Expect the Barack Obama-fascinated media to play up the Illinois liberal's trip to talk AIDS at the Saddleback evangelical mega-church in California run by Rick Warren, author of the monster best-seller The Purpose-Driven Life. It will probably draw more buzz at how Obama can reach out to conservative Christians, although that's not how conservative Christians are reacting. Warren was largely ignored by the media while he was burning up the best-seller list -- although he's getting more attractive as he moves closer to the media "mainstream." See last year's World AIDS Day coverage.
But that's not the whole story. Laura Ingraham offered a different story of AIDS advocacy and Obama: the Chicago Sun-Times reported Obama and the gangsta rapper Ludacris met with area youth to talk AIDS, and “the senator applauded Ludacris for using his stature and his celebrity to bring attention to the issue.” It’s possible that Ludacris could have a few hours in which he sounded socially responsible, but his recorded repertoire trends more to the kind about “letting the condom pop” as you ahem, do “all those able bitches with riches.” The Sun-Times finds no occasion for either the reporter or the presidential aspirant to suggest that perhaps Ludacris could help with the AIDS problem by recording less culturally toxic lyrics for the young people he seeks to empower.
On Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Jake Tapper’s "exclusive" interview with Bill Clinton was little more than another friendly platform for the former president to attack the current administration. Tapper parroted Clinton’s "warning" for Republicans "hoping to use the London terror arrests to score political points," then failed to challenge any of Clinton’s litany of supposed Republican failures on national security. Moving on to discuss AIDS prevention, Tapper hyped up the work of Clinton’s foundation before asking this softball question regarding "concerns" about abstinence program funding requirements in President Bush’s AIDS initiative: "Do requirements like that hinder the progress of treating and combating AIDS?"
Fox News Channel's Geraldo Rivera came out in favor of same-sex marriage on the June 5 edition of his syndicated Geraldo At Large. Throughout the show, Rivera teased his final commentary proclaiming: "25 years after the discovery of AIDS is this the time to ban gay marriage?....The gay community takes another hit, 25 years to the very day that AIDS first ravaged their community." At the end of the show, Rivera chastised the President and advocated same-sex marriage as a way to prevent the spread of AIDS:
Rivera: "Exactly 25 years ago today federal officials first warned gay men that five homosexuals in Los Angeles had contracted a rare form of pneumonia. The disease that became AIDS was largely spread initially by the promiscuous, sometimes drug-fueled sex exemplified by the gay bathhouses where an uninformed generation contracted the disease that ultimately killed tens of thousands of them and many millions of others here and around the world. Beginning soon after the outbreak responsible voices began an aggressive campaign to educate young men raised in the era of those anonymous sexual contacts of the grave dangers involved. Public service announcements and information campaigns were launched. Red ribbons were also worn in sympathy as one after another public figure like actors Rock Hudson and Brad Davis, Queen’s Freddie Mercury and tennis great Arthur Ashe were diagnosed, some succumbing to the disease. While they are not all gay and may have contracted the disease in other ways like bad blood transfusions the majority got AIDS through sex. The recognition of that scary fact led to profound changes in social conduct. Most bathhouses were closed or closely regulated. Safe sex became a mantra. And something even more profound happened, marriage, where at least solid, stable relationships began replacing promiscuous sex as the norm in the gay community. Which is why on the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic the current efforts to breathe life back into the amendment to ban gay marriage seems so counterproductive and blatantly anti-social."
MRC's Geoff Dickens told me that Geraldo Rivera's syndicated program "Rivera At Large" -- which I'm told airs alongside the network evening news shows on some Fox affiliates -- carried a big segment on the 25th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS on June 1. Rivera found one actress who was an angry activist.
Rivera: "But many are unsatisfied with the pace of progress. Even as world leaders gathered at the United Nations Wednesday to find new ways to tackle the epidemic the actress Rosie Perez led AIDS activists at a rally outside."
Rosie Perez: "I’m disappointed in our leadership here in the United States. Yes the United States is giving a lot of money for the, for the fight against AIDS but to push a program of abstinence is just insane. It, it doesn’t work. We have to be realistic and we have to do even more than what’s being done."
While NBC interviewed Joe Scarborough on the "gay marriage" front (and CBS stayed out of the fray), ABC followed up their Claire Shipman report on "Good Morning America" with an interview with very liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Typically, co-host Charles Gibson asked about whether this issue is pandering and good politics for Republicans, but not whether it's been pandering or good politics for Democrats.
Gibson began: "We're going to turn next to Gavin Newsom. He's the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, and as you'll recall, a couple of years ago, he ordered city officials to marry gay couples, and he touched off this debate to some extent. And Mayor Newsom is joining us from our San Francisco bureau. It's good to have you back with us, Mr. Mayor...Your opinion on this? Do you think there's any chance, snowball's chance in you know where, that this will become part of the Constitution, or is this just politics?"
