During the first centuries of Christianity, Christians were thrown to lions in arenas to be jeered by mocking crowds. Today, Christian athletes face the taunts of a media strongly opposed to their faith.
No Christian athlete draws more media catcalls than New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. CBSChicago.com writer Dan Bernstein dismissed Tebow as “little more than an affable simpleton” and slammed his fans as “lunatic-fringe cultists.” Columnist Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of The Jewish Week expressed his desire that Tebow’s Broncos would lose a playoff game because a Broncos victory would “buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” Radio host Craig Carton was the latest to jump on the anti-Tebow bandwagon, calling him a “fraud” and complaining that he “clearly thinks he is Jesus” on his August 14 radio show.
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones responded to a New York Times story that trashed her as a "vixen, virgin, victim," telling co-host Savannah Guthrie: "...it was two days before I competed. And then the fact that it was from a U.S. media....they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds....they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While millions of Americans are happily tuning in to cheer on their fellow countrymen and root for Team USA, some members of the liberal media are not smiling. Salon.com writer David Sirota, author of a lengthy piece published on Wednesday, is among them, and finds himself "increasingly interrupted by pangs of discomfort" watching our nation's athletes compete on the world stage. "Not because," he claims, he is "ashamed of our country or our Olympians," but because of the way that "the relationship between American nationalism and the Olympics" has been "infused with...politicized meaning."
First, he launched into a tirade about the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics which he calls "a Cold War spectacle of hyper-patriotism deliberately orchestrated to give the big middle finger to the boycotting Soviets and their allies." Then, he called the 1992 Barcelona games an excuse to use the Olympics to "to spike the ball in the end zone — or, more accurately, 360 windmill dunk over the rest of the planet" and questions why "we have to rub our strength in" and "preen on the world stage in such cartoonish fashion."
The Olympic Games, which begin this week, is an exhibition of the sportsmanship, teamwork, and the competitive spirit that make sports so enjoyable. But for many in the media, sports is just another excuse to engage in divisive political commentary. The sports media transform an apolitical past-time into a forum for their own politics.
Progressives have actively attempted to remake the Olympics into a celebration of their own political ideals. From calls to make the summer Games “a forum for the promotion of LGBT rights,” to criticism of the International Olympic Committee as “the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” lefties care less about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat than using the world’s biggest sporting event to pound for their pet causes.
In an online article on Tuesday, CBS's Lucy Madison all but pointed the finger at Mitt Romney for the decision to produce the uniforms of the 2002 U.S. Winter Olympic team in Burma. Madison cited left-wing website The Huffington Post as a main source: "In 2002, when Romney was at the helm of the Salt Lake City Olympics, the outfits were produced in Burma, as the Huffington Post pointed out last night."
However, the network's own reporting on the 2012 uniform controversy noted how the U.S. Olympic Committee makes the decision on the uniforms. Romney didn't lead the USOC over a decade ago, but rather the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the games. The president of the USOC at that time was Sandra "Sandy" Baldwin, who was forced to resign later in 2002, according to a CNN report.
In a nasty rant at the end of Thursday's Rock Center on NBC, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams slammed the hosts of FNC's morning show for daring to criticize the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team: "Trouble on Fox & Friends. It started when the morning show crew mocked the new Ralph Lauren outfits...." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing a clip of Gretchen Carlson being critical of berets being part of the uniform, Williams sneered: "The jingoism continued. Another host wondered why they couldn't wear something more American, like baseball caps or cowboy hats. Until the viewer e-mails started pouring in, reminding them some real Americans, U.S. soldiers, are issued berets."
Ben Maller skewered Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as a "homophobic boxing superstar" and a "bigoted boxer" in a Wednesday post on ThePostgame.com, an online magazine of Yahoo! Sports. Pacquiao had criticized the redefinition of marriage in a Friday interview: "It [marriage] should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of old."
Maller, who is also a talk radio host for Fox Sports Radio, also trumpeted that the boxer, "long a darling of Madison Avenue, figures to lose a number of endorsements and fans over his intolerant, bullheaded position."
Catching up with Bryant Gumbel from a couple of weeks ago, on the April edition of his Real Sports show on HBO, the NBC News and CBS News veteran came to the defense of Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who caused outrage amongst Cuban-Americans when he declared “I love Fidel Castro.” In an end of the program commentary, Gumbel couldn’t resist taking a jab at conservatives, charging:
Whipping up a frenzy over slights real and imagined is a play straight out of a far right handbook and Florida’s electoral cloud has often given Fidel’s critics far more leverage than their arguments merit.
Sorry, Masters golf tournament, you may be the most prestigious contest in the sport, but you don't meet the exacting standards of feminist activist/NYT golf writer Karen Crouse: "High-ranking players with daughters are not willing to talk about it. Somebody has to make a stand. Why not me in my own little way?”
The New York Times reporter is not done with her crusade against Augusta National. After excoriating the club's all-male membership policy in both a column and news story yesterday, the opening day of The Masters, Crouse told Golf.com's Damon Hack that she did not want to cover the tournament again until a woman was admitted to the club.
ABC and NBC could barely contain their contempt while covering the controversy over the all-male Augusta golf club. Katie Couric, guest anchoring Good Morning America on Thursday, lectured the organization hosting the Masters tournament to allow a woman in: "I mean, really. Get with the program. Seriously?"
Reporter Josh Elliott lamented that Augusta has remained "cloistered," "a secretive sanctuary for golfers and one that has never admitted a woman. On Wednesday's Nightly News, correspondent Lisa Myers wondered what Augusta Chairman Billy Payne would "tell his granddaughters about why women are excluded."
Responding on Tuesday to NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer wondering if Tim Tebow would be the "right fit" for the New York Jets, advertising executive Donny Deutsch predicted the faithful quarterback was doomed: "Wrong. Couldn't have made a worse move. This will be his Waterloo. New York will take him down. We are a very tough, jaded city. They're not going to buy this unconditional love."
Lauer set up the question to the show's Today's Professionals panel by describing the New York culture as antithetical to Tebow's Christian values: "Is this a fit? This is New York City. The city that never sleeps. This is Joe Namath town, that he owned as a swinging bachelor. It's the city of A-Rod and Donald Trump."
Wherever devout Christian quarterback Tim Tebow goes, he is dogged by the hatred of those who cannot stand him or his faith. Tebow was traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets amid much media fanfare, and some sportswriters naturally used the occasion to engage in personal attacks on Tebow, his religion, and his fans.
MSNBC invited Nation sports editor Dave Zirin to give his opinion on Tebow’s move to New York. Zirin bizarrely argued that “there are a lot of LGBT people that live in New York City who are also football fans”and that “the new, possibly, starting quarterback for the New York Jets wants them to move backwards 30 or 40 years.”(The Denver Broncos refused to participate in anti-heterosexual Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project” when Tebow was still on the Broncos, drawing the ire of the gay community and the left-wing media.)
MSNBC can't even keep liberal politics out of sports. Nation sports editor Dave Zirin appeared on the cable network, Wednesday, to hyperventilate over the announcement that Tim Tebow has been traded to the New York Jets. Zirin berated, "...There are a lot of LGBT people that live in New York City who are also football fans and they might want to know why the new, possibly, starting quarterback for the New York Jets wants them to move backwards 30 or 40 years."
Why does Tebow want to set gays back 40 years? Because he once did a very mild pro-life commercial for Focus on the Family? Completely going off on a tangent, Zirin whined, "Now, I don't want to shock you, Tamron, but there are a lot of women in New York who use birth control." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The dictionary.com definitions of "taunt" including the following: as a verb, "to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock" and "to provoke by taunts; twit"; as a noun, "an insulting gibe or sarcasm; scornful reproach or challenge."
Note that the definition does not include: "to make eye contact." Unfortunately, Yahoo sportswriter Graham Watson's dictionary apparently does. Even though all Mississippi Valley State guard Kevin Burwell did after making a three-point shot was look over at President Obama and (according to the broadcasters, not Watson) make eye contact for what could hardly have been more than a half-second, Watson turned it into a "taunt," and even seemed to pin the blame for MVSU's loss on Burwell:
During his first hour today, Rush mentioned the reaction of Peter King at Sports illustrated in King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" collection to a paragraph in the magazine's cover story on Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks' point guard who has broken through from obscurity to phenom during the past two weeks. What King wrote is indeed an interesting giveaway of what I believe is a common but unsupportable media perspective, namely that students at and graduates of elite upper-echelon universities like those in the Ivy League are presumptively free of overt racism, because, well, they're all so enlightened.
Late Saturday morning, a brief, unbylined Associated Press item ("ESPN sorry for offensive headline on Lin story") reported that "ESPN has apologized for using a racial slur in a headline for a story on Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin."
The racial slur in question involves using "Chink in the Armor" to headline a story posted on the network's mobile website after the Knicks lost Friday night to the lowly New Orleans Hornets, ending a seven-game winning streak. The text of ESPN's apology and discussion of the AP's protective oversights follow the jump:
The MSM loves Jeremy Lin for now. But how long before he gets the Tebow treatment? Check out the video of the opening of today's Morning Joe. In just over two minutes, the show ran clips of Knicks player Jeremy Lin hitting a three-point buzzer beater last night . . . no fewer than 10 times.
But Morning Joe was far from finished. I counted a total of 28 Lin clips during the course of the show. Donnie Deutsch opined that "this is one of the few things where the 1% and the 99% can agree." Mike Barnicle later expressed a similar sentiment. Clearly the Lin story is moving America. But query how long he will remain a uniting figure should the MSM, as in the case of similarly-inspirational Tim Tebow, start mocking his devout Christianity? Video after the jump.
It would appear that if Kevin Paul Dupont were king, he would be exploring how to send the Stanley Cup Finals exploits of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas last year down the memory hole. Thomas "held the Canucks to eight goals in seven games" and became the first goalie ever to shut out his team's opponent in a deciding Game 7 on the road, helping the Bruins win their first Cup in almost 40 years.
Since he can't do that, the Boston Globe sportswriter appears to want to use Thomas's absence from the team's White House visit three weeks ago and subsequent Facebook postings as evidence that Thomas's "legacy" is in danger (his column's headline states that Thomas needs to "restore" it). In making his supposed case, the self-professed "confused" Dupont made and repeated a fundamental factual error. Those errors destroy any credibility he may have had in portraying Thomas's decision and subsequent Facebook postings as somehow disrupting team unity:
Those who believe that the establishment press has gone completely to the dogs can cite support for that contention in an Associated Press story about an anti-Mitt Romney demonstration at the Westminster dog show in New York earlier today.
The story is about how "a dozen demonstrators ... plus a few pooches" showed up to demonstrate against something Romney allegedly did 29 years ago. Really. This story is sooooo important that as of 2:46 p.m., it was the second item listed at AP's Top Sports News (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
The Super Bowl halftime show wouldn't be the Super Bowl halftime show without some controversy. In 2004, Justin Timberlake infamously ripped open part of singer Janet Jackson's costume. This year, controversy arose in the form of a backup singer, using her middle finger to draw attention to herself.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Friday altered a quote from an ESPN reporter, turning a question about Tim Tebow into a declaration that the faith of the quarterback is why he's such an "astonishingly polarizing," "divisive figure."
On ESPN 2's First Take, Skip Bayless wondered, "Do you believe your faith is the biggest reason you're such an astonishingly polarizing figure, a divisive figure in the country? Everybody has a strong opinion, love him or hate him, on Tebow." During the Josh Elliott segment on GMA, Bayless's query became a proclamation: "Your faith is the biggest reason you're such an astonishingly polarizing figure, a divisive figure in the country." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
Politically conservative Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is being vilified for not joining his hockey teammates Monday afternoon at the White House for a ceremony honoring the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship, but Hockey News senior writer Ken Campbell suggested that if a few years ago some stars “had snubbed the White House in 2004 to protest the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, my guess is they...would have had all kinds of unwavering support in the media for taking such a courageous stance.”
It was “just rude not to go,” NBC’s Nancy Snyderman declared on Tuesday’s Today show where former CNBC host Donny Deutsch complained Thomas had “cheapened” the honor. TheBoston Herald headline, “Tim Thomas told: ‘Stick to hockey’; Slammed for Obama snub.” A Boston Globe headline asserted: “Tim Thomas wrong to skip White House trip.” The Globe’s hockey writer denounced Thomas as “Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered.”
Clay Waters at NewsBusters and the Media Research Center did a great job Monday of exposing the ugly, vindictive, know-it-all and snotty write-up on Tim Tebow generated by Harvey Araton at the New York Times after Tebow's Denver Broncos were unceremoniously eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Saturday by the New England Patriots.
Perhaps the most offensive element of Araton's work was its headline: "Curtain Closes on Tebow’s Season, but His Sideshow Goes On." It is more than clear from Araton's text and tone that he considers Tebow's pre- and post-game charitable activities part of that "sideshow." Apparently, a New York Times sportswriter believes he is in a better position than team executives, Coach John Fox, and Tebow himself to decide what is and isn't a distraction from team unity and focus. To show that Araton's twisted outlook isn't universally shared among sportswriters, I give you excerpts from Rick Reilly's outstanding Friday column at ESPN, which I selected as a Positivity Post at my home blog on Sunday:
You'd think a former Catholic seminarian would be happy about Christian athletes who are unashamed to publicly praise Jesus Christ. But then again, this is Bill Press we're talking about.
Our friend Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer notes how the left-wing talker and CNN Crossfire alumnus declared on his December 15 radio program that the Denver Broncos quarterback should shut the [expletive] up:
Liberal Columbia University professor Dorian Warren compared the Occupy Wall Street protests to the NBA lockout on CNN Monday, saying that the players are using their "voice" and "bargaining power" to air their grievances with the owners like the protesters are doing with the banks.
"Record profits last year in the NBA, yet the owners are saying they don't have enough money to share with the players," Warren said of the lockout. "And so, the players are, unlike most American workers, staying strong in their union to say, no, we actually have a voice here and we have bargaining power and we're not going to let you get away with that." [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
The National Football League avoided a potential public relations nightmare, and more importantly, did what was widely considered to be the right thing, announcing Friday that players may wear special shoes and gloves that differ from official NFL equipment for Week 1 games. The move came a day after Lance Briggs, six-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Chicago Bears, sent out a picture of shoes and gloves provided by Reebok to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. He then tweeted:
“Reebok great job on these gloves and shoes… looks like I'm getting fined this week. Lol!”
But the league, which normally enforces a very rigid uniform policy, said they do not “anticipate any issues”. The AP reported that Greg Aiello, spokesman for the NFL, sent an e-mail stating that, “We have extensive plans for Sunday to respectfully recognize the significance of the day.”
He added that, “Lance Briggs and all players will participate.”
After finishing up practice on Friday, Briggs declined to comment. He did issue a statement to me later in the evening which read:
Gay “rights” and same-sex marriage have been all over the news lately. Sick of the issue? Why not tune to ESPN for the baseball scores and an update on the football lockout? But there, instead of “Web Gems” is … gay marriage.
ESPN is supposed to be in the business of sports, but lately the network has allowed social advocacy to creep into its programming, and the Disney-owned sports network’s take turns out to be identical to the pro-gay mainstream media.
Mahler, who writes for the paper’s Sunday magazine and the Book Review, managed to drag the Iraq War, the Bush administration, even the ancient Ken Starr investigation into his criticism of the prosecutions of sports titans Roger Clemens and Lance Armstrong.
The following post was based on a misunderstanding of the conversation described. Please see our retraction here.
Tuesday's Morning Joe treated the conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as a relatively minor affair, and gave it little to no coverage save a brief discussion about the supposed injustice of the process. "It's any other day and that's any other news story," said Mika Brzezinski, who appeared annoyed at being asked to cover the story at all. Later, she insisted "We're not going to waste the first block on this."
Trying to submerge its own network’s “under God” censorship into a greater narrative, Monday’s NBC Nightly News managed to combine into one disjointed story, pegged to “a tough slog” over the weekend “when it comes to the campaign to get along in our public discourse,” the NBC Sports decision to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in its opening montage for the U.S. Open golf tournament, “distress” by “Republicans at a leadership conference over an Obama impersonator’s racially tinged jokes,” how “on conservative network Fox News, anchor Chris Wallace and liberal comedian Jon Stewart went at it” and that “Texas Governor Rick Perry won the loudest applause with this line.”
The awful remark, which NBC aired as its last example in a story which carried “BAD DECISIONS” as the on-screen tag: “Let's speak with pride about our morals and our values. Let's stop this American downward spiral!”