In his latest culture column, Brent Bozell welcomes the Supreme Court's decision to take up the case of whether "fleeting" profanities on television can lead to fines for the networks that air them without using the five-second delay button. Brent contends that Hollywood doesn't merely want to escape fines for unexpected outbursts of profanity. It wants the inalienable right to air them without any public or governmental action:
The point is: Hollywood wants to air them. To them, it’s all a waste of money to spare the benighted rabble in the little villages who haven’t learned to stop worrying and love the F-bomb.
Out in America, voters still have the common sense to believe that profanities aren’t the kind of speech that you wave the flag over, as if “fleeting” profanity was a cause as American as apple pie. Most Americans think that the quality of entertainment is in steep decline.
Next time, maybe Bill Richardson should consider text messaging. Something along these lines, perhaps:
I M not 4 U. Me & BHO: BFF. CUL8R
Of course we can only imagine how Hillary's reply would have read. But Richardson did have the moxie to make one of the world's tougher phone calls: informing Hillary Clinton that despite having been appointed by her husband to two cabinet positions, he was endorsing Barack Obama. Richardson has now let it be known that his conversation with Hillary got "a little bit heated."
Kidding aside, consider what it says about Hillary's personality that so much press attention has focused on the call. Imagine if Richardson had instead decided to endorse Clinton. Not many people would be wondering about the atmospherics of his conversation with Obama. Richardson appeared on this morning's Today, and weekend co-anchor Lester Holt wasted absolutely no time: his very first question to the NM governor was about that dreaded phone call.
The left and the media love to hyperventilate about the right wing “hate speech” on the Internet, but the anger and vitriol of the left dwarfs that of the right, especially where female or minority bloggers are concerned. Hateful comments are not uncommon at lefty blogs like Daily Kos. That kind of hostility forces the Huffington Post to occassionally close comments on articles involving certain topics like Israel, the military or even Margaret Thatcher.
Pictures of them are photoshopped into violent or sexually explicit positions, and they are stalked, online and occasionally offline. Liberals track down their addresses and phone numbers and leave obscene messages, even threaten rape. Moderate blogger Ann Althouse nailed the root of the hostility, “...people on the Left think you are evil if you don't agree with them, that you're actually a bad person” (all bold mine).
Talk about bending over backwards to excuse racist comments! Charles Coulter, Opinion Page Editor of the Kansas City Star (pictured at right via KC Star's Web site) has said that he's had "Enough" and says that these "attacks on Obama and Jeremiah Wright are ludicrous." Coulter is scolding any of us who take offense that Obama's racist Rev. has said things like "God damn America," and is himself outraged over our "ludicrous" anger over Wright's claims that the U.S. invented AIDS solely to kill black people.
Coulter starts off with this dismissive summary:
So the Rev. Jeremiah Wright made comments that some portray as hate-filled and anti-American.
It's hard not to "portray" Wright's comments as "hate-filled and anti-American" when he said that the U.S. basically deserved the murderous attacks on 9/11/01 that killed thousands of innocent Americans!
Could this photo be a first? It shows a card-carrying member of the MSM shooting a handgun. That's Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News legal correspondent. The clip, pun intended, of Greenburg on the firing range was part of a segment she narrated on today's Good Morning America on a case to be argued before the Supreme Court today. At issue is the District of Columbia's law banning handguns. The case comes before the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. invalidated the law. The decision could be a landmark, potentially the first time the Supreme Court rules squarely on the issue of whether the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to bear arms.
The segment was surprisingly respectful of the right to bear arms. Beyond Greenburg's personal marksmanship demonstration, the segment began with a sympathetic depiction of the plight of Shelly Parker, the DC resident who started the case by suing the city over its gun ban.
Far be it from NB to suggest any correlation between liberal political orientation and a propensity for prostitution. But in the wake of the Spitzer scandal, the New York Times has run an article profiling three call girls, and we couldn't help but look for telltale signs of their politics. There were no particular hints regarding one of the ladies. But as for the other two . . . well, let's say it's unlikely they'll be turning up anytime soon as contributing editors at NewsBusters.
Ava Xi’an is the apparently apolitical pro. She claims to have gotten into the business to pay for a heart bypass operation for her father . . . who doesn't have health insurance. Bush made her do it, you might say.
As for the other two, Sally Anderson is "an unapologetic feminist" who was "raised in a fancy New Jersey suburb with what she described as 'very progressive parents.'” Oh, and she's planning to leave the profession "to study social work in graduate school." I'd say that wraps it up.
How's this for a balanced Today panel to discuss the impact of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's extremism on Barack Obama: two liberals who agree it shouldn't hurt him, with one suggesting the situation might even help Obama?
The panel discussion was preceded by a segment narrated by Lee Cowan, the NBC correspondent covering the Obama campaign who has admitted "it's almost hard to remain objective" about Barack. Cowan buttressed his case in that regard. After playing the clip of Rev. Wright using the n-word to make an invidious comparison between Obama and Hillary, Cowan claimed the words were "old." True--if Cowan considers December, 2007, when Wright uttered them--ancient history.
Then it was on weekend co-anchor Amy Robach's interview of Michael Dyson and Melinda Hennenberger. Dyson, who as Robach noted is an Obama supporter, is a Georgetown professor and MSNBC political analyst. He has in the past garnered headlines for his fierce criticism of Bill Cosby, claiming among other things that Cosby "battered poor blacks" with his calls for self-reliance.
In a revealing moment of MSM elitism, WaPo editorialist Ruth Marcus, discussing the decision of Silda Wall Spitzer to appear with her husband Eliot yesterday, wanted people to know Mrs. Spitzer is a Harvard law grad and a "serious" person, not a Tammy Wynette type.
Marcus was interviewed by Contessa Brewer on MSNBC this afternoon, and the pair turned to the question of why political wives tend to appear with their husbands who have been caught up in sex scandals.
RUTH MARCUS: I just don't think that we should also lump all these women together. And to use a line that got Hillary Clinton in some trouble back in the 1992 presidential campaign, Eliot Spitzer's wife is not some Tammy Wynette, stand-by-your-man kind of woman.
[Update, 5:39 pm Eastern: The Acton Institute's office in Rome has provided an English translation of Bishop Girotti's interview. In it, the bishop has his own criticism for the media. "[I]t is necessary also to denounce the emphasis given to the media that on a daily basis casts discredit on the Church.]
A supposed list of "new sins" from the Vatican, such as pollution and genetic manipulation, made headlines across the world on Monday. The list actually didn’t come from any official Catholic Church document, but from an interview of a bishop that was published in L'Osservatore Romano, the "semi-official" newspaper in Vatican City, and it exposed the mainstream media’s fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church specifically.
L'Osservatore Romano printed the interview of Gianfranco Girotti, a bishop who is a member of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, in its March 9 edition. In it, Girotti discussed "new forms of social sin," and gave examples such genetic manipulation and drug trafficking. Girotti, who is the number-two official at the Tribunal, is in the mid-level of the Vatican’s bureaucracy, and wouldn’t make any official decisions on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Despite Girotti’s lack of real authority, the mainstream media hyped up the interview as being authoritative. The Daily Telegraph’s website claimed that Girotti’s list of "new forms of social sin" "replaces the list originally drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century, which included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride." Reuters’ article reported that "the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight." CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on Monday’s "The Situation Room," even went so far to say that "some Christian teachings say love thy neighbor and don't lie, cheat, or steal? But might would one more virtue be added -- go green? Find out why the pope says polluting the planet is a sin." And Pope Benedict XVI wasn’t even the one who was interviewed by L'Osservatore Romano!
Well, look no further than John McCain's daughter, Meghan. Meghan runs a delightful blog about her campaigning experiences called McCainBlogette. I have enjoyed her excellent pictures, video, and writings throughout the primaries.
Meghan is a beautiful woman, so imagine my surprise when I read her most recent post where she discusses people who criticize her weight and body shape!:
It recently reached a ridiculous level when someone handed me a business card for a plastic surgeon and suggested I needed liposuction. I am proud of my curves and have always loved my fuller figure, as should every woman who is not a size "0". I want to be a positive role model for my little sister and all of the other young women who read my blog and help perpetuate a more positive image for women, regardless of their body size. I feel empowered to tell everyone that it's important to maintain a healthy weight that works for them - not everyone is going to be model thin, nor should they expect to be. To every young girl reading this blog, it is inner beauty and happiness that makes a person beautiful, not a number on a scale.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello, in a report on Monday’s "The Situation Room," tried to put the Eliot Spitzer scandal into a better light by focusing entirely on past Republican scandals, and only mentioned two examples of Democrats caught in scandal -- Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank -- in passing.
Other than Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Costello brought up Republicans who had been accused of misbehavior by pornographer Larry Flynt. She only mentioned Spitzer at the very beginning of her report, and then immediately went to her first example, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. "Maybe Larry Flynt would say of Eliot Spitzer, there will soon be one less known hypocrite in government. That's how he described Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Flynt accused him of having been a client of the alleged D.C. madam, Deborah Palfrey, after the senator's number was discovered in her phone records."
Costello then turned back the clock ten years, and instead of focusing on Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair, she brought up the Republicans that had been caught by Flynt.
Newsweek magazine recently celebrated the latest trend in elite Northeastern colleges: sex magazines, complete with highbrow titles -- like "Boink." In applauding the shifting sexual mores of American youth, reporter Jennie Yabroff noted that these enterprising students "no longer see a distinction between their bedroom behavior and their publishing activities," and consider their sex-magazine careers in college to be building blocks for the business world.
"I continually tell my mom this is a great résumé builder," says Alecia Oleyourryk of her career publishing "Boink" magazine at Boston University. Newsweek now needs a sociologist to affirm the wisdom of these "young sexperts." Cue Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington. "Maybe their generation will take this a lot less seriously than we do," she says.
A couple at the "cross roads" of a "complicated" love story. That's how Diane Sawyer set up the feature on a transgendered Microsoft executive, his/her wife, and their son in the 8:00 half-hour on "Good Morning America."
The socially progressive bent of GMA was evident in the lack of context or perspective given to the family's story. No consideration was given to the glaring social issues raised. It was reported as just another human-interest story.
The five-minute feature, reported by Neal Karlinsky, explained the conflict Michael Wallent had with his identification as a male, his decision to become a female and the ramifications of that decision in his workplace and at home.
Philip Bennett, the Washington Post’s managing editor, paid a visit to the University of California, Irvine for a little chat earlier this week. During his comments on the subject of religion and politics, Bennett claimed that the MSM should hire more Muslims because the media has too many misconceptions about Islam. Bennett told the UCI audience, "At the Post I want more Muslim readers and I want more Muslim journalists." One wonders how far this new understanding of Islam in the media will go for Bennett, though? Will his desire to be inclusive and to create a new politically correct understanding go as far as excusing Islamofascism as we try to better understand Islam?
The report in the Daily Pilot from Newport Beach, California also reported that the newsroom at the Washington Post was even debating whether or not they should even use the word "Islamist" because it might be too "contentious." This WaPost debate alone does not auger as well for any better understanding as it does for overlooking the evil perpetrated in the name of Islam in favor of making believe that our understanding of them will somehow stop the violence and hate against us.
Here at NB, we're not normally in the business of feeling sorry for MSMers like Harry Smith. But I can't help but express some sympathy for the Early Show anchor at the prospect of the feminist, Clintonite wrath that is likely to descend on his head after a comment he made this morning
Among the metaphors most likely to drive feminists up the wall is that of the angry woman yielding that symbol of domestic serfdom, the frying pan. But in discussing the prospect of Hillary's anger at Bill for his responsibility for her possibly impending defeat, Smith invoked . . . you guessed it. Harry was coffee klatsching with Dem consultant Joe Trippi and pollster Frank Luntz this morning, and it was the latter who first described Bill as a drag on Hillary's campaign. The issue was whether Clinton could stay in the race if she splits the Texas and Ohio primaries tomorrow.
JOE TRIPPI: I don't think she should get out if she wins Ohio and loses Texas but I think there will be pressure there.
FRANK LUNTZ: It didn't help her that her husband said that she's got to win both.
HARRY SMITH: Right.
LUNTZ: Bill has been -- I feel sorry for him the night, if she does pull out, he should not be at the home in Chappaqua.
That's when a chuckling Smith put his foot in it, even providing the sound effects.
Earlier this week, NewsBusters' Tim Graham noted the downbeat mood in many of the nominated movies at Sunday's Oscars, as originally written up by a Washington Post staff writer. NB's Matt Sheffield addressed the Feature Documentary award winner, "Taxi to the Dark Side," and the dearth of libertarian or conservative representation in the list of that category's nominees.
Taxi to the Dark Side? Never heard of it. Did not even know it existed. They wonder why no one watches the Oscars.
Voodoodaddy is far from alone, and his comment begs a bigger question: Why, as I believe is the case, would a company make a film knowing full well that almost no one will see it?
That's certainly not a question anyone in Old Media is asking. Two of the five nominees in the Feature Documentary category ("War/Dance" - $57,640; Operation Homecoming" - either $4,516 or $6,795) did barely noticeable business in 2007.
Item: Less than six weeks after legendary editor Wesley Pruden's retirement, new Washington Times editor John Solomon has begun selling out to politically correct and objectively inaccurate language (additional HTs to NewsBusters' Tim Graham, and to John Haskins in an e-mail). The reason for the Times to even exist is slowly but surely being eliminated.
Accordingly, this parody, sung to the tune of Chicago's 1975 hit, "(America Needs You) Harry Truman" came to mind, in hopes of convincing Pruden to reconsider the virtues of returning, if only for a year:
America needs you, Wesley Pruden Wesley could you please come home? The new guy's really bad, A PC flack gone mad. So Wesley please come back and save the paper we all know and love.
Not only does it represent the epitome of good-natured cool, it comes in stark contrast to the patented glare that Hillary aims at those who draw her ire. We've often illustrated the death-ray genre here at NB; you'll find a representative image after the jump from last night's debate.
Obama's gesture speaks largely for itself, but let's don our amateur body-language expert hat:
The worm has certainly turned when Bill Clinton's former press secretary goes on a local TV show, calls Hillary a b---- in so many words . . . and a national news show then chooses to air the footage. It happened on today's Good Morning America in the course of a conversation that co-anchor Robin Roberts conducted with Cokie Roberts and Matt Dowd.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Many are wondering how far she can go in attacking Barack Obama. Even President Clinton's former press secretary Dee Dee Myers made a comment about it being harder for a woman to walk that fine line. This is what she said.
Cut to clip of Myers in a recent appearance on NY1, the NYC cable news channel.
DEE DEE MYERS: I think so many women in positions of authority -- and she's certainly one of them -- have to walk that fine line between being authoratative and being a bitch [worded bleeped during GMA airing]. And she you know, she hasn't always succeeded. I think it's hard for a woman to succeed.
In their post-Oscar coverage on Monday, Washington Post writers suggested that Hollywood's celebration of dark movies with dark characters has a political genesis, that it came from moviemakers depressed over the Bush re-election, Iraq, and global warming. In his front-page piece, reporter Hank Stuever theorized:
But these were dark movies -- the feel-bad films of the year -- conjured up in what movie people seem to collectively sense as grave times, hatched in producers' offices and on writers' laptops not long after the 2004 election and amid increasing setbacks in the Iraq war and gloomy environmental warnings. Some of the filmmakers and actors wore orange ribbons or rubber bracelets to protest alleged incidents of torture by the United States at its prison in Guantanamo Bay, and in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the subject of "Taxi to the Dark Side," which won Best Documentary Feature.
When not offering a surfeit of death and gloom, Academy nominees this year focused, in at least some metaphorical way, on all the looming issues:
In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell explored how the Academy Awards have trended dramatically toward nasty art films that are not embraced by the masses. This is quite a contrast to a new anti-Oscar of sorts: the Dove Crystal Seal, issued by the Dove Foundation, which awards movies for being family-friendly. Brent notes that the standards are different, that a film can be a great artistic achievement and not be good for children, but the Oscars used to go to family films at times, and that's not so true now.
The first Dove Crystal Seals were awarded to hit movies like Disney's "Ratatouille," "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," and "The Game Plan" with the Rock, as well as Walden's religious picture "Amazing Grace." Brent found that inspirational subject matter makes the nation's film-critic tastemakers choke and say "ugh, Hallmark." For example:
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased a segment on police brutality: "And in our next half hour, another woman badly hurt while in police custody. And it was caught on videotape. Growing concern this morning about police hostility towards women." In another tease, Rodriguez declared: "Coming up here in our next half hour, caught on videotape, women being hurt by police." At this time video of a male police officer tasering a woman appeared on screen with the caption: "Police Targeting Women?"
In the later segment, following a report by correspondent Jeff Glor on a recent allegation of a Louisiana police officer beating a woman in custody, Rodriguez and CBS Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom saw a broader trend as Rodriguez exclaimed: "What strikes me from this incident and others is that we're seeing male officers beating in this case, strip searching, tasing, female suspects and not even large women, you know, petite women like us."
At this point, Bloom made an outrageous generalization, comparing male police officers to convicted and suspected murderers:
Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, during an hour-long appearance on CNN’s "Larry King Live," didn’t take the New York Times story on "the possibility of a relationship between John McCain some years back and a female lobbyist" seriously, which, as King put it, was "in the embryonic stages" during the show. "[T]his has an awfully tired and dusty feel to it, in terms of the way that political reporting has been going." Stewart went on to criticize some of the Times’ reporting. "You know, The New York Times does some pretty amazing reporting and The New York Times puts stuff out there that is as sort of spurious at times. You know, Judy Miller's reports in The New York Times were about as fictional as James Frey's, you know, ‘Million Little Pieces.’"
King began the second segment of his program, which started about 10 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour, by bringing up the Times story and after summarizing its contents, read a statement that had been issued by McCain’s campaign. He then asked for Stewart’s take on it. Stewart admitted that John McCain "is someone who I have great respect for" and thought that "this is a strange time to be injecting it into the race." He also lamented the entire situation. "It's just -- it's a shame and I feel badly for him and I feel badly for his family, because they're lovely people."
On Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Later in the segment, Safer discovered that low expectations of the Danish people was the key to their happiness and he concluded that:
Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York.
It’s interesting that many liberal media figures reside in New York’s Upper East Side.
Here's one media bias everyone accepts (and expects): showing compassion and sympathy for a community after a horrifying mass murder, such as the killings at Northern Illinois University. The leftist website Alternet proved the exception to the rule, printing a bizarre article by an author named Mark Ames that trashed NIU as a mediocre school for mediocre students, and suggested that the "flat" plains of Middle America could make anyone shoot up a school or a post office. The headline was:
Northern Ill. University: Was the Killer Crazy, or the Campus Hopeless? Bracket this massacre as the work of a lunatic on drugs, and you miss the chance to consider the horrors of life in middle America.
How slowly do the regulatory agencies move? A few weeks ago, the FCC decided to fine ABC for airing nudity in prime time -- in a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue." (It was still on the air in 2003? And why was Charlotte Ross's police babe hanging around with schlubby Sipowicz?) In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell looks at how Disney, formerly a brand name for family entertainment, filed lawyerly briefs against the FCC ruling that no one can defend on the grounds of common sense.
When it was finally rapped on the knuckles, Disney-owned ABC was petulant. It responded first by joining the crowd in Tinseltown now asserting in federal court the “right” to drop the F-bomb on millions of children. Then the lawyers insisted to the FCC that there’s nothing inappropriate in an ABC show lovingly fixating the viewer on the young woman’s bare behind several times. It was only seven seconds, they protested.