The Associated Press headline proudly proclaims "San Franciscans honor those touched by AIDS" and goes on to regale us all about how AIDS activists "honored" the lives of San Franciscans who have died of AIDS since 1981. (See story by clicking here)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Clasping purple irises, calling out names and clapping to a gospel beat, San Francisco paid tribute Thursday to the thousands of residents who died from AIDS in the last 25 years and honored the thousands more still living with the HIV virus
The report glowed on about how politicians and religious leaders "honored" and "celebrated" AIDS victims at the gathering in the performing arts center this week. The gay men's chorus performed and 40 members of the audience came to the stage and sang "We shall overcome".
Remember when former Clinton surgeon general Jocelyn Elders suggested that teenagers should be taught how to masturbate as part of sex education? Well, as amazing as it might seem, actress and “AIDS activist” Sharon Stone apparently tells teenagers that they should engage in oral sex rather than intercourse to protect themselves from HIV. As reported by ContactMusic.com (hat tip to Drudge):
“Actress SHARON STONE is adamant teenagers should be prepared to engage in oral sex, if it saves from them the dangers of unprotected penetrative sex. The BASIC INSTINCT [star] spends much of her time away from Hollywood working as an activist raising AIDS awareness, and she always carries condoms with her to hand out in a bid to increase safe sex levels.”
Now, this is certainly fascinating – an “AIDS activist” apparently unaware that HIV can be transferred orally. Regardless, Stone told a nice little story about what she does when she encounters a teenager debating becoming sexually active:
This was a dramatically liberal year for Oscar, but the more political winners at last night's Oscars didn't get pointed questions from the right. The news media's general feeling is to cheer movies for the "social good," and never imagine that the movies could be riddled with errors (Good Night and Good Luck), riddled with profanity (Crash), or just be assessed by critics as a lovably confusing in its conspiracy theorizing (Syriana).
ABC's Diane Sawyer interviewed George Clooney this morning about his Oscar victory speech on "Good Morning America" and asked benignly: "Was it a political speech, were you interjecting politics?" Clooney spoke diplomatically about a "portion" of America being on his side, and a portion were not. Clooney's claim that Hollywood was "out of touch" in all the good ways was underlined by ABC as they ran a clip of black actress Hattie McDaniel winning an Oscar for the 1939 film "Gone With The Wind."
One of the more astounding spectacles of the Cheney hunting-accident brouhaha was the media's all-too-typical tolerance of tremendous Clinton chutzpah: that is, Hillary's claim, as Brian Boyd noted last week, that Dick Cheney is way too secretive. ABC aired a clip of an angry-looking Senator Hillary Clinton arguing, "The refusal of this administration to level with the American people on matters large and small is very disturbing." The Clintons? Arguing that someone else isn't forthcoming? After the seven months of sticking with "I did not have sexual relations" with "Miss Lewinsky"? And the "vast right-wing conspiracy" trying to smear Clinton with the baseless accusation of intern nookie?
Ken Shepherd alerted me to a story ABC's Dan Harris did on "World News Tonight" on evangelical Christian sensation Rick Warren ("The Purpose-Driven Life") and his new passion for an AIDS ministry. This Harris sentence really stuck out: "He's urging them to start serving people with HIV/AIDS — a disease that many evangelicals have either long ignored or called God's punishment of gays."
Harris doesn't provide any evidence for this broad-brush attack, this alleged apathy and ill will on the part of evangelical Christians -- just the anecdotal evidence that Warren seems quite contrite about not having done enough until now. He underlined the notion that Christians are behind the curve with an affirming quote from Dr. John Green of the liberal Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: "For many years, evangelicals have claimed that they hate sin but love the sinner. Now here's an example where they're starting to live that out." They're just starting to have compassion. No one offering a counterpoint is aired.
Bill Clinton graces the cover of the December issue of Esquire magazine, titled "The Genius Issue" (also known as Best and Brightest 2005.) The cover headline: "Bill Clinton: The Most Influential Man in the World Starts Getting His Hands Dirty." Oh, but the screaming-teen fanzine tributes (in between fancy cologne samples) are just beginning. Up front, Esquire editor David Granger writes about how "the next twenty or thirty years could be the most productive of his life...His new freedom, along with the global affection for him, his unmatched capacity for compassion, and his unparalleled access to the world's centers of power and money can combine to make him the most powerful agent of positive change in the world. Bill Clinton can become something like a president of the world or, at the least, a president of the world's non-governmental organizations - and from that vantage, he can marshal a power unfettered by any petty political concerns: the power to do good."
Remember how the mainstream media was so quick to jump all over the story when Pat Robertson called for the assassination of President Hugo Chavez? How could anyone forget that, after all it was front page news for almost a week.
Yet when AIDS activists invade the Family Research Council yesterday, Monday, November 7, the mainstream media is totally silent on the event, with the exception of one small story from the Associated Press.