In a Wednesday morning report, the Associated Press's Sarah El Deeb certainly did her best to continue the ongoing campaign to convince the West that there's really nothing about which we should be concerned in Egypt's newly approved Constitution. She characterized it as "a new chapter in Egypt's two-year transition from authoritarian rule" and quoted a group whose Facebook page doesn't exist (despite that page being the first item found in a Google Web search on the group's name) telling us that the country is in "a new phase of legal disputes over legislation and control of state institutions," and that "the battle won't be very clear to regular people." I'm taking that to mean: "Don't pay any attention to us while the Muslim Brotherhoood and Islamists consolidate their power."
The AP reporter also mentioned the opposition's fears that the constitution "enshrines a prominent role for Islamic law, or Shariah, in governing the country's affairs and reinforces Islamists' hold on power." It's more than an abstract fear, because Sharia(h) is mentioned several times in the document itself (bolds are mine):
Does anyone in the media ever attempt to read and understand the speeches of Pope Benedict? The New York Daily News account of his December 21 speech to the curia (the “Vatican bureaucracy”) is being mangled by the Daily Kos into “Pope gives special holiday hate speech against gays because it's Christmas.” The Mediaite headline (off London’s Daily Mail) is “Merry Christmas? Pope Benedict XVI Denounces Gay Marriage As A ‘Manipulation Of Nature’.”
Someone who reads the original would find the term “gay marriage” is missing, although there is a defense of traditional marriage. He denounced the idea that one's gender is not a fact, but a social construct. The pope was also taking on the notion that in the broader culture, men and women are afraid of making lifelong commitments:
While the Associated Press, New York Times, and the vast majority of the U.S. establishment press have avoided directly referring to Egypt's newly-approved constitution, spearheaded by ruler by decree Mohammed Morsi, as oriented toward imposing Muslim sharia law in that nation, the international press hasn't been so reluctant. Who do you believe, the rest of the world or your agenda-driven U.S-based news sources? Additionally, as will be seen, the constitution is so unabashedly socialist it would have been labeled communist if it had appeared any time prior to 1990.
Russia-based RT.com opened its coverage of fraud allegations Saturday as follows: "Egypt's new Sharia-based constitution has been approved in a second round of voting, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party said." Its headline a week ago after the first round: "Egyptians vote on hotly contested sharia-based constitution." Meanwhile, the New York Times blew through over 1,000 words in "analyzing" the results, and did not mention sharia once.
Former This Week host Christiane Amanpour's reputation for biased reporting precedes her, despite her own denials. Despite this, ABC thought it fit to air a two-part special starting on Friday evening titled Back to the Beginning. The network's press release trumpeted, "Join...Christiane Amanpour on the ultimate road trip as she travels to the lands of the Bible....to investigate the roots of those stories that have created so much conflict, and at the same time so much of the healing she has seen across her career."
However, the last time the journalist put together a mini-series on religion, God's Warriors, for CNN in 2007, she gave Muslim "fundamentalists" in the U.S. sympathetic treatment, while showing "concern" for "right-wing" Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and discomfort towards the theology and practices of American evangelical Christians. Amanpour even equated one Christian youth group with the Taliban.
Yes, abortion rights activists have reached a new level of depravity. Apparently, as everyone indulges in the holiday spirit, the pro-choice camp decided to create abortion ornaments – or 'abornaments' – to be part of the commemoration of the birth of Christ. The fact that pro-choice Americans threw this in the face of those who practice religion, or hold pro-life beliefs, is offensive in the extreme. Steven Ertelt of LifeNews wrote on December 19:
The pro-life group Life Dynamics has been highlighting so-called “Abornaments” that pro-abortion activists are promoting. They are sharing the images of the sacrilegious ornaments on the popular image sharing web site Pinterest.
Most of the so-called Christmas ornaments pictured involve the manipulation and desecration of plastic fetal models depicting unborn children at various stage of development before birth.
“It’s that time of year again for ABORNAMENTS! Every year, the pro-choice community celebrates abortion at Christmas by selling Abornaments Anyone disgusted? We are,” the pro-life group says. “What were they thinking?”
“Americans trust their guns, not God,” and the gun lobby is sacrificing children to an ancient pagan god demanding child sacrifice. That’s the message of Washington Post ‘On Faith’ theological train-wreck Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite’s plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Thistlethwaite complained in a December 17 post: “It is becoming increasingly clear that Americans realize the unfettered flow of guns into our society is making us less free not more. These guns find their way far too easily into the hands of the mentally unstable and the school and mall-type massacres are increasingly the result. But these guns also circulate easily in cities like Chicago, and more carnage results. There are numerous deaths, including the deaths of children and young people, and they make horrifying statistics. Read this list of homicide victims, most of them from guns in Chicago, just from 2012. This must not be.”
Stephen Colbert lent his Comedy Central television platform on Thursday to one of the left's favorite religious figures, Sister Simone Campbell, to promote her ongoing battle against Rep. Paul Ryan's fiscal ideas. Campbell slammed congressional conservatives to the extreme point of hinting that they would have treated the Holy Family worse than the innkeepers in Bethlehem [audio clips available here; video below the jump]:
Today's starter topic: As many conservatives are aware, people who are non-religious are a growing voting bloc in America. Writing at National Review, Betsy Woodruff has an interesting piece exploring the question of how the right can appeal to this demographic without having to compromise too much. Her verdict? It is possible with the right approach. Tell us your thoughts in the comments about this subject or anything else you would like.
As voting on Egypt's constitution begins, an Associated Press story this morning by Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb typifies how the U.S. press is only nibbling around the edges of its content. The headline reads "EGYPTIANS VOTE ON ISLAMIST-BACKED CONSTITUTION." In the story's content, the pair found an 23 year-old Egyptian engineer who told them, in their words, that "he felt the proposed constitution needed more, not less, Islamic content," and expressed a belief that "All laws have to be in line with Shariah."
Nice misdirection there. As Andrew McCarthy, "arguably the most important prosecutor in the War on Terror" and "among the most authoritative writers anywhere on the dangers of Jihad," explained at PJ Media on Wednesday morning, and as much of the non-U.S. press accurately comprehends, the proposed constitution is about institutionalizing sharia in Egypt, and the last-minute splitting of the vote, originally scheduled for only today but now taking place today and next Saturday, is about ensuring its victory at the polls (bolds are mine throughout this post):
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about hiring people to do Christmas chores like decorating the tree or buying gifts, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman suddenly broke into an anti-religious rant: "I don't like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up....I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman's take-the-Christ-out-of-Christmas commentary was prompted by fellow panelist Star Jones explaining: "I focus on, honestly, the religion part of it. I really and truly do. So I can't out-source that part of it. I can send you to get my tree, but I can't help – you can't help me pray." When Snyderman launched into her attack on faith, Jones countered: "That's the only reason for me to have the holiday....We wouldn't have the holiday if it wasn't for the religion part."
As I argued yesterday, the Advent season is exploited every year by the liberal media to tweak faithful Christians, using the holidays as a hook for liberal political and religious themes or to advance ancient heresies. Ditto with the Lenten season.
Well, the latest example comes from David Gibson of the Religion News Service, who has picked up on a new complaint from a feminist scholar, Margaret Miles, which boils down to essentially this: How come we never see depictions of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the baby Jesus? I kid you not.
Christmas: a season of generosity, good cheer, preparation for Christ’s birth – and a swarm of lawyers seeking to purge any mention of Christianity from the public square.
Every Christmas, the so-called secular community starts shrieking whenever any mention of religion is brought into the public eye. Lawyers successfully targeted a school’s performance of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ Even Christmas trees have too much religious content to suit the self-appointed censors.
As we at NewsBusters have noticed, Advent and Lent seem to be the times of year that the liberal secular media loves to tweak devout Christians with attacks on historic, orthodox Christian teaching. The latest example is the media being abuzz over Irish playwright and novelist Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary."
The "silent, obedient, observant" Mary of Scripture that has "echoed down" through church history is ripped apart by "the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin" who "puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version" of the Mother of God, gushed Karen Long of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a December 7 Religion News Service piece accessible at the Washington Post's "On Faith" section.
[Update, Saturday, 9 pm Eastern: Ranger Up also promoted the vulgar image on their Twitter account.]
On Friday, Ranger Up, an apparel company that sells "shirts for the military and the patriotic Americans who love the men and women of the Armed Forces", inexplicably posted a crude rendition of Pope Benedict XVI on their Facebook page, which has over 82,000 fans. The graphic invokes a famous Marilyn Monroe scene in the movie The Seven Year Itch. Instead of standing on the streets of New York City, the Pope is in the middle of a park in the tropics, and a little girl appears to be running away in horror of the sight of the pontiff's bare legs. [image below the jump]
So far, over 350 people have "liked" the image on Facebook, it's been shared 122 times, and several anti-Catholic posts have been left on its comment thread, with no reply or comment from the anyone at the company.
This one comes straight from the "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see" Department. On Wednesday, in an interview with talk show host Hugh Hewitt (HT Daily Caller), New York Times Cairo Bureau Chief David D. Kilpatrick characterized Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as "not violent by nature," and as "a moderate, conservative but religious, but moderate, regular old political force." (Quick aside: There is nothing "conservative" about sharia law, persecution of Christians, and the subjugation of women, yet the press won't stop using that dishonest tag to describe radical Islamists.)
Just a few days later, in a pair of dispatches, one of which appeared in today's Times print edition, Kilpatrick reported that "the government of President Mohamed Morsi has approved legislation reimposing martial law," and that Morsi "is leaning more closely than ever on his Islamist allies in the Muslim Brotherhood." Imagine that. Excerpts from the Hewitt interview and each of Kirkpatrick's Friday reports follow the jump.
As if a puffy seven-minute-plus story on Morning Edition wasn't enough publicity for Irish novelist Colm Toibin's abrasive takedown of the Virgin Mary, NPR's Terry Gross offered another promotional 45 minutes on Monday's Fresh Air. There's nothing NPR likes better than taking this humble, devout disciple and transforming her into some sort of bitter Real Housewife of Nazareth.
Toibin was encouraged to read passages from this vicious little Bible-shredding screed, about how Mary couldn't stand the sound of her own son's preaching: "my son would insist on silence and begin to address them as though they were a crowd, his voice all false and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him." Gross asked the obvious softball. Ahem, you know this sounds like you want to push Christianity down and steal its lunch money?
After a non-religious West Point cadet left the academy because of what he claimed was religious bigotry, CNN contributor Roland Martin compared it to racism suffered by one of West Point's first black cadet graduates.
Cadet Lt. Blake Page first aired his grievances to TheHuffington Post and he told CNN's Starting Point that what he found "most offensive" at West Point was "condescension and disrespect from other people." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Just before Thanksgiving, the leftist think tank Demos issued a report by its own Catherine Ruetschlin advocating a $12 an hour minimum wage (stated as $25,000 per year by her) for those who work full-time in retail.
What's interesting about Ruetschlin's suggestion is that there is a retailer out there which is actually doing that and more -- and it's not Costco, which "pays starting employees at least $10 an hour." To be fair to Costco, rapid wage advancement is apparently quite common there, but that's off-topic. Perhaps surprising to the press, the company involved starts its full-time employees not at $12 an hour, but at $13. Perhaps if it spent less time trying to figure how to discredit this company, the establishment media might instead focus on how this company is able to be profitable under such a wage structure. Before identifying the firm after the jump, we'll first see in an open letter from its CEO why it's not getting favorable press attention (in full; bolds are mine):
Reuters reports the Pope is entering the world of Twitter at "Pontifex." On Monday morning's Bill Press show, the former seminarian mocked the 85-year-old pontiff: "What do you think the chances are that the Pope has any idea how to access Twitter?" By the way, hip Bill Press is 72.
Press producer Peter Ogburn mocked the plan for the Pope to answer tweeted questions at #askpontifex. He read some favorites, which ranged from Jesus-and-microwaved-burrito questions to the assertion that the Catholic Church is causing "millions to die in the Third World" by opposing condoms: [ relevant video follows the article ]
Barack Obama, who has been called “the Christian President with the Muslim-sounding name,” did not express any gratitude to God in his Thanksgiving address for the fourth year in a row, causing critics to claim that “he has ignored the central message of the holiday in favor of political grandstanding.”
In his address, Obama said that Thanksgiving is “a time to give thanks for each other, and for the incredible bounty we enjoy.”
In case you missed it, there's yet another United Nations climate conference in progress, this time in Doha Qatar. At the Associated Press, there is a story on a protest which organizers want to characterize as a "march for peace" by "a few hundred" climate activists demanding "climate justice." The AP's Karl Ritter warns readers that "Dangerous (global) warming effects could include flooding of coastal cities and island nations, disruptions to agriculture and drinking water, and the spread of diseases and the extinction of species" -- even though there has been no net warming in 16 years. Another AP story suggest that "SOME WISH ISLAM WOULD INFORM CLIMATE DEBATE." I'll suggest that the referenced "some" includes a few AP and other journalists and almost no one else.
But there has been no room at the AP, as confirmed in a search on the world "climate" at the wire service's website at 3:30 p.m. ET and a review of possibly relevant articles, for discussion or even recognition of a November 29 open letter sent by over 125 scientists "qualified in climate-related matters" who have informed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that "there is no substantiation" for the so-called "science" undergirding the meeting's agenda (produced in full after the jump; bold is in original):
Reviewing several dispatches from the past couple of days, the latest news out of Egypt is that Egyptian "President" Mohammed Morsi "is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers," that "clashes between the two camps (Morsi's Islamist supporters and secular opponents) ... left two dead and hundreds injured," and that the country's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated assembly "pushed through the 234-article draft (constitution) in just 21 hours from Thursday into Friday ... (after) Coptic Christians and liberals earlier had walked out."
The draft constitution includes several articles "that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities," and omits "bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties." Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution." It's worth identifying at this point several (but by no means all; what follows is surely a small sample) of those who in 2011 reassured the world that Egyptians had nothing to fear if the Brotherhood and Islamists became dominant.
CBS's morning and evening newscasts conspicuously glossed over reporting on actor Angus T. Jones calling his own show, Two and Half Men - which airs on the network - "filth." By contrast, ABC's Good Morning Americacovered the remark on Tuesday, and NBC's Today show aired a news brief on the story on Wednesday.
Correspondent Teresa Garcia did file a report on the controversy on Wednesday, but only after Jones issued an apology to his employers and coworkers. Garcia's segment was also banished to CBSNews.com.
When the word "God" becomes inappropriate in public schools, America really has ceased to exist.
Consider the story of a first-grade girl in West Marion, North Carolina, who had the word "God" stripped from a poem she wrote and was going to read at her school's Veterans Day assembly earlier this month.
As we at NewsBusters have noted, the media's coverage of Mohammed Morsi's self-appointment as virtual dictator in Egypt has been dreadful. Surely TIME magazine would be a little more hard-hitting, right?
Wrong. Despite having the benefit of three reporters on the byline -- Richard Stengel, Bobby Ghosh and Karl Vick -- none of those men posed a really hard-hitting question and all of them let Morsi drone on with filibuster-length answers that dominated the interview. Below the page break you'll find the agenda of questions asked (emphases mine) -- the first one is an incredibly dopey non-question -- and you can read the TIME transcript here:
In a Tuesday evening dispatch at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the status of U.S. foreign policy in Egypt, Bradley Klapper and Julie Pace either displayed an amazing level of clairvoyance or indulged in a level of fantasy ordinarily reserved for trips to Disneyland. I'm betting that it's the latter, that this AP report will in short order come to be seen as a complete journalistic embarrassment, and that the Obama administration is drinking from the same koolaid jug.
The good news is that they at least finally acknowledged a linkage that most of the rest of the establishment press has studiously ignored, namely that "After winning U.S. and worldwide praise (for brokering an Israel-Hamas ceasefire), Morsi immediately cashed in on his new political capital by seizing more power at home." But it's all downhill from there (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In a story the New York Times appears not to have touched, Hunter Walker at Observer.com's Politicker ("about" page is here) reported on Tuesday that Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a black Harlem activist, "circulated an email" Monday night "in an attempt to plan a 'private meeting' to 'discuss the potential damage to the political empowerment of the Black and Hispanic community if Mark Levine, a White/Jewish candidate was elected to the 7th Council District in 2013.'" So we see that black Chicagoland establishment officials trying to ensure that the successor to the recently resigned Jesse Jackson Jr. in Illinois' 2nd Congressional District are not alone in seeing a political office as somehow "belonging" to them.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required) has also picked up the story ("Race, Religion Used as Basis For an Attack"). Verbiage from the Politicker report, along with separate comments from James Taranto at the WSJ's Best of the Web, follow the jump (internal links are in originals; bolds are mine throughout this post):
The owners of Hobby Lobby Stores object on religious grounds to the HHS mandate that they cover abortion-inducing drugs for employees, but CNN's Carol Costello thinks the objection itself is an imposition of will.
"So isn't Hobby Lobby imposing its will on those workers?" she asked on Wednesday. "I think that when it's left up to companies to decide which drug is right for women, then actually you're making the decision for them as much as the government is," she added later. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell hounded popular Christian pastor Rick Warren over his support of defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. O'Donnell quoted the second greatest commandment of Christianity - "love thy neighbor as thyself" - to Warren as she asked, "Why do you oppose same-sex marriage?"
When the Saddleback Church senior pastor affirmed that he was "in favor of not redefining marriage," the anchor used the current trend in polls towards approval of such unions to lobby her guest to change his views:
Current TV's Joy Behar on Monday compared religion to drug addiction.
This occurred during a discussion on her appropriately named Say Anything show about Angus T. Jones's plea that folks not watch the "filth" on his hit program Two and a Half Men (video follows with transcript and commentary):