Feminist anthems still draw rave reviews. On Thursday morning's "Today," singer Helen Reddy was scheduled for an interview on her new memoir. As "I Am Woman" played in the background, Katie Couric explained how she knew every word of the song and it "shaped me in a lot of ways." News anchor Ann Curry interviewed Reddy and echoed the swooning: "Oh, that song still gives me the chills."
Coming into the 8:30 half hour, MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed Katie Couric announced over the Reddy song and the outside crowd noise:
Katie Couric: "Matt I'm sure you have this one on your iPod don't you? This of course is Helen Reddy's I Am Woman. When it first came out in 1972 it became an anthem for the women's movement and for feminists everywhere and I have a confession to make."
Today’s edition of The View may have given us a window into not only that show’s future, but also the interviewing style we might expect from Meredith Vieira on Today. Ms. Vieira, who joins the NBC program in September, and her co-hosts interviewed Dhillon Khosla, a transsexual who underwent several surgeries in an attempt to become a man. Vieira complimented Khosla for his ability to "find yourself finally." Here is a brief sample of her comments:
Vieira: "I can understand why people would love you. You’re a very nice guy. Very, very nice guy. Very smart and what a struggle to find yourself finally...You’re a very smart guy and a very brave guy to go through this and to write about it too. And help- obviously a lot of people struggling with the same situation."
Let’s look at USA Today's story which ran just five days after the media began reporting on the rape allegation and its fallout. I think even those of you with a low opinion of MSM will be shocked by the story’s blatant bias.
The flier being distributed outside Duke's student union Wednesday night looked like a wanted poster: 40 faces of young men, smiling smugly for the camera.
What was most disturbing to those gathered was the possibility several of the Duke men's lacrosse players whose photos were arranged in those neat rows may have committed criminal charges, including forcible rape and sodomy.
Roger Friedman, who writes the "Fox 411" for FoxNews.com, reported Saturday that Barbara Walters decided to pick Rosie O'Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira after being touched to tears at a screening of Rosie's documentary about her gay-family cruises. (Update: The New York Times confirms today. See below.)
Friedman began with the note that O'Donnell's contract apparently states she cannot chop off her hair to look "butch" as she did at the bitter, back-biting end of her last daytime talk show. It should be noted that Friedman doesn't nail every detail in his report, since he calls Elisabeth Hasselbeck "Debbie." Is he still remembering the long-departed first "View" co-host to get the boot, Debbie Matenopoulos? Here's a sample of his take:
You may wonder when and how this arrangement with "The View" came about. I was not surprised to be told that it all occurred on the night that HBO screened Rosie and her partner Kelli’s documentary about their gay family cruise line about a month ago. I distinctly recall Barbara Walters coming out of the screening room, wiping tears from her eyes. It was quite obvious as the mother of an adopted daughter, she was incredibly moved.
It's not clear what writer Tim Padgett is hoping to accomplish by the article, although it's possibly meant to put pressure on Jamaica and drive down tourism. Recently the BBC did a report claiming Iraqi homosexuals were better under Saddam. Now Time has an article sounding the alarm about Jamaica with the title: "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?"
Perhaps Padgett hopes he can start a movement to boycott Jamaica as a tourist location. Starting a new drumbeat or a new consensus is the dream of all journalists. "How many drumbeats have you started in your career?" is the ultimate benchmark of journalistic accomplishment.
Here's a new one. To add to the media's laundry list of supposed failures in Iraq is a unique allegation by the BBC. Apparently Saddam Hussein had a soft spot for the gay rights movement, and now that Bush has invaded, homosexuals are being persecuted.
To many Hollywood left types, this must truly be the reason we shouldn't of entered Iraq.
"I don't want to be gay anymore. When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid. When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me."
That is the fear that haunts Hussein, and other gay men in Iraq.
They say that since the US-led invasion, gays are being killed because of their sexual orientation.
Here's a few more recent examples of impending "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira sounding liberal on ABC's "The View," courtesy of the MRC Cyber Alert archive:
June 9, 2005: Vieira insisted to Sean Hannity that Hillary’s no puppet of her husband, and whacks away at abstinence-only sex education: "Why does the federal government deny funding then in terms of [sex education] classes for kids if they don't preach anything other than abstinence?"
January 22, 2003: As "The View" crew ganged up on pro-life actress Jennifer O'Neill, Vieira argued: "But prior to abortion becoming legal that’s when things were really secret much more so than after it became legal, and very dangerous. So there is going to be abortion one way or the other."
As the Meredith Vieira incident shows us, network anchors and talk show hosts can display their biases off the air by where they go and speak...or march. At the tail end of "Hardball" Thursday night, MRC's Geoff Dickens found MSNBC host Chris Matthews promoted Rosie O'Donnell and her new HBO documentary on her gay-family cruises. But the real eye-opening part for media watchdogs was Matthews admitting he spoke at an event for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-left lobbying group, in Philadelphia. (Sure enough, here's a picture, with the Matthews mane in a frostier phase. And wow! See another media speaker, NPR "Fresh Air" hostess Terry Gross, whose show originates from Philly.) Matthews explained:
On the front of Monday’s Arts page stands Felicia Lee’s “Gay Moms And Dads Can Bring The Family,” based on Rosie O’Donnell’s new HBO special on “the first-ever cruise for gay families.”
The piece reads more as pro-gay mainstreaming than a news item, leading off with unusual criticism by a reporter of a question from another reporter.
“Rosie O'Donnell, the former talk show host, actress, lesbian mom and a candid blogger, can certainly duck, weave and bob her way through a conversation. But she was caught off-guard by a reporter at a press event for ‘All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise,’ a new documentary about the first-ever cruise for gay families. Did she intend to raise her children to be gay?, the reporter asked.
Both Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank and religion reporter Alan Cooperman covered the "War on Christians" conference Tuesday, but neither touched on one trend in Canada that American evangelicals are warning against: "hate crime" laws that make speech condemning homosexuality illegal. In 2004, the Canadian parliament passed such a law, as U.S. News columnist John Leo explained:
"Canada is a pleasantly authoritarian country," Alan Borovoy, general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said a few years ago. An example of what he means is Bill C-250, a repressive, anti-free-speech measure that is on the brink of becoming law in Canada. It would add "sexual orientation" to the Canadian hate propaganda law, thus making public criticism of homosexuality a crime. It is sometimes called the "Bible as Hate Literature" bill, or simply "the chill bill." It could ban publicly expressed opposition to gay marriage or any other political goal of gay groups. The bill has a loophole for religious opposition to homosexuality, but few scholars think it will offer protection, given the strength of the gay lobby and the trend toward censorship in Canada. Law Prof. David Bernstein, in his new book You Can't Say That! wrote that "it has apparently become illegal in Canada to advocate traditional Christian opposition to homosexual sex." Or traditional Jewish or Muslim opposition, too.
Joel Stein is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times – officially a "humor" columnist, but that’s a matter of debate. A few months ago, he drew attention for baldly stating he did not support the troops in the Iraq war, and that "an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying."
Last week, he decided to mock the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.6 million fine of individual CBS stations for airing a teenager-orgy scene on the Thursday night drama "Without A Trace." But a funny thing happened on the way to the Janet Jackson jokes. He asked CBS for a DVD of the episode: "And, to my shock, I was honestly disgusted."
Washington Post reporter Thomas B. Edsall hits the front page today with a story headlined "Grants Flow to Bush Allies On Social Issues." Edsall reports that a bevy of tiny crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence groups have seen their budgets double and triple through federal grants from groups established as part of President Bush's faith-based initiatives.
Edsall briefly refers to the left in his opening: "For years, conservatives have complained about what they saw as the liberal tilt of federal grant money." What they saw as liberal? And yet, Edsall can't use the C-word enough in this story, about 13 times. It was especially overdone in this late passage:
Hard as it may be to believe, polygamy is now a "civil rights" issue. That is, if you believe the Today show and HBO’s "Big Love." Just last week, NBC featured a sympathetic look at a man who wants women to have the right to go topless in public. Today has now focused on multiple spouses. The March 19 segment, airing at 8:33AM EST, profiled a man who is married with two wives. After being told that three adults (NBC hid their identity) sleep in the same bed, NBC's Lester Holt blurted out, "See, automatically my mind goes to, then, to sexual fantasies." The co-host later noted that with "the growing political acceptance of same sex unions, polygamy activists are emerging." He hopefully noted that some are "calling it the next civil rights battle and the battle lines are being drawn."
Holt began by promoting the new HBO polygamy themed series, "Big Love." He mentioned that the show has "raised the profile and fascination with these extended marriages." The non judgmental attitude continued as a polygamist, who is identified as "Jacob," (not his real name) was given free range to promote his lifestyle:
Nudity. Perhaps that's NBC's strategy for maintaining high ratings if Katie Couric departs the network. The March 17 edition of Today featured a segment on a artist who seeks to "challenge the taboo issue of women’s bodies." The vehicle for such change? Why, topless women, of course. NBC was only too happy to oblige. The story, airing at 7:49AM EST, featured no less then 22 screen shots of pixilated nudity, including a seven second clip of a woman skating topless. Additionally, the photographer, Jordan Matter, is a well known liberal who stated on his website that the goal of his art project is:
Matter: "Challenging this inequity between the sexes is the purpose of my work. There has been a recent shift in America towards a socially conservative philosophy, so right after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed at the Super Bowl, I started asking women to appear topless in New York City."
In the liberal British paper The Guardian, reprinted in The Sydney Morning Herald, Annie Proulx, the author of the short story that inspired "Brokeback Mountain," has lashed out at Hollywood and the Academy Awards.
She complains that Hollywood, ironically, is not liberal enough, which explains why they still hate "gays and fags."
On the sidewalk stood hordes of the righteous, some leaning forward like wind-bent grasses, the better to deliver their imprecations against gays and fags to the open windows of the limos - the windows open by order of the security people - creeping towards the Kodak Theatre for the 78th Academy Awards. Others held up sturdy, professionally crafted signs expressing the same hatred....
The people connected with Brokeback Mountain, including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy Awards, it would get best picture, as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture.... And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash - excuse me - Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver....
It's not exactly news to the GOP base that John McCain is not one of them. But it was perhaps noteworthy to hear Chris Matthews, ostensibly a McCain man [at least when it comes to his preference among Republican presidential hopefuls], acknowledge that fact on this evening's Hardball. He might also have raised eyebrows on the other side of the aisle by ripping Democrats for their weakness on illegal immigration.
Speaking of the issues that were stressed at this past weekend's Republican coffee klatsch in Memphis, Matthews stated "all I heard was . . . no gay marriage, immigration - lock it up, stop illegals - keep cutting taxes and keep appointing conservative justices."
It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows "60 Minutes" on a regular basis that the reporters have a problem with presenting facts, or at least truth in disclosure concerning the “experts” they bring on to give us the facts.
Normally, the news that a film about racism won the Oscar for best picture is pretty much a dog-bites-man type of story. Old hat. Done before. What usually happens.
Not this year, though. The upset victory of "Crash" in the Academy Awards race has proven to be just that, but more for supporters of "Brokeback Mountain" than for anything else. Apparently, hell also hath no fury like a slightly-above-average gay movie scorned.
The backlash against "Crash" has been such that even avowedly liberal film critic Roger Ebert has stepped up to defend the film he had been pulling for to win the Oscar. After listing some of the more ridiculous criticisms from "Brokeback" supporters (see here, here, and here for more), Ebert notes how Academy of Motion Picture critics blithely ignore "Capote," which chronicled gay journalist Truman Capote's attempts to write the story of a murder of a rural family:
Most of you have probably never heard of Bill Robinson. Heck, I’ve never heard of Bill Robinson. I've heard of “Will” Robinson, but now I'm dating myself.
Anyway, Bill Robinson is a movie producer and screenwriter of some note whose blog at HuffPo on Monday must have raised a few eyebrows, and caused many hung-over Oscar revelers to spit up their first cup of coffee. In his piece entitled “Sore Loser Mountain,” Robinson took on his fellow Hollywoodians’ collective concern that “Brokeback Mountain” was robbed of Best Picture honors at Sunday’s Academy Awards due to “the secret homophobia of Academy voters.” Robinson didn’t see it that way:
“Sorry, but I don't agree with the sore losers. Yes, homophobia exists all over the place, including among Academy voters, but the ‘Crash’ victory probably had more to do with the thousands of DVD's sent to voters, and the six-figure Oscar spending spree on its behalf. ‘Brokeback’ had garnered endless awards, and is the highest grossing best picture nominee. Is it really the victim of an anti-gay conspiracy?”
Hmmm. Clearly, Robinson was on thin ice here, for most of the posters and readers at HuffPo – especially the proprietor! – hate it when facts are brought into the discussion. Fortunately, Robinson wasn’t done. Next, he challenged the premise that “Brokeback” was an extraordinary movie deserving of Best Picture status:
On March 5, the morning of the Oscars, the Today show indicated that mainstream Hollywood might be too conservative. Yes, you read that correctly. NBC correspondent Jennifer London, in a segment airing at 8:51AM EST, discussed the gay themes of Capote, Brokeback Mountain and Transamerica. She then made the following comment:
London: "The message this year? It's good to be gay in Hollywood. Or is it?"
The piece pointed out that despite the nominations of heterosexual actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger for their roles as homosexuals, many gay actors don’t come out. Ms. London also asserted that the public endorses these films, it’s the studios who are squeamish:
How does the Washington Post tackle the thorny problem of liberal Hollywood being so far out of the cultural and political mainstream? This is a touchy issue for WashPost liberals, since they are living in the same ideological neighborhood and know all the landmarks. One funny way was to avoid the L-word altogether. The front-page headline on the Sunday paper was "And This Year's Oscar Goes to Social Issues." And, then, almost automatically, came the snide sub-headline suggesting the rest of the country just isn't as wonderfully humane: "Hollywood Is Pushing Hot-Button Topics, but Does America Care?"
Here in Washington, the affiliate that carried the Oscars was ABC channel WJLA. Immediately after the show, Anchor Leon Harris spoke with reporter Kyle Osborn about the only "officially sanctioned Oscar party" held in Washington, where 400 political fat cats raised money for charity as they cheered their favorite Hollywood liberals.
Said Kyle Osborn, who attended the event:
"The crowd cheered on Jon Stewart, his monologue went over well. George Clooney, they loved him, and especially loved his, I'd say, politically minded acceptance speech."
George Clooney defended Hollywood's status of being out of touch with the rest of America, saying Hollywood has always led the way on such issues as civil rights while the rest of America dragged its feet.
You never know what wacky line you're going to find leafing through the back pages of Time magazine, and in placing their bets in this week's elapsing issue, Time film critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel predict "Brokeback Mountain" will win the Best Picture Oscar. When they try to guess a reason why it might confound the betting line and not win, they suggest: "The Academy remains a somewhat conservative body, and although this is a handsome and superbly acted film, it may not yet wish to endorse that 'gay cowboy' movie."
That avoids the question: if the Academy is so moderately conservative, then what explains the rash of nominations for "Brokeback," and "Capote," and "TransAmerica"? In fact, they contradict themselves a bit in their note on Felicity Huffman's Best Actress nod for playing a guy who wants to be girl: "Terrific performance in a picture that has not found an audience.Its transgressiveness doesn't even set it apart in the year of Brokeback Mountain and Capote." If the Oscars are a field of "transgressive" films, how can the Academy nominating them be even remotely conservative?
What's with the naked woman on the cover of Newsweek, shrouded only by an eyeglass? The provocative cover is meant to advertise an issue on "Sex and the Single Baby Boomer," the demographic that started turning 60 this year -- what reader in their prime really wants to read about this subject? Once again, baby-boomer journalists display an obsession with themselves.
The hot item on the Newsweek website right now is a "Carnal Knowledge" quiz, a 45-question interactive test. The headline encouraging test-takers is "Boinking, boffing, bumping, bedding—boomers always thought they invented it all. So here’s a pop quiz on the half century of sexual high jinks they lived through. Show us how much you know—in the Biblical sense." Unsurprisingly, there are no Bible questions, and there are a lot of questions on gays, transsexuals, feminists, porn, hippie be-ins and 1970s TV. And a question noting the Moral Majority was not "pro-environment."
MediaBistro's FishBowl DC bloggers, Garrett Graff and Patrick Gavin, posted an internal Washington Post report on racial diversity at the newspaper. The January 26 cover letter to newsroom staff from top editors -- Executive Editor Len Downie, Managing Editor Phil Bennett, and Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman -- boasted of increased diversity in hiring: "Through determined recruiting, we have increased the number of minority journalists working in our newsroom to an all-time high of 152, which is 23.5 percent of our professional staff. The two percent increase from 21.4 percent at the end of 2004 is the largest ever."
But the real dirt in the 30-plus page report is the testimony of anonymous Post reporters. This one sticks out for me, on page 5: "One person noted an anti-religion bias in the newsroom. When referring to the faithful, 'the word of choice around here is "kooks".'This same person felt offended during the recent coverage of the Pope’s death, when some of her colleagues, she said, were mocking the Pope. 'I was [too] intimidated to complain, even since my editor was part of it, so I got up and left. Faith is derided.'" Other reporters complained:
At the conclusion of his interview with Senator George Allen, Hardball host Chris Matthews issued a preview for the upcoming segment after a commercial break. The next segment would cover the meaning of the alleged photographs of President Bush pictured with Jack Abramoff. Matthews said that President Bush is "horny for those pictures".
MATTHEWS: Up next, will we ever see those pictures of Jack Abramoff and The President. We're all looking for them, the President is horny for those pictures, you're watching Hardball on MSNBC.
President Bush went to Kansas yesterday to discuss a number of important issues facing the nation including the war in Iraq, and terrorist surveillance. Yet, what seems to have most captured the attention of America’s media is a question asked of the president by a reporter in attendance yesterday concerning whether or not he has seen the controversial film “Brokeback Mountain.” In fact, the media found this such an important issue that all three broadcast networks addressed it during their morning news programs today.
The “Today Show’s” Matt Lauer ended his segment with guest Bill O’Reilly this morning by playing a video clip of the exchange between President Bush and this reporter at Kansas State University, after which he asked O’Reilly: “So, O'Reilly, have you seen it? Should it be given the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year?”
There's only a traffic-warning mention of the "March for Life" in my Metro section of the Washington Post today, but they're not free of protest news. On page B-2, reporter Stephanie McCrummen files a press release (or do they call this an objective "news" presentation?) on a Unitarian "protest" event for so-called "gay marriage." The headline is "Church Ceremony Celebrates Gay Pairs: Straight Couples Join in Vows of Commitment at Protest Event in Arlington." Nowhere in the story is there a single conservative voice to represent what the "protest" is against at the UU church in Arlington, not even a cursory explanation of the conservative view, described as "mean-spirited" by the story's subjects.
There is also no liberal or radical label for anyone in the story, although the C-word does emerge as McCrummen explains "To a large extent, the ceremony in the rectangular, concrete-and-glass church was also about demonstrating a religious ethic that is counter to the more conservative one preached from many pulpits."
One conservative critique of Unitarians is that they don't have a "religious ethic" as much as an ideological ethic. They seem more organized for liberal activism than for worshiping God. Mysteriously, the Post story even downplays the political lobbying going on after this ceremony. The church's events page reports that in between Buddhist meditations, on Wednesday, they'll join the gay-left lobby group "Equality Virginia" in going to Richmond for "Lobby Day."
It’s become a cliche to note that the Golden Globe Awards voter pool is an extremely small clique for such a big-buzz awards show. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) boasts “about 90" members, many of them Europeans. But their influence over the Oscars, and then the culture, is enormous. And what they are asking us to celebrate, with increasing regularity, are standards that echo the decadent culture of Old Europe, in love with illicit sex, drugs, dysfunctionality – and even anti-Western political weirdness.
In addition to George Clooney’s supporting actor award for his conspiracy-theorizing, anti-war-for-oil flick “Syriana,” the Best Foreign Movie award went to “Paradise Now,” a lyrical German-funded film about “heroic,” yet conflicted....Palestinian terrorists blowing up buses. The HFPA even officially claimed the film was from “Palestine,” as if Israel had already been wiped off the map.