Sex education for kindergartners is certainly a hot topic. It's also the subject of a McCain campaign ad that many in the media have called a "lie." In the Hot Topic segment of ABC's The View on Monday (Sept. 22), token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck explained that the ad is NOT a lie and Barack Obama did in fact support legislation establishing sex education for kindergartners.
There is an adage that says being a parent is like being pecked to death by a duck. Perhaps the same can be said of Hasselbeck with regard to her fellow View hosts, all liberals who think they are smart. As if on cue, the left-leaning ladies picked apart the points Hasselbeck made in order to continue to defend their favorite candidate, Barack Obama.
The Culture and Media Institute recently addressed the ad issue and detailed the bill's content (click here and here) but the mainstream press has been reluctant to get the word out on the actual facts. Recognizing this, Hasselbeck took the opportunity to use her platform to dispel the "lie" rumor.
As we've reported at NewsBusters, the MSM have scoffed at the McCain campaign charging Sen. Barack Obama with supporting sex ed for kindergarteners. Time's Joe Klein has gone so far as to call McCain a liar for the ad, although the legislation in question would have meant 5-year-olds would be taught about STDs at the same time they were learning their ABC's.
The way the media have complained about the McCain ad, you'd get the impression the media think no one has ever seriously entertained the notion of teaching kindergarteners about sex.
Yet yesterday, ABCNews.com's World View blog reported on a controversy in the United Kingdom over an illustrated sex ed book geared to 6-year-olds. An excerpt from London-based reporter Philip Victor (emphasis mine):
To explain the high level of hatred for Governor Sarah Palin, the September 18 edition of "Fox and Friends" invited Bloomberg News columnist Caroline Baum. Ms. Baum, who claims to have studied it extensively, later used a vulgar term to describe which direction women voters will lean.
The Bloomberg columnist explained that Governor Palin "made the Democrats’ road to the White House less inevitable." Democrats, feeling a sense of entitlement, are outraged that, in a very hostile political environment for the Republicans, this election remains competitive. When Gretchen Carlson asked what this close election means "for the future of the Democratic party" Baum hypothesized that the Democrats are "bankrupt in terms of appealing to the population in terms of ideas."
An affinity for "strap on devices," "swallowing instead of spitting" and a preference for anal sex are some of the key elements San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford uses to identify what makes an "elitist." Loathing the Bible is on the list too.
Morford, whose columns regularly trash conservatives and Christians, weighed in on dumb American kids last October, and trashed evangelicals with the following line: "and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait." His September 12 column, ‘Are You an Elitist? 18 Revealing Ways to Know for Sure' makes that attack look like playground fun.
If at first you don't succeed in making Americans open to same sex marriage by highlighting monogamous gay couples in their 20s and 30s, try to guilt them into it by finding elderly gay people who are all but "invisible and overlooked" in America.
That's essentially what Newsweek's Jessica Bennett did with her September 18 Web exclusive deadling with the "growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens" who "[seek] recognition for their unique needs and challenges."
Bennett started off with a man whose complaint is virtually indistinguishable from countless single or widowed elderly men:
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
Two segments on CNN’s Election Center program on Monday and Tuesday evenings which aimed to fact-check political ads by the McCain and Obama campaigns were followed by panel discussions in which contributor Roland Martin (on Monday) and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin (on Tuesday) took active roles in denouncing the McCain ads as being filled with "lies" and "falsehoods." Martin accused McCain of "playing in the gutter" and repeating "constant lie after lie." The next day, Toobin stated that "John McCain has told outright falsehoods about Obama and sex education, about the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' about earmarks, about taxes, and the examples we cited in those Obama ads are not even close to the falsehoods that have been said about Obama by the McCain campaign.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman about their wedding following California legalizing gay marriage and asked: "George, how was the wedding? Was it everything you dreamed of?" At the end of the segment, Takei declared: "And may sweet equality live long and prosper," making the Star Trek Vulcan hand sign. Rodriguez showed her solidarity, making the hand sign back and replying: "Let me do it. Same to you." [audio excerpt here]
During the segment, Rodriguez asked about the California ballot initiative designed to overturn the state supreme court’s decision to legalize gay marriage: "But there's this proposition on the November ballot, which you're very familiar with, Proposition 8, that may allow California voters to essentially nullify your marriage if they vote for it. George, talk about what that would mean for your marriage and for you emotionally." Takei replied by denouncing the ballot initiative, yet praising democracy:
Well, first of all, we're not going to let it get there, we're going to fight it tooth and nail. Because it's against the basic fundamental ideals of democracy. You know, we're a pluralistic society and there are many, many faiths and beliefs here. Now we respect everybody's faiths, their right to their beliefs. But there's no right for any one faith group to write those -- their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy. That's not the way it works in the American way. And we are going to make sure that democracy prevails here.
During Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on the marriage of actor George Takei to his partner Brad Altman, following California’s legalization of gay marriage: "George Takei, Sulu on the original Star Trek, used to dream of a future where unimaginable things would happen. Well, his dream came true. Sunday, he legally married his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman." However, later in the segment, Whitaker warned: "But their marriage Knot could be undone by a ballot initiative to, once again, ban gay marriage." Whitaker then made a comparison: "As a child, during World War II, Takei and his family were forcibly removed to internment camps with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans. He held his wedding at L.A.'S Japanese-American National Museum to make a point."
Takei went on to explain to Whitaker: "We, as gay Americans, we've been stereotyped and characterized as something frightening and threatening, as Japanese-Americans were before the war." This is not the first time Takei’s comparison was featured on CBS, on June 16th’s Sunday Morning, a report by correspondent John Blackstone featured a quote from Takei: "I know that people can change because I grew up in -- behind the barbed wire fences of American internment camps. That was in my lifetime. And here I am now, a popular actor -- supported by many, many people throughout the country. America changes. America is made up of decent people, fair-minded people." Takei and Altman were also both quests on the Early Show on June 17 with co-host Julie Chen.
During the panel discussion on the September 14 edition of ABC's "This Week," an interesting exchange occurred between conservative columnist George Will and ABC senior national correspondent Claire Shipman. On the topic of Senator John McCain's recent ad about a sex education bill Senator Barack Obama voted for while in the Illinois state legislature, Shipman could not seem to understand Will's point of view.
Host George Stephanopoulos described the ad as "looking at a vote that Barack Obama had in a committee when he was a state senator that advocated comprehensive sex education from grades K through 12.... The debate is whether -- what comprehensive sex education means and whether it means that kindergartners should be taught how to ward off a sexual predator or something more extensive than that."
In response, Will argued:
It is very common across the centuries for parents, not schools, parents to tell their children to be aware of strangers. What's new here and reflects a conservative-liberal difference is the idea, a, it has to be tarted up as sex education to be wary of strangers, and b, parents can't but the schools must in the kindergarten. Now that's a cultural divide and let's vote.
Maryland's state Court of Appeals recently blocked a ballot initiative to overturn a Montgomery County law that would, among other things, give transgendered persons the right to choose which public restroom they will use, regardless of their biological gender.
You could see this one coming. After Harry Smith called Sarah Palin "Geritol" for McCain, some MSM wag was sure to take things the next step. I'd say it just happened. NBC News DC bureau chief Mark Whitaker was chatting with Andrea Mitchell at 1:27 PM EDT today.
MARK WHITAKER: [People] want to see passion. They want to see that Obama, and the same thing is true of McCain, and we've seen him [show] a lot more passion since he picked Sarah Palin, it's definitely --
ANDREA MITCHELL: Someone described it as Geritol.
WHITAKER: Well, or something else. Put a little pep in his step!
We now know the official Obama talking point on Lipstick-gate.
In the course of her Morning Joe appearance today, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass used the word "ridiculous" no fewer than six times to dismiss the controversy that has arisen since Obama said yesterday that you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.
Click on the image at the right to view the edited video clip.
Douglass was an ostensibly objective reporter at the National Journal before jumping ship for Obama in the midst of this campaign season.
Gov. Sarah Palin's pick as John McCain's running mate was a risky, but potentially rewarding way to restart the culture war and fire up social conservative voters, according to U.S. News & World Report's Jay Tolson. But couldn't the same be said in reverse for Obama's pick of Sen. Joe Biden?
Here's how Tolson treated the Arizona senator's pick of Palin in a September 9 article (emphasis mine):
When Palin addressed the convention, she made it abundantly clear why she was there: Alluding to Obama's gaffe about working-class Americans who turn to guns and God when the economy sours, she presented herself as proof that his characterization was not only false but condescending. Proof, furthermore, that he was out of touch with God-fearing heartland America.
McCain hardly needed to say any more on that point when it came time for him to speak. His choice of Palin said it all. Not only was she anti-abortion; she was against it in all cases. Not only was she pro-gun; she was a hunter herself.
The liberal campaign to seek to diminish Sarah Palin by sexualizing her continues. Yesterday, I described how Frank Rich used a number of sexualized terms in reference to Palin's relationship with McCain: "shotgun marriage," "speed-dating" and "embrace." Chris Matthews employed a similar tactic this evening, claiming that Palin is running "somewhere between a VP and a First Lady."
During the first segment of this evening's Hardball, Matthews tried out his theory, with no particular success, on pollster Stu Rothenberg and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. For the record, Matthews did stop short of telling Palin to iron McCain's shirt:
"Palin's Church Promotes Conversion of Gays," blares the headline for a September 7 Associated Press article noting that the Alaska governor's home church is supporting Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" conference.
Of course as with much of the media's reporting on religion, AP's article is weighed in the balance and found lacking. It's downright misleading and factually inaccurate, betraying a complete ignorance of evangelical Christian theology (emphasis mine):
Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.
Let's back up a minute. That quote in the Wasilla Bible Church bulletin is taken from the Web site for Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conferences. But does the conference really "[promise] to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer"? Far from it.
Do you ever get the impression the liberal media disdain Gov. Sarah Palin not just because she's a strong conservative addition to the McCain ticket, but because she's a mother of five who practices the family values she preaches? I would submit that's a strong likelihood, at least in the case of Slate's Jacob Weisberg, who posits in the September 15 Newsweek that (emphases mine):
Palin's pro-life purism is as ethically flawed as it is politically damaging to the GOP. By vaunting their pro-life agenda over everything else, conservatives are abandoning one of their most valuable insights, that intact, two-parent families are best for children and the foundation of a healthy society.
Weisberg is so skeeved out by Gov. Palin's "purism" on abortion that he practically waxes nostalgic for the days of Vice President Dan Quayle:
Frank Rich expends his 1,500-words today ripping into Sarah Palin. Into John McCain for picking Sarah Palin. Into any members of the press who might not rip into Sarah Palin. What's got Rich so riled up? Cut to Frank's final line: "they just might pull it off." With props to the late Robert Palmer, Frank's got a bad case of not-loving Sarah Palin—but he's badly worried America will find her simply irresistible.
We've had fun with this kind of thing before, so let's ring up the curtain on Rich, Fisked: Act II.
Rich's headline is "Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage." He later describes McCain's process of picking Palin as "speed-dating" and writes of his "embrace" of her. My, my. Sexualizing a woman politician in order to diminish her? Isn't that just the kind of thing that would normally be condemned by, say, a liberal columnist of the NY Times?
That will be followed by observations of commenter "Tom W" (not yours truly) at Pajamas Media.
If they indeed reflect what is happening on the ground, you won't hear about it from the Associated Press, or read it in the New York Times, or see it on the Big Three Networks news or cable shows -- which is why it's so necessary to post items like this here. In fact, it's fair to say that if you were going to see commentary and commenting such as that which follows, it would have occurred already.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced liberal lines of questioning from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger during the 6 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room before the network’s Thursday night coverage of the Republican convention. In particular, Borger pressed Giuliani on his differences with Sarah Palin on social issues: "Last night, you spoke before Sarah Palin, a woman who -- with whom you have very little in common on the social issues, right? She's pro-life.... [L]et's just say she's a heroine to the right wing of this party, and you're not their hero, okay?... [M]y question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about -- has that gotten a little narrower?"
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien disavowed any knowledge of a bias on her network against Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, particularly concerning the issue of her five children, during a segment on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. She moderated a segment with two bloggers, a conservative and a liberal, both of them mothers. When the conservative, Rachel Campos-Duffy of "The Real World: San Francisco" fame, stated how "journalists even on this network say things like, you know, can she really -- is she up to be vice president because she has five kids," O’Brien replied, "I have not heard one journalist who works for CNN, if that's what you're talking about, say that at all. We've interviewed people who said that and ask some similar questions about, isn't that sexist? So I'm not sure exactly who you're referring to."
During FNC’s Republican Convention live coverage, former Dukakis campaign manager and liberal FNC analyst Susan Estrich voiced her disapproval of the "vicious and mean-spirited attacks" on Sarah Palin by the media as she appeared late Tuesday/early Wednesday night with anchor Greta van Susteren. Estrich: "I’ve never seen anything this bad in my life ... I was with Geraldine Ferraro in ‘84 – and this is worse. ... I have never seen from some of my friends such vicious and mean-spirited attacks on her most personal choices, which is what they are."
A bit earlier at about 12:05 a.m., conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham had also complained of Palin’s treatment. Asked by van Susteren if Palin was getting "fair treatment," Ingraham argued that Palin is being "reviled and hated" because she is conservative and pro-life. In response to van Susteren’s question of "who’s reviling her," Ingraham elaborated: "Did you read the New York Times today? Have you read some of the left-wing blogs about her? Have you heard some of the comments on our competitor networks? It’s vile, it’s nasty, it’s vicious."
Be grateful for small things. Ann Curry didn't call Bristol Palin's baby "illegitimate" or a "bastard." She settled for "out-of-wedlock." Now in fairness, NBC's Curry was in theory listing things for which people might feel sympathy for Sarah Palin, including her own Down syndrome child.
But in doing so, speaking with Keith Olbermann during MSNBC's RNC coverage this evening, Curry said the following.
ANN CURRY: She has a child who is having a child out of wedlock.
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin echoed Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on the subject of "diversity" in the Republican Party during CNN’s Tuesday evening coverage of the Republican convention: "I'd just like to make an observation about sort of the night as a whole. Fred Thompson, George Bush, Joe Lieberman -- the Republican Party, are they the party of old, white guys? I mean, this is who the Republican Party put forward first, and the only other people there were wives.... It is not a diverse party. It is not a party where women have had great success" [audio available here].
If a hypothetical tabloid owned by, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, had a cover story with scurrilous accusations about Joe Biden, do you think Chris Matthews would be waving it about on camera and Keith Olbermann citing it? Neither do I. But if for some reason they did, would they possibly fail to mention the mag's ownership?
But Matthews saw fit—not once but twice—to display the cover of Us magazine, with its story "Babies, Lies and Scandals" about Sarah Palin. Olbermann alluded to it as well. And who is the owner of Us? Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone . . . and a big-time donor to Barack Obama. How big a donor? You can view his list of contributions here, with an image after the jump.
Now it's true that Matthews discounted the "lies" allegation. But why give currency to dubious accusations—by a magazine whose stock-in-trade is celebrity gossip—by displaying them repeatedly on a national news show? There was no suggestion that Us, unlike the National Enquirer in John Edwards' case, had done any significant independent reporting. This is apparently scandal-mongering, pure and simple. And of course, neither Matthews nor Olbermann mentioned the Wenner connection.
CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips used a report on the "hometown reaction" to the news of Sarah Palin's pregnant teenaged daughter during today's "American Morning" to highlight the need for sex-education in schools. Phillips noted, "But to some, the 17-year-old's pregnancy is a political issue. Her mother supports strong family values and teaching abstinence, but not sex education in schools. Abortion rights activists say they won't comment on Bristol's case, but it does underscore the need for teaching teenagers about sex."
After a positive sound bite from Barack Obama and another from a Republican Alaskan state senator, Phillips allowed the anti-abstinence bias to shine through.
When asked by Phillips, "why not support abstinence-only?" Geran Tarr of the Alliance for Reproductive Justice stated, "It doesn't educate teenagers about how to prevent STD transmission." No proponents of abstinence-only education appeared during the segment to counter Tarr's claim and Phillips herself failed to challenge Tarr on his assertion. Instead, Phillips again stressed the need for sex education by stating, "Alaska has one of the highest teenage rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country although the rate of teenage pregnancies has dropped sharply."
Meet the newly minted traditionalists at the New York Times, two female reporters who seem to doubt whether or not a woman can have it all -- at least if she's a Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Labor Day edition of the Times's "Political Points" podcast, recorded at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn, was hosted by Jane Bornemeier with commentary from reporters Jackie Calmes, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David Kirkpatrick. The conversation was predictably dominated by "baby-gate" -- the news that Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol was pregnant. Some choice excerpts in which the two female reporters question the judgment of McCain and Palin and find the issue of a teenager's pregnancy fair game:
Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a "damaging revelation " that has caused Sarah Palin's image to "suffer." Says who? Says ABC News, in an article by Rick Klein and Jennifer Parker.
In Palin Pregnancy Rocks Political World, Klein and Parker report reaction from a variety of Republican and traditional-values sources. Every one, from Dr. James Dobson to Grover Norquist to Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council to a pro-life delegate to the GOP convention who said "the fact that her daughter's keeping it and marrying the father is wonderful," had a positive reaction.
But what do they know? Declare Klein and Parker [emphasis added]:
Palin's image may suffer further if more damaging revelations come out in the coming days and weeks.
I think I've got it now. These are the MSM rules when dealing with the personal lives of national candidates and/or members of their family:
Given the chance to publicly embarrass and humiliate a Republican candidate's 17 year old daughter, do it.
If it's a moralizing former Democratic candidate for president, well, leave that to the National Enquirer.
Today, to head off the many tawdry rumors being passed back and forth between the Daily Kos diarists and their MSM fellow travelers, the McCain camp announced that Governor Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant.