You have to wonder what on earth ABC’s “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour is thinking by holding a so-called town hall meeting this close to a pivotal midterm election.
On the Oct. 3 broadcast of “This Week,” the brainiacs at ABC determined it would be appropriate to pitch Christian leaders against moderate and extremist Muslims. This choice of programming comes at a time when many conservatives have been chastised for being outspoken over the placement of an Islamic worship center near the Sept. 11 Ground Zero site.
However, perhaps the most alarming statement on Amanpour’s program came from Anjem Choudary, a former British solicitor, Muslim cleric, and spokesman for the group Islam4UK. Choudary contends eventually you'll see global Islamic rule, including here in the United States.
On Friday's Situation Room, CNN highlighted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's concerns over a planned concert at Fort Bragg, North Carolina organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Foundation, but omitted the MRFF president Michael Weinstein's past invective against Christianity. Anchor Wolf Blitzer referred to the MRFF as merely a "watchdog group."
Blitzer introduced correspondent Chris Lawrence's report by summarizing the controversy over the "Rock the Fort" concert and used his "watchdog" label for the MRFF: "A concert scheduled at Fort Bragg in North Carolina tomorrow may sound like a good way for soldiers to kick back, but a watchdog group is objecting to the message behind the music: an attempt to recruit the troops to 'God's army.'"
Lawrence picked up where the anchor left off: "Well, on one hand, you've got thousands of soldiers and their families who want to praise God and to hear this Christian music at the concert tomorrow. On the other hand, you've got people saying, why is the U.S. Army helping an evangelical organization recruit new members?"
CNN contributor John Avlon returned to his consistent theme of bashing conservatives on Monday's Newsroom, labeling Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell the "new queen of the wingnuts." Avlon also referenced Reason magazine's label of O'Donnell as a "crackpot of the first order" and didn't provide the full context of her 1997 remarks on AIDS.
Anchor Kyra Phillips led the 9 am Eastern hour of Newsroom with the Republican's 1999 appearance on ABC's Politically Incorrect where she cited how she "dabbled" in witchcraft as a teenager. After playing a clip from the 11-year-old appearance, Phillips continued that O'Donnell's remarks are "raising eyebrows and some concerns from the GOP establishment" and brought on Avlon, who has a knack for being tougher on his identified "wingnuts" on the right than those he picks from the left. The anchor referenced The Daily Beast writer's September 15 column in her first question: "O'Donnell actually canceled two Sunday talk show appearances after this came to light, and now, you are calling her the new queen of wingnuts."
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux led Friday's Situation Room by labeling the social conservative Value Voters Summit a "traditional showcase for hardcore conservatives." Later in the same segment, senior political analyst Gloria Borger stated that the Tea Party movement was "anti-health care" and bizarrely referred to Ronald Reagan as "the most secular president we've known in our lifetime."
Malveaux used her "hardcore conservatives" line as she introduced a segment on Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's speech to the Summit. Just before this, she stated how "some are calling her [O'Donnell] the new poster girl for the Tea Party phenomenon" and later continued that she apparently "preached a new kind of gospel at the Values Voter Summit: the Tea Party's anti-government mantra."
Collectively they gave her less than five minutes.
The Republican Delaware Senate nominee gave a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. this afternoon from about 3:25 to 3:45 p.m. EDT. Of the three major cable news networks, Fox News showed none of the speech while MSNBC's Chris Jansing gave viewers just under a minute of O'Donnell audio before interviewing Time magazine's Jay Newton-Small about concerns some GOP operatives have about O'Donnell being a weaker matchup against the Democratic nominee than Rep. Mike Castle (R) would have been.
Only CNN's Rick Sanchez gave O'Donnell a substantial chunk of time: 3 minutes and 33 seconds. When Sanchez cut away from O'Donnell, he noted that she's "getting her first taste of the national spotlight" since clinching the nomination and promised that CNN would "continue to follow as the midterms in November draws near."
[Update, Wednesday, 11:15 pm Eastern: The Tweet by O'Brien apparently "doesn't exist" any more. A screen cap of the Tweet in question can be seen after the jump.]
Former CNN anchor Miles O'Brien (no relation to current CNN special correspondent Soledad O'Brien) slammed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell as a "Tea Party nutbag" in a Tweet on Wednesday evening. O'Brien continued that he "forget [sic] her ignorant nonsense," referring to her defense of the creationist viewpoint during a 1996 appearance on his former network.
O'Brien, who was let go by CNN in 2008 after they closed their science unit, linked to an article on the left-wing website Talking Points Memo after his attack on O'Donnell. The article, by Eric Kleefeld, highlighted an item by Dan Amira of New York magazine, who "dug up" the Republican's March 1996 appearance with O'Brien and Dr. Michael McKinney of the University of Tennessee-Chattanoga. During the panel discussion, O'Donnell defended the creationism. Kleefeld labeled it as just another part of the social conservative's "religious right work," citing her apparent "long career in anti-sex and anti-masturbation activism."
She's the heir to the House of Maverick - the Republican the liberal media establishment can love, who's just as embarrassed by those icky conservatives as any network anchor or newspaper columnist.
Like her senator and erstwhile presidential candidate dad John, Meghan McCain is a willing weapon for the media to use against her fellow Republicans. But unlike "the Maverick," there's little chance she'd ever be a threat to the real good guys - liberal Democrats.
To Washington Post Nonfiction Books Editor Steven Levingston, Meghan McCain is a "free-thinking college grad" (she's educated, you see; she's one of us) joyfully bucking what she calls conservative "groupthink."
In the Sept. 1 Post, Levingston reviewed "Dirty Sexy Politics," McCain's memoir of her father's 2008 presidential campaign. The book, he wrote, "is as much a scathing critique of the Republican Party as it is a passionate tale of life on the campaign trail." And Levingston proceeded to relate that critique with undisguised relish.
"McCain takes repeated jabs at the intolerant ethos of today's Republicans," Levingston wrote. "She rails at feeling left out: The party, she says, has been hijacked by the right wing and has rejected - to its detriment - the moderate politics that she and millions of other young conservatives espouse."
Because she dresses trashy, swears like a sailor and "has gay friends," McCain has run afoul of the "intolerant ethos of today's Republicans."
Time magazine's Tim Padgett, who claims to be a Catholic, used the rose-colored glasses of his leftism to mercilessly bash his own church in an article on Monday where he compared Catholic bishops to "white Southern preachers [who] weren't ashamed to degrade African-Americans," labeled the Church "misogynous," and accused the institution of an "increasingly spiteful bigotry" against homosexuals.
Padgett, who wrote back in January 2009 that the communist Cuban revolution "deserves its due," launched a full-bore attack on the Church in the Time.com article, "The Vatican and Women: Casting the First Stone." Padgett wasted little time in unleashing his rage against the Church, labeling a recent Vatican document, which listed "grave crimes" according to canon law, "Rome's misogynous declaration," since, in his view, was an "avowal, as obtuse as it was malicious, that ordaining women into the priesthood was a sin on par with pedophilia."
The document in question, which revised the Catholic Church's concerning "exceptionally serious" crimes against faith and morals, does no such thing. Philip Pullella of Reuters reported on July 16 that "Monsignor Charles Scicluna, an official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women's ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon...law....While sexual abuse was a 'crime against morality,' the attempt to ordain a woman was a 'crime against a sacrament,' he said, referring to Holy Orders (the priesthood)."
The Time writer used his mistaken premise to further attack the Church's hierarchy:
Someone get Lee Greenwood on the phone; he's going to want to know about this.
In a front-page Style section report July 5, The Washington Post breathed a sigh of relief that Independence Day gives Americans a break from those God-heavy holidays like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.
It's a curious phenomenon to see what the minds at The Huffington Post deem funny, and at least this one wasn't filed under the category "HuffPo Religion," but a series of images depicting Jesus Christ making unhinged statements wins the HuffPo's "Comedy" classification.
In a June 30 post, Katla McGlynn wrote that mocking Tea Party protestors by "juxtaposing" "hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants" but at the same time mocking a religious figure many hold very is sacred isn't only funny but it is also instructive about what she described as "people who claim to be Christians."
"The concept behind the site Tea Party Jesus is simple: Put the words of conservative Christian social and political figures in the mouth of Christ," McGlynn wrote. "The juxtaposition of hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants with serene photos of JC himself isn't only funny, but says a lot about the people who claim to be Christians."
Huffington Post blogger, Frank Schaeffer, has been trying to eradicate elements of the right for quite some time. Katie Bell had a great post on Monday covering his recent call to ‘eradicate' fundamental Christianity.
It's no secret that Schaeffer is very critical of religious elements in society. But on a side note, were you aware that he is a former member of the religious right? Apparently making mention of such information gives him street cred with the non-religious left. He mentions it nearly every time he opens his mouth. Take a drink every time Schaeffer mentions his past participation in the religious right, and you're sure to be hammered in no time.
Not content with attacking the religious right, Schaeffer has also made a career of attacking the conservative voice in general. Last year, he penned a column so bereft of facts that even the Huffington Post should have been embarrassed by the content. More troublesome is that this particular post included the pronouncement of a new Web site campaign that is wrong on two fronts: It incorrectly predicts the rise of violence perpetrated by the ‘far right' (anyone who dares to oppose Barack Obama), and it specifically labels conservative talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck as ‘domestic terrorists'.
Schaeffer states in his October 5, 2009 column that, "The extremism and paranoid delusions of the far, far loony right -- in other words The Republican Party today as led and deformed by Beck/Limbaugh/Fox and the fundamentalist "Christians" --- is now on full display."
Not this again. There is obviously not enough going on in the world for Newsweek magazine this week because once again Sarah Palin is on the cover.
Palin, the former governor of Alaska and the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee was also on the cover of Newsweek back in November 2009, in running shorts. This time she is featured as "Saint Sarah: What's Palin's appeal to conservative Christian women says about feminism and the future of the religious right" in Newsweek's June 21 issue. Palin is depicted with halo on the cover for the story written by Lisa Miller, which attempts to rationalize Palin's convictions about the issue of abortion and her Christian faith.
However, Palin didn't think too highly of Newsweek's gesture. She responded on Fox News' June 11 broadcast of "On the Record with Greta van Sustren."
"Haven't seen it, but if the title and what I hear about the content is any indication of where Newsweek is going, it is no wonder Newsweek is doing so poorly," Palin said. "People are not reading that stuff. It is not relevant. It's not interesting stuff that they are making up and writing and that's why they are going down."
Whatever your view on homosexuality might be as it pertains to Christianity, there's probably one place one wouldn't go to seek clarity on the issue - a Jewish TV host that's in his seventh marriage.
However, CNN, the so-called most trusted name in news, had "Larry King Live" host Larry King tackle this issue on his April 23 program in a special broadcast entitled "Can You Be Christian and Gay?" King's special featured recently-out Christian singer Jennifer Knapp, embattled former evangelical preacher Ted Haggard and Horizon Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Bob Botsford.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
The latest edition of CBS’s “Sunday Morning” featured a glowing profile of “The View” co-host Joy Behar in which the stand-up comic implied that conservatives are not intelligent and insisted that liberals are more open-minded.
Interviewer Russ Mitchell asked Behar how she developed a liberal worldview, to which Behar responded: “It comes from, uh, being smart.”
Mitchell then pressed Behar on how her conservative co-host on “The View,” Elisabeth Hasselbeck, would respond to that statement.
Even though, the day after it aired on the Super Bowl broadcast, the consensus on the Focus on the Family advertisement featuring former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was that it wasn't as bad as the left had feared, at least one person that isn't going to let it go.
On MSNBC's Feb. 8 "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough made the point that the TV spot played during the Feb. 7 game was inoffensive and painted the opponents of it as being upset about nothing.
"One other thing too, talking about the soft touch - Focus on the Family's ad with Tim Tebow was soft, it was subtle and it made all the people who criticized it over the past week look like shrill idiots," Scarborough said. "It was a mom talking about a son she loved - her take with soft music."
NFL FanHouse writer Dan Graziano tried to sound concerned in his Feb. 4 column about the collaboration of Tim Tebow and Focus on the Family for a pro-life Super Bowl ad. It quickly became apparent, however, that Graziano's main point was to vilify Focus on the Family.
"Tebow must be careful as he moves from the world of collegiate athletics, where he was an unassailable hero, to that of professional sports, where he'll be a target," wrote Graziano. "He's going to have to make good decisions about the people with whom he surrounds and aligns himself. And in this case, by lining up with the group behind the controversial ad, Tebow has made a poor decision."
Graziano claimed Focus on the Family "conned" Tebow and used his stance on abortion "as the hook and reeled him in for use in the proliferation of all aspects of their agenda" because he is "ready-made superstar who wears his religious faith unapologetically on his eye black." He concluded that "Tebow is being used by a special-interest group whose mission is to compel people to think and live according to its rules and beliefs."
When tens of thousands gather in Washington to protest legalized abortion, The New York Times has in recent years mostly ignored it – which seems especially odd when they spotlight tiny liberal protests as newsworthy. It happened again on Thursday, as the Times ran a photograph of about ten protesters of the National Prayer Breakfast – outside the Capitol Hill house of "The Family," the secretive evangelical group that sponsors the event.
Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein offered a story loaded with liberal Prayer Breakfast critics, and no supporters. (A spokesman for "The Family" offered several comments on the group and its secrecy, but not on the breakfast.) The headline was "Prayer Breakfast, Long a Must in Washington, Draws Controversy." She began by suggesting the breakfast is a longtime networking event of "scrambled eggs and supplication."
She then described how Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), described only as an "ethics group" and a "government watchdog group," advocated that government leaders should not show up, and that C-SPAN cameras should go away, all because of the "a combination of the intolerance of the organization’s views, and the secrecy surrounding the organization."
Told ya so. When reports first surfaced a few weeks ago that Focus on the Family was planning to run a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl broadcast featuring University of Florida quarter back Tim Tebow, the Culture & Media Institute predicted liberals would be upset.
Like clockwork, an article in the Huffington Post on Jan. 25 reported that "a national coalition of women's groups" that includes the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority is demanding that CBS reconsider its plans to run the ad.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner who led the Gators to an NCAA championship, is a famously outspoken Christian noted for wearing Bible verses on his game day eye-black. He is also a walking pro-life story: the Super Bowl ad will relate how Tim's mother, against the advice of doctors, carried him to term in a dangerous pregnancy while on a church mission to the Philippines.
Americans love to talk sports. Polite Americans don't talk religion. So when those two things meet, the news media has no idea what to make of it.
Unfortunately for journalists, sports and religion - Christianity in particular - seem to be publicly mingling more often these days. Some star athletes are more outspoken in their faith, while many others regularly find themselves in need of spiritual, if not legal, redemption.
Liberals in the media don't understand religion and religious people, so when they surface on the playing field, the resulting coverage veers wildly from awkwardly respectful to clueless to downright contemptuous.
Fox's Brit Hume caused a firestorm by suggesting on air that Tiger Woods could find "forgiveness and redemption" in Christianity, rather than the casual Buddhism the golfer has said he practices. Woods, whose marriage and career are in melt-down because of his serial infidelities, should "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world," Hume said. And in doing so, the former anchorman committed several mortal sins in modern secular America.
How much do lefties dislike Glenn Beck? So much that the vitriol has bled over into low-rent, soon-to-be-obsolete publications like Playboy magazine.
In the December 2009 issue of Playboy, Thomas Frank "takes down" the Fox News Channel host by analyzing the conservative movement and how Beck rose to prominence. Frank, with an obvious need to meet a high-word count in mind, attempts to dismantles Beck by attacking his Christmas book, "The Christmas Sweater" and his other books, his admiration for Thomas Paine, his fear the U.S. Constitution is being trampled upon and his activist efforts to curb this intrusion by combating socialism, communism and other ideologies that could be deemed un-American.
There's no better example than political commentary from a Hollywood elite to demonstrate how low some conservatives are regarded. According to actor Ted Danson, some conservatives are just being manipulated by Rush Limbaugh and organized religion because they're not smart to formulate their own beliefs.
Danson, who has starred in both "Becker" and "Cheers," appeared on HLN's Nov. 2 "The Joy Behar Show" and was asked to respond to Rush Limbaugh's criticism of Barack Obama on Nov. 1 "Fox News Sunday." Danson questioned the notion that Limbaugh, who is a self-made success, is really "one of the people." Instead, he accused him playing on people's fears and anger to make money, which he didn't like.
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.
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.”
It takes a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, or selective amnesia, or just bald hypocrisy for the left-wing blogosphere to speculate on the cause of “right-wing hatemongering.” But there it was on Sept. 21 – an article asserting that the “anti-Obama hyperventilating” was the result of … Christianity.
Appearing on Alternet.org, Frank Schaeffer’s “Right-Wing Hatemongering Fueled by Christianity?” suggested that resistance to the Obama program comes from “the ugliest side of religion.”
“The fact is,” wrote Schaeffer, “that if you're going to blame one group above all others for the willful ignorance and continuing ugliness of the response to President Obama the best candidate would be the evangelical/fundamentalist community.”
Schaeffer wrote that former president Jimmy Carter was correct when he recently asserted that racism was behind the passionate anti-Obama reaction. But Carter fell short in not explicitly linking that racism to his own religion – Evangelical Christianity. “The angry part of the South Carter spoke of is racist because it's dominated by a certain type of ‘Christian’ culture,” Schaeffer wrote.
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
ABCNews.com republished a bigoted attack against a famously large Christian family on Tuesday. Amelia McDonell-Parry of gossip website TheFrisky.com snarked about Michelle Duggar's latest pregnancy in the post, stating that it "can't be good news...if you're at all concerned about overpopulation." She also hinted that Mrs. Duggar's daughter-in-law was forced to have a baby of her own.