On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.
As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.
Carol Costello predictably carried water for the cultural left on Friday's CNN Newsroom during a segment about the firestorm over former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's "Uncle Sugar" attack on Democrats. Costello trumpeted how "Democrats are quite gleeful" over Huckabee's remarks, and bemoaned conservatives' opposition to ObamaCare's contraception mandate: "I just can't believe we're still talking about birth control in 2014. It's just weird to me."
The anchor also glossed over the religious liberty component to the debate, and suggested that the GOP/conservatives should just drop the issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Roe v. Wade was horribly decided, as even some prominent supporters of abortion rights will agree. But for now, it remains the law of the land. And it establishes a constitutional right to abortion. Amazingly, Thomas Roberts appears unaware of that.
On today's Morning Joe, commenting on Mike Huckabee's speech of yesterday on how Dems wrongly accuse Republicans of a "war on women," Roberts twice said "if old white men could get pregnant, abortion would be a constitutional right." View the video after the jump.
Democrat Mark Herring pulled out a squeaker of a win last fall, narrowly besting Republican Mark Obenshain to become Virginia's attorney general. In October, the Washington Post endorsed Herring, then a state senator, insisting that Herring "would hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" to the governor and state agencies and by refusing to "[turn] the office into a platform for ideological crusades."
He's not even a month into the job, and yet Mr. Herring is set to do just that, announcing yesterday his intention to file a brief in federal court attacking the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional definition of marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman. Although it's a stunning, bold-faced repudiation of his constitutional duty to defend the state constitution, you'd be hard-pressed to get that by reading Post court reporter Robert Barnes's coverage in Thursday's paper (emphasis mine):
On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, CNN's senior legal analyst smeared the entire pro-life movement in saying on Wednesday's AC360 Later, "They want women to have no control over their own bodies."
Jeff Toobin was referring to the Texas case where a hospital, claiming that it is following state law, has kept a brain-dead woman on life support against the family's wishes in order to bring her unborn child to term. Toobin went on a rant against the law: [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is currently having its annual winter meetings, and what better way for MSNBC to discuss its progress than to bring on two liberal reporters to discuss the gathering.
During her January 23 Jansing and Co. program, host Chris Jansing invited on no Republican to discuss the RNC meetings, instead opting to bring on MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, who herself is a former Obama campaign operative, and The New York Times’ Nick Confessore -- no conservative he. Jansing began the segment by discussing abortion and concluded that a big part of the GOP strategy was “how to blunt the Democrats' successful ongoing narrative of the war on women.”
Today marks the 41st annual “March for Life” in which thousands of pro-lifers ascend on Washington D.C. to mark the Roe v. Wade decision and show their solidarity in opposition to abortion, many of them faithful Catholics. Not surprisingly, Pope Francis sent out an official tweet showing his support for the “March for Life” in which he said, “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers, may God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Unfortunately for one MSNBC host, the fact the Pope would show support for one of the Catholic Church’s most sacred values, the protection of all innocent human life, seemed to be too much to handle. During her daily “Tweet of the Day” segment on Jansing & Co., Chris Jansing sniffed that Pope Francis’s pro-life values were “reflective of ways in which the church certainly has not changed.”
On Friday, as I noted on Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told public radio's Susan Arbetter that "extreme conservatives" – that is, people who are pro-life, understand the clear meaning of the Second Amendment, or wish to keep marriage as it has traditionally been defined – "have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are." Note well that Cuomo's remarks are still not news at the Associated Press's national site.
On Sunday, Cuomo's people sent and released an "open letter" containing a very inaccurate transcription of the original interview accusing the New York Post's Aaron Short of being "entirely reckless with facts and the truth" in his report ("Gov. Cuomo to conservatives: Leave NY!"). As I demonstrated on Monday, the only reasonable interpretation of what Cuomo said is that Republican Party members who hold any one of the three positions noted in the previous paragraph "have no place in the state of New York." In the past several days, the matter has escalated. The Post has continued to cover the story – that's what newspapers are supposed to do – while, in an extraordinary move, the Counsel to the Governor has entered the fray with what can only be interpreted as threatening language.
On Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all hyped the White House's announcement that President Obama's would meet with Pope Francis in March, and emphasized their apparent agreement on economic issues. On CBS This Morning, Bill Plante touted the "chance for him [Obama] to align himself with the agenda of the very popular new pope, at a time when the President's own popularity here at home is at a low point."
ABC's Robin Roberts even asserted on Good Morning America that the two world leaders are "very similar." However, none of these morning shows reported that just a week earlier, the Pope's secretary of state "expressed [his] concern...for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection" during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who is considered a hero of the pro-abortion crowd yet declared herself "pro-life" in November as her people attempted to bully the local media into twisting stories her way, is blaming her opponent for a Sunday Dallas Morning News story which pointed to significant discrepancies between her campaign biography and the truth.
It's pretty bad when I have to say that the Politico's Katie Glueck did a far better job with this story than Will Weissert at the Associated Press, but that's the case. Glueck at least challenged Davis's contention of an Abbott connection – getting a mushy, meaningless answer – and carried the unconditional denial of any contact from the Abbott campaign by DMN reporter Wayne Slater. Weissert delivered neither. Both missed something important Steve Ertelt at Life News noticed in a series of pathetic Davis tweets.
The administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to hit back at the press on Sunday for supposedly misunderstanding his Friday morning statement to Susan Arbetter on the public radio show "Capitol Pressroom" that "extreme conservatives ... have no place in New York." As I noted on Saturday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Governor made it clear that "extreme conservatives" include those who are right to life, understand the clear meaning of the Second Amendment, and believe in traditional marriage.
But to go after the press, Cuomo's people had to find a news outlet besides a public radio station which actually reported on what he said. Even though his Friday remarks were self-evidently newsworthy, that appears to have been pretty difficult. The Associated Press's national site still doesn't have a story; nor does the New York Times or the Politico. Cuomo's peeps chose to go after the New York Post, whose Aaron Short went to the next step in Cuomo's stated logic in running a story headlined "Gov. Cuomo to conservatives: Leave NY!." Team Cuomo's response in full follows the jump (bolds are mine; words Cuomo's people left out are in caps; other words Cuomo didn't say are crossed out):
When a politician -- male or female, liberal or conservative -- writes a memoir*, anything therein is fair game for the news media and his or her opponents, particularly when claims made therein are false or misleading. But to the gang at MSNBC, Republican criticism of the network's anointed golden girl Wendy Davis is beyond the pale.
Rachel Martin, anchor of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” rocked her Sunday morning six weeks ago by hailing the religion-bashing punks of Bad Religion deconstructing religious Christmas carols like a "Monty Python skit." On this Sunday, Martin hailed “Laura Jane Grace, transgendered punk,” the lead singer of the band Against Me!
NPR wasn’t really as “progressive” as they could have been on this story, since their in-house transcript calls half the lyrics they played as “(unintelligible)” and then cut out the God part of the song “True Trans Soul Rebel,” and did not mention the song’s title. They also neglected to discuss the new album tracks "F--kmylife666" and "Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ." (Congratulations, taxpayers.) This was the "Trans Soul Rebel" presentation:
Much will be written, and should be, about President Barack Obama's whining that racism partially explains the year-long plunge in his popularity since his reelection in 2012. What's also worth noting about the ponderous and painfully long (18 web pages) January 27 writeup in The New Yorker ("Going the Distance; On and off the road with Barack Obama") is David Remnick's apparent obsessions with rewriting history and recasting reality.
But first, here's the paragraph where Obama, apparently feeling that the "it's Bush's fault I inherited all these messes" card may finally have worn itself out, goes for the race card (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Imagine if Texas Senator Ted Cruz or Lone Star State Governor Rick Perry told a public radio show's host that "people who support abortion, gun control, and same-sex marriage have no place in Texas." There would be breaking news alerts on every cable news station. It would be a press obsession for weeks. More immediately, there would be intense pushback from the show's host.
On the public radio show "Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter on Friday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is surely assessing the 2016 presidential landscape, asserted that "extreme conservatives" – that is, people who are pro-life, understand the clear meaning of the Second Amendment, or wish to keep marriage as it has traditionally been defined – "have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are." Arbetter just let Cuomo's remarks slide on by without meaningful follow-up, and arguably appeared to agree with their thrust. Audio and relevant portions of the transcript follow the jump.
You have to wonder if every time their sophisticated post-modern sex lives don’t live up to the “if it feels good, do it” ideal or they can't overcome that whole icky morality thing, The Daily Beast’s authors are driven to rationalize it in prose. It is, after all the website that brought you “If Sexting is so Wrong, Why Does It Feel So Good?” And now comes the latest bizarre ethical self-justification: Cheating might just prove the secret ingredient for true love!
Tuesday's New Day on CNN followed the lead of Reuters in giving ideologically-tinged reporting about Pope Francis's latest condemnation of abortion. Kate Bolduan hyped the "blunt words from Pope Francis on abortion", and played up how "conservative Catholics have complained the new pontiff...hasn't been tough enough on the issue until now."
Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen added that "this is one of the strongest statements that this pope has made on abortion, and it comes after he was criticized by some conservatives in the Catholic Church for not taking a forceful enough position." In reality, the Argentinian-born Bishop of Rome made an equally-sharp denunciation of abortion in November in his first apostolic exhortation: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
A few hours ago, the folks at Twitchy.com caught the following headline at Reuters at a story about Pope Francis: "Pope, in nod to conservatives, calls abortion 'horrific.'" At roughly 11:45 Eastern Time, the headline at Philip Pullella's story carried at Yahoo News ventured even further into the unreal: "Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion "horrific.'"
Phil, the Pope is Catholic. Abortion is and always will be a grave, i.e., mortal sin in the Catholic Church. Alleged "conservative" influence is utterly irrelevant. As would be expected, Pullella's content isn't any less ignorant (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Lena Dunham, the actress who made herself infamous by comparing voting for Barack Obama to losing one's virginity, has come out with another brilliant statement: People who aren't really interested in seeing her naked need to seek help from a psychiatrist.
Replying to a television critic who asked her at a press conference why her character in the HBO series Girls frequently appears naked for no apparent reason, Dunham said that she was going for "realistic expression." She expanded her remarks further by saying that "If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals."
Katie Couric’s upsetting the leftists again. The “girl-on-girl culture site” Autostraddle was unhappy that she had to ask the inevitable “genitals” questions when she had on two men on her talk show Monday who dress like women (“trans women”), model Carmen Carrera and actor Laverne Cox. As might be expected, Couric promotionally titled the segment "Transgender Trailblazers."
“The real trouble started when Couric started to ask Ms. Carrera if transitioning was painful because of all the surgery that she had to go through. Carmen looked a little confused and responded by talking a little about her nose job and breast augmentation and that’s when Katie pounced,” the author “Mey” complained. “She immediately asked if Carmen’s “private parts” are “different now” and if she’s had that surgery yet.”
Ben Tracy boosted former Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe on Tuesday's CBS This Morning for his activism in favor of same-sex "marriage." Tracy hyped that "Kluwe was one of the best punters the Minnesota Vikings ever had", and that despite being let go from the football team, "Kluwe continues his advocacy, wearing an anti-bigotry hat."
The correspondent slanted towards Kluwe by featuring soundbites from the athlete-turned-activist exclusively, and did little to question his allegation that his former coaches are anti-homosexual "bigots." However, Tracy also hinted that Kluwe could have done more for his left-wing cause by speaking up while he was still with the Vikings: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Shortly before the new year, a number of religious organizations were given protection from the HHS abortion and contraception mandate. While social conservatives and defenders of the First Amendment cheered, numerous prominent media organizations manipulated basic scientific facts to deny that the mandate - required by federal law - forces people to fund abortion-inducing drugs.
The New York Times has done this as has NBC News. While Pew Research did not deny that the mandate requires abortion funding, its weaselly assessment of the debate surrounding the mandate was almost as bad. To wit, Pew stated that many with religious beliefs "oppose abortion and believe that using emergency contraception like the morning-after pill is akin to abortion" (emphasis added).
MSNBC’s Irin Carmon -- the New York Abortion Access Fund's 2013 Champion for Choice award winner-- never hesitates in showing her support for “reproductive rights.” Whether it be in the newly established MSNBC.com website or on the airwaves of MSNBC, Carmon bemoans any attempts made by state legislatures to make abortion clinics safer through health department regulation.
It should come as no surprise then that a January 6 piece by Ms. Carmon -- and her subsequent appearance alongside MSNBC host Thomas Roberts during his 11 a.m. Eastern program -- would strike a similar tone to her previous work on the subject of abortion. Carmon began her story by huffing that:
The constitutionality of two of Texas’s abortion restrictions is being debated in a federal appeals court here. But for Texans seeking abortions, the full weight of the law, most of which is already in force, is anything but theoretical.
Sarah Silverman celebrated Christmas in her usual mode: mocking Christians, and religion in general. On Twitter, she wrote “Happy Birthday, Jesus! I'm sorry [you] were murdered by people afraid of new ideas!”
Her last HBO special in 2002 was even mockingly titled “Jesus Is Magic.” Her new special was called “We Are Miracles.” Once again in the new show, she made fun of the death of Jesus, as a Jew: “You’re welcome. If we hadn’t killed him, he wouldn’t even be famous.”
As we've documented the past few years, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell is notorious for her softball interviews with abortion rights absolutists like Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood. Sadly it seems Ms. Mitchell hasn't made a new year's resolution to treat those occasions as opportunities for fair and balanced interviews rather than platforms for advancing their agenda.
On her January 2 Andrea Mitchell Reports program, Mitchell kicked off the new year with a friendly strategy session with Richards, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor's temporary stay on a contraception mandate serving as the news hook.
Nicholas D. Kristof (I've tended to call him "Nick" through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): "If you look closely at my Times byline ... I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year."
Why oh why would Nick want to do that? "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious." I've got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than "a bit" ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.
CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
Leave it to the Daily Beast's Dean Obeidallah to lay out a false dilemma supposedly facing the National Collegiate Athletic Association while simultaneously resurrecting at the end of 2013 a left-wing bogeyman that is so 2012.
"The NCAA is facing a momentous decision in 2014: Will it stop partnering with Chick-fil-A—or revise its bylaws so it can support discrimination against gay Americans?" Obeidallah asked in the open of his December 27 post "The NCAA’s Big Gay Choice: Chick-fil-A or Equality?"
My nomination for the best comment of the week regarding the controversy surrounding Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson goes to syndicated columnist George Will.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Will marvelously said, "[T]he new biggest American entitlement is the entitlement to go through life without being offended" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
On his Thursday show, CNN's Piers Morgan confessed that Christians who believe homosexuality is sinful are "bigoted," and argued that parts of the Bible are "utterly ridiculous" and "offensive." The topic at hand was Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's words about homosexuality.
"I can still understand people say, well, you know, it's my religious belief that homosexuality is a sin. I think it's a load of absolute fooey in the modern age, to be so bigoted, but if that's what people want to do, that's fine," the CNN host admitted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]