The elite gatekeepers of American pop culture huff and puff about freedom of speech. But when political correctness actually threatens that right, Hollywood's stalwart defenders of free expression are nowhere to be found.
Last night, Comedy Central gave into threats of violence against the creators of the animated sitcom "South Park" and not only censored the image of the Muslim prophet Muhammed -- as it had last week and in one previous episode -- but even censored every verbal mention of the the prophet's name (see the video below the fold).
The decision came days after a radical New York-based Muslim fundamentalist group warned that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show's creators, would be killed for supposedly mocking Muhammed.
Believe it or not, CNN - the same CNN which has recently dismissed the Fort Hood terrorist as lonely, has featured a member of ‘Jihad U' as a teacher of the ‘nuts and bolts of Islam', and which has run three separate stories interviewing the father of radical jihadist, Anwar al-Awlaki - has actually taken interest in a jihadist threat of physical violence upon the creators of South Park.
It seems that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have raised the ire of a radical, pro-jihad Web site known as RevolutionMuslim.com, for the egregious crime of portraying the Prophet Mohammed disguised in a bear suit. A posting on the Web site does what most jihadists do - makes a direct threat and calls it a warning.
The outstanding citizens of RevolutionMuslim.com, an organization based in New York City, had this to say:
"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
Van Gogh was murdered partly because of another man's ‘religious conviction', and partly because of a controversial film he directed about the abuse of Muslim women.
The posting puts an exclamation point on the threat, by showing a photograph of Van Gogh's corpse with a knife driven into his chest, including the caption, "Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?"
There are other factors however that make this posting more than just a simple ‘warning' as the author states...
Last Thursday, on his unwatched and unwatchable MSNBC television program, Equine Ed Schultz stepped into his Leftist Wayback Machine for a little retro-censorship. With the intent of bringing it back to the future.
Having first called for a reimposition of the alleged "Fairness" Doctrine the week prior on his unlistened to and unlistenable radio show, Schultz took his censorious intentions to his tens of viewers on the tube. (He is doing all of this after making fun of us in 2008 for concerning ourselves with the Doctrine's return.)
Schultz made his latest call for "fairness" by citing the patently absurd 2007 "report" The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio. Which was co-published by the George Soros-funded Leftist "think" tanks Center for American Progress and (the Marxist-founded) Free Press.
We have in fact dismantled this "report"for its deep-seated and inherent fraudulence. It asserts that talk radio is too conservative - and that we need oppressive government regulations aplenty to remedy the situation.
However, it cooked the books from the outset - excluding uber-liberal National Public Radio (NPR) from their analysis pool and then drawing their fraudulent conclusion.
Editor's Note: Alex will be appearing on "The Early Show" on CBS tomorrow to discuss his story and situation.
Even before Monday morning, I had already acquired a reputation as American University's resident anti-feminist bomb-thrower. The campus community -- which, as is typical for expensive, East Coast universities, tilts strongly progressive -- had already seen me criticize the idea of a Women's Resource Center and bash the identity-based victim politics of the cultural-Marxist left. I never hid the fact that I enjoy acting as a provocateur. So when I penned my most recent piece, "Dealing with AU's anti-sex brigade" for the campus paper the Eagle, I figured that, like with my other columns, there would be some heated arguments, but that the piece would come and go. Early Monday morning, the piece was published online.
Still asleep early Monday afternoon, I received a wake-up call from the Washington City Paper's Amanda Hess, asking me for my response to the fact that the hard copies of the Eagle had been rounded up, thrown back at the main office, and replaced with signs stating "NO ROOM FOR RAPE APOLOGISTS." Still woozy from sleep during the phone call, I was at once confused and amused. I told her I'd call her back once I'd truly woken up.
What compelled these "womyn" to round up the papers? Behold, the offending passages:
(A) new and discouraging, but not unsurprising (OAS) report about the troubling anti-democratic trend in Venezuela, as Hugo Chavez continues to crack down on those who oppose him - be they in the judiciary, opposition parties or the media. The OAS's 300 page report by jurists and civil rights activists from Antigua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States points out the increasing role that violence and murder have played in Chavez's consolidation of his power, including the documented killing of journalists.
Again, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd has praised Chavez for taking "very seriously the media in his country." Again we ask, is the above what Lloyd has in mind?
Is this what Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd meant when he said (on camera) Venezuelan thug dictator Hugo Chavez (take that, Sean Penn) had begun "to take very seriously the media in his country"- while praising Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution?"
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday defended the arrest of a major TV channel owner, calling him a criminal and denying the government is carrying out an assault on press freedom.
The back-to-back arrests this week of two government opponents - including the owner of Venezuela's only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel - have drawn accusations that Chavez is growing increasingly intolerant and authoritarian as his popular support has slipped.
Opposition leaders and human rights groups condemned Thursday's arrest of Globovision's owner Guillermo Zuloaga, who was detained at an airport and released hours later after a judge issued an order barring him from leaving the country.
Zuloaga is accused of spreading false informationand insulting the president at an Inter American Press Association meeting in Aruba last weekend, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.
As the piece indicates, this is but the latest example of Chavez taking "very seriously the media in his country," in Lloyd parlance. Which is woefully at odds with freedoms of speech and the press. Which is fine with Lloyd, because so's he.
With March unemployment data to be released April 2, some are anticipating what potentially lower jobless numbers will all mean for the financial markets and the economy as a whole. However, that data will come with the caveat that it will be misleading because it will include temporary jobs driven by hiring for the 2010 census.
On CNBC's March 29 "Squawk Box," CME floor reporter Rick Santelli was asked how to interpret the expected improvement. He warned it isn't the kind of job creation that is good for a sustained economic recovery.
"You know, I think it's fascinating," Santelli said. "Most experts would agree, the kind of job creation we're going to see is welcome but it isn't the kind we need in the big picture. But having said that, yes, I think that the markets will act in a way that will show a robustness if the number comes in a couple of hundred thousand and I think it's kind of silly."
(March 27th, 10:06 a.m. -- Please see update at the end of the post.)
What is the first step in the main stream media's handbook of liberal bias? Why, alter the headline to fit your agenda, of course.
To say that CNN was misleading in their headline about James O'Keefe is to be kind:
Feds punish ACORN filmmaker? Seems an odd choice of headline considering the article itself does not mention any punishment being doled out by the Feds - in fact the word ‘punish' or any other variation does not even appear in the article.
The actual story concerns the fact that prosecutors have reducedthe charges against O'Keefe and three others involved in the Landrieu phone incident. Perhaps CNN is confusing allegations and charges with actual punishment.
They Know Nuh-Think It was the 2008 Talkers magazine New Media Seminar - June 6 and 7 in New York City. I was there to hob nob with the elite of talk radio.
And Ed Schultz.
I was there also to curry support for our then latest effort to keep the radio airwaves free from tyrannical and censorious government regulation. At that time it was against a return of the ridiculously mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine. Given the talent pool in which I was swimming - those whose livelihoods would be destroyed by it's reinstatement - many were graciously willing to assist.
Not Ed Schultz.
Word of my efforts made its way to him. And he sought me out and approached me so as to ridicule us for fighting the good fight. He rigidly insisted that no Democrat - no one in fact - was seeking a return of the Censorship Doctrine.
"Who talks to Nancy Pelosi more - you or me?" he angrily asked. I replied "Have you talked to Nancy Pelosi - ever?" Because if he had, once, ever, he had done so more than me. (And more's the pity for him.)
He responded "Well I just spoke to her, and no one wants to see (the alleged "Fairness" Doctrine) brought back."
I tried to persuade him that there were plans in the works but he remained, as always, impervious to facts.
Journalists love the marketplace of ideas until people start selling ideas they find objectionable. The liberal media somehow manages to shout about its right to speak freely while demanding others be silenced.
Glenn Beck is probably the most popular target for the left's demands for censorship. Cokie Roberts and her husband Steve picked up that ball and ran with it today in their joint syndicated column. They dubbed Beck "a traitor to the American values he professes so loudly to defend" and claimed he is "corrupting the very essence of democracy." And all this just by speaking.
Unsurprisingly, the immense damage Beck is doing to the American political process can only be demonstrated anecdotally:
In a textbook case of liberal-hysteria, Henry Rollins and Vanity Fair fear the Texas Board of Education will wipe Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Charles Darwin, the Civil Rights movement, and even the outcome of the Civil War from the pages of history in the "Great Texan Rewrite."
At question is a recent victory by conservatives on the Texas Board of Education to adopt more traditional curricula to be used in writing history textbooks. Due to its size, books adopted by Texas tend to be used extensively throughout the nation.
To Rollins, any attempt to restore balance to the teaching of history is an attempt to turn back the clock.
"I fear for the New Deal reforms and any other bits of history that may somehow be seen as inconvenient truths to the architects of the Great Texan Rewrite," Rollins wrote. "I cringe when I think that the Civil Rights movement may magically vanish from the state's history or be seen as an uppity peasant uprising. What will become of the Emancipation Proclamation? The outcome of the Civil War?"
Upon further research and examination into the Army's complete findings on the Fort Hood shootings, in a February 22 report, the Boston Globe's Bryan Bender conceded that politically-incorrect conservatives were right all along - just not in those words of course.
Immediately after Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 U.S. soldiers November 5, major news networks and publication bent over backwards to omit Hasan's Islamic identity or to excuse the killing of 13 soldiers as a result of stress or psychosis.
Report after report, interview after interview, and press conference after press conference, reporters, politicians, and government officials warned against jumping to conclusions - in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Update - 7:15 PM | Lachlan Markay: The questions from the poll phrase the issue in similarly misleading language. Details below.
The news media have a tremendous potential to shape public opinion. So when they misreport important events, it has significant consequences for public opinion and public policy.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released today shows that 80 percent of Americans disagree with the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC decision last month. Perhaps if the Post stopped misleading its readers about the decision as it did today in reporting the poll, public opinion would look differently.
The misinformation begins right in the lede, where reporter Dan Eggen claims the SCOTUS decision "allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns." That statement is utterly false. The decision allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited dollars on political advertising. Restrictions on campaign contributions are still in place.
The New York Times has apparently discovered its inner patriot. The paper decided after a request from the White House to hold off publishing key information about the war effort in Afghanistan for fear of alerting the enemy to key U.S. intelligence.
The Times and its executive editor Bill Keller, who defended the decision, have left the nation collectively uttering, "It's about time." Now that's change we can believe in.
Keller told WNYC radio today that two Times reporters had a story ready to go on Thursday about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top military commander in Pakistan. The paper decided to hold off on running the story until today, the date the White House requested.
The National Security Council, Keller recalled, "thought it had been a clean snatch and they were afraid once the word got out, other Taliban officials would go deeper underground or take measures to cover their tracks. So they asked us to hold off for a while."
The left is up in arms over the Supreme Court's recent decision in "Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission". But few voices have been louder than those emanating from the echo chamber at MSNBC. It seems that the cable network's talking heads feel that their parent company, General Electric, deserves a special exemption to what should be a blanket ban on unrestricted corporate speech.
First a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the Supreme Court decision. The court struck down in a 5-4 ruling a ban on corporate (or union) spending on political speech specifically endorsing or attacking a candidate for office within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. It ruled that the ban violated the First Amendment.
Few liberals seemed to notice that in attacking corporate speech they were also effectively undermining their own employers, media corporations who employs them for the express purpose of engaging in political speech. Surely Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow would defend MSNBC's right to speak (and spend) freely without interference from the federal government--especially in the run-up to an election when free speech is most important and must be protected.
CBS on Friday rejected an ad submitted by a gay dating website to air during next Sunday's Super Bowl
"The network shot down the commercial Friday in a letter to the site -- ManCrunch.com -- saying the 'creative is not within the Network's Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday,'" reported Jason Hibberd at The Live Feed.
Hibberd cited a letter from CBS in which the network expressed concern the site didn't have the money to pay for the ad (video of ad embedded below the fold):
The story behind Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's arrival into this world is remarkable.
So-called "women's groups" would seem to prefer that as many Americans as possible not know the story about the courageous and faith-based decision Tebow's mother made to carry her pregnancy to term. That's the only plausible reason why they are opposing a 30-second Focus on the Family (FOTF) ad scheduled to air during the Super Bowl. So far, it seems that CBS, which will air the Super Bowl on February 7, seems disinclined to buckle.
David Crary's coverage of the story at the Associated Press (from which the photo at the top right was obtained) labels FOTF "conservative," but does not apply any descriptive label to the "women's groups" objecting to the ad.
As you'll see in the final excerpted paragraph, Crary's coverage included an over-the-top statement from the objectors:
The guy has an hour-long television show that isn't the highest-rated program on cable television, but does fairly well considering the circumstances. Yet, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who has expressed his own "unhinged" anger about the Supreme Court ruling that corporations have a free speech right to participate in elections, says there is a deficiency of anger about the ruling.
Olbermann, on the Jan. 22 "Countdown," launched into another one of his abbreviated tirades, or what he calls is a "Quick Comment" and blasted his colleagues in the media for not being as "enlightened" as he thinks they should be.
"I worked full-time in sports for about 20 years and I've worked full- time in news for about 10 years," Olbermann said. "And after yesterday, I must finally say aloud what I have long thought but have been reluctant to voice. The average person in the American news industry appears to be about one-fifth as plugged into the world he or she covers, as does the average person in the American sports industry.
During George W.'s administration, liberals loved to wail over the supposed--but never demonstrated--suppression of free speech.
But now we have the spectacle of a member of the Dem majority warning a leading representative of Fox News to stop celebrating his network's success--under threat of reinstitution of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." On last evening's Factor, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, invoking the possibility of the return of the 'Fairness Doctrine,' warned O'Reilly to stop "crowing" about Fox's success.
O'Reilly had been questioning Kucinich about the collapse of the liberal media as reflected in the demise of Air America and Fox's crushing of CNN and MSNBC during this past Tuesday's election night coverage by margins of five and six-to-one.
When the cable network VH1 planned a news special called "The New Virginity," an abstinence backer might have felt optimistic that teenagers and young adults were going to get a refreshing jolt of publicity about the option of premarital celibacy. That is, unless you looked at the network’s promotional fine print.
Words have meanings. So when VH1 promised to explore the "roots of our current obsession with chastity" as it’s advocated by popular teenaged celebrities, you knew the fix was in. They suggest these stars just cannot be sincere. Instead, playing to "virgin mania" is just a marketing scheme: "Virginity doesn’t stop celebs from looking and acting provocatively – playing both sides with impressive marketing results."
Now, I suppose it’s possible that some parents and agents of teen stars are in fact conducting crass marketing exercises on the side. But those really aren’t the ones who bother today’s sexual libertines. It’s the sincere virginity campaigners that truly drive them crazy, so nutty that channels like VH1 are out there warning the public that every purity-pledger is a fraud, or weeks away from becoming a fraud.
As the nation's leading newspaper and a beneficiary of the American tradition of free expression, the New York Times would of course celebrate a First Amendment victory at the Supreme Court, right? Well, not exactly.
Friday's lead slot was dominated by the Supreme Court's expected but still momentous decision rejecting limits on corporate campaign spending in elections.
But the subhead to Adam Liptak's story, "Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Campaign Spending Limit," ignored the victory for free speech in favor of dour liberal fears: "Dissenters Argue That Ruling Will Corrupt Democracy."
Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment's most basic free speech principle -- that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy.
A publicly-traded corporation, The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) publishes a daily newspaper which includes daily editorials aimed at influencing public opinion inside the corridors of Congress, White House, and regulatory agencies, and ultimately over voter preferences at the polls.
Yet when it comes to conservative groups or non-mainstream media for-profit corporation engaging in the same use of "unlimited independent expenditures" to influence voters, that's an entirely different story for the Post, which slammed yesterday's Supreme Court ruling as "Judicial Activism Inc.":
UPDATE (below the fold): Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity referenced the video from this post on his January 20th show.
The Word of the Day is: Context.
First, as to the video at right. Its context is the May 9, 2009 White House Correspondents Association Dinner. At which White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel uttered the following:
"When you think about the First Amendment...you think it's highly overrated."
Emanuel said this to an unidentified entertainment reporter (I did not toil too strenuously to ascertain his identity). But said scribe seemed a little bewildered by Emanuel's assertion, despite the obvious mirth in Rahm's face as he delivers the line - at the Correspondents' Dinner. The irony appears to escape the man with the microphone.
But given how the Administration has gone on to handle all things First Amendment, perhaps this journalist is not humor-addled, but prescient. Let us now place Emanuel's remark into the proper Administrative context.
Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Glenn Beck has quickly risen to be one the most prominent targets of the Left. Radio Talk King Rush Limbaugh is Liberal Enemy #1; there's a strong case to be made that Beck is now running second.
One of the myriad feeble way's the Left attempts to deal with Beck - or any conservative - is to dismiss him or her as a liar, without any facts to back up said claim and often in the face of overwhelming evidence provided by the conservative in question.
Beck is spending this week on his FNC show revisiting the copious reams of evidence he compiled over the course of the last year - as he laid waste to one liberal nostrum and public official (Czar, if you will) after another.
And who did Beck choose to have bat lead off in his "Let's Hammer Home the Truth" week?
How Do You Know Mark Lloyd is Lying? Editor's Note: MRC President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell earlier today issued a statement on this.
Mark Lloyd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, made an appearance outside the confines of the communications Bat Cave yesterday. He keynoted a morning panel discussion entitled Social Media, Net Neutrality, and Future of Journalism for the liberal group (and FCC "Diversity" Committee member) Media Access Project.
I highlight his emergence because his boss, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, has declined to make Lloyd available for interviews, saying he as Chair speaks for the FCC and his staff. (A position which I think is completely fair and appropriate.) So it is rare to see him out and about.
Lloyd in fact began his talk by stating "The views I express today are my own. I do not speak for the Federal Communications Commission." Which is also fine.
What wasn't fine was his deep delving into untruths when he later attempted to defend himself against what he claimed were "exaggerations and distortions" of a wide range of his thoughts, positions and policy prescriptions, from what he called a "right-wing smear campaign."
In old school parlance, Lloyd lied. Quite a bit. And how do we know this?
Yesterday in a speech for the Media Access Project, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd claimed to refute numerous what he called “exaggerations and distortions” of a wide range of his thoughts, positions and policy prescriptions from what he called a “right-wing smear campaign.” What Lloyd did was offer numerous falsehoods and denials about things that are undeniably true.
For example, Lloyd has insisted that a "right-wing smear campaign" was "distorting [his] views about the First Amendment" when in fact, in his 2006 book "Prologue to a Farce," Lloyd plainly made clear his view that the freedoms of speech and press were "all too often an exaggeration" and that "the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
In response to Lloyd's lies, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell released a statement today [click here for the full press release]:
A powerful Democratic lawmaker has stated his willingness to intervene on the behalf of the federal government in the nation's news sector. Insisting that the newspaper business is vital to democracy, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., suggested that the government "resolve" the problems in the industry, potentially though misguided federal bailouts.
At a workshop on the future of journalism at the Federal Trade Commission, Waxman, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, suggested the federal government secure "public funding for quality journalism as a means to preserve a critical mass of resources and assets devoted to public media."
Though Waxman raised other options, he devoted more of his address to public funding for newspapers than any other avenue for preserving the medium. Newspaper bailouts could, he stated, "preserve and maintain key functions of modern journalism ... by cushioning the economic squeeze publishers are facing."
The imminent end of the world. Aliens (the ones from space, not the illegal kind). Witches and warlocks. Those are some of things Americans believe in.
Unbiased journalism? Not so much.
That's what the polling tells us. A 2008 Harris Poll reinforced that belief. More Americans believe in ghosts (44 percent), UFOs (36 percent) and witches (31 percent) than believe journalists. No major media outlet scored that high according to the 2009 Pew State of the Media report.
Hollywood must be paying attention. Nearly every top film of 2009 reflects those topics. Everything from the "Transformers" sequel to the "Night at the Museum" sequel to the latest "Star Trek" and "Twilight" movies has been a success. Top 100 films have taken in more than $8 billion according to Boxofficemojo.com. Nine of the top 10 are fantasy, science fiction or horror. They amount to more than $2.2 billion of that total.
You don't see Hollywood doing many big budget movies about journalism.