Writing a lippy account of a Presbyterian service he had recently attended, Stein belches,
"The first thing I noticed about church was how much like PBS it was. The lighting was dim, the speakers talked slowly, the songs were dated, there were a lot of references to reading material and every so often my eye line was interrupted by envelopes asking me to donate money. Also, I kept falling asleep."
And (bold added),
"I'd never realized how much of a death cult Christianity is. When we weren't fixating on how awesome Christ's murder was, we were singing about how terrific it was going to be when we bite it. Chipper up, Christians! There's a lot to live for. They're making more of those 'Narnia' movies."
In today's Media Notes column, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz reported just how far Rolling Stone is willing to go on its ultraliberal-hippie crusade against social conservatism: it's hired Matt Taibbi, the writer infamously published by the New York Press for "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." (As in, "Beetles eating dead Pope's brains." ) Oh, and he wasn't sorry, whatever he says today. He left the Press shortly after his editor, Jeff Koyen, was fired for lack of sense.
The most over-the-top writer by far is Taibbi, 36, the son of NBC correspondent Mike Taibbi. The younger Taibbi's style is such that he often seems to be channeling the late Hunter Thompson. "I used to do a lot of drugs, and I'm a humorist," Taibbi says in acknowledging the comparison.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. The same kind of folks who professed to find a non-existent right to abortion on demand in the Constitution have "discovered" another imaginary constitutional provision. According to its editorial this morning:
"The First Amendment, with its injunction that Congress shall make no law restricting religion, carries an implied corollary that churches should not meddle in politics."
The context was the Globe's complaint that Mitt Romney is reaching out for support to his fellow BYU alums who - oh, the horror! - also happen to be his Mormon co-religionists. The Globe sternly warns Romney to "make sure that the church stays out of his nascent presidential campaign."
The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?
Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."
It’s always amusing to see media code words and phrases that seem to say one thing but, upon reflection, end up meaning less than at first thought. Phrases like "sources say" would lead one to imagine whole rafts of insiders are affirming a story's bias when really it is just one disgruntled person as the "source", or words like "many" when it is but a very few are used all the time to inflate the importance of a reporter's bias or justify his story.
The L.A. Times used a classic today in the story titled "Some See 'Pink Purge' in the GOP". Notice the word "some"? What exactly does "some" mean? According to the story "some" seems to be the thought of many Christian Republicans.
There's nothing the MSM loves more than a renegade Republican. The GOP maverick-of-the-MSM-week is David Kuo. He is the former #2 man in the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and has written a book, Tempting Faith, claiming that the operation was a cynical attempt to woo faith-based voters whom top aides including Karl Rove looked at contemptuously.
Chris Matthews predictably had Kuo on this afternoon's Hardball. At one point, Matthews asked whether President Bush has "used faith to get votes" and then "how about the issues like stem cell - do you think he's using them politically?"
"I think you're conflagrating a couple of different things here."
For the second time in less then 24 hours, CNN featured David Kuo, a vocal Bush critic and the former deputy director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo, who appeared on Tuesday’s "American Morning," has written a book that accuses the White House of using Christian conservatives for political gain and ignoring the issues they care about. Co-Anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed the author and seemed perturbed that Kuo wouldn’t call for conservatives to boycott the midterm elections:
Soledad O’Brien: "Here's what you write -- you say, 'Christians vote our money, our energy. Every politician needs evangelicals. 'You go on to say, 'It's like a teenaged boy out on a date with a beautiful girl; they'll say anything and everything to get what they want. Let's not give it to them. Let's tell them we are fasting from politics for a season.' Are you saying, stay away from the polls? Three weeks, when we go to the midterm elections, don't vote?"
David Kuo: "Absolutely not."
O’Brien: "What's fasting mean?"
Kuo: "When I'm talking about the fast, I'm talking after the election."
O’Brien: "What kind of a fast is it if you stuff yourself silly and then you go on a fast?"
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
According to the Times, American houses of worship aren't rendering what is due Caesar.
The New York Times has put an ironic twist on the 8th Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s accused churches nationwide of fleecing taxpayers and local governments using the First Amendment.
The Times devoted more than 17,000 words and a four-day series indicting religious groups for what it argued was essentially cheating taxpayers across the country. The pro-government, pro-regulation treatise by business reporter Diana B. Henriques was titled “In God's Name.”
"Pope set to bring Back Latin Mass that divided Church," reads the headline for an October 11 story in the Times of London.
Yeah, that's right. According to the Times of London, Pope Benedict is a divider, not a uniter, because he wants Catholics worldwide to be able to attend Latin Mass without having to jump through hoops to find a parish that celebrates it.
The Catholic Church is catholic, that is, universal. It's all over the world spanning virtually every race, tribe, and tongue. Having a universal prayer language for such a diverse worldwide communion makes sense.
And aside from its historical nature as the language of Catholic prayer, Latin, a dead language, is equally accessible to worshipers from all over the world, regardless of native tongue. In other words, it's equally difficult (and simple) to learn regardless of your background.
So where's the divisiveness, exactly? Well, writes Ruth Gledhill, Times religion correspondent:
Gary Trudeau, creator of the 'Doonesbury' comic strip, says cartoonists should draw the line when it comes to offending people. In an interview published in the Santa Barbara Independent:
Q. What did you make of the Danish cartoon mess? I understand that you said you would never play with the image of Allah. But did you feel you should have done so out of a sense of professional solidarity, or to make a statement about freedom of speech?
A. What exactly would that statement be? That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.
Mike Luckovich, the liberal cartoonist for "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," earned a chuckle from CNN anchor Miles O’Brien by claiming that "80 percent of the priesthood" is gay. Luckovich, who appeared on the October 6 edition of "American Morning," was promoting his new collection of comic strips, "Four More Wars." O’Brien began by asking the cartoonist about the Foley scandal and then attempted to link it with a plan by the pope to ban homosexuals from serving as priests:
O’Brien: "And why don't you explain this one?"
[Cartoon appears onscreen. One priest is looking at the other and says, "Does this make me look gay?"]
Luckovich: "Well, OK. The new pope wanted to -- wants to ban homosexual priests, so you are going to have to lose 80 percent of the priesthood if that happens. But -- so I've got a bishop here saying -- he's looking down at his vestments, and he's saying, ‘Does this make me look gay?"
O’Brien: [Laughs]: "It's -- well, you know, it is a fashion statement, isn't it? All right. And, of course-"
Luckovich: "Yes. You know, I was thinking -- Miles, I was thinking about maybe making Denny Hastert maybe like an archbishop and somehow, you know, making the comparison that way. I'll let you know if that -- if that works out."
O’Brien: "Oh, okay. That sounds like dangerous turf, but I would like to see that one for sure."
In The New York Post, terrorism expert and journalist Steven Emerson protested that CNN and Newsday warped the views of Republican Congressman Peter King on an Islamic group, and how they want to blame 9/11 on a Zionist conspiracy instead of al-Qaeda:
THE media is engaged in a jihad against Rep. Peter King - a jihad in defense of Islamist extremists.
King, a Long Island Republican, has warned his constituents that some leaders of the Islamic Center of Long Island have "publicly stated that the CIA or the 'Zionists' may have been behind the attacks" of 9/11.
The record backs him up. Indeed, the center's leadership has a long history of extremism. But both Newsday and CNN chose to ignore the facts and smear King.
I asked YouTube to inform me of the exact nature of the "inappropriateness" of the video. But no response. The banning of my innocuous video is not an isolated incident. Anti-jihad YouTube users have reported having their videos yanked and accounts suspended, including Crusader18.
Update 13:05 by Matthew Sheffield. By contrast, Islamic terrorist sympathizers and possibly the terrorists themselves have been using the free hosting service to post videos.
Another point: The
email YouTube sent to Malkin states that her video was pulled because
Did Aaron Sorkin finally realize that singling out Christians for mockery on his new show wasn't fair (or particularly brave)? We did criticize him pretty severely for his two-dimensional stereotyping of Christians in the opening show, and again, when he expanded on the slurs in "Studio 60"'s second week.
This time, "Studio 60" featured a skit on this show about a show that mocked not only Christians, but also "Meir Kahane" Jews, the Taliban, Tom Cruise the Scientologist, and a witch. They were all contestants in a skit about a show that denies science. This is certainly an improvement compared to singling out one religion. But does it mean that Sorkin and his writers are responding to critics?
The October 1 edition of ABC’s “World News Sunday” preached that the 51 houses of worship in Stafford, Texas are a holy terror to the city’s finances, citing the mayor’s complaints about lack of tax revenue. But reporter Geoff Morrell left out that the city has already enacted more regulation to discourage churches and that at that beginning of the year, the mayor gave a very positive assessment of the city’s finances.
Far from the negative tone Scarcella took in his appearance in Morrell’s story, neither the mayor’s 2006 State of the City Address nor his Fiscal Year 2005-2006 Budget Message warned of dangers to city revenue from too many houses of worship.
Newly minted Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is promoting liberal former Sen. John Danforth again in a Sunday book review in The Washington Post. He's also praising a new book called The Politics of Jesus by Obery Hendricks Jr. (The subtitle's all about Jesus as a political revolutionary.) Like many other liberal journalists, Meacham is desperately seeking someone to convince traditionally religious Americans that they shouldn't be giving their votes to conservatives. So they cheer a whole series of "intellectually stimulating" books that lamely attempt to recruit traditionalist Christians and Jews to vote for the loosey-goosey libertine party:
Hendricks's Christian manifesto for a politically liberal vision of America and of the world arrives at an especially rich moment in the long-running debate over the role of religion in the nation's public life. After roughly three decades of largely ceding the language of faith to political conservatives, liberals are mounting an aggressive and often intellectually stimulating counterattack.
Rioting and threats of violence from Muslim extremists have apparently triumphed once again over the First Amendment. According to psychoanalyst Dr. Nancy Kobrin and noted feminist Phyllis Chesler, who wrote the introduction, Kobrin's new book, "The Sheikh's New Cloth: The Naked Truth about Islamic Suicide Terrorism", was to be published in November by Looseleaf Law Publications, Inc., but Dr. Kobrin's contract was suddenly cancelled over concerns for their staff's safety.
Just two weeks after Rosie O’Donnell made waves on ABC’s all-female chat show The View for proclaiming that "radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam," the Catholic League is protesting a conversation on Thursday’s show between O’Donnell and co-host Joy Behar about drunken priests and silly Eucharistic rules. (Don’t forget the obligatory Mel Gibson slam.) Sitting with glasses of red wine, the women were discussing a study showing drinking red wine helps preserve memory:
Behar: "Don’t you start losing your memory when you’re a drunk? I mean, that’s the first thing that goes."
O’Donnell: "Or you just start spouting anti-Semitic statements. [Crowd laughs, then oohs in shock] Mel Gibson! Mel Gibson! C’mon! Cause they say when you get drunk, the real person comes out. I don’t know about one glass of wine, though."
Have you heard that conservatives and Christians involved as part of the radical extreme Christian Right who met over the weekend in Washington DC for the Family Research Council’s Action meeting aptly called The Washington Briefing are in a dire state of distress, depression, despair and despondency? I was shocked as I read through tons of articles from some of the 100 media who attended the briefing.
MSNBC states that the speakers of the briefing, “… expressed scepticism [sic] about what their engagement in 2004 had delivered.” Since Tony Perkins stated that, “I don't think enthusiasm is as strong as 2004," that means, according to the liberals, that the world has crashed and burned for conservatives who voted for President Bush.
If there's one person whose essence, whose very being, whose every fiber stands for the proposition that the Roman Catholic church is the one true religion, it is the Pope. The Church does define him as the Vicar of Christ, after all.
So you might forgive the Pope for advocating the notion that his religion is superior. But somehow that notion deeply offends Boston Globe columnist - and former Roman Catholic priest - James Carroll. In his column of today, Pope Benedict's hierarchy of truth, faith, Carroll takes the Pope to task for asserting the superiority of his faith. Referencing the Pope's recent address that has caused a stir, Carroll writes:
On the McLaughlin Group this weekend, host John McLaughlin, a former Catholic priest, set up a segment on how the Pope's supposedly “incendiary words” had “flamed across the Muslim firmament.” He then cued up his panelists with this inflammatory proposition: “Should the Pope abdicate?” Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley retorted: “No, that's the most ridiculous thing I've heard...” When Mort Zuckerman, owner of U.S. News and the New York Daily News, didn't answer the question, McLaughlin demanded: “Would you address my point: Should he resign?” Zuckerman replied “absolutely not” as Pat Buchanan mocked the premise: “Oh, don't be absurd!”
In between Blankley and Zuckerman, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift denounced the Pope's perspective in which he had quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor on how Mohammad brought “things only evil and inhuman.” Clift argued: “If he's going to go back and quote somebody from 500 years ago, let's get the rest of the context. He's talking about violent religions -- Christendom has some violence in its past as well.” She soon charged: “This was needlessly provocative when the former Pope did so much for peace and justice in the world.”
The San Francisco Chronicle has finally found a "hate crime" it can write about.
No, it isn't the hate crime of self-proclaimed terrorist, Omeed Aziz Popal, who drove his SUV into pedestrians throughout San Francisco, killing one, paralyzing another, and injuring many... no not that story. Why Omeed was just a poor, sick-in-the-head fellow, not an Islamist terrorist despite that he claimed to be to all who would listen to him.
I have looked at quite a few San Francisco Chronicle articles, and none of them have used the words "hate crime" in connection with the Aziz Popal story. (Here is a typical oneFamily cites history of mental problems, where the Chronicle never seems to get around to accusing hate crimes, but does feel sorry for the perpetrator)
Reaction against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ remarks to the United Nations, in which he referred to President George W. Bush as "the devil," has been strong. Liberal Democrat Charlie Rangel forcefully argued that the attack on the President was an attack on all Americans, while House minority leader Nancy Pelosi denounced Chavez as "an everyday thug." It’s interesting, though not surprising, that Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar of ABC’s "The View," were not able to do the same.
Rather than criticize Chavez for his outrageous comments, Behar and O’Donnell did what they do best: blame President Bush:
Behar: "Well, don't you think Bush threw in the gauntlet when he called people the 'axis of evil'?...What else did they -- they called -- there was another name, I can’t think of it, that they–"
O’Donnell: "Well, he, he would, he, President Bush is very fond of calling people who have different opinions than he 'evildoers.'"
The New York Times and Washington Post are now attacking provisions of a defense appropriations bill that would ensure that military chaplains can pray in accordance with their own personal beliefs (i.e., pray in the name of Jesus). A Times editorial calls the bill “an attempt to license zealot chaplains to violate policies of religious tolerance.”
A Washington Post article goes a step farther – calling for calling for a “no prayer” policy at public events, according to an article in CNSNews.com, saying the “best resolution” (to its perceived problem) is to “discourage prayer…as inherently and unnecessarily divisive.”
A striking bit of journalistic malpractice seems to have affected
the mainstream media web sites this morning, as news site after news
site failed to provide their readers with the transcript of Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speech last night to the United Nations.
As of noon at ABC News, it is as if Ahmadinejad never spoke, as
their was no reference to his address in front of the United Nations on
their Web site’s front page, and is notably absent from the headlines
of their political section as well. I had to search Google News to find
this report on their site, which did not link to the transcript, nor provide Ahmadinejad's closing remarks.
Likewise, Ahmadinejad’s speech was not easily found on the CBS News
site, and when an article was found buried below the fold of their
International news section, their story, as well, did not provide a transcript nor a summation of his closing remarks.
The New York Times editorial board goes back to lecturing Pope Benedict today in an editorial titled "The Pope's Act of Contrition." They suggest that both Catholics and Muslims should move "forward in a conciliatory spirit" beyond the Pope's "ill-considered comments." It concluded huffily:
As his unfortunate comments show, the pope needs high-level experts on Islam to help guide him. In offering his regrets, the pope said that in its totality, his speech was intended as “an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.” In living up to that, he and other top Vatican officials will have to accept that genuine communication cannot occur on their terms only.
Hilary White tracks how the Pope's scholarly lecture on Muslim-Christian relations was spun into a hate-filled tirade by manipulative media outlets. What is fact and what is media coverage are never the same, and White tracks the "meme," how the coverage of the Pope's remarks was slightly altered over time.
Media outlets expect the masses to be beholden to these manipulative techniques, and expect politicians to hyperventilate over the latest version of events.
The BBC started the flames by being the first to promote a bogus version of the event. Then later it reported that "Muslim anger grows at Pope speech."
The day after the speech, Wednesday the 13th, the Pope’s lecture elicited little response from apparently bored secular journalists who had little interest in what was considered his “obscure” and “academic” points on the relationship between religious belief and the secular world.
Catholic news sources who reported the day after the lecture were also quiet. “Pope spends quiet afternoon at home with brother,” was the leading headline at Catholic World Report.