It is truly amazing that Time allowed Mark Halperin to publish the following caption and image on his blog, The Page -- no matter how briefly (the site has since pulled it down):
Maybe Halperin thought it was really clever to echo a scene from a late-90s romantic comedy, but it isn't. The image and all that it suggests -- yes, her hair is supposed to be held up by semen -- isn't supported by any facts provided by Halperin in his post. The page to which he links doesn't have anything to do with semen, romantic comedies, or hair gel. In fact, it's a statement from Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) Communications Director "on motion to proceed timing" on the Senate's health care reform bill.
In other words, it's part of a broader, sexist right-wing narrative that the U.S. Senator from Louisiana is, as Glenn Beck put it yesterday, "a high-class prostitute" engaged in "hookin'" -- all because she lobbied Senate leadership for expanded Medicaid funding for Louisiana in the Senate health care bill in what was characterized by the media as an exchange for her "yea" vote to proceed with floor debate on the bill.
Not to be left out, Rush Limbaugh got in on the action yesterday too, declaring that Landrieu "may be the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitution."
These types of backwards, sexist remarks are what we have come to expect from Beck or Limbaugh, but this is truly a new low for Halperin, and, by association, for Time. As my colleague Julie Millican pointed out last week, the other weekly news magazine -- Newsweek -- has a sexism problem that it needs to address concerning another female politician.
So let this serve as a word of warning to those media figures like Halperin who like to think of themselves as separate and apart from -- perhaps I should say above? -- right-wing bloviators and pot-stirrers like Beck and Limbaugh: When you engage in baseless, sexist smears of women politicians, you are no different than the side-show commentators. Maybe you're worse -- at least they don't purport to be journalists.
From the November 24 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah's November 23 WND.com column headlined, "Why sin cannot be condoned by state":
On Friday, more than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration reaffirming their opposition to homosexual marriage on the basis of protecting religious freedom.
While I agree that government's granting of special "rights" based on aberrant sexual behavior is a religious freedom issue, it's not the main reason for concern by Christians and Jews.
The Bible clearly identifies homosexual behavior, as opposed to homosexual thoughts or predilections, as sin.
The issue Christians and Jews should be focused upon is whether it can ever be acceptable for the government to condone sin - or, worse yet, encourage it by making it a "right."
I don't believe government can do that without dire consequences.
America is being judged by God.
The biblical proof text is Romans 1.
I am not stating the obvious here - that individuals will be judged for their behavior in the afterlife. What I am saying is we are already being judged in the here and now for rejecting God and one of those judgments is the explosion of homosexuality in our culture and the absolute explosion in the number of people accepting it, condoning it and even rejoicing in it.
Whether you are a believer or not, this affects you. It shapes the world in which you and your children live. If you think your society is depraved now, you have seen nothing yet.
Farah's column is promoted on WND's frontpage next to an unscientific online poll asking readers, "LET'S NOT MINCE WORDS; What do you think of homosexuality?" From the WND.com poll, accessed on November 24:
From the November 23 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From a November 23 post on the blog American Thinker:
The question was recently posed to me, "Do you think Obama is a racist?" I answered, "Obama is the best kind of racist to whites, but the worst kind of racist to blacks." My questioner was perplexed.
I began by explaining that Obama's racism against whites is upfront, in your face racism, that he discussed in his book Dreams from My Father:
I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.
I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.
Obama learned this racist ideology during his formative years from his mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, a self-admitted communist and sexual deviant, and most certainly a racist -- the kind that blacks say cannot exist.
One would think that with BET and The WB, and the all-black radio stations that you can find in any major city that there is no longer a need for Black Nationalists like Van Jones, or a Black Nationalist movement. However, no sooner was Van Jones appointed, we were treated to the racist styling of Mark Lloyd, his most famous quip being, "...white people need to relinquish their power to others." Others being "non-whites."
As for Obama's racism against blacks, you don't have to be a genius to understand it. However it is easier to understand if you are not a product of government schools. Obama's racism against blacks is much more subtle, though exponentially more insidious.
Obama actually believes he helps blacks through his policies, when in fact the outcome devastates blacks. A good example is education.
Blacks recognize almost universally that education is the key to escaping the cycle of poverty and other ills plaguing the black community.
Obama's first racist act as president was to remove the voucher program that Bush had established in DC, and a program that Democrats vote against overwhelmingly. A program that was producing proven positive results was eliminated -- and black children in DC were relegated to socialized schools in crime and drug-infested neighborhoods. Simply put, why give black children the choice to opt out of the indoctrination?
Here's the wrap:
Is Obama a racist? Of course he is! But as I say about racists, most just need to see what the other side is like. Obama only knows conservatism anecdotally, as he has never had a conservative friend. He only understands one side -- the racist radical side. This is why sanity appears to be radical to him, why patriots are persecuted, achievers neutered.
A true conservative would never befriend a person like Obama. Obama needs to be surrounded by sycophants and suck ups, or radical leaders he can admire. My hope is that Obama will actually get to know a few conservatives, black and white. Then maybe, just maybe he will understand how he is both the best and worst kind of racist.
From the November 20 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Mark Levin Show:
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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 20 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From the November 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
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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:
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.
From the November 18 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the November 18 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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Fox News' America's Newsroom aired a segment hyping a story on an elementary school in Boston that had prohibited Christmas-themed gifts from being sold in the school's holiday gift shop, which co-host Bill Hemmer suggested is evidence of "the War on Christmas ... raging again." However, the school's ban reportedly includes all items that can be associated with a specific religion and is not limited to Christmas.
From Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden's November 17 column (emphasis added):
So far it's a memorable trip. He established a new precedent for how American presidents should pay obeisance to kings, emperors, monarchs, sovereigns and assorted other authentic man-made masters of the universe. He stopped just this side of the full grovel to the emperor of Japan, risking a painful genuflection if his forehead had hit the floor with a nasty bump, which it almost did. No president before him so abused custom, traditions, protocol (and the country he represents). Several Internet sites published a rogue's gallery showing how other national leaders - the prime ministers of Israel, India, Slovenia, South Korea, Russia and Dick Cheney among them - have greeted Emperor Akihito with a friendly handshake and an ever-so-slight but respectful nod (and sometimes not even that).
Now we know why Mr. Obama stunned everyone with an earlier similar bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, only the bow to the Japanese emperor was far more flamboyant, a sign of a really deep sense of inferiority. He was only practicing his bow in Riyadh. Sometimes rituals are learned with difficulty. It took Bill Clinton months to learn how to return a military salute worthy of a commander in chief; like any draft dodger, he kept poking a thumb in his eye until he finally got it. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, seems right at home now giving a wow of a bow. This is not the way an American president impresses evildoers that he's strong, tough and decisive, that America is not to be trifled with.
But Mr. Obama, unlike his predecessors, likely knows no better, and many of those around him, true children of the grungy '60s, are contemptuous of custom. Cutting America down to size is what attracts them to "hope" for "change." It's no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of "the 57 states" is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream.