Surely no one would view Rev. Jeremiah Wright as closer to the centerpoint of American politics than Pastor Rick Warren, right? Wrong. Here's Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems like Barack Obama, as much as seems to inspire people, including me, has a problem with pastors. I don't know what it is. You get him hooked up with a pastor, whether it's Jeremiah Wright, or it's this guy Rick Warren. One's on the left, one's on the far right. Both are causing him trouble.
So Wright's merely "left," while Warren's "far-right." Do we really need to prove the obvious: that Warren is vastly more mainstream than Wright? It hardly seems worth the effort, but let's consider a few factoids:
Barack Obama is finding out that his honeymoon with the mainstream media may be considerably shorter than he had expected. Inviting Pastor Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration hasn't endeared him to a core constituency and now Time Magazine has joined in the bash fest. Its Web site carries the piece, "The Problem for Gays with Rick Warren — and Obama." Authored by John Cloud, the article begins by citing Warren's criticisms of homosexuality and then clobbers Obama for his association with him:
Gays and lesbians are angry that Barack Obama has honored Warren, but they shouldn't be surprised. Obama has proven himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot. He is far too careful and measured a man to say anything about body parts fitting together or marriage being reserved for the non-pedophilic, but all the same, he opposes equality for gay people when it comes to the basic recognition of their relationships. He did throughout his campaign, a campaign that featured appearances by Donnie McClurkin, a Christian entertainer who preaches that homosexuals can become heterosexuals.
While the media are fixated on the ire gay activists are directing at the president-elect for selecting Prop 8 proponent Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Obama inaugural, I've noticed little attention given to the fact that the man selected to give the benediction is pretty much the polar opposite of Warren on some key doctrinal matters related to homosexuality.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, a liberal United Methodist minister, has mostly been referred to in the media in connection to his work in co-founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, one of the key organizations in the civil rights movement. Yet freezing Lowery in time as an icon of the 1960s civil rights era doesn't do justice to his status as a vocal clerical advocate of same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased a segment on the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s decision to have pastor Rick Warren deliver the invocation at the inauguration: "Barack Obama angers gay rights groups by choosing Rick Warren to give his inaugural invocation." Later Smith brought on Dr. Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas and David Corn of the liberal Mother Jones magazine to debate the issue, declaring: "President-elect Barack Obama has ignited a firestorm of controversy by selecting conservative Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Warren is an outspoken critic of gay marriage and that has angered many of Obama's liberal supporters."
Later, Smith turned to Jeffress and wondered why Warren would agree to speak at Obama’s inauguration. Jeffress replied: "But I want to say, to me, it's just unbelievable to think that because Rick Warren believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, somehow that characterizes him as a hate-mongerand makes him unfit to pray at the inauguration. I mean, this sounds like bizzaro world to me-" At that point, Smith interrupted: "Well, excuse me, excuse me though, this is a serious civil rights issue in this country."
Rick Warren had a surprisingly candid response to Ann Curry's question as to whether he would change his views on homosexuality if it were established that people are born gay. The pastor of the Saddleback Church, explaining why such a finding wouldn't cause him to change his position, observed that he is inclined to want to have sex with every beautiful woman he sees, but that that doesn't make it right.
Curry interviewed Warren for a Dateline segment that will be aired tonight on NBC. As noteworthy as Warren's candor was Curry's ostentatious display of righteous liberal anger, captured in the screengrab, while asking Warren whether he is homophobic.
On Thursday’s The View, co-host Joy Behar expressed her displeasure at President-Elect Barack Obama’s choice of Rick Warren for the invocation at his inauguration: “I don’t think it’s appropriate. It’s like putting, you know, Cheney in charge of gun control. It’s wrong....it’s just wrong.”
The topic of Obama choosing Warren came up during the regular opening “Hot Topics” segment of the ABC daytime program. Whoopi Goldberg, who moderated the segment, introduced the controversy behind this choice: “...[A] lot of folks are opposed to this gentleman: gay -- because he opposes gay marriage, he’s anti-abortion -- he’s got a lot of different stances. There’s a lot of people saying he’s a bad choice.”
Elisabeth Hasselbeck was the first co-host to come to Warren’s defense: “I think he’s a great choice. He held the forum -- remember when he did the forum between McCain and Obama during the election? He sat them down and had the faith forum, which I found was great during our times right now. And I think that he’ll -- I think he’ll do a great job. He’s got an incredible following, he’s a strong speaker.”
In a softball profile of the liberal Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank on Sunday’s CBS 60 Minutes, anchor Lesley Stahl led with: "Barney Frank has been called the smartest guy in Congress, which is lucky for us, since he works on some of the thorniest issues around. The 14-term, 68-year-old Harvard-educated Democratic congressman from Massachusetts is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which means his portfolio includes banks, housing, and now the auto industry. " Stahl later added: "...even the most hardened Republicans give him good reviews." Stahl never named any of those "hardened Republicans."
Stahl did offer some critical descriptions of Frank: "There are many ways to describe Barney Frank. I wanted to read you a sampling of descriptions of you. They almost -- they kind of come in couplets. We have, ‘impatient and anti-social,’ ‘sharp-tongued and downright mean.’" However, she soon followed up with positive testimonials of Frank’s non-ideological pragmatism:
Listen to what the financial community says. Here's Henry Paulson on Barney Frank: ‘He’s a market savvy pragmatist who looks for areas of agreement because he wants to get things done.’ Here’s a guy from JP Morgan Chase, he said, ‘He hasn't veered off into Crazyland,’ meaning liberalism. I've heard someone describe you this way: ‘You're liberal on social issues; you're a pragmatist on economic issues.’"
Near the end of the story, Stahl observed: "True to form, he's an equal-opportunity curmudgeon, also criticizing Barack Obama for not being assertive enough on the credit crisis." Frank explained: "Senator Obama has said we only have one president at a time. Well, that overstates the number of presidents we have at this time. We don't appear to have any." Apparently, saying that having President Bush is like not having a president is somehow critical of Barack Obama.
It's hardly a secret that Chicago public schools chief executive Arne Duncan was the architect behind a failed plan to open a "gay-friendly" high school in the Windy City. But for some reason Washington Post staffer Maria Glod decided to keep that skeleton in the closet, leaving the fact out completely from her page A3 December 17 story, "Education Pick Is Called 'Down-to-Earth' Leader."
Glod set out in her 22-paragraph article to portray Duncan as an education reformed well-respected by both Democrats and Republicans and even garnering begrudging respect and even some allies among teachers unions and school bureaucrats who were at first wary of him.
The controvery over the proposed Social Justice Solidarity High School -- which was scrapped in a November 18 school board vote -- was completely left unmentioned although as Brad Haynes of the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reported yesterday:
You would think even Playboy magazine had limits. It doesn't.
The famous skin magazine found a way to attack Christians and push porn at the same time. The magazine's Mexican copy featured "a model wearing nothing but a white cloth over her head and breasts," according to Reuters Life. "The magazine, which hit newsstands on December 1 as ceremonies began leading to Friday's pilgrimage to the Mexico City shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe," the article continued.
On the cover: "We Love You, Maria" in Spanish. The company printed 100,000 copies of this outlandish Christmastime cover. Another picture inside the magazine apparently features her standing in front of stained glass - just in case you missed the offensive comparison.
The outcry was appropriately swift. Even Playboy can admit something goes too far - afterward.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed actor James Franco, who stars opposite Sean Penn in a new movie about gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk: "Actor James Franco is here to talk about his role in the much-talked-about new movie, 'Milk.' He is amazing in it." At the end of the show, Smith thanked Franco for being a guest and offer this review of the movie: "James Franco in 'Milk,' amazing performance. Sean Penn, off the charts. It's a must-see for everybody."
On November 30, CBS’s Sunday Morning offered a similar glowing description of the film, describing Milk as a "rebel with a cause." In the Wednesday interview, Smith described Franco’s role in the movie as a career-maker: "...there’s this completely other performance here. I mean, there's a part of you that's go to be, ‘this means I have a career,’ and 'I'm not just -- I'm not the pretty face on the Gucci ads, I get a career now.’"
Update (11:37 a.m. EST): Miller is now on the radio program. She insists she had a radio show scheduling conflict. Ingraham apologized for saying she chickened out.
Update (11:26 a.m. EST): Miller backed out of appearing even solo with Ingraham. Mohler is now talking with Ingraham.
A few minutes from now Newsweek's Lisa Miller will appear on the Laura Ingraham radio program to defend her recent article that insists the Bible can reasonably be interpreted to defend same-sex marriage. Shortly after she goes toe-to-toe with Ingraham, the radio host will feature Baptist theologian Albert Mohler who will offer a full-fledged rebuttal. Apparently she refused to go on the show at the same time as Mohler.
Newsweek is hardly the only MSM publication that is clueless about the Christian faith. The New York Times is also reliably feckless when it comes to reporting on what makes biblically orthodox Christians tick.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler took the Gray Lady to task last Friday for its reporting on the recnet formation of a new coalition of Anglican churches that have broken off from the liberal Episcopal Church USA over concerns of doctrinal liberalism.
In "It's About Theology, Not Territory," the Baptist theologian and pastor lamented that Laurie Goodstein's December 3 story on the formation of the Anglican Church in North America painted the dispute in a way to portray the liberal ECUSA as an aggrieved victim of dogmatic conservatives. By contrast, Mohler points to a lack of doctrinal clarity in the Anglican Communion being the fertile ground by which liberals were able to erode the boundaries of historic, orthodox Christian teaching and thus threaten the unity of the church around the Gospel of Jesus Christ (emphasis mine):
Jon Meacham’s ascension to the editor’s chair at Newsweek has marked a very noticeable trend toward turning it into Opinion Week (or OpEdWeek). Its cover stories are often not investigative news pieces, but long editorials. This week, religion reporter Lisa Miller uncorked "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," and Meacham's Editor's Note dared the religious right to protest, like President Bush egging on the terrorists to "bring it on." Meacham clearly sees his magazine as a crusading progressive weekly:
The reaction to this cover is not difficult to predict. Religious conservatives will say that the liberal media are once again seeking to impose their values (or their "agenda," a favorite term to describe the views of those who disagree with you) on a God-fearing nation. Let the letters and e-mails come. History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion. (As it has been with reform in America from the Founding forward.)
Condensing a December 7 story by Des Moines Register's Grant Schulte on a lawsuit in Iowa that may create same-sex marriage in the Hawkeye State, USA Today's left out the meat of conservative critiques of the lawsuit, citing three supporters of the lawsuit to one conservative critic.
Shortly after dismissing the Bible as archaic and "lukewarm" on marriage, Newsweek's Lisa Miller waxed poetic about it as a "powerful" "living document", essentially suggesting that religious conservatives who consider Scripture to be the inerrant, eternally true decrees of God Himself have a lower view of the Bible than religious liberals:
Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.
Perhaps ignorant of the biblical warning against double-mindedness (James 1:5-8) four paragraphs earlier Miller began her treatise by misrepresenting and then scoffing at the Bible's teachings on sex and marriage, confusing human sinfulness for biblical teaching and Jesus and the Apostle Paul's teachings for a virtual loathing of marriage:
Though O.J. Simpson was sentenced for robbery and related crimes yesterday, thirteen years ago he walked on a double-murder charge. That might be an isolated case, but Gail Collins apparently believes there are tens of millions of murderers roaming free in America. We call them by a different name: hunters.
Collins made her inane hunting = murder analogy in her column today in the course of taking one more gratuitous swipe at Sarah Palin. The gist of The Senate, Snowe and Dinkytown is that in a Senate where Democrats will fall one or two seats short of the magic 60, the few moderate Senate Republicans will play a crucial role. Collins focuses in particular on Olympia Snowe of Maine. And while wondering why McCain didn't choose her as his running mate, the columnist gets off her smear on Palin, and hunters in general [emphasis added]:
Time magazine’s Jeff Israely compared Pope Benedict XVI to Charles Dickens' most famous character in his latest column, which focuses on the “tough line on Church doctrine” the pontiff has taken: “...[T]here is growing proof that the 82-year-old Pope is...quite willing to play the part of Scrooge to defend his often rigid view of Church doctrine.” Israely later put Scrooge’s characteristic anti-Christmas exclamation in the mouth of the Holy Father: “...[O]ne can imagine Benedict flashing that gentle smile, tilting his head ever so slightly and declaring: Bah Humbug!”
The correspondent’s Thursday column on Time.com, titled “The Pope’s Christmas Gift: A Tough Line on Church Doctrine,” began with Israely apparently lamenting that the old nicknames for the Pope are no longer effective tools: “Those nicknames from the past — God's Rottweiler, the Panzercardinal — don't seem to stick anymore. After acquiring a reputation as an aggressive, doctrine-enforcing Cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI has surprised many with his gentle manner and his writings on Christian love.” He then saw it fit to give the Pope the “Scrooge” nickname, just in time for Christmas: “But with the Christmas season upon us, there is growing proof that the 82-year-old Pope is also quite willing to play the part of Scrooge to defend his often rigid view of Church doctrine.”
Joy Behar knows why Rush Limbaugh is such a success on the radio: He’s too ugly for television! On the December 4 edition of "The View," the panel discussed Barbara Walters’ upcoming interview with Rush Limbaugh and his comments on Hillary Clinton and our looks obsessed culture. Behar quipped, to the audience amusement, "I think looks do matter on television. That’s why he’s on radio."
Limbaugh’s comments about Hillary Clinton, aging, and America’s visual culture drew discontent from Whoopi Goldberg who, not giving the king of talk radio any doubt, declared "he was being crappy." When Elisabeth Hasselbeck urged Whoopi to read the transcript, Goldberg claimed to listen to the king of talk radio regularly.
The transcript on Rush Limbaugh's website is not available, but ABC's Jake Tapper offered some context. Rush Limbaugh noted an unflattering picture of Senator Clinton and blamed Hollywood for a culture obsessed with physical appearance. This will subsequently harm Hillary Clinton as she grows older. Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck read the transcript and drew the same conclusion.
At first glance, it's hard to figure out who is the bigger buffoon:
Is it Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, for suggesting that Arizona Governor and Obama Homeland Security Secretary-Designate Janet Napolitano is perfect for her presumptive position because she's single and can therefore "have no life"?
Or is it CNN's Campbell Brown, for criticizing Rendell's sexism and bias against employees who don't have families -- after Brown herself suggested in September that Sarah Palin shouldn't have accepted John McCain's vice-presidential nomination because of her daughter's pregnancy?
If Britney Spears wants to launch her grand return with a trite and tacky rough-sex pantomime, I suppose that's her business. She's not known as a pop tart for nothing. What I do find noteworthy is the way GMA celebrated that bit of rough stuff, featuring it in its opening minutes. Even there, it's not ABC's descent into schlock that jumps out so much as the double standard. Can you imagine the dutifully feminist ABC applauding such junk if the gender tables had been turned? Me neither.
Diane Sawyer, uh, teased things during the show opening.
On Sunday’s Chris Matthews Show, host Matthews led the panel in a discussion over whether conservatives would choose to cooperate with the Obama administration in making "historic changes" to repair the economy, rather than stand in opposition to his programs. The premise of the discussion seemed to be that times are too serious for conservatives to dare dissent from Obama’s plans. At one point, David Ignatius of the Washington Post suggested that "thoughtful" Republicans will work with Obama as he referred to John McCain’s concession speech. Ignatius: "I thought that John McCain set the tone for thoughtful Republicans in his concession speech election night, where he reached out to Obama. He was remarkably generous. One of the best speeches he's ever made, in my book."
As he teased the show, Matthews seemed to wonder if Republicans would try to stand in the way of Obama accomplishing "great things," or if they would see the light and cooperate. Matthews: "Will the mountain of crises our country faces make Barack Obama do great things? And with all the crises, will even Republicans see historic steps are required?"
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood teased a story on politician Harvey Milk, who was the first gay man elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977: "The story of a rebel with a cause is being retold in the form of a just-released motion picture. And as it happens, the timing could hardly be more appropriate." The movie, starring left-wing actor Sean Penn, is set to come out just after the 30th anniversary of Milk’s murder, as correspondent John Blackstone explained: "He became the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States. A breakthrough that ended with assassination. Harvey Milk served less than a year here on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors but it was a year that changed history."
Blackstone, who has done numerous stories on Californians efforts to legalize gay marriage, made a comparison between Milk’s election and the current battle over Proposition 8: "In California, the renewed battle over same sex marriage has echoes in a new movie about triumph and tragedy in San Francisco 30 years ago...It is an accident of timing. Just as gay right activists have taken to the streets, angry over the ban on same sex marriage in California, the struggle for gay rights has also moved to the big screen."
That's the conclusion that readers might make after examining Entertainment Weekly's list of the "50 Sexiest Movies Ever."
Of the 50 movies on the list, 42 center on unmarried adult relationships. Three of the relationships featured on the list occur between two women ("Kissing Jessica Stein," "Bound," and "Mulholland Drive"), one occurs between two men ("Yossi & Jagger") and one is a bisexual web of past and current relationships ("Basic Instinct").
Talk about an awkward moment. On CNN’s Larry King Live on Monday, the septuagenarian host asked the “pregnant man” Thomas Beatie and his wife, Nancy, about the mechanics of their relationship. Beatie, who was born a woman and retains female reproductive organs, became a celebrity last year when the media dubbed him the world’s first “pregnant man.”
Thomas and Nancy Beatie appeared on Monday’s Larry King Live to talk about how they are expecting their second child next year. At one point, King decided to ask the pair about their sex life:
LARRY KING: Where did you learn how to do this? From the Internet, you said, right? You can't have the normal kind of intercourse, right?
Amidst all the sanctimonious do-gooderism and global-warming alarmism that is NBC/Universal's "Green Week," it's good to see that at least one network minion has managed to maintain his sense of humor.
Morning Joe's Willie Geist became something of a sensation with his spoof electioneering for John McCain on the sidewalks of Manhattan's ultra-blue Upper West Side. In that same spirit, Willie ventured onto the streets of midtown yesterday, asking folks how they were celebrating Green Week, and posing provocative questions. Sample: "Do you think global warming is kinda hogwash? I mean, look how cold it is today." He got some amusing answers and met some colorful characters, including one dazed and confused fellow who turned out to be none other than Mike Barnicle.
For a panel that airs their opinion nationally on regular basis, it is reasonable to expect them to understand basic political terms. Unfortunately, current “View” co-hosts do not. On the November 18 edition of “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg cited an “Advocate” cover headline reading “Gay is the New Black.” Reading the teleprompter, Whoopi stated “some people don’t agree with comparing this to black suffrage,” paused and, in a puzzled state, admitted “I don’t even understand what that word is, suffrage.” [audio available here]
For the record, and to offer Whoopi Goldberg some free elementary school education, the term suffrage according to “Merriam-Webster,” is defined as “the right of voting.”
Sherri Shepherd, who lacks basic information in geography and history, revealed her ignorance in civics and vocabulary. Sherri clumsily tried to define it as “I guess it’s when black people had to, you know, they didn’t want to die for being black.” The other two co-hosts in attendance, Joy Behar (who previously taught English) and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, did not speak up to offer a definition.
To quote tennis player John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious!"
Newsweek is exploring the possibility of a baby boom being sparked by the "euphoria of Obama fans."
Jessica Bennett of Newsweek comes firing out of the gates with the somewhat disturbing headline, "Change You Can Conceive In." She quickly follows that up in the sub-headline, posing this question: Could euphoric Obama fans be sparking a baby boom?
Creepiness factor aside, does this really constitute serious journalism?
The opening for some reason feels it important enough to find out if Barack Obama himself, was conceived on the day that John F. Kennedy was elected.
In the name of gender equality, the Today show plumped this morning for government regulation forcing health care insurers to charge men and women the same for individual policies even though women cost insurers more because of greater use of services. Hasn't the financial crisis taught the MSM anything about the danger of government meddling in markets? No.
Insurers wind up paying out more in claims under women's policies than men's. Under the circumstances, charging women the same as men would make as much sense as FedEx charging a flat shipping fee no matter how big the box. But that didn't stop NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman and Today weekend co-host Amy Robach from decrying the unfairness of it all this morning. Their solution? More government, of course. They want legislation to force insurers to charge the sexes the same.
Comedian, radio talk show host and blogger Roseanne Barr has a special place she wants to send Californians -- including blacks, Catholics, and Mormons -- who voted for Proposition 8. Too bad they'd have to time travel at least 17 years back in time to get there.
Picking up her never-ending screed against those she considers enemies of well, humanity, Barr wished to be able to send voters in favor of the California constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman to the now-defunct Soviet Union:
In an interview with Victor Balta of Comcast.net, openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres effusively praised Keith Olbermann's November 10 special comment denouncing the passage of Proposition 8 in California, maintaining the traditional definition of marriage:
I thought Keith Olbermann was so eloquent and so brilliant. I just thought that what he said is all that needs to be said. It really is just about following your heart and people paying attention to what the right thing is. (The movement) needs for people to not be ignorant.
It needs for people to open their minds and understand that it is a fundamental right: people need to be allowed to love who they want to love and marry who they want to marry. I don't know what it's going to take, but I have faith that people will realize that this is wrong.
DeGeneres has convinced herself that her on-air activism for homosexuality isn't "political" at all. When asked about any negative feedback for her activism, she declared: