At the end of a Good Morning America segment today about Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., an Obama campaign representative complained that John McCain's pastor had not been similarly "vetted." If that's true, then ABC or some other media outlet surely should and will do so.
Let's imagine that upon vetting, McCain's pastor is found to have made statements that were the mirror-image of those that Rev. Wright has made. How long would McCain remain a viable candidate? Judge for yourself, based on Rev. Wright's statements as exposed in the GMA segment that was the result of work by ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. GMA aired a number of clips from sermons Rev. Wright gave at his Trinity United Church of Christ.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America? No, no, no! Not God bless America. God damn America! It's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human!"
On Friday, the NPR chat show Fresh Air with Terry Gross (aired on over 400 stations from WHYY in Philadelphia) carried two interviews on science and religion. They might claim the discussion was balanced, but not when you consider the time allotted, as listed on the NPR web page:
Apparently, an almost three-to-one time difference is a fair fight on NPR.
In case that's not imbalanced enough, the Dawkins page also helpfully links to another 30-minute NPR interview with Dawkins about his book The God Delusion on the show Talk of the Nation. The interviews are repeats from last year, but NPR doesn't generally tell listeners about that when the show airs.
[Update, 5:39 pm Eastern: The Acton Institute's office in Rome has provided an English translation of Bishop Girotti's interview. In it, the bishop has his own criticism for the media. "[I]t is necessary also to denounce the emphasis given to the media that on a daily basis casts discredit on the Church.]
A supposed list of "new sins" from the Vatican, such as pollution and genetic manipulation, made headlines across the world on Monday. The list actually didn’t come from any official Catholic Church document, but from an interview of a bishop that was published in L'Osservatore Romano, the "semi-official" newspaper in Vatican City, and it exposed the mainstream media’s fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church specifically.
L'Osservatore Romano printed the interview of Gianfranco Girotti, a bishop who is a member of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, in its March 9 edition. In it, Girotti discussed "new forms of social sin," and gave examples such genetic manipulation and drug trafficking. Girotti, who is the number-two official at the Tribunal, is in the mid-level of the Vatican’s bureaucracy, and wouldn’t make any official decisions on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Despite Girotti’s lack of real authority, the mainstream media hyped up the interview as being authoritative. The Daily Telegraph’s website claimed that Girotti’s list of "new forms of social sin" "replaces the list originally drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century, which included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride." Reuters’ article reported that "the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight." CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on Monday’s "The Situation Room," even went so far to say that "some Christian teachings say love thy neighbor and don't lie, cheat, or steal? But might would one more virtue be added -- go green? Find out why the pope says polluting the planet is a sin." And Pope Benedict XVI wasn’t even the one who was interviewed by L'Osservatore Romano!
Of course, 44 Southern Baptists who buy into the green agenda received a respectful print story in the March 10 Times, widely quoting the church leaders saying things like: "when we destroy God's creation, it's similar to ripping pages from the Bible."
Judas Iscariot was really, really torn about betraying Jesus and was just misunderstood, anyway. And Pontius Pilate? Well, he was just an honest, but beleaguered public servant who was just trying to please his wife. Both men were not really bad guys.... or at least that is how the BBC will present these characters in their newest re-imagining of the final days of Jesus Christ to air this Easter -- an effort that comes on the heels of last year's version of the Nativity that portrayed Mary and Joseph as illegal immigrants.
The producers, of course, are denying that they intend to re-write the character's history, but they do admit that they are trying to portray Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate in a "more sympathetic light" causing Christians to cringe over the PC treatment.
The Media, as Sisyphus, Unwinding its Terror TaleThere is a push by the Jurassic Press -- in two directions at once -- to frame just-so their presentation of the murder and murderers engaged in the attempted global implementation of political Islam.
One such shove was again demonstrated by the New York Times this past February 13th. The Media attempt to present these bits of human flotsam -- and their family members and friends -- in the most sympathetic of possible lights. The Times portrayal of the mourning father and grandfather of recently rubbed out Hezbollah serial assassin Imad Mugniyah -- responsible for amongst many other atrocities the 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut (American death count 241) is nothing more than another attempt to humanize these inhuman creatures.
The other Press effort underway is the minimization of the evil of these acts and actors. There is even a feel to some of these reports that those delivering them almost do not wish to have to do so, but are forced to by circumstances and forces (the Internet, anyone?) beyond their control.
Key facts that would exhibit the depths of barbarism mined by these men (and women and, sadly, their bloodletting-by-proxy children) are left out.
"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?'"
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Steve Kroft interviewed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, along with a small group of Ohio Democratic voters who, as Kroft explained: "told us that both race and gender would be hidden factors in southern Ohio, that many blue collar workers here won't vote for a woman, and others would never vote for a black." Kroft went on to focus on Obama: "And Senator Obama has another problem: a malicious campaign against him that surfaced in a number of our interviews."
This "malicious campaign" as Kroft sees it is the suggestion by some that Obama is a Muslim. Kroft was shocked to find this belief from one of the voters he talked to, Kenny Schoenholtz, who said:
I'm leaning towards Obama. There's a couple issues with him I'm not too clear on...Well, I'm hearing he doesn't even know the national anthem. He wouldn't use the Holy Bible. He's got his own beliefs, with the Muslim beliefs. And couple of issues that bothers me at heart.
Kroft was concerned that this one misinformed voter, who said he would probably vote for Obama anyway, was reflective of broader smear against the Illinois Senator:
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell has proven that skin color is deeper than hate in her Sunday column as she scolded Barack Obama for distancing himself from the endorsement of the racist Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. Mitchell scoffed at Barack's denouncement of Farrakhan as merely a "game" to placate racist white people and tried to pump up the legitimacy of Farrakhan at the same time. Shockingly Mitchell excused every hateful thing ever said by Farrakhan and said that Barack should have "found a way" to accept Farrakhan's endorsement "without denigrating Farrakhan's legacy."
Mitchell scolded Barack Obama because he tried to make sure that voters don't think that he, Barack, supports the sort of racism evinced in the past by Louis Farrakhan. Saying that, "most black people understand the game," Mitchell seems to feel that the only reason Obama eschewed Farrakhan’s praise is because all those racist whites would pillory Barack for accepting such an endorsement and so, she feels, he had to trash Farrakhan. Sadly for Mitchell, Farrakhan is a worthy representative of the black community and she feels that Obama is somehow being an apostate to that community for dumping on Farrakhan.
"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):
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has issued a non-apology apology to blogger Charles Johnson for an article in which a reporter inaccurately and unfairly attributed remarks in a blog comment thread to Johnson himself. Writing at Little Green Footballs, Johnson quotes an e-mail from a Post-Dispatch editor. The editor was informing Johnson of a correction to run in the paper, but closed with a non-apology apology (emphasis Johnson's):
That is also the reason that he did not feel compelled to get a response from you for this particular story. At issue here were the comments in question, not your blog posting. No one in the article was criticizing or questioning you or your blog or holding you responsible for those comments.
When it comes to Islam, the approach of too many media outlets seems to be to avoid questioning authority. Whether this attitude stems from fear (as in the case of Lawrence O'Donnell), ignorance, or plain old-fashioned political correctness doesn't really matter because the end result is the same: when extremist Islamic groups like the Council on Islamic Relations say "jump," far too many news organizations say "how high."
It's not asking for much, really. When, for instance, other religious groups (be they Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, etc.) make complaints, the usual procedure is to talk to the person or group being accused and allow them to tell there side of the story. It's basic journalism. It appears, however, that St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Tim Townsend doesn't believe that, at least when the complaint involves CAIR making allegations against the conservative blog Little Green Footballs. Let's take a look:
‘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?"
Consider the opening of this story from Reuters about the latest rash of rioting in Copenhagen:
Danish youths riot for sixth night [Update: make that the seventh straight night]
Gangs of rioters set fire to cars and garbage trucks in northern Copenhagen on Friday, the sixth night of rioting and vandalism that has spread from the capital to other Danish cities, police said on Saturday.
We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another — that we cannot measure the greatness of our society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure our greatness by the least of these. That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
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.
The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
Over across the pond, the Brits are having a spirited discussion about Islamic law following a statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that sharia is inevitable within the UK. This has pleased some of the more extremely politically correct people who are calling for the creation of a dual-tier legal system which would enforce the medieval dictates of Islamic sharia law.
While he may not be quite that foolish, it seems British journalist Martin Fletcher (h/t LGF) does appear to be more of the useful idiot, at least judging from an op-ed he published which praises his "brush with Islamic justice:"
As one who has been hauled in front of a Sharia court I would like to risk having my hand — or head — chopped off a second time by suggesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury just might have a point.
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:
The Cleveland Plain Dealer apparently decided to do something wtih a story it was dragged into kicking and screaming last fall -- one that it seemed at the time to be wishing would go away.
Saturday, David Briggs, the paper's religion reporter, did something with a near non-story relating to previous events that he and his paper failed to do twice when it counted: He followed up, reporting on the difficulties a Cleveland mosque is experiencing in finding a new imam.
That contrasts starkly with how Briggs and the PD handled the story of the guy who was on the verge of becoming that mosque's imam last fall.
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?"
An article in Wednesday’s Albany Times-Union carried the deceptive title "35 years pass, but not debate: Demonstrations mark 1973 high court ruling affirming right to abortion." Instead of covering any of the various pro-life or pro-choice demonstrations over the past few days, the Times-Union spent the bulk of article discussing a ceremony at a new Planned Parenthood facility in Albany where local clergy "blessed" the clinic. Only two sentences mentioned that "Capital Region activists joined voices with their counterparts nationwide to mark the day" and that the annual March for Life was being held in Washington, DC.
The article, written by Times-Union staff writer Carol DeMare, quoted several "pro-choice" clergy who took part in the "blessing" ceremony. Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady, New York's Emmanuel-Friedens Church described the new Planned Parenthood center as "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers ... sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled."
Mark Moring has an interesting read at Christianity Today's Web site. He recalls all the popular movies in 2007 that feature life-affirming responses to unexpected pregnancy in films such as "Knocked Up," "Waitress," "Juno," "Bella," and "August Rush.":
To some, it was a year of war movies and "statement" flicks—including In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition. Meanwhile, David Poland of Movie City News declared 2007 "Oscar's Year of the Man," noting that of the top sixteen contenders for best picture, only three were headlined by women.
But others noticed a different trend: In some ways, 2007 was the Year of Pro-Life Cinema.
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):