A NewsBusters reader sent us an MP3 clip
of an ABC News radio report from the afternoon of May 15 by "Nightline"
host Terry Moran. In it, Moran boils down the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's clerical career and political activism to one extreme soundbite from
shortly after 9/11.
Moran left unmentioned that Falwell later
clarified his statements to reflect more accurately his belief that God lifted the "curtain" of His protection to allow 9/11 to happen, and closed his report emphasizing Falwell as a marginalized political actor:
In 2001, just two days after the 9/11 attacks, Falwell infamously and
appallingly blamed the mass murder not on terrorists...
FALWELL sound bite: The pagans and the abortionists...
Sure, it's a basic Judeo-Christian tenet that we will be accountable to God for our actions on earth. But if a reverend from the religious left had died yesterday, do you think Diane Sawyer, immediately after reviewing controversial statements he had made in the course of his career, would conclude by archly observing that the reverend has "gone to answer to his Maker"?
Neither do I. But that is just what the Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer did today on the occasion of the death of Jerry Falwell. After a brief biographical review, Sawyer stated "as the years went by, even some believers saw intolerance buried inside his attacks." She highlighted three of his statements. First, a clip of Falwell stating "I happen to be a Bible-believing Christian. And the Old and New Testament both teach that homosexuality is sin." Sawyer and anyone else are free to reject that teaching. But in Sawyer's eyes, does stating what Scripture says amount to "intolerance"?
The sudden death of Rev. Jerry Falwell on Tuesday marked not just the passing of a television evangelist, but of a historic conservative leader and regular cable TV pundit. The mainstream media developed a strong distaste for him because he entered the political arena and helped establish a stronger conservative movement. For reporters, he was the definition of the far right, someone whose support made a Republican unacceptable, and any Republican who attacked him (like John McCain in 2000) quickly became a media hero. The Washington Post infamously described him as leading a flock that was "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." Here's a selection of "Notable Quotables" capturing their attitudes:
"In 2000, John McCain ran for President as a different kind of politician....Straight talk included taking on powerful Christian conservatives like Jerry Falwell, whom he called an ‘agent of intolerance.’....McCain is [now] trying to repair relations with the religious right.... For McCain, doing so could jeopardize his reputation for being a different kind of politician." — Reporter Dan Harris on ABC’s World News Tonight, April 14.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts Tuesday night couldn't resist ridiculing the late Jerry Falwell for pointing out how a children's character on a PBS show appeared gay -- though gay rights advocates had earlier made the same observation -- and CBS brought aboard liberal presidential historian Douglas Brinkley who called Falwell “comedy fodder for people,” found it relevant that “feminists never liked him,”and dismissed him as “a backlash figure” whose “returning to family values was returning to women being in the kitchen.”
On ABC's World News, which unlike CBS and NBC did not lead with Falwell's death, Dan Harris asserted: “In the final years of his life Falwell alienated some in his own movement with a series of controversial statements. For example, he said the children's TV character 'Tinky Winky' was a gay role model.” CBS's Richard Schlesinger recalled that in later years “Falwell started making embarrassing missteps, denouncing a popular cartoon character as a gay role model.” Over on the NBC Nightly News, Bob Faw, who concluded his piece by asserting that “the Reverend Jerry Falwell -- crusader and polarizer -- was 73,” raised the PBS show: “In 1999, Falwell was ridiculed when he complained one of the PBS Teletubbies was gay.” But a 1999 Cox News story archived on a gay news Web site, began: “In the flap over whether Tinky Winky the Teletubby is gay, the real news is that the Rev. Jerry Falwell is late to the party.” Phil Kloer pointed out that in 1998, the year before Falwell spoke out, “the gay magazine The Advocate presciently wrote that 'PBS is clearly terrified that the same fundamentalists who boycott Disney are going to flip once they get wind of the latest lavender love puppet.'”
If you've ever wondered why stories critical of Islam are often dropped off sites like YouTube and Digg, look no further than this email currently being circulated among YouTube users encouraging the formation of a private group to promote Islam through gaming YouTube's favorites system:
Date: May 14, 2007, 11:18 AM
to all muslim brothers and sisters please read
Our Islamic videos will not get full attention unless they come in
the top ranked videos in youtube. For this purpose we all Muslims have
to rate the videos to 5 stars and have to add them to our favorites.
This will not be achieved if we Muslim Youtubers are scattered, i.e.,
one muslim rating one video and other muslim rating another. So we have
to be highly organized. We will do a massive campaign of focusing to
rate a single video collectively at once, so that it can show up on the
top videos at least in the “Today’s top videos” list.
I'm not a fan of Jerry Falwell, who died today
shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty
University at the age of 73. That said, I am quite disgusted with the
pathological hatred displayed by liberal bloggers in their reactions to
Dick Kreck of the Denver Post seems to think there is a good "point" to a suggestion that Christians should be suspected bombers because Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh was supposedly a Christian. In a column about local radio talk show host "Gunny Bob" of KOA, Kreck comments that a radio station detractor has "got a point" when he satirically said that, since McVeigh and Nichols were Christians, all Christians should be placed under surveillance because of the actions of the two bombers. The detractor was responding to talker "Gunny Bob's" idea that all Muslims in the USA should be forced to wear GPS tracking bracelets so the government could keep track of them all.
"It is unclear what role, if any, religion played in the attack Mr. Shnewer and the five other men are charged with planning. (The sixth suspect, Agron Abdullahu, had no apparent connection with Al-Aqsa or the South Jersey Islamic Center.) The authorities have described the suspects as Islamic extremists, but the lengthy criminal complaint summarizing the F.B.I.'s 15-month undercover investigation of the group does not mention where -- or how often -- they prayed. Certainly there is no evidence that they picked up radical ideas at either mosque."
As Ken Shepherd reported earlier, on the May 14 edition of "The View" co-host Rosie O’Donnell once again advanced her now famous September 11 conspiracy theory. After admitting to a "cult personality," Rosie engaged in a verbal spat with her colleague Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the merits of this crackpot theory.
Joy Behar accused former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani of incompetence in handling the lead up to and aftermath of the terrorist attacks of that horrific day. This prompted Rosie to note that Giuliani shipped some of the debris to China, implying the former mayor had evidence to hide. After Behar lashed out at Giuliani for not moving the Command/Control Center out of the World Trade Center after the 1993 bombing, Rosie advanced her conspiracy theory again.
A 12 year old girl is suing the Chicago Board of Education for negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress after a substitute teacher led her 8th grade class to watch the film Brokeback Mountain with the warning, "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," according to the lawsuit.
The teacher then proceeded to show the 8th grade elementary school class the R rated gay themed film; a film that garnered its rating for sexual content, language and drug use.
According to the suit, a substitute teacher introduced herself as Ms. Buford to Jessica's class at Ashburn Community Elementary School, 8300 S. St. Louis Ave. She then said, "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," the suit claims. Buford then had a student close the door, and started showing the controversial R-rated film, which features two men engaged in sex.
Washington Post reporter Alan Cooperman reported in Saturday's Religion section on evangelical scholar Francis Beckwith rejoining the Catholic Church. This is a controversial act, but centered on theology (in this case, the theology of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI). But to find the correct (or the entertaining?) analogy, Cooperman selected a blogger who compared it to Hulk Hogan switching professional wrestling organizations:
The president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an association of 4,300 Protestant theologians, resigned this month because he has joined the Roman Catholic Church.
The May 5 announcement by Francis J. Beckwith, a tenured associate professor at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Tex., has left colleagues gasping for breath and commentators grasping for analogies.
The May 11 edition of "The Early Show" ran a relatively fair piece on Rudy Giuliani and his stance on abortion. However, there were clear issues of a labeling double standards. In the set up story Jeff Greenfield noted Giuliani’s stance on social issues "moderate to liberal" despite the former mayor’s support of partial birth abortions.
During the course of Harry Smith’s interview with CBS News political analyst Nicolle Wallace, Smith used the term "religious conservatives" to describe the voters who express concern over Giuliani’s abortion rights support. Smith then described California, a state that Kerry defeated Bush by nine percent, as "more moderate" than Iowa and New Hampshire, two states that were decided by about one percent of the vote.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchors and reporters worried that the Pope may be "interfering in American politics." Correspondent Dan Harris discussed the Pope’s comments about pro-choice Catholic politicians and an ABC graphic offered this leading question, "Is Pope Pushing his Pulpit?"
Talking to conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Harris adopted a tone of surprise that the Pope, who lives way over in Europe, could have an impact on American politics:
Harris: "So even though he doesn't vote here, he doesn't live here, wasn't elected here, he can impact the race here?"
Yup -- according to Chris Matthews. The MSNBC host suggested that Mitt Romney had landed a "sucker punch" on Sharpton in reacting to the reverend's assertion that "true believers" will defeat the Mormon in the presidential race. Matthews laced his interview with Sharpton on this afternoon's "Hardball" with a number of comments painting Sharpton as the offended, not the offender.
After playing a tape of Sharpton's remark, and Romney's response in which he characterized Sharpton's comment as bigoted, Matthews went off on a riff.
Despite "The View’s" left wing slant, the co-hosts, as previously reported, are no fans of Al Sharpton. The ladies discussed the reverend’s latest gaffe implicitly insulting Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Joy Behar first mentioned the topic, quoting his inflammatory statement: "those of us who really believe in God will defeat Romney for the White House." Behar did note that Sharpton is now backtracking from the comment.
Guest co-host Marie Osmond, a Mormon, felt Romney’s response was "gracious," and even took a shot at Sharpton.
"Al didn't have a beautiful past himself, so I don’t think that he should necessarily make these statements, you know."
During a debate on atheism in New York City with Christopher Hitchens on Monday, the reliably inflammatory Al Sharpton said: "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that.'"
"Sharpton Accused of Bigoted Remark" would be the equivalent of "Dog Bites Man" for a true "paper of record," but the Times rarely notices.
In atypical fashion, Luo devoted most of his space not to Romney's accusation or to calls for apologies from offended Mormons, but to Al Sharpton's (make that "civil rights activist" Sharpton, as Luo called him in a post on the Times' political blog) defense and rebuttal.
With the Pope endorsing excommunication for politicians who support abortion, journalists might do well to bone up on what excommunication really is all about.
Reported Time magazine's Jeff Israely on May 9:
During an unprecedented 25-minute on-flight press conference, Benedict
left little room for interpretation: pro-choice politicians not only
should be denied communion, but face outright excommunication from the
Church for supporting "the killing of a human child."
Wow, sounds grave. It is, but a proper understanding of excommunication is as a "medicinal" not "vindictive" measure in Church discipline, according to the online Catholic encyclopedia New Advent:
In going on Paula Zahn's CNN show this evening, was Al Sharpton's goal to quell the controversy surrounding his comments about Mormonism, or to inflame it? If the former, he failed miserably. If the latter, he succeeded admirably. Far from retracting his earlier allegation that Mormons aren't real believers, he repeated it, adding an allegation of racism for good measure.
Let's recall Sharpton's original statement, that in going on the Zahn show he presumably was seeking to explicate. Debating Christopher Hitchens recently, Sharpton said:
"And as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway. So don't worry about that. That's a temporary, that's a temporary situation."
With Rosie O’Donnell’s announced departure of "The View" other networks such as NBC and CBS are apparently interested in the very controversial comedienne. Broadcastingcable.com reports that Rosie may offer commentary on "The Early Show" in an effort to boost its third place ratings.
"Sources say O'Donnell will meet with CBS brass soon to discuss its offer, which could open the door to regular guest appearances on The Early Show. Her views have generated the type of buzz that could allow CBS to finally lift the perennial third-place program out of the morning-show cellar."
A while back, Brent Bozell pointed out how NBC had systematically removed all Christian themes from the popular "Veggie Tales" cartoon show. I wonder how the good folks at NBC would feel about this video from Palestinian TV which uses a Mickey Mouse-type figure to teach suicide bombing to young children.
Update 11:44. Video link removed as it was overwhelming LGF. I'll have a workaround in a moment. See story below:
The Hamas Television is using a clone of Disney’s Mickey Mouse to teach
children to hate Israel and America, and aspire to Islam’s inevitable
and impending world domination.
An April 4 CNN.com article helped peddle the recent “Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond,” written by acclaimed “Hotel Rwanda” star Don Cheadle and former Clinton administration official John Prendergast, who is now a “human rights activist” and an advisor to the Soros-financed International Crisis Group.
In this Aspen Steib article, there is no mention of the 22-year civil war that devastated Southern Sudan when Arab Muslims targeted black Christians and Animists or the Bush administration’s efforts to end the wars in both Southern Sudan and Darfur. Cheadle’s intentions are probably good, but this article ignored many issues. Darfur’s crisis is complex, and this article’s approach had one note: it's Bush's fault.
Cheadle and Prendergast detail what they think what needs to be done (emphasis mine throughout):
"It is urgent that President Bush act ... to confront the Sudanese regime for the atrocities that it is committing and perpetuating to bring this genocide to an end once and for all," they write.
I'm really blessed as an evangelical Christian to have Bill Redeker at ABCNews.com to tell me that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are "evolving."
The evangelical movement has long been considered a powerful political
entity. An estimated 65 million Americans consider themselves
conservative Christians. Their anti-gay, anti-abortion views are well
known as is their support for mostly Republican political candidates.
But times are changing.
there are evangelicals speaking out on global warming and supporting
adoption. Neither would have been endorsed only a few years ago.
Really? I must have missed the sermons all those years about how adoption is not Christ-like, despite the Bible using the adoption analogy to describe Christ's relationship with His Church.
And what about global warming? That's not really a concern germane to biblical ethics, although , yes, many evangelicals that happen to be conservative and Republican are likely to be skeptical of the theory of anthropocentric global warming.
Print accounts of the House of Representatives turning into Pelosi Palace, passing a so-called "hate crimes" expansion act to please the gay left, don't seem to notice there is a left side on the debate over this bill. There are "civil rights groups" on one side, and "conservatives" on the other. That apparently would make them an "anti-civil rights" group.
In The Washington Post, reporter Jonathan Weisman quotes Speaker Nancy Pelosi using words from the Pledge of Allegiance to back the left wing, not to mention Ted Kennedy and Steny Hoyer, but none of them are described as liberals. Weisman can't even call the bill's backers "gay advocates," just "advocates," as if idealistic blandness (and not ideological severity) defined the left, while these idealists were opposed by the staunchest of conservatives:
"Did a violinist in a red dress quash detente between Iran, USA?"
Iranian Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki exchanged pleasantries with
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during regional talks in Egypt this
week, but reports suggest that he didn't stay for dinner Thursday night
because of concerns about the way a female violinist was dressed.
have been told by one of the U.S. State Department officials, who did
not want to be named, that as soon as Secretary Rice walked in,
Manuchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, left. But then
[Mottaki's] excuse was that there was a lady violinist who was wearing
a sexy red dress -- she was wearing a shawl on it -- but he was
objecting to the fact the lady was wearing a revealing red dress," says
Mahtab Farid, a reporter with Radio Farda, a U.S. government-funded
radio station that broadcasts in Farsi.
Al Gore's prophecy tour of doom hit a snag the other day. Apparently, he caused a stir among some atheist environmentalists for stating that he believes in creation science. Amazingly, no one in the media has picked it up. The irony is especially delicious since many on the left are making fun of some of the GOP presidential candidates for having the same belief.
One liberal Canadian blogger who was at a Gore presentation reports Gore's act of blasphemy:
The slide I found particularly interesting/shocking/sad, was his new(?)
slide containing a graph of human population growth over the past
couple hundred-thousand years. It started off good. He pointed at the
beginning of the graph, showing the population of humans on Earth from
200,000 years ago, and referred to the “rise of humans." Cool beans. So he believes that Homo sapiens evolved from other hominid ancestors, right? Nope.
New York Times reporters can'tstand it when President Bush actually has the nerve to speak in front of supportive crowds, and neither did the headline writer to reporter Jim Rutenberg's Thursday story, "Outing Finds Bush in the Thick of Softball Season." The text box reads: "In a challenging time, the president turns to a friendly audience."
That "friendly audience" would be the Associated General Contractors of America. Rutenberg, as if in disbelief, quoted chapter and verse the often-religious, positive bent of some of the audience questions to Bush.
It's commencement speech time again at colleges and universities across America. Goshen College is one of the few to have already graduated its class of 2007, and CBS producer Greg Kandra took notice. Kandra plugged a speech by the Rev. Joy Carroll Wallis* at Goshen College:
In the days to come, we'll be reading a lot of snippets from
commencement speeches. 'Tis the season. Some will be hilarious. Some
dreadful. A few will actually say something that make you put down your
morning coffee and think. This speech is one of those.
Print it. Save it. Share it. It's worth it.
So I'm following Kandra's advice. I printed it (should I buy a tree-offset too?) and I'm sharing it with you. Unfortunately it contains the usual liberal platitudes you hear in a college commencement speech. Here's a sample:
"Man Who Claims to Be Prophet Muhammad Alive and Well in Hoboken, Says It's Cool to Eat Pork"
Imagine that headline on ABCNews.com. And imagine the story included no Muslim imams or scholars to denounce the charlatan. Well, that's pretty much what ABC did today on an old story front-paged on its Web site today (see screencap on the right), only the religion in question was Christianity (and the fake Jesus in the story lives in Houston).
Here's the headline for the March 6, 2007, story by Jim Avila (yes, the dateline is correct, this story is over a month old):
The New Yorker is "a magazine that is not seriously edited," writes George Weigel in his latest column ("The New Yorker spins the pope"). Weigel reached his stinging conclusion after examining a recent article ("The Pope and Islam") from Jane Kramer, who pens a "Letter From Europe" feature for the magazine. In addition to citing the piece for falsehoods, mis-readings and errors, Weigel zaps Kramer's article as a "lengthy tantrum" and "a wailing wall for left-leaning Vaticanisti, disgruntled Curial bureaucrats, and Italian Catholic activists unhappy with Benedict XVI's challenge to Islam."