Warning: excessive adulation of Barack Obama is harmful to the vision and can in extreme cases cause hallucinations.
We're all familiar with how an Obamania overdose produced strange tingling sensations in Chris Matthews. A new, virulent strain of the affliction has now emerged, claiming its first victim in the person of Bob Herbert, who on live national TV saw visions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument where none existed.
The NYT columnist, a guest on today's Morning Joe, expanded on the theory set forth in his column of this past Saturday, Running While Black, that the McCain campaign ad mocking Obama as a Paris Hilton/Britney Spears-type celebrity was actually "designed to exploit" racist anxiety about black men and white women. Herbert lumped the McCain ad with the "call me" ad the RNC ran against Harold Ford, Jr. in his Tennessee senate race.
It was in describing the McCain ad that Herbert's symptoms surfaced.
The Cornell golf club championship is next weekend, and I had been planning [brag alert] to defend the senior men's title I won last year. But now, I just might have to think about entering the women's division instead. The field is much smaller, not nearly as tough, and playing from the red tees should give me quite an advantage. But what if tournament organizers balk at my entry, you ask? No problem. I'd just toss down a copy of Jennifer Finney Boylan's New York Times op-ed column of today. The thesis of The XY Games is that "gender is malleable and elusive," and that since "most efforts to rigidly quantify the sexes are bound to fail," the Olympic authorities [and surely the Cornell golf club] shouldn't really bother to try.
Finney Boylan goes so far as to assert that the Olympic medals Stella Walsh won in women's sprint events shouldn't be stripped posthumously despite an autopsy revealing that Walsh had male sex organs [and an ambiguous set of chromosomes.]
Writes Finney Boylan of Walsh [emphasis added throughout]:
She should be celebrated for her accomplishments as an athlete, not turned into an asterisk because of a condition beyond her control.
The triumphant fact of a life lived as a woman made Walsh female, and the inexact measurements performed by strangers cannot render her life untrue.
NBC outdid itself in promoting the pro-gay view in its Nightly News coverage Wednesday of a hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on personnel. NBC served up a litany of gay "victims" of the military's ban on open homosexuality, plus pro-gay congressmen, and played up a recent poll showing most Americans wanting to overturn the ban.
NBC cited only one pro-ban witness, a retired Army Ranger sergeant who got 3 seconds of airtime in the 2:39 segment. Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, who gave a detailed testimony supporting the ban, was not featured at all. The sergeant's statement, by the way, was immediately and angrily refuted by a veteran Army officer now in Congress.
Narrated by Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, the piece begins with lesbian retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah walking along a country path with her partner and a Frisbee-catching dog. She gives heartfelt testimony. Next comes retired Marine Sgt. Eric Alva, who lost a leg in Iraq and has been featured on other newscasts as the face of gay soldiering. Alva is shown with his prosthetic leg, in full uniform, and then testifying. Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), proclaims the gay ban "unpatriotic" and "cruel."
"Good Morning America" on Wednesday continued to aggressively promote the story of the pregnant "man," featuring the show's sixth story since March 26. Once again, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo confusingly described the story of Thomas Beatie, a woman who took testosterone and had her breasts removed in a gender reassignment surgery in order to become a man.
On Wednesday, Cuomo explained, "The pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. He made headlines across the globe. Well, now, Beatie, who is biologically still a woman, has delivered a healthy baby." So, in other words, a woman gave birth to a baby? Perhaps describing the situation that way wouldn't have allowed GMA to devote six stories (thus far) to the topic. The segment was full of such puzzling statements. An ABC graphic screamed, "Pregnant Man's Baby: First Pictures of Susan Juliette." At one point, reporter Andrea Canning stated that Beatie, born Tracy LaGondino, had her breasts surgically removed and then, "...Still hoping to one day have a child, Thomas kept his female reproductive organs." His female reproductive organs?
Apparently the newest big-deal-ad that everyone is supposed to get all upset over is an advertisement by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that came out this week. Unfortunately for them, I can't see how anyone would get too exercised over it. In fact, to my mind the message and its treatment are perfectly well handled. So, it all is a humbug instead of a controversy.Yes, this is quite a first for PETA. An ad we DON'T have to get upset over.
I guess some people are wondering if the ad is based on a moral equivalence of spaying and neutering animals and teen pregnancy. Apparently, we are supposed to get all up in arms that the ad features parents telling their young teenaged daughter to go have all the sex and pump out all the kids she wants because they can just abandon the unwanted kids in the streets or in shelters. This, of course, is a satiric way to comment on the fact that pet owners don't spay and neuter their pets and, therefore, their pets have unwanted pregnancies that get dumped in the street or left at shelters.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Jesse Helms as a "homophobe," and suggested naming a "gay-bashing organization" after the recently deceased former Republican Senator, as the MSNBC host attacked Senator Elizabeth Dole for her effort to name an AIDS funding bill in honor of Helms. Olbermann, addressing Dole as he made her a nominee for "Worst Person in the World": "Senator, you do realize that Helms opposed AIDS treatment, AIDS research, AIDS prevention. He opposed everything about AIDS except blaming the victims. And not just back in the blind panic days. As late as 2002, he blamed the disease on homosexuality. They should not name an AIDS bill after Jesse Helms. They should name a gay-bashing organization after him."
Olbermann teased his "Worst Person" segment during the show's opening: "‘Worsts' is back. Elizabeth Dole wants to name an AIDS funding bill in memory of Jesse Helms, who believed gay people deserved the disease."
During a plug before a commercial break at 8:45 p.m., the MSNBC host called Helms a "homophobe": "And in ‘Worsts,' the Senator who thinks an AIDS bill should be named after homophobe Jesse Helms."
Friend and fellow blogger Dawn Eden, touring Australia for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the country for World Youth Day, reported on her site on Tuesday that she fell prey to the Down Under version of liberal media bias. "A Current Affair," a program on Sky Television that shares the same name and ilk with the Maury Povich program, interviewed Eden, an author and convert to Catholicism, for a segment they labeled "No Sex Pilgrims" (video available here). The Aussie tabloid television reporters who featured her seemed incredulous that anyone in this day and age would live chastely.
"A Current Affair" correspondent Ben McCormack interviewed Eden and Ruth Russell, a 20-year-old native Australian who is a "committed Catholic and a virgin." Near the beginning of the segment, McCormack reminded viewers that "[w]e live in a sex-filled world -- movies, television, advertising, and film clips..." He continued, "...[W]hile many teenagers are doing it younger and more often, Ruth Russell has chosen to just say no." He later described Russell as "an out and proud Catholic, and an out and proud virgin, choosing to save sex until she's married."
Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is walking a "minefield" on the abortion issue with recent hints that he's taking baby steps to the right on the issue. By doing so, he's risking the alienation of the absolutist activists in the abortion rights movement, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico reported today.
But given Obama's much-reported efforts at courting evangelicals and other historic constituents of the GOP coalition, it certainly makes sense that the Illinois senator would seek to soften his image with pro-lifers to win over a few of them, or at the very least dampen the outrage among the pro-life community that might swell their ranks at the polls voting for Sen. John McCain.
Yet instead of considering how a potential problem at the polls for Obama and other Democrats in swing states might be abortion rights extremist activists, Budoff Brown painted Obama as facing danger by straying too far from the strict NOW/NARAL/Planned Parenthood line (emphasis mine):
Exploring the notion that some Anglican parishes could soon return to full communion with Rome in protest of the Church of England allowing ordination of female bishops, Time magazine writers David Van Biema and Jeff Israely felt it necessary to throw in some loaded language about how English conservative Anglicans are different than their American Episcopal cousins:
Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope's possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.
But wait, if conservative Anglicans across the Pond are about to bolt their church because the Bible forbids female bishops, how is that any less "Bible-thumping" than conservative Episcopals in the United States leaving the church because of openly homosexual bishops, a practice that also runs afoul of Scripture?
They were a little slow on the pick up but “CBS Evening News” gets credit for finally acknowledging a report that shows serious side effects associated with the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease the can cause cancer.
The report, by Sharyll Attkisson, aired July 7 a full week after WorldNet Daily reported the findings. As CMI’s wonderful intern Julia Seward reported, earlier in the day both the “Early Show” and NBC’s “Today” reported on Gardasil but glossed over the serious side effects contained in the report.
Mixed in with stories on cooking for the Fourth of July and how soldiers deployed in Iraq were spending their Independence Day, the July 4 "Good Morning America" managed to give nearly two full minutes to a story on Thomas Beatie, more commonly known as the "pregnant man," and "his" newly born daughter on Friday.
Unsurprisingly, the segment featured only a positive take on the situation, offering no sound bites questioning the normalcy of the child’s life. Reporter Ryan Owens touted, "The little girl's conception may have been complicated, but her parents insist her life now will be normal."
The designated "expert" of the segment, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, claimed:
Ho no, here we go again. Gas price hysteria from the MSM.
"Here's a troubling look at what some people are doing for gas. A 34-year-old Kentucky woman was arrested for prostitution after she was allegedly trading sex for $100 gas cards."
So began a video story at ABCNews.com, which made today's top headlines roundup with the teaser headline: "Sign of the Times: Sex for Gas." While the short video report included a prosecutor calling it a "sign of the times" that someone would trade sex for gasoline, failing to put the phrase in quotes in the headline implies that ABCNews.com agrees with the prosecutor's personal opinion on gas prices and the criminal desperation supposedly caused by them.
Of course, there's also more to the story that we don't learn from ABCNews.com. Alleged hooker Angela Eversole may be a cheating hussy, but she's no whore, says her jilted boyfriend, according to WCPO-TV.:
Thomas Beatie, the transsexual "man" who was really born a woman, has garnered a lot of news coverage over the past few months because he is the first "man" to become pregnant. ABC promoted the "pregnant man" four times in two and half months on its morning show, "Good Morning America" while ABCNews.com also heavily promoted the story.
Well, Beatie recently gave birth and ABCNews.com jumped on the story and is treating Beatie like a celebrity. The front page features the headline "Exclusive: Pregnant Man Has Baby Girl" alongside a picture of the "man's" pregnant body.
Showing the kind of intrepid journalism that morning news is known for, on Monday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith led a panel discussion about some recent celebrity divorces, when publicist Marvet Britto observed: "...men are, you know, patting each other on the back when philandering happens. Sad as it may be...You know, look at Bill Clinton. It's not like he's -- you know, we're walking down the street thinking, ‘oh, look what he did.’"
The topic came up when Smith and the other panelists, divorce attorney Raoul Felder and clinical psychologist Robi Ludwig, were discussing Christie Brinkley’s divorce from her husband, who had an affair. In response, Smith awkwardly laughed and quickly moved on.
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.]