Race-baiter turned MSNBC host Al Sharpton garnered an egregiously fawning profile in Monday's New York Times, which has long hailed the "civil rights leader" while glossing over or ignoring his racially inflammatory past (Tawana Brawley, "white interlopers").
The worst criticism reporters Nikita Stewart and Jason Horowitz can muster in "A Slimmed-Down Sharpton Savors an Expanded Profile": Sharpton was once "divisive" and "overweight" in his gold medallion and track-suit days. But now he has the White House's ear and an even wider field for activism: "The slimmer Mr. Sharpton gets, the more space he takes up....for him, these are very good days."
Well-known atheist Michael Newdow is old news. Few mainstream media outlets are covering the suit he filed Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court to strip prayer and any mention of God from the inaugural ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. Of those that are reporting on the suit, however, the Washington Postand MSNBC gave Newdow and his fellow litigants a largely unchallenged platform to argue their case.
Newdow has long fought to impose a tyranny of the minority, failing in attempts to remove God from inaugural ceremonies in 2001 and 2005, and losing a U.S. Supreme Court battle in 2004 to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. He was joined in the current suit by the American Humanist Association (AHA), the Freedom From Religion Foundation and others. The suit names U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Rev. Rick Warren, liberal California senator Dianne Feinstein and several other individuals associated with the inaugural events as defendants in their case.
In her Dec. 31 article, Postreporter Nikita Stewart cited a portion of the lawsuit that labeled the prayers "completely exclusionary, showing absolute disrespect to Plaintiffs and others of similar religious views, who explicitly reject the purely religious claims that will be endorsed, i.e., (a) there exists a God, and (b) the United States government should pay homage to that God."
Stewart also quoted Bob Ritter, staff attorney for the AHA, saying, "the group could win ‘as long as the judges uphold the Constitution.'"