Comedians often pride themselves on being irreverent, and in today's popular culture a favorite thing to ridicule is religion. The network Comedy Central has made laughing at religion its bread and butter. Their irreverence has limits, however, and it has nothing to do with taste. When radical Muslims wrote ominously online that the creators of "South Park" could end up like Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh - shot eight times on the street - mockery of Muhammed was formally and publicly censored.
Within weeks of that very public retreat, Comedy Central announced plans to work up a series laughing at Jesus Christ called "JC," a half-hour animated show about Jesus trying to live a normal life in New York City to escape the "enormous shadow" of his "powerful but apathetic father." God the Father is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ is the "ultimate fish out of water."
Beyond the glaring double standard there is this question: Where is the market demand for an entire television series dedicated to attacks on Jesus Christ? What did Jesus Christ do to Comedy Central that they must relentlessly mock Him by portraying him defecating and talking about his "yummy, yummy crap" on "South Park" and roast him on specials titled "Merry F--ing Christmas"? Why the visuals of Jesus Christ being stabbed to death? Of the Blessed Virgin Mary menstruating? To call these attacks "juvenile" is an insult to juveniles.
NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on WMAL's "Grandy Group" shortly after 8 a.m. this morning.
The Media Research Center President discussed the media's anti-Israel bias flaring up afresh after the Gaza flotilla incident (click image at right for MP3 audio):
FRED GRANDY, host: You follow this more closely than do I. Um, over the last three or four days, has al-Jazeera acquired NBC, CBS, ABC, all the major outlets, because it seems there's such a clear media bias against what Israel did that it's hard for the truth to get out. Who ever thought that Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden would be the two guys speaking truth to power on this?!
BRENT BOZELL: You know, it's very sad but this is a continuation of a narrative we've seen since the late 1980s with the intifadas that Palestine was launching against Israel where Palestine was always the innocent one and Israel was always the aggressor. You've got to put the story into context.
"Don't you think you're jumping the gun a little bit? I mean, the show's not even on the air."
That's how MSNBC's Contessa Brewer opened her June 3 interview with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who appeared via satellite to discuss his work with the newly-formed Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) to get advertisers on Viacom's Comedy Central to publicly pledge to not support or underwrite a show currently in pre-production entitled "JC" for Jesus Christ. For full disclosure, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell is a founding member of CARB.
"Just playing devil's advocate here, because I am the daughter of a Baptist preacher, don't you think Jesus Christ is tough enough to withstand it?" Brewer prodded Lapin. After all, "he's a big guy," Brewer argued. [MP3 audio available for download here; WMV video for download here]
Given the irreverent and downright blasphemous treatment Jesus Christ and God have gotten at the hands of "South Park" and Sarah Silverman, Brewer later asked Lapin, in all seriousness, "What if this turns out to be more like a Sunday School lesson than the worst imaginings of you and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and on and on?"
NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and five other members of the Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) coalition will hold a tele-news conference tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. EDT to ask advertisers on Viacom's Comedy Central to publicly pledge to not support/underwrite a show currently in pre-production. The show is entitled "JC" - as in Jesus Christ.
[More information on how to join the call-in appears below the page break]
Joining Bozell on the call will be Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, syndicated radio host Michael Medved, Catholic League president Bill Donohue, Parents Television Council president Tim Winter, and Rabbi Daniel Lapin of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.
For the conference call, Bozell will unveil an exclusive, four-minute video mash-up of some of the network's many offensive clips referencing Jesus Christ and God, as evidence of what we can most likely expect from "JC."
The CARB leaders will reconvene for another tele-press conference call on June 17th, to announce the names of the companies that have publicly pledged to not sponsor religious bigotry. And to discuss further action for those who fail to do so.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Viacom's Comedy Central is developing an animated show practically designed to offend Christians. But the network's handling of recent controversy over depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad illustrates a stark double standard in how the entertainment media deal with issues of religion.
Comedy Central announced it is developing the script for an animated show tentatively titled "JC." According to the network's release, the show is about Jesus Christ "wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow to live life in [New York City] as a regular guy." The announcement described God as "all-powerful yet apathetic" and said the show would be a "playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb."
The show promises to stand in sharp contrast to the network's treatment of another religious figure: Muhammad. In 2006, Comedy Central censored a segment of "South Park" that depicted Muhammad. In April of this year, the network added audio bleeps to the second of a two-part episode to cover any mention of the prophet, as well as an end-of-show speech about freedom of expression and giving in to intimidation. The first episode of the story arc featured Mohammad hidden inside a moving truck and a bear costume.
This censorship came in response to a threat from a radical Islamic website, based in the United States, which warned that "South Park" creators would face violent retribution for "insulting" Muhammad by featuring (although not showing him) on the episode.
In her book, Silverman attacks the Tea Party movement and "right-wing Americans," suggesting their efforts aren't for the sake of fiscal responsibility and the fear the country is headed toward an entitlement state, but instead - veiled racism. Silverman, who had her own run-in with Guy Aoki, president of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, for using the word "chink" in a joke, said his cause, to combat racism against Asians, is more difficult today because of this so-called camouflage.
Around the same time they were caving in to pressure to delete all Mohammed references from an episode of "South Park," the geniuses at Comedy Central posted an online video game containing truly staggering anti-Semitic images.
This abomination was originally called "I.S.R.A.E.L. Attack!" due to the lead character being a murderous robot named "I.S.R.A.E.L." -- "Intelligent Smart Robot Animation Eraser."
As the game opens, the villain says, "You lied to me, Jew Producer" (video follows with lots of commentary, h/t Weasel Zippers):
Dan Gainor, Vice-President of Business and Culture at the MRC, appeared on the May 7 broadcast of Fox News's "America Live" to discuss the double standard at Comedy Central when it comes to mocking religious figures.
Two weeks ago, Comedy Central banned "South Park" creators from mocking the prophet Mohammed because network executives didn't want to offend Muslim followers. This week, the network announced a new show, "JC," which according to the Hollywood Reporter, features Jesus Christ as a son "wanting to escape the shadow of his ‘powerful but apathetic father' and live a regular life in New York City."
Gainor told host Megyn Kelly that this newest program shows "how out of touch Comedy Central and Hollywood are" and that "Hollywood is running scared of radical Islam."
Guess who said this: "In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable." Nope, it wasn't Lenny Bruce or George Carlin. It was Comedy Central's head of original programming Kent Alterman, who was defending the network's new animated show, "JC," which centers on (read: mocks) Jesus Christ.
This, of course, is the same Comedy Central that two weeks ago forbade the show "South Park" from even speaking the name of the Muslim prophet Mohammed for fear of offending that faith's followers. So at Comedy Central, apparently, making people uncomfortable by poking fun at their beliefs is fine. Unless those people are Muslims.
This is nothing revelatory -- the double standard has existed at least since the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published depictions of Mohammed, sparking worldwide protests. But Comedy Central's unveiling of "JC" a mere 15 days after a heavily censored "South Park" episode went on air serves to drive home just how absurd and offensive to the values of a free society this double standard is.
People on the Left squawked in January when a poll was released finding Americans felt the Fox News Network was BY FAR the most trusted name in news.
On Sunday, the results of a new online survey were released by a liberal entity somewhat confirming the Public Policy Polling data NewsBusters shared with you earlier in the year.
According to the "60 Minutes"/Vanity Fair poll, when asked the question, "Which one of the following do you consider to be the most trustworthy source of daily news in the United States," 32 percent of respondents answered CNN and 29 percent said FNC.
It now makes total sense why so many liberal media members thought President Obama killed at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner.
Writers from the "Daily Show" helped craft the jokes.
Such was reported Sunday by the Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove.
Not surprisingly, Grove was amongst the fawning, gushing, swooning crowd attending the event given the superlatives present in his love letter to the President which he tellingly called "Obama Trounces Leno" (h/t Big Government):
Police are apparently investigating whether or not there is a link between threats to the creators of the hit cartoon series "South Park" and Saturday's failed car bomb attempt in New York's Times Square.
As NewsBusters reported a few weeks ago, Muslim extremists threatened the lives of Trey Parker and Matt Stone due to an episode featuring the prophet Mohammed dressed in a bear's suit.
Comedy Central caved to the pressure and eliminated all such references.
New York's Daily News reported Sunday there might be a link between those threats and what happened in Times Square the previous evening:
The Seattle cartoonist that created "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" has changed her request to "Everybody Draw Al Gore Day."
As readers are likely aware, Molly Norris last week published a cartoon calling for a nationwide protest over Comedy Central's decision to censor its two-part episode involving the prophet Mohammed:
Do your part to both water down the pool of targets and, oh yeah, defend a little something our country is famous for (but maybe not for long? Comedy Central cooperated with terrorists and pulled the episode) the first amendment.
On Thursday, Norris posted a video at her website explaining why she created the first cartoon, and directed her followers to instead take up a splinter campaign started by a group called "I Hate The Media!", namely "Everybody Draw Al Gore Day" (video follows with copies of both cartoons, h/t WaPo's Comic Riffs):
While the story of the South Park death threats may not specifically constitute bias in the media per say, it does highlight an embarrassing pattern that has sent Big Media the way of the dinosaur, and a disturbing pattern that has people kowtowing to aggressive threats from radical Islamists.
We'll start with the MSM. Zachary Chesser, or Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee as he is known on the Revolutionmuslim.com Web site that hosted his death threat, recently garnered serious attention from major networks such as CNN and Fox. But the fact remains that these networks only came upon Chesser after an egregious threat was made, and after several blogs had already covered it. And they certainly hadn't done their homework as the blogs had, documenting the history of his disturbing radical statements.
The Jawa Report has been able to highlight several instances of odd behavior from Chesser, including a statement regarding the recent plane crash that killed the President of Poland and his wife, along with 96 others. The statement, as highlighted here, includes a celebration of the tragedy:
On last night's "Daily Show," Jon Stewart noted the blatant censorship his employer Comedy Central exercised against its popular show "South Park" by banning it from showing, and even uttering the word "Mohammed" in this week's episode after a threat came forward from an Islamic group.
"The censorship was a decision Comedy Central made I think as a way to protect their employees from what they believe was any possible harmful repercussions to them," Stewart stated, adding, comically, that "after forcing many of these same employees to work on [Comedy Central shows] "Mind of Mencia" and "Crod Mandoon" … damage done. But again they sign the checks."
Stewart is one of the few left-leaning media figures to note a glaring double standard: in popular culture, religions of all kind are regularly mocked but Islam mostly gets a free pass. "Comedy Central decided to censor the episode. It's their right," Stewart stated. "We all serve at their pleasure." But his extensive recap of all of the religions the show has made fun of over the years was clearly a critique of Comedy Central's decision.
The elite gatekeepers of American pop culture huff and puff about freedom of speech. But when political correctness actually threatens that right, Hollywood's stalwart defenders of free expression are nowhere to be found.
Last night, Comedy Central gave into threats of violence against the creators of the animated sitcom "South Park" and not only censored the image of the Muslim prophet Muhammed -- as it had last week and in one previous episode -- but even censored every verbal mention of the the prophet's name (see the video below the fold).
The decision came days after a radical New York-based Muslim fundamentalist group warned that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show's creators, would be killed for supposedly mocking Muhammed.
Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg hit back at Jon Stewart today, saying the "Daily Show" host was "throwing spitballs at a battleship" by attacking the Fox News Channel.
The back-and-forth between Stewart and Goldberg began when the former leveled accusations of hypocrisy, claiming Goldberg criticized others for generalizing while doing so himself. Stewart responded to Goldberg's retort with a musical number presumably titled "Go F--k Yourself."
Goldberg said he had "no problem with what [Stewart] did last night," and was "flattered" that he "devoted half of his show last night to me." But Goldberg went on to call a group of Stewart's most devoted fans "sewer rats" for trolling his site with vulgarity during the past couple days, and told Stewart to "man up."
Comedian Jon Stewart Tuesday responded to Bernie Goldberg's criticism of "The Daily Show" host by performing a Gospel tune with the lyrics "Go f--k yourselves."
As a little background, Stewart last week went after Fox News and Goldberg ending the segment, "I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Go f--k yourselves."
This prompted a response from Goldberg on Monday's "O'Reilly Factor" wherein he accused Stewart of being "Jay Leno with a much smaller audience, but you get to say the f-bomb."
After a lengthy segment Tuesday addressing Goldberg's admonition -- which included the comedian actually admitting that there is liberal bias in the media!!! -- Stewart led a choir in vulgarity-laden song (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, song begins at 9:10, h/t Mediaite):
Bernie Goldberg on Monday accused Jon Stewart of being a gutless comedian that is much harder on Tea Partiers and Fox News personalities than liberal media members.
Appearing on "The O'Reilly Factor," Goldberg admitted that "The Daily Show" host was right when he said last week that FNC anchors and hosts often make generalizations about liberals.
But "when you had [New York Times columnist] Frank Rich on your show, who generalizes all the time about conservatives and Republicans being bigots," Goldberg said as if speaking directly to Stewart, "you didn't ask him a single tough question."
"You gave him a lap dance. You practically had your tongue down his throat."
The former CBS Newser continued, "You are just a safe, Jay Leno with a much smaller audience, but you get to say the f-bomb, which gives your incredibly unsophisticated audience the illusion, the illusion that you're courageous and that you're a renegade" (video follows with partial transcript, h/t The Right Scoop):
Believe it or not, CNN - the same CNN which has recently dismissed the Fort Hood terrorist as lonely, has featured a member of ‘Jihad U' as a teacher of the ‘nuts and bolts of Islam', and which has run three separate stories interviewing the father of radical jihadist, Anwar al-Awlaki - has actually taken interest in a jihadist threat of physical violence upon the creators of South Park.
It seems that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have raised the ire of a radical, pro-jihad Web site known as RevolutionMuslim.com, for the egregious crime of portraying the Prophet Mohammed disguised in a bear suit. A posting on the Web site does what most jihadists do - makes a direct threat and calls it a warning.
The outstanding citizens of RevolutionMuslim.com, an organization based in New York City, had this to say:
"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
Van Gogh was murdered partly because of another man's ‘religious conviction', and partly because of a controversial film he directed about the abuse of Muslim women.
The posting puts an exclamation point on the threat, by showing a photograph of Van Gogh's corpse with a knife driven into his chest, including the caption, "Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?"
There are other factors however that make this posting more than just a simple ‘warning' as the author states...
Liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow appeared on the Daily Show, Tuesday, to promote her new Timothy McVeigh special and to compare, "The dark side of it is that [McVeigh] really did see himself as part of an anti-government movement in the United States...And, right now, I think we are experiencing an upswing again in sort of anti-government extremism."
Maddow didn't go into detail about who, exactly, is encouraging this upswing. Ads for her April 19 special, The McVeigh Tapes, have touted that it will put "into perspective the threat posed by anti-government extremism." In a commercial for the spot, Maddow lectured, "We ignore this, our own very recent history of anti-government violence and the dangers of domestic terrorism, at our peril."
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert on Tuesday actually moderated a debate about global warming.
In fairness, it was less of a debate and more a vehicle for him to make fun of his guests Joe Bastardi of Accuweather and Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Regardless of the comedic intent on the part of the host, there were indeed some wonderful moments, in particular Bastardi pointing out that we're going to know in the next five to ten years whether there really is a connection between increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperatures (video follows with highlights and commentary):
Comedy Central takes joy in mocking the Catholic Church. (See "Merry F---ing Christmas" for one classic example.) The March 24 episode of South Park had the Eric Cartman character trash the church three times when he's asked questions he thinks are an obvious yes:
-- "Does the Pope help pedophiles get away with their crimes?"
-- "Is the Pope Catholic... and making the world safe for pedophiles?"
-- "Does a bear crap in the woods... and does the Pope crap on the broken lives and dreams of 200 deaf boys?"
The same spirit animated Jon Stewart's Catholic-bashing rants on the April 7 Daily Show, which dipped into the Middle Ages for mudslinging:
Everyone knowsFox isn't "the most trusted name in news," so who is? You guessed it - and at least one media tycoon agrees. Speaking at the University of Missouri as a guest-lecture, Craig Newmark - Craigslist founder and informal Obama technology-advisor - argued that Comedy Central is the most trustworthy news source.
Invited to discuss the future of journalism - where individuals virtually have an endless amount of resources in today's era of new media - Newark stressed how trust and credibility was paramount, emphasizing the exemplary dedication Comedy Central shows have for investigative reporting and fact-checking.
"[R]ight now I think the most trusted news show in the U.S. is the one that does the best investigative reporting and the most trustworthy reporting - and that's ‘The Daily Show,'" Newark said - and he wasn't joking. "Sounds like a joke - isn't."
Liberal comedian Jon Stewart featured a rare conservative voice on Tuesday's Daily Show, former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen. As he often does during the occasions he talks to right-leaning guests, Stewart turned combative, attacking Thiessen for "living in a selective world."
The ex-Bush aide appeared to promote his new book Courting Disaster, which defends and advocates for the administration's CIA's interrogation program. After Thiessen argued that the tactics stopped another terror attack in the U.S. after 9/11, Stewart lectured, "The bombings in Britain, the bombings in Afghanistan, the bombings in a Iraq. It's a selective world that you live in and you must be lovely to live there. Things are not so clear cut."
Comedian Jon Stewart actually called Sarah Palin a genius Wednesday.
As he reviewed her performance on the "Tonight Show" the previous evening, the "Daily Show" host said, "I don't say this to a lot of comics, especially new ones, but if you had a day job, you should quit it."
The Comedy Central star continued, "Her ability to do this well is just one more example of the genius of Sarah Palin: she can master anything."
Unfortunately, he was less pleased with Mitt Romney's performance on the "Late Show" the same evening: "I think Romney is always going to be Gore to Palin's Bush. He wants it more. He's worked harder for it. He looks the part. But he ain't gettin' it" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Right Scoop):