ABC and NBC rushed to get stories onto the air Friday night delivering left-wing talking points against the new social studies curriculum guidelines passed by the Texas State Board of Education, as both portrayed conservative Christians as the enemies of accurate history. Reality wasn’t good enough for ABC, which framed its lead story around “Rewriting History?” and saw no liberals in the “big controversy,” yet also tried to discredit the conservatives by highlighting “some of the things the conservatives tried and failed to do.”
ABC’s Dan Harris fretted “the new standards require that textbooks mention pillars of the conservative movement, like the Moral Majority the National Rifle Association, and the Contract with America with no liberal counter balance.” Harris, acting as more of a prosecutor than a journalist, then ran archived clips of him demanding from board chairman Don McLeroy:
- What do you say to people who say that you are, in essence, imposing your political and religious views on school children?
- If the Founding Fathers really wanted this to be a Christian nation, why is there no mention of Christianity or Jesus in the Constitution?
Instead of citing any other examples of awful new guidelines, Harris went to ones not added: “Here are some of the things the conservatives tried and failed to do: Have the President called by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, which some called an attempt to raise questions about his faith, and even rename the slave trade as the Atlantic Triangular Trade.”
New York Times reporter James McKinley Jr. was in Austin to cover a controversy over school curriculum in Texas, with conservatives on the state Board of Education trying to soften the liberal tone of the state's textbooks and include more records of conservative accomplishments. His Thursday story, "Texas Conservatives Seek Deeper Stamp on Texts," was positively sodden with "conservative" labels, yet he managed to ignore a radical leftist group featured in an accompanying photo.
The article included two photos accompanied by a caption (including the one above, by Jack Plunkett of Associated Press): "Diana Gomez, center, and Garrett Mize, right, and other University of Texas students rallied against conservatives at a State Board of Education meeting Wednesday in Austin, Tex. The board's chairman, Gail Lowe, left, is one of the conservatives."
Though McKinley was sufficiently attuned to get the names of Gomez and Mize, he didn't bother to identify the group they were involved with, even thought a close look at the sign Gomez was holding makes it obvious. In the bottom right corner was the phrase "MEChA." As in the "Chicano" nationalist movement MEChA, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, translates as the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann singled out Texas to mock the religious beliefs of the state’s residents during one of his regular "Quick Comments." He began the segment by mocking the majority of Texas residents: "A mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but if you waste 15 million of them, apparently you get Texas."
After detailing statistics which show that most Texans did not realize that dinosaurs became extinct before humans existed, or that only about half believe in human evolution, Olbermann seemed to lament that he could not use the statistics to attack Republicans exclusively since the numbers are similar among members of both major parties: "I’d love to be able to pin this on political affiliation, but it’s almost a tie – 51 percent of Democrats said they either never go to church or only go once or twice a year; 45 percent of Republicans said they either never go to church or only go once or twice a year."
Below is a complete transcript of the second "Quick Comment" from the Monday, February 22, Countdown show on MSNBC:
A Monday New York Times story from Houston by Texas-based reporter James McKinley Jr., "Taking Texas Primary Even Further to the Right," focused on Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina, whose reputation took a hit when she played coy in a radio interview with Glenn Beck on a question about 9-11. Medina responded with the thought that "the American people have not seen all the evidence there." That's flirting with 9-11 Trutherism: The idea, which has taken hold on the paranoid left, that the government under President George Bush had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks but did nothing to stop them.
While Medina later backtracked in a written statement, she deserves little sympathy for her initial outburst, whether it represents her true beliefs or if she was just making a cynical appeal to the paranoid right. But McKinley stacked the deck against Texas Republicans with his loaded labeling practices, tarring the party's candidates for governor as "far right."
Some days it is hard to be a neophyte far-right candidate in a governor's race, even in Texas, where Republicans vying for the party's nomination try to outdo one another to prove their conservative credentials.
New York Times reporter Michael Brick went to College Station, Texas, to preview a college visit by Barack Obama today commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first President Bush's "Points of Light" volunteer organization.
In the condescending "At A&M, a Dance of Decorum for Obama Visit," Brick posed fears that campus conservative activists at Texas A&M might embarrass themselves and their college with their "unchecked fervor," which "can be a raw and fearsome thing." Last year, you see, "the Young Conservatives embarrassed the university by throwing eggs at a picture of Mr. Obama."
Brick is being awfully protective of Obama. If defacing a picture of a president is an automatic embarrassment to a university, then every big college in America should be red-faced, since posters of Bush as Hitler were pretty much de rigueur at any decent campus protest. But the Times never showed any concern for campus hatred of Republicans.
The government is continuing to encroach on freedoms more and more in the name of climate change. Case in point: An ordinance that went into effect June 1 stating if you sell your home in Austin, Texas and you fail to get a clean energy "green" audit, you will likely face criminal charges.
According to an ordinance passed by the Austin City Council in November 2008, any home 10 years or older will require an "Energy Conservation Audit. Failure to comply - criminal charges as explained by the local community-owned electric utility:
What if I sell the house without having an audit?
Non-compliance with the ECAD ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor. Reported violations will be forwarded to the City of Austin Legal Department for review and action.
Terry Mattingly at Get Religion found a story by Terri Jo Ryan in the Waco Tribune-Herald that may be the just the first signal of another saddening, secularizing trend: the sensitivity police changing the name of Saint Patrick’s Day. It might be offensive to someone, somewhere to discuss saints or great Christian missionaries like Patrick:
Faith and begorrah, is nothing sacred?
Some folks are trying to transform the name of Tuesday’s holiday from St. Patrick’s Day to "Shamrock Day."
Card shops have banners proclaiming the occasion; the Disney Channel is using the term; and some places in this country have changed the name of their community celebrations of Celtic heritage to the "nonoffending" terminology.
Just as I finish a piece laughing at DailyKos for claiming that it is conservatives that feel they have to "create their own alternate reality" because of their "rigid ideology," I find a story out of The Austin American-Statesman where the DailyKos forced that paper to pull a story that had a mildly satirical take on last weekend's Netroots Nation conference in Texas. Apparently, the DailyKos folks didn't like The Austin American-Statesman's "reality" so the Kossacks flooded the paper with their insistence on creating a new one.
The original article by the Statesman's Patrick Beach knocked the nutrooters for the so-called "surprise" Gore visit, said it turned into a "faint-in," and that their general feeling was "terribly self-confirming," among other snippy comments... fun, but snippy. The general tone of the piece was that of amusement at how seriously the nutrooters took themselves. And, even more galling to said nutrooters, this story was the front page editorial of Sunday's edition. (Original, Google cached version of Beach's piece.)
This did not sit well with the nutrooters in question.
Let's say the year is 2006 and you're the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. A story breaks that you "received donations from an Alabama contractor" but you flatly deny it has anything to do with "a $2.6 million no-bid contract for the company in a national defense bill."
There's no doubt, particularly given the media's Republican "culture of corruption" meme that year that your party registration and chairmanship of the intel committee would be front-and-center when reporting the story.
But fast forward two years and that's precisely what the El Paso Times withheld from readers in the case of hometown congressman Silvestre Reyes. Rep. Reyes (D-Texas) has chaired the Intelligence Committee since Democrats regained the majority in the House of Representatives in January 2007, yet neither his influential post as chairman nor his Democratic party affiliation were mentioned by reporter Ramon Bracamontes in an April 16 article (h/t Peter DeNitto).
Bracamontes cited a Reyes statement denying allegations of impropriety:
Yesterday, Gateway Pundit noticed what he called an "Uh-Oh... This wasn't supposed to happen" event for presidential candidate Barack Obama:
An amazing article appeared in the mainstream news today. McClatchy actually reported that Obama's church merges Marxism and Christian Gospel and preaches that the white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation.
That they did. But how did they headline it, and how many McClatchy newspapers actually ran the story?
Margaret Talev's Thursday, March 20 description of the fundamental doctrines of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) does get right to the point. Talev even goes so far as to question the candidate's motivations for his involvement with the church.
Most importantly, which I why I've bolded the related text, Talev notes that while TUCC's radical and racist philosophies will survive the Rev. Wright's retirement, their continued presence will not deter Obama from continuing to attend:
In rural parts of the country, it happens from time to time; a person appears uninvited on someone's property, and the landowner tells them that "elsewhere" is a better place to be. Typically these confrontations are benign in nature, even when on occasion either the property owner or the trespasser turns out to be armed.
Such was the case in Texas this past weekend when a Danish reporter wandered into the yard of an elderly Texas woman, and she shooed him off, a gun apparently in hand.
CNN's Ed Henry made quite a big deal out of the incident, promoting it as a near "international incident" writing in the lede that the Dane came "this close to getting shot."
In another example of the belt-tightening of the old media, NBC has announced that they will be closing two of their long standing news bureaus. Gone will be the Chicago and Dallas bureaus to be replaced by "regional hubs."
Insiders tell TVNewser the current NBC News global news gathering system is in for an overhaul. Sources tell us a 9am ET conference call among News division execs and the bureau managers will announce that the current system will be replaced with regional hubs covering large areas of the U.S. and, in some cases, the world.
TVNewser reports that the Chicago office will now answer to the New York office and Dallas will report to Atlanta. No word on how many jobs are to be lost, but it is certain that some will go away.
Terri Burke, former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News, has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Burke, 56, will begin work at the ACLU of Texas on Tuesday. Her duties will include lobbying, fundraising, administering the organization and communicating with the public.
Burke said her new job seems like a continuation of her work in the newspaper business.
"I wanted to be a journalist because I thought journalism was a way to further the democratic process," Burke said. "At its heart, journalism is about the First Amendment. All my life, I've been interested in those kinds of issues."
I will suggest that no one in Old Media will think of Burke's move as the least bit odd.
Funny, that's not how they saw it in 1998 when the late David Brinkley retired and became a spokesman for a large corporation.
Past articles document the media’s bias against Castle Doctrine, insinuating that this enhanced self-defense law impedes investigators and handcuffs prosecutors,1 or that the right of self-defense originated with Castle Doctrine.2
Laura Whitley of ABC Houston affiliate KTRK covering a recent self-defense story where Rodney Shamlin was shot by homeowner Gary Southworth, wrote:
It is no secret that Air America is a favorite of most if not all the liberal denizens of many newsrooms. In Austin today, Austin Statesman reporter W. Gardner Selby cemented that reputation in his/her publicity piece on Air America's demise in Austin, Texas. Wrote Selby,
Air America seeks another home in Central Texas, but nothing is imminent, Kaufman said. He'd welcome tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. "If someone can point me in the direction of someone more amenable to picking up our format, I'll take all the help I can get," Kaufman said.
I am aware that the liberal media will do virtually anything to try to counteract the conservative dominance of talk radio, but for a supposedly neutral reporter to publish the liberal talk radio's contact information along with a barely-disguised plea for someone to add Air America to their radio lineup strikes me as somehow beyond the pale.
New York Times reporter Gretel Kovach reported on the tragic shooting death in Dallas of Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, the keyboard player for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, in "Musician Is Killed For Banging On a Door." But unwittingly or not, that headline (killed for banging on a door -- talk about harsh Texas justice!) suggested the shooting was an overreaction, and Kovach's article further politicized the issue from the second sentence on.
A Texas rock musician was shot to death here early Monday by a neighbor who fired through a closed door, thinking he was scaring off a burglar.
The incident occurred just three days after a new law took effect strengthening the right of Texans to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property.
For a long time, the San Antonio Express-News was unique, not in its predictably liberal editorial page or in its port-skewing news coverage. No, instead, it was one of the few American newspapers to have two editorial cartoonists, one liberal and one conservative.
That is no longer the case. Under pressure to cut jobs and staff in the midst of the overall decline of print media, Express-News editorial page editor Bruce Davidson decided that the paper should drop conservative cartoonist Leo Garza, a fixture at the paper for over 20 years. Liberal cartoonist John Branch will remain on the staff.
You'd think that given the Express-News's posture of demanding accountability from government and (other) businesses, that it would be consistent and respect the "public's right to know" what prompted this politically charged decision. Alas, no such explanation seems in the offing for us plebs.
The State of Texas easily has the highest execution rate in the United States. That is part of the reason why you "don't mess with Texas." And why is it exactly that Texas stands alone in implemeting the death penalty? According to Reuters, the answer is evangelical Christians.
Meet the Greenes, "an American family trying to do their best to help the environment by living a green life. Take a virtual tour of their earth-friendly home and discover all the ways they conserve resources, pollute less and leave a smaller eco-footprint."
This welcoming banner sounds like something you'd see on Greenpeace.com or Climatecrisis.net (Admit it, you've been there, I go all the time to laugh at the latest ridiculous global warming headlines.)
Unfortunately "Meet the Greenes" is prominently displayed on the Web page of a major news organization. The offender? Statesman.com, the Austin American-Statesman’s home on the Internet.
"Meet the Greenes" is just one of the many delightful headlines in the "Living Green" section.
"An Eco-System Runs Through It" trumpets the June 19 front page headline in the San Antonio Express-News. The Anastasia Ustinova story manages to combine two liberal positions together in the guise of protecting the environment, as the sub-head tells readers that "Fencing threatens critters - and eco system."
The story goes on to note that the fence "would cut large swaths through sensitive habitat and harm rare or threatened species." The story reads like liberal environmental literature and even has time to push a non-green liberal cause: preventing border fencing.
Yet once again the left gets confused about the difference of opinion and actual balanced news.
In an article honoring Dallas as "The Lavender Heart of Texas," Time writer John Cloud began with an unusually personal story of his political transformation, "trading movement conservatism for gay libertarianism." When you consider how he stereotypes conservatism as all about J.R. Ewing and an "air of profligacy," you could understand why it was easy to leave:
When I was a kid in Arkansas in the 1980s, we viewed Dallas with something approaching reverence. Mine was a fairly conservative family, aspirational. We passionately golfed and occasionally visited Neiman Marcus, the Dallas clothier that taught the South how to wear Versace and an air of profligacy. I wanted to drive a Mercedes and order bourbon and branch the way J.R. Ewing did. I wanted to go out with a Cowboys cheerleader with marcelled blond hair. The summer I was 13, Ronald Reagan was renominated in Dallas, and I signed up to be a young volunteer.
Over the weekend, Al Gore caused somewhat of a stir down in San Antonio for refusing to allow the media to cover a speech he was giving to architects who are also adherents to his global warming gospel.
Thankfully for open dialogue, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News crashed the party. Unfortunately for reasoned dialogue, the reporter, Anton Caputo, failed to report the event with any sort of skepticism, almost falling over himself to praise the veep-turned-envirovangelist.
parts visionary, cheerleader and comedian, Al Gore brought his message
of how to fight global warming to a capacity crowd of receptive
architects Saturday in San Antonio.
The former vice president referred continually to a "new way of
thinking" that is emerging in the country and offered hope in the
battle to control the effects global warming will have on the planet.
I just came across this today while purusing the Christianity Today (CT) website: Ted Olsen in the CT weblog last Friday tackled bias in a liberal Austin, Texas newspaper in "Who Brought Up the Klan?":
The Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman has a story today on 30 pastors rallying to support the state's marriage amendment. It's got the five W's, but given the point of the story, the most important question is never answered.
The title: "Pastors gather in Austin to back marriage amendment."
The deck: "Group careful to distance itself from KKK, which also supports Prop 2."
Of the 298-word story, 126 words are devoted to the Klan:
While supporting the amendment on Tuesday's ballot, several Austin-area pastors said they wanted to distance their message from that of the Ku Klux Klan, which is planning a rally on Saturday to support the amendment.
"We have nothing in common with the Ku Klux Klan," said Michael Lewis, the president of the Austin Area Pastors Council. "As Christians, we have to distance ourselves, particularly on racial issues. We're separate from them."
"I am particularly concerned about the Ku Klux Klan and other rogue groups that are supporting the passage of Proposition 2," said Steve Washburn, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Pflugerville. "But their language is laced with hate, and we want all who are listening to know we are here out of love."
So here's the question: Who brought up the Klan? Did American-Statesman reporter Lilly Rockwell ask Lewis and Washburn what they thought about the Klan's support of the amendment? Or did they just start talking about the Klan?
If Rockwell brought it up, that's an unconscionable smear and a severe violation of journalistic ethics.
If Lewis and Washburn brought it up, they're foolish, and they're wrong to suggest that the Klan has such significant political power that it's an important part of the story.