Though NewsBusters is normally in the business of critiquing the liberal media, not praising the conservative, I want to ensure that as many of our readers as possible have the pleasure and profit of reading Mark Steyn's recent column: We're in the fast lane to Bailoutistan.
With its mordant, don't-know-whether-to-laugh-or-cry take on our current fix, it's my nominee for best column of the year.
I urge you to read it all, and marvel at its insight and wit. Let me tempt you with a few morsels:
The UAW is AARP in an Edsel: It has three times as many retirees and widows as "workers" (I use the term loosely). GM has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to a million people.
The Terminator makes Gray Davis look like Calvin Coolidge. Care to terminate a government program, Governor? Hey, great idea! We'll hire 200 people to do an impact study on terminating the Department of Impact Study Regulation and get back to you in a decade.
In his December 19 blog post, "You too can be a spiritual dilettante," Get Religion contributor Douglas LeBlanc shared his bemusement with self-admitted atheist Sally Quinn's helpful suggestions to Newsweek/Washington Post's "On Faith" readers about interfaith dialogue. LeBlanc noted that Quinn gave her readers this assignment:
Try a new faith (or non-faith) for one day. That exploration can include attending a different place of worship or an event hosted by another faith tradition, discussing faith with someone whose views differ from your own, or inviting someone of a different faith to experience yours.
Then come back to the site and tell us about your experience. What did you learn? What surprised you? What bothered you? What would you like to know more about? How did you experience with another faith impact your understanding of or appreciation for that faith or for your own? Take a picture and share that too.
That's when LeBlanc turned on the snark, lambasting Quinn as out of touch with religious Americans who most certainly are politely engaged in theological conversations with friends, family and neighbors on a regular basis (emphasis mine):
While the media are fixated on the ire gay activists are directing at the president-elect for selecting Prop 8 proponent Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Obama inaugural, I've noticed little attention given to the fact that the man selected to give the benediction is pretty much the polar opposite of Warren on some key doctrinal matters related to homosexuality.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, a liberal United Methodist minister, has mostly been referred to in the media in connection to his work in co-founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, one of the key organizations in the civil rights movement. Yet freezing Lowery in time as an icon of the 1960s civil rights era doesn't do justice to his status as a vocal clerical advocate of same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.
Barack Obama doesn't mind a fight with gay activists over selecting Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration because the President-elect is bound and determined to govern as a centrist.
President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration has ignited a firestorm of criticism from the gay-rights community, where Warren is considered something of a sworn enemy.
Yet Obama’s response to a question about his selection of Warren seems to confirm one perception: that this is a fight that the president-elect isn’t necessarily sorry to be having.
It's hardly a secret that Chicago public schools chief executive Arne Duncan was the architect behind a failed plan to open a "gay-friendly" high school in the Windy City. But for some reason Washington Post staffer Maria Glod decided to keep that skeleton in the closet, leaving the fact out completely from her page A3 December 17 story, "Education Pick Is Called 'Down-to-Earth' Leader."
Glod set out in her 22-paragraph article to portray Duncan as an education reformed well-respected by both Democrats and Republicans and even garnering begrudging respect and even some allies among teachers unions and school bureaucrats who were at first wary of him.
The controvery over the proposed Social Justice Solidarity High School -- which was scrapped in a November 18 school board vote -- was completely left unmentioned although as Brad Haynes of the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reported yesterday:
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," the Left was found of reminding us again and again during the Bush administration, particularly after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. So now that Barack Obama is assuming office on January 20, surely patriotic liberal newspapers like the Washington Post will publish paid classified advertisements by conservatives that are critical of the soon-to-be-inaugurated President Obama, right?
Eh, not so much, reports FishbowlDC, noting that the fine print for the Washington Post's inaugural congratulations classifieds holds that "all ads must be congratulatory in nature" and that the Post "reserves the right to reject any notice."
The notices will appear in the January 20 dead tree edition as well as "online until President's Day."
One “very very very lonely calorie” uses poison, among other methods, to commit suicide in a PepsiCo advertising campaign in Germany that has been pulled amidst controversy over its horrific depictions.
The ad, aimed at generating sales for "Pepsi Max," the company’s one calorie drink, has drawn ire from people whose lives have been affected by suicide. Pepsi apologized to one woman via Twitter, a text message-based social networking service.
Politico announced a new partnership with Reuters on Monday that will provide political, government and business news from both organizations to newspapers across the United States.
In September, Politico launched the Politico Network, a partnership whereby member publications could run Politico content in print or online, while sharing in the profits from online advertisements.
Now, members of the Politico Network—which includes 60 newspapers and 40 broadcast outlets—will be able to run a broad selection of Reuters’ wire copy for free, while similarly sharing in the revenue from online advertising that’s sold by Politico.
And Reuters will distribute Politico stories worldwide through the news organization’s subscription-based wire service.
Nevermind that Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi would have been summarily executed had he even joked about throwing a shoe at then-Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein. To Newsweek, the "conventional wisdom" about Sunday's shoe-throwing incident merits a down-arrow for the outgoing U.S. president:
Bush: The shoe-hurling reporter was out of line. But many Iraqis shared the desire to vote with their feet.
Al-Zaidi is reported to have screamed at President Bush in Arabic, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog." It seems Newsweek approves of the sentiment.
Despite conservative grumblings of liberal bias, Internet behemoth Google has for years claimed its search engine exclusively uses algorithms to provide accurate and impartial results for those interested in finding out information concerning a particular subject.
Google's CEO Eric Schmidt affirmed this contention while speaking to a group of conservative bloggers during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this past September.
According to the British Register, such a digitally impartial procedure, assuming it indeed exists today, may at some time in the future be altered:
"I will say that when I started [at MSNBC] in 2003, nobody spoke to me for six months. I was a strange man in a strange land," Joe Scarborough is reported to have told Time magazine.
TVNewser's Steve Krakauer noted today that in an upcoming 10 Questions feature the "Morning Joe" host will share his thoughts about his network, which he sees, "right now" to be "a free marketplace of ideas where everybody's invited and opinions clash."
Scarborough added that "as long as I'm fair, I don't think there's a problem at all." There's no word, however, on if Scarborough thinks fairness is strived at by his colleagues Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.
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.
President-elect Barack Obama's transition website Change.gov is censoring questions offered by readers about disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Although the "Open for Questions" page was launched Wednesday stating "The Obama-Biden Transition wants to hear from you," readers have been quick to shelter the president-elect from inquiries relating to Blago.
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
CNN's Veronica De La Cruz is looking for biracial Americans planning on attending the Obama inauguration to potentially interview for a documentary project she is working on.
[Update: De La Cruz informed me that the documentary project is separate from her work at CNN]
Posted at her Twitter page a few minutes ago:
Re: Inauguration: If u know anyone who's going -- who is mixed race/ bi-racial and would be interested in being interviewed, pls contact me!
I'm sure De La Cruz won't have trouble finding Obama fans who fit her criteria. If you know of conservative or libertarian critics of Obama who happen to be biracial and plan on attending the inauguration you can let her know on Twitter @VeronicaDLCruz.
Speaking of Twitter, you can follow me there @KenShepherd.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is intimidated by Oprah Winfrey's intellect and political acumen, writer Joanna Douglas hinted in her December 5 article for Shine.Yahoo.com entitled "Sarah Palin blows off Oprah Winfrey."
While Douglas conceded that the Obama-endorsing daytime talk host refused to book Palin during the campaign, she neglected to mention that the decision at the time offended many a Republican Oprah fan, not to mention reports that roughly half her own staff disagreed with Winfrey's pre-election Palin blackout.
Instead Douglas portrayed Winfrey as the aggrieved party, "snubbed" by a vindictive Palin. Douglas went as far as to suggest that Palin may be avoiding an Oprah appearance because she's "intimidated" by Winfrey:
Newsweek is hardly the only MSM publication that is clueless about the Christian faith. The New York Times is also reliably feckless when it comes to reporting on what makes biblically orthodox Christians tick.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler took the Gray Lady to task last Friday for its reporting on the recnet formation of a new coalition of Anglican churches that have broken off from the liberal Episcopal Church USA over concerns of doctrinal liberalism.
In "It's About Theology, Not Territory," the Baptist theologian and pastor lamented that Laurie Goodstein's December 3 story on the formation of the Anglican Church in North America painted the dispute in a way to portray the liberal ECUSA as an aggrieved victim of dogmatic conservatives. By contrast, Mohler points to a lack of doctrinal clarity in the Anglican Communion being the fertile ground by which liberals were able to erode the boundaries of historic, orthodox Christian teaching and thus threaten the unity of the church around the Gospel of Jesus Christ (emphasis mine):
On Friday, Newsweek.com's Conventional Wisdom gave an approving up-arrow to Congress for brow-beating Detroit auto executives. The magazine lauded the Democratic Congress for having "rediscovered what oversight means."
Shortly after dismissing the Bible as archaic and "lukewarm" on marriage, Newsweek's Lisa Miller waxed poetic about it as a "powerful" "living document", essentially suggesting that religious conservatives who consider Scripture to be the inerrant, eternally true decrees of God Himself have a lower view of the Bible than religious liberals:
Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.
Perhaps ignorant of the biblical warning against double-mindedness (James 1:5-8) four paragraphs earlier Miller began her treatise by misrepresenting and then scoffing at the Bible's teachings on sex and marriage, confusing human sinfulness for biblical teaching and Jesus and the Apostle Paul's teachings for a virtual loathing of marriage:
In only the latest example of how out of touch Newsweek magazine truly is with reality, the magazine Web site's Conventional Wisdom feature for December 5 praised an institution with lower poll numbers than outgoing President George W. Bush.
That's right, Newsweek gave a back-slap to the Democratic Congress for doing what it does best: preachy grandstanding, particularly in service of left-wing economic lunacy such as fresh mandates for "green" technology from Detroit:
CongressIn giving the Big Three the hairy eyeball, Capitol Hill seems to have suddenly rediscovered what oversight means
Those who thought that President-elect Obama's pre-Thanksgiving promise to "create or save jobs," appropriately satirized by Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters on November 24, might have been another one of the Oh-So-(in)Articulate One's "inartful" statements should know that it has become standard fare in Obama speeches.
In related news, Uncle Sam told us Friday that over 136 million seasonally adjusted jobs were "saved"in November (go here to replicate):
Never mind the 533,000 seasonally adjusted jobs lost -- which illustrates just how risible Obama's promise shift from the presidential campaign really is. Old Media's failure to note this shift is journalistic malpractice that would never occur during a Republican presidency.
Liberals - now controlling both the White House and Congress - are ready to revive the so-called "Fairness" Doctrine to destroy conservative talk radio. The Media Research Center has formed a new "Free Speech Alliance" to defend conservatives' most effective political weapon against the return of what should be called the "Censorship Doctrine."
The GOP is nearly leaderless, self-shredded by its steady diet of "Me Too" bipartisan liberalism.
Conservatives were active, agitating against these capitulations of principle. But too regularly, in the end Congressional Republicans ignored them and enabled Democrats and their allies, the "compassionate conservatives" - aka big government Republicans -- to grow government big enough to squeeze themselves out as the majority Party.
And here's another "surprise," considering how we were told during the presidential campaign that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating: Combined November coalition deaths from all causes in Afghanistan and Iraq were the lowest in over 4-1/2 years, and the two-month total is by far the lowest ever:
This is not a promo for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) per se, as there may be other similarly effective organizations out there to help families who homeschool their kids.
But if the following examples don't prove that homeschooled children and their parents need to have access to legal help at a moment's notice, I don't know what will. I will present blood-boiling excerpts here, but strongly advise all to read the full stories at the links.
As the Christmas shopping season went into full swing in 2005, I sensed that journalists in general have a strong preference for using the term "holiday shopping" instead of "Christmas shopping" when covering business and commerce, but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to "Christmas."
My instincts have been proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December in each of the last three years (links to last year's related posts are here, here, and here; 2006's are here, here, and here; 2005's are here, here, and here):
YouTube is promoting as its "citizen news report of the day" a video of an alleged attack on Greenpeace activists at a coal plant in Poland. There are two problems with the news judgment behind this video selection.
First, both the initial report on the video and YouTube's description of it overstate what actually happened. Watch the video for yourself and see. Aside from some unjustifiable shoving, kicking of snow and grabbing of signs, there is no attack.
In one instance, the pushing is to get protesters out of the way of an oncoming bulldozer. Another clip appears to show a coal miner helping up a protester who fell, and the Greenpeace activists eventually are allowed to display their "Quit Coal" banners without interference -- presumably on private property where they had no right to be.
But the bigger problem with the news judgment in this case is the blatant double standard at work. Why is YouTube helping to publicize an obscure, pro-environmental protest in Poland while ignoring citizen journalism reports of recent bad behavior by protesters that are far more noteworthy and much closer to home?
During the presidential campaign, we constantly heard from Team Obama and the media (excuse the redundancy) was how Republican-inspired deregulation had let evil bankers and capitalists run roughshod over the economy and created the current credit mess.
Well, a lot of the deregulation was GOP-inspired, but that isn't what caused the situation that I like to refer to as The Great SUCKUP (The Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson).
What John Berlau has found at Reason Online is that the Clinton Administration loved 1990s financial deregulation so much that it cited it as a major accomplishment.
Appearing on the November 24 "Fox & Friends," MRC Director of Communications Seton Motley reacted to left-wing bloggers critical of President-elect Obama for choosing center-left, rather than far-left staffers for his presidential transition team. [audio available here]:
GRETCHEN CARLSON, co-host, "Fox & Friends": Alright, Seton, so a lot of these people on the Left say, "Oh, wait a minute, Barack! You were supposed to choose people who feel exactly like we do on the issues." And in essence, he's chosen a lot of centrists. Will we now see the blogosphere really light up now with the ultra-left viewpoints?