Wishy washy mayor Ray Nagin said hurricanes are messages that God is mad at us for being in Iraq, and that New Orleans will be "chocolate" again (is that what you call it?) Don't worry, the media will only portray Pat Robertson as crazy for purporting to know what God is thinking.
Al Gore is on a rampage claiming that George Bush is a criminal for
According to Eric Alterman, conservative Christians don’t really like the Jews. The left-wing writer suggested this in the Thursday edition of his MSNBC blog, despite admitting that he knows "darn few" right-wing Christians. (Alterman is known for writing books such as "What Liberal Media?" and others.) He came to this conclusion while expounding on the perceived anti-Semitism of some Europeans:
"I wouldn’t argue that the French are not anti-Semitic and that American right-wing Christians are not philo-Semitic, but it’s not that simple. France had Jewish prime ministers in both the thirties and fifties and might get another one soon. No way that could happen in the United States even today. So what does that say? Here’s what I think, though it’s not provable. In France, they don’t like "the Jews" but they have no problem with Jews. I lived in Paris for a bit and it was never an issue and I’ve never heard of it being an issue for any of my friends. Among Christian right-wingers, however—of whom I know darn few, I’ll admit—I get the feeling they love "the Jews" but don’t have much use for Jews, as individuals. It’s just a thought." (Emphasis added)
You might think the mainstream media holds Pat Robertson in contempt, mocks him behind his back, and snickers at his every utterance. You're probably right, and for the most part they are right to do so. But as long as Robertson keeps his self-appointed position as God's spokesman, the mainstream media will try to keep him in the Christian mainstream. This was once again exemplified when he commented last week on the cause of Ariel Sharon's suffering:
"(Sharon) was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime
minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European
Union], the United Nations, or the United States,'" Robertson said on
his Christian Broadcasting Network program, The 700 Club, last week. "God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone.'"
after his embarrassing warning in November to the citizens of Dover,
Pa., whom Robertson said "had just rejected [God] from your city" when
voters threw out their school board, after they overreached in their
efforts to bring intelligent design into science classrooms.
like to say to the good citizens of Dover," Robertson said, "if there
is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God." He said in a later
clarifying statement, "If they have future problems in Dover, I
recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
Sometimes, liberal media types just can't 'hep' themselves. This morning's Today show provided a prime example, as Matt Lauer, in a bolt from the blue, revealed what really lurks in liberal hearts.
By all appearances, Lauer was headed for a genial stroll in the park with affable former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson, in to discuss the Alito hearings. Thompson had been the successful 'sherpa' for John Roberts in his confirmation process.
Matt got off to an even-handed start, noting that from their opening statements it seemed clear that most senators had already made up their minds. Lauer asked whether the confirmation process was really all about giving senators a chance to make partisan speeches.
Terry Mattingly explores how the media should "excommunicate" Pat Robertson from the Iron Rolodex as the gaffe list lengthens. The deepest dig: calling him the "Bishop Jack Spong of the far right." (Mattingly notices some of the same CBS interviews on Public Eye I noted Friday.)
The Washington Post editorial page very sloppily blurs Pat Robertson together with Iran's leader Ahmadinejad in the Saturday edition. You can lament Robertson's take on Sharon, but he's not a Holocaust denier or virulent Israel-hater. There's also an anti-Robertson cartoon. Is it just me, or have the Saturday cartoon spreads in the Post dumped their usual humorous, almost nonpartisan focus in favor of anti-conservative yuk-yuks?
Today's Washington Post Style section offers a pile of articles worthy of comment. First, Post fashion critic Robin Givhan saddled up for another politicized fashion critique, trashing the fashions of slimy GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Less predictable than Givhan trashing Abramoff (in betting terms, that article was a drop-dead lock) is Tom Shales going postal on NBC's desperate-Episcopal drama "Book of Daniel." His headline calls it "A Mean-Spirited, Unholy Mess."
In short, he concluded: "I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable -- a series with a larger population of loathsome dolts. There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail."
Pat Robertson has no one to blame but himself for the criticism he's attracted in reaction to his latest looniness, in which he suggested that Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was divine retribution for dividing the land of Israel. For that matter, on the all-publicity-is-good-publicity theory, Robertson might be reveling in the notoriety.
So while the Today show can hardly be faulted for reporting Robertson's outrageous comment, was it necessary in doing so to take a gratuitous swipe at the beliefs of millions of Americans?
In its segment, Today catalogued a number of Robertson's controversial statements, from his suggestion that the United States should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to calling Islam a "scam," to predicting that Orlando could be hit with earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor for flying gay pride flags.
Here we go again, the liberal media leftist elite have nothing better to do with their time than to attack Pat Robertson again. This time they are taking issue with Robertson's comments regarding Ariel Sharon's health and how Sharon has given away part of the holy land for "peace".
"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The 700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine."'
Hollywood Reporter says that two NBC affiliates have announced they will not run the controversial new show, "The Book of Daniel."
The series depicts an Episcopalian minister, played by Aidan Quinn, struggling with an addiction to Vicodin, among other problems in his diocese. Jesus is actually a character on the series, depicted in imagined conversations with the minister.
Last month, the conservative American Family Assn. began calling on affiliates and advertisers to bail out of "Daniel." Many stations have been flooded with e-mails and calls from viewers objecting to the series.
KARK-TV in Little Rock, Ark., and WTWO-TV in Terre Haute, Ind., announced Wednesday they would pre-empt "Daniel," when it premieres Friday at 9 p.m. Both are owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group,
I know Mr. Baker has already noticed Newsweek editor Jon Meacham's orations on "Meet the Press," but Mr. Taranto pointed out a Meacham quote that I found especially bizarre. (No, I don't mean him saying John McCain's trying to be a "centrist Reaganist figure." Centrist Reaganist?) Late in the segment, Meacham said of Iraq: "I just think we're in the midst of a vast historical change there, obviously, and one of the things that people in our business have to be careful about is either on a daily or hourly or weekly cycle assigning blame or credit and spinning arrows."
Hell-ooooooo? Newsweek has a snarky weekly feature devoted to assigning blame and spinning arrows called "Conventional Wisdom Watch"? Is Meacham telling us that his Bush-bashing CW is going bye-bye, or is he just having a temporary, if comical, bout of amnesia?
The bogus story of "Pope Joan" was not the only fiction that ABC and Diane Sawyer tried to hustle on the American public in last night's Primetime (Thursday December 29, 2005). In trying to convey the environment of ninth-century Europe, host Diane Sawyer and a guest, Donna Cross (author of Pope Joan), promulgated the debunked feminist myth that the phrase "rule of thumb" originated from a centuries-old law about wifebeating. The popular hoax purports that a man was once allowed to clobber a woman as long as the club was no wider than his thumb.
In her much-acclaimed 1994 book, Who Stole Feminism?, writer Christina Hoff-Sommers shreds the "rule of thumb" myth.
"The 'rule of thumb' ... turns out to be an excellent example of what may be called a feminist fiction ...
"That the phrase did not even originate in legal practice could have been ascertained by any fact-checker who took the trouble to look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, which notes that the term has been used metaphorically for at least three hundred years to refer to any method of measurement or technique of estimation derived from experience rather than science.
One of the central political issues facing the American People over the past few years, and certain to be one in the next few, is the issue over whether or not governments are required to recognize same-sex relationships in the same manner that marriages are recognized. Ground-zero in that debate, and one of the places where that discussion has joined arm-in-arm with the debate over judicial activism, is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In November of 2003, in the case of Goodridge v. Massachusetts, the Commonwealth's Supreme Judicial Court ruled on a 4-3 vote that the state constitution required that the institution of marriage be extended to same-sex relationships. I'm not aware of any public opinion surveys which show a majority of the people of Massachusetts agreeing with or supporting that decision, but it is now the law in Massachusetts anyway.
One of the entities which has been strongly supportive of that decision, however, is the Boston Globe. The largest media entity in New England, it is referred to in some circles as the "all-gay, all-the-time Boston Globe" because it is clearly an entity with an agenda. Unfortunately for the news consumers in New England, that agenda isn't confined to the editorial pages. I've mentioned it before, a couple of times, on front-page stories that don't warrant the front-page on any news judgement other than mainstreaming same-sex marriage.
Young Newsweek writer Devin Gordon (Duke, class of 1998?) did the magazine's weekly Live Talk online chat Thursday on his cover story on the movie of "The DaVinci Code." In addition to sounding completely in the tank for the movie, including defending the casting choices, Gordon was a bit cheeky when dealing with serious questions about the film being objectionable to Catholics:
Bossier City, LA: This is just typical of Hollywood to produce a movie like this to make a buck in spite of the fact that the underlying premise is absolute heresy. Ron Howard would have been burned at the stake if he lived 500 years ago.
Did you know that a brave Navy Chaplain by the name of Gordon Klingenschmitt has been on a fast since December 20th? Probably not because the coverage in the mainstream media has been very limited, if not at all. An examination of the websites of ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News all come up with nothing. Cable news has also barely covered this story. Fox News has one short story, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson had Klingenschmitt on as a guest, while CNN has completely ignored the story.
However, this story is one that needs to be shouted from the rooftops because if you’re a Christian and you believe in praying in the name of Jesus, and you believe that those military chaplains who are Christians have the right to pray in the name of Jesus, then you need to be aware of the blatant hostility and intolerance going on in the United States Navy.
Check out the promotional ad for this Thursday evening's (December 29, 2005) episode of ABC's Primetime. The promo is for the story, "On the Trail of Pope Joan" (audiotape on file; emphasis mine):
"Diane Sawyer takes you on the trail of a passionate mystery. Just as intriguing as The Da Vinci Code. Chasing down centuries-old clues hidden even inside the Vatican. Could a woman disguised as a man have been Pope? Thursday night. One astonishing Primetime."
It doesn't get much uglier than this, folks. Quite simply, there was never a female pope, or "Pope Joan." The tale is a complete fabrication dating back to the 13th century - nearly 400 years after the reported "reign" of the so-called "Joan." For reliable summaries of the bogus tale, see this and this. Scholars debunked the fable hundreds of years ago, and recent books (this and this, for example) have further repudiated it.
Over the centuries, the "Pope Joan" story has been used as a slanderous tool to tarnish the Catholic Church and degrade Catholics. In his acclaimed 2003 book The New Anti-Catholicism, Philip Jenkins writes, "The Pope Joan legend is a venerable staple of the anti-Catholic mythology" (page 89).
According to the note at the bottom of his column, "John Merrow . . . reports on education for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS." [Emphasis added]
"Reports"? Then what was Merrow [pictured right] doing writing an op-ed opinion column distributed nationally by the Christian Science Monitor?
And what was the gist of Merrow's opinion piece, entitled "We need the voices of America's college presidents?" That America's college presidents aren't spending enough time being advocates for liberal causes.
Oh, to be sure, Merrow didn't quite put it in those terms. But it didn't take much reading between the lines to understand what kind of advocacy Merrow had in mind.
As a follow-up to today's NewsBusters posting on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who on his December 27 Countdown show made a comparison between the radio show of conservative host Janet Parshall and an "Al-Qaeda Show on Al-Jazeera talking about infidels," a further example of Olbermann's hostility to religion occurred on his November 23 show. On his Countdown show on Wednesday November 23, the MSNBC host attacked proponents of intelligent design theory, which he labeled as "nonsense," and compared its supporters to those who believed the world is flat and who supported burning scientists at the stake.
During his "Worst Person in the World" segment, in which the Countdown host normally lists three nominees for the dishonor of the same name, Olbermann awarded the top dishonor to "those fine folks behind the intelligent design nonsense" because corporate sponsors refused to donate to an exhibition devoted to Charles Darwin in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He then mocked those who "dreamt up intelligent design" as "the same people who brought you 'the world is flat, the earth is at the center of the universe, and let's burn a scientist at the stake today.'" A complete transcript of the relevant portion of the November 23 Countdown show follows:
On Tuesday night's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann launched his latest attacks on FNC's Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson, at one point saying O'Reilly is "one of those blissful idiots who can rationalize anything." Olbermann also indirectly called Gibson "functionally stupid" by contrasting him with O'Reilly, saying that O'Reilly "is not so functionally stupid as to deny things that are preserved on tape, which is what Mr. Gibson is doing." After playing a clip of Gibson from Janet Parshall's radio show in which Gibson mentioned the concept that religious people should tolerate people of other religions and leave any judgements as to whose religion is wrong to God, Olbermann took exception with some of Gibson's and Parshall's comments and compared the show to "an all-access Al-Qaeda show on Al-Jazeera talking about infidels." Olbermann ended up calling on Gibson to "leave the airwaves for good" because he has "forfeited his right to stay here."
Check out this correction from today's (Sunday December 25, 2005) Los Angeles Times (emphasis mine):
Religion and government: A Dec. 18 article defending the separation of church and state stated that the Rev. Jerry Falwell claimed that Ellen DeGeneres played a role in the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina because she was the host of the Emmy Awards before both events. He made no such claim.
The correction does not identify the original article or its author, but the December 18 piece was called "The wall that unites us," and it was written by Stephen Julius Stein. So far, the correction has not been amended to the on-line version.
The question: How on earth did such an outrageous statement get past the editors at the Times? Is anyone proofreading their submissions?
Some other 2005 fluff for our slow posting period: Brent Baker and Rich Noyes looked back this June at our wackiest stuff in the special-edition 2000th CyberAlert.
The Christmas holidays remind some to evaluate how the media covers the world's religions. I've put together two religion reports this year. Our major study on a year of TV news coverage of religion ("Secular Orthodoxy Still Reigns") is here. After Pope John Paul died in April, I reviewed the media coverage: "Shepherd of Souls or Antiquated Authortarian?" Any thoughts you have on religion coverage, share it today.
In a commentary published in today's (Friday December 23, 2005) Los Angeles Times, writer Joanna Connors attempts to advance a simply laughable premise. The piece is entitled "God's recurring role in Hollywood." The money quote:
"Contrary to popular belief, Hollywood not only believes in God, Hollywood loves God."
What is Connors' supporting evidence for such a claim? She cites the works of Cecille B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith. She also claims biblical allegories in films such as E.T. (1982) and Shane (1953). Does Connors realize these examples are decades old?! (Some are several decades old!) A lot has changed in the last 25 years!
This year’s Christmas season has been marked by a pitched battle sparked by John Gibson’s book "The War on Christmas." The trend is hot enough that liberals are taking umbrage at the idea that Christians like the word "Christmas" and want to tell America’s most massive retailers that the last few weeks of the year are not centered on some winter festival without religious significance. But there's an entirely different "war," Brent Bozell writes this week, a nastier, more intolerant war going on in cable TV-land:
The Viacom corporation is an active participant through its Comedy Central channel. Its method is not excessive sensitivity, but wild-eyed insensitivity. This cable sinkhole is attacking Christianity with contemptuous mockery. It’s TV programming that approximates urinating on the Koran, except that is to be condemned, and this is to be celebrated.
There is some very weird liberal opinion on display in this week's Newsweek. Which is goofier?
A) Cindy Sheehan interviewed by Newsweek in the "Fast Chat":
But the peace movement in the U.S. remains small. Why? One thing that has prevented the peace movement in America is the media. I spoke with 5,000 people in North Carolina on March 19, 2005, and the press called the protest "insignificant." They covered the Terri Schiavo case instead.
You feel like you were mistreated by the press? They got hold of everything I've ever said and scrutinized it so carefully. They never scrutinized what Bush said...
Inspired by a pro-Christmas resolution voted on in Congress earlier in the day, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted an entire segment of Thursday's Countdown show to attacking FNC personalities for conveying their concerns about the word "Christmas" being driven out of the public eye, declaring that it was a "fictional controversy concocted to drive the ratings and stuff the wallets of a couple of cable fat heads who do quasi newscasts." The Countdown host then promoted the anti-conservative views of Democratic Congressman John Dingell by spending over two minutes displaying footage of the Congressman reading a poem in which Dingell not only attacked Bill O'Reilly and Fox News for "concocting" the controversy, but also made other attacks on Congress from the left.
Olbermann opened the segment : "We readily admit to making things up sometimes here on Countdown. Of course, we always emphasize that we have made them up because we're not just honest about it. We're also smug about it. But when a fictional controversy concocted to drive the ratings and stuff the wallets of a couple of cable fat heads who do quasi newscasts makes it all the way to the government, then we must protest." After quoting the resolution in question, Olbermann then introduced Dingell's poem "expressing his feelings about House Resolution 579 and his feelings about the big giant head [referring to O'Reilly] who started this imaginary war."
Countdown staff added graphics and clips of O'Reilly to the clips of Dingell reading his poem. At one point, they mocked O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter by displaying their photos side-by-side with reindeer antlers painted on their heads, with a red nose painted on Hannity, and with an eyepatch painted over one of Coulter's eyes.
Continuing a mini-trend at the New York Times of downplaying Holocaust denial among Middle East leaders, Thursday morning brings this headline to a Page 5 story regarding the latest anti-Semitic rantings of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Iran's President Clarifies His Stand on Holocaust: It's a European Myth" The Iranian leader called the Holocaust a "myth" used by Europeans to create a Jewish state.
In contrast, the Washington Post gives the outburst much stronger play, with a story from one of its own foreign service reporters, not just using AP copy as the Times does. The Post also places the story on the front page, accompanied by a solid headline: "Iran's President Calls Holocaust 'Myth' in Latest Assault on Jews."
Inside the A section today, Washington Post reporters Jonathan Weisman (economics beat) and Alan Cooperman (religion beat) combine to publicize the latest stunt by religious leftist Jim Wallis. The story is headlined: "A Religious Protest Largely From the Left: Conservative Christians Say Fighting Cuts in Poverty Programs Is Not a Priority." Give the headline writer a thimble of credit for at least using "Left" in the headline, although it may seem required for contrast. But the Post makes the typical liberal Wallis assumption: that the Christian imperative to help the poor is completely synonymous with favoring government welfare programs. Christians apparently must give at the office, instead of giving from their own wallets and hearts.
Pope Benedict XVI recently encouraged Catholics to remember the true meaning of Christmas and to not focus on the shopping aspect. After the speech, the first thing Diane Sawyer thought of was his shoes, his Prada shoes, and how they may represent a credibility problem for the Pope.
At the top of today’s Good Morning America, Sawyer said, "And speaking of shopping, the Pope has now weighed in saying Christmas has simply become too commercial. But we wonder about his own lifestyle. Remember those shoes? We're going to get into that." Robin Roberts, a co-host, responded with, "Yeah, the Prada shoes, the Gucci sunglasses. We'll see."
The latest issue of Newsweek featured an almost 4,000 word article – written by Evan Thomas and Richard Wolffe, with assistance from Holly Bailey, Daniel Klaidman, Eleanor Clift, Michael Hirsh and John Barry – that painted a pretty bleak picture of President Bush as possibly being “the most isolated president in modern history.” The authors referred to Bush as being in a “bubble” that blocks out thoughts, policy suggestions, and ideas that he is either unwilling or intellectually incapable of absorbing. Some of the lowlights:
“Yet his inattention to Murtha, a coal-country Pennsylvanian and rock-solid patriot, suggests a level of indifference, if not denial, that is dangerous for a president who seeks to transform the world.”
“What Bush actually hears and takes in, however, is not clear. And whether his advisers are quite as frank as they claim to be with the president is also questionable.”