Getreligion.org has a collection of postings analyzing Jon Meacham's cover story on Billy Graham in Newsweek -- by Terry Mattingly, Daniel Pulliam, Douglas LeBlanc, and Mollie Ziegler. Mattingly began by being direct, that Meacham is writing to thump the tub for religious laxity and liberalism:
Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham really doesn’t do ordinary journalism anymore. Instead, he writes cover stories that are doctrinal essays that seek to guide Americans toward a more mature, nuanced, educated, intelligent approach to religious faith. This would bring us closer to Meacham’s approach, of course.
I misheard the annoucement on Today. What the BBC's Stephen Sackur actually said, reading an incoming report, was this: "We understand that it is now being suggested by officials that British-born ... er... men were involved in the alleged plot."
Could something else have been written after "British born" that caused
Sackur to pause? Whatever the case, I apologise for suggesting that
Muslims might in any way have been involved in this attempted terrorist
attack. What was I thinking?
Further update. Sackur's missing word? This from Sky News:
Tucker Carlson stopped short of saying that some of his best friends are Jewish. But he did let us know that "I love Israel, I think it's a wonderful place, I support it completely, I support it instinctively."
That was just before he declared that "I think this war helps Hezbollah. I think it's bad for Israel, bad for the United States. I think you can love Israel and believe this war is a disaster."
And it was just afterhe criticized President Bush for being too pro-Israel.
Carlson turned to Bill Press, his guest on this afternoon's Tucker show on MSNBC, observing:
"You never hear Democrats point out that Bush is not even-handed in the Middle East. You almost never hear anybody criticize the President for taking the side of Israel to the extent that he alienates the Arab world completely. Why doesn't anybody ever mention that?"
The former chairman of the California Dem party gave a response suggesting he might be a proud graduate of the Pat Buchanan 'Amen Corner' School of Foreign Policy:
Last week, I mentioned to Michelle Malkin that it was weird that several networks only made a one-day story out of a Muslim shooting up a Jewish community center in Seattle, killing one woman and wounding five, while Mel Gibson's drunken rant was the story that couldn't end. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby did a little counting in Nexis and found the disparity was vast and wide between Gibson's drunk-driving arrest and Naveed Haq's murdering rampage:
In the first six days after his arrest, the media database Nexis logged 888 stories mentioning "Mel Gibson" and "Jews"....Yet after six days, a Nexis search turned up only 236 stories mentioning Haq -- one-fourth the number dealing with Gibson's drunken outburst.
Jacoby said celebrity and "The Passion" subtext aside, the shooting was a much bigger story:
Subbing for reporter/columnist Dana Milbank on the Washington Post's snarky "Zeitgeist Checklist" feature in the Sunday opinion section, Post reporter Michael Grunwald goes on a tear, with every time on the ten-item list having a lame connection to Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic drunk-driving rant. Here's how it starts with the number one issue of the week, the Middle East conflict:
Fighting intensifies in Lebanon, as dozens of innocents die, but President Bush senses a "moment of opportunity." Linguists note that in Chinese, the character for "opportunity" also means "quagmire." And "Hezbollah" means "Party of Mel Gibson."
Madonna's recent glittery cross and crown of thorns during her concert tour is designed to stir outrage, but at this point in her career, it screams Desperate Housewife. But then there are always the young singers who are corrupted into imitating the routine. Probably the last one you'd expect to try Sacrilege 101 would be the girl named Charlotte Church, but obviously she's trying to live her (stage) name down. Catholic News Service reports:
The U.S. publishing company Ignatius Press has refused to sell any works by Welsh singer Charlotte Church after she called German-born Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi and mocked the Catholic Church...Church, dubbed the "Voice of an Angel" before she turned her talents to popular music, also dressed up as a nun and pretended to hallucinate while eating "communion" wafers imprinted with smiling faces signifying the drug Ecstasy.She smashed open a statue of the Virgin Mary to reveal a can of hard cider inside, said she worshipped "St. Fortified Wine," and stuck chewing gum on a statue of the childJesus.
Neal Gabler might not look like an athlete, but don't be surprised to see him lining up for the long jump at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. For on this evening's Fox News Watch, Neal made a logical leap of Beamonesque proportions.
According to Gabler, the fact that a drunken Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks retroactively proves that his 'Passion of the Christ' was anti-Semitic too.
Here's how the liberal media critic put it:
"The interest here is 'The Passion.' It made something like $400 million. It was accused of being anti-Semitic. The mainstream press didn't really want to touch it. Because they were afraid of being clobbered from the right.
In the weeks leading up to the release of The Passion of the Christ film over two years ago, Tim Rutten, media columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote no less than six hyperventilating columns that dealt almost exclusively with breathless concerns over anti-Semitism in Mel Gibson's film. At one point, Rutten attacked Mel Gibson as "a little brat" and "an unwholesomely willful child playing with matches." Yet when the blatantly anti-Christian and anti-Catholic The Da Vinci Code was released a few months ago, Rutten's reaction was a ho-hum and a yawn; far from a concern, Da Vinci is "only a movie," asserted Rutten! Bigotry, anyone? Of course. As we've catalogued before (here and here, for example), anti-Christian and anti-Catholic prejudice is alive and well at the Los Angeles Times.
With this as a backdrop, it was no surprise to see the shameless Rutten juice Gibson's arrest to plaster Mel anew in his latest column (Saturday, August 5, 2006). Especially brazen is Rutten's implication that cheerleaders of Gibson's The Passion of the Christ have been exposed as supporters of anti-Semitism. This is a shameless and ugly column, folks.
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s Diane Sawyer hyped the release of yet another book attacking Christian beliefs. During the 8am half hour, Sawyer interviewed Kathleen McGowan, author of The Expected One. Like The DaVinci Code, The Expected One is premised on the theory that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had children together, and that their bloodline lives on in the present day. It should also be noted that McGowan believes that she herself is a descendant of Christ, which she and Sawyer discussed at length.
When Sawyer asked the author for proof to bolster her "facts" about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the author had no hard evidence to provide :
Sawyer: "For everybody who says, a novel, fine, write a novel, promote a novel. But there’s no proof here. There’s really no proof either of Mary Magdalene and Jesus being together."
McGowan: "That’s absolutely untrue, there’s all kinds of proof."
Sawyer: "Tell me."
McGowan: "It’s just not the traditional academic proof."
A wave of New Testament fever seems to be gripping liberal media types. As reported here, during a recent Good Morning America, Chris Cuomo stated that the Gospel of John identifies Qana as the place where Jesus turned water into wine. Who would have imagined that Adam Shatz - of the far-left Nation magazine - would be a New Testament maven? But, saints alive, he leads his op-ed in today's LA Times with the very same story.
What could account for this new-found interest in the New Testament? You don't suppose it could have anything to do with a desire to add fuel to the anti-Israel fire in the wake of its bombing of Qana, do you?
Appearing on Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, who regularly appears on the show to poke fun at celebrities in the news, used actor/filmmaker Mel Gibson's recent anti-Semitic outburst as an opportunity to smear Gibson's general audience as also being racist. Responding to a question from Olbermann about whether Gibson's career would suffer, Musto labeled Gibson's audience, presumably referring to Passion of the Christ fans, as "deeply anti-Semitic," and as "deeply proud" of Gibson's expression of anti-Semitism. Musto: "He doesn't work with anybody else, and his audience is already deeply anti-Semitic, so they're deeply proud of him after this." (Transcript follows)
Under the corrupt cloak of a "book review," this Sunday's Los Angeles Times (July 30, 2006) continues its underhanded and one-sided assault on the theory of intelligent design (ID). "The language of life," by Robert Lee Hotz*, is a review of three new works that attack intelligent design. The review was promoted on the top of the front page of the "Sunday preview" edition under the heading, "Less than 'intelligent design': Darwin's believers debunk the theory." And rather than providing its readers an honest critique, the Times' "review" is nothing less than a full-on Darwin propaganda piece. Hotz begins his article as follows (emphasis/link mine),
Social liberalism goes on parade in several articles in the Sunday WashPost. In Metro, religion reporter Michelle Boorstein focuses on plans to "ordain" Catholic "womenpriests" in Pittsburgh, including local woman Bridget Mary Meehan. The headline is "Reclaiming the Female Spirit in the Priesthood." Boorstein's article does offer some balancing comments from conservative Catholic bloggers, but it's sad that Boorstein stoops to publishing Nazi comparisons to end the piece. Patricia Fresen, who will preside over the fake ordinations, said she grew up in apartheid-era South Africa, and "If you think of Nazi times, people said they just did what they were told. If you can't get it changed, you must break it."
Those poor MSMers. They can't stand Ann Coulter. And they know that every time they vilify Ann, it only serves to drive her fame and sales of her latest book, Godless. But they just can't 'hep' themselves. They can't resist precisely the kind of mean-spirited barbs that make Ann's case and boost her bottom line.
Chris Matthews was a splendid case in point on last evening's Hardball. Consider the very first words out of Matthews mouth to Ann: "The question I have is do you have a soul? Really." See what I mean?
It is safe to assume that few Americans are going to forget the Muslim outrage a few months ago over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper. Well, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday (hat tip to NRO Media Blog) that a Norwegian newspaper published the cartoon to the right depicting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a crazed Nazi prison camp commandant:
Invoking a scene from the film Schindler's List, one of Norway's largest newspapers recently published a political cartoon comparing Prime Minster Ehud Olmert to the infamous commander of a Nazi death camp who indiscriminately murdered Jews by firing at them at random from his balcony.
The caricature by political cartoonist Finn Graff appeared on July 10 in the Oslo daily Dagbladet.
Think this created riots and death threats in Norway? Hardly:
Defending his recent mockery of FNC's Bill O'Reilly that included a Nazi salute, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his appearance on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno to defend his actions, implying that he was inspired to do so at the suggestion of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to "do something creative," and also by viciously smearing O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis: "On the air in the last year, Bill O'Reilly has defended the Nazis from World War II on three separate occasions. ... Yes, I wish I were making this up." An ironic statement coming from Olbermann, who last year scolded public figures who use Nazi references, saying, "There's no place for the reference in this culture," and that the analogies are "wrong, offensive and deeply hurtful." (Transcript follows)
Video clip #1 (1:00) NBC runs Countdown promo of Olbermann slamming Ann Coulter, then he quips about Al Gore: Real (1.6 MB) or Windows Media (1.9 MB), plus MP3 audio (280 KB)
Video clip #2 (1:52) Olbermann explains why he did a Nazi salute while holding up a Bill O'Reilly mask: Real (3.1 MB) or Windows Media (3.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (550 KB)
In a misleading expose on the various "end times" religious concepts that are increasingly in the news today, the L.A. Times' Louis Sahagun; conflates Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's violent 12th Imam ravings with several different Christian and Jewish end times concepts as if the ideas are one and the same when, in reality, they aren't even comparable.
Ignoring clear Biblical claims that no man shall know when the end times are near, (Matthew 24:35-36) Sahagun focuses on the minority of Christian leaders who claim that despite that Biblical injunction it must be near. But if it isn't they want to attempt to bring it about. Sahagun warns us...
"Their end game is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah."
After briefly mentioning Christian, Jewish and Ahmadinejad's concepts, Sahagun attempts to loosely link them all together.
Is university 'journalism' education anything more than training camp for liberal cadres preparing to join MSM ranks? Take, for example, this morning's op-ed in the Seattle Times by Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University.
He spouts straight-from-the-Gore's-mouth alarmism about global warming, going so far as to propose that high school students be forced to view Al's flick. He also takes predictable shots at the Bush administration and talk show hosts, throwing in a particularly nasty swipe at Christian conservatives in the process. Excerpts below.
"Migrations [from farm to city] in India and elsewhere in Africa and Asia cannot be sustained at today's Western standard of living. Even at one car per family, without air conditioning and supermalls, the world's environment cannot survive the onslaught."
"I'd suggest we start by making Al Gore's slide-show movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," required viewing in every high school in the country."
Today (Wed. July 5, 2006), the Los Angeles Times continues its practice of taking cheap shots and providing erroneous information about the Catholic Church (other recent examples are here, here, and here). In an oddly timed editorial, "The Vatican's Archives,"* the Times calls for more "openness" from Pope Benedict XVI and the Church regarding the Church's actions during the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Ignoring the fact that the Times' position could be based on misinformation it published last month (read this), the paper has also published a flat-out error about the Church's belief of papal infallibility.
Washington Post religion reporter Alan Cooperman put together a nice roundup of news on Katherine Jefferts Schori, the new ultraliberal woman elected to lead the Episcopal Church USA for Monday's front page. The worst thing you can say about it is the way it almost seems designed by the front-page editors to put the juicy news inside the paper, instead of up-front.
The headline is "Episcopal Protest of Top Bishop Increases: More Dioceses Reject New Female Leader." From this, you get the idea that conservatives object to a female leader, first and foremost. Cooperman begins by explaining that an increasing number of dioceses are rejecting her authority, and then right at the "jump" to page A-5, we read: "Gender is only part of the reason that some conservative in the church [turn the page] are unhappy about her election. Jefferts Schori, 52, is also firmly planted in the church's dominant liberal wing."
Just when you're ready to write Chris Matthews off as a hopeless liberal, he pulls something like he did tonight, criticizing the New York Times for its latest leak of an anti-terror program.
Matthews' guests were the Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan. On the subject of the Times leak, Sharpton predictably proclaimed that the Gray Lady was "absolutely right," while Morgan sided with President Bush. That's when Matthews weighed in with his surprising pronouncement:
"Melanie, on this issue, believe it or not, I'm with you. I think the Times should not have run that story, I don't think we needed to know that. It wasn't really about us; it was of more interest to the enemy."
As fellow NewsBuster Mithridate Ombud noted today, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll has flatly accused the Bush administration of anti-Semitism in its criticism of The New York Times for its latest leak of an anti-terror program. Claimed Carroll:
"The Times is a good target... Also, the name of the New York Times contains the word 'New York.' Many members of the president's base consider 'New York' to be a nifty code word for 'Jewish.' It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a) actually saying the word "Jew" and (b) without irritating the Israelis."
Is this an emerging MSM theme? Perhaps, judging by Chris Matthews' line of questioning on this evening's Hardball.
Do you know the joke about the guy who goes to the doctor and is informed he needs an operation that would cost $25,000? When he asks if there are any cheaper alternatives, the doc responds, "well, for $75, I can touch up your X-rays."
That's Barack Obama's approach to healing the Dems' affliction when it comes to dealing with religious conservatives on social issues. He's not looking to change the substance, only the appearance.
In introducing Obama, GMA's Robin Roberts did describe him as "one of the Democrats' rising stars." But I think that might be some kind of required FCC label, so we'll cut Robin slack. Particularly so in light of the very probing question with which she ultimately hit Obama, and the telling response she elicited.
"At times, the mood turned hostile toward the lawmakers in the stately white building behind the stage," wrote The Washington Post in its coverage of the event. Then, without explanation, the story offered this on-stage quotation from a religious broadcaster: "Let's pray that God will slay everyone in the Capitol." Clearly, the reporters didn't know about the experience that Pentecostal Christians call being "slain in the Holy Spirit," in which they believe they are transformed by a surge of God's power. The result was a journalistic train wreck...
After the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the International Herald Tribune described his vestments and added: "Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow's ear, that he had carried in public." Actually, that ornate shepherd's staff is called a crosier (or crozier), not a "crow's ear." And did a BBC producer really write a subtitle that said "Karma Light" nuns were mourning the pope (as opposed to Carmelites)?
"Newsweek misquoted Falwell as referring to 'assault ministry.' In fact, Falwell was referring to 'a salt ministry' — a reference to Matthew 5:13, where Jesus says, 'Ye are the salt of the earth.' We regret the error."
Bias is a problem. But, in my experience, apathy and ignorance cause most of these laugh-to-keep-from-crying gaffes. It would help if newsroom executives spent more time thinking about intellectual, cultural and even spiritual diversity, in addition to focusing on gender, race and class.
It's no surprise that journalists by default assume Christians are militant crusaders, as opposed to the fundamentalist "freedom fighters" who chop off heads throughout the Mideast.
Today's Los Angeles Times (Sunday, June 25, 2006) features coverage of Erotica LA (warning: adult content), an adult X-rated retail expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In a page B1 article entitled "More Couples, Women Turn On to Erotica Expo,"Times staffer Robin Abcarian begins by relaying a lesson in "spanking" being taught by a "dominatrix" by the name of Georgia Payne. (The subject matter itself is questionable for a "family" newspaper, but that's a separate issue entirely.) In the process, Abcarian used Payne's words to take a swipe at Catholics.
Payne, who earns $250 an hour, was about to demonstrate the fine art of spanking, which — contrary to what you might think — is not as simple as it looks. The hand should be cupped, not flat, she explained, and positioned on the lower part of the buttocks, never at the top, never on the leg and never ever near the tailbone.
"If your husband went to Catholic school," the 32-year-old Payne said with a sly smile, "he's probably secretly dying for it."
In 2000, that darn MSM elected George Bush by bashing Al Gore. And when it comes to the theological argument as to whether gays and women should be Christian clergy, well, actually, there isn't an argument. There's only one side. The liberal one, of course.
Don't believe me? Ask Neal Gabler. The reliably liberal member of the Fox News Watch panel expressed those views on this evening's show.
Host Eric Burns asked whether the torture and murder of two US soldiers, coupled with the charges brought against a group of Marines in the killing of an Iraqi civilian brought us to a turning point of more open press opposition to the war.
Responded Gabler: "I think it is a right-wing frame to say is this a turning point to go overtly against the war. As if [the press] have been covertly against the war." In a strange non sequitur he continued "This press elected George Bush by bashing Al Gore. This press facilitated our entrance into the war and acted as if Bush had had a sudden turn-around by going to Iraq."
Norah O'Donnell was the guest host on this evening's Hardball. Discussing the arrest of seven alleged domestic terrorists charged with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower among other targets, O'Donnell asked her panel of 'Hardball Hotshots': "where is this hatred coming from?"
Mike Barnicle was first to propose a socio/psychological explanation: "Freedom, the freedoms we have here. Liberty, the liberties we have here, the isolation that many people feel from our society. . . Poverty, mental illness is part of it."
Let me share a little trade secret. Lately, when I've been on the prowl for something to write about, I go to the editorial page of the Los Angeles Times. It's a treasure trove over there, I tell ya!
Take this morning's editorial - 'Battling over Bishops' - in which the Times decides to wade into the controversy roiling the Episcopal Church. Here's the kernel of the Times' argument
"What both controversies [over homosexual and female clergy] have in common is not only a fixation on sex and gender but also the challenge of deciding what religious practices can and should change with the times."
Predictably, following what I suggested yesterday, ABC's "World News Tonight" hailed the election of the new female Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA as a "milestone" and a "significant advance for women in religion." To the media elite, it is a political victory for feminism, and the religious angle is barely worth mentioning.
ABC reporter Dan Harris hailed Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori for denting the "stained glass ceiling," but said nothing about her theological beliefs, including her expressing the liberal view on CNN that homosexuality "is not a sin." The battle over gay clergy and "marriage," not female leaders, is the real battle in the Anglican Communion.