Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's federal minister for minorities and that government's only Christian, was assassinated yesterday on the streets of Islamabad. Bloomberg News is reporting that the Pakistan Taliban is claiming responsibility for the shooting:
As many as four men ambushed Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Christian, yesterday as he left home without a security escort, Geo television reported, citing a police official, Bin Yamin. Bhatti was dead when brought to the city’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the institution’s spokesman, Azmatullah Quraishi, said by telephone.
Television channels showed leaflets found at the scene in which the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for killing Bhatti. They said he was targeted for heading a government- appointed committee to review the blasphemy law, which prescribes the death penalty for anyone convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Bhatti, a Roman Catholic and former leader of Pakistan’s main minority-rights group, was killed eight weeks after Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was shot to death by one of his bodyguards. Both men had called publicly for changes to the [nation's blasphemy] law.
MSNBC host Martin Bashir, whose new 3pm show premiered on Monday, has quickly adapted to his new home. Over three programs, he's lauded the "outstanding" coverage of left-wing anchor Ed Schultz and also featured the liberal Rachel Maddow and Dylan Ratigan.
Perhaps this shouldn't be too surprising. On August 7, 2007, as co-host of ABC's Nightline, Bashir derided Ave Maria, a planned Catholic community in Florida. He parroted criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
Profiling Maricopa County Joe Arpaio on December 14, 2009, the journalist assailed the "brutal regime" of the anti-illegal immigrant sheriff. Speaking of critics, Bashir complained, "They don't like it because stopping people on the streets because they look Hispanic is racial profiling."
"President Obama has been taking a truckload of flak from the right for his measured response to the crises embroiling the Middle East," MSNBC's Martin Bashir harumphed as he opened his "Clear the Air" commentary on the March 1 program.
"Measured is my word because it's certainly not one that right-wing pundits have been using," Bashir complained.
Of course the term "measured" implies deliberate calculation and an overarching strategy, whereas the timeline of the Obama administration response to Libya suggests there has been, objectively speaking, some amount of "dithering" by team Obama.
On his first day at MSNBC, new host Martin Bashir immediately adopted the network's liberal line, attacking a conservative Congressman for advocating severe spending cuts, deriding it as "the most disingenuous play on the American people."
Previewing the interview with Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois, Bashir noted that he has refused congressional health care. The anchor solemnly wondered, "Is that his idea of health care for every American?"
On ABC last Wednesday, both World News and Nightline featured a report filed by correspondent Dan Harris in which he linked the activities of some American evangelical Christian pastors with anti-gay hatred and attempts by Uganda’s parliament at passing death penalty legislation to punish homosexuals in the African nation. Each of the reports focused on the extreme views of American pastor Scott Lively and Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, without including the views of more mainstream American evangelical leaders.
On World News, anchor Diane Sawyer teased: "Gay terror: Have some American evangelical ministers helped threaten the lives of homosexuals in Africa?" She later plugged the report again: "And still ahead on World News, a death threat for gays. It happened after American evangelicals delivered a potent message."
In the version of the report that ran on Nightline, Harris made a point of mentioning Pastor Rick Warren as being a "one-time friend" of Pastor Ssempa. And, though Harris’s reference to Pastor Warren as a "one-time friend" perhaps implies a falling out between the two men, the ABC correspondent could have more directly informed viewers that Pastor Warren released a statement last October declaring that he had not associated with Pastor Ssempa since 2007.
Furthermore, last December, Pastor Warren released a video message for Christians in Uganda in which he attacked the proposed anti-gay law as legislation "I completely oppose and I vigorously condemn," as he went on to declare, "The potential law before your parliament is unjust, it’s extreme, and it’s un-Christian toward homosexuals, requiring death penalty even in some cases."
On Monday’s Nightline, co-host Martin Bashir conducted a one-sided, hostile profile of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s "brutal regime" and attacked his crackdown on illegal immigration as "racial profiling." The 11 minute investigation of the Maricopa County law enforcement official was almost totally negative. [Audio available here.]
After the Arizona sheriff asserted that his critics don’t like him because they oppose immigration enforcement, Bashir opined, "They don't like it because stopping people on the streets because they look Hispanic is racial profiling." In an interview with Newsmax, Arpaio claimed, "We've arrested and detained over 33,000 illegal aliens, 25 percent of the whole country..."
But rather than focus on successes, Bashir complained about the sheriff’s methods: "You're basically using minor misdemeanors, minor mistakes, perhaps speeding, as an excuse to then pick these individuals up?" The Nightline co-host aggressively focused on allegations of abuse. After bringing up claims of brutality and a botched prostitution ring, Bashir derided, "Doesn’t your brutal regime lead to brutality by your staff?"
Youngsters' curiosity about sex used to be sated by late night, soft-core flicks on premium cable channels. Now, they simply have to tune into ABC.
ABC news programs have featured 76 segments about sexual activity in the last six months. The majority of these reports were related to political sex scandals or crime cases that contained a sexual element, but 11 promoted alternative sexual arrangements such as men who become women, Web sites dedicated to helping married people cheat on their spouses and even people who carry on romantic relationships with objects like F-15 fighter jets and the Eiffel Tower.
The Washington Post called it an "orgy of praise" and an "exercise in excess." They were referring to the star-studded, mega-televised Michael Jackson memorial service in Los Angeles. It just as accurately described the supposedly serious national media’s weeks of outsized hyperbole concerning the life and death of a man who was a pop sensation, to be sure, but also highly controversial, even scandalous.
There certainly was the exercise in excess on the "news" programs. On the night of July 6, ABC, CBS, and NBC, paid twenty times more attention to Jackson (more than a week after his death) than to the deaths of seven brave soldiers in Afghanistan.
They were only tip of the excess iceberg. Jackson dominated every "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" show for two weeks. The memorial service aired on 19 different networks, drawing 31 million viewers. At least that exposed one piece of hype from the Jackson camp: that "a billion" global villagers would tune in.
Our cosmopolitan elites have embraced the smutty Fox cartoon "Family Guy." A month ago, oh-so-sophisticated National Public Radio used their parody song "Everybody Poops" to report on Julius Genachowski, the incoming chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps it was NPR’s way of welcoming in an Obama appointee who everyone expects will "lighten up" at the FCC and let Hollywood go wild with its "poetic license."
Now it’s ABC’s "Nightline" paying homage to "Family Guy," and in the process, telling us a lot more about "Nightline" than about this stupid show. They presented the show’s lame-brained "mastermind" Seth MacFarlane as a man of incredible talent, even a genius. At the top of their April 6 show, anchor Martin Bashir cooed: "Funny Guy. No topic is too taboo, no subject off limits for this critically acclaimed cartoonist."
ABC's "Nightline" on Monday continued the network's trend of hyperbolically, and in this case, apocalyptically, fretting over high gas prices in America. Anchor Martin Bashir introduced a segment by wondering if $4 a gallon gas might result in some people stealing gasoline, or, as he put it, "taking some drastic measures." Speaking to a car security expert who claimed that such theft would be a misdemeanor because the total cost would be below $1000, reporter John Donvan lost all perspective and replied, "But we may soon be paying more than $1,000 for a tank of gas." [audio available here]
Donvan, in a snarky tone, even cited the plot of the futuristic thriller "The Road Warrior" to support his argument. He speculated, "And in the future, of course, they will be stealing gas and fighting over it. We know that because of the 1981 Mad Max classic 'The Road Warrior.'"
"Hmm, what's this?" I thought, so I clicked on the link to find a story by ABC's Martin Bashir teasing a February 26 "Nightline" story about N.T. Wright, an Anglican bishop and theologian. [It should be noted that Bashir referred to Wright by his middle name Thomas Wright rather than N.T. Wright, which is how you can search for his written works and Web site.]
Unfortunately in what was otherwise an informative and interesting article, I came across some passages that may illustrate how inaccurate Bashir's understanding of historic Christian doctrine is (emphasis mine):
Brent Bozell's culture column on Thursday reported on Joe Francis, the brains behind "Girls Gone Wild" videos featuring college-age women flashing their breasts (and other body parts) at the camera during Spring Break. But filming two underage girls in Florida led to time in jail, and then the feds indicted him for tax evasion, which is why he's in jail now in Reno, Nevada. Francis thinks all this misfortune couldn't have happen to a nicer guy. He compares himself to Steven Spielberg, even Jesus:
Francis was taken into custody in Florida, where he tells a hellish story of being mistreated like he was in Abu Ghraib. Then he told Greta van Susteren about being taunted by other inmates there. He says the chaplain asked, "Son, have you thought about Jesus Christ?" Francis quickly says Yes. Since he’s just like Jesus: "Every day! Because this is what they did to him."
On Tuesday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Martin Bashir filed a report on businessman Tom Monaghan, founder of a Catholic university in Florida and a community that will attempt to embrace traditional Christian values. Bashir regurgitated a two-year-old criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
The various network news shows have come to this shocking conclusion: It’s summer and it’s hot. Could global warming be to blame? Ann Curry, guest anchoring NBC’s "Nightly News" on Tuesday, speculated, "Record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it's all the result of global warming." Harry Smith, over on CBS’s "Early Show," had the same idea. The morning show anchor definitively asserted, "Before we do anything else, there is in fact, global climate change.
On Tuesday’s edition of "Nightline," anchor Martin Bashir interviewed businessman Tom Monaghan, founder of a new Catholic university in Florida and also a community called Ave Maria that will be based around Catholic values. Bashir parroted criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
Earlier in the segment, Bashir asserted that the community, which will encourage traditional values but be open to all,has "been called a Disney World for Catholics, a country club Christianity."