On Monday’s CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric teased an upcoming segment remembering controversial comedian George Carlin: "...he was a comedy legend who made us laugh and think." During the segment, correspondent Jim Axelrod followed the same theme: "George Carlin made lots of us laugh...But his genius was making us think." Immediately following that observation a clip was played of Carlin declaring: "This country was founded by a group of slave owners who told us that all men are created equal. That is what's known as being stunningly, stunningly full of [expletive]."
Later in the segment, Axelrod again praised Carlin: " But what Carlin loved best was using irreverence to force us to re-exam what we'd long stopped thinking about." That statement was followed by Carlin ranting: "Here's another question I have: How come when it's us it's an abortion and when it's a chicken it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden?" One wonders, when Couric and Axelrod say Carlin "made us think," who exactly is "us"?
Can those rascally Republicans once again dupe otherwise well-educated, smart pro-choice women into sacrificing their womb on the altar of Republican presidential power?!
That's the sentiment you might expect from deep within the bowels of NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood, but it was essentially the question that Time's Amy Sullivan posed in her June 23 article, "Will Pro-Choice Women Back McCain?"
Sullivan's thesis boiled down to this: pro-life Republican candidates do as well as they do with some pro-choice voters because they throw out some bones trot out their pro-choice spouses and pro-choice feature speakers at Republican conventions to throw pro-choice Republicans and independents a bone, while Democrats are ham-handed in their efforts to downplay their pro-choice policies (emphasis mine):
From the Disney-owned Web site that brought you concerns that college co-eds were foregoing textbooks to pay for birth control comes the latest tale of high gas price-induced economic woes.
"Nevada Brothels Hit Hard by Gas Prices," ABCNews.com trumpets in a teaser headline in the top headlines slideshow on its front page. The editors showed a bit more leg in the photo caption: "Owners fight back: free $50 gas cards for high-spending customers."
Here's some of the tale of woe from the article itself:
As the Silver State's fuel prices hit all-time highs, Nevada's brothel employees find it harder to make a living these days, leaving some people wondering whether they should stay in the business.
At the Stardust Ranch in eastern Nevada, bartender Cindy Howe says they're "down to only two girls. They don't want to come here because business is down."
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
Brent Bozell's culture column this week deals with how Showtime keeps pushing envelopes, from the pot-pushing mom in "Weeds" to the sympathetic serial killer "Dexter" to the newest frontier:
This year, the new fascination is prostitution, and Showtime has proudly unveiled a British import called "Secret Diary of a Call Girl." Sadly, and predictably, Showtime’s program glamorizing prostitution is not unique. HBO is also developing a similar series called "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" from a "tantalizing" bad-girl novel.
"Secret Diary" follows the tawdry life of "Belle de Jour," who feels no shame and displays no regrets for her career, as long as her parents don’t find out. "Escort, hooker, prostitute, whore, I don't care what you call me," she declares. "They're just semantics."
San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci dutifully dusted off the same liberal talking points we hear every four years about Republican nominees: the women in their own party hate them.
In her front page article, Marinucci found no conservative Republican women to defend McCain or critique him from the right, but she found three Republican, including Obama backer Susan Eisenhower, and two Democratic women to slam McCain.
But as might be expected in the liberal media, the largest reason these liberal Republican women won’t vote for McCain was chalked up to "women’s rights," code words for abortion. The article devoted a special section to McCain's stance on abortion. Of course this ignores the fact that millions of socially conservative Republican women backed equally pro-life candidates such as Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in the primaries.
For the second time in eight months, "Good Morning America" has featured an extremely liberal sexuality author, who blogs on a condom website and touts Democrats, as a neutral expert. On Friday's program, Logan Levkoff, the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be," and a woman who has previously stated she wouldn't rule out giving birth control to elementary school students, appeared to discuss the epidemic of teen pregnancies in Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, GMA never identified the leftist positions of this woman who once wrote a sex column titled "Ask Mistress Lola."
Levkoff explained to co-host Robin Roberts that "our policies are not helping our children." Running down abstinence education, she argued, "And the fact is, we as parents need to get involved and we as schools need to advocate for healthy sexuality education. And that means talking about everything, not just abstinence, because, clearly, even if that's what they're getting that's not what these kids are doing." Levkoff is no moderate voice. She blogs on the Trojan Elexa website and her topics have included celebrating "Blog for Choice Day," bashing President Bush and being "psyched" when the Democrats won back Congress in 2006. Shouldn't it be the responsibility of ABC to identify the extremely liberal perspective that Levkoff operates from?
This could be perhaps the most bizarre application of James Carville's worn out expression, "It's the economy stupid." "CBS Evening News" linked the economy to the famed pregnancy pact that has received national attention.
The June 19 broadcast of "Evening News" faulted the ailing economy for 17 Massachusetts high school students agreeing to get pregnant intentionally around the same time so they could raise children together.
According to Gloucester Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer, the girls did it to gain status. CBS correspondent Michelle Miller took it a step further and made an economic connection.
"Status in Gloucester is hard to come by," Miller said. "The once-thriving fishing community has seen jobs drift overseas. Economic depression has left many teens trying to fill the void."
As we reported last year, a stunning undercover videotape surfaced that appeared to show a staffer at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles advising a woman whom she thought to be a 15-year-old girl to conceal a statutory rape. Even though this eye-opening episode happened right in the backyard of the Los Angeles Times, the paper did not publish a single story about it. Not one.
Yet last week (6/9/08), the Times published a glowing, front-page feature about a 15-year-old "sex ed girl." The impressionable young teen walks the streets of Los Angeles and speaks to other teens about "safe sex." In the most flattering of language, the Times beams, "She has memorized pages and pages of information on sex education and sexually transmitted diseases. She's ready to pass out cards from ... listing services and clinics. She is also armed with condoms." A pair of flattering, smiling photos of the teen accompanies the article.
Any guesses on which organization trained this poor girl?
Andreina is 15. She's been attending Planned Parenthood sex education events since the age of 13.
Time magazine writer Michael Lindenberger's dispatch "From Gay Marriage's Ground Zero," read more like puffy campaign literature for the liberal Democratic mayor of San Francisco than an objective news piece.
Same-sex couples began marrying late Monday night in courthouse ceremonies across California, putting triumphantly happy human faces on a debate that is nevertheless far from over. Crowds turned out to welcome - and, for some, to protest - weddings in Beverly Hills, Oakland and the wine country north of San Francisco.
Later in his piece, Lindenberger took at face value Newsom's recollection of how he decided in 2004 to challenge state law and grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Those "marriages" were later invalidated of course, but the recent decision by California's highest court paved the way for gay weddings, at least between now and November when a ballot initiative may outlaw same-sex marriage.
Lindenberger dutifully transcribed Newsom's insistence that he didn't know how big a deal his civil disobedience would be:
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning," correspondent John Blackstone reported on the beginning of legal gay marriages in California starting Monday: "Even for people used to earthquakes, the California Supreme Court's decision last month to legalize same-sex marriage was a jolt. But even as gay couples make plans to wed this week...Opponents say tradition should and will be restored."
Blackstone went on to talk to one such opponent: "Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is confident Californians will vote to again ban same sex marriage. On the ballot, in November...Brown says the state supreme court improperly overturned the will of the people. In 2000, California voters approved a measure declaring that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California."
Out of a total of 8 minutes and 50 seconds of coverage during the show, 2 minutes and 14 seconds was given to highlight opponents of gay marriage. By Sunday’s "Evening News" the total coverage had shrunk to 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 27 seconds given to opponents. Total coverage on Monday’s "Early Show" was 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, time given to opponents of gay marriage was only 41 seconds, with no mention of Brown or his organization.
Pushing a liberal social agenda is the last thing you'd expect to see on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." But the network's June 16 mid-morning show featured a segment praising the California Supreme Court for legalizing same-sex marriage because of a predicted economic benefit.
"This time around, one study expects over 100,000 gay couples will tie the knot, providing a boost to California's ailing economy hit hard by the real estate foreclosure meltdown," CNBC Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman said.
Goldman cited data from the pro-gay Williams Institute, a division of the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. According to its Web site, the Williams Institute "advances sexual orientation law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public."
On the one hand, I have to give the Washington Post some credit for its biased June 16 story about a new pro-life pharmacy set to open in northern Virginia this summer. Even with its less-than-fair treatment, it informs pro-life readers of a new pharmacy they may wish to patronize. Of course the store opening is worthy of news coverage for a number of reasons, such as the intersection of faith and professional ethics in health care, but unfortunately, staffer Rob Stein started right off the bat slanting coverage in a way to disparage the enterprise.
When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.
Social liberalism is on the march at The Washington Post. On Friday, the Post took a bold new step in celebrating homosexuality and the oncoming push against the "hateful" influence of traditional religion by putting the Capital Pride Festival on the front page of its Friday "Weekend" section, which I've never seen happen before. It carried the promotional headline "PRIDE...brings 200,000 people to the District’s gay and lesbian festival. Hear their voices, Page 25." The illustration is two different colored hands holding with a rainbow of different fingernail colors. Inside, Post writer Ellen McCarthy highlighted the liberal politics:
In an election year, though, and at a time when gay marriage and lawsuits contesting it are front-page news, Capital Pride isn't concerned only with celebration.
"Despite our gains, it is a political statement -- to be right there on Pennsylvania Avenue with the Capitol in the background," Mallory says.
Chicago Tribune religion reporter and blogger Manya Brachear echoed a familiar liberal media meme about orthodox Christianity in her latest "The Seeker" blog post, "Have Southern Baptists lost their way?" (emphases mine):
As a number of conservative Protestant denominations now face decline, leaders have chosen to batten down the hatches, endorse orthodoxy and herald the importance of sharing their faith with others.
But if these denominations narrow their theology at the same time they widen their outreach, is anybody going to listen?
As reported by FishBowl DC at mediabistro.com, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric was honored at a luncheon held by Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington DC on Wednesday and remarked: "However you feel about her politics, I feel that Senator Clinton received some of the most unfair, hostile coverage I’ve ever seen."
[UPDATE, 11 PM EDT, by Brent Baker: Katie Couric devoted her Wednesday “Katie Couric's Notebook” to making the same charge, echoing the views of Clinton-backers she featured on her June 3 newscast as recounted in an NB post: “Couric Provides Forum for Female Clinton Backers to Vent.” In the online video commentary posted Wednesday night, Couric argued (transcribed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth):
One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life, particularly in the media. Many women have made the point that if Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an "iron my shirt" poster at campaign rallies, or a Hillary nutcracker sold at airports, or mainstream pundits saying they instinctively cross their legs at the mention of her name, the outrage would not be a footnote. It would be front-page news.]
On Monday's "Good Morning America," for the fourth time in just two and a half months, the ABC program featured a segment on the so-called pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. Since first reporting the story on March 26, GMA has been fascinated with the case of the woman who had surgery to become a man, but kept her reproductive organs and is now having a child.
On Monday's show, reporter Ryan Owens fretted, "But how will society treat this less than conventional family?" The journalist offered liberal, non-judgmental platitudes such as "Today, Thomas says, different is normal." Spouting more sayings from Beatie, Owens recited, "Love makes a family, he says, and that's all that matters." On April 4, correspondent Andrea Canning lauded the transgendered woman as "the man the world has been waiting to meet." On March 26, GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo, cooed, "Oddity aside, biology aside, it is all about love of this child and as long as that's present, everything else is really going to be normal." Each story avoided what many would consider to be a salient fact: Despite media hype, men do not, in fact, give birth to children.
Even co-host Diane Sawyer seemed to be having trouble with the story. On Monday, she announced, "Beatie, the transgendered woman who became a man and she will -- he will give birth next month."
CNN’s "American Morning," following-up on their segment last Friday with Gail Sheehy on whether sexism factored into Hillary Clinton’s loss, asked "pioneering feminist" Gloria Steinem about the issue on Monday morning. Steinem placed the blame squarely on "misogyny and the culture at large, and especially in the media." "[N]o candidate in history has been asked to step down by the media. She was. The average time that it takes for a loser to endorse a winner in this situation is four months -- four months. She did it in four days, and look how she was criticized, you know, for not doing it the very same night. It's outrageous."
I mean really, that must be the only explanation why ABCNews.com keeps showing us pictures of the so-called pregnant man. It must be a way for us to save gas. Why drive to the carnival in town to see the Bearded Lady when she's just a few clicks away on your computer?
This isn't the first time the Disney-owned network thought fit to put pictures of transsexual woman Thomas Beatie on its "top headlines" lineup. Back on May 21 the Web site teased pictures of Beatie as she "Labors... In Yard."
Perhaps as a peace offering or palette-cleanser, ABCNews.com is also featuring in its "top headlines" pictures of attractive Hollywood starlets in so-called Band-Aid dresses.
What say you? Slow news day, or is ABC just following the maxim that "sex sells"?
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked about Hillary Clinton dropping out of the presidential race with liberal blogger Arianna Huffington and former Democratic Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who commented on sexism during the campaign: "It troubles me a lot what we saw. It was like they made a witch out of her [Hillary Clinton], some people. You know we thought the Salem witch trials were over. But some people, no matter what she said, it was 'don't believe it. She's really evil.' This is -- I've never seen anyone do that to a candidate." [audio available here]
That comment was sparked by Smith asking about Clinton: "Did she -- did she get a fair shake? Smith followed by telling Schroeder: "Talk to me from your gut." The former Congresswoman needed no encouragement:
I'm telling you I feel there's a tremendous amount of sexism still out there. And this is not a society that deals with sexism. You know, racism, we now recognize and we all stand up. Anti-Semitism, the same thing. Good for us. That's wonderful...But the sexism that we saw in some of the media really troubled me. And we didn't have party leaders standing up. You know, If you're the woman and you stand up and say, 'Wait a minute I believe that's sexist.'...Then everybody says, 'oh, there they go. They're whining, they can't take it.' And I really think we have a lot of ground to cover on sexism.
Washington Post Style TV columnist Tom Shales blames the FCC because tonight's premiere of CBS's "Swingtown" doesn't show enough skin to suit him.
"Swingtown," a drama set in the free-loving, drug-hazed summer of 1976, lacks the "kind of intimacy and even eroticism that is common on HBO," Shales complains.
In his June 5 review he writes:
It's conceivable that ‘Swingtown' will prompt complaints to the FCC about its relatively explicit sexual depictions. But there's no nudity, and that seems to be the thing that gets those FCC commissioners' panties in a bunch. Perhaps soon, the bureaucratic busybodies will steal away into the night and television will be relieved of what has been an ineffective and hypocritical anti-smut crusade.
Apparently it never occurred to Shales that the reason there's no nudity on this show is because the FCC's "anti-smut campaign" has in fact, been effective in keeping at least that largely off the broadcast networks.
With the traditional media admitting they find it hard to curb their enthusiasm for Barack Obama, John McCain demonstrated again today that he is reaching out to the new media, giving blogging critics from the right and left the opportunity to participate in the blogger conference calls he has been regularly conducting. The Washington Times noted the phenomenon in an article of May 16, McCain widens dialogue on blogs, reporting that three of the seven questions in the May 15 conference call were posed by liberal-leaning bloggers.
Of the half-dozen or so questions McCain took in today's blogger call [in which I participated], one was from a blogger from the left. James Kirchick, a New Republic assistant editor/blogger [and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association 2007 Journalist of the Year], quizzed McCain on his position on the proposed amendment to the California constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman [McCain expressed support for the amendment and for the ballot initiative giving citizens the right to vote on it].
The most barbed question actually came from the right. Quin Hillyer of the Washington Examiner began by expressing "all due respect," eliciting a wry "I always like that beginning" from the senator. Hillyer went on to describe what he characterized as "one of the most frequently aired complaints from conservatives," to wit, that "when you disagree with conservatives you seem to use the anger and the language of the left, and to question not just conservative positions but motive or integrity." Hillyer asked for assurances that McCain would "avoid that tendency" if he were elected President. McCain fundamentally disagreed with the premise, stating that he treated all people with respect.
Joy Behar, a self proclaimed feminist, touted a man with a sexist past to be Obama’s running mate, then ranted against alleged sexism that surfaced in the 2008 primary. The conversation on the June 4 edition of "The View" led to whether or not presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama should choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate. Whoopi Goldberg also expressed her discontent with Clinton’s post primary speech.
When Barbara Walters questioned the panel about Hillary Clinton as an Obama running mate, Joy Behar added she thinks "that [Clinton] is very divisive in the country," then named Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) as a potential pick, because he is not as liberal as many elite Democrats. Behar, who once called abortion opponents "against women," did not mention Webb’s past opposition to women at the Naval Academy describing the predominantly male dorms as "a horny woman’s dream."
That sleazy yet hallowed HBO television series "Sex and the City" is now in theaters as a feature film, and the cultural elites are having a religious experience. Newsweek previewed the movie by reporting how an estimated 50,000 people, some from far-away lands like Australia and Japan, "make the pilgrimage each year to the shrine," the fictional New York City home of "Sex" protagonist Carrie Bradshaw. The magazine chronicled a tour group standing silently, some weeping.
Am I the only one who thinks that those estimated 50,000 people out there make the Trekkies look sane by comparison? But Newsweek seems to lament how the movie isn’t outrageous enough. The headline is "Girls Gone Mild," and the trailer is all about our protagonist getting married – maybe. Writer Julia Baird was amazed at "how many people speak of it in hyperbolic terms: as a revolution, a phenomenon, a cataclysm, almost an insurgency."
Is it possible to discuss teen birth rates without attacking abstinence-only education? Apparently not for NBC's Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
During a May 28 "Today" show discussion of high schools providing birth control to teens without parental notification, Snyderman cast doubt on abstinence-only education, saying, "I don't think there's any healthcare professional who says [abstinence education] is the magic bullet and it's really working."
School-provided birth control is a hot topic again due to the rising number of teenage pregnancies at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts. Pregnancies at Gloucester High soared from 4 to 17 in one year, spurring some school health officials to propose offering free birth control to students without parental notification. Dr. Brian Orr, the school's clinic director, resigned last week after the Addison Gilbert Hospital, which funds the clinic, opposed the idea.
Host Meredith Vieira gave Snyderman a second opportunity to bash abstinence when she asked "Teen pregnancy is up for the first time in 15 years, why is that?" Snyderman responded:
A small paper in South Carolina called The Statesman indulged in some blatant hetero bashing this week in a story about a high school principal who resigned because of his convictions that the school should not allow a homosexual club to be started in his school. Naturally, the paper tries to make it seem as if the principal is an unreasonable bigot. The paper even conveniently forgot the part of the principal's resignation letter that clearly explains why he disagreed with allowing a club based on sexual activity in a high school -- and the explanation had nothing to do with any anti-gay sentiment.
Brent Bozell's culture column this week discussed a forthcoming CBS series called "Swingtown," set to debut June 5. Cover your eyes, Angela Lansbury. As the title suggests, it's about swingers, wife-swapping suburban sybarites, set in 1976. This disco-soundtrack spectacle has been delayed for months, due to the writer's strike. The best thing that can be said about the shock jocks at CBS is that they are putting it in the last hour of prime time:
Smack dab in the Thursday-night time slot of "Without a Trace," the series which dug deep for the ratings gold with a teen-orgy scene a few years ago, CBS looks to set new records in broadcast debauchery. Jacques Steinberg of The New York Times reported the first episode is stacked with a sexual threesome; a high school junior smoking marijuana and then flirting with her English teacher; the glorified enjoyment of quaaludes and cocaine; and the sight of the "neighborhood scold" stumbling upon a basement orgy, only to hear some mutton-chopped participant say with a smirk "Why don’t you kick off your shoes, Mom, and join the party?"