"Has the non-negotiable stance and rhetoric against abortion rights strayed from the Scripture’s call to choose life and led to a grave disrespect for life even inside our houses of worship?"
So asks Chicago Tribune religion reporter/blogger Manya Brachear in a June 1 The Seeker blog post, headlined "Is abortion inevitable consequence of abortion debate?" It followed in the wake of the May 31 shooting of abortionist George Tiller. Tiller, an usher at Wichita's Reformation Lutheran Church, was shot during the Sunday service there.
"Has the quest to save lives robbed people of their humanity," Brachear asks in concluding her story. Nowhere in her article, however, did she look at the other side of the coin and wonder if the rhetoric of abortion rights activists leads inevitably to the moral legitimization of infanticide.
Blago and Burris, Sitting in a tree, But they'd rather we not know their political party.
There has been yet another revelation about contacts between Democratic President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate successor, Democrat Roland Burris and former Illinois Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich over Blago's pre-Senate appointment, uh, deliberations. A released FBI audio recording reveals that Burris offered to make a campaign contribution to Blago as he lobbied to be selected.
This news has brought on yet another wave of stories that fail to tell us what party Blago and Burris belong to.
The Washington Post is the only publication that identified the party of both men in the course of reporting their story. The Post's Peter Slevin and Perry Bacon Jr. also identified the Democratic Party affiliation of the Senate Ethics Committee's Barbara Boxer:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Sunday that ideological conservatives, particularly radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, have gained a hold over the Republican Party that risks driving the GOP into an extended exile from power.
Powell cast his warnings in unusually personal terms as he answered recent charges from two champions of the Republican right -- Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney -- that he was no longer a Republican.
"Rush will not get his wish, and Mr. Cheney was misinformed," said Powell, whose resume includes work as military adviser to President Ronald Reagan, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush's Cabinet. "I am still a Republican."
Obviously, the "far right voices" referenced in the piece's headline are those of Limbaugh and Cheney.
If Rush Limbaugh is on the far right, surely MSNBC's Rachel Maddow qualifies to be characterized as far left. Yet only last month, the Tribune carried an article from the Los Angeles Times (another Tribune newspaper) that asked this burning question about Maddow:
As Geoffrey Dickens reported earlier, Chris Matthews attacked Goveror Sarah Palin for hiring a ghostwriter for her upcoming book deal. In like fashion, Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune's The Swamp Blog has also gotten into Laugh-at-Palin's-book mode and you can bet that this will be the scoff du jour among the left-media. But, the thing that proves the Old Media's hypocrisy and partisanship is this "collaborator" angle. The media are going nuts that Palin is working with what is essentially a ghostwriter -- though an upfront one, not a hidden one -- and acting as if this is somehow unusual. But it simply is not.
Few politicians that have books published under their name ever themselves put pen to paper. Politicians are generally not writers and it is completely common that they hire actual writers to do the heavy lifting of composing their book. But here is both Matthews and Silva acting as if Palin is the only one ever to do it.
It's bound to be mostly lost in the mainstream media thanks to swine flu and the Obama 100 days hype, but Richard Phillips testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. In doing so, the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama called on lawmakers to open the way for at least some merchant sailors to be armed as part of a comprehensive anti-piracy policy that includes more military escorts.
The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva has the story in an April 30 post in that paper's "The Swamp" blog. Silva reports that Phillips has a moderate stance on arming civilian crews -- he wants only the four most senior ranking officers aboard a given ship armed -- and that Phillips hopes for a greater U.S. Navy presence in escorting and protecting U.S. merchant vessels (emphases mine):
"First, I believe it is the responsibility of our government to protect the United States, including U.S.-flag vessels that are by definition an extension of the United States, their U.S. citizen crews, and our nation's worldwide commercial assets.
"So, it follows then that the most desirable and appropriate solution to piracy is for the United States government to provide protection, through military escorts and/or military detachments aboard U.S. vessels. That said, I am well aware that some will argue that there is a limit to any government's resources - even America's.
It's a response that might incite laughter, as it did from conservative pundit Monica Crowley and MSNBC paleocon talker Pat Buchanan. According to Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, the current problems facing the country and President Barack Obama are due to capitalism.
"I give him a B+ because there's a lot of outcomes that haven't come in yet," Clift said. "But look, this isn't about the failure of government and the Republicans are on the wrong tact talking about big government. This is a failure of capitalism. He's trying to save capitalism."
One hundred forty-four years after his assassination, Chicago Tribune religion blogger Manya Brachear hacked out an 11-paragraph post on how "Lincoln's death had sacred significance," according to some historians and Lincoln biographers.
"Harold Holzer, co-chair of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, said the Good Friday assassination earned Lincoln a permanent place in American mythology," Brachear noted in her April 14 post, before quoting Holzer's argument at length.
But no Lincoln story in the mainstream media is complete without an Obama tie-in, and Brachear made sure to deliver, again quoting Holzer:
Today's Chicago Tribune, taking a cue from its hero Barack Obama, gave bracketeering a try. The contenders, all former Illinois and Louisiana public officials, were selected for a smackdown to determine the most disgraceful.
The rivals from Louisiana were former Governors Huey Long and Edwin Edwards, former Congressman William "Refrigerator" Jefferson, and former New Orleans City Council president Oliver Thomas (identified as Thomas Oliver by the newspaper.). Weighing in from Illinois were former Governors George Ryan and Milorad "Call Me Rod" Blagojevich, former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, and former Chicago alderman Arenda Troutman.
The Trib gave the nod to Edwin Edwards, although I think the competition was marred by not having an Illinois Daley in the competition. Setting that aside, what was interesting is the Tribune didn't mention party affiliation in its bracketeering. Seven of the eight contenders, or 87.5 percent, were Democrats. Gee, what a surprise.
Several talk show hosts (like Laura Ingraham) were exposing the faked Democratic ignorance of the AIG bonuses just like Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass did on Sunday:
What they're trying to drown out with all their screaming is that the Democrats knew all about the $165 million to the AIG suits. And the Obama White House knew all about it too.
In fact, it was a rather brave New York Democrat, Rep. Joseph Crowley, who asked Geithner about the AIG bonuses in a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. Not yesterday, or a couple days ago, but on March 3.
"Just last month," Crowley told Geithner, "AIG paid 343 employees of AIG FP—their Financial Products division that created the financial hole that AIG is in, and in turn a multibillion-dollar bill for American taxpayers—$56 million in bonuses and are slated to pay an additional $162 million in bonuses to 393 participants in the coming weeks," Crowley said.
For the Chicago Tribune, Romney supporter turned Obama man Douglas Kmiec indulged in quite a litany of name-calling, finger pointing and demagoguery against the GOP that would have been amazing from the same man only one year ago. Hopefully questioning "The Death of the GOP," Kmiec has shown that he no longer cares much how he is viewed, going full Democrat Partisan at this point.
In his Tribune article, Kmiec outrageously says that Republicans don't care about "helping" the country, that they denigrate the "values, hopes and planning of others," and have "no interest in family, work or neighborhood." After heaping such calumny onto the GOP, he then does further damage to poor Mitt Romney by happily reminding us that Romney is a "flip flopper" that should join the Obama administration. Some friend he is!
That's how Chicago Tribune religion blogger Manya Brachear began her Feb. 11 The Seeker blog post, practically considering the Pope to be another politician who must watch out for how his PR blunders affect his poll numbers (emphasis mine):
Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI quelled concerns last week regarding the excommunication of a Holocaust denier, he caused another stir closer to home. He reportedly tapped a bishop who once described Hurricane Katrina as God’s punishment for sin and debauchery in New Orleans.
According to the Times of London, Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, an ultraconservative parish priest at Windischgarsten in Austria, published his theory of divine retribution in his parish newsletter four years ago.
The biggest story in local broadcast news Monday night had well-known names, controversy, plenty of TV reporters on the scene—and it didn't air on a single station that night.
WMAQ-Ch. 5 lead anchor Warner Saunders accused former Chicago Sun-Times TV/radio columnist Robert Feder of bias at the local American Federation of Television and Radio Artists chapter's annual meeting, where Feder was a guest.
We have here a classic case of liberal bias in the Old Media. It isn't as dramatic as may others that we have seen since The One came onto the national scene, but it is the sort of bias that has been endemic in the Old Media for a very long time. In a February 1 story in the Chicago Tribune, we find the old trick of naming a think tank as a source, but not mentioning that it is a liberal think tank, yet also citing a second group that is, however, labeled as a "conservative" think tank.
This sort of bias is very common in the Old Media. How it works is that the liberal think tank is cited as a source for some statistic or claim but that think tank is not labeled as a liberal group. This way the reader sees the liberal group's advice or stats as unbiased or straight. Then the media will give a counter claim by the conservative think tank. But the conservative group is labeled as a conservative think tank so that the reader is led to be wary of that group's stats or advice because they are biased.
In this way, the Old Media outlet in question can claim they've been "balanced" and were giving "both sides" of the story while still leaning the story to the left and attempting to discredit the right. It's a typical smoke screen of leftward bias that is an old stand by for the liberal media establishment.
But I'm being coy here. We all know what people mean when they say Obama is a "literary" president—and, sadly, it has less to do with our widely beloved new leader than it does with the apparently unloved man he replaced: George W. Bush. Bush became the poster president for the non-literary set, for people who not only don't read, but also seem to be rather proud of not reading. Reading, to certain people, is classified as a sort of prissy, fussy, sissified activity, equivalent to daydreaming or lollygagging. It's a sign of elitism. Of having too much leisure time and too little drive.
Yet shortly before Bush left office, his closest adviser—Karl Rove, now a columnist for the Wall Street Journal—made a shocking revelation: Bush, it turns out, reads. He reads a lot. Two books a week, in fact. That, anyway, is the claim.
That George W. Bush reads would be a "shocking revelation" only to someone whose bias is so pervasive that he - or in this instance, she - spent little time researching the question.
A group that "celebrate[s] the inherent goodness of adolescent sexuality" and calls for clergy to "speak out against... coercive parental notification and consent for reproductive health services" has just released a study that concludes by calling on American theological seminaries to go over the birds and bees with their students.
Yet in reporting on the study by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear failed to label the group as liberal or to find conservative theologians to dispute its arguments. [Click here for our archive on Brachear]
A bureaucrat serving under Obama Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan spent $70,000 on espresso machines for Chicago's school system, according to a January 7 report in the Chicago Tribune. Of course, Duncan's name was not mentioned and his ties to the incoming presidential administration were left out of the 13-paragraph story:
One Chicago Public Schools manager must have really been jonesing for a cup of coffee when officials say she spent nearly $70,000 of the district's money to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for a high school program.
But five months after the machines were purchased, 22 remained unopened, one disappeared and three were being used at two schools—though not in the culinary arts program for which they were intended, the district's inspector general said Tuesday.
Officials in a department dealing with work-school programs allegedly separated the purchases to make them appear they came from 21 different schools and were under $10,000.
In the sheer exhilaration of the impending Age of Obama, it's understandable that some stories are overlooked. One that might not be considered newsworthy is the fact that last year homicides in Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago substantially exceeded the number of deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. As the AP itself reported:
According to a tally by The Associated Press, at least 314 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq in 2008, down from 904 in the previous year.
Rupert Murdoch has his critics - from those who think his papers are too tabloid-ish - The Sun, The New York Post - to those who find his cable television networks too right-leaning for their tastes. And back in 2007, there was a fear that his purchase of The Wall Street Journal would result in a hybrid of his newspapers and his cable news channels.
However, a year after Murdoch's acquisition, Newsweek senior editor and financial columnist Daniel Gross said he thought Murdoch has actually improved the Journal.
"I think it's worked out quite well for him," Gross said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" Dec. 16. "He owns one of the best newspapers around. They remade the Journal. The front section is a great kind of political, global coverage."
"I think the journalists - I never thought I would say this - the journalists are quite lucky to be working for Murdoch in this type of environment. You could be working for a company that was owned by Sam Zell or one of his publicly held newspapers."
Looks like we can possibly thank our meddling media for another possibly bungled investigation, this time over the selling of Barack Obama's Senate seat by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojavich. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune was working with Fitzgerald's office on the investigation but decided to stop doing so in favor of printing the sensational story they were sitting on. This forced the arrest early so that the paper wouldn't blow the whole investigation.
The story everyone thought they knew was that Fitzgerald moved when he did to stop a crime about to be committed. But, the WSJ reports that this isn't the case. Apparently the WSJ found that members of Fitzgerald's team wanted to let things roll for a little while longer so that they could catch the actual selling of the Senate seat with Governor Blagojevich, his facilitators and who ever was going to try to buy the seat all on the tape at once. But, the Chicago Tribune informed the prosecutors that they wouldn't wait any longer to put off publishing their story on the investigation. Once the Trib reported on the investigation, it was over for Fitzgerald and his folks for the investigative phase of the case.
In another ridiculously lionizing report, the Chicago Tribune has capitalized on the silly 1998 claim by Toni Morrison that Bill Clinton was the "first black president" by finding an Obama sycophant that is claiming Barack Obama is the "first Jewish president." Will this nonsense ever cease?
Sadly, the report barely mentions the anti-Israel stances that Barack is taking much less the many close Obama associates, advisers and transition team members that are virulently anti-Jew. The piece does mention terror cheerleader Rashid Khalidi, but does not mention folks like Susan Power and Hamas booster Robert Malley, both on Obama's foreign policy team. Any anti-Jewish sentiment that Obama has thus far shown in policy ideas and associates was given little notice by this Trib article in favor of the Jews pushing for The One.
But, this "first Jewish president" claim is the central foolishness here. In fact, to use Toni Morrison's example is not even an apropos comparison. In 1998, Morrison wasn't lauding Clinton as a "black" man as if he was the perfect representative of her fellows politically. It was no honorific.
The latest message being promoted by the mainstream media echo chamber is that Rod Blagojevich is insane. They just can't seem to face the fact that Blagojevich is a product of the same corrupt Democrat Chicago political machine which Barack Obama belongs to so they have recently begun actively promoting the idea of Blagojevich as some sort of totally irrational loon even to the extent of pointing out his well-groomed hair as evidence of his mental illness. Fortunately, Chicago Tribune writer John Kass has provided a reality check on this MSM silliness with his article titled "By Chicago standards, Blagojevich isn't crazy.":
When it comes to Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Dead Meat), many national TV talking heads can't resist playing amateur psychiatrist.
"He's crazy," said one talking head of our governor. "A sociopath!" said another. "He should have been put in a straitjacket, not handcuffs," said a third, all of them diagnosing Blagojevich as cuckoo.
Liberal-leaning Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn is tired of politicians -- Democratic and Republican -- declaring that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest was a "sad day" for Illinois.
The sad day, rather, was Wednesday, when Blago returned to work:
[I]n statement after statement, our gloomy pols were keening as though a great leader had fallen or an important factory had closed.
Perhaps this was their acknowledgment of the severity of the charges and the depths of the alleged betrayal of the people. Perhaps they felt it would be undignified to pump their fists and say "Yessssss!" as many of the rest of us did.
But look. There have been many sad days in Illinois political history.
The days when elected officials have pocketed kickbacks, payoffs and bribes, for instance.
We've already seen how the media is covering up for Barack Obama to the extent of removing any information on the web that would show he met with Rod Blagojevich recently as chronicled by NewsBusters editor Tom Blumer. And now we have evidence that Jesse Jackson, Jr. "misspoke" when he claimed yesterday that the meeting he had with Monday Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was the first time the two had met in four years. It turns out that there is a video of a sobbing Jesse Jackson, Jr. embracing Blagojevich just last August at a breakfast of the Illinois delegation to the Democrat Nation Convention in Denver. Here is how the incredibly surreal hugfest was covered by the Chicago Tribune:
Let's hug it out
An emotional Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. touched off a surreal hugfest among bickering top Illinois Democrats meeting at a convention delegation breakfast, all in the name of party unity and Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid. Here's the tale of the tape:
Today's Chicago Tribune boasts an interview with Barack Obama. Carried in both the print and Web editions, the latter version is headlined: "Barack Obama plans to reach out to Muslim world: In exclusive interview, he says he plans to be sworn in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama"
The article begins:
Barack Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for the U.S. to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to deliver in an Islamic capital.
And when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he plans to be sworn in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.
The problem with this is it's not accurate. Not every president has taken the oath "using his full name" and the Chicago Tribune should have so informed its readers. Of the last six presidents, three didn't use their full names: Gerald R. Ford,Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
Vice President for the Business & Media Institute, Dan Gainor, spoke with Gretchen Carlson, host of "America's News HQ," about the decline of media and particularly newspapers.
"The model for media in general is not working. We had a great model for a long time for networks, great model for print, nobody's been able to come up with a way to deal with the internet and make a ton of cash just yet," Gainor said on the Fox News broadcast Dec. 9.
Gainor noted the advertising troubles of print media in particular -- advertising is down 9 percent.
"So you've got newspapers around the country shedding jobs. They predicted 43,000 newspaper jobs lost in the last couple years. That's devastating an industry," Gainor said.
Promise, or threat? John Harwood declares "the New York Times isn't going anywhere." The Times correspondent, who also toils for CNBC, made his unconditional claim on today's Morning Joe in response to Joe Scarborough's envisioning of a future in which major news organizations, including the Times, might disappear. Scarborough was concerned that the public would be deprived of the media's investigative function.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The problem is, though, that these people are all being fired. So what are we going to do without a New York Times or a Washington Post or an NBC News? The investigators that hold government accountable.
That's when Harwood sprang to his employer's defense.
If it's Sunday, it must be worship time at the Temple of Obama, at least at the Chicago Tribune. Today the top of the front page has a picture of Barack and Michelle embracing. The headline is: "White House romances: Obamas' affection is notable among presidential pairs." Page 4 carries the story, also shown on the Trib's Web site with the headline "Scenes from Obamas' love story." We learn:
Over the last two years the future first couple has made a practice of sharing such small, intimate moments on the grandest of stages, whether trading fist bumps, whispering "I love you" or stealing quick kisses on the campaign trail.
The Obamas' unabashed affection for each other suggests they could become the one of the most engaging sets of lovebirds in White House history. Though the home has known many deeply committed couples (as well as some infamously uncommitted), few were as young, attractive or willing to put their passion on public display.
Both of Chicago's major dailies have sold out editions containing special "commemorative" sections devoted to Barack Obama. Judging by today's Chicago Tribune, perhaps the strategy is to push out an Obama commemorative issue every day.
The top half of the front page includes a huge color photo of a smiling Obama in a Chicago deli yesterday, a color picture of Obama with one of his daughters, and a color shot of a Chicago crowd watching Obama's motorcade speed by. "At home: A brief taste of normalcy" is the accompanying story and it notes:
On Friday, he made time to leave the office briefly to pick up a corned beef sandwich and cherry pie from Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli, a favorite spot for Chicago politicians.
"I'm just glad to be out," Obama said amid applause and shouts of congratulations from surprised diners.
Yet the roughly 15-minute stop seemed more designed to provide a media photo opportunity—the first in nearly a week—than to let the president-elect step out for some fresh air.
As Barack Obama appears to be appointing less than totally pro-surrender officials to his inner circle, far leftists are feeling constrained in their criticism by Obama Mania.
A Los Angeles Times article by Paul Richter with an amusing title ("Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet") notes that Obama has appointed or is considering many people who originally supported the war in Iraq (this apparently automatically makes them "hawks").
Richter's hawkish characterization of the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton, Vice-president Elect Joe Biden, and John Kerry is inadvertently amusing to any reader who has followed the machinations in Washington since the 110th Congress began in January 2006.
Richter goes to one peace activist, Kevin Martin, to "prove" that Obama is a "centrist." But in the process, as noted in my bold, we see an antiwar zealot acknowledge that Obama Mania has gone over the top: