Here's a celebrity fundraiser that didn't make headlines. Actress Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role as the red-headed Miranda on the smutty HBO series Sex and the City, made an odd fundraising pitch timed for Mother's Day. It was an e-mail for Abortion Incorporated: the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She boldly claimed that motherhood and Planned Parenthood were an obvious match:
I am Cynthia Nixon. I am an actor, an activist, a mom, a daughter. But today, I am writing to you about motherhood, on behalf of Planned Parenthood and the many people they serve.
The truth is, in my book, there is no organization that supports motherhood more than Planned Parenthood..That's why I'm honoring the moms I know with a gift to Planned Parenthood today.
It's not easy to be a mother these days. Believe me, I know I'm lucky — I've had help and support — including the amazing, strong woman who blazed her own path to raise me as an independent, bold woman.
Same-sex marriage remains illegal in most U.S. states, including the state of California where comedian and actress Wanda Sykes was "married" last October prior to the successful passage of Proposition 8. What's more, the issue is highly contentious in the District of Columbia where many religious African-American Democratic voters are upset with the city council for approving a bill to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
Yet the Washington Post seems confident that its readers will take no offense to the paper's granting the label of "wife" to the Limbaugh death-wishing comic's lover.
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg highlighted the controversial decision by Notre Dame to invite the pro-choice President Obama to speak and be awarded an honorary degree. Henneberg filled in viewers on recent remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Vatican Supreme Court as the Catholic Church official voiced disapproval of Obama’s planned appearance. Henneberg: "He does not think Notre Dame, a Catholic university, should have invited President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17. And he does not think the university should present the pro-choice President with an honorary degree."
Once upon a time, there was Dylan Ratigan, host of CNBC's "Fast Money," and co-host of that network's "Closing Bell." He was never partisan and willing to criticize both political parties in Washington, D.C. Now he seems to think Bristol Palin has taken Karl Rove's job as the sinister mastermind of Republican politics.
"The thing that really stands out to me with this, because the hypocrisy is obvious - it's as obvious as a closeted gay senator voting against gay marriage," Ratigan said. "There's a prevalence in politics of this type of behavior, unfortunately. That's why the conversations like the one we're now having exist."
The line of liberal journalists waiting to give the GOP free advice on its future is longer than the queue for Jonas Brothers concert tickets and at least 100 times more petulant than the 'tweens lined up for same.
U.S. News & World Report contributing editor and PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe, for example, has been on a tear in recent weeks. Whether it's hyping Meghan McCain as a fresh voice for the GOP or praising Bristol Palin as more mature than her mother, Erbe has done little to hide her disdain for social conservatives in the Republican Party that can actually form their arguments without coming off like a vapid valley girl whining about, like, creepy old guys like Karl Rove.
Well, in an April 30 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post Erbe urged GOP chairman Michael Steele to abort the Republican Party's coalition with religious conservatives:
On ABC’s World News Saturday, and the same day’s CBS Evening News, correspondents suggested that conservative positions on social issues were responsible for the Republican party’s recent electoral misfortunes, as the two programs filed stories about an appearance in Arlington by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney as part of an effort to rebuild the party’s appeal. ABC cited a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll showing only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, while CBS cited a Pew Research poll finding the number had dropped from 30 percent in 2004 to 23 percent currently.
After a soundbite of Jeb Bush explaining that Republicans needed to spend more time "listening," "learning," and "upgrading our message," ABC’s Rachel Martin contended that "That means moving hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage to the side, and shifting the focus to health care, education and the economy."
And, ignoring the fact that a substantial number of moderate House Democrats have taken conservative positions on issues like guns and abortion to win in their own conservative leaning districts, CBS’s Kimberly Dozier more directly charged that conservative positions on such issues by Republicans had hurt the party: "The trio notably avoided controversial touch stones like gun rights or abortion, which are blamed for driving away moderates and independents." Notably, 65 House Democrats recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder stating their opposition to a new assault weapons ban.
As media member after media member used Arlen Specter's defection to the Democrat Party Tuesday as an example of how conservatism in America is either dying or dead, a new poll found this to be wishful thinking.
In fact, in two of the key issues that have been largely divided along party lines for decades, namely abortion and gun control, a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center showed the nation moving to the right on both.
Dear religious pro-life Catholics, get over yourselves. Signed, Amy Sullivan.
Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but the Time magazine staffer practically expressed those sentiments in two April 30 Swampland blog posts wherein she suggests that even the pope wouldn't mind hanging out with Obama on stage at Notre Dame when he accepts his honorary doctorate later this month.
[Ed Henry's press conference] question is a misstatement of Obama's campaign pledge to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." Of course, before Obama could sign the bill, Congress would have to first pass it. And he's never expressed the hope that Congress drop what it's doing and prioritize FOCA.
Less than an hour later, Sullivan sought to marginalize conservative Catholics who are disturbed by Notre Dame honoring the very pro-choice President Obama:
While reporting on the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter on Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Wyatt Andrews explained: "Souter quickly stunned conservatives in 1992, casting the crucial fifth vote to uphold Roe vs. Wade in the landmark abortion case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. Souter evolved into one of the court's more liberal justices."
Andrews went on declare that: "Obama specifically promised to appoint justices who are pro-abortion rights." A clip of Obama on the campaign trail was played: "That's why I am committed to appointing judges who understand how our laws operate in our daily lives, judges who will uphold the core values of our Constitution, that's why I won't back down when it comes to defending the freedom of women." Andrews concluded: "In the search for his replacement, the President will face significant pressure, not just to name a liberal justice, but also to appoint a woman justice."
CNN's White House Correspondent Ed Henry broke the laudatory ranks of the mainstream media and even with those from his own network during Wednesday night's primetime White House press conference when he questioned President Barack Obama about his pledge to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.
While most of the mainstream media yawned at news that former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon was refusing Notre Dame's Laetare award due to the university honoring pro-choice President Barack Obama, USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman sure hasn't.
The religion reporter/blogger found her own unique, passive-aggressive way to slam Glendon's stand on principle by suggesting she's a self-righteous hypocrite.
In her April 30 post, "Who's a good enough Catholic for Notre Dame's top honor?", Grossman delighted in excerpting a satirical open letter by Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin, who penned a blog post for America magazine making light of the university's pressing need to find a new person to honor with the coveted Laetare Award (emphasis mine):
As Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services on April 28, the media continued its biased coverage of her controversial appointment. News outlets ignored the reason GOP senators had delayed her confirmation - her pro-abortion extremism - and focused instead on the importance of having the Secretary in place to combat swine flu.
But the media failed to note that since the creation of The Department of Homeland Security epidemic-fighting efforts are no longer headed up by HHS. Homeland Security is supposed to work with the Center for Disease Control. The CDC is led by Acting Secretary Richard E. Besser since the Obama Administration has yet to nominate anyone for the top job, something the media, with exception of CNN's Ed Henry, haven't reported.
An interview with Former Secretary of HHS Donna Shalala on "Fox and Friends" April 29 asks if having no director at the department had an impact on the swine flu crisis. Shalala said, "If you remember we transferred the emergency powers for this kind of outbreak to the Department of Homeland Security when it was created. So that power is no longer in HHS. There is no question though that the CDC plays a lead role here and it's very important to get a CDC director as well as the Secretary sworn in."
On Sunday (4/26/09), the Los Angeles Times finally got around to looking into the issue of Planned Parenthood workers caught on hidden camera appearing to violate the law. Workers at numerous clinics around the country appear to be illegally advising girls they believe to be underage to conceal statutory rape.
Yet, rather than directing any real outrage at Planned Parenthood for concealing the despicable crimes of statutory rape and child abuse, the Times seemed more perturbed at the "conservative" personalities behind Rose and her efforts. From the article:
Imagine that former Vice President Dick Cheney was set to be honored next month at a Catholic university's commencement ceremony and news came down that another person to be honored at the same ceremony with a different award declined the honor, stating that she felt it inappropriate for the university to honor a man who believes in and furthered the use of torture by condoning waterboarding of enemy combatants.
The press, it's safe to say, would have a field day. But that's not the case with the news of Mary Ann Glendon -- a pro-life Catholic and Harvard professor who is displeased with Notre Dame honoring pro-choice President Barack Obama -- declining to accept the Laetare Award from Notre Dame University.
Yesterday evening NewsBusters Editor-at-Large Brent Baker noted that only NBC's "Nightly News" touched on the story, and that only briefly. This morning, not even NBC's "Today" show mentioned the development in the ongoing commencement speech controversy. Broadcast TV competitors "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show" ignored the story as well.
US News’s on-staff radical feminist Bonnie Erbe returned to attacking pro-lifers, her favorite subject of ire, in a blog entry on Monday. This time, she singled out “20-something abortion foe” Lila Rose, a junior at UCLA, for her “dishonest” and “pointless” undercover videos which she has taped at several Planned Parenthood locations. She seems to be most upset by how Rose has “created a public relations nightmare” for the abortion-mongering group, and called for the young woman’s prosecution for “trespassing, fraud, and whatever other law she violated” for impersonating a 13-year-old statutory rape victim. The blogger later told pro-lifers to just “go away,” since they will “will never succeed in banning abortion.”
Erbe began by excerpting Robin Abcarian’s fair profile of Rose in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, introducing her as a “20-something abortion foe who videotapes counseling sessions at Planned Parenthood clinics in which she poses as a 13-year-old impregnated by an older man.” The blogger saw two large “crimes” in this activity -- it has gained Rose quick notoriety in the “netherworld” of the pro-life movement, and it has given Planned Parenthood a few headaches:
News editors need to retake Journalism 101 or move to features when stories about the White House dog take precedence over a controversial veto by the President's unconfirmed appointment to Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill, House Substitute for SB 218, April 23 which would have placed additional restrictions on third trimester abortions and allowed more criminal charges over late-term procedures to occur.
With the exception of "Special Report with Bret Baier" that night and "Fox and Friends" the morning of April 24, the broadcast media avoided covering the controversial decision. But "Today," "The Early Show," and "Good Morning America" all had time to cover Michelle Obama talking about the first family's new dog Bo the morning of April 24.
So get this, Bonnie Erbe -- who recently wrote that abortion was a logical choice in a recession -- takes social conservatives to task for being cold-hearted bastards when it comes to the issue of abortion.
The PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News contributing editor offered readers a rare instance of praise for Sarah Palin, for admitting that for a brief moment she wrestled with the notion of aborting her youngest son Trig (emphases mine):
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin displayed one minute aspect of her personality that even I could take a shine to. Speaking last night to an anti-abortion rights dinner in Indiana, Gov. Palin said publicly that she considered having an abortion on that trip—not an easy admission, especially before such a judgmental group
New twist on the old media double standard: Strong pro-life women shouldn’t accept far-flung speaking engagements. They should stay home (presumably barefoot and pregnant, too.) Strong pro-choice women, however, are welcome to “champion women’s rights,” wherever and whenever they please.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently gave a speech at a pro-life dinner in Indiana on April 16 and the media condemned her for not staying home and governing her state. But when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently spoke to a Planned Parenthood group she was lauded as “championing women’s rights.”
ABC’s “Good Morning America” covered Palin’s speech and the “controversy” that ensued, stating that Alaska lawmakers, failing to mention they were mostly Democrats, are “criticizing Palin for her out of state travel.” Instead of focusing on Palin’s main pro-life points, GMA spent 50 seconds of the 64 second segment keyed in on her admission that she understands women who entertain the thought of abortion.
"President Obama's nominee for health secretary received nearly three times as much political money from a controversial abortion doctor as she had told senators," the Associated Press is reporting, noting that this marks "the second time in her confirmation process" that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kansas) "had to explain a financial oversight" to the Senate Finance Committee.
Sebelius is only the latest Obama Cabinet pick to face a rocky road to confirmation, and in part over tax trouble, yet when it came to reporting the story on the eve of tax deadline day, the Washington Post opted to quietly tuck the story into the Nation Digest feature on page A4.
In addition to the $12,450 Sebelius reported last week as having received "from 1994 to 2001 from George Tiller, one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers," records show that Tiller also donated "at least $23,000 more from 2000 to 2002 to a political action committee that Sebelius established while insurance commissioner to raise money for fellow Democrats."
Sebelius's need to correct "three years' worth of tax returns" and to pay "more than $7,000 in back taxes to fix improper deductions" was the first "oversight" the pro-choice Kansas governor had to correct.
On Wednesday’s No Bias, No Bull program, CNN anchor Roland Martin forgot the first part of his show’s title and featured three “progressive Christian” guests who all criticized the “religious right” and affirmed his view that you can “love God, go to church every Sunday, and not be a die-hard social conservative.” He did not host one religious conservative on his panel. The anchor even promised to check up on the three and “see if you guys are able to put this [progressive Christian] movement together, and we’ll follow it to the conclusion.”
Martin began the segment, which started 41 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, with his usual criticism of social conservatives: “I’m an evangelical, but I think the faith should focus on more than just abortion and whether marriage should just be between a man and a woman. As police brutality, poverty, funding inequality in our schools, the high infant mortality rate in our inner cities -- they’re all issues that I, as a Christian, care about, but they rarely top the religious right’s agenda.” He then asked as his general question to his guests, “So, is there a place for progressive evangelicals in this country?”
As you might expect, all three of his guests -- the Reverend Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland Church, Reverend Serene Jones, president of the Union Theological Seminary, and Frank Schaeffer -- all answered this question affirmatively, and each one had their criticism of religious conservatives. Martin first asked Schaeffer if he believed that “progressive Christians have been meek and silent, and frankly, being bullied by social conservatives into submission.” Schaeffer not only acknowledged that he believed this, but later went so far of blaming the “religious right” for the Iraq War and the bad economy. He even accused them of being “anti-American,” because in his view, “they hate pluralistic diverse America. What they want is a homogenous white America most of the time.”
The article begins by slamming those who oppose Obama's appearance at Notre Dame as "seem[ing] to believe they are more Catholic than the pope." It also besmirches the Cardinal Newman Society, a leading voice in opposition to Obama's appearance, as "a self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy."
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
Media outlets rightly treated the recent Montana plane crash that killed seven adults and seven children as such.
But correctly reporting the deaths of fourteen people as a tragedy doesn't mean the media necessarily did their job. If they feel compelled to note that victims were "ultrarich," they should also note the business that made them that way. Particularly if it's as controversial as abortion.
As pointed out by Tom Blumer in a March 24 Newsbusters post, Associated Press reporters were compelled to report on the victim's socioeconomic status. The AP's Matthew Brown wrote on March 23, "Three California families headed to a retreat for the ultrarich were among the 14 victims of a plane crash in Montana." Later that same day, the AP's Matt Gouras and Joan Lowy referred to the intended destination as "the ritzy Yellowstone Club resort."
More than 230,000 people have signed the online petition at NotreDameScandal.com calling on the South Bend, Ind., Catholic university to rescind its commencement invitation to NARAL Pro-Choice America-endorsed, Freedom of Choice Act-supporting President Barack Obama.
But that fact is left out of yesterday's "Faith & Reason" blog at USAToday.com.
Instead, religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman goes out of her way to skew the controversy in Obama's favor, quoting Catholic clerics Bishop Robert Lynch and retired San Francisco archbishop John A. Quinn, who are chagrined with what they consider the angry tone of the Notre Dame protest.
In her April 1 blog post, Bonnie Erbe, contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report and host of PBS' "To the Contrary," gave that advice to pregnant moms who are wondering how to raise a child on a strained budget.
It wasn't a tasteless April Fool's Day joke. She's serious.
Erbe keyed her argument around the situation of an unwed, pregnant mother of three who walked an hour to a medical center to abort her wanted pregnancy after her boyfriend lost his job. This mother was featured in a March 25 Associated Press article about the increased demand for contraception and abortions in these uncertain economic times. She called the mother's choice "a good decision."
In Erbe's world, it is "sad" the woman had to walk to the center because she didn't have the bus fare, "terrible that her boyfriend lost his job," and "heart-wrenching that she fell to tears in the doctor's office." As for the abortion itself, she wrote:
But in the long run, can we not agree that an unwed couple's decision not to bring a fourth child into the world when they are having trouble feeding themselves and three children is no tragedy? It's actually a fact-based, rational decision that in the end benefits the three children they already have and society as well.
On Monday evening, CNN’s Roland Martin began his eight-week run as fill-in anchor for Campbell Brown on her Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull program, who took maternity leave with the upcoming arrival of her unborn baby. As the show began, he gave an “opening statement” of sorts as to how he hoped to anchor the program: “I’m not going to bother with the silly notion of who’s a liberal or a conservative on this show. I voted for Obama and also for George H.W. Bush -- Republicans and Democrats. On some issues, I might be called a liberal -- on others, a conservative. I judge people based on the issues, and refuse to be pigeonholed and wedded to the ridiculous notion of ideology. Our goal on this show is very simple, that is to speak truth to power, no matter the party or the person.”
Given this track record, it’s no surprise that the anchor did his best to obscure the issues concerning President Barack Obama’s upcoming commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame. He moderated a panel discussion with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and Father Jim Martin of America magazine, a Catholic publication which regularly dissents from Church teaching. He teamed up with the liberal Catholic priest to incorrectly give the impression that the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty rises to the same level as its opposition to abortion.
Update (March 31, 18:42 EDT): This blog post was mentioned on the "Grapevine" segment on FNC's "Special Report with Bret Baier." Video added at 13:00 EDT on April 1, 2009.[audio available here]
A contributing editor of a major weekly news magazine pens a newspaper op-ed defending a controversial decision by a prominent Catholic university. Said editor's son is a marketing executive for said Catholic institution, but neither the editor nor the newspaper disclose the fact to readers.
If the popular FAIL blog dealt with journalistic missteps, this would surely make the cut.
It takes courage to be a Catholic educator. In America's culture wars, abortion is the trump card of every moral discussion. Or so the righteous right requires us to believe.
At Notre Dame, the most Catholic of Catholic universities, a national protest is building over the decision by the school's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, to invite President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17.
Marin then goes on to write that Obama's done much more than advancing abortion and embryonic stem cell research. For example, he's "trying to stop the economy from going over a cliff." She approvingly quotes a former Catholic university administrator saying the role of those institutions is to "espouse academic freedom where people are allowed to research, teach and hear many voices on campus . . ." And what would an article mentioning the Catholic Church be without at least one reference to pedophilia? Marin doesn't disappoint in that regard.
You'd think Marin, who prides herself on journalistic professionalism, would at least have started the column with the facts. Obama was not merely invited to give a commencement address. Notre Dame's own Web site acknowledges he will also be "the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was honored Saturday night in Houston by America’s leading provider of abortions, with an award named for a woman who believed the population of inferior races should be trimmed, and Texas newspapers kept their headlines bland. "Clinton honored for support of women’s rights," said the Dallas Morning News over an AP dispatch. "Clinton champions women’s rights worldwide," cooed the Houston Chronicle. AP’s Juan Lozano offered few highlights (or lowlights) of the speech, but it was a bit shocking to see Mrs. Clinton equate anti-abortion advocacy and anti-democratic politics:
HOUSTON — Helping women’s reproductive and health rights flourish is an important part of U.S. efforts to develop democracy around the world and defeat extremism, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a speech Friday.
"A society that denies and demeans women’s rights and roles is a society that is more likely to engage in behavior that is negative, anti-democratic and leads to violence and extremism," Clinton said at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national conference in Houston.