Early this morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he’d abdicate the papal throne at the end of the month, which is the first time a pontiff will have stepped down in seven centuries. Such breaking news was bound to set off rampant media speculation about next month's meeting of the College of Cardinals --which will decide Benedict's successor -- and talk in the media about the outgoing bishop of Rome's legacy.
All that is well and good, but on MSNBC, it was the perfect excuse for the liberal network to feature liberal Catholics Chris Matthews and E.J. Dionne scolding the Church as out of touch with modernity on issues of sexuality and women as priests. And that was on top of laughingly treating the election of a new pope as though it were some presidential primary where candidates work feverishly to line up enough delegates to win nomination. Read the relevant transcript below the page break:
It will be interesting to see if the media soften their almost uniform hostility to Pope Benedict XVI in the few remaining weeks of his papacy. It’s doubtful, since resigning his office won’t make Joseph Ratzinger any less Catholic. And his real sin, in liberal eyes, is just being too Catholic.
When the long, vigorously orthodox pontificate of John Paul II came to an end in 2005, liberals in and out of the Church hoped the next Pope would roll over on their most cherished issues: women priests, married priests, homosexuality and abortion. To say that Ratzinger’s selection was a disappointment is an understatement.
On the day Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be stepping down from the Papacy, NBC's Monday Today featured a report by correspondent Michelle Kosinski, who offered these highlights of the Pontiff's tenure: "As a Cardinal, some criticized him for being strict and conservative, calling him, 'God's Rottweiler.' Becoming Pope meant he had to take on the Church's sexual abuse scandal that reverberated throughout America and Europe, and for which he apologized." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As Kosinski mentioned the Pope's response to the sex abuse scandal, footage appeared on screen of protesters holding signs with pictures of Benedict and the words: "Catholic Paedophile Cover Up."
A daily feature of MSNBC host Chris Jansing's 10 a.m. Eastern program Jansing & Co. is the "Tweet of the Day." Given the astonishing breaking news about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to abdicate the papacy at the end of the month, it was almost certain the tweet highlighted would have to do with this development.
But given that this is the "Lean Forward" network, Jansing highlighted the call of a liberal columnist for a pope who would accept contraception and women priests:
Today's "On Faith" page in the Washington Post featured a puzzling contrast that shows the left-wing media's schizophrenia when it comes to traditional religious faith. The paper's religion section editors ran these two items side-by-side: a Religion News Service (RNS) article that was thoroughly positive about Muslim women who want to design and/or model fashionable yet modest clothing, and Post religion writer Lisa Miller's attack on Catholic bishops for their stances on Christian sexual ethics in general and opposition to the ObamaCare contraception mandate in particular.
In "A Muslim fashion statement: Agency connects modesty-minded models with designers," Omar Sacirbey of RNS opened his 23-paragraph feature with the story of Savannah Uqdah, a devout Muslim woman who at one time aspired to be a fashion model but "didn't want to violate Islam's tenets on modesty." As such, Uqdah "shelved her modeling dreams and instead expressed herself through the fashions she wore." But now that modeling agencies eye a lucrative market in fashionable yet modest attire, Sacirbey notes, women like Uqdah are excited at the potential to live out their dreams.
In a new Lean Forward promo spot for MSNBC, Politics Nation host the Rev. Al Sharpton invoked the language of the Pledge of Allegiance, sans the term "under God." In the spot, Sharpton rattled off a laundry list of pet issues that MSNBC obsessed over in 2012 as he dreamed of a "nation that is really living up to the creed of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." [MP3 audio here; Watch the video below the page break; Transcript follows page break]
Tossing aside honesty, fairness, and perspective in its desire to browbeat the Catholic Church, HBO serves up healthy doses of factual distortion, misleading claims, and bigoted sources in a new documentary scheduled to begin airing on the network on Monday.
The Washington Post's religion writers have been hard at work of late to boost the religious left's push for more stringent gun control legislation. On Thursday, for example, Post religion writer Michelle Boorstein treated readers of the paper's Metro section with a puffy front-page item celebrating the pulpit-pounding for gun control from the likes of the dean of the Episcopal Church's National Cathedral, Rev. Gary Hall, a self-described "left-wing Democrat." Hall has cravenly lumped gun control in with the message of the Christian gospel, using liberal applause lines like "I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby."
According to Peter Drier on the far-left website Alternet, Martin Luther King, Jr., “was a radical. He believed that America needed a ‘radical redistribution of economic and political power’. He challenged America’s class system and its racial caste system. He was a strong ally of the nation's labor union movement. He opposed U.S. militarism and imperialism, especially the country's misadventure in Vietnam.”
Wow. So King was the perfect man of the left? Er, well, except for one thing: “Like most Americans in his day, King was homophobic, even though one of his closest advisors, Bayard Rustin, was gay.”
Kaili Joy Gray, Daily Kos's "Angry Mouse" of an associate editor (seriously, that is her nickname at the far left website) tried her darndest to stuff every bigoted term the radical left has for pro-life activists in a Monday item for the "online political community." Gray bewailed how the "terrorists dressed up like sweet little grandmothers" were coming to Washington, DC for their "Fetuspalooza 2013" (her name for the annual March for Life).
The writer went on to smear pro-lifers as "terrorists" or acting in a "terrorizing" manner five other times, and claimed that the social conservative movement "still regularly use violence as a means of trying to shut down the clinics." Gray also singled out one Pennsylvania pro-lifer cited in a Monday article in the Washington Post as somehow complicit with a firebombing at an abortion mill. She barely concealed her anti-Catholicism in her account:
As NewsBusters previously reported, Catholic League President Bill Donohue on Friday in response to some disgusting comments made by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said President Obama might want to swear on Karl Marx's Das Kapital during the upcoming inaugural festivities.
NPR contributing anchor Louise Schiavone took to her Twitter account Saturday asking the disgraceful question, "What is this group? Do they wear hoods?"
On Monday, far-left director Michael Moore went on an anti-Catholic bender at an awards presentation, and also targeted "those who would deify Reagan and Pope John Paul II" as somehow to blame for "the deaths of thousands of people...because of their bigotry."
The New York Post's Page Six on Wednesday spotlighted how the Occupy Wall Street-supporting filmmaker served as a presenter at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Moore gave the Best First Film award to fledgling director Armond White, who made a documentary about the radical activist group ACT UP.
She had 12 paragraphs to play with, but in none of them did Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein find any space for a conservative Episcopalian or Anglican to voice objection to the decision by Episcopal authorities to permit same-sex wedding ceremonies in the historic Washington National Cathedral in Northwest Washington, D.C.
"In some ways, the announcement that is expected Wednesday morning is unsurprising for a denomination and a diocese that long ago took up the cause of marriage equality," Boorstein noted in the second paragraph of her January 9 story, but added that "the cathedral's stature and the image of same-sex couples exchanging vows in the soaring Gothic structure... is symbolically powerful."
Usually when President Obama’s opponents are handed a defeat, ABC, CBS and NBC are quick to crow about it. That’s why their silence on the Supreme Court’s Christmas ruling against retail chain Hobby Lobby is so curious.
Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, filed a suit against the Federal government earlier this year, arguing that ObamaCare’s so-called contraception mandate would “violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs or be exposed to severe penalties.” The Greens are evangelical Christians and wanted an injunction that would shield them from covering the abortifacients or paying monetary penalties while their case played out in the courts. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed the company’s injunction request, and on Dec. 26, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred.
Most of the January 2 front page for The Washington Post was devoted to the resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff, but editors made sure to leave space for a gauzy 33-paragraph story entitled "History at the altar: Maryland sees wave of same-sex weddings as law takes effect."
By contrast, an uplifting story involving a non-controversial religious tradition in African-American churches was shuffled to the bottom of page A2, despite the tremendous historical significance of the 2012 New Year's Eve "watch night" celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
To paraphrase the late President Ronald Reagan: “There he goes again!” Apparently, it's not enough for CNN weeknight host Piers Morgan to be the target of petitions to the White House demanding him to either be sent packing to his native England or be forced to remain in America because “No one in the U.K. wants him back.”
Then on Christmas Eve, Morgan used his interview with evangelical Pastor Rick Warren -- author of the popular “Purpose Driven Life” book -- to charge that “the Bible and the Constitution were very well-intentioned” but are “basically inherently flawed,” thus requiring an amendment to the Bible.
Does anyone in the media ever attempt to read and understand the speeches of Pope Benedict? The New York Daily News account of his December 21 speech to the curia (the “Vatican bureaucracy”) is being mangled by the Daily Kos into “Pope gives special holiday hate speech against gays because it's Christmas.” The Mediaite headline (off London’s Daily Mail) is “Merry Christmas? Pope Benedict XVI Denounces Gay Marriage As A ‘Manipulation Of Nature’.”
Someone who reads the original would find the term “gay marriage” is missing, although there is a defense of traditional marriage. He denounced the idea that one's gender is not a fact, but a social construct. The pope was also taking on the notion that in the broader culture, men and women are afraid of making lifelong commitments:
Here’s a novel take in the left’s war on Christ and Christmas: a celebration of sinful behavior. The gay-friendly channel “Logo” – which airs shows such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – is lauding their “7 Days of Holiday Sin” with an especially lewd promo.
The ad begins with the words “O Come All Ye Sinful” in front of clips of male strippers. Afterwards, a nearly topless woman shakes her breasts at the camera while saying “Let’s get naked.”
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about hiring people to do Christmas chores like decorating the tree or buying gifts, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman suddenly broke into an anti-religious rant: "I don't like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up....I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman's take-the-Christ-out-of-Christmas commentary was prompted by fellow panelist Star Jones explaining: "I focus on, honestly, the religion part of it. I really and truly do. So I can't out-source that part of it. I can send you to get my tree, but I can't help – you can't help me pray." When Snyderman launched into her attack on faith, Jones countered: "That's the only reason for me to have the holiday....We wouldn't have the holiday if it wasn't for the religion part."
As I argued yesterday, the Advent season is exploited every year by the liberal media to tweak faithful Christians, using the holidays as a hook for liberal political and religious themes or to advance ancient heresies. Ditto with the Lenten season.
Well, the latest example comes from David Gibson of the Religion News Service, who has picked up on a new complaint from a feminist scholar, Margaret Miles, which boils down to essentially this: How come we never see depictions of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the baby Jesus? I kid you not.
Christmas: a season of generosity, good cheer, preparation for Christ’s birth – and a swarm of lawyers seeking to purge any mention of Christianity from the public square.
Every Christmas, the so-called secular community starts shrieking whenever any mention of religion is brought into the public eye. Lawyers successfully targeted a school’s performance of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ Even Christmas trees have too much religious content to suit the self-appointed censors.
As we at NewsBusters have noticed, Advent and Lent seem to be the times of year that the liberal secular media loves to tweak devout Christians with attacks on historic, orthodox Christian teaching. The latest example is the media being abuzz over Irish playwright and novelist Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary."
The "silent, obedient, observant" Mary of Scripture that has "echoed down" through church history is ripped apart by "the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin" who "puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version" of the Mother of God, gushed Karen Long of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a December 7 Religion News Service piece accessible at the Washington Post's "On Faith" section.
[Update, Saturday, 9 pm Eastern: Ranger Up also promoted the vulgar image on their Twitter account.]
On Friday, Ranger Up, an apparel company that sells "shirts for the military and the patriotic Americans who love the men and women of the Armed Forces", inexplicably posted a crude rendition of Pope Benedict XVI on their Facebook page, which has over 82,000 fans. The graphic invokes a famous Marilyn Monroe scene in the movie The Seven Year Itch. Instead of standing on the streets of New York City, the Pope is in the middle of a park in the tropics, and a little girl appears to be running away in horror of the sight of the pontiff's bare legs. [image below the jump]
So far, over 350 people have "liked" the image on Facebook, it's been shared 122 times, and several anti-Catholic posts have been left on its comment thread, with no reply or comment from the anyone at the company.
As if a puffy seven-minute-plus story on Morning Edition wasn't enough publicity for Irish novelist Colm Toibin's abrasive takedown of the Virgin Mary, NPR's Terry Gross offered another promotional 45 minutes on Monday's Fresh Air. There's nothing NPR likes better than taking this humble, devout disciple and transforming her into some sort of bitter Real Housewife of Nazareth.
Toibin was encouraged to read passages from this vicious little Bible-shredding screed, about how Mary couldn't stand the sound of her own son's preaching: "my son would insist on silence and begin to address them as though they were a crowd, his voice all false and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him." Gross asked the obvious softball. Ahem, you know this sounds like you want to push Christianity down and steal its lunch money?
Reuters reports the Pope is entering the world of Twitter at "Pontifex." On Monday morning's Bill Press show, the former seminarian mocked the 85-year-old pontiff: "What do you think the chances are that the Pope has any idea how to access Twitter?" By the way, hip Bill Press is 72.
Press producer Peter Ogburn mocked the plan for the Pope to answer tweeted questions at #askpontifex. He read some favorites, which ranged from Jesus-and-microwaved-burrito questions to the assertion that the Catholic Church is causing "millions to die in the Third World" by opposing condoms: [ relevant video follows the article ]
When the word "God" becomes inappropriate in public schools, America really has ceased to exist.
Consider the story of a first-grade girl in West Marion, North Carolina, who had the word "God" stripped from a poem she wrote and was going to read at her school's Veterans Day assembly earlier this month.
You may recall when CBS fired Charlie Sheen early last year from the popular Two and a Half Men series for a string of "felony offenses involving moral turpitude." In the weeks and months that preceded this decision, an increasingly erratic Sheen received an inordinate amount of media attention for his drug-induced rants. To this day however, Sheen's bad boy persona is received warmly by the media, and he's been rewarded for it with ad spots for Fiat and DirecTV and even another show on the FX network that jokingly plays off his history of reckless hedonism.
By contrast, Sheen's former co-star, Angus T. Jones, the titular "half man" on the sitcom, has been castigated by the media for his recent religious conversion and subsequent YouTube testimonial in which he urged folks to avoid his popular TV series. Perhaps pressured by producers, Jones has since apologized for coming across as indifferent and unappreciative for the lucrative opportunity, but that hasn't stopped the media for characterizing Jones's video as another celebrity meltdown. [ video below the page break ]