As if more proof were needed that the broadcast networks don’t get religion, and really don’t get Catholicism, analysis of the evening news programs from Feb. 11 showed a how inadequate the assumptions of liberal secular journalists were in explaining the Church, its mission and its role in the lives of the faithful.
On the day of the surprise resignation of 85-yr-old Pope Benedict XVI, ABC, CBS and NBC all danced the “The Papal Reporting Two-Step”: dwell on the negatives of the recent past before wondering hopefully if the Church will now finally step out of the dark ages of orthodoxy. Of the three, however, ABC was far and away the worst. Video after the Break.
What does Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement mean to the media? Pushing for a liberal pontiff – according to HLN’s Kyra Phillips.
Phillips interviewed Anthea Butler, Graduate Chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, on the topic during HLN’s “Raising America,” which airs daily to “look at the news the way parents do.”
Discussing the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI on the February 11 edition of MSNBC's "The Cycle," co-host Krystal Ball praised the retiring pontiff for being a "real advocate for addressing climate change" and for joining Twitter, but lamented that he was "outspoken in keeping women from being ordained" and "went after the largest group of nuns in America for basically spending too much time focused on the poor and not enough on abortion and gay marriage."
But as we at NewsBusters have noted time and again, the nuns who were corrected by the Vatican were NOT attacked for their good social work and most certainly were not denounced for being too busy caring for the poor to deal with the politics of abortion or gay marriage. No, the Vatican's rebuke -- which was tenderly-worded and pastoral in nature, by the way -- was largely centered on questions of Catholic doctrine and ecclesiology, as my colleague Paul Wilson explained in an April 2012 post addressing a similar gripe by the Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger (emphases mine):
Early this morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he’d abdicate the papal throne at the end of the month, which is the first time a pontiff will have stepped down in seven centuries. Such breaking news was bound to set off rampant media speculation about next month's meeting of the College of Cardinals --which will decide Benedict's successor -- and talk in the media about the outgoing bishop of Rome's legacy.
All that is well and good, but on MSNBC, it was the perfect excuse for the liberal network to feature liberal Catholics Chris Matthews and E.J. Dionne scolding the Church as out of touch with modernity on issues of sexuality and women as priests. And that was on top of laughingly treating the election of a new pope as though it were some presidential primary where candidates work feverishly to line up enough delegates to win nomination. Read the relevant transcript below the page break:
It will be interesting to see if the media soften their almost uniform hostility to Pope Benedict XVI in the few remaining weeks of his papacy. It’s doubtful, since resigning his office won’t make Joseph Ratzinger any less Catholic. And his real sin, in liberal eyes, is just being too Catholic.
When the long, vigorously orthodox pontificate of John Paul II came to an end in 2005, liberals in and out of the Church hoped the next Pope would roll over on their most cherished issues: women priests, married priests, homosexuality and abortion. To say that Ratzinger’s selection was a disappointment is an understatement.
On the day Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be stepping down from the Papacy, NBC's Monday Today featured a report by correspondent Michelle Kosinski, who offered these highlights of the Pontiff's tenure: "As a Cardinal, some criticized him for being strict and conservative, calling him, 'God's Rottweiler.' Becoming Pope meant he had to take on the Church's sexual abuse scandal that reverberated throughout America and Europe, and for which he apologized." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As Kosinski mentioned the Pope's response to the sex abuse scandal, footage appeared on screen of protesters holding signs with pictures of Benedict and the words: "Catholic Paedophile Cover Up."
A daily feature of MSNBC host Chris Jansing's 10 a.m. Eastern program Jansing & Co. is the "Tweet of the Day." Given the astonishing breaking news about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to abdicate the papacy at the end of the month, it was almost certain the tweet highlighted would have to do with this development.
But given that this is the "Lean Forward" network, Jansing highlighted the call of a liberal columnist for a pope who would accept contraception and women priests:
Today's "On Faith" page in the Washington Post featured a puzzling contrast that shows the left-wing media's schizophrenia when it comes to traditional religious faith. The paper's religion section editors ran these two items side-by-side: a Religion News Service (RNS) article that was thoroughly positive about Muslim women who want to design and/or model fashionable yet modest clothing, and Post religion writer Lisa Miller's attack on Catholic bishops for their stances on Christian sexual ethics in general and opposition to the ObamaCare contraception mandate in particular.
In "A Muslim fashion statement: Agency connects modesty-minded models with designers," Omar Sacirbey of RNS opened his 23-paragraph feature with the story of Savannah Uqdah, a devout Muslim woman who at one time aspired to be a fashion model but "didn't want to violate Islam's tenets on modesty." As such, Uqdah "shelved her modeling dreams and instead expressed herself through the fashions she wore." But now that modeling agencies eye a lucrative market in fashionable yet modest attire, Sacirbey notes, women like Uqdah are excited at the potential to live out their dreams.
With the Boy Scouts now in the national spotlight, Scouts for Equality founder and gay rights activist Zack Wahls was featured on the PBS NewsHour on Wednesday night opposite Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. While intended as a civil, constructive conversation, Wahls insinuated that Land was a bigot since, for people like him, “this is about the problems you have with parents like mine.” Wahls has two moms, born to one biologically through artificial insemination.
PBS NewsHour host Jeffrey Brown did not push back on Wahls's unwarranted attack on Land’s conservative views, and seemed to have temporarily lost control of the interview. Furthermore, Wahls proceeded to attack conservative principles, in general, which he derided as “from the last century.” That's the sort of discussion we're paying for with our tax dollars.
Only about five percent of Americans identify as atheists, but CNN played up the "very activist atheist movement" and touted celebrity atheists like Julianne Moore and Mark Zuckerberg, on Thursday.
"Various surveys put the number of atheists in America around five percent. And according to the Pew study in 2012, one in five people claim they have no religious affiliation at all," anchor Carol Costello noted. She didn't mention that having no religious affiliation might not even be close to atheism.
Under pressure from religious and conservative groups, the Obama administration has offered another compromise on the issue of birth control coverage within the Affordable Care Act. While exempting churches and some religiously affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, from supplying the coverage, the new proposal calls for their employees to receive stand-alone private insurance policies providing birth control coverage at no cost. Insurance companies will foot the bill, but only the naive can possibly think the cost won't find its way back to the institution in the form of higher health premiums.
Numerous lawsuits filed against this and other portions of "Obamacare" will proceed and for good reason: the federal government seems intent on setting rules on matters of conscience and worse, defining what constitutes a church, or religious institution.
In a new Lean Forward promo spot for MSNBC, Politics Nation host the Rev. Al Sharpton invoked the language of the Pledge of Allegiance, sans the term "under God." In the spot, Sharpton rattled off a laundry list of pet issues that MSNBC obsessed over in 2012 as he dreamed of a "nation that is really living up to the creed of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." [MP3 audio here; Watch the video below the page break; Transcript follows page break]
A Google News search ths morning on "Harbaugh brothers Catholic" (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates and originally omitted items), returned 24 items. A broader search at the Associated Press's national site on "Harbaugh Catholic" (not in quotes) came up empty. This is disappointing, given that both brothers are by all accounts very active in and devoted to the Catholic Church.
The stories found at Google News were predominantly from Catholic-oriented publications, with the most notable exception being one by Matthew Barrows at the Sacramento Bee, whose story comprised 15 of those 24 listed results. Excerpts from that Thursday piece, much of which was about the Harbaugh brothers as youths, are after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
When it comes to discussing religious objections to President Obama’s contraception mandate, MSNBC decided this afternoon that prominent feminist and liberal darling Sandra Fluke is the best person to comment. Speaking with Tamron Hall on the February 1 NewsNation, Fluke appeared on MSNBC to hype, “the [Obama] administration's process of clarifying how women will have access to this important health care service."
Fluke, a Georgetown Law student who "testified" before a Democratic policy committee -- not a congressional panel contrary to popular belief -- became a recurring guest on MSNBC, and even spoke at the Democratic National Convention last year. According to Politico, under the new policy announced by the Obama Administration [See video after jump. MP3 audio here]:
No good (or at least spineless) deed goes unpunished. As the news broke that the Boy Scouts of America is considering allowing local charters to decide whether to admit homosexual scouts and leaders, the left just won’t let up. Networks like ABC and NBC have already called for more inclusivity this week and so has Washington Post guest writer Herb Silverman, a self-described “Jewish Atheist” and “founder and President Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America”
If the Scouts do adopt that policy, Silverman suggested that the next “step forward” is to admit atheists as well. He wrote, “I look forward to a day when the Boy Scouts become as tolerant as the Girl Scouts, who have refused to discriminate against any girl for any reason because they regard lesbian and atheist girls as equals.”
The Washington Post's religion writers have been hard at work of late to boost the religious left's push for more stringent gun control legislation. On Thursday, for example, Post religion writer Michelle Boorstein treated readers of the paper's Metro section with a puffy front-page item celebrating the pulpit-pounding for gun control from the likes of the dean of the Episcopal Church's National Cathedral, Rev. Gary Hall, a self-described "left-wing Democrat." Hall has cravenly lumped gun control in with the message of the Christian gospel, using liberal applause lines like "I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby."
It's not very often that a federal judge begins a ruling by saying that "Sometimes even a person with excellent vision does not see the forest for the trees." That happened yesterday in a case involving former First District Democratic Congressman and sore loser Steve Driehaus, whose district mostly comprised the western two-thirds of Cincinnati's Hamilton County. Yet it's not news at Gannett's Cincinnati Enquirer -- or anywhere else, for that matter.
After his 2010 defeat at the hands of Republican Steve Chabot, Driehaus sued the Susan B. Anthony List in federal court for defamation and -- get this -- "loss of livelihood." Why? Because, during that campaign, SBAL told Driehaus's constituents -- correctly, it has since been proven -- that his vote for ObamaCare was a betrayal of his pro-life principles. Yesterday, despite his obvious conflict of interest as former president and director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati, Judge Timothy Black, a Barack Obama appointee, found a way to do what he should have done in the first place, and rejected Driehaus's nonsense.
An unbylined Agence France-Presse report Wednesday opens by telling readers that Japanese researchers "have succeeded in growing human kidney tissue from stem cells for the first time, in a potential first step towards helping millions who depend on dialysis." Another version of the report at another website identifies the reporter as Harumi Ozawa; an accompanying picture caption describes the achievement as a "potential breakthrough."
I perused Ozawa's dispatch to see what kind of stem cells were involved, and in the process came across a confirmation of what those of us who have been following these matters for several years have suspected for some time, namely that the supposed scientific justification for harvesting stem cells from human embryos -- supposedly because there is no other path towards combating many diseases and maladies -- no longer exists. The paragraph containing that confirmation, as well as an odd and likely nonscientific term Ozawa used in the previous paragraph, are in bold in the excerpt following the jump:
The producer of CNN's Belief Blog lauded President Obama as "exceptional" and a "religious pioneer" for supporting same-sex marriage and hosting his inaugural prayer service at National Cathedral.
"Well, I think it's part of what makes Obama exceptional. We think of him as a racial pioneer, the first African-American president, but I think he's also a religious pioneer," John Blake said of the choice of National Cathedral, which made headlines for announcing it will conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
During the monologue of Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, host Maher joked about wanting to see Texas Governor Rick Perry trying to defend himself from a killer using prayer, as he excoriated the Republican governor for suggesting that more religion could help reduce violent tendencies in people.
As he brought up the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and opposition to the left's proposed new gun laws, Maher went after the Texas governor:
As NewsBusters previously reported, Catholic League President Bill Donohue on Friday in response to some disgusting comments made by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said President Obama might want to swear on Karl Marx's Das Kapital during the upcoming inaugural festivities.
NPR contributing anchor Louise Schiavone took to her Twitter account Saturday asking the disgraceful question, "What is this group? Do they wear hoods?"
In yet another attempt to inject her liberal bias into a discussion on abortion, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell insisted that pro-life Americans call themselves "anti-abortion" instead because the latter term is "more value neutral." Speaking on her MSNBC show Wednesday afternoon with Republican strategist Juleanna Glover, Ms. Mitchell decided that Glover’s self-identification as pro-life was inappropriate.
Mitchell, who consistently brings on abortion activists to rail against conservatives who are pro-life, told Ms. Glover that she is in fact anti-abortion, “To use the term that I think is more value neutral.” Ms. Glover who called herself deeply pro-life failed to challenge Ms. Mitchell on her categorization of the pro-life movement and instead when on a lengthy diatribe criticizing the Republican Party for many of its pro-life positions. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Forget the “Star Wars’ Last Supper” or even the “Simpsons’ Last Supper,” Bronwyn Lundberg has transformed the DaVinci classic into another type of spectacle: the “Lesbian Last Supper.” And her Sapphic sacrilege was celebrated in – where else? – the Huffington Post.
The West Hollywood artist illustrates a lesbian feast, where talk show host Ellen DeGeneres replaces Jesus and other stars, such as Portia de Rossi, Rosie O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, and Wanda Sykes swap spots with the apostles.
On Monday, far-left director Michael Moore went on an anti-Catholic bender at an awards presentation, and also targeted "those who would deify Reagan and Pope John Paul II" as somehow to blame for "the deaths of thousands of people...because of their bigotry."
The New York Post's Page Six on Wednesday spotlighted how the Occupy Wall Street-supporting filmmaker served as a presenter at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Moore gave the Best First Film award to fledgling director Armond White, who made a documentary about the radical activist group ACT UP.
She had 12 paragraphs to play with, but in none of them did Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein find any space for a conservative Episcopalian or Anglican to voice objection to the decision by Episcopal authorities to permit same-sex wedding ceremonies in the historic Washington National Cathedral in Northwest Washington, D.C.
"In some ways, the announcement that is expected Wednesday morning is unsurprising for a denomination and a diocese that long ago took up the cause of marriage equality," Boorstein noted in the second paragraph of her January 9 story, but added that "the cathedral's stature and the image of same-sex couples exchanging vows in the soaring Gothic structure... is symbolically powerful."
Usually when President Obama’s opponents are handed a defeat, ABC, CBS and NBC are quick to crow about it. That’s why their silence on the Supreme Court’s Christmas ruling against retail chain Hobby Lobby is so curious.
Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, filed a suit against the Federal government earlier this year, arguing that ObamaCare’s so-called contraception mandate would “violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs or be exposed to severe penalties.” The Greens are evangelical Christians and wanted an injunction that would shield them from covering the abortifacients or paying monetary penalties while their case played out in the courts. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed the company’s injunction request, and on Dec. 26, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred.
Most of the January 2 front page for The Washington Post was devoted to the resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff, but editors made sure to leave space for a gauzy 33-paragraph story entitled "History at the altar: Maryland sees wave of same-sex weddings as law takes effect."
By contrast, an uplifting story involving a non-controversial religious tradition in African-American churches was shuffled to the bottom of page A2, despite the tremendous historical significance of the 2012 New Year's Eve "watch night" celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
An unbylined Associated Press story at 1:34 p.m. (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) disgracefully covered a federal ruling which delivered a defeat (for now) against the enforcement of ObamaCare's contraception mandate.
Unlike the Hobby Lobby situation (covered earlier today at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), where the dispute is over certain portions of the contraception mandate requiring employers to cover abortifacient drugs and devices, the ruling in the case of Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza who is now has a property management business, involves the entire contraception mandate. Monaghan nevertheless was able to get a temporary restraining order (TRO). The full five-paragraph AP report is after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
One of the establishment press's favorite tactics to diminish the perceived strength of a position taken by people or companies they are inclined not to favor is to take objectively true facts and statements and reduce them to things only those people or companies "say" or "believe."
Hobby Lobby's court battle against the ObamaCare mandates is a perfect case in point, with both the Politico and Associated Press providing recent related examples of this fundamentally dishonest tactic. In the December 26 item at the Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn and Kathryn Smith also falsely framed the situation as an argument over "contraception" (more on that in a bit; bolds are mine throughout this post). But first, let's look at how the pair employed the "they say" tactic: