The free weekly tabloid Washington City Paper recently started a new feature, Service Industry, its purpose, "rating D.C.'s houses of worship." Religious readers, however, may sense a bit of condescension, intended or not, in the notion of rating a church service much like it were a play, concert, or film, especially if the church rated by the City Paper's reviewer seems to give it bad marks for its conservative or traditional Christian theology.
This week's entry, "The Church in the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith Inc." in Anacostia garnered a poor 1.5 stars (out of a 5 possible). The reviewer gave high marks (4 stars) for "congregational fervor" but was non-plussed by the lack of "food for the body" after the service (0 stars) and was not too keen on Deacon Larry Mathis's anti-evolution sermon (1 star) nor the church's teachings forbidding female preachers.
The "mainstream" media today, in a stunning display of left-wing bias, engaged in a coordinated anti-war propaganda campaign designed to overshadow an attempt by President Bush on Thursday to rally America's troops. The effort was so gratuitously spiteful, partisan, and transparent that Joseph Goebbels himself would have applauded it.
In a video conference yesterday to members of the Army's 42nd Infantry Division based in Tikrit, the President did his best to boost the morale of U.S. fighting forces in Iraq, saying "We're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory." This message was intentionally kicked to the curb by liberal journalists across the country and around the world this morning, when headlines began to appear stating that the teleconference had been "staged".
Here's a partial list of the stories I found on the internet today concerning the event.
For the media, Hurricane Katrina has been a story of zeroes – the more, the better. While reports before the hurricane’s landing incorrectly warned of tens of thousands of deaths, one prediction that has panned out is the gargantuan cost of the storm. Katrina wrought tens of billions of dollars in destruction and set in motion a $250-billion rebuilding effort.
While not as visible of a step, freeing the market of government intrusion is almost as important as the endless zeroes in the relief budget. One broadcaster who has given these new policies serious attention is CNN’s Lou Dobbs. Unfortunately, he disregards free market solutions on a regular basis. Even raising the minimum payments for credit cards is a “mindless” step engineered by “idiots at the U.S. Treasury Department.”
At today's White House Press Briefing, Helen Thomas wanted to know what a 'total victory' meant in Iraq. As Scott McClellan was answering the question to her dissatisfaction, she interrupted and tried to trip him up again. Scott, tired of her anti-War rhetoric, came right out and said she was against the War on Terror. Helen responded and said that the Middle East knows we invaded Iraq and ended her remarks with "I'm opposed to preemptive war". Thanks for being fair and balanced Helen.
Washington Post columnist Tina Brown today took the opportunity to mark the 80th birthday of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, with a scathing attack on Harriet Miers.
In, "You've Come a Long Way, Ladies," Brown begins:
The healthiest aspect of the Harriet Miers nomination is that women haven't rallied to her cause. Ten years ago, there would have been a lot of reflexive solidarity about keeping the Sandra Day O'Connor spot on the Supreme Court from reverting to male type. But every female lawyer I've spoken with in the past week skips right past the sisterly support into a rant about Miers's meager qualifications or her abject obeisance to power. The good news is that for women, it seems, Miers's nomination is like the moment for blacks in Hollywood when it was suddenly okay to cast an African American actor as something other than a perfect hero. The Sidney Poitier phase is definitively over.
Last week Time Magazine’s cover story was called The Battle Over Gay Teens and I wrote an article discussing the bias from the writer of the article and also cited examples of where content was intentionally ignored.
Today I read an article found on The Patriot News website called Gays Win Support On Campus and the article mentions, as its main support, the Time magazine article from last week.
Spending federal money without raising taxes? Broadcasters have been incredulous at the thought, especially since Hurricane Katrina hit – so much so that 59 percent of their tax-related stories have suggested tax hikes. Reporters turned to everyone from Bill Clinton to the man on the street to fellow journalists to make the case for taxation.
A typical question from a network reporter showed annoyance at the president’s tax policy and implied that anything but raising taxes is irresponsible, sounding something like this: “The last thing in the world that George W. Bush wants to do is raise taxes, but the amount of money that we’re talking about here, we’re talking about many, many, many tens of billions of dollars. Can that be done without raising taxes?” That was ABC’s Ted Koppel following Bush’s address to the nation on September 15.
Journalists made sure the audience didn’t forget several things – namely, that Americans are paying for military operations in Iraq and that the United States has a deficit. As the Free Market Projecthas shown reporters frequently refer to deficits as if they are inherently bad, though they are actually a small percentage of a multitrillion-dollar economy and should not inspire panic.
CBSNews.com's blog, Public Eye, has a post today on their Early Show viewer demographics, broken down by half-hour block. They show that two-thirds of the audience are women throughout all four half-hour blocks of the show, but that the first half-hour is younger and has more male viewership.
As such, CBSNews officials admit, they tend to stick the hard news in the first half hour, with features dominating the later half hour blocks, but feel they still leave enough hard news scraps to go around in the news briefings in the other half hours:
The first hour is geared more towards the transitional audience, and the second hour includes programming designed for people who are sticking around.
That doesn't mean people who stay at home only want soft features, says Katie Boyle, a senior producer with the CBS "Early Show." She points out that the "Early Show" runs newsblocks on the hour and half-hour, and says that there is a mix of stories so the same topics aren't covered over and over. "In a two hour morning show you want some variety," she says. And the fact that the proportion of women is slightly higher in the second half of the program, she adds, doesn't mean they don't care about hard news. "Women are watching morning television, period, at the beginning and at the end, when there's hard news and soft features," she says. "They want it all."
On Tuesday's Today, Matt Lauer interviewed President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at a house building zone for those who were affected by Katrina to live in, in which the President is contributing too. Lauer immediately accused Bush of using this as a photo-op situation.
Lauer continues the interview by asking President Bush why we are "making" Louisiana residents pay back the money they are borrowing for Katrina relief efforts, yet are not making the citizens pay back the money we spent in Iraq. Matt obviously has not learned the difference between asking to borrow and giving.
Sharyn Alfonsi did a story on “The CBS Evening News” tonight that brought me to tears. Now, I don’t know whether the intention was to stoke anti-war sentiment, or just to show how children at Fort Benning, Georgia are coping with their parents being deployed to Iraq.
Frankly, I don’t care, for this was an absolutely heartrending segment that I think all Americans regardless of political leaning should watch.
The dead tree news media is suffering these days and their readership is aging. This is not a sign of good things to come for the newspaper industry (from the Star Tribune):
Newspaper readership is down. Fewer young people are picking them up, and the average age of a newspaper reader is now 55, according to a Carnegie Corporation study. Many papers have been losing circulation at alarming rates across all age groups.
Newspaper profits and the stock prices of the companies that own them were also down during the first half of 2005. The biggest newspapers are cutting staffs, closing foreign bureaus and taking other steps to meet their owners' profit goals.
Most of these dire trends are nothing new. Deep thinkers have prophesied for years that newspapers are on a glide path to irrelevance or extinction.
Now with David Brancaccio on PBS last Friday was a special treat for conservative taxpayers. Brancaccio conducted a fawning interview with Kurt Vonnegut, a novelist who spent most of his time either attacking the Bush administration or more generally whining about life.
After a half-hour of failing to challenge Vonnegut's nuttier statements, Brancaccio gushingly declared: "Well, I think it's easy to notice that some moments with you Mr. Vonnegut add up to I think a magic moment. Thank you very much."
Yesterday I blogged about Jim Lehrer's disconnect on Friday's NewsHour in labeling conservatives disaffected with Harriet Miers with his tamely describing Justice David Souter as a member of the "so-called, quote, liberal wing" of the Court.
On Monday, Lehrer applied both liberal and conservative labels when describing a political stalemate that's been wrenching Germany for a few weeks now:
No matter how much she gets for her state, it’s never enough.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was unhappy last Friday night. After sparring with Senate Republicans, including her counterpart from Louisiana, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), she didn’t get what she wanted – $15 billion in hurricane-related loans to her state without any strings attached.
Now, don’t get me wrong, she did get some money -- $750 million to be exact. But the recipients are going to have to pay it back, and that’s not what Landrieu wanted. She felt that given everything Louisianans have gone through, these loans should have been totally forgivable, meaning that if the recipients didn’t want to reimburse America’s taxpayers, they didn’t have to.
Even when journalists try, they just don’t understand Middle America. CBS proved the point with a story on the multi-billion dollar business of NASCAR. Even in a story made possible by the enormous success of the sport, CBS’s “60 Minutes” depicted racing promotions as “hucksterism” and advertisers as “not wholesome” while the product itself was portrayed as an “good ol’ boy Southern Confederate flag sport” hostile to minorities.
Reporter Lesley Stahl’s October 9 piece described the depths of the free market that NASCAR was willing to delve into: “They'll even rename a race for a sponsor. Warner brothers got the “Batman Begins 400” this summer.” Stahl overlooked the fact that sporting events, like college football bowl games, are often named after advertisers.
Stahl also criticized NASCAR’s aggressive marketing, telling CEO Brian France, part of the sport’s founding family “You are unabashed in the hucksterism category.” France had nothing to apologize for. According to a September 5 Fortune magazine story, “NASCAR had total corporate sponsorship revenue last year of $1.5 billion, compared with $445 million for the NFL and $340 million for Major League Baseball.” Fortune added that 106 of Fortune 500 companies are involved as sponsors – “more than any other sport.”
That wasn’t enough to keep Stahl from criticizing NASCAR’s sponsors. When France told her, “I mean, we have limits,” about which sponsors are accepted, Stahl replied: “You do? Could’ve fooled me.” The exchange continued and Stahl complained that “You do Viagra, you do liquor.” Stahl then got to the heart of her critique: “You promote this sport as family values. You are sponsored by things that are just not wholesome. I mean, for years it was cigarettes. I mean, come on. Now it's liquor.” Stahl never mentioned that all of the products she criticized were legal. She was unhappy because they were “just not wholesome.”
Fortunately, NASCAR’s all-time winningest driver Richard Petty was on hand to explain the free market beauty of the sport and its founding family. “They took nothing, and kept working. And over 55 or 60 years this is what you see, okay? That's capitalism.”
For the Denver Post, First Amendment protections apparently are "loopholes" to be examined. In an article about free speech campaign finance restrictions, the Post focuses on conservative groups' efforts, while biasing the article in favor of such restrictions in general. (This isn't the first site to notice the - oddity - of the state Democrats becoming concerned about the new campaign finance laws just as the Republicans begin to figure them out. Apparently the game is to keep the rules moving just fast enough to stay ahead of your opponents in understanding them, while retaining the moral high ground of "reform.") The Post has not always been so solicitous of public opinion, especially when it comes to illegal immigration and gay marriage.
Even if government lawyers or state legislators come up with ways to better regulate the flow of money...
No, no assumptions here. In an article about "loopholes," "better regulate" means closing those "loopholes," or further restricting speech.
...it won't be in time to impact the 2006 elections. The contests include an open governor's race and an open seat in the 7th Congressional District, 65 state House races and 17 Senate seats. Republicans could regain a majority in the Senate by taking back just one seat.
How, exactly, is this last more relevant than the Democrats gaining a majority of the state's Congressional delegation through tha open 7th District seat? Or the effect of any number of other electoral outcomes? Apparently, the main issue is the tenuous nature of Democratic control of the State Senate.
In 2002, Colorado voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 27, which overhauled campaign- finance disclosure rules in an effort to get big money out of politics. The measure limited campaign contributions, encouraged candidates to curb their spending and banned corporate and union contributions to candidates and parties. The unintended effect, say some political observers, has been to encourage interest groups to exploit gray areas in the law and invoke broad constitutional protections such as free speech to continue the activities voters sought to regulate.
Imagine that! People using First Amendment guarantees to safeguard their free political speech.
For instance, the Independence Institute has been accused of running political ads couched as educational material. Critics say the Golden-based think tank should disclose donors who have supported its radio ads about Referendums C and D. The institute says it is merely educating the public.
Apparently, they missed this proclamation by a 501(c)3 in favor of Referenda C and D. This decision has been defended on the grounds that it's a referendum, not a candidate being supported, a distinction that apparently escaped the notice of the Post when writing about the Institute. In fact, the main abuse of system was by Democrats in the 2004 State legislative campaigns:
Colorado Democrats used the loophole last year, a maneuver largely credited with giving Democrats control of both legislative chambers.
That's the extent of the article's mention of 2004. The fact that not all of these activities were exactly, uh, legal seems to have evaded Mesdames Caldwell and Crummy. In fact, the article devotes 78 words to Democratic and union groups, and 328 words to offenses - real or imagined - by conservative or Republican groups.
Cross-Posted at View From a Height.