On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik "seemed to be heavily influenced by some people in this country who write and blog about the perceived threat from Islam."
In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff noted how writings of Robert Spencer, the associate director of Stop the Islamization of America, were cited several times in Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto and declared that "some analysts say words can be weapons themselves." A sound bite was featured of Heidi Beirich of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence."
After showing behind anchor Russ Mitchell an image of the sign "To Gaza with Love" from one of the flotilla boats planning to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Saturday’s CBS Evening News showed a report highlighting the allegedly nonviolent intentions of American activists on board one of the ships - named "The Audacity of Hope" - without noting that, during last year’s anti-Israel flotilla trip, some activists attacked Israeli troops as they attempted to board. CBS correspondent Barry Peterson merely recounted that Israeli troops killed some of the activists without explaining why:
Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship.
A clip was shown of this year’s activists sitting on the floor in a circle as if practicing to nonviolently resist Israeli troops.
On Tuesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Philip Reeves lamented the supposedly "anti-Muslim" climate in Denmark, noting that the country was once "considered a model of tolerance," but now, "men...[with] beards and traditional Islamic robes....are no longer entirely welcome, because some Danes want them to leave." Reeves quoted one imam who feared "a spiral, in which anti-immigration nationalist extremists fuel Islamist extremists and vice versa."
Host Robert Siegel wasting little time in setting a slanted tone in his introduction to the correspondent's report, which referenced the recent legal victory of Dutch politician Geert Wilders:
On NBC's Sunday Meet the Press, host David Gregory took on an alarmist tone as he worried that any significant attempts to address the nation's enormous debt could lead to violence: "Look at the images that came out of Greece this week as you've got...big cuts in public spending. And this is the result, rioting in the streets....Could we have that kind of reaction here?"
Gregory posed that question to Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham early in the program, further fretting: "Are we headed in this direction with the kind of actions we're talking about in terms of cutting public spending?...Is there a risk...that these draconian cuts in spending that so many Americans think are necessary may actually halt what we're still...seeing as a very fragile, very weak economic recovery?"
I've seen Associated Press reporters make absurd assertions before, but a statement written by Julie Pace and Vanessa Gera, who covered President Barack Obama's trip to Poland yesterday, has to be at or near the top of the list of all-time humdingers.
Polish Solidarity hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa did not meet with Obama yesterday. Wait until you see the sheer speculation as to why there was no meeting in the bolded sentence in the fourth paragraph of the following excerpt from the AP pair's Friday evening report:
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Renee Montagne and Scott Horsley spotlighted the "warm welcome" President Obama received during his recent visit to Ireland. Horsley marveled at the "large crowds lining the street to welcome him," as well as the "enthusiasm with which they greeted the American president. This is something we really haven't seen in the U.S. for a couple of years."
Montagne turned to the White House correspondent, who is traveling with the President, to report on Mr. Obama's European visit. After devoting the bulk of the segment to the British portion of the trip, the NPR anchor asked about the commander-in-chief's stop in the Emerald Isle and set up Horsley's effusive reply:
On Monday's Today on NBC, correspondent Norah O'Donnell excitedly touted President Obama's stop in Ireland on his latest European trip as she proclaimed: "The Irish eyes are smiling today as this country welcomes President Obama. And I can tell you that the people here in Moneygall are overjoyed that Obama has Irish roots."
The report opened with a musical rendition of 'There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama,' as O'Donnell described how "Obama's ancestral hometown....got a face lift, a fresh coat of paint and an Obama Café." After discovering from a local priest that Obama's Irish ancestors were well-off shoemakers that may have provided charitable aid to others in the small town, O'Donnell wondered: "So you're telling me that his great, great, great, great grandfather and ancestors were community organizers?"
While reporting on the sexual assault case against International Monetary Fund Chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday's Today, NBC correspondent Jeff Rossen noted how the would-be Socialist Party candidate for the French presidency had "worried his political opponent, current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, would try to frame him with a fake rape..."
Rossen further added that Strauss-Kahn once told a French newspaper that the rape victim would be "promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent this story" by Sarkozy. Following Rossen's report, correspondent Michelle Kosinski highlighted French outrage over Strauss-Kahn's arrest: "I would say that the reaction ranges from disbelief to outright disgust. To see their VIP paraded before cameras, the socialists are calling it 'inhumane'....they're saying that this looks like a humiliating public exhibition like something from ancient times."
The headline on screen during the segment read: "French Conspiracy Theories; Was Banker Set Up as Part of Political Plot?"
Eleanor Beardsley slanted towards opponents of France's ban on the niqab, or Islamic face veil, on two NPR programs on Monday. Beardsley played several sound bites from French Muslims during her Morning Edition report who forwarded the notion that the law contributes to an "anti-Muslim climate" in the country, and agreed with a guest on Tell Me More who labeled the ban "sinister."
The correspondent, who is based in France, led her report on Morning Edition with a clip from the imam of a mosque in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, who stated, "You know there is an Islamophobic climate right now and the police don't like to see us praying in the streets." She also turned to another Muslim man who singled out the niqab ban for contributing to this apparent climate:
Drucker came to NPR with the earnest recommendation that America desperately needs a significant hike in marginal tax rates that's more like socialist Europe, and perhaps a little value-added tax on top for seasoning:
The Associated Press reported that a Polish gay activist group called Rainbow Stand (or Teczowa Tribuna) wanted separate seating for gay and lesbian soccer fans to protect them from harassment and violence. William Donohue of the Catholic League took exception to this outburst of anti-religious bias:
Polish soccer matches are often the scene of violent attacks and fights involving hooligans.
Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism — which treated homosexuality as a taboo — and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
While it is quite clear that the officials of WikiLeaks are leftists, there are more conservative media outlets picking through its scraps. The Telegraph in the U.K. has found a scandal: that the British government manipulated the Libyans into releasing a mass-murdering terrorist on his cancer diagnosis:
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Parker-Spitzer on CNN, Chrystia Freeland of Reuters claimed that the European economy is at an advantage compared to the U.S. because of America’s lack of universal health care. But, when fellow guest Will Cain of the National Review pointed out that America’s economy outperforms Europe, Freeland was only able to name one nation in Europe - Germany - whose economy is performing impressively. Freeland: "I also think it’s a little bit of a mistake to be talking about how bad European economies have been doing recently. ... if you look at the industrialized nations, Germany is racing ahead. German economic growth is on a tear, so is Canadian-
Cain jumped in: "I commend you on your choice of Germany, but you picked the one out of about 12."
Freeland persisted in promoting Germany as co-host Eliot Spitzer jumped in to agree:
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, but Germany is doing fantastically well.
ELIOT SPITZER: And Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the one that is driving the export-driven economy where their labor capital relationship is very much one that follows the blueprint of a global, of universal health care.
Cain quipped: "Good job, guys, on using Germany. I’ve got Greece, Spain, U.K., France, all with universal health care, expansive health care coverages, and their economies are literally imploding."
Correction [December 7; 15:05 EST]: Ms. Bachmann has informed me Tages-Anzeiger is based in Zurich, not Geneva.
The liberal media are generally fond of touting European countries for their liberal domestic policies, chastising America by comparison for being too conservative.
But when the electorate of such a country votes to institute a strong conservative policy over the objections of its political elite, the media's fascination with the European everyman evaporates.
Take Sunday's vote by Swiss citizens to institute a referendum law requiring foreigners convicted of serious crimes to be expelled from the country after serving out their sentences. Fifty-three percent of voters approved the bill, dismissing the objections of their professional political class who urged "no" votes.
Covering the story, the Christian Science Monitor decried the move as "the latest example of a sweeping set of popular antiforeigner measures around Europe":
Europe isn’t socialist enough for ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who pushed French’s finance minister about how “prominent” economists are urging Europe to abandon “austerity” since “it needs more stimulus to provide more growth,” and later during the This Week roundtable, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ridiculed Tea Party candidates as “irrational” and “seriously strange” before he insisted that irrationality is demonstrated by their inability to recognize Barack Obama is a “centrist moderate President.”
Krugman asserted: “If we have a Republican Party that actually takes the White House, actually has control of Congress, but contains a large wing of these people, it's going to be incapable of making real choices. These are people who are as irrational as they seem in these ads.” He soon parodied the views of Tea Party enthusiasts:
"The State Department has issued a "travel alert" for Europe—underscoring the effect Muslim-bashing politicians have had on the terror threat on the continent," reads the subheadline to an October 4 Newsweek story by Christopher Dickey and Sami Yousafzai.
In "Turn On the Red Light," Dickey and Yousafzai went so far as to suggest that anti-Islamist politicians like the Netherlands' Geert Wilders actually wanted to goad radical Islamists into violent acts (emphasis mine):
His poll numbers over here may be falling, but the New York Times found a place where Barack Obama is still very popular and bringing the hope: The slum-like “banlieues”outside Paris dominated by Muslim immigrants, in Thursday’s “Feeling Slighted by France, And Respected by the U.S.” by France-based reporter Scott Sayare.
The residents of this poor, multiracial Paris suburb say they have been abandoned. For 30 years, they say, the French authorities have written off Bondy and neighborhoods like it, treating their inhabitants as terminal delinquents and ignoring their potential.
Obama evidently has the French slum vote locked up:
"To survive in a hostile world, guys need to embrace girly jobs and dirty diapers," argued the Newsweek writers Andrew Romano and Tony Dokoupil in the subheadline of their September 20 article "Men's Lib."
The writers set out to explain "[w]hy it’s time to reimagine masculinity at work and at home."
If American men want to be competitive in a global economy, they argued, they need to suck it up and get comfortable with the idea of working traditionally "girly jobs" and/or being stay at home dads:
It’s possible to imagine protectionist trade and immigration policies boosting blue-collar employment at the margins. But the U.S. can’t stop globalization. If male morale—and the American economy—are ever going to recover, the truth is that the next generation of Homer Simpsons will have to stop searching for outsourced manufacturing jobs and start working toward teaching, nursing, or social-service positions instead.
Fair enough. But Romano and Dokoupil also cast their gaze across the Atlantic, arguing America needs public policies that emulate European countries on paid parental leave, particularly paid paternal leave (emphasis mine):
Predictably, Thursday's American Morning on CNN marked the Pope Benedict XVI's first day in the UK with a report on dissenting Catholic women who claimed they are ordained priests, contrary to the teachings of the Church. Correspondent Carol Costello took a misinterpretation of a recent Church document on ordination as fact, and ran only one sound bite from a Vatican official.
Substitute anchor Drew Griffin introduced Costello's report 24 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour with the misinterpretation of the Catholic document, forwarded by the mainstream media outlets such as Time magazine, that it condemns the simulated ordination of women as "a crime similar to pedophilia." However, a July 16 Reuters story quoted Monsignor Charles Scicluna's clarification: "Scicluna, an official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women's ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon...law....While sexual abuse was a 'crime against morality,' the attempt to ordain a woman was a 'crime against a sacrament.'"
The CNN correspondent began by highlighting the apparent negative response the Pope is receiving in the UK due to his visit: "You heard Kiran mention that Pope Benedict is now in Britain. He's there to appeal to the millions of Catholics in that country. But his visit is not without controversy. Many tickets remain unsold, which suggest many of Britain's Catholics are indifferent to his presence." She continued by introducing the subject of her report: "You could argue many American Catholics feel the same way, because of the way the Vatican handled the sex abuse scandal. Some say it's time for a change in leadership- a big change, that includes women."
A Washington Post news story earlier this week served to demonstrate that mainstream media journalists apply the same prism overseas as they do domestically when covering illegal immigration and the Ground Zero mosque: When an overwhelming majority of the public goes against the media’s position, journalists see division and portray politicians sharing the majority position as causing rancor.
Case in a point: An article from Paris on page A6 of the Tuesday, August 31, Washington Post, “Crackdown on Roma divides French: Unease grows as Sarkozy razes camps, expels residents,” in which the newspaper’s Edward Cody led: “Much of France has returned from summer vacation in a rancorous mood, disturbed by a crackdown ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy against illegal Roma camps and naturalized immigrant youths who attack police in troubled suburbs.” Yes, the French people are “disturbed” that the police are reacting against immigrants who attack them.
Cody proceeded to assert “the unease over the action against illegal Roma immigrants, most from Romania and Bulgaria, has been particularly strong, with the expulsions drawing criticism at home and abroad.” Indeed, “for many, such policies undermine France's idea of itself as a haven for exiles and a beacon for human rights. Similar fears of intolerance were raised in July when, at Sarkozy's urging, the National Assembly passed a law banning women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public.”
Liberal Democratic strategists reading today's Washington Post are probably taking notes, preparing talking points for a future which may hold a Republican Congress in the cards.
"British women to bear budget pain" cried the page A6 headline. "Report says austerity plan mostly cuts into women's livelihoods," added the subheader for London-based Post staffer Anthony Faiola's story.
Faiola noted that "[t]he Fawcett Society, a leading women's rights group here, filed an unprecedented complaint with the nation's high court this month, arguing that the government failed to consider the effect on women of its leaner 'emergency budget.'"
At no point did Faiola find a critic to allege that the social welfare system in Britain itself was "sexist" or at least that it victimizes poor Britons, particularly women, by creating a culture of dependency on the state.
Those who don't believe that high taxes on the rich don't influence economic activity or economic behavior, which of course includes many in the establishment press, are going to have a tough time explaining away this brief item that's being reported in the Associated Press:
Tour officials hampered by UK tax rules
European Tour officials are in talks with the British government over tax rules which they say could deter leading golfers from playing in the Ryder Cup in October.
Players competing in the match between Europe and the United States at Celtic Manor, Wales, could be seriously affected by new rules issued by the customs and revenue agency, which can now tax foreign sportsmen and women not just on prize money earned but on sponsorship and endorsements.
Mitchell Platts, the European Tour's director of public relations corporate affairs, said Tuesday the tax rule was "seriously hampering our efforts."
Great Britain has a new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and what a mess it is as they face is the largest budget deficit in Europe. Where, oh where, will they cut the budget? Horror of horrors, one obvious target is funding for the arts “in the land of Shakespeare.” When the the Empire is so broke National Health Service is refusing people hip replacements, it's probably not a good idea to suggest it's more important to fund the ballet.
Especially when the government-bankrolled ballet is “The Spirit of Diaghilev.”
Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post reports the usual line we hear in America about arts funding, that taxpayer monies provide artists with “independence,” and all that blather. But then he quite seriously maintains that government is a “beacon for controversial pieces, such as one staged last year at Sadlers Wells in which” – are you ready for this? – “the pope sexually abuses an altar boy through an interpretive dance.”
Travel writer and public television personality Rick Steves lauded Europeans's "more relaxed" attitude about nudity in public and on television while labeling Americans "overly prudish" by comparison in a Tuesday column on CNN.com: "I like a continent where the human body is considered a divine work of art worth admiring openly."
Steves's ode to European nudity began six paragraphs into the column, "European nudes and American prudes," after he gave a detailed sketch of his 1978 experience at a Turkish bath: "Any traveler to Europe who's visited a bath, perused a newsstand, hung out at a beach or park on a sunny day, or channel-surfed broadcast TV late at night has noticed that Europeans are more relaxed than Americans about nudity."
The writer, who, back in 2003, feared that the American flag was being "hijacked" as a "logo" for support of the war in Iraq, then spent several paragraphs describing how widespread this practice is on the European continent and how apparently great it is (including his "overly prudish" label about Americans):
Antonia Senior of The Times of London revealed her extremist position in favor of abortion in a June 30 column. Senior bluntly admitted that the intentional killing of the unborn was a cause she would be willing to die for, and while acknowledging it was "taking a life," she labeled it was a "lesser evil," for, in her view, "you cannot separate women's rights from their right to fertility control."
The British journalist, is the personal finance editor for The Times, began her column with outlining the extent to which abortion is a core issue for her. Senior noted that in the Tower of London, there's an "interactive display that ask visitors to vote on whether they would die for a cause." After eliminating dolphins and even her own country of England as potential choices, she continued that she "could think of one cause I would stake my life on: a woman's right to be educated, to have a life beyond the home and to be allowed by law and custom to order her own life as she chooses. And that includes complete control over her own fertility."
Overall, the news media have been supportive of the Obama's spending requests, a trend some continued in reports about the summit.
An "American Morning" segment painted a flattering picture of Obama at the G-20 summit by ignoring the "rift" between Obama's push for more stimulus and Europe's desire to slash budgets. Christine Romans made it sound as if everyone came to an agreement.
For the second day in a row, French President Nicolas Sarkozy shared the blame for France's surprising loss in the opening round of soccer's World Cup -- in a story in the New York Times's news section.
Jere Longman's Wednesday front-page story transmitted rants from Socialist Party opponents of the right-leaning, Bush-supporting Sarkozy, accusing him of being "President Bling Bling" and promoting a national "selfishness" that seeped into the players' psyches.
While most politicians have talked carefully of values and patriotism, rather than immigration and race, some legislators blasted the players as "scum," "little troublemakers" and "guys with chickpeas in their heads instead of a brain," according to news reports.
Fadela Amara, the junior minister for the racially charged suburbs who was born to Algerian parents, warned on Tuesday that the reaction to the team's loss had become racially charged.
"There is a tendency to ethnicize what has happened," she told a gathering of President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing party, according to news reports. "Everyone condemns the lower-class neighborhoods. People doubt that those of immigrant backgrounds are capable of respecting the nation."
She criticized Mr. Sarkozy's handling of a debate on "national identity," warning that "all democrats and all republicans will be lost" in this ethnically tinged criticism about Les Bleus, the French team. "We're building a highway for the National Front," she said, in a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Sometimes even the seemingly most unreasonable characters as far public policy goes can be reasoned with if the circumstances are right. Just sometimes it takes someone like Steve Forbes to pull it off.
"Well, when you engage in binge spending and the idea that going to revive an economy, you just get in a spiral on that," Forbes explained. "In terms of countries like Greece what should be done, in addition to the necessary austerity, is they haven't put in place policies, Joe that we did in the early '80s that enabled this country to get back on its feet.