On Monday’s Tavis Smiley show on PBS, during a discussion with author Robert Putnam to discuss his book American Grace, after Putnam recounted the central thesis that various religions in America - and even non-religious people - tend to tolerate each other well compared to other countries, host Smiley made known his view that tolerance is "decreasing" in America and cited attitudes toward Muslims as a recent example. Smiley:
I'm not so sure that our religiosity these days makes us as tolerant as we think we are. Witness, you know, any number of examples of late - namely, Muslims come to mind - about how our tolerance is, it seems to me, decreasing, not increasing.
Moments later, the PBS host brought up the negative views of America held by some as being a nation that is "arrogant," "elitist," "pompous," and "nationalistic." As he analyzed the book’s title by defining the word "grace" as being "unmerited favor," Smiley continued:
And if American grace is then an unmerited favor, I’m trying to juxtapose that grace with what some see as our increasing arrogance, our increasing elitism, how it is that we could be the beneficiaries of this unmerited favor, this grace, and yet, around the world, we don’t appear to be graceful to so many other people. They see us as arrogant, elitist pompous, and not even just patriotic, but increasingly nationalistic.
Appearing as a guest on CNN’s Parker-Spitzer, rocker Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS and the TV show Family Jewels related to viewers that he is "very conservative" on fiscal and foreign policy issues, voiced his support for President Bush and the war on terrorism - including "nation building" in Iraq - and declared that he wishes he could take back his vote for President Obama from the 2008 election.
As he later explained that he normally does not talk about politics because he believes entertainers are not qualified to speak about such matters, he also took a jab at Hollywood liberal Sean Penn and suggested that politically outspoken celebrities are "morons."
Simmons, who has a history of declaring his love for America because of the rescue of his mother from Nazi concentration camps, also discussed his visit to the house of Holocaust victim Anne Frank and its inclusion in his TV show Family Jewels.
When asked by co-host Kathleen Parker about his support for President Bush and the invasion of Iraq, Simmons revealed some of his voting history:
Correction: This post initially claimed that McGowan was a former reporter for the New York Times. In fact, McGowan was never actually employed by the paper, though he did do some freelance work for it. NewsBusters regrets the error.
The New York Times is fascinating in how closely it mirrors American liberalism - both in its politics and in its intellectual evolution. Like the American left, the Times has moved from the intellectual and patriotic liberalism of Jack Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the politically correct, post-American leftism that dominates what today we call "liberalism" - a term now completely unmoored from its etymology.
Veteran journalist Bill McGowan, an occasional Times contributor, a long-time reader, and author of the new book "Gray Lady Down", elaborated on the Times's political evolution in a recent interview with PJM's Ed Driscoll.
"At a certain point," McGowan told Driscoll in discussing the Times's 1960s-style, counter-cultural skew, "you just have to say, this is not reporting. This is propagandizing."
Previewing President Obama's upcoming speech in Indonesia during Tuesday's 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall wondered if the troop surge in Afghanistan had hurt the President's image in the Muslim world: "How much of the skepticism comes from the fact that he's added more troops on the ground in Afghanistan?"
Hall asked that question of Time magazine's deputy international editor Bobby Ghosh, who agreed and even went further: "There's certainly a lot of that, the troops on the ground, the drone campaign in Pakistan, which, unfortunately, from time to time kills innocent people. That certainly gets a lot of play around the world."
Here's a fact you're not likely to see on tonight's evening news broadcasts: According to a recent poll, Arabs living abroad are more likely to be opposed to the "Ground Zero Mosque" than the American media are.
According to a recent survey by the Arabic online news service Elaph (Arabic version here), 58 percent of Arabs think the construction should be moved elsewhere. And according to a Media Research Center study released last week, 55 percent of network news coverage of the debate has come down on the pro-Mosque side.
The MRC study also found that on the question of whether opposition to the mosque demonstrated a widely held "Islamophobia" among Americans, 93 percent of network news soundbites answered ion the affirmative. In contrast, when asked whether the United States is a "tolerant" or "bigoted" society, 63 percent of Elaph respondents chose the former.
So AP writer Allen Breed begins his recent mosque piece by defining the word, "tolerance." It's a traditional rhetorical device, one learned back in sixth grade while plagiarizing the Encyclopedia Britannica.
His piece focuses on religion, of course, - but not Islam, Christianity or even my favorite, "the universal life force of the Grand Unicorn."
His all powerful religion? Tolerance.
Of course, for him, tolerance can only play one way. As Yanks we must kneel before the alter of acceptance, while everyone else uses us as a footrest.
Hollywood westerns don't sell very well anymore. Remakes of westerns don't sell and they tend to remind those who do see them of the superiority of the originals. So remaking the iconic 1969 western, "True Grit," for which John Wayne received his only Best Actor Oscar, seems an odd choice for the Coen brothers.
But the extremely successful directors of "Fargo," "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" and "No Country for Old Men," are indeed remaking "True Grit." They stress that their effort is based more on the 1968 novel by Charles Portis than the original movie. Still, The Duke's portrayal of hard-drinking, one-eyed Marshall Rooster Cogburn has been a TV staple for decades. Portis' novel - not so much.
The Coens' quirky, often dark and sometimes absurd portraits of America couldn't be much more different from any flick in John Wayne's legendary career. And maybe that's the point. After all, any movie with America-bashing lefty Matt Damon in an important supporting role is bound to be at odds with traditional takes on the American frontier. All the more-so because Damon admitted, "I've never even seen the original John Wayne movie."
The Coens cast 2010 Best Actor Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges as Cogburn. Bridges will have to be a heck of an actor to do the character justice, because in real life, he couldn't be more different than Wayne, a traditional conservative.
Mango diplomacy, maybe. Mango defense, not so much.
It would be much less disconcerting to say the above headline is a joke, ripped from the headlines of The Onion. But alas, it is frighteningly accurate.
Hillary Clinton recently lauded the benefits of Pakistani mangos in a discussion of better trade cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As Reuters reports, "Hillary Clinton has lots to worry about in Pakistan, but she has found one thing she can wholeheartedly embrace: Pakistani mangos ... Clinton suggested mangos might be one place to start when discussing benefits of better trade cooperation, including Pakistani requests for improved market access."
But an analysis (emphasis mine) of Clinton's economic recovery efforts via CNN's Reza Sayah, defies explanation, and require a tremendous leap in logic from economic benefits, to military benefits (h/t Weasel Zippers via Michelle Malkin):
Well, I think the U.S., the Obama administration, is convinced that this is the right approach. In addition to the military approach, you have to have an economic approach. They say it's an interesting project here. If Mrs. Clinton has her way in the months and years to come, Pakistan will export more of its delicious and very juicy mangoes. Americans will eat them. It will all be a part of the fight against militants.
The Islamists mean to censor us one way or another: if not from fear of retaliation, then by retaliation. Shut your mouth, still your pens, stop thinking, or we will do it for you. Permanently.
Molly Norris, mild-mannered cartoonist, started a fire she cannot put out. As Rick Santelli’s “rant” on TV from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade fueled the Tea Party, Norris inspired thousands revolt against Islam. In a desiderative whim, she drew innocuous, refrigerator-door magnet caliber pictures which she claimed were images of
Mohammad: a spool of thread, a teacup, a spoon, and other mundane things. Overall, they looked more like idle doodles than passionate expressions of the freedom of speech. She posted them in protest of Viacom’s Comedy Central forbidding its cartoon show, “South Park,“ to depict Mohammad in a bear suit.
Fireworks, barbecue, parades on the Fourth of July ... but hold the flags.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Although Howard Zinn died earlier this year, that was his suggestion back in 2006. And what does The Progressive magazine do this July 4th? They trot Zinn's anti-American sentiments out for their left-of-center audience by republishing his piece, "Put away the flags."
"On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blesse[d]," Zinn wrote. "Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?"
And that disgusting sentiment comes in addition to Progressive magazine editor Matthew Rothchild's immature July 3 anti-patriotism piece saying that "between God, country, and apple pie, I'll take the apple pie" suggesting patriotism is "toxic."
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler on Tueday addressed Tavis Smiley's claim that Christian terrorists commit far more violence than Muslim ones. Smiley also issued a statement that defended his comments, though it misrepresented what those comments actually were.
"I don't think he made his case, or even came close," Getler said. He rightfully noted that the 2000 Columbine massacre, Smiley's only example of supposed Christian terrorism, "had nothing to do with Christianity." In fact, as Brent Bozell noted in his column today, the shooters even "mocked students who cried out for God to save them."
Though Getler should be applauded for noting Smiley's total failure to offer a convincing argument, he seems to suggest that a convincing case could be made, but simply wasn't in this instance. "One would think," Getler states, "that Smiley would have been better prepared to make what was certain to be a controversial case."
ABC's Jake Tapper reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is going to support Israel in the wake of international outrage over the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza Monday morning.
If Tapper is correct, one has to wonder whether the typically pro-Palestinian media here in America will stand with the President on this one.
Such seems especially intriguing given Obama's plummeting approval ratings and his increasingly frosty relations with press members that helped him get elected two years ago but now feel he's snubbing them at every turn.
Here's what Tapper wrote hours ago at ABC's Political Punch blog (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey):
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
On Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly held a discussion with FNC Strategic Analyst and retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters about the New York Times leaking information on U.S. military activity, as Peters charged that the Times was endangering covert agents: "They tipped our secret operations, our black operations approach to the Iranians, to the Syrians, to the terrorists. It made it much harder and much more dangerous for our agents, for our special operators to collect intelligence, to take direct action, to protect our country, to advance our interests." He and O’Reilly soon added:
RETIRED LIEUTENANT COLONEL RALPH PETERS: And it's also hurt us with countries that are pseudo-friends, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because, and Yemen, because it's said that we're going to run operations against them.
BILL O'REILLY: Yeah, they don't want their people to know they're cooperating with the United States in any kind of a mission or operation, Yemen in particular.
The FNC analyst also recounted some of the Times’s past transgressions against American national security:
The New York Times's former Middle East Bureau Chief thinks violent revolt is a laudable response to economic woes, and that murder is at least acceptable in pursuit of a far-left agenda. The media so concerned with the potential for violence from conservative groups are completely silent.
"Here’s to the Greeks," wrote Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com. "They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country." Riot, by Hedges's account, is the correct response. That the riots in Greece have so far killed three innocent people doesn't seem to bother him.
Oh but it's not violence borne of a frustration with an unsustainable welfare state that finally reached the inevitable conclusion of skyrocketing public benefits coupled with a fast-shrinking population. No, the riots are "a struggle for liberation" against the oppressive bourgeoisie (capitalists). Hedges is advocating in no vague terms mass political violence. The response from the media: crickets.
Which is more newsworthy: hearsay accounts of racial slurs unsupported by video evidence of the alleged incident, or video of a protester calling for violent revolution against the federal government, the imposition of socialism, and the annexation of the Southwestern states for Mexico?
If you chose the latter, you're probably not a journalist of the self-proclaimed "mainstream" variety. The legacy media has been largely silent on video of Los Angles schoolteacher at a La Raza protest of the recently-passed Arizona immigration law literally calling for the violent overthrow of the United States government.
"There's 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border, inside the belly of the beast," Los Angeles high school history teacher Ron Gochez told a frenzied crowd, referring to the 40 million Latin Americans in the United States. He went on to claim that teaching or writing a book "is not part of the movement," and that his followers needed to go a step further -- to literal revolution (video embedded below the fold - h/t Jawa Report).
Former leftist agitator Brandon Darby took the mainstream media to task today for toeing the administration line on supposed right-wing violence while ignoring the leftists who actually pose a threat to the nation's security.
Few know the measures political violence better than Darby (pictured right). He spent years as a radical leftist/anarchist, espousing hatred for the United States and advocating violent revolution. Eventually he realized the error of his ways, became an FBI informant, and helped foil a plot to bomb the 2008 Republican National Convention. So he knows a thing or two about radical, violent leftists.
What are his thoughts on the media's coverage of recent political violence (and the lack thereof)? He wrote at Big Government today that "the Mainstream media is currently peddling the Obama Administration myth that patriotic Americans, many of whom have served in our military or who otherwise have an American flag hanging proudly in their front yards, pose a grave threat to our nation’s security."
With the release of the Department of Defense's report on the November Fort Hood massacre, two trends are becoming increasingly clear: the administration does not want to talk about Islam's violent elements, and the mainstream media is more than willing to play along.
The administration's position clear to anyone examining official documentation. The Fort Hood report, the FBI's counterterrorism lexicon, and the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy do not even use the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, or Islam. The original 9/11 Commission Report, in contrast, used those words a combined 632 times.
The media's attitude towards radical Islam's role in this particular attack is evident in its reluctance to attribute Maj. Nidal Hasan's motives to jihad. The members of the media who share this attitude obfuscate the threats facing the nation.
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 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.
With the recently announced end of Fox's hit series "24," many liberal pundits are parading the show as a false depiction of the notion that "torture works." Contrary to their accusations, the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents.
"On '24,' torture saves lives," the New York Times's Brian Stelter writes, disapprovingly. James Poniewozik, writing on a Time Magazine blog, attributes the show's supposed approval of harsh interrogations to the "conservative politics of co-creator Joel Surnow."
Any American who has serious doubts that our military and intelligence officials would allow interrogators to, say, directly threaten the lives of a terrorist's family (let alone inflict tremendous physical pain) to elicit information has a better grasp of interrogation techniques -- and the integrity of our men and women in uniform -- than most of the liberal media.
Michael Moore: crusader and "common-man" - with a net-worth in the range of $25-50 million, appeared on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" with fill-in Lawrence O'Donnell March 15, continuing to fight the good fight against capitalism and health insurance companies.
Moore predicted the Democrats' ObamaCare will pass, "But this bill, as good as many of the thing are in the bill, you know - young people can stay on their parent's insurance until 26, that's a great thing - it's a death sentence for literally tens of thousands of people who are going to get sick, or have been sick, and because of their preexisting conditions."
To Moore, the current health care reform proposal does not go nearly far enough. He favors a universal single-payer system that would effectively be a government take-over of one-sixth the economy.
Over the weekend, Time Magazine published a long, glowing profile of Tom Hanks to help promote his upcoming HBO miniseries “The Pacific.” And as with all things entertainment media, the subject is never challenged or even made to shift uncomfortably in his seat. The push to ascend Hanks to “national treasure” status is clearly on.
Hanks does seem to be a genuinely nice man and the work he’s done to bring American history to life on film is impressive, especially during a time when the singling out of America’s exceptionalism is more and more frowned upon in artistic and academic circles. ”From the Earth to the Moon,” “Band of Brothers,” and “John Adams” are not only artistic achievements, but in this MTV-addled culture, might be the best hope of teaching America’s youth about the unique history and greatness of this nation. And I suspect ”The Pacific,” the 10-part miniseries premiering this Sunday on HBO (which Big Hollywood’s Michael Broderick will cover extensively) will be a worthy addition to what came before.
But when it comes to leftist Hollywood, whenever Tinseltown and America meet, you have to brace yourself for it — and by “it” I mean the leftist sucker punch. Throughout, Hanks sounds perfectly reasonable, intelligent and even patriotic for a couple of thousand words. But of course that’s just the lure to get us on his side before we’re walloped with this left cross: [emphasis mine]
Remember Van Jones? He's trying to make a comeback, and the mainstream media seems to be lending him a helping hand in getting back into the Washington power structure. Jones, in case you don't remember, was the administration's Green Jobs Czar. He resigned after it came to light that his name appeared on a 9/11 Truther petition.
That, it turned out, was not the extent of his wackiness. He led a vigil mourning "the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world." He was an admitted communist and black nationalist. Now, it turns out, he considered Americans who shipped off to Iraq to be human shields for Saddam Hussein "heroes."
He said just that on MSNBC's "The Abrams Report" in 2003, according to a transcript of the show (relevant portion below the fold). I would post video here, but MSNBC refuses to release it:
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
There has been a substantial push lately by some of Hollywood's big names to reeducate Americans on world history. The leftist-dominated television and film industries have taken it upon themselves to promote histories of the United States and its role in the world that portrays it as an evil, occasionally colonial, always destructive force in global relations.
The latest such effort is being undertaken by director Oliver Stone, well known for his loving portrayal of Venezuela's Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez and derisive portrayal of our previous president in "W". Now Stone has set his sights on Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. He plans to "liberalize" America's thinking regarding two of the 20th century's most murderous dictators by putting them "in context", whatever that means (h/t Hot Air headlines).
"We can't judge people as only bad or good," Stone said at the Television Critics Association's press tour, referring to two dictators who--unless this writer's understanding of history is not sufficiently "liberalized"--are responsible, in Hitler's case, for the extermination of 6 million Jews and 3 million others in killing camps during World War II, and in Stalin's, for the murders of 20 million individuals in Russia and Soviet-occupied Europe.
It seems, Stone's claims notwithstanding, that one is historically justified in classifying these two particular dictators as "bad".
First of all, let me wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, and I want to thank you all for reading this column and letting your thoughts be known by responding.
Whether your reaction to what I write be pro or con, it's always good to know what's on your mind, and I sincerely hope that you will continue to do so.
There is a great frustration abroad in America these days and goodness knows we have enough to be frustrated about; the economy, the two wars we are fighting, people walking unimpeded across our border from Mexico, a country that for all practical purposes is being controlled by a ruthless drug cartel.
The closing of businesses, the loss of jobs and the relentless cruelty of Islamic terrorists around the world all add up to a myriad of serious problems facing America today.
Although you will not hear it articulated in the mainstream media, I think what's bothering Americans more than any other single subject is the fact that we've lost control of our government.
In an interview on Fox News Channel’s Studio B on Wednesday, New York Congressman Peter King criticized President Obama for his “race to close Guantanamo,” prompting host Shepard Smith to parrot left-wing talking points on the subject: “[Obama] said that gave us a black eye around the world and studies seem to suggest that’s exactly what it did.”
King went on to staunchly defend the military prison: “I think we should not be giving in just because the terrorists say that Gitmo is a recruiting agent. So is our support of Israel. Does that mean we shouldn’t support Israel?” Smith skeptically replied: “You’re not equating the two, are you Congressman?” He then wondered: “Why is this political football being thrown around so much in the middle of all this?”
Smith later ranted: “Of all the important things to talk this just where we keep these people who want us dead, why do we spend time even talking about it? Why do people care?... In Cuba, we shoved them off to another country and stuck them on the end of an island and given the nation a black eye, if you believe – if you believe President Obama.” King pointed out Smith’s bias: “I think only a person that’s incredibly naive would say that we got – that we deserve that black eye. We got it because elements in the media and elements in the Democratic Party kept parroting that line.” In reply, Smith could be heard off camera sighing in disgust: “Ugh.”