"I said it before and I'll say it again," Amanpour said. "I believe that we failed as a profession to do our duty which is simply to ask the hard questions, to stay on it, to fact check and to cross-check and to not take one version of the story hook, line and sinker."
"Good Morning America" correspondent Chris Connelly talked with horror novelist, turned religious fiction writer, Anne Rice on Thursday about how friends reacted to her becoming a "Jesus freak." Though the interview was a friendly one, Connelly did ask, in a jovial tone, what it was like when friends said, "'Oh, my gosh. She's out of her mind. Oh, no. Look, she's become a 'Jesus freak.'"
Now, he did attempt to distance himself from the phrase "Jesus freak" by using air quotes, but would any reporter employ a similar term when dealing with a member of another faith? Continuing the over-the-top "conversation" that Connelly assumed people had with her, he imagined, "'She's gone over to the bright side. Where is our empress of vampiric alienation?'"
"Hmm, what's this?" I thought, so I clicked on the link to find a story by ABC's Martin Bashir teasing a February 26 "Nightline" story about N.T. Wright, an Anglican bishop and theologian. [It should be noted that Bashir referred to Wright by his middle name Thomas Wright rather than N.T. Wright, which is how you can search for his written works and Web site.]
Unfortunately in what was otherwise an informative and interesting article, I came across some passages that may illustrate how inaccurate Bashir's understanding of historic Christian doctrine is (emphasis mine):
‘View’ co-host Joy Behar followed up her anti-Catholic "saints are crazy" line, noting she "got in trouble with the Catholic Church." Though she emphasized it was "not all but some," she still called them "nuts" and "psychotic," and added that "not all of them deserved to be saints." Behar also added her opinions how crazy people in medieval Europe would be able to escape punishment by saying they were saints.
"I mean, let’s say that you were a person in those days, right? And you were hearing voices, and maybe you were mentally ill, but you were not stupid. As they say ‘I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.’ So you said to yourself, ‘let’s see, if people think I’m crazy they’re going to put me in a dungeon. If I pretend to be a saint, they’ll name a church after me.’"
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo presented a decidedly one-sided segment on Monday about the "gender discrimination" expressed by a private religious school in Kansas that refused to allow a female basketball referee the chance to call a boy's varsity game. Cuomo announced, "many" think that "religious belief does not give the school the right to discriminate."
The ABC host offered almost no consideration to the argument, made by St. Mary's Academy, that men are best equipped to guide boys and prepare them for future life endeavors. (The referee in question, Michelle Campbell, asserted that she was not allowed to call the game because the school believes women shouldn't have authority over men.) Instead, he offered loaded questions to Campbell, who appeared on the show: "Gender discrimination is not something new. We know about it. But were you surprised that something this obvious still confronted you today....Were you surprised?"
Eyeblast has the video: On CNN's The Situation Room on Friday, former NBA star (and current TNT basketball analyst) Charles Barkley trashed conservatives as "fake Christians." You could tell how much CNN was going to enjoy this. At the top of the hour, anchorman Wolf Blitzer promised: "Plus, he's rooting for Barack Obama and he's taking shots at Republicans and the religious right. You're going to find out who NBA great Charles Barkley is calling fake." The screen graphic also read: "Barkley Takes on the Right: Blasts 'Fake' Christians." Blitzer made no attempt to ask the basketball star how a "real" Christian can whole-heartedly support Obama's liberal social agenda.
Ted Turner may no longer own CNN and TNT, but his spirit -- "Christianity is a religion for losers" and pro-lifers were "bozos" and "idiots" -- is still strong in his former properties. Does TNT really want to invite all this political and religious controversy to turn people away from watching their basketball broadcasts?
A conservative Christian group yesterday criticized a large Methodist church in the District for planning to offer services that recognize gay and lesbian relationships, saying they violate the United Methodist ban on same-sex unions.
Foundry United Methodist Church, which Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton attended when he was president, decided last month to support its senior pastor's decision to lead services that "recognize and honor" committed gay relationships. Foundry clergy, however, do not perform union ceremonies, the local bishop said.
One could feel the disdain that Emma Jane Kirby felt toward Catholicism in a recent travel piece by BBC News. Her disgust and utter dismissal of the Catholic holy site at Lourdes, France was so thick it verged on hatred. Knocking the sentiment behind Lourdes, slamming the "fusty" feel to the place, mocking its religious sincerity and, finally, ending in condescension, Kirby was so disturbed by her visit that she exclaimed "Good God!" and did so "not in any laudatory way," as she points out. Her piece was a pure hit job on Lourdes in particular and Catholicism in general and provides another great example of European's hatred for religion and the BBC's campaign against traditional culture.
Lourdes is a massive Roman Catholic pilgrimage site with more hotels than any other French city, except Paris... It reminded me of my father's attic - small, overcrowded, fusty, and so stuffed full of junk that the minute I entered I used to panic, desperate to get out again.
Yesterday my colleague Noel Sheppard noted that some Anglican bishops are urging their flocks to go "carbon" free during Lent. Along the same eco-insanity line, Chicago Tribune's religion blogger Manya Brachear submitted a post on Tuesday wondering if there's a "moral obligation" that Catholic priests have to urge their parishioners to go "fishless" or vegetarian on Fridays given concerns about mercury contamination:
Roman Catholic bishops once urged parishioners to observe meatless Fridays as a year-round act of penance. Since Vatican II, bishops have upheld meatless Fridays only during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. The only exception is fish, prompting an annual run on seafood markets and a slew of fish fries in place of church potlucks.
But the dangers of eating tuna and swordfish, which scientists say is loaded with mercury, might be more flagellation than bishops had in mind. With Lent beginning Wednesday, should clergy encourage their flock to give up certain kinds of fish or go vegetarian?
Something from what I like to call the forgive but never forget file. From the MRC.org CyberAlert archives, March 7, 2001:
Ted Turner insulted attendees at Bernard Shaw’s retirement party, asking those on Ash Wednesday with a smudge on their foreheads if they were "a bunch of Jesus freaks," FNC’s Brit Hume reported Tuesday night.
Hume revealed during his "Grapevine" segment on Special Report with Brit Hume:
Imagine someone going on the radio and using Scripture to give you advice on your finances. To ABC's "World News," following this advice involves "radical" action.
The February 3 "World News Sunday" featured the financial advice of Howard Dayton. Dayton incorporates the Bible into his advice and says it's Biblical to get out of debt as soon as possible. But "World News" anchor Dan Harris portrayed the followers of this advice as a fringe element.
"Dayton urges families to pay them [debts, including home mortgages] off as quickly as possible, even if it involves radical belt tightening - advice the Pruitt family is following," Harris said.
Proving once again in good European form that they think nothing American is democratic, good or fair, Reuters gives us a pity party for CAIR who is whining that they "feel left out" of the 2008 presidential elections. With the headline blaring "Some non-Christians feel left out of election," Reuters gives us a tale of woe guaranteed to make Europeans shake their heads knowingly that we Americans are really just Christian nuts out to oppress all minorities. One does wonder, however, how CAIR would like it if Muslims did become a focus of the 2008 elections? In light of current events it is doubtful if such a focus would be favorable to them, so, were I them, I'd be happy no one is paying attention to them!
In a U.S. election campaign where presidential candidates from both major parties have talked openly about their Christian faith, some non-Christians feel shut out or turned off.
Listen, this is a majority Christian nation and anyone wanting to get elected is naturally going to talk as closely as possible to that majority. This country is still over 75% Christian, so it is a logical presumption that citizens whose religion represents only a few percentage points would not be a focus of a politician's efforts!
In a January 29 article for the Associated Press, reporter Rachel Zoll lambasted conservative Southern Baptists as "vicious" partisans who sought to "wipe out" any trace of liberals or moderates from the denomination. What's more, this characterization came while reporting on a gathering of "moderate" Southern Baptists set to convene tomorrow and featuring ex-presidents (and liberal Democrats) Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. (h/t Steve Barrett)
Both Clinton and Carter were raised Southern Baptist, but Carter has since cut ties to the Southern Baptist Convention and Clinton frequently attended the liberal Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., with his wife while president.
Here's Zoll's first two paragraphs:
Weary of Southern Baptists' dominance in American Protestantism, a new push is starting by other Baptist groups aimed at working on social justice issues, and showing their religious tradition is broader than the conservative SBC. Former President Jimmy Carter is leading the effort.
Ten days after ESPN sportscaster Dana Jacobson's "F*** Jesus" outburst, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann made a dopey crack that made light of the Christian belief that Jesus was resurrected in an immortal body from the dead.
The remark came at the end of his "World's Best Persons" feature on the January 21 program as Olbermann relayed the story of one Feliberto Carrasco of Chile, who awoke from an apparently deep slumber in a casket at a wake being held for the presumed-to-be-dead elderly gentleman.
Quipped Olbermann as he eased into a commercial break, "So do I have the etiquette correct here, does Mr. Carrasco get his own religion now, or what happens? Is there a vote?"
After making a long string of anti-Christian remarks, ESPN host Dana Jacobson is getting only a one-week suspension. Lucky for her she didn't say something about Mohammed or another member of the left's "protected class:"
Sources have confirmed that Jacobson, a co-host of "First Take" on ESPN2, currently is serving a one-week suspension because of her behavior at a Jan. 11 roast for ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic at Atlantic City, N.J.
In 2006, movie mogul James Cameron lent his name to a "documentary" detailing the "discovery" of the tomb of Jesus Christ and his family. The film was widely panned by archeologists, Christians, Jews and non-believers alike and the evidence of the find has been shown to be highly suspect. But, this doesn't seem to bother Time Magazine as the monthly is reviving the story once again in Jesus 'Tomb' Controversy Reopened, a story by Tim McGirk. Naturally, the entire article is written from the perspective of those who take the anti-Christian position on the story and Christians are presented as rejecting the "find" merely out of blind belief while those supporting the interpretation of the find as that of Jesus' final resting place are presented as serious scientists and academicians.
In the past few decades, as political correctness has taken hold of virtually every industry, folks involved in sports and sportscasting that have made racist or sexist remarks on camera have typically been fired or forced to make public apologies.
Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder's termination by CBS back in 1988 is a fine example, with the recent two-week suspension of Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman being another.
Yet, given what happened on an Atlantic City dais on January 11, where a high-profile ESPN anchor went on an alcohol-induced tirade which included a vulgar reference to Jesus Christ, it appears public antitheism is not politically incorrect.
After all, until this moment, you probably hadn't heard about this incident, and the person involved apparently has not been publicly admonished for her behavior by her employer.
While you consider such a double standard, Press of Atlantic City reported on January 12 (h/t NB reader Andy Traynor, readers are warned that vulgarity and blasphemy appear after the jump):
People that watch HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" are infinitely aware that the host is not only an atheist, but is also an antitheist, meaning that he hates religion.
No finer example of Maher's disdain for theism and Judeo-Christian principles occurred on Friday's installment of "Real Time" when he actually declared, "At least half of the [Ten] Commandments are stupid!"
This came moments after Maher proudly stated, "If I had a child, the last book I would ever give to teach morality would be the Bible, especially the Old Testament." This led one of his guests to say that Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain should be stoned for committing adultery.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
What does it say about the secular state of the MSM that a liberal media member has to defensively clarify for the record that she doesn't object to a candidate having "a moral grounding"?
During the opening half-hour of today's Morning Joe, a clip was played of Mike Huckabee describing to a South Carolina gathering how he found his faith as a 10-year old attending a vacation Bible school. He expressed the hope that others had experienced that joy and would share it with others.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The thing that I found is, if people don't get too down in the weeds about their faith, and don't seem like they're lecturing, then I think it gives people a sense of assurance: "OK, the guy's got a faith system; I'm comfortable with that, and now move on and tell me how you're going to run the country."
That seemed to put Mika Brzezinski on the defensive.
See update at bottom: Scarborough nails Shuster on Huck/Obama double-standard.
If a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, does Mike Huckabee's sweet way with a word make tolerable views that would be rejected as extreme in the mouths of others less verbally gifted?
That's Willie Geist's view of the matter. The genius of the Morning Joe panelist normally resides in his ability to avoid the controversial while remaining interesting. But the anodyne-if-endearing Geist went out of character in today's opening segment on the subject of Mike Huckabee. And he did so in a manner the former Baptist preacher might not find so fetching.
The subject was a speech Huckabee gave yesterday in which he advocated changing the Constitution to adapt to the word of God.
How left-wing is taxpayer-supported radio? WBAI-FM, the New York City home of the radical Pacifica Radio network that gets roughly $1 million each year in federal funds, is asking for contributions and offering a premium for $100 donors: a President Bush trash can that says "White Trash" on it.
For a short time only, WBAI offers a signed and numbered limited edition replica of New York artist, Robert Cenedella's "Basket Sculpture." This round metal construction is functional as a waste basket. Each measures 12" x 10".
For $100, which includes both shipping and a donation to WBAI, you can have the pleasure of trashing the President every day just as he has trashed the United States Constitution.
After Joy Behar’s inflammatory comments, claiming saints would be no more than mental patients in modern society, Fox News was the one of the very few major news outlets that picked it up. Other than Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, Fox News was the only news outlet that covered the Joy Behar craziness. In cyberspace, Fox News was the only major news website to report it.
Could it be that her comments were simply not newsworthy enough? Under the mainstream media’s standards with Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, they should be. On the January 11 edition of "Fox and Friends First" Steve Doocy noted Fox News’ sole voice.
"Extraordinarily, I was googling this last night. Fox News is pretty much the only outfit that is even talking about this. It’s so extraordinary."
According to "View" co-host Joy Behar, those sainted by the Catholic Church are no more than mentally ill individuals who heard voices. On the January 9 edition of "The View" Behar, who considers prayer a "distraction," suggested that there are no longer any saints due to modern medicine.
"I have a theory that you can’t find any saints any more because of psycho-tropic medication. I think that the old days the saints were hearing voices and they didn’t have any thorazine to calm them down. [laughter] Now that we have all of this medication available to us, you can’t find a saint any more."
Update (Jan. 7 | 14:30): This was mentioned earlier in the comments thread. You can see Maher's offensive comments beginning about 1:35 into the video posted on YouTube here.
Appearing on the Friday "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," comedian Bill Maher took repeated swipes at the Republican Party and conservatives as idiotic, bigoted, homophobic, you know, all the usual epithets.
Although his material was registering mostly nervous laughter from the audience, Maher plunged further into his assault on traditional values, attacking Christians, particularly Catholics, by insisting that one has to be "schizophrenic" to go about life normally for six days a week only to, on the seventh go to church and believe that when drinking communion wine one is drinking "the blood of a 2,000-year old space god."
FNC's morning anchors highlighted a few of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007" on the Monday edition of "Fox and Friends." Included were a quote of MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing Bill Clinton's speaking ability to that of "Jesus at the temple" when the former President spoke at Coretta King's funeral, and a quote of comedian Bill Maher commenting that if [Vice President Cheney] died, "more people would live." FNC co-anchor Alisyn Camerota joked that Matthews has a "man crush" on former President Clinton: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
At the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these "best of" lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it.
Is America ready to be led by a New Age pundit? There's been much scrutiny of the respective religions of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. But do we need to reconsider Maureen Dowd's fitness for op-ed office in light of her revelation that she has apparently embraced New Age spirituality, even undergoing a New Age "exorcism" complete with swinging crystal?
I kept waiting for Dowd to say it was all a joke -- but she never did. Her column of today, "Am I a Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon?", describes her experience, conducted by one Faith Green: "a pretty, curvy 31-year-old green-eyed blonde, [who] says she has studied tribal shamanism, rolfing, Pilates, tango, movement and stretching."
Here is the sort of ridiculousness that makes people distrust the media. The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a story that breathlessly proclaims that "More people say there should be less of a Christian emphasis placed on the holidays" making it appear that a Christian Christmas is falling into disfavor with the American people. Wow, how dire for Christianity! Yet when you look closer at the story, it turns out that only 27% of those responding to a poll are saying such a thing. It happens that 64% say there should be more focus on the birth of Jesus during Christmas. So, with such an overwhelming percentage in favor of the religious content of Christmas why is the headline focused on the anti-Christian sentiment? As a result of that negative focus, should someone simply read the headline, a false impression that contradicts the facts is quickly fostered.