The headline at the Associated Press's Sunday morning story primarily about GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney's commencement address at Liberty University ("Romney urges grads to honor family commitments") was at least acceptable. It went downhill from there, betraying what appear to be deeply-held biases held by writers Kasie Hunt and Rachel Zoll against Republicans, conservatives, and Christians -- up to and including a "red meat" reference in what the Administration's Press will probably still claim is an objective report.
Apart from the self-evident bias, Hunt and Zoll failed to grasp the fundamental concept that a commencement speech is not a political stump speech. It is supposed to be a chance for the speaker, at least one who isn't a self-absorbed narcissist, to inform, inspire and advise graduates on what awaits them in the real world and how they should generally consider carrying out the rest of their lives. That, to the AP pair's apparent disappointment and astonishment, is what Romney did. Their opening six paragraphs plus a few selected others come after the jump, with prejudicial verbiage in bold, followed by several paragraphs from Romney's speech which Hunt and Zoll, if they they had been there to report a story instead of serving as Team Obama apparatchiks, would have noted:
This afternoon, Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll devoted over 1,600 words to "dominionism," spending much of it attempting to cast Rick Perry as their guy, even though, as she admitted, "Perry has never said anything that would directly link him to dominionism." Oh, but he's sorta said some things that might hint at such sympathies, and he's been on stage with people who are supposedly "dominionists." Zoll even cited MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as a supposedly authoritative source.
In a Monday article, Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press played up the efforts of Catholic "theological conservatives" online who "say the church isn't Catholic enough" and are "unsettling the church." Zoll even quoted from a Vatican analyst for a heterodox Catholic publication who dubbed the phenomenon "Taliban Catholicism," with the slight caveat that "liberals can fit the mindset too." The writer, however, focused most of her attention on the conservatives.
Zoll, who berated conservative Southern Baptists as "vicious" zealots embarked on trying to "wipe out" every last liberal or moderate from their church in a January 29, 2008 article, wasted little time in her latest article, "Catholic bloggers aim to purge dissenters," in zeroing-in on her conservative targets: "Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it's not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn't Catholic enough. Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church."
In a January 29 article for the Associated Press, reporter Rachel Zoll lambasted conservative Southern Baptists as "vicious" partisans who sought to "wipe out" any trace of liberals or moderates from the denomination. What's more, this characterization came while reporting on a gathering of "moderate" Southern Baptists set to convene tomorrow and featuring ex-presidents (and liberal Democrats) Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. (h/t Steve Barrett)
Both Clinton and Carter were raised Southern Baptist, but Carter has since cut ties to the Southern Baptist Convention and Clinton frequently attended the liberal Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., with his wife while president.
Here's Zoll's first two paragraphs:
Weary of Southern Baptists' dominance in American Protestantism, a new push is starting by other Baptist groups aimed at working on social justice issues, and showing their religious tradition is broader than the conservative SBC. Former President Jimmy Carter is leading the effort.