"This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn't alert the control room to update the video,'' Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news at FOX, sad this evening. "There will be an on-air explanation during Happening Now on Thursday."
From Coulter's November 18 column, headlined "At the End of the Day, Diversity has Jumped the Shark":
It cannot be said often enough that the chief of staff of the United States Army, Gen. George Casey, responded to a massacre of 13 Americans in which the suspect is a Muslim by saying: "Our diversity ... is a strength."
As long as the general has brought it up: Never in recorded history has diversity been anything but a problem. Look at Ireland with its Protestant and Catholic populations, Canada with its French and English populations, Israel with its Jewish and Palestinian populations.
Or consider the warring factions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Iraq, Czechoslovakia (until it happily split up), the Balkans and Chechnya. Also look at the festering hotbeds of tribal warfare -- I mean the beautiful mosaics -- in Third World hellholes like Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Central, L.A.
"Diversity" is a difficulty to be overcome, not an advantage to be sought. True, America does a better job than most at accommodating a diverse population. We also do a better job at curing cancer and containing pollution. But no one goes around mindlessly exclaiming: "Cancer is a strength!" "Pollution is our greatest asset!"
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his November 18 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Earlier, Think Progress caught Fox News showing what was clearly footage of a 2008 Sarah Palin campaign rally but claiming that it was video of "huge crowds" attending Palin's book tour.
But in case the McCain-Palin campaign signs and tee-shirts clearly visible in the footage Fox aired aren't enough to make Fox apologize, here's further proof.
Here's a screenshot of the footage of one of the rallies that Fox's Gregg Jarrett showed today and claimed was "just coming into us" as part of the book tour:
And here's a video of that same rally that TPM posted way back in 2008 -- when it actually happened.
UPDATE: For photographic proof that one of the rallies Fox News presented as being from Palin's book tour actually took place last year on the campaign trail, go here.
As the folks over at Think Progress note, Fox News's Gregg Jarrett today used old stock footage of a McCain-Palin rally from last year to illustrate how Sarah Palin is "continuing to draw huge crowds" during her book tour. He was apparently not tipped off by the McCain campaign "Country First" sign in one of the shots, nor did he wonder why Palin would be using a teleprompter to plug her book.
This is the second time in ten days Fox News has been caught deceptively using video to advance a misleading storyline - and that's just the tip of Fox News' video-doctoring iceberg. Maybe now Howard Kurtz will admit that there's a larger cultural problem with Fox News?
In late August, the Washington Post's Style section featured a friendly profile of National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown. The profile, by Post writer Monica Hesse, portrayed Brown and NOM as a "rational" "sane" "mainstream" organization, and their critics as shrill and vitriolic. In order to portray Brown in such a friendly light, Hesse omitted evidence of their history of gay-bashing, and excluded any criticism of the organization.
Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander agreed with complaints that the piece was one-sided, as did Style editor Lynn Medford:
[I]t deprived readers of hearing from others who have battled Brown and find him uncivil and bigoted. To them, he represents injustice. They should have been heard, at length.
In retrospect, Style editor Lynn Medford agrees. "The lesson is to always, in some way, represent the other side," she said.
Compounding the story's problems were passages like: "He takes nothing personally. He means nothing personal. He is never accusatory or belittling."
These types of unattributed characterizations are not uncommon in feature writing. But many readers thought Hesse was offering her opinion of who Brown is, as opposed to portraying how he comes across.
Finally, the headline: "Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile." To many readers, The Post was saying Brown's views are sane. The headline, written by editors, not Hesse, should have been neutral.
Apparently that lesson didn't take.
Today's Washington Post Style section features a profile of another anti-gay activist, Bishop Harry Jackson.
For 2,200 words, Post writer Wil Haygood tells readers about Jackson's faith, and about his childhood. Haygood tells us Jackson "found himself" in the Bible after his "Daddy died." We learn that during his working-class childhood, his parents scraped together money for tuition for private-school, where Jackson was, as he puts it, "the black kid at Country Day who stayed in the houses of wealthy white people." We learn that he got into Harvard Business school, and was "smitten" when he ran into a childhood acquaintance, who he later married.
And we learn that Jackson's critics are dangerous, angry people:
His admirers have multiplied, and so have his critics. More than once, police have stopped by his Southeast Washington apartment to check on his safety.
"I was in line someplace recently," Jackson says, "and a woman who obviously opposes what I'm doing looked at me and said, 'You better go back to Maryland.'"
His wife says: "We have been verbally abused by the best."
Some of his appearances unleashed vitriol, even threats.
But we never really hear from Jackson's critics. Not in any meaningful way. One is quoted saying Jackson is on TV a lot and is "fighting for political ideas in the religious arena." Another is quoted saying "It's an unfortunate reality ... that one can't preach discrimination without inciting homophobia."
And that's it.
Haygood reports that Jackson has won favorable reception for his writing about black families, but makes no mention of Jackson's claims that black people are more prone to "physical intimacy with a nonspouse or enjoyment of pornographic materials" than white people.
Haygood doesn't mention Jackson's claim that God told him to work for George W. Bush's re-election. Or that Jackson has been, as People for The American Way put it, "somewhat of an all-purpose activist and pundit for right-wing causes - everything from judicial nominations to immigration and oil drilling."
And the Post mentions nothing of Jackson's association with far-right gay-bashers:
While Jackson personally avoids venomous language, he has allied himself with some of the hardest line anti-gay activists on the white Christian Right. One of them is Ohio-based Rod Parsley, the evangelical mega-church preacher whose book, Silent No More, sells three for $10 in the front lobby of Hope Christian's 3,000-member church. A chapter entitled "The Unhappy Gay Agenda" argues that gay people are much given to depression and deviance, including their "substantially higher participation in sadomasochism, fisting, bestiality, ingestion of feces, orgies ... obscene phone calls ... shoplifting, and tax cheating."
"Homosexuality is not just sick," writes Parsley, "it is sin."
Jackson works with Parsley and a number of other Christian fundamentalists through his High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC), a collection of black and white evangelical mega-church leaders who've banded together to fight same-sex union rights and campaign for conservative candidates. Standing next to Jackson at the HILC's coming-out press conference in February 2005 was the Rev. Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, an anti-gay organization so hard-line that it is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
And the Post couldn't find space among those 2,200 words to mention Jackson's opposition to the Matthew Shepard hate crimes legislation -- or the disturbing language Jackson used in opposing the bill:
"God's getting ready to shake us up," roared the Harvard MBA-turned preacher, rousing the audience to divinely ordained political action. With the crowd cheering, applauding, and speaking in tongues, Jackson shouted, "God's looking for a SWAT team ... he's looking for a team of Holy Ghost terrorists!"
Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander may as well just take the rest of the week off, and re-run his September 6 column about Monica Hesse's profile of Brian Brown. Apparently there are some people at the paper's Style section who missed it the first time.
UPDATE: Just to bring things full-circle: Guess who Hesse quoted saying Brown and NOM are "not gay bashers"? Yep: Harry Jackson.
Dems alarmed as independents bolt
Number of Dems quoted in article who say they're alarmed: 0
I really wish Newsweek writer Katie Connolly had named names in her brief online article headlined, "Outrage Over Obama's Bow Is Contrived and Unhelpful."
In it, Connolly wrote [emphasis added]:
I've been a little hesitant to weigh in on the debate about what it means that President Obama bowed when he met Japanese Emperor Akihito. It seems that the folks who are outraged by the bow are just seizing on it as yet another outlet for an increasingly unhinged disdain for anything and everything the president does.
I thought her take on the bow non-story was dead-on, but I wished she said more than "the folks who are outraged by the bow." I wish she had been more specific about whose those "folks" were. (Answer: Right-wing, Obama-hating loons. What, you have a better description?) It's important for Connolly and other journalists to start naming names and move beyond acknowledging in vague, cryptic ways, the type of tell-tale idiocy that Obama's dedicated haters shovel in and out everyday.
Journalists get what's going on. They understand that the almost daily contrived 'controversies' dreamt up nowadays by the GOP Noise machine are often just too dumb for words. (i.e. The bow.) They realize that Obama haters will try to push virtually any half-assed attack into the mainstream conversation. Journalist who take their jobs and who take politics seriously understand that the right-wing loons are using lies and smears and are slowly but successfully making a mockery out what used to be considered a serious pursuit in this country and inside the Beltway.
Journalists get all that. (How could savvy, serious people not get it?) And every now and then some of them, such as Connolly, call the BS out. They stand up and say that today's menu of Obama hate is "contrived and unhelpful." And that's good. It's important that journalists take that step and at least occasionally express that outrage at what now passes for 'news' and 'controversy.'
What's almost always missing from those efforts though, is the naming of the names. Too many Beltway journalists are still not comfortable being specific about which loud right-wing voices are trafficking in lies and nonsense on any given day. And so Connolly, for instance, settles for "the folks."
Who are "the folks"? In this case, they're Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and the morning crew of Fox & Friends, just to name a few. And oh yeah, the entire right-wing blogosphere. That's who hatched the utterly irrelevant 'controversy' about whether Obama made an unspeakable error in bowing before Japan's Emperor Akihito. (I have not seen or read of a single expert in Japanese culture who thinks Obama did.)
As I noted earlier this year, collectively the right-wing press, including Fox News, is becoming the story. Fox, for instance, no longer operates as a news organization. Instead, it has transformed itself into the Opposition Party of the Obama White House, which means that real journalists need to treat Fox News as the political entity that it is. So when it launches a phony story like the "bow" controversy, and hammers it relentlessly, journalists like Connolly ought to state clearly who's pushing the partisan attack. Time and again this year, the Beltway press has politely refused to call out Fox News' new political role.
See, it's not just "folks" who are trying everyday to undermine the president. It's the staff at Fox News, and their allies in the right-wing media. Real journalists need to start pointing that out. They need to start naming names.
If one thing has been clear in the debate over the Stupak amendment, it has been that Chris Matthews has no idea what the amendment is about. No matter how many guests he has on who explain the amendment to him, he still seems convinced that the Stupak amendment would simply extend legislation prohibiting federal funding for abortion to current healthcare reform legislation. Otherwise, how can you explain exchanges like this, in which Matthews allows Stupak to claim that his amendment is a continuation of the "current law," which wouldn't restrict "insurance policies or individuals from using their own money to get abortion service?"
Well, maybe this will help Matthews understand how Stupak's amendment goes far beyond the status quo. TPM is reporting that a new study by the George Washington University School of Public Health finds that, in TPM's words, "The Stupak amendment to the House health care bill--which will prevent millions of women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion--is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond its supposedly intended scope." Here's the key takeaway from the study's findings: The "treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange."
Is that clear enough for you Matthews?
According to the study, the Stupak amendment also "will work to defeat the development of a supplemental coverage market for medically indicated abortions" because in "any supplemental coverage arrangement, it is essential that the supplemental coverage be administered in conjunction with basic coverage. This intertwined administration approach is barred under Stupak/Pitts because of the prohibition against financial comingling." Furthermore, the study found that "because supplemental coverage must of necessity commingle funds with basic coverage, the impact of Stupak/Pitts on states' ability to offer supplemental Medicaid coverage to women insured through a subsidized exchange plan is in doubt." Sounds like a change in the status quo to me.
In my column last week about media coverage of health care reform and abortion, I pointed out some flaws with arguments by Chris Matthews and others that money is fungible, so any government funds that go to any insurance company that also provides abortion coverage constitutes federal funding for abortion.
In today's Washington Post, Ruth Marcus makes an excellent point I wish I'd thought of:
The same folks who squawk about money being fungible when it comes to federal funding and abortion take the opposite view when it comes to federal funding and parochial schools, or federal funding and faith-based programs.
When the Catholic Church takes government money to run homeless shelters or soup kitchens, it frees up dollars for other, religious expenses that wouldn't be a permissible use of government funds. Somehow, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which pushed the Stupak amendment, isn't bothered by this reality.
When the government gives low-income families tuition vouchers to use at parochial schools, or sends educational material and equipment to parochial schools, the bishops aren't worried about whether that money is being commingled to subsidize religion.
"The simple fact that broad governmental social programs may have some effect of aiding religious institutions . . . cannot be cause for invalidating a program on Establishment Clause grounds," the bishops argued in one case before the Supreme Court.
Last week, Matthews insisted:
Everybody knows that money's fungible and that this is basically an accounting trick. And I don't think it'll work with people who have a moral problem with abortion funding by the federal government.
For some reason, I doubt he'll address Marcus' point on his show tonight.