My hometown of Viroqua, Wisconsin, has become statewide news because a left-wing group called The Alliance for Animals is protesting the annual Wild West Days -- in particular, its popular "Hog Wrasslin" contest. The LaCrosse Tribune had the story:
VIROQUA — A Madison-based animal rights group has taken a public stand against one of the biggest attractions for Viroqua’s Wild West Days — pig wrestling.
The Alliance for Animals wrote organizers of Wild West Days in late May, saying it had conferred with two attorneys who are of the opinion that pig wrestling “is in clear violation of the Wisconsin Statutes.”
The Alliance notes in particular Chapter 951, titled “Crimes Against Animals,” which outlaws cockfighting, dogfighting and any other similar fighting between animals or animals and humans.
For the second day in a row, French President Nicolas Sarkozy shared the blame for France's surprising loss in the opening round of soccer's World Cup -- in a story in the New York Times's news section.
Jere Longman's Wednesday front-page story transmitted rants from Socialist Party opponents of the right-leaning, Bush-supporting Sarkozy, accusing him of being "President Bling Bling" and promoting a national "selfishness" that seeped into the players' psyches.
While most politicians have talked carefully of values and patriotism, rather than immigration and race, some legislators blasted the players as "scum," "little troublemakers" and "guys with chickpeas in their heads instead of a brain," according to news reports.
Fadela Amara, the junior minister for the racially charged suburbs who was born to Algerian parents, warned on Tuesday that the reaction to the team's loss had become racially charged.
"There is a tendency to ethnicize what has happened," she told a gathering of President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing party, according to news reports. "Everyone condemns the lower-class neighborhoods. People doubt that those of immigrant backgrounds are capable of respecting the nation."
She criticized Mr. Sarkozy's handling of a debate on "national identity," warning that "all democrats and all republicans will be lost" in this ethnically tinged criticism about Les Bleus, the French team. "We're building a highway for the National Front," she said, in a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Poor Barack Obama. Being president can take a lot out of him. That's why he needs to relax on the links, and relieve some stress into his golf game. No problem, says the Washington Post, the Gulf Spill can wait. This is the same Washington Post that berated President Bush for golfing while an armed conflict was taking place…in Israel.
Not that suicide bombings in Israel are an unserious matter, but doesn't the disaster in the Gulf require at least as much attention (far more, in my mind) from the President? The Post doesn't seem to think so.
So while the paper decried Bush's "golf cart diplomacy" and devoted over 600 words to suggesting that Bush's golf game was distracting from his work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Post found no such grounds to criticize Obama. As a reporter for one of the paper's blogs put it, "who cares?" Obviously not the Post (h/t Jim Hoft).
Thursday's Washington Post Express tabloid carried the headline "Health Activists Eye World Cup." When the world "health" breaks in before "activist," sadly, you can often define that as a sly euphemism you could replace more accurately with "sex." Post reporter Liz Clarke offered an interesting definition of the tournament's most essential accessory, which isn't cleats or Gatorade or even sunscreen:
Slathered in face paint, toting samba drums and waving national flags, the world's most ardent soccer fans are streaming into South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. And they're being met by a host of reminders not to forget the tournament's most essential accessory: a condom.
She forwarded how AIDS activists pressured FIFA, the World Cup organizers, of being "half-hearted" in condom promotion, and noted Cape Town hoteliers are offering condoms with the slogan "Play It Safe in Cape Town." Then Clarke offered an update. FIFA bowed to the sexual entitlement mentality: free condoms have now been offered in eight-packs for women (do they each have a day of the week inscribed?)
Something about the soccer World Cup brings out the missionary in the mainstream media, and every four years they strive to bring the good news of "the beautiful game" to the ignorant American masses.
This year is no different. The 2010 World Cup is set to begin in South Africa on June 11. More than just covering the month-long event, the media are already doing their best to hype it, overstating its popularity in the United States and its potential appeal to U.S. sports fans. From Time magazine dedicating an entire issue to "The Global Game," to CBS's helpful "The World Cup Guide for Americans," the public is being brow-beaten to catch "World Cup Fever."
And while soccer partisans may try (mostly unsuccessfully) to score on point-by-point comparisons to baseball or football, the most compelling argument many media outlets can muster is, "The rest of the world loves it. We should too."
The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with "American exceptionalism" - the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America's rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.
Hence Americans are "xenophobic," "isolated" and lacking in understanding for other nations and their passion for "the planetary pastime," as Time magazine put it. But, they are confident, as America becomes more Hispanic, the nation will have to give in and adopt the immigrants' game. On the other hand, the media assure the public that soccer is already "America's Game," and Americans are enthusiastically anticipating the World Cup, even though the numbers don't bear that contention out.
So, every four years they return with renewed determination to force soccer's square peg in the round hole of American culture.
CNN's Larry King completely left out the major topic of the White House's continuing obfuscation on the Sestak and Romanoff controversies and barely mentioned the economy during his interview of President Obama on Thursday. While King did ask extensively on the Gulf oil leak and touched on the Middle East and immigration, he also tossed softballs on LeBron James and the President singing with Paul McCartney.
The CNN host aired his interview with the chief executive during the first half of the 9 pm Eastern hour. King spent the entire first two segments asking about the oil leak issue. Other than one question, where he asked whether the President had any responsibility for the disaster, the journalist asked softball questions (remember, CNN claimed just under two months ago in April that it was the only "non-partisan" cable network, and how King hounded Carrie Prejean during an interview in November 2009):
The 2010 World Cup opens in South Africa in a few weeks. As a sports event it is unrivaled in its popularity. It promises to bring a half-million soccer fans to that country.
But it will also draw out the worst of the worst. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the economic promise of an expected half a million largely male incoming consumers is attracting a massive influx of prostitutes from across the border in Zimbabwe. Hotel managers are guessing that as many as 40,000 ladies of the evening are assembling from as far away as Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Venezuela.
This is not the first time this unholy amalgam of sports and the sex trade has materialized. Evidence shows this to be the norm.
The last World Cup competition four years ago in Germany, where prostitution and brothels are legal and tax revenue-generating, attracted thousands of “sex workers” to exploit the crowds. It made a dirty joke out of the tournament motto “A time to make friends.”
An online conservative radio group has started a petition site called Respect the Great Game to get Major League Baseball to drop Keith Olbermann as a contributor to its website.
The administrators of the Respect the Great Game site ask: "Why does Major League Baseball allow an individual who relishes hate speech to be associated with it?" They include a video compilation of some of Olbermann's more colorful rants to illustrate their point.
Olbermann, a former sports broadcaster for ESPN, Fox, and NBC, is "a gifted speaker with a respectable grasp of the great game," according to the site, "but his nightly tirades on MSNBC are often aimed at the very people that fill the stands of baseball parks across our great land."
On April 22 and 27, CNN and The Washington Post both helped forward Islamic advocacy group CAIR's publicity stunt which demeaned an anonymous Virginia motorist as a racist. The Post finally found the driver on Thursday – and apparently, both news outlets jumped the gun, as the owner claimed that the numbers on his license plate were a tribute to his favorite NASCAR drivers, not secret code for “Heil Hitler.”
Anchor Rick Sanchez devoted a brief on his Rick's List program on Tuesday to presenting CAIR's side of the story on the controversy. After showing a picture of the pickup truck and the plate in question, as well as the anti-Islamic message on the truck's tailgate, Sanchez explained that "CAIR...also noticed the vanity license plate. It reads '14CV88.' CAIR says that is a coded hate message. We're told the number eight is for the eighth letter in the alphabet, 'H.' Two eights equals 'H.H.' for 'Heil Hitler.' Fourteen represents imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's motto about securing the future for white children." The anchor didn’t mention the owner’s side of the story.
Did anyone at CNN or the Washington Post consider the possibility that the story was underbaked until they communicated with the driver? Did they consider someone might find the driver and his truck and be spurred to angry talk and/or violence based on the media’s incomplete accounts? The Washington Post, at least, printed an update on Thursday to their initial article from the 22nd (the ball, obviously, is also in Sanchez's court now, as well, especially since he went after NewsBusters for not calling him before we took the "cheap shot" at him). The Post's Brigid Schulte returned to the scene of her incomplete story and provided the driver’s perspective in her Thursday article, "Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message."
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Catching up with an HBO sports documentary which ran several times in March: ‘Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals,’ painted Boston Celtics basketball star Larry Bird as the victim of a racist national milieu exacerbated by President Ronald Reagan -- a formulation which relied on the expert assessment of a journalist who a few years ago contended that if only Senator Ted Kennedy hadn’t killed her, he “would have brought comfort...in her old age” to Mary Jo Kopechne. Over video zooming in on Reagan at his Oval Office desk, HBO’s narrator intoned:
But as Magic enjoyed his image as a crossover star, it was Bird, the one-time great white hope, who had further emerged as the polarizing racial figure due in part to that era's increasingly conservative political climate.
Then, the Boston Globe’s Charles Pierce argued “the triumph of the movement” that supposedly “rolled back” civil rights “took place in the 1980s” and that caused “sublimated frustration” amongst black Americans “and I think one of the ways it got sublimated was into basketball” with Bird catching those “lingering resentments.” On screen as Pierce spoke, this New York Times headline:
STUDY SAYS BLACKS HAVE LOST GROUND Finds Reagan's Policies Have Hurt the Poor and Imperil Emerging Middle Class
On the eve of The Masters, tournament host and Augusta National chairman Billy Payne delivered a surprise public lecture to golfer Tiger Woods, giving New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey a chance to again make liberal political hay from Augusta's immaculate green fairway in Thursday's "Thanks for the Tasteless Sermon."
They are worse than we knew.
The people who run the Masters are not just stubborn rich guys who don't want female members cluttering up their precious fairways, although that is bad enough.
During a fawning segment on a busy day of presidential traditions for Barack Obama, on Monday's CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith used the commander in chief's embarrassing pitch at the Washington Nationals opening game to tout ObamaCare: "If there had been a batter he might have been hit, but we are assured by the White House he would have been covered by the new health care reform law."
After showing a clip of the Obama's flubbed throw, Smith remarked: "Whoops." He then added: "In the broadcast booth, the President got a chance to analyze his performance on the mound." A clip was played of the President admitting: "This is heart breaking right here. You know, I was a little disappointed with the pitch, it was high and outside. I was intentionally walking the guy."
The segment began with Smith describing the annual White House Easter Egg Roll that morning: "Some 30,000 moms, dads, and kids from all 50 states crowded on to the South Lawn for a day of fun and games....The Obamas put their own special imprint on the event today, focusing on healthy, active living."
Smith also mentioned how "the President put on a basketball clinic for the kids." Perhaps the Early Show co-host was reminded of his own "basketball clinic" with the President, following an interview on Thursday in which Smith pitched worse softballs than Obama.
In addition to the softball interview CBS's Harry Smith conducted with President Obama on Thursday, the Early Show co-host also played some one-on-one with the commander in chief on the White House basketball court, declaring on Friday's show: "it's not just talk, there's a little action too, as we bring in Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports to check out the President's basketball skills." [Audio available here]
In honor of Good Friday, at the top of show, Smith used some religious language to describe where the game took place: "This is the sanctum sanctorum....I'm not sure anybody has ever really been down there with cameras before." Meanwhile, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pretended that Smith actually conducted a hard interview: "you ask him all the tough questions...Does he then proceed to take it out on you on the basketball court?"
At one point in the game, Smith jokingly asked the President: "the question is – that everybody wants to know, can you go to your right?" Obama replied: "I can go to my right, but I prefer my left." Smith laughed gleefully in response. Rodriguez remarked that it was Obama's "comfort zone."
Watch the latest business video at &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;quot;&amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;Curt Schilling is finding out that starting a small business in the state of Massachusetts is more taxing than 50,000 heckling Yankee fans could ever be.
Schilling and wife Shonda were interviewed on Fox Business Network's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" March 26. After discussing Shonda's health problems and their son's Asperger's Syndrome Schilling shared his thoughts on politics and running a businesses in Massachusetts.
"You see the country moving into the wrong direction, and you're trying to get it moving in the other direction. What beyond Scott Brown are you doing now?" host David Asman asked.
"I own a company called 38 Studios, a gaming company which has now got me involved in politics on the state level in a way I never dreamed possible," Schilling said. "There's film and tax credits for the film industry around the country - around the world. The industry that I'm in was a $60 billion a year business last year."
Schilling explained his search for state help and the offers from other states and countries that entice business owners to leave Massachusetts.
CBS and NBC, which have delivered very friendly interviews with President Barack Obama (link below the jump to examples), on Wednesday night characterized Bret Baier's sit-down with Obama for the Fox News Channel as “contentious,” while ABC decided to devote nearly two minutes of World News (1:50) to Obama's college basketball tournament choices.
Anchor Diane Sawyer teased at the start of the March 17 newscast, “Top picks: Stream of consciousness as the Fan-in-Chief completes his college basketball bracket.”
On the NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell referred to the “contentious interview with Fox News.” Chip Reid, on the CBS Evening News, added a modifier as he saw “a very contentious interview.”
The ABC story on Obama's basketball picks consisted of highlights from corporate cousin ESPN's session with Obama as he filled out a big bracket chart, and World News included Obama's spelling challenge. “Should be an R in there,” ESPN's Andy Katz corrected Obama upon spotting how the President had misspelled “Syracuse” as “Sycacuse.”
Although yours truly emphatically does not approve of the stunt, I have to acknowledge that whoever pranked MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist Friday by pretending to be Team USA hockey goalie Ryan Miller (pictured at right) did the nation two small favors:
First, he embarrassed a network that seems incapable of being embarrassed by much of what its hosts and guests say on a daily basis.
Second, he kept Chris Matthews off the air for a precious few minutes, as Geist interrupted "Hardball" to conduct a brief make-up interview with the real Ryan Miller.
Chris Ariens has a brief story about the incident and Geist's real Miller time at Media Bistro's TV Newser site:
There was an embarrassing turn of events in Vancouver tonight.
According to ABC, CBS and NBC, an athlete involved in a three-month-old sex scandal is more newsworthy than a statement of principles signed by more than 80 conservative leaders.
Not just more newsworthy. The broadcast network morning shows devoted more than 30 minutes of coverage about Tiger Wood's statement to the press on his sexual "indiscretions" scheduled for Feb. 19. By contrast, the Feb. 17 signing of the Mount Vernon statement by 80 prominent conservative leaders received zero coverage. Both CBS and NBC sent camera crews to the event.
ABC provided the lion's share of the Tiger coverage, giving more than 17 minutes of airtime to the Woods story. A crisis management professional, a family therapist and two sports writers were brought on to speculate about the impact his expected apology would have on Woods' image and career, as well as the pros and cons of his wife Elin appearing alongside him.
Woods coverage on CBS clocked in at more than nine minutes while NBC, currently covering the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, gave Woods only four-and-a-half minutes.
In a Tuesday NBC Nightly News story, reporter Ron Mott actually acknowledged that the decision to use “environmentally friendly” ice resurfacing machines “that kept breaking down” had led to lengthy delays for speed skating competitions at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In the piece on problems at the games, Mott reported:
In the past two days, men's speed skating was slowed to a standstill because of poor ice conditions, further complicated by the environmentally friendly machines, used in place of the tried and true Zamboni, that kept breaking down. A Zamboni is being brought in from Calgary.
On USAToday.com, Tom Weir explained the malfunctions, “that delayed the women's 3,000 meters Sunday and which threatened to postpone the men's 500 Monday were unprecedented at Olympic speedskating,” and were caused by Canada putting “green” interests ahead of reliability:
The problems suffered by Olympia brand resurfacers brought into question the decision of the Vancouver Olympics to be as green as possible, and use electric-powered machines to groom the ice. To prevent further problems, a traditional, propane-powered Zamboni has been trucked in from Calgary.
On the eve of the Winter Olympics four years ago, Bryant Gumbel couldn't resist taking a racial shot at the Republican Party in a commentary at the end of his Real Sports magazine show on HBO. The former NBC and CBS morning news host concluded by telling viewers that as for the Winter Olympic games, “count me among those who don't like 'em and won't watch 'em.”
He condescendingly suggested viewers “try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.”
Gumbel's remarks came on the February of 2006 edition of Real Sports, a monthly sports news magazine show which includes Bernard Goldberg amongst its correspondents. It first aired on Tuesday night, February 7, a few days before the Olympics opened in Torino, Italy.
People around the world view Canada as “very hip” because of its “progressive” health care and environmental policies, actor/impersonator Martin Short contended in a soundbite featured in a Thursday NBC Nightly News story looking at how, on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canadians perceive themselves.
In his story, NBC reporter Kevin Tibbles, a native of Canada, also aired a clip from Morton Weinfeld, of Montreal's McGill University, who asserted: “Canada is this peaceable kingdom. It's this decent place. Decency is not that exciting.” Short (IMDb page), a Saturday Night Live veteran now starring on FX's Damages, declared:
As a Canadian, when I travel the world I find that people find being Canadian to be very hip because we have been progressive in health care, and we have been progressive in environmental issues. And I think that we now wear that with great pride.
CNN’s Carol Costello bizarrely claimed on Friday’s American Morning that the upcoming Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother is the “culmination of a brilliant marketing strategy by the anti-abortion movement... [which] has quietly found a way to rebrand itself as hip...and feminist.” Costello also misrepresented pro-lifers as people who regularly call women who abort “baby-killers.”
The correspondent made her claim at the beginning of her report: “Have you heard? Tim Tebow is doing an ad that will run in the Super Bowl. This morning, I’d like to actually step back from the issue itself and break it down another way. Some say this is the culmination of a brilliant marketing strategy by the anti-abortion movement. It has quietly found a way to rebrand itself as hip, modern, and- yes, feminist.”
After playing two clips from Gary Schneeberger from Focus on the Family, which paid for the Tebow ad, Costello noted that “[a]lthough the ad has inflamed some women’s groups, it’s a far different message than in years past, back when the politically-powerful Reverend James Dobson was Focus on the Family’s face.” The CNN correspondent singled-out a 2008 sound bite from Dobson, where he expressed his grief over the human toll of abortion: “It just grieves me greatly of how the blood of maybe 46, 48 million babies who have been aborted cries out to God from the ground.”
NFL FanHouse writer Dan Graziano tried to sound concerned in his Feb. 4 column about the collaboration of Tim Tebow and Focus on the Family for a pro-life Super Bowl ad. It quickly became apparent, however, that Graziano's main point was to vilify Focus on the Family.
"Tebow must be careful as he moves from the world of collegiate athletics, where he was an unassailable hero, to that of professional sports, where he'll be a target," wrote Graziano. "He's going to have to make good decisions about the people with whom he surrounds and aligns himself. And in this case, by lining up with the group behind the controversial ad, Tebow has made a poor decision."
Graziano claimed Focus on the Family "conned" Tebow and used his stance on abortion "as the hook and reeled him in for use in the proliferation of all aspects of their agenda" because he is "ready-made superstar who wears his religious faith unapologetically on his eye black." He concluded that "Tebow is being used by a special-interest group whose mission is to compel people to think and live according to its rules and beliefs."
Verne Lundquist, closet Republican? The sports announcer got in a bit of good-natured trash talking while interviewing Pres. Obama during this afternoon's game between Duke and Georgetown in DC that PBO attended. In a basketball-politics double entendre, Lundquist asked the left-handed Obama "do you have any problems at all going to your right?"
When the president made his way to the announcers table during the second half, he, Lundquist and Clark Kellogg engaged in some b-ball banter. At the very end, an obviously nervous Lundquist hit PBO with his cheeky question.
The Super Bowl is a cultural phenomenon. It’s not only watched by godzillions of people worldwide, it’s the only televised broadcast where the audience tunes in not just for the game, but for the commercials. The top-dollar, high-profile advertising space has led to some unforgettable commercials over the years.
Sometimes the ad is so remarkable it becomes a word-of-mouth sensation before it even airs, before anyone has even seen it. It’s happened again this year.
CBS has decided to accept an ad from a politically involved group and caused a firestorm with the radical Left because that group is proudly Christian.
The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family plans to air a commercial featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will tell the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of "choice." Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.
'Ya just gotta love BDSers (those with Bush Derangement Syndrome). Their hatred is so intense that it causes them to get even the most elementary of facts wrong. In this case, it's sports guy Filip Bondy of the NY Daily News, writing about this past Sunday's NFC Championship game in New Orleans:
If you needed further proof of this [New Orleans racial] divide, then it came during a pregame introduction of former President Bush. Once pilloried for his approach to the Katrina catastrophe in 2005, Bush was heartily cheered at the Superdome - which tells you all you need to know about the crowd's demographics.
David Shuster has left no doubt on what side he comes down in the debate over the planned airing of a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl. Sponsored by Focus on the Family, the ad tells the story of how Pam Tebow ignored medical advice to have an abortion, and instead gave birth to Tim, who of course went on to become a legendary college football player and inspiration to millions for his faith and character.
On MSNBC this afternoon, Shuster hosted a segment on the issue bringing together Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life and Erin Matson of NOW. Dr. Yoest was no more than a few seconds into her defense of the ad when Shuster began shouting at her.
It was NOW/Shuster united against Yoest, but she handled it as deftly as, well, a Gator receiver beating a double-team to catch a TD pass from . . . Tim Tebow.
Told ya so. When reports first surfaced a few weeks ago that Focus on the Family was planning to run a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl broadcast featuring University of Florida quarter back Tim Tebow, the Culture & Media Institute predicted liberals would be upset.
Like clockwork, an article in the Huffington Post on Jan. 25 reported that "a national coalition of women's groups" that includes the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority is demanding that CBS reconsider its plans to run the ad.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner who led the Gators to an NCAA championship, is a famously outspoken Christian noted for wearing Bible verses on his game day eye-black. He is also a walking pro-life story: the Super Bowl ad will relate how Tim's mother, against the advice of doctors, carried him to term in a dangerous pregnancy while on a church mission to the Philippines.
The story behind Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's arrival into this world is remarkable.
So-called "women's groups" would seem to prefer that as many Americans as possible not know the story about the courageous and faith-based decision Tebow's mother made to carry her pregnancy to term. That's the only plausible reason why they are opposing a 30-second Focus on the Family (FOTF) ad scheduled to air during the Super Bowl. So far, it seems that CBS, which will air the Super Bowl on February 7, seems disinclined to buckle.
David Crary's coverage of the story at the Associated Press (from which the photo at the top right was obtained) labels FOTF "conservative," but does not apply any descriptive label to the "women's groups" objecting to the ad.
As you'll see in the final excerpted paragraph, Crary's coverage included an over-the-top statement from the objectors: