Update (13 Feb. | Ken Shepherd): Tomaso responds here, dismissing the notion that he exhibited any liberal bias. Commenters to his blog post are divided.
Condescending secular elitism isn’t just for the coasts anymore. It can even come from red state Texas.
On The Dallas Morning News’s Religion blog Feb. 12, Bruce Tomaso wrote a post called “Alabama and Iran Have Something in Common.” It stemmed from a recent Gallup poll that asked people around the world, “How important is religion in your daily life?” The poll found, among many other things, that nearly the same percentage of the population of Iran (83 percent) and Alabama (82 percent) said that religion was important to them.
Tomaso thought this was a riot: “Since I've never been to Iran and haven't spent enough time in Alabama to have a well-formed opinion, I refrain from cleverly drawing further comparisons,” he wrote. “But that doesn't mean you wiseakers can't!”
CNN correspondent Zain Verjee, in a report posted on CNN.com on January 17, likened the expected large crowds for the inauguration of Barack Obama to the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca: “The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world.”
As Israel "assaulted" Hamas positions in Gaza with a ground offensive following an aerial bombardment, the New York Times's dispatches over the weekend began to slant toward pro-Palestinian sympathy, reminiscent of its biased coverage of Israel's attack on the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Ray Rivera attended a Times Square anti-Israel demonstration on Saturday that was filled with left-wing protestors. Yet no trace of that ideology made it into his Sunday story, "Rally Protests Fighting in Gaza -- Pro-Palestinian Crowd Marches to Israel Consulate." The text box claimed: "Across Seventh Avenue, others vent their anger at Hamas." As if the anti-Israeli protestors weren't showing anger toward the entire nation of Israel.
Anger over the Israeli assault on Gaza spilled into Times Square on Saturday, as hundreds of protesters condemned the attacks in a demonstration that stretched four blocks and clogged much of the city's central tourist district for several hours.
The protest came as Israeli troops began a ground incursion into the Hamas-controlled territory in what officials described as an effort to end Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel. The land campaign followed eight days of Israeli airstrikes that have killed more than 430 Palestinians, many of them civilians.
Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star is the quintessential example of a self-hating European, I must say. He is a journalist that sides with those who advocate the destruction of his own culture just so he can puff himself up that he "gets it" and he does this willingly ala the useful idiots of old. In his latest pretense at journalism, Potter takes such glee indulging his Bush derangement syndrome (BDS) that he ends up accepting the terms of what "insult" means among Muslim hatemongers and terrorists and employs that as a weapon against Bush and the USA. It does not occur to this writer at all that we should scoff at what they think is an insult because he accepts their cultural concepts in place of our own.
First of all, the Toronto Star gives our Euro-weenie the exalted status of "Mitch Potter, Europe Bureau," though it would have been better grammatically -- less clumsy at least -- to say he is "Mitch Potter, European Bureau," but be that as it may. What strikes us at first glance is Potter’s penchant for the insufferable style of too many "reporters" in today's world of woefully untalented journalists. That would be the appalling practice of the one sentence "paragraph."
As NewsBuster Dan Gainor has noted, Playboy Mexico thought it could make some pesos by peddling an issue with a scantily-clad Virgin Mary on the cover—just in time for Christmas. Today's Los Angeles Times contains an editorial denouncing the tasteless stunt. All well and good. But it set me to wondering. Did the LAT protest similar outrages against religous symbols when they appeared in the US?
The infamous "Piss Christ" comes to mind. Even more on point is the portrait of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by lacquered elephant dung and cutouts from pornographic magazines, that the Brooklyn Museum found worthy of display.
The Associated Press is as much as blaming the victim for the attack again with theirs headlined "Obama says he wants to 'reboot' America's battered image among Muslims." In this report we get the AP saying that the reason the Muslim world is mad at us is because of George W. Bush. But not a word is mentioned about why Bush might have been in a position of interacting so heavily with the Muslim world in the first place. How soon the AP forgets a little thing we like to call 9/11.
Using Obama's claim that he'll use his full given name, Barack Hussein Obama, as he's sworn into office, the AP trumpets how Obama will "repair America's reputation worldwide" after that dastardly Bush leaves the Oval Office. AP's thoughts on why Obama must undertake this grave effort, though, are interesting.
Apparently, if one calls an Arab-American an A** H*le, Reuters and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee want all Americans to know that this is to be considered a "violent hate crime." At least that is what it seems when looking over the very lose and sloppy definition of "violent hate crimes" in a recent story on the falling numbers of such crimes against Arab-Americans in the U.S.
While ostensibly a good story -- discrimination against Arab-Americans has decreased -- it is still odd that Reuters allows this Muslim advocacy group to define even name calling as a "hate crime" and "violent" at that. So many levels of behavior are categorized under the rubric "hate crime" here that it really makes a mockery of the term, if one is even disposed to accept such a term in the first place.
It reads like the lyrics of the song in West Side Story where the "Jets" gang members sing to Officer Krupke claiming they are just misunderstood kids, not punks and criminals. The Minneapolis Star Tribune takes this approach to the story of young male Somali refugees that have taken residence in Minneapolis who have decided to go back to Somalia to "visit." The suspicion is, though, that are they going back to join terrorist gangs there. The Star Trib claims they absolutely are not in its coverage, however. Yet, for some unexplained reason, the Star Trib also leaves out the fact that Somali recruiters have been seen roaming the streets of Minneapolis encouraging Somali men to return for just that purpose, as well as other important details linking the “visits” with terrorism.
Why would the Star Trib leave out such important facts in the story?
From Beirut, Chawki Freiha reports* on a provocative editorial that appeared in the Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper on November 3 written by Abdelbari Atwan, the first journalist to have met with Osama bin Laden. Titled “Obama’s Historic Intifada,” Atwan praises the probable election of Barack Obama to the White House and claims that with Obama installed in Washington, Islam will be able to “impose its point of view” on the world.
As to be expected, Atwan’s editorial decries the Bush administration because it is “controlled by Zionists… whose objective is to destroy the Arab world and Islam.” Displaying true Muslim conspiratorial thinking, Atwan further claims that all Middle Eastern countries have been under the control Israel, even though the Arabs have the “largest wealth” in the world in petrodollars.
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Ray Suarez (pictured at right) thinks concerns over Barack Obama's liberalism are transparent proxies for something more sinister: racism. What's more, the PBS "NewsHour" reporter suggested that McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin is the campaign's point woman charged with "pil[ing] on the doubt" about Obama's fitness for office.
When interviewed by Eyeblast.tv last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by his company, is "pretty serious" about removing the "strange" videos that keep popping up on the site, especially videos "that can be used to incite bad outcomes." Apparently videos designed to incite Catholics don't fall into that category.
A YouTube user who goes by the moniker "fsmdude" has posted more than 30 videos under the title "Eucharist Desecration." Each video features an attack on a symbol that Catholics consider sacred -- by blow gun, nail gun, boiling, sword and cigarette in a few recent episodes.
The creator of the videos isn't subtle about his intent. He was angered by reports of a college student allegedly receiving e-mail threats from "fanatical Catholics" after the student snatched a wafer at mass, so "fsmdude" decided to repeatedly profane the Eucharist on camera for all to see.
Amid all the false media hubub about Sarah Palin being an alleged "book banner" comes much more serious news about the British publisher of "Jewel of Medina," a book about the child-bride of Islamic prophet Mohammed has been set afire:
Three men arrested in north London on suspicion of terrorism continue to be questioned by police. They are suspected of attempting to set fire to a publisher's office in Lonsdale Square, Islington.
The publisher, Gibson House, is due to release a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride, entitled "The Jewel of the Medina."
Writing in today's Washington Post, ombudsman Deborah Howell focuses on political cartoons and how in many cases they can cause offense. I was struck in particular by a few of Howell's offhand admissions most. The first is that the top editorial cartoonists across the country are mostly liberal.
That concession came after Howell had briefly profiled Pat Oliphant, one of America's best-known cartoonists, who attracted controversy over a recent cartoon that ridiculed GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Pentecostal faith and its belief in glossolalia, the ability to speak unknown languages in a moment of inspiration.
That is where the second admission comes into play. The Post, which has the ability to reprint any Oliphant cartoon as part of its deal with his syndicator, chose not to reprint the cartoon in its print edition even though it did so on its web site, something it did not do with the famous Mohammed cartoons:
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
Two weeks ago, my colleague Matthew Sheffield noted an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about a publishing company going back on its agreement to publish a historical fiction/romance novel centered around Aisha, a wife of the Prophet Muhammad. As of August 21, the mainstream broadcast media networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) are ignoring the controversy, even as more print outlets cover the developing story.
In her weekly Q&A session for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, reporter Deborah Solomon conducted a strongly hostile interview with Brigitte Gabriel, Lebanese-American journalist and opponent of radical Islam, while the headline blurb referred to Gabriel as a "radical Islamophobe."
The best-selling author and radical Islamophobe talks about why moderate Muslims are irrelevant, the lessons we should have learned from Lebanon and dressing like a French woman.
Is the Times calling Gabriel radical because she has an irrational fear ("phobia" or "-phobe") of Islam in general, or is "radical Islamophobe" a too-cute way of saying Gabriel has an irrational fear of radical Islam? Either way, the incredibly suspicious, hostile tone of Solomon's questioning is clear.
On a special Saturday edition of MSNBC's Hardball, while previewing that night's presidential candidates forum hosted by evangelical leader Rick Warren, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd seemed to suggest that it is not out of the ordinary for evangelical Christians to feel "personal hatred" toward a Democratic presidential candidate. Todd, who is normally relatively balanced in his coverage of politics, once even admitting to being a "fan" of the MRC despite a history of working for liberal Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, made the uncharacteristic remarks as he contended that the forum would give Barack Obama an opportunity to keep evangelicals from feeling "personal hatred" toward him. Todd: "It's a huge opportunity for Obama tonight to at least not be hated by the evange-, look, these folks are not going to ever support him. They know what kind of judges he's going to appoint. It's going to be judges that evangelicals aren't going to be happy with. But they're not going to, if they don't have a personal hatred of him, then that's a good thing for Obama."
Update: NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reports that Todd has since apologized for his comments.
Quite a feat: CNN has pulled off the MSM equivalent of describing a spiral staircase without using one's hands. It has managed to produce a segment on "honor killings" and related violence in the UK . . . without using the word "Muslim" or "Islam." CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon introduced the segment this afternoon at 1:37 PM EDT.
DON LEMON: Women forced into marriages, or killed for having the wrong boyfriend. So-called "honor crimes" are often committed by fathers or brothers when daughters do something that supposedly brings shame on the family. It's on the rise in Britain, and authorities, they are very worried about it. Our Paula Newton reports.
Self-censorship toward radical Muslims continues to be a problem in corporate America. The latest casualty: a book by author Sherry Jones about Aisha, the favored wife of Islam's founder Mohammed, whom he is said to have betrothed when she was less than ten years old.
Writing in today's Wall Street Journal, Asra Q. Nomani tells how the book, "The Jewel of Medina," got canceled by would-be publisher Random House thanks to a politically correct professor of Islamic studies named Denise Spellberg:
In an interview about Ms. Jones's novel, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group, said that it "disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now." He said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received "from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."
After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Mr. Perry said the company decided "to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."
Imagine if the principal of a Catholic school in the metro D.C. region was found guilty of failing to report an allegation of child sexual abuse. It'd be considered worthy of front page news for the Washington Post, at the very least a front pager for the paper's Metro section.
Yet reporting the conviction of Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan on July 31, the Post buried the story on the 6th page of the Metro section. Here's how staffer Tom Jackman opened his story:
The director general of a controversial private Islamic school in Fairfax County has been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse and fined $500.
Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, head of the Islamic Saudi Academy on Route 1 in the Mount Vernon area, was arrested last month by Fairfax police, who said Al-Shabnan had been informed of the possible sexual abuse of a 5-year-old student at the school. School authorities are required by law to report alleged child abuse within 72 hours.
In yet another example of why the west might not beat the onslaught of radical Islamofascism, Minette Marrin of the Timesonline thinks she has found a solution to the clash of cultures. Marrin details the extremism evinced by too many Muslims in England and then posits a solution: ban all religion. Talk about an absurd idea. It's as foolish as throwing out the baby with the bath water. It also discounts thousands of years of worthy and enlightened western culture influenced, guided and based on Christian philosophy.
In To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups, Marrin's wooly headed prescription also serves as a fine example of the most shallow of PC, postmodern "thinking." Famed French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré once said that, "to doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." It is a lesson in discernment and critical thinking that escapes most on the left, and specifically this prosaic, anti-intellectual Timesonline columnist.
Barack Obama returned to Chicago Sunday and made an appearance before the UNITY minority journalists' convention (including the whole soup of black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalist solidarity groups.) The Chicago Tribune's Swamp blog found some journalists were restrained, and some were not:
At UNITY, the applause was restrained, after organizers reminded conference participants that the appearance was being nationally broadcast and they should make every effort to maintain "professional decorum."
Still, Obama received a standing ovation from many in the audience at the start and end of his appearance. There was also a rush toward the stage after his speech, as Obama shook hands and signed autographs.
One journalist was also overheard wishing him luck, while another squealed, "He touched me!" as she left the ballroom.
Obama offered up his support for "affirmative action" programs, and addressed the idea that he's dissing Muslims and he dispels rumors he's a Muslim:
Bloomberg News is acting as if they know how "many Muslims around the world" feel about Barack Obama. In Bloomberg's considered opinion, Obama is "just an American with a Muslim middle name" and won't "advance" the "interests" of Muslims. The main point that Bloomberg seems to be trying to sell is that Barack Obama's Muslim past will not make him tend to bow to world-wide Muslim sentiment. Bloomberg is obviously doing their best to prop up the Obama campaign by trying to allay fears that Obama will be a disaster on foreign policy. This is a perfect example of agenda journalism disguised as news.
So, how do the folks at Bloomberg know what the world's Muslims think about Barack Obama? Is it polls? Did they conduct extensive interviews or research on how Muslims feel about Obama? No, it seems more like Bloomberg's opinion is loosely based on the opinions of the three Muslims they quote and a broad interpretation of one poll on Obama and one on Muslim opinion of the US in general. It seems a rather wild leap in logic from the "evidence" they present to assume that they have a firm grasp on the opinion about Obama of all the world's Muslims.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used a sloppily worded statement by an 83-year-old decorated veteran, retired Colonel Bud Day, who volunteered for both World War II and the Vietnam War, and who ended up spending 30 months as a POW, a man whom Olbermann called "dangerously deluded" and derided as a "slob" and a "clown," to paint John McCain as agreeing with what the MSNBC host referred to as Day's "racism and religious hatred." After quoting part of a recent statement by Day in which he referred generically to "the Muslims," instead of "Muslim extremists," as wanting either to "kill us" or to force Americans to "kneel," Olbermann suggested that McCain "agrees" that Muslims in general are the enemy. As he tagged Day as "Worst Person in the World," Olbermann slammed McCain: "And you heard him [Day]: John agrees with him. As of tonight, John's campaign has refused to repudiate Day's racism and religious hatred. Maybe John needs to get rid of this clown but fast. Bud ‘The Muslims are Going to Kill Us' Day, today's ‘Worst Person in the World.'" (Transcript follows)
Last week, the BBC aired a new TV series titled "Bonekickers" touted as a "groundbreaking" show where "history comes alive," and a series that is "Based in fact." The premier episode, though features an odd thing if "fact" is the aim of the Beeb's new TV series: a Christian beheading a Muslim. Yeah, THAT is really a "fact" based premise, isn't it?
Of course, the few remaining Christians in Britain have found themselves a bit put out by this "fact based" show where it is a Christian beheading a Muslim instead of the other way 'round.
And it isn't just a beheading, the entire episode turns our current "fact based" reality on its head as the plot gives us a group of "right wing Christians" bent on purging England of its immigrant population, a group the TV series is fictionalizing as the "White Wings Alliance." In a day when extremist Muslims the world over are killing people for not being a Muslim, this show features the exact opposite situation. Christian "extremists" killing innocent, moderate Muslims. For what reason? Only the Beeb knows for sure.
OK, I am wondering here if the hanging of a black Southerner by the KKK in the American south would be reported by the Chicago Tribune in the same kind of vague language of “cultural” murder as a recent Muslim murder in Georgia was treated? More likely, of course, the story would be immediately pegged to the racist, white motives that actually led to the murder. In essence that is how the Chicago Tribune mishandled their reporting of another so-called Islamic "honor killing" that occurred in Georgia this week. They wrote about the "culturally rigid Pakistani" immigrants and said that "honor killings" occur with "other South Asians" without ever once mentioning that this is more often than not a Muslin practice. Instead of pegging this murder to Muslim "culture" the Tribune makes it a vague and nondescript "culture" so that the reader is unaware of the connection with Islam.
Rutenberg went to Culver City, Calif. to profile leftist filmmaker Robert Greenwald and his cottage industry of anti-McCain films. While Rutenberg chided two conservative filmmakers for making dubious claims in their anti-Obama videos, Rutenberg found nothing misleading or objectionable in Greenwald's films, or anywhere else on the left end of the Internet.
Check this contrast:
The change has added to the frenetic pace of the campaign this year. "It's politics at the speed of Internet," said Dan Carol, a strategist for Mr. Obama who was one of the young bulls on Bill Clinton's vaunted rapid response team in 1992. "There's just a lot of people who at a very low cost can do this stuff and don't need a memo from HQ."
That would seem to apply to people like Robert Anderson, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina whose modest YouTube site that features videos flattering to Mr. Obama and unflattering to Mr. McCain, or Paul Villarreal, who from his apartment in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, has produced a harsh series of spots that attack Mr. Obama and make some claims that have been widely debunked.
Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe has done it again. Now, usually Z is one of those columnists that is sure every white American is a racist and many of his columns are based on that assumption, but it looks like he is branching out from his normal black/white identity politics angle and adding a new twist to his column. You see, Z has just discovered that whites don't hate only blacks, they hate Muslims too. How inclusive, eh?
Even more ridiculously, Z imagines that white Muslim haters in "red states" are forcing Barack Obama to distance himself from his Muslim background. In fact, according to Z, Islam is the victim of white America's newest "red scare" and Obama is feeling the heat because of that undue hatred. It all means we are "Holding Muslims at arm's length" to Derrick Z. Jackson.
Great news for free speech fans that likely won't get reported much of anywhere outside the rightosphere: the national Canadian "Human Rights" Commission has declined to prosecute a "hate speech" allegation against columnist and author Mark Steyn and the magazine Maclean's.
The allegation, brought against Steyn as part of an effort by the Canadian Islamic Congress (that country's resident apologists for radical Islam comparable to CAIR here) to use the government to censor critics of Islam. It was the second of three motions before three separate bodies to be dismissed; Steyn still awaits the decision of the British Columbia provincial commission.
The national commission did not announce the dismissal publicly so here's the Maclean's reaction:
Former top Democratic aide-turned ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday spun Barack Obama's repeated exclusions of Muslims as a way to "combat this issue" that he is a follower of Islam. Reacting to a question by "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts about Muslim voters feeling snubbed by the Democratic presidential candidate, Stephanopoulos admitted that the campaign is distancing itself from anything Islamic.
He then justified, "What the Obama campaign makes no apologies for, though, is trying to combat this issue that's really running around e-mail chains all across the country that Barack Obama is a Muslim. He is not." Stephanopoulos continued, "And they feel that they have to take every possible step they can to combat these rumors." In other words, the fact that the Obama campaign excluded two Muslim women from a campaign rally last week is an understandable reaction for someone trying to "combat rumors?"