A friend pointed out to me Julia Duin's report in Thursday's Washington Times on the Saturday consecration of Episcopalian presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at Washington's grand National Cathedral, and wonders how Katie Couric and the others who disdain orthodox religion will greet her formal acceptance. Duin brings a more traditional understanding of religion in her article:
Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer who still pilots her own plane, will be consecrated the world's first female presiding bishop Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral. Since her election June 18 at the Episcopal General Convention in Ohio, an unprecedented seven Episcopal dioceses have declared that they will not accept her leadership because she allowed same-sex blessings during her 2001-06 tenure as bishop of Nevada. Her 2003 vote in favor of V. Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop, and her statement that "our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation" in a sermon three days after her election, elicited protest as well. But that expression "was thoroughly orthodox," she said in an interview Tuesday. "I was surprised at the reaction. I was simply using an image that seemed most appropriate to the text."
Karmic balance? The Dow Jones hits a new high. The 'Dowd' Jones hits a new low. In her pay-to-read column this morning, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times analogizes the relationship of Vice-President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to that of preacher Ted Haggard and a male prostitute.
Setting the titillating tone with her headline, "A Wartime Love Story", Dowd writes:
At the heart of every administration, there is one relationship above all others that shapes history . . . W. is the hood ornament, but Cheney & Rummy are the chitty chitty bang bang engine of this administration.
It’s a beautiful love story, really, even more touching than Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher and Bush White House adviser, asking a male prostitute for crystal meth, or Borat putting a bag over the head of a squealing Pamela Anderson and carrying her off.
On CBS’s Early Show Friday morning, political correspondent Gloria Borger declared the usual disdain for political ads: "They started out innocently enough, but political ads this season quickly turned brutal. And in some cases, downright nasty." The only clip shown to illustrate: the "Call me, Harold" GOP ad in Tennessee. But "call me" jokes are nothing compared to what the three network morning shows did with the brutal and nasty news stories the networks aired on Rev. Ted Haggard this morning, rushing to air with allegations from a gay male prostitute and drug dealer that the Reverend paid him for sex and methamphetamines.
Whatever happened to the networks trying to develop a story and answer investigative questions for themselves before running allegations? It’s four days before the election, and apparently there are conservative Christian voters to demoralize. When female accusers suggested that President Clinton was guilty of sexual harassment or rape – certainly a case of hypocrisy by liberal feminist strictures – the networks and national print media waited, and waited, and waited...
As reported here, in a story airing on 'Today' of October 28th, NBC reporter Richard Engel delved into the most private concerns of US soldiers serving in Iraq. Engel queried one solider about his fears of dying in combat, or as he put it:
"You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?"
Engel also drew soldiers out on their concerns as to the faithfulness of their loved ones back home, inviting them to discuss "the Jody," described by one soldier as "the guy who is back home with your wife or your girlfriend." Added Engel: "They worry and tell stories about soldiers going home to empty houses."
-- One liberal message in the week before elections has been questioning the reliability of election devices, softening up the public for widespread litigation if Democrats are losing in any close races. On Thursday night, HBO will air a documentary entitled "Hacking Democracy." It's being widely advertised on liberal blogs with a poor-President-Gore spin: "In the 2000 Presidential election, a vote-counting computer recorded negative votes for Al Gore in Volusia County, FL. If our votes aren't safe, then our democracy isn't safe, either."
-- MediaBistro's GalleyCat blog on the book biz suggests Sen. Barack Obama isn't such an idealistic Goody Two Shoes, at least when it comes to striking Hillary-like book deals with the big advance up front to avoid Senate ethics rules:
As Tim Graham reported here earlier this week, NBC reporter Richard Engel, who spends much of his time in Iraq, has declared: "I think war should be illegal...I'm basically a pacifist."
This morning's 'Today' ran a feature Engel had put together focusing on depression among American troops serving in Iraq. Engel spoke with men of the 1st Platoon, 562nd Engineer Company. At one point, Engel asked the soldier pictured here:
"You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?'"
Replied the soldier, in words echoing those of comrades over the generations: "Yeah, but you try to keep that in the back of your head. You just focus on today and what you've got to do to get it right and bring everybody back home alive."
One of the maddening things about the Mark Foley scandal is how the media can take one congressman’s creepy Internet messages about masturbating, declare it an issue in 468 congressional races, demand the head of the Speaker of the House, and then decry other people for ruining democracy with desperate negative ads that besmirch honest public servants. It’s exactly how Michael Grunwald’s Washington Post story on Friday began, with the Republican opponent to Rep. Ron Kind (who represents my dear old home town of Viroqua, Wisconsin) mocking his backing of federal sex studies. Grunwald and the Post predictably summarize, with typical spit and polish, the DNC talking points of the day, that it's the GOP that wins the prize for negativity:
All that was missing was the theme music from Deliverance. Not content to condemn George Allen for raising the issue of Jim Webb's racy writing, Chris Matthews decided on this evening's Hardball to slur the entire Commonwealth of Virginia south of the DC suburbs.
Interviewing senior Webb campaign advisor Steve Jarding [Chris did indicate that he had unsuccessfully tried to get an Allen representative on the show], Matthews had this to say:
"Not to take sides but they've had this material since the day Jim Webb announced, and they've chosen to use it now with the risk that it implies, because everybody in Northern Virginia, in this area of the country, reads books, they think."
Just as we figured, a liberal was behind the first published leaks of the Mark Foley emails. The New York Times, amazingly enough, broke this story.
But the headline writers at the Times couldn't bring themselves to inform readers of the politics of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group that is very liberal on issues not pertaining to sexuality, and the former employer of the still-anonymous individual who started the blog stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.
It's also worth noting that not a single Republican or conservative media figure is quoted in the story denouncing Democrats for their personal attacks or gutter politics, something the Times certainly would have done had a Democrat been the victim. (HT: several readers.)
CNN’s "American Morning" has deemed Rush Limbaugh’s criticisms of Michael J. Fox "a new low." Co-Anchor Miles O’Brien introduced a segment and alleged that now the midterm campaign is really getting dirty:
Miles O’Brien: "With so much at stake in the upcoming election, it's no surprise the political debate has turned nasty. But the exchange between the actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, and Rush Limbaugh seems to stand out. Could it be a new low? CNN's Tom Foreman with more."
The piece played a portion of Fox’s ad for Democrat Claire McCaskill, who the actor is supporting in the Missouri Senate race, but didn’t bother to challenge any of the dubious claims made in it.
Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?
Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."
New York Times editor/columnist Frank Rich, fresh off last week's Oprah Winfrey appearance plugging his anti-Bush book, goes wild in his Sunday (TimesSelect $ required) column, "The Gay Old Party Comes Out," doing a little cowardly outing by proxy regarding the alleged "list" of prominent gay Republicans. He doesn't actually wave the list, Joe McCarthy style, but helpfully hints how you can dig it up.
"And while you're cruising the Internet, a little creative Googling will yield a long list of who else is gay, openly and not, in the highest ranks of both the Bush administration and the Republican hierarchy....The split between the Republicans' outward homophobia and inner gayness isn’t just hypocrisy; it's pathology. Take the bizarre case of Karl Rove. Every one of his Bush campaigns has been marked by a dirty dealing of the gay card, dating back to the lesbian whispers that pursued Ann Richards when Mr. Bush ousted her as Texas governor in 1994. Yet we now learn from 'The Architect,' the recent book by the Texas journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater, that Mr. Rove’s own (and beloved) adoptive father, Louis Rove, was openly gay in the years before his death in 2004. This will be a future case study for psychiatric clinicians as well as historians."
Since the Mark Foley page story first broke, there have been many articles discussing the double standard in which Republican and Democrat sex scandals are handled by Congress and the media. No finer example of such hypocrisy has been demonstrated than by the Associated Press on Saturday, October 14, which had nothing but high praise for the now deceased former Rep. Gerry Studds while it continued to heap scorn on Foley.
For example, an article entitled “Studds, first openly gay person elected to Congress, dead at 69,” spoke glowingly of the former Congressman who, unlike Foley, actually had a sexual encounter with a seventeen-year-old male page in 1973. In fact, the AP suggested that this was an important moment in history for gay rights:
“Gerry often said it was the fight for gay and lesbian equality that was the last great civil rights chapter in modern American history. He did not live to see its final sentences written, but all of us will forever be indebted to him for leading the way with compassion and wisdom,” said his husband, Dean T. Hara, 49, in a statement.
The article included some glowing praise from a current member of Congress:
The show bills itself as 'Hardball.' But in surrounding himself with regulars who are either certified liberals or renegade Republicans, doesn't Chris Matthews prove himself to be a softy, unwilling or unable to take the high heat from true-blue Republican flamethrowers?
Let me say something that might surprise some NewsBusters readers and dismay others. I like Matthews. Not that conservatives are the arbiters of patriotism, but I do consider Chris someone who loves his country and, as misguided as he may be on various policy issues - has its best interests at heart. He's no Keith Olbermann.
That said, although he professes not to be a partisan and will speak to Democrats about "your" - not "our" - party, there can be little doubt that his rooting interest hasn't changed much since the days he was a top aide to Tip.
TVNewser notes "Dan Rather Reports will still be coming soon to Mark Cuban's HDNet. Just not as soon," Ed Bark reports. The program was to launch in October. But in an e-mail, Cuban now says: "We are moving Dan back to after the elections so there won't be as much going on." Perhaps it's because the last weeks of an election season, he looks a little like Captain Ahab, "reckless, arrogant, and ideologically blind in his pursuit of Moby Bush."
At the CBS Public Eye site, Vaughn Ververs reported that a CBS employee (a tape archivist they claim somehow doesn't count as a news gatherer, just a tape gatherer) sent a nasty Foley-related note to the RNC:
In Foley Case Upsets Tough Balance by Capitol Hill’s Gay Republicans, the New York Times describes the plight of gay Republican staffers in DC. According to the Times, things are so tough for them that a group gets together every week to "commiserate." The longish article makes an interesting read, but I was particularly struck by these two items. First, the article's author, Mark Leibovich, writes:
"Even though the G.O.P. fashions itself as 'the party of Lincoln' and a promoter of tolerance, it is perceived as hostile by many gay men and lesbians."
Do you favor tax cuts? If so, you're no better than a congressman wanting to slip the pants off a page. Worse, for that matter. That's the reasoning of Rosa Brooks, L.A. Times columnist. In Grand Old Party of Child Endangerment, Brooks argues that:
"Foley's acts may have damaged the handful of boys unfortunate enough to have attracted his attention, but the damage to children caused by his abuse of power is still far, far less than the damage to American children caused by this Congress' disastrous mismanagement of the American economy."
By "mismanagement," Brooks makes clear she largely means tax cuts:
"Though only the Foley scandal has generated substantial media coverage, the Republican-led Congress has a long record of child endangerment. Recall that from 2000 to 2005, Congress handed out tax breaks for the rich like hors d'oeuvres at a Republican fundraiser. They slashed the estate tax and the capital gains tax, selling these cuts with an advertising campaign that misled ordinary people into thinking the cuts were going to help working Americans, instead of just the rich."
David Brooks' New York Times column of this morning on the Foley matter, "A Tear in Our Fabric," is so important that I'd normally be inclined to simply reproduce it in its entirety and let it speak for itself. But as a subscription-required item, I cannot. I do offer an extended-but-redacted excerpt for our readers' consideration:
This is a tale of two predators. The first is a congressman who befriended teenage pages. He sent them cajoling instant messages asking them to describe their sexual habits, so he could get his jollies.
The second is a secretary, who invited a 13-year-old girl from her neighborhood into her car and kissed her. Then she invited the girl up to her apartment, gave her some vodka, took off her underwear and gave her a satin teddy to wear.
When you think about it, Mark Foley's mess isn't really his fault. The blame is rightly laid at the feet of those repressive Republicans - and the Catholic Church. That in a nutshell is the thesis of a column in today's Boston Globe, The gay problem in the GOP by David Link, described as a writer and attorney in Sacramento and member of the Independent Gay Forum.
On the one hand, Link doesn't hesitate to second the view of Foley's communications with the pages as "sick" and "disgusting." Link even alludes to Foley as a "degenerate." But nowhere does Link seek to hold Foley responsible for his own action. To the contrary, here is Link's seminal conclusion:
"But what can one expect from denying grown men -- and women -- a normal, adult sex life?"
Better prepare yourselves for an alternate reality, folks, because the shocks came early and often in this piece (emphasis mine throughout): “Sex scandals involving politicians are as old as Thomas Jefferson, but the outcome seems to depend on which party you represent. In recent years, for the most part, Democrats have been able to survive their sordid escapades while Republicans have paid with their political lives.”
Can’t be the Washington Post, right? Checking that link about now? The article miraculously continued after briefly discussing the current scandal involving Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida):
When it comes to the Foley scandal, the MSM is definitely keeping its eyes on the prize: the Democratic takeover of Congress. In this NB item, I described how the New York Times editorialized this morning that it doesn't care what else flows from the scandal. So long as the Dems re-take power, the Foley flameout "will have done its job."
Over at 'Today' this morning, Matt Lauer fretted that the fallout might not come fast enough to swing the election to the Dems. Interviewing Tim Russert, Lauer said "the most cynical scenario, the worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they kept this under wraps because Foley's seat was important to holding control of the House at a time when the entire control issue is up for grabs in the mid-term elections." Matt didn't bother painting a more innocent scenario.
Give the New York Times an 'A' for honesty. In this morning's editorial, the Gray Lady openly admits the only thing it cares about resulting from the Foley scandal is the takeover of congressional power by the Democrats.
Oh, to be sure, the Times huffs and puffs about the Republican majority reaching the "point of decayed purpose so thoroughly, so fast." It also makes this startling claim: "a long, depressing pattern: When there is a choice between the right thing to do and the easiest route to perpetuation of power, top Republicans always pick wrong."
But when it gets to the editorial's bottom line, the Times makes no bones as to what this is all about for them:
No, this isn't a joke. Of all the possible photos available of Joe Negron, the Florida state representative who has replaced Mark Foley as the GOP congressional candidate in the 16th CD, the top one here is the one the Associated Press chose to accompany its article: FL GOP picks Foley replacement.
Congressmen come and congressmen go. But the Associated Press's liberal bias goes on forever.
UPDATE: Reuters has pulled a similar stunt. Here's the photo it chose to accompany its article on Negron's nomination.
Hat tips to Free Republic members Behind Liberal Lines re AP and bitt re Reuters.
Note: The AP can of course always change the photo accompanying an online article. It's always possible that by the time an NB reader clicks on the link provided above to the AP article, a responsible editor will have done so, perhaps even embarrassed by this NB item exposing AP's bias. But the photo displayed here was the one accompanying the AP article as originally posted. I saved it to our NB server.
Day One: Suspicious-but-not-explict emails. Day Two: Explicit instant messages, but no evidence Foley met with boys. Day Four: Instant message indicating Foley was indeed seeking to meet and possibly had already met with a boy.
Foley deserves what he's gotten and what is likely to come. But it seems increasingly plausible that the timed release of information - of ever-escalating seriousness - is part of a calculated campaign to keep the story in the news and inflict maximum political damage on the GOP.
That would seem the logical inference in light of the latest information promulgated this afternoon by ABC News. An article written by Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer, E-mails Show Foley Sought to Rendezvous with Page, contains the text of an instant message session in which Foley expressly tells a boy "I want to see you." Foley also mentions "I miss you a lot since San Diego," suggesting that perhaps they had already met.
To their credit, The Washington Post took up the issue of sex-themed T-shirts at local high schools on the front page Tuesday. It makes you wonder who the most worrisome tastemakers are, the T-shirt makers, or some children's parents:
Allison Wynn, 17, a senior at Osbourn Park High School in Prince William County...said she is fond of wearing a shirt that says, "Don't Call Me a Cowgirl Until You See Me Ride." Joanne Wynn said her daughter's shirts are humorous. "If it's not in good taste, I don't let [her] wear it," she said.
Mrs. Graham e-mailed me about how the local Top 40 station made this mildly conservative story its main topic of conversation. They had people calling in talking about their own T-shirts. They mentioned that you can buy baby "onesies" with sayings on them too.
Let's play one of our favorite games: WIACHSI, which of course stands for "What If a Conservative Had Said It?"
Ready? OK, let's play. What if a conservative attacked a female liberal icon by calling her promiscuous? How many Dem pols, NOW leaders, assorted Naomi Wolfs of the world . . . and Air America hosts would be popping up all over the MSM to proclaim their outrage?
And yet, on today's edition of Tucker Carlson, Air America host and class-action trial lawyer [nice two-fer!] Mike Papantonio leveled the loose-woman charge at none other than Ann Coulter.
The subject was a new book, "I Hate Ann Coulter", written by four authors who have chosen to remain anonymous out of their supposed fear of "gun-toting abortion-clinic bombing, self-proclaimed wing nuts who follow Coulter."
Summer's over, but it's still way too warm for hell to freeze over. And yet . . .
The usually reliably liberal Neal Gabler has lambasted Jim McGreevey for his more-than-we-needed-to-know confessions about his homosexuality. Even more shockingly, Gabler singled out Sean Hannity for praise for conducting the toughest interview of the Oprahfied former governor.
On last evening's Fox News Watch, there was unanimity from right to left that McGreevey's book, 'The Confession', and his media blitz to promote it, was an unseemly undertaking in which his family paid the price while he basked in the limelight - and cashed large checks for advances and royalties.
Gabler's fellow liberal Jane Hall was not in a forgiving mood. She let it be known that had she been in Oprah's audience, she would not have been applauding. She noted the pain McGreevey had caused his wife and the "corrupt way" in which he put his alleged lover in office. When Hall spoke disparagingly of McGreevey's "coming of age," Gabler chimed in sarcastically about McGreevey's supposed "courage."
Interviewed by 'Today' host Matt Lauer this morning, former NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey blamed the "immoral and ugly" way he acted out on his homosexuality on the fact that his parents were straight and thus couldn't serve as role models for him.
Lauer: "Not only as governor but as a state employee, you were living a very risky life-style. Anonymous sex with random men at places like highway rest stops. You write 'I was promiscuous and sexually active in ways I consider immoral and ugly, and I justified this by telling myself I had no other choice and that my sexual urges were irrepressible.'
Asked a sympathetic Lauer: "How hard was it to try to control them?"
That's when McGreevey got off his blame-the-straight-parents defense:
This one is too delicious for words…but I’ll try. The Star Ledger reported on Wednesday that a person dressed up as Cher, and scheduled to sing and dance at a Democrat Party convention in Atlantic City, created quite a stir. Why might that be? Well, do you remember the film “The Crying Game?”
She wore a slinky black dress with silver sparkles, just like Cher.
She had curly black hair, too. And canned music so she could sing along with Cher's greatest hits.
But this was not your traditional impersonator. Because underneath it all, this lady was a man.
Hypocritically, the party that strongly supports gay rights and same-sex marriage didn’t find this amusing: