Brian Fitzpatrick of the MRC's Culture and Media Institute has compiled a handy road map showing Americans all the sights where the media have unloaded truckloads of doubt about Christianity during the weeks leading up to Easter. It's called "The Easter 'Hit' Parade." For example:
A History Channel program scheduled for Easter Sunday will question whether the Bible is God’s complete revelation to mankind.
The current – Holy Week – issue of Newsweek teases readers with the headline “Is God Real?,” and features a debate between a prominent evangelical pastor and an outspoken atheist.
An April 3 New York Times article dismisses the story of Moses parting the Red Sea as a “myth.”
You might think that Easter would be an occasion for an MSM outlet like ABC to invite in a serious Christian theologian or minister to discuss issues of death and resurrection. Please. I did say "an MSM outlet." ABC's Good Morning America decided the best way to celebrate Easter today was to devote one segment to an anti-war activist who had organized a "cluster bomb hunt" to parallel the White House's Easter egg hunt, and another segment to a mocking examination of the Easter bunny.
In the first segment, GMA's Kate Snow interviewed Brian Hennessey, organizer of the "cluster bomb hunt" outside the White House to protest the use of the weapons. Small children were shown constructing the mock bombs, and later would be sent out to search for them. Claimed Hennessey "we're not trying to politicize kids in any way." Right. When he later mentioned that the kids' parents would be "looking for weapons of mass destruction which of course aren't there," Snow didn't bother to suppress a laugh. Not surprising. This is the same Snow who a couple weeks ago who was moved to laughter by a painting that depicted Christ and his disciples as dogs.
For all Christians, Easter is an outbreak of joy, a celebration of the resurrection of the risen Lord, marking the full promise of a savior unfolding like a spring flower.
For ABC, it’s just another night to sell sex.
During a Monday night broadcast of “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC promoted its Easter Sunday lineup, starting with an inspirational episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” So far, so good. But that’s where the good ended.
Then came the plug for a typical episode of “Desperate Housewives,” with one catty middle-aged woman saying to another, “I’m this close to seducing my gardener.” The other replies, “Been there, done that.” And at promo’s end, ABC showed another scene of the first woman – fortysomething, surgically altered Nicolette Sheridan – stripping off her blouse and skirt to reveal black lacy underthings as the announcer urged: “This Easter, take off your Sunday best, and turn on your favorite shows.”
Arutz Sheva, an Internet based news outlet in Israel, reported on Friday the existence of anti-Semitic content at the liberal website Daily Kos (h/t Little Green Footballs, emphasis added throughout):
The Daily Kos blog, one of the most popular American political websites, is featuring anti-Semitic graphic content since Thursday. The Daily Kos reportedly receives 600,000 visits a day, and between 14 million and 24 million visits per month. It is often used by politicians – including Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and many others – for dissemination of their materials.
The last story of Holy Thursday’s Nightly News broadcast featured anchor Brian Williams acknowledging “we are a very religious nation.” The lead-in was for a story on workplace chaplains, a growing trend being offered by companies seeking to provide amenities that are meaningful to their employees.
The story featured the nondenominational Corporate Chaplains of America which serves 450 firms in 26 states. Corporate chaplains offer on-site opportunities for employees to talk with a person of faith about any issues that are bothering them.
Thursday home editions of the Washington Post come equipped with a Life magazine insert, and I was pleasantly surprised with the pro-religious, pro-faith content that graced its pages.
The cover for the current issue (April 6 weekend) is: "America's Coolest Churches: The amazing places where presidents, cowboys, and dog lovers go to pray."
The cover photo is a breathtaking shot of the Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Air Force Academy on a bright, sunny day.
I found the photo essay by Danny Freedman a quirky but respectful tribute to some of the more unusual houses of worship across the fruited plain. Pegged to hit American doorsteps during Holy Week it's a welcome change from other media outlets that often see Easter as a time to trudge out the usual suspects of gnostic revisionism. [continued...]
Our good friends at Get Religion noticed that the New York Times's Dining & Wine section had a bit of trouble today digesting the real meanings of Easter and Passover.
Now, to be fair, no one expects a newspaper's foodies to be experts on the finer points of theology, but it's pretty safe to say that knowing Easter celebrates the physical resurrection of Christ is not asking that much of someone writng a column about foods traditionally associated with the holiday.
When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced she had taken in $26 million in campaign donations on Monday, "Good Morning America" focused on the "historic," "staggering," and record shattering nature of the total. But on Tuesday, April 3, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received only suspicion over his equally impressive announcement of a $23 million fund-raising total.
GMA host Robin Roberts repeatedly asked Romney questions such as "where is the money coming from, Governor?" Ms. Roberts also wondered how the candidate’s Mormon faith factored into his fund-raising. She even challenged the Republican hopeful to take a page from John Kennedy and address his faith:
Robin Roberts: "Many are wondering if you will do, take a page from former President Kennedy, who had addressed the nation about his Catholic upbringing. Do you anticipate, anticipate doing the same?"
So far the New York Times has apparently yet to do any original reporting on the lawsuit filed by six imams against US Airways and some passengers who reported suspicious behavior by the imams before a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix last year. The imams were taken off the plane in Minneapolis for behavior that included loud chanting, cursing the United States, and praising Saddam Hussein. Yet even passage by the House of a bill to protect passengers who report suspicious behavior on airlines apparently hasn't motivated the newspaper to actually cover the controversy for itself.
The kids and parents of Burlington Township can sleep better knowing that school Superintendent Chris Manno worked alongside the Burlington Township Police Department to prepare for an impending attack against "right-wing fundamentalist groups".
This is the root of liberal bias. It starts in the schools and spreads throughout from the children to the town councils and eventually to local newspapers such as the Burlington County Times where staff writer David Levinsky blends the fantasy of the mock scenario with the reality of school shootings through America. (hat tip, Girl on the Right)
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is publicly voicing its strong objections to two recent columns in the Los Angeles Times regarding the priest abuse scandal. Both articles contained substantial falsehoods, according to the Archdiocese.
1. A March 26, 2007, article in the Times claimed that Church officials and employees, when questioned in legal proceedings, could invoke something called "'mental reservation' — a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Catholic Church." The article quoted Irwin Zalkin, a lawyer for abuse victims, as saying of church officials under oath, "You're never going to know the truth, one way or the other."
The truth? There is no such doctrine, and the term "mental reservation" is found nowhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
(Updated) Saturday, CNN Headline News ran a repeat of Glenn Beck’s March 27 show, which showed footage of some of the images that ran behind Elton John during his elaborate 60th birthday bash at Madison Square Garden that included a burning church. This is the same man who said that religion promotes hatred and “it’s not very compassionate.” Beck discussed the very tolerant and “compassionate” concert:
Sometimes, Fox News Channel brings to the surface powerful stuff that you would never see on "60 Minutes." FNC is promoting Sunday night's edition of "Hannity's America" featuring exclusive interviews with some of the passengers who were on the plane with the Flying Imams when they got kicked off the plane in the Twin Cities last November. FNC promises they tell quite a different story about what happened than the Imams and the folks at CAIR. The passengers are so scared about CAIR's lawsuit and harm coming to their families that they would only speak to Hannity's people anonymously.
The show airs Sunday nights at 9 PM and midnight, Eastern time.
When Rosie O’Donnell wasn’t urging the Googling of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on ABC's "The View" on Monday, she was boasting of her knowledge of the Old Testament, based on her weekly private Bible study. She told Elisabeth Hasselbeck she could whip her in Jeopardy on the Bible.
The topic was teaching the Bible in public schools, as discussed in newspapers (and in this week’s Time magazine cover story). Like many secular journalists, Barbara Walters asserted "I know nothing about the Bible, and I think most people don’t." Joy Behar insisted "you can’t teach it as nonfiction. You have to teach it as fiction in many ways." When challenged about how the Bible could be taught, Behar blurted out: "People masturbate anyway."
The creator of the Discovery Channel’s sensationalistic documentary supposedly finding the lost bones of Jesus is rushing his flick to DVD, since the cable channel yanked its repeats and otherwise downplayed the film after it drew harsh criticism for its extremely sketchy claims. TV Week reports that Simcha Jacobovici said one of the yanked reruns was supposed to be his "105-minute special edition, which included re-enactment scenes such as showing a pregnant Mary Magdalene" that Discovery executives deemed too "sensitive" for U.S. audiences. Maybe because it's not exactly a "re-enactment" if it's fictional? Doesn't he know The DaVinci Code is already on DVD?
"This may be the most talked-about documentary ever," Mr. Jacobovici said. "The fact that nobody has been able to punch a hole in our reporting is a testament to how well we’ve done our homework. Even if it’s only a 50-50 chance [of being Jesus’ tomb], it’s still the biggest story on the planet."
Can you believe it? ABC displayed a painting depicting Mohammed as a dog, and then had the temerity/stupidity to ask if Muslims would find it offensive. Actually, you can't believe it. ABC did no such thing -- nor is it conceivable it would do so.
But displaying a painting depicting Christ as a dog, and wondering whether anyone would find it offensive? Sure. Happened today on Good Morning America. The show ran a segment on a painting by someone named Ron Burns who has recreated da Vinci's Last Supper with dogs substituted for Jesus and his disciples. Even more than the image itself, some will surely find the title that the "artist" gave to his work offensive: "Dinner and Drinks with Son of Dog."
Introducing Burns, weekend co-host Bill Weir said "it's a riff on the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. A whimsicial riff, perhaps? Others, blasphemy."
GMA CO-HOST KATE SNOW: People are calling it blasphemous, anti-Christian, anti-God. One person we talked to said it crossed the line. Did you expect any of that? Did you think when you were doing this piece that maybe you'd ruffle some feathers?"
Burns actually denied that the thought had occurred to him.
Here's how Rev. Randall Balmer yesterday blogged his decidedly unorthodox read of Scriptural texts:
fundamentalist, I spent a lot of my childhood thinking and worrying
about the end of time as predicted in the New Testament book of
Revelation. I was taught that history would come screeching to a halt
and the world as we know it would dissolve in some kind of apocalyptic
Next week marks the fourth anniversary of Operation Iraq Freedom. How does CNN plan to observe the event? An update, perhaps, on General Petraeus’ new strategy to win the war, and the initial positive – if still early – reports from the battlefield?
Please. I did say "CNN." The network is set to run a one hour special: “Death Squads Reveals Links between Shia Death Squads, Iraqi Security Forces.” CNN's report will in significant part be based on the work of an anonymous journalist.
Before considering the CNN report, let's review some of the recent developments in Iraq, as gleaned from MNF spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell's press conference of March 14th:
Why is it every time I see a newspulper headline about Barack Obama I envision the editors in near orgasmic delight over the "multiculturalism" they perceive in Obama, or the "connection" he has with all the peoples of the world? Or the near hero worship of his "clean and articulate" abilities they wallow in, for that matter? And how come I get a corresponding feeling that all I am getting is delightful puffs of air but no substance when I'm done reading the piece that goes with the sweetness and honey that is the headline?
What in heaven's name has gotten into Sam Harris? The Los Angeles Times regularly lends its op-ed page to the atheist activist. In God's Dupes, Harris took advantage of the opportunity today to make a bizarre and slanderous accusation against American Christians.
He began by equating conservative Christians with Jihadist murderers: "Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death."
Washington Post arts critic Philip Kennicott is enraptured in Tuesday's paper that an annual lecture sponsored by the federal-arts-subsidy lobby had evolved from "conservative curmudgeon" William Safire to a more traditional "bold and perhaps even controversial speech that included sustained criticism of religious fundamentalism." From who? Former PBS anchor Robert MacNeil, who used to be one-half of the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour. Like your average liberal media anchor, MacNeil wouldn't know a fundamentalist from an evangelical from an orthodox Catholic as he lectured (sigh) that Christian fundamentalists are awfully similar to Islamic fundamentalists:
"It is inevitable that artists should become the targets of such fundamentalist anxieties," he said. "Because it is in the nature of artists to push the frontiers of taste and morality, to show society both its pieties and its hypocrisies."
Brent Bozell's culture column this week unfolds the new polling numbers for the MRC's Culture and Media Institute on the American people's impression of moral decline and the media's role in it:
A new cultural-values survey of 2,000 American adults performed by the polling firm of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates for the Culture and Media Institute reveals a strong majority, 74 percent, believes moral values in America are weaker than they were 20 years ago. Almost half, 48 percent, agree that values are much weaker than they were 20 years ago.
The Newsweek feature BeliefWatch has become a true intersection of left-wing ideology and non-traditional religious beliefs. Except of course when it comes to bashing conservative Christians. Then it sticks right with the media’s low standards.
The March 19 BeliefWatch by Lisa Miller called James Dobson of Focus on the Family the “religious right's standard-bearer and junkyard dog.” Miller bashed “Dobson's Lear-like fury” for daring to criticize allegedly eco-evangelist Rich Cizik, “the Washington-based lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals.”
Dobson complained that Cizik wasn’t representing evangelicals about the religion of the moment – the environment. But Miller saw red instead of green and said Dobson’s real agenda wasn’t religion – it was politics. “In other words, he’s thought to be a Democratic sympathizer, and in an election season, displays of evangelical unity are critical,” she said of “tree hugger” Cizik.
A front-page article in today's Los Angeles Times (Saturday, March 10, 2007) trumpets that an "Evangelical Agenda Fight is Heating Up." The piece is by Stephanie Simon, whose slanted coverage we've once cited here. Among the number of problems in Simon's latest piece:
1. In the article, Simon tags James Dobson of Focus on the Family as a "conservative crusader." Fair enough. But the Rev. Jim Wallis, who openly advised Democrats and Sen. Kerry during the 2004 campaign (here), avoids any "liberal" tag. He is simply identified as the "best-known champion of such causes" as "citizenship for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions." Wallis and some other pastors want to expand the evangelical agenda to include issues such as global warming.
For all those wondering just how many Americans view the media as a major contributor to the moral decay in the country, Cheryl Wetzstein’s article in Thursday’s Washington Times is a must read (h/t NB reader bulletproof, emphasis mine throughout):
Most Americans think culture is becoming more immoral, and they view the media -- both entertainment and news -- as prime culprits, according to a new survey.
If the media continue to "singularly promote" secular values while undermining orthodox faith and values, it will be very difficult to reverse America's moral decline, said the National Cultural Values Survey, released yesterday by the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) of the Media Research Center.
Wetzstein shared some fascinating data from the CMI survey:
As reported by NewsBuster Ken Shepherd Wednesday, America’s newspapers are getting rid of their religion sections like bad habits.
Speaking of losing one’s religion, Comedy Central Wednesday evening featured the star of the “Sarah Silverman Program” having sex with God, and disparagingly tossing him out of bed in the morning using the lame excuse that she had to help her friend move out of her apartment (video available here).
NBC's Today has a special attraction to stories "updating" Jesus, going "On The Road" with The DaVinci Code, and just last week, promoting the idea that the bones of Jesus had been located in an ossuary in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, liberal priest, sociologist and author Andrew Greeley, a longtime NBC favorite, came on the air to promote his new book about Jesus and his relationships with women. Father Greeley "updated" Jesus so dramatically that he practically put him in league with NARAL and Planned Parenthood:
Curry: "He, he also, according to you, had very good relationships with women. Very strong friendships with women."
Greeley: "If he were alive today and behaved the same way he would be considered to be a radical feminist."
The same day the MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) released its study [pdf available here] dealing with the media's preference for "secular progressive" values over those of those of orthodox religious faiths, evangelical magazine Christianity Today noticed that many newspapers are losing their religion [sections].
The CMI study concluded that:
Americans have clearly identified the media as primary culprits in the
nation’s moral decline. If the media continue to singularly promote
Progressive values and a secular worldview, while undermining Orthodox
faith and values, reversing America’s moral decline will be very
In her March 7 article, writer Sarah Pulliam noticed a mixed bag on the media's handling of religion coverage. Apparently even as many newspapers end or severely restrict religion coverage in print, religion news-oriented newspaper blogs prove popular with readers: