Today is World AIDS Day, on which we reflect on the global epidemic that has taken so many millions of lives and ponder ways in which we can improve world health by combating the terrible illness. In honoring the day, however, some news outlets have neglected to note the tremendous contributions to the AIDS effort undertaken by our last president.
MSNBC noted on its website a recent U.N. report that found that new cases of the syndrome are "stabilizing." "There are now 4 million people on lifesaving AIDS drugs worldwide, a 10-fold increase in five years," the article noted, adding that those drugs have saved roughly 3 million lives, according to the report (h/t NB reader Tom M.).
Yet MSNBC makes no mention of President Bush or his tremendous efforts to combat the global AIDS epidemic. It's not as if his contribution to the fight is ambiguous. U.S. News reports that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is credited for saving roughly 2 million lives.
If we’ve learned anything in recent months, it’s that if you’re a racist, a Marxist, a Maoist, a domestic terrorist or any other variety of anti-American nut, the safest place to be is in the company of Barack Obama. If you can stay off the radar of Fox News and don’t get caught on tape giving advice on running a brothel for fun and profit, you get to influence the most powerful executive in the world.
Case in point: Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar,” Kevin Jennings. While nobody’s yet found out exactly what he knows about safe schools, we do know he’s an expert at pushing a gay agenda in public grammar schools. We know he’s praised the founder of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. And thanks to “the pro-family action center for Massachusetts,” Mass Resistance, now we know he’s an art maven. (Warning: site contains many offensive images from the installation. The site’s blog has also been flagged by Google as objectionable – which, given Google’s political leanings, may be a badge of honor.)
The BBC is reporting on the findings of a Lancet Medical Journal report regarding high HIV rates among gay men in some African countries. The conclusions? Blame anti-gay attitudes.
HIV rates among gay men in some African countries are 10 times higher than among the general male population, says research in medical journal the Lancet.
The report said prejudice towards gay people was leading to isolation and harassment, which in turn led to risky sexual practices among gay communities.
I would never discount the fact that the stigma of being a gay male in sub-Saharan Africa would lead such men to be less willing to seek treatment. But that determination can hardly be the primary reason behind such high numbers in light of other contributing factors. Yet the BBC report leads with this conclusion despite other findings that would likely be the focus of such a report in a world where cause and effect didn't take a back seat to hope and change.
Not only does Pope Benedict XVI have crappy PR, he has absolutely no excuse for it, Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller informs readers in a May 14 piece written for the May 25 dead-tree edition. Yet while insisting that her advice is submitted "with respect," Miller failed to remove the log from her own eye by considering the role that she and other reporters play in trumping up alleged papal PR blunders by virtual of their biased, shoddy reporting (emphasis mine):
Benedict makes international news only when he does something thoughtless (like "reconciling" with a Holocaust-denying bish-op) or when he fumbles in public, as he did on the plane to Cameroon in March when he awkwardly noted that AIDS "cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics; on the contrary, they increase it." This remark, though in keeping with his theology, reverberated in the media echo chamber for a week—overshadowing other stops that might have served him better, such as meeting with representatives of Cameroon's Muslim community and a mass for as many as a million people in Angola. Benedict will never be John Paul, but why don't he and his people do a better job—to be perfectly crass about it—marketing their message?
While Miller tries to insist that the Pope would be more loved and respected if only he had a better PR shop, she betrays the fact that she really finds fault with his steadfast adherence to traditional Catholic teachings, particularly on sexual morality. Far from constituting a "fumble," back in March a top AIDS researcher -- no conservative Catholic he -- defended as accurate the Pope's remarks on condoms and AIDS infection rates in Africa. It seems that Miller is either ignorant of or willingly disregards this fact two months later. As I noted in NewsBusters back then:
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is helping strike another blow for cable "diversity" today by hosting an award ceremony for the media-company AIDS/HIV-awareness group Cable Positive in Washington.
Cable Positive chief Steve Villano, a former Mario Cuomo aide, is the kind of political-correctness cop who tends to hound the media because "Diversity Isn't Diverse Enough," because a month isn't enough time for pride for the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community, or because black and Latino churches, for example, are still "hotbeds of homophobia."
In full-page ads in broadcasting trade publications, Cable Positive touts that their Power Awards honor "exceptional people whose passion, vision, resourcefulness, and hands-on leadership are inspiring and empowering us to educate the world about HIV/AIDS."
"Educate the world" often means, in TV terms, advocacy against conservative "hate" and for "safe sex." Brent Bozell reported on how a Viacom "education" campaign in 2003 translated into sitcoms mocking teenagers who didn't use condoms with lines like this: "Congratulations, you just reached a level of stupidity only found in Republicans and lower primates."
A leading HIV researcher -- and self-described liberal -- defends what the pope has said recently about condoms and AIDS.
I won't hold my breath for the secular mainstream media to notice, but that's what Christianity Today magazine reported on March 20 with its publication of an e-mail interview between deputy managing editor Tim Morgan and the director of Harvard's AIDS Prevention Research Project, Edward C. Green:
[Morgan]: Is Pope Benedict being criticized unfairly for his comments about HIV and condoms?
[Dr. Green]: This is hard for a liberal like me to admit, but yes, it's unfair because in fact, the best evidence we have supports his comments — at least his major comments, the ones I have seen.
Green went on to say that, at least as far as African countries are concerned, Pope Benedict is correct that condom promotion doesn't lessen the AIDS problem (emphases mine):
Time magazine's Jeff "The pope's a Scrooge" Israely is at it again, lecturing Benedict XVI on his "inflammatory rhetoric."
Israely joins CNN's Jack Cafferty, Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith", and PBS's Bonnie Erbe in the bash-Benedict choir's latest oratorio. His March 19 article evaluated the pontiff's recent comments on condoms and HIV/AIDS as "candor over P.R.", lamenting Benedict's word choice and seeming lack of concern about how liberal secular media outlets parse his statements (emphases mine):
Amidst the outrage and consternation lies the question: Why? If we already know the basic tenets of church teaching — not to mention the extent of the AIDS epidemic and disproportionate ignorance about condom use in Africa — why did the Pope say what he said, when and where he said it? What do this and other recent episodes tell us about how the modern papacy operates at that unique nexus where philosophy meets public relations? And why, nearly four years into his reign, does this hyper articulate and well-versed Pope continue to see his attempts at mass communication blow up in his face?
Seemingly not satisfied with bashing the likes of former President Bush or Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty took aim at a more international target on Wednesday’s Situation Room -- Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. He joined PBS’s Bonnie Erbe and the Washington Post’s On Faith webpage in attacking the pontiff’s recent comment against the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa. Cafferty used the standard left-wing talking point that the Church is stuck in the Middle Ages: “It’s time -- it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century.”
After quoting the pope’s remark, Cafferty summarized the Church’s overall message of “encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.” He then actually blamed this message indirectly for the spread of the virus: “Obviously, the message has not delivered the desired results in Africa -- 22 million people in Africa infected with HIV. Not to mention right here in our nation’s capital -- a new report shows that three percent of Washington, DC’s residents have HIV or AIDS....One official says Washington rates are higher than parts of West Africa, and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.”
Hell hath no fury like a feminist writer directing a hissy fit at the pope.
Bonnie Erbe -- the US News & World Report contributing editor and PBS "To the Contrary" host who argued that Bristol Palin is more "mature" than her abstinence education-advocating mother -- finds the pope "horrifically ignorant" when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
What exactly did the pontiff say that set Erbe off? Try, "AIDS cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms," hardly a controversial, implausible statement, but one that, to Erbe, showed the pope has "no sympathy" for women in Africa.
The dictionary defines prejudice as premature judgment: making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case or event. Some forms of prejudice are fading, racism being the primary and obvious example. The backlash against prejudice is so intense it has spurred its opposite, the call toward tolerance.
But for one sector, the prejudice remains intact. It is perfectly acceptable to spew intolerance against Christians in general and Catholics in particular. But the bonanza of prejudice is reserved for Catholic priests.
In our sex-drenched society, the idea of a single man taking an oath of lifelong celibacy sounds sacrificial to the point of freakish. The world says abstinence is impossible, and pledging abstinence is ridiculous. So when the crisis over child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church erupted, it didn’t matter that a tiny minority of unfaithful priests (and their supervisors) had betrayed the faithful. Hollywood and other champions of unbridled lust broke out the prejudice, smearing all Catholic priests as stunted at best, and predatory at worst.
On World News Saturday, during the show’s "A Closer Look" segment, ABC anchor David Muir gave attention to those who question whether CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has sufficient qualifications to be Barack Obama’s surgeon general. Muir even played a clip of David Letterman poking fun at Gupta twice during the show: "The choice, it was between a Gupta, Dr. Phil, and a guy on Scrubbs. I don’t know what the hell-" He also recounted that Muir was forced to apologized to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore after making errors in a report fact-checking Moore’s film Sicko. As Muir gave voice to those in the pro-Gupta camp who believe it is important for the surgeon general to be well known to the public, the ABC anchor reminded viewers that Dr. C. Everett Coop talked about AIDS while President Reagan was "largely silent," and that President George W. Bush’s surgeon general resigned in protest in 2006 charging he had been "muzzled by the White House."
Surely no one would view Rev. Jeremiah Wright as closer to the centerpoint of American politics than Pastor Rick Warren, right? Wrong. Here's Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems like Barack Obama, as much as seems to inspire people, including me, has a problem with pastors. I don't know what it is. You get him hooked up with a pastor, whether it's Jeremiah Wright, or it's this guy Rick Warren. One's on the left, one's on the far right. Both are causing him trouble.
So Wright's merely "left," while Warren's "far-right." Do we really need to prove the obvious: that Warren is vastly more mainstream than Wright? It hardly seems worth the effort, but let's consider a few factoids:
Rick Warren had a surprisingly candid response to Ann Curry's question as to whether he would change his views on homosexuality if it were established that people are born gay. The pastor of the Saddleback Church, explaining why such a finding wouldn't cause him to change his position, observed that he is inclined to want to have sex with every beautiful woman he sees, but that that doesn't make it right.
Curry interviewed Warren for a Dateline segment that will be aired tonight on NBC. As noteworthy as Warren's candor was Curry's ostentatious display of righteous liberal anger, captured in the screengrab, while asking Warren whether he is homophobic.
Barack Obama has selected Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the president-elect's inauguration.
Based on yesterday's New York Times story about this and other inauguration decisions, you would think that complaints about Warren's selection represent a mere tempest in a teapot. The Times devoted all of one sentence (bolded) to the controversy:
Barack Obama has selected the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, a role that positions Mr. Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation’s pre-eminent minister and reflects the generational changes in the evangelical Christian movement.
..... The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives. In fact, his selection set off a round of criticism by gay rights groups angered by his support for California’s ban on same-sex marriages.
In your news release about the candidate forum, you suggest that you will avoid "gotcha" questions. The topics highlighted in the release are poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights with a special emphasis on character and leadership rather than programmatic details.
There is much to be said for rising above partisan politics. After all, the church is on a mission from God to all the earth....
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Jesse Helms as a "homophobe," and suggested naming a "gay-bashing organization" after the recently deceased former Republican Senator, as the MSNBC host attacked Senator Elizabeth Dole for her effort to name an AIDS funding bill in honor of Helms. Olbermann, addressing Dole as he made her a nominee for "Worst Person in the World": "Senator, you do realize that Helms opposed AIDS treatment, AIDS research, AIDS prevention. He opposed everything about AIDS except blaming the victims. And not just back in the blind panic days. As late as 2002, he blamed the disease on homosexuality. They should not name an AIDS bill after Jesse Helms. They should name a gay-bashing organization after him."
Olbermann teased his "Worst Person" segment during the show's opening: "‘Worsts' is back. Elizabeth Dole wants to name an AIDS funding bill in memory of Jesse Helms, who believed gay people deserved the disease."
During a plug before a commercial break at 8:45 p.m., the MSNBC host called Helms a "homophobe": "And in ‘Worsts,' the Senator who thinks an AIDS bill should be named after homophobe Jesse Helms."
ABC’s Nightline featured yet another Cynthia McFadden trip with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail Thursday, but it wasn’t all sympathetic questions about how hard it is to be a feminist pioneer. (There was one about how all the criticism must be hard on her mother.) Instead, on the trail in Indiana, McFadden pushed hard from the left on how Barack Obama thought her gas-tax holiday proposal was "phony" and "pandering," and how columnist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times thought it was "ridiculous," and how Iran thought her remarks about them were irresponsible. She also wondered if the Reverend Wright issue was "guilt by association...Does it worry you a little bit about the taint of association? Because, you know, you’ve been tarred by the same brush over the years."
McFadden began somewhat sympathetically, although it wasn’t good news, about how Indiana superdelegate Joe Andrew switched sides to Obama, despite President Clinton making him DNC chairman in the late 1990s. Then she switched to arguing against any gas-tax relief:
Chelsea Clinton in Portland, OR on April 12th at the Red Dress Party, described by Willamette Week as "a mondo-alcohol-fueled dance party where nearly 2,000 gay men in various states of red dress undress (and several nearly naked straight men as well as one very colorfully decorated naked woman) invade a warehouse in Northeast Portland and dance their collective ----- off."
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
Interviewed by Bill Moyers for a PBS show to be aired on the night of April 25, 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. accused people of trying to paint him as "un-American" or "some sort of fanatic" for purposes of harming the candidacy of Barack Obama. (AP Photo/PBS, Robin Holland, HO)
On the House floor, yesterday, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) relayed this news, as reported by the Catholic News Agency (CNA):
"No generalized HIV epidemic has ever been rolled back by a prevention strategy primarily based on condoms.”
No major Old Media outlet has, as far as I can tell, reported Smith's relay of that powerful finding.
But the Washington Post's David Brown did find space in his coverage of the 2008 bill that would renew the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to call abstinence initiatives "controversial."
Here is the relevant text from CNA (bolds are mine):
Barack Obama’s interview with Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night's "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN was quite gentle. While Cooper did press Obama to address some of the criticisms that have erupted over his pastor Jeremiah Wright, he did not press him about Wright’s criticism of white people, or his claims of the government giving blacks AIDS, only one (truncated) 9/11 passage. Cooper used ten-foot-pole language about those people who would be alarmed by Wright’s America-bashing remarks: "Patriotism is going to be used by whoever it is you are facing." Used? Have you ever noticed how the media never asks if America is being "used" by leaders who spit on America?
Obama was spinning furiously.
I never heard anything nasty about America.
COOPER: In the past, you said you didn't think that your church was particularly controversial. Yesterday, in the speech, you said that -- you admitted that you did hear in the church remarks that could be considered controversial. Do you know specifically? Do you remember what you heard?
On Saturday's Religion page in The Washington Post, they highlighted the typical secular liberal reporter in his natural habitat -- tremendously skeptical of letting religious people play a role in public policy. In a box highlighting the "On Faith" Internet feature of The Washington Post and Newsweek, the magazine's Christopher Dickey was visibly disturbed in answering the question "Do you think the world's biggest problems -- poverty, disease, homelessness -- can be cured by well-intentioned religious believers?" The Post featured this grab:
“Well-intentioned religious believers”? That phrase, I confess, makes me deeply uneasy. In practice the selflessness of such people can be awe inspiring. In horrible conditions, their powerful faith gives them the strength to endure, to comfort, to heal. But at a policy level when they see practical problems through the narrow prism of dogma the results can be shocking.
Furthering the media’s love affair with Hillary Clinton, Friday’s CBS "Early Show" featured a segment on her recent speech at Saddleback Church in Southern California and how Evangelical Christians may be moving to the left in 2008. As co-host Harry Smith wondered at the top of the show, "Hillary Clinton addresses an Evangelical megachurch in California. Is it really possible that the Christian Right could be convinced to turn left?" Later, co-host Julie Chen further teased:
Also, the Evangelical vote in the 2008 presidential race --is it up for grabs? Hillary Clinton believes the Republicans no longer have a lock on it...We'll ask Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback if it's really possible that the Evangelical Right, President Bush's key voting block, could be moving to the left.
The segment began with a report by CBS Correspondent Bill Whitaker, who described the uphill battle for Democrats to win such votes:
To detractors and supporters alike, Democrat Hillary Clinton walking into an Orange County Evangelical bastion was like Daniel entering the lion's den...Four years ago, a Democratic presidential candidate coming to speak at an Evangelical megachurch would have been unthinkable, even politically futile.
As NewsBusters readers are aware, one of the positions of those not buying into the manmade global warming hysteria is that the United Nations -- whose Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a large part of the alarmism -- is an organization that has seen more than its share of malfeasance and corruption.
The recent scandal surrounding the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program is one example, with problems that eventually plagued UNICEF another.
Now, it has been revealed that the U.N. has been exaggerating the AIDS epidemic for many years. As reported Tuesday by the Washington Post (emphasis added throughout):
Here's a story a climate change obsessed media are sure to ignore: a Congressman from Southern California has actually suggested America spend financial resources to fix the endangered entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid rather than to solve global warming.
I don't imagine Katie, Charlie, and Brian will be doing a segment on this tonight, do you?
Regardless, Rep. John Campbell (R-California) published a must-read op-ed Tuesday entitled "Global Warming Heresy" (emphasis added throughout):
After Diane Sawyer’s fawning interview last Thursday morning hailing his work to "save a continent," ABC’s Good Morning America returned to praising the African philanthropy of former president Bill Clinton on Monday. Traveling with him, ABC’s Kate Snow sounded less like a reporter and more like an overnight infomercial spokeswoman: "In Africa, they seem to be on a first-name basis with the former president, shouting ‘Bill! Bill!’"
Every soundbite in the story was Clinton or Clinton’s supporters explaining all the wonderful things Clinton is trying to accomplish, how he’s impatient in his struggle to save lives. Without any skeptical note that his private foundation might create a thicket of conflicts of interest, Snow simply relayed without questioning that Clinton would continue his foundation activities if his wife won the White House. Snow could only coo: "He may redefine the role of first spouse in America."
Bill Clinton’s first Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, was an outspoken opponent of the religious right, and was pressed to resign in December 1994 for suggesting that masturbation should be taught in schools as part of sex education, as a "safe sex" option for teenagers. She resigned, but never felt she was wrong to say it. That’s obvious because National Public Radio put her on Wednesday still spreading the message that the best thing about autoeroticism is "you know you're having sex with somebody you love." On former ABC reporter Michel Martin’s new talk show "Tell Me More," Elders was brought on as part of a segment called "Wisdom Watch."
Martin explained: "Every so often, you want to talk over an issue with people who aren't just smart, but wise. So we came up with Wisdom Watch, where we ask some of our most-respected elders to guide us through some of today's most challenging and important issues. Today, we're joined by Doctor Joycelyn Elders."
Leave it to a liberal to claim that Americans are "cheapskates" because our government does not spend enough money on foreign aid. In the L.A.Times for April 13th, that is just what we are treated to with Rosa Brooks' screed titled, "To the rest of the world, we're cheapskates" and subtitled, "The U.S. international affairs budget -- which helps fight AIDS, poverty and more -- is just 1% of total spending." But, by attacking our country over its record on charity and foreign aid spending, Brooks proves that she neither understands the nature of American generosity, nor the American character.