he hoped the policies enacted by President Barack Obama fail has gone on for months. It has drawn scorn and condemnation from voices in the media and on the left.
However, one committed and very controversial lefty isn't as up in arms about it as one might have thought he would be. HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher told the Orlando Sentinel on April 6 Limbaugh's remarks weren't as outrageous as some of his allies on the left have alleged. However, he did manage to take one shot at the conservative radio host.
"Maher says he is surprised the Republicans didn't give Obama more of a honeymoon," Hal Boedeker, the television critic for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote. "His take on Rush Limbaugh? ‘We all say crazy stuff when we're high,' Maher says, with a laugh. But Maher doesn't criticize Limbaugh for a line about hoping Obama will fail."
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford always seems to be trying really hard to be the left-wing atheist equivalent of Ann Coulter. His Friday column seems designed to shock and appall traditional Catholics on the occasion of Pope Benedict's apparently unforgivable statement that condoms don't help with the AIDS epidemic. (He makes no attempt to square his argument with the Harvard research scientist who wrote "The Pope May Be Right" in The Washington Post.)
His headline? "Pope, extra ribbed: Benedict says condoms make AIDS worse; God recoils in shame." This is an odd headline for a man who really doesn't believe in a god, at least not one that he can't get caught in his zipper. He began:
What sort of wretched deity is this? What sort of tormented, clenched God must you believe in to cause you to openly promote ignorance and death for the sake of power and ideology and fear -- always, always a deep fear -- of love and sex and basic human connection?
“People are looking for something to criticize.” Yes, Barbara they are. And you were once among them.
Barbara Walters took exception to complaints from some that the Obamas made a royal mess of British protocol when meeting the queen of England. However, just over a year ago, Walters herself sniffed at the Bush White House for sending her a Christmas card containing [gasp!] “Scripture.”
On the April 2 episode of “The View,” the co-hosts discussed the murmurings that the president and first lady broke protocol when meeting the queen of England. Walters got visibly upset, waving her hands and speaking in a high, mocking tone saying, “And then people criticize because you know people are looking for something to criticize,” she said. “It makes me unhappy we are always looking for something to criticize, ‘Why did she put her arm around the queen?’.”
The article begins by slamming those who oppose Obama's appearance at Notre Dame as "seem[ing] to believe they are more Catholic than the pope." It also besmirches the Cardinal Newman Society, a leading voice in opposition to Obama's appearance, as "a self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy."
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
“Viewer Discretion is advised.” That’s right. Tuesday night’s debut of Fox’s new reality show “Osbournes: Reloaded” was not suitable for anyone who believes marriage is sacred.
The Osbourne family’s new variety show made light of the covenant of marriage as Ozzy Osbourne walked the real-life bride down the aisle. Ironically, the preacher warned that marriage is “not something to be entered into lightly.”
Any show involving the Osbournes is sure to have its fair share of f-bombs and inappropriate humor and the March 31st unveiling of Fox’s ”Osbourne’s: Reloaded” was no exception. But it was the strange marriage ceremony held on-stage before an audience of thousands that was the true head-scratcher.
PBS "To the Contrary" host, staunch feminist, and Pope-basherBonnie Erbe has now taken to preaching vegetarianism on the Thomas Jefferson Street blog at US News & World Report. Fortunately for everyone, Erbe wouldn't dream of joining vegan supermodels in skin-bearing protest. All the same, she threw out this ridiculous claim to Christian readers in a March 27 post:
Even if you believe in the Christian god, there is ample evidence that Jesus Christ was a vegetarian.
Of course, the Bible records that the resurrected Jesus not only ate but on one occasion personally prepared a tasty breakfast of broiled fish for his disciples. Perhaps that's why Erbe hedged her bets by adding:
Erbe began by expressing her glee at the opportunity to write about this: “The controversy over Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address is too tempting for me not to join, so here goes.” Not to nitpick Bonnie, but you got the name of the institution wrong. Notre Dame University is in Lebanon. The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana is the University of Notre Dame. The difference does matter.
An offended Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," was so shocked by Sarah Palin's claim that there wasn't anybody to pray with on the McCain campaign, that he hurled multiple insults Palin's way, calling her, "a little scary," and asked if Palin thought McCain was, "the Anti-Christ?" Matthews was appalled by Palin's recent revelation that she had trouble finding someone to pray with before her vice presidential debate and the MSNBC host worried such talk about "The Deity in a political environment," wasn't "normal."
Matthews' guest panelists also joined in the fray as the Washington Post's Lois Romano declared, "I think it's bizarre and I think it's judgmental," and Mother Jones magazine's David Corn cackled it was "mean and catty." RNC chair Michael Steele was also knocked for a recent profession of faith, as Matthews blurted: "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club,' with this party now? I mean everything seems to be a religious discussion."
Matthews and his panel didn't just stop at insulting Palin's religious beliefs, they also belittled Palin for her hand gestures and attractiveness. Over video of Palin waving at a campaign rally Matthews ridiculed: "You know, doing that windshield wiper wave though is not serious. That's not a serious wave. I'm sorry that's not what you do when you want to lead the free world. That's, that's more like, 'I'm a celebrity and people like me.'
And just before that snide comment from Matthews, Romano and Corn dismissed Palin for her looks: