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.
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.
And if Rutten or anyone else is unclear as to what those "fundamental moral principles" include, the very same document states:
[T]he killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified.
Erbe began by expressing her glee at the opportunity to write about this: “The controversy over Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address is too tempting for me not to join, so here goes.” Not to nitpick Bonnie, but you got the name of the institution wrong. Notre Dame University is in Lebanon. The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana is the University of Notre Dame. The difference does matter.
Media outlets including CNN, Time magazine, and the Los Angeles Times are reporting that "over 1 million" women in Brazil illegally terminate their pregnancies every year. (Abortion is illegal there, except under rare circumstances.) However, this figure appears to originate from a group called Ipas, an organization dedicated to "advancing women's reproductive rights." It openly endorses legalized abortion.
And besides the dubious nature of the source, history tells us that this "1 million" number should be looked upon very suspiciously.
The April 2009 issue of Self magazine features a four page article about the difficult decision to “selectively reduce multiple embryos.” The problem is, the author left out the voice of those who would never choose that option.
Roxanne Patel Shepelavy wrote the health article titled, “When fertility treatments become frightening” about the risks of multiple births from implantation via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). She included the stories of two women who chose to “selectively reduce” (abort) a few of their embryos in order to protect their own health and the health of the babies they did want to keep. But Shepelavy didn’t include any interviews with women who chose to keep all of the implanted embryos.
To its credit, Self addressed the issue from a moral perspective in telling the story of Kristina. “But it wasn't that simple to Kristina,” Shepelavy wrote. “The daughter of devout Catholics, she had always been pro-life, determined, if she ever got pregnant, to see it through. ‘Abortion was never an option,’ she says. ‘If I accidentally got pregnant, that was it. I'd be the one who put myself in that position and I'd have to go through with it.’ Yet here she was, pregnant by choice and contemplating what, in her mind, amounted to the same thing: getting rid of her babies because they were a health risk and a life unimagined.”
Major media began shielding Barack Obama from criticism early in the presidential primaries. It's no surprise, then, when they continue to do so today. However, the media's collective, instinctive tone-deafness in regard to grassroots activities continues to stun and amaze.
NewsBusters has so far noted several grassroots efforts that have been ignored – despite similar left-leaning efforts getting fantastic coverage. For example, there was Noel Sheppard's initial entry on the Chicago Tea Parties, and the tiny amount of coverage they received. Then, there was Warner Todd Huston, noting the San Francisco Chronicle's preferential treatment of an anti-Wall Street protest. For the magnum opus, however, we turn to the entire mainstream media's blind eye – pointed squarely at the University of Notre Dame.
Here’s another dispatch where one-sided ideological labeling helps underline the liberal argument that they are merely for "science," while the conservatives are all about ideology. Associated Press reporter Larry Neumeister announced: "The Food and Drug Administration let politics cloud its judgment when it denied teenage girls over-the-counter access to the Plan B morning-after pill, a federal judge said Monday as he ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds obtain the medication."
Neumeister did not seem to consider that making high doses of contraceptive medicines available to high-school juniors is in part a social decision about child sexual activity without parental consent. The liberals in the case were not labeled. While the AP writer made room in his story for conservatives, they were labeled repeatedly:
– "The morning-after pill is a source of tension for social conservatives who held great sway in the Bush administration and who believe the pill is tantamount to abortion."
– "The FDA said it is reviewing the judge's decision. Women's groups said it's unlikely that the Obama administration would appeal. Social conservatives decried the ruling."
– "The conservative Family Research Council said the judge's decision bowed to ideological pressure from the left."
According to New York University instructor Jacob Appel, Kansas' notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller should be looked upon as "a genuine hero who ranks alongside Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. in the pantheon of defenders of human liberty." Good ... grief. Just when I thought I've read it all.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann hosted left-wing actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo to discuss FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg’s recent enumeration of the "five worst offenders" of what Bill O’Reilly called the "far-left smear machine,"and Garofalo took the opportunity to paint conservatives as angry racists who inspire violence from some of their non-intellectual followers. Garofalo: "The right wing has a way of always having an enemy, whether it be immigrants or Arabs or brown-skinned people, black-skinned people, homosexuals, women. They all, kind of, rally around an enemy, an other, that they can get mad at. And death does occur."
After accusing conservative activist Grover Norquist of "handing out talking points" to a "right-wing machine," and after mentioning former Vice President Cheney’s recent contention that President Obama’s policies would endanger the nation’s homeland security, Garofalo called the "personality type" that she claimed motivates some non-intellectual conservatives a "scourge" and an "unfortunate part of our society." Garofalo: "A lot of the people in the right-wing base are not the most intellectual people in the world, not the most savvy people in the world, and they are definitely quick to anger, and quick to blame other people. ... it's a very sad, sad thing, and it's part of the human nature of a personality type that tends to identify as Republican or conservative. And it's an unfortunate part of our society. It's a scourge on our society." Olbermann concurred: "It is, indeed."
Josh Brahm of Right to Life of Central California has done the definitive dissection of the comprehensive media failure in reporting on President Obama's recent Executive Order (EO) allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Brahm's "9 Things the Media Messed Up About the Obama Stem Cell Story" (HT to an e-mail from LifeNews.com) is an exceptional magnum opus that must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated. It identifies each of the nine errors, links to well over 40 specific instances of media bias and/or ignorance, and tell us why those errors are significant. I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable in this subject area until I read Brahm's work.
(CNS News has reported that the EO will apparently not going into effect until October 1 or later, because the supplemental appropriations bill he just signed [but apparently didn't read] "explicilty bans federal funding of any 'research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.'" That fact doesn't change the correctness of Brahm's "9 Things.")
Here are the nine items (absolutely no substitute for reading the whole thing), accompanied by brief quotes from Brahm's article:
A notorious abortion doctor that specializes in grisly late-term procedures is heading to trial at the same time a politician he contributed to and socialized with is awaiting confirmation as President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary. Interesting story? Not to the Associated Press.
AP writer Roxana Hegeman wrote on March 14 about the trial of Dr. George Tiller, which began on March 16. “Tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanors alleging he failed to obtain the required second opinion from an independent physician that a late-term abortion is necessary,” she wrote. “If convicted, the Wichita physician could face a year in the county jail or a fine of $2,500 for each charge.”
As a social liberal, Frank Rich is feeling his oats. The New York Times columnist has declared the culture wars (one-sided affairs waged only by conservatives) to be over. But in his March 14 New York Times column, he couldn’t resist a last gloating shot at the “ayatollahs” and “family-values dinosaurs” that have the temerity to suggest there’s a place for traditional morality in the American public square.
"Here, at last, is one piece of good news in our global economic meltdown," wrote Rich. "Americans have less and less patience for the intrusive and divisive moral scolds who thrived in the bubbles of the Clinton and Bush years. Culture wars are a luxury the country — the G.O.P. included — can no longer afford."
CNN’s Sanjay Gupta filled in as host on Larry King Live on Wednesday, six days after ending his bid to be Obama's surgeon general. Despite his medical training, he did not see fit to correct former President Bill Clinton after he repeatedly referred to human embryos as not being fertilized.
During his initial question, Gupta referred to Clinton as “someone who studied this,” but after he made his erroneous assertion the first time, Gupta only asked if the former president had “any reservations” to stem cell research that would destroy human embryos. Clinton would go on to make this false characterization five more times in his answer to Gupta’s lone follow-up.
Gupta's interview with the former president was devoted mainly to health care reform. The brain surgeon brought up the issue of embryonic stem cell research after he observed that Clinton’s finger sometimes shook when he pointed it. When Clinton clarified that he had consulted with a doctor, who told him in wasn’t Parkinson’s Disease, Gupta asked the former president about President Obama’s decision to remove the limitations on federal funding for the embryo-killing research: “There was a federal -- an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation, or are people going to come around?”