If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t hear much reporting on some of the dreadful traditions and lack of rights that women in the Islamic world often face, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry provided a perfect illustration in a recent discussion with Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy.
Eltahawy’s essay, which appeared in the magazine Foreign Policy, is a straightforward attempt to disabuse people of the notion that there is any sort of equivalence between the treatment of women in the Islamic and Western worlds. In her words, non-Arabs need to “resist cultural relativism and know that even in countries undergoing revolutions and uprisings, women will remain the cheapest bargaining chips.”
Supporters of the recent revolutions in several Arab countries were insistent that these uprisings would yield more democracy and freedom for people formerly oppressed by dictators. In Egypt, it's become clear that while people have indeed been allowed to vote, what they want to vote for is a far cry from freedom.
A political party affiliated with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group obtained a majority in parliamentary elections and Islamist candidates are ahead in polls conducted before the presidential election being held yesterday and today.
Sunday's CBS Evening News refreshingly spotlighted the continuing persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, an ongoing story that the Big Three networks have largely ignored for months. Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer zeroed in on the uncertain future for the religious minority as the country gears for a rare election: "[Egypt's] Christians are deeply worried....Two of the frontrunners in the race with a realistic chance of winning are deeply devout Islamists."
The last time CBS reported on the anti-Christian violence in Egypt was a news brief on the October 9, 2011 edition of Evening News, according to a Nexis search. Since January 2011, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning and evening newscasts have only mentioned the issue six times.
Hours after New York blogger Christian Browne wrote on his blog, “The New York Conservative,” that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be quickly executed, Google shut down his blog, which was hosted on Google's free Blogger service.
While the blog – including the post that appears to have triggered its deletion – have since been restored, the circumstances of its deletion by Google remain murky – and raise a serious issue both for Google and for conservatives who use the web to spread conservative ideas and messages.
A shareholder in New York Times stock told Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and other officials at the company's annual meeting last week, "You’re willing to offend the Catholics because they’re not going to come and kill you.”
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid reported Wednesday:
According to Muslim comedian and CNN regular Dean Obeidallah, Rick Santorum speaks the language of "the Taliban" when he talks about the intersection of church and state in America. On CNN Sunday night, liberal host Don Lemon decided to have a religious discussion for Easter Sunday, and his first question was about the separation of church and state.
Obeidallah has attacked Santorum in the past, and found a way to bring him into the discussion. He referred to Santorum "saying the Bible and our laws must comport," adding later that "He was saying the same things honestly that the Taliban would say, that religious scripture and the laws of that state must agree." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Toulouse is by no means without racism, anti-Semitism, crime or the deep social segregation that marks many French cities, but with a culture shaped by successive waves of immigration, it is described by its inhabitants as a place of particular tolerance.
Update/correction (30 March 2012, 16:12 p.m. EDT): Brewer is no longer employed with MSNBC. I was going off of outdated information on her Facebook fan page. The post below is corrected accordingly.
"A compelling, alarming case against the GOP and its 'War on Women.' Lest you think it can't happen here, just ask Iranian women how conservative, religious fanatics ripped their rights away." [see screen capture below page break; h/t @mattjmobile]
The New York Times's Scott Sayare reported on Saturday from Toulouse, France, the sight of the killing of Jewish schoolchildren by a radical Islamist, "After Unity Over a Rampage in France, Politics Drives in Wedges," and accused the French paper Le Figaro as being "increasingly viewed as a mouthpiece" for tough-on-crime French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
That's quite ironic, considering Sayare himself functioned as a mouthpiece for Obama in a September 23, 2010 story, calling the president "a powerful symbol of hope" among poor Muslims in the Paris slums. And the paper has long been irredeemably hostile to President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom the Times can never forgive for being friendly with President George W. Bush.
Possibly in response to NewsBusters readers who passed on our item on the string of Pope Benedict-mocking jokes on NPR's game show "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos tells NewsBusters and other critics: lighten up, or be compared to radical Muslims. Isn't the ombudsman supposed to advocate for the listeners, not denounce them?
"If we keep jokes about the pope off-limits, we create a silencing effect that is far more damaging than the jokes themselves. We threaten to become like the intolerant extremists now most notoriously bedeviling the Muslim world, though other religions suffer from strains of fanaticism as well." Say what?
What did French president Nicolas Sarkozy ever do to the New York Times to incur such outsized wrath?
In a line of attack reminiscent of the Times's sordid attempt to link the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to the conservative movement, Paris bureau chief Steven Erlanger on Wednesday used the killings at a Jewish school in France ("Killings Could Stall Elections' Nationalist Turn") to suggest Sarkozy's tough-on-immigration re-election campaign rhetoric could be contributing to a violent anti-immigrant mood in France. (The gunman, whose identity was unknown at the time of filing, is apparently an Islamic extremist who trained with Al Qaeda.)
Maybe it's due to budget cutbacks at major establishment news sources, but I doubt it. Maybe it's because they believe nobody cares about news out of the Middle East. No, that can't be it. Or maybe it's because they think that people already know and understand the Muslim mindset. Well, after several decades of press attempts to keep it from us, that doesn't make any sense either.
Whatever the reason(s), which I'll get to, a certain piece of what one would think is pretty significant news out of the Middle East has gone unreported for the past five days going on six. What follows are three translations of related articles through Google's translation tool (which eliminates the budget excuse of "We need interpreters to translate these things from scratch, and don't have the money"):
Neil Munro of the Daily Caller reports on a double standard on religious-bashing ads in the New York Times involving Pamela Geller (pictured), the activist against radical Islam whose "venomous" rhetoric the Times finds offensive, especially after her involvement in the opposition to building a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero.
NBC and its hard left cable network don't seem to be on the same page. The morning after MSNBC bomb-thrower Ed Schultz condemned Republican voters for thinking President Obama is Muslim, on Tuesday's Today, NBC's political director Chuck Todd discounted the Public Policy Polling survey: "I think this question was designed to get a higher percentage in the answer than maybe what's actually true."
Todd explained the problem with the automated poll: "...the way the question was asked, I think it just was designed to get a higher number. Because there are some Republicans who...may not believe he's a Muslim, but like saying it because it's a way to attack him. It's sort of a way to needle him....it's certainly created a buzz among liberals who are trying to create a stereotype among base conservative voters."
As NewsBusters reported, HBO's Bill Maher on Friday disgracefully claimed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum homeschools his children to keep them locked up in his "Christian madrassa" where they won't be exposed to knowledge and reason.
On Fox New's Hannity Monday, the former Pennsylvania Senator struck back at the vulgar comedian saying, "My 12-year-old will out-reason Bill Maher" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All last week the knights in shining armor at MSNBC did their level best to rescue the fair damsels of the realm from the vile "War on Women" waged by the vicious ogres of the Right, you know, like Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum. But in the midst of hyping Women's History Month and International Women's Day (March 8), the liberal network failed to highlight a real story of women's oppression: a Pakistani-Austrian woman's tale of death threats and beatings at the hands of her reactionary Muslim mother.
What's more, this story, entitled "Why My Mother Wants Me Dead," was published at none other than The Daily Beast, a site whose writers and editors frequently appear on MSNBC programming.
As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, "Sometimes [Rick] Santorum sounds like he's creeping up on a Christian version of Sharia law."
In response to this nonsense, the Republican presidential candidate told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt later that day, "This is the intolerance of the Left. If you have religious beliefs that they don’t believe in, then they marginalize you" (video follows with partial transcript):
Willful ignorance combined with anti-Christian bigotry: not a pretty sight. Bill Keller, former New York Times executive editor turned Times columnist, put both on display on today's Morning Joe.
Joe Scarborough played a clip of Santorum criticizing President Obama and Hillary Clinton for at times speaking of "freedom of worship" rather than "freedom of religion." Santorum made his point crystal clear: merely having the freedom to pray is not enough. People must have the right to practice their religion outside the confines of the sanctuary. But Scarborough and Keller claimed not to understand what Santorum was saying. Keller then added his ugly coda: "sometimes Santorum sounds like he's creeping up on a Christian version of Sharia law." Video after the jump.
Just how far is MSNBC's Chris Matthews willing to go to shield President Obama from criticism this election year?
On Monday's Hardball, the host defended Koran burnings saying, "In Western religions when you have a religious article, the proper way of disposing it is burning it. So it's not a desecration...An American would never burn something to desecrate it. That would be a way of treating a holy object" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporting on violent protests in Afghanistan following accidental Quran burnings for Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Atia Abawi declared the incident "...follows a long line of insults that has intensified the public outrage towards the U.S., including last year's intentional burning of a Koran by a pastor in Florida and the video of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, in an attempt to defend President Obama’s recent apology for the accidental Koran burnings that set off riots in Afghanistan, equated his response to what a foreign leader would be required to do if his military inadvertently burned an American flag.
Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist correctly replied, “No because Americans wouldn’t go in the streets and start killing people” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As violent, deadly demonstrations have broken out in Afghanistan following the recent accidental burning of Korans, it's interesting to look back nearly three years ago when the U.S. military burned a shipment of Holy Bibles written in the Pashto and Dari languages. The military destroyed the Bibles rather than ship them back stateside apparently out of fear the American church that sent them would just try shipping them back through other channels to Afghanistan.
The al-Jazeera network was involved in the breaking of the story, but a search of Nexis found no stories from the time by the Washington Post or New York Times nor the ABC, CBS, or NBC networks about the disposal of the Christian holy texts.
The Chicago News Cooperative is -- or was -- a nonprofit journalistic entity that produces content for the Chicago edition of the New York Times. It will cease filing this weekend, having lost an expected grant. Among the delights Chicago readers will miss: Suggestions that the GOP is fueling anti-Muslim rhetoric and even hate crimes, under the label of objective reporting. David Lepeska contributed “A Group to Counter Anti-Islam Sentiment” to Friday’s Chicago edition of the Times, making unsubstantiated assertions and commiting bias by omission.
As anti-Muslim rhetoric rises locally and nationally -- some of it fueled by the presidential campaign -- a group of Chicago-area Muslims is battling back, using tactics including a television ad campaign and public forums against bigotry.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted how the Republican primary "has increasingly become laced with references to religion" and predicted that in the upcoming GOP debate on CNN, "[Rick] Santorum is likely to be peppered with questions about his remarks on what he called the President's 'phony theology.'"
Later in the report, Alexander touted Mitt Romney being drawn into the issue: "Romney has tried to narrow his focus to the economy. But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday he was asked how he would protect religious freedom and answered by attacking the President." After a sound bite of Romney describing how President Obama "hangs around" with people who have a "secular agenda," Alexander dutifully forwarded the White House defense: "The Obama campaign quickly fired back, calling Romney's comments 'disgraceful.'"
Christian evangelist Franklin Graham made some comments about President Obama on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday that have liberals across the fruited plain hopping mad.
So angered is MSNBC's Chris Matthews that on Tuesday's Hardball he said, "I think we should stop inviting this guy to talk about politics...he ain’t his father’s son" (video follows with transcript and commentary):