Finding "jingoism" in a journalism museum? Only a hypersensitive New York Times critic could possibly uncover that.
The Newseum (which is precisely what it sounds like) opened in the nation's capital last weekend in a prominent spot along Pennsylvania Avenue. The Times's architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff found the design by turns "muddled" and "slapdash" -- but what he really disapproved of was the political message he managed to discern in a 9-11 exhibit titled "Attack on America," which he found to border "precariously on jingoism."
In another convoluted move, the museum exhibits the front pages of scores of daily newspapers along the street each day. At first it seems to be a salute to the newspaper's traditional function in a democratic society, and pedestrians seem to love it. But the row of newspapers is oddly punctuated by a pedantic display explaining its meaning.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show,"a story on the controversial comments by Barack Obama that people in small Pennsylvania towns are "bitter," was introduced by co-host Julie Chen this way: "The battle among Democrats and Hillary Clinton's relentless attempt to turn Barack Obama's words against him." Rather than focus on what Obama actually thinks about small town voters, correspondent Dean Reynolds followed with a report in which he declared:
Clinton hammered Obama all weekend over his suggestion that Americans from small economically hard pressed towns turn inward, become bitter, and cling to their guns or their religious faith during tough times, rather than look to Washington for leadership. Clinton, who is trying to hold on to what polls say is a slim lead here in Pennsylvania, said she found the statement demeaning, even snobbish. And she said so just about everywhere she went.
With Obama looking like the victim, Reynolds went on to briefly mention that the Illinois Senator apologized for the comments: "Obama was thrown on the defensive, forced to acknowledge his words were clumsy and later to apologize if he offended anyone." However, Reynolds immediately followed with the Obama campaign’s defense: "But he said his opponent was intentionally twisting his meaning...Obama also said Clinton's attempt to paint him as the sportsman's adversary and herself as their champion was laughable."
A: Since it can be used to take a shot at the woman who would deprive his guy of the Dem nomination.
ABC's David Wright is a devoted Obama fan, as NewsBusters has noted here, here and here. Discussing on today's GMA Hillary's foray into a working-class Indiana bar over the weekend, Wright not only faulted Hillary for her lack of decorum, but even managed to work some class warfare into the mix.
You might think MSM support for the raid by Texas state authorities on the polygamist compound in Eldorado would be a slam dunk. After all, the religion involved is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Not just Mormons: fundamentalists Mormons! Throw in patriarchy and allegations of exploitation of young women, and surely the feminist-inspired liberal media would be cheering on the bust.
But not so fast. Support this intervention, and perhaps a precedent is established for restrictions on unorthodox family arrangements of a more PC tint.
Take the comments of Jonathan Turley on today's Good Morning America. The George Washington law school professor went so far as to strongly suggest that the ban on polygamy is unconstitutional. And co-anchor Bill Weir was anything but unsympathetic to Turley's arguments.
Clarification: Apparently the Thursday night "Idol" included the "Jesus" lyric. In a somewhat-related item of interest to our readers, my colleague Tim Graham reminds me that West Coast viewers of ABC's "The View" in May 2002 heard a bleep when co-host Joy Behar said the word "Jesus."
With Pope Benedict coming to visit the United States next week relations between Roman Catholics and Protestants will likely be the subject of media scrutiny. The pope's itinerary includes a visit to the White House with President Bush, a Protestant, who was re-elected with 51 percent of the Catholic vote in 2004, despite running against a Catholic.
Although certain doctrinal differences remain in place, conservative Catholics and Evangelical Christians have been drawing closer together in recent years, according to a new book that explores the growing influence of Christian voters.
Deal Hudson, the executive director of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture in Washington D.C., describes some of the key factors responsible for the convergence between conservative minded American Catholics and Protestants in his just released book.
Age old grievances have gradually receded to the point where Christians from various denominations have joined together to resist secular assaults on shared values, Hudson argues in "Onward Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States."
We no longer educate in the United States of America. No, instead of making to educate our children we emot-ucate them. It's all about our children's tender egos, their vaunted self esteem, their itty bitty feewings. We don't want them to know or understand so much as we want them to "feel good" about themselves. If they don't know during what years the civil war was fought, that's OK as long as they think they are "good people" anyway. If their math skills are substandard, who cares as long as they really like themselves?
The Boston Globe, for its part, seems to agree that everything is better when our students "feel better." As far as real life's lessons go, as far as hard work, good grades, educational standards go... well, not so much. No, it’s "group therapy, "liberation", and "collective defiance" meant to make kids "feel good" that the paper seems to feel is a story worth pursuing.
Amazon.com sells millions of books, CDs and other products each year. So, we can't necessarily expect the online retail giant to be morally responsible for every single last product and, where its book offerings are concerned, we shouldn't ask them to become censors. But, selling a product someone else created and producing the product yourself are two different things. And, in this case, we might be seeing Amazon.com actually printing an anti-Jew, anti-US, "truther," Holocaust denial book with their BookSurge subsidiary company. One wonders if Amazon.com is even aware they are suddenly in the business of publishing anti-semitic books?
And this early warning system is where education serves a chief role. Our schools are supposed to serve as the gatekeepers of what a society deems in good taste, important or necessary to learn. Our schools are also supposed to serve as a critic of sorts to teach students what to avoid or, if not avoiding, teach where certain philosophies that might prove harmful fit into world history. In other words, if Marx is discussed, the evil he is responsible for should be highlighted. If “Mein Kampf” is assigned, the results of Hitler’s hate should be a principle subject.
Washington Post writer Linton Weeks recently wrote a fascinating big-picture essay about the long, sad decline of sincerity and sentiment in America, symbolized by the public loathing of the 1975 Morris Albert pop song “Feelings.” It wasn’t merely the whoa-whoa-whoa chorus that drove the criticism, he suggested, but the mere act of the singer putting the heart on the proverbial sleeve that became phony, cheesy, hopelessly square.
It’s been said before that we live in an age of irony, and irreverence is king. But Weeks added the irresistible term “Snark Ages” to characterize it: “The revolt against sincerity -- the Snark Ages, still upon us -- began as a rebellion against corny, over-the-top displays of emotion in movies, songs, TV shows. But the rebellion spiraled out of control, and any public expression of emotion, no matter how sincere, was a target for mockery. Old war movies and romantic dramas, taken seriously the first time around, were consumed by a younger generation as farce -- as ‘camp.’”
On the flimsy pretext of this being the season when HS seniors get their college acceptances, a New York Times column has set about asking current college students about their plans for future sexual conquests.
Stephen Dubner handed his 'Freakonomics' column over to his assistant, Nicole Tourtelot, this week. She asked five collegians five questions. Three of them were innocuous: who's paying for your education, how do you view cigarette smoking, what's your dream job?
But then came:
How many more people do you think you’ll sleep with before you get married?
The bashing began in a March 20 post that explained Baldwin had been part of a Navy dive team assigned to recover the remains of WWII servicemen from a B-24 crash site in the South Pacific. The staff writers criticized the waste of their tax dollars on “ancient history,” musing “let's talk about why we the taxpayers are footing the bill on such BS” and asking readers if they thought it was a “[r]idiculous waste.” TMZ's staff expressed their disbelief that anyone would bother searching for such an old wreck and then dismissed the importance of recovering the remains, snarking, “At least [Baldwin] got a really good tan" (all bold mine):
What, you ask, were they looking for? A B-24J bomber that went down during the war. Not Iraq. Not Vietnam. No, not Korea. We're talking WWII, as in more than 60 years ago.
Turns out, the military spends $52 million each year to find the remains of missing soldiers -- it's part of the POW/MIA program. That's all well and good depending on the circumstances. But a crash that is ancient history, at a time when the economy sucks and the Federal government is sucking the life out of everyone with taxes??
Are the Girl Scouts of America to blame for America’s "obesity epidemic"? An ABC News website article suggested that. On an article charging overweight Americans face widespread discrimination, the piece then moved on to blame the food producers, not the individual that buys them for America’s widening waistline. Targeting the Girl Scouts specifically for the problem, correspondent Lee Dye charged "that little angel standing at your door is offering you a one-way ticket to obesity."
The article focused on one researcher, Rebecca Puhl, who blamed the problem on not only the big food producers, but also "genetics and some diseases" and implicitly scorned those who mentioned personal responsibility. "If it were that easy we wouldn’t have this epidemic we have now," Puhl charges. She also blames the food companies for making less healthy options "more accessible."
"We live in a very toxic food environment. We make it very easy for people to be unhealthy. Unhealthy foods, or junk foods, are accessible, cheap and engineered to taste very, very good. Healthy foods, like produce, are not as accessible, and are more expensive."
Last Thursday's New York Times carried an amusing story of a left-wing catfight. Kara Jesella reported that in Portland, Oregon, an entrepreneur has tried to combine strippers and vegans (the most extreme ahem, denomination of vegetarianism, with no eggs, milk, or animal products). But feminists are outraged that women would be objectified while the entrepreneur evangelizes the vegan gospel on behalf of cows and chickens:
Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a cookbook author, is among those who believe such images twist the vegan message. “As a feminist, I’m not keen on the idea of using women’s bodies to sell veganism, and I’m not into the idea of using veganism to sell women’s bodies,” she said...
The issue of sexism in vegan circles is “extremely polarizing,” said Bob Torres, an author of “Vegan Freak,” a guide to living a vegan lifestyle, which generally means avoiding the use of animals for food, clothing or other purposes. Mr. Torres, like many vegans, disavows the “essential idea at the heart of some animal rights activism that any means justifies the ends,” he said. Certain activists, he added, care only about “animal suffering and ignore the suffering of humans,” a category into which he would put women who are exploited.
Ah, Earf Day. The day when all the Chicken Littles and the occasional boy who cried wolf can get their fifteen minutes of attention. Don't we just love the warm and fuzzies of claiming the mantle of God and "saving" the Earf from global warming? Well, The Washington Times Fishwrap blog reports that Google has joined the fray to save the Earf and they are going to do it by helping Kathleen Rogers of Earth Day Network to shut down the phone switchboard at the Capitol in Washington D.C. with the calls from "concerned citizens" who think that calling Washington on the phone can somehow stop global warming.
A group of environmental activists has enlisted Google to help flood the congressional switchboard with one million phone calls on Earth Day urging lawmakers to enact eco-friendly measures.
I'm tingling with excitement already. If I thought I could alter the solar activities really responsible for global climate change just by making a phone call... well, imagine the power? Maybe I could use my house phone to stop a hurricane or tornado, or better yet, use my cell phone influence the scores of the next few Superbowls. Well, I'd just be in heaven.
Ed Rendell is too truthful to be a good vice-presidential candidate. Just ask him. The Pennsylvania governor and Hillary supporter was a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. Wrapping up the interview, host Chris Matthews broached his availability as Veep.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think the Democrats have a shot at carrying Florida on the best of conditions this year?
ED RENDELL: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Particularly when the issues about Social Security are fashioned. I think this is going to be the best chance we've had to carry Florida since 2000.
MATTHEWS: I think Hillary has a better chance than Barack in Florida.
RENDELL: No question.
MATTHEWS: But I think Barack has a better chance if you're his running mate. Would you be available, Governor, to be a running-mate with Barack Obama--
News has leaked out from the folks at Muppet central (The Jim Henson Company) that the next Muppet feature film will sport a story line that attacks oil companies. According to CHUD.com, the story will center around all our favorite Muppets producing a show to raise money to save their old theater. They need the money, of course, because an "evil character" is trying to buy the building so that he might tear it down to "get at the oil underneath."
Why is it we have to turn everything into an anti-capitalism, anti-oil hatefest?
Even more alarming is the fact that it seems that the writer/director team pegged to head the project will be Jason Segel and Nick Stoller, the team that recently gave us the very R rated "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." One wonders if the Muppets will go from kid friendly to edgie and R rated? (I must admit that I would doubt the owners of the Muppet property would do that to their long standing kid friendly product, though.)
If only we were all Norwegians, we'd have the high taxes we need and all the welfare we want. But because America is diverse, we selfishly worry that members of other ethnic groups might benefit from our tax dollars. As a result, our taxes aren't high enough and our welfare spending too low.
That in a nutshell is Eduardo Porter's thesis in his NY Times column of today, Race and the Social Contract. Porter, a graduate of Mexico's UNAM who began his journalism career with the Mexican news agency Notimex, is now a member of the NYT's editorial board.
Porter believes that the US needs to make "big investments in the public good" to deal with the "enormous challenge" of "globalization." But that goal is thwarted by our selfishness that in turn is prompted by our diversity.
The columnist begins by noting that, when it comes to taxes and public spending, we rank toward the bottom among developed countries. Now, you might cheer that fact, but Porter sees it as a bad thing. And he cites a number of studies suggesting that in ethnically homogeneous countries, citizens support higher taxes and public spending levels because they're confident their cohorts will be the beneficiaries. But in the more diverse USA, "racial and ethnic antagonism all too frequently limit" public spending.
Eric Alterman’s new book on Why We're Liberals isn’t just plagued with errors, it makes wild charges, like attacking conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, suggesting she was anti-Semitic for cheering on the movie The Passion of the Christ. In a chapter about how conservatives mock the elites, when they themselves are rich and pampered, Alterman wrote about conservatives: "In Ingraham’s case, as in many others, one detects a strain of anti-Semitism in her insistent elite-bashing." From pages 173-74:
In observing the members of the conservative elite denouncing "elitists, it can be difficult to tell your players without the proverbial scorecard. For instance, the radio talk-show host and former conservative cable host Laura Ingraham has written an entire book about the dangers posed by liberal elites, entitled Shut Up & Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the Media Are Subverting America. In it, this daughter of a Connecticut lawyer, and graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Virginia Law School, who now lives in an expensive home in Washington D.C., distinguishes between liberal elitists and those whom she terms "true Americans."
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased her upcoming interview with "Gray’s Anatomy" actress Kate Walsh on sex education: "She is one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood today due to her roles on "Gray's Anatomy" and "Private Practice," but she's also passionate about sex education for American teens, and she took her campaign to Capitol Hill. We're going to ask her why this issue is so important." The segment that followed was another example of the media’s denigration of abstinence education. Walsh, who is a board member for Planned Parenthood, said during the interview: "Abstinence is one -- abstinence is one aspect of sex education, but it is not the complete aspect. And to expect, I think, everybody to remain abstinent is just -- it's like asking them not to grow. It's like we don't ask people to not try out for sports." Chen’s response: "Yeah, I hear you."
Chen began the interview by asking: "Tell us in your opinion what's wrong with the way we're teaching our kids in this country about sex education and what needs to be changed." Of course, there was no advocate for abstinence-only education asked to give their opinion in the segment.
In his weekly culture column, Brent Bozell scorned the inaccuracy in the new Eric Alterman book "Why We're Liberals," the one with the cartoon on the cover with all the liberals on it, including (in the back row, far left) Jesus, next to Willie Nelson, who is next to Charles Darwin. Jesus and Darwin, two liberal birds of a feather? There's inaccuracy, even on the cover.
Alterman decries "the hysterical language conservatives routinely employ when pontificating about Hollywood." His first example of a hysterical conservative is... me. Horror of horrors. I’m attacked because I’ve ridiculed "political dilettantes" and "leftist celebrities" whose qualifications as political advisers "include starring in Hello Dolly and The Prince of Tides." This language comes from a column I wrote in 2002. At that time, Barbra Streisand had sent House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt a memo that misspelled his name "Gebhardt" and misquoted Shakespeare. I labeled Streisand a celebrity dilettante, because she is. That makes me a “hysterical conservative” in Alterman’s mind.
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
Jack Kevorkian, AKA Dr. Death, has a celebrity in his fan club, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg.
Discussing the notorious suicide assisting doctor’s run for Congress on the March 25 edition, Goldberg said she’s a "big fan" of Kevorkian "because he believed that he could help people who were in, in a place where no one was helping them." Joy Behar wondered: "Why is he a bad guy? I don’t understand it...it’s over my head somewhere." [Audio available here.]
Elisabeth Hasselbeck expressed concern about a "gray area" and "lines blurring," if for example the one responsible for a suffering person’s care has financial motives for that person’s death. Sherri Shepherd, besides a few jokes, did not contribute much to the conversation. Transcript follows:
It would be enough to make Rev. Jeremiah Wright's accusation that the government created AIDS for purposes of perpetrating a black genocide sound almost rational. OK, scratch that. Nothing will render reasonable that morsel of moonbattery. But has the Rev. Wright's replacement suggested that NPR is . . . a Republican front operation?
As per this Fox News article, the theme of today's Easter sermon at the Trinity United Church of Christ was “How to Handle a Public Lynching,” the victim in question being the Rev. Wright. The controversial pastor's successor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, lit into the national media, coming up with a string of plays on their names to express his contempt:
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.