Another MRC 'Special Report' That Isn't Topic: Media Research Center
the Media Research Center's longhistory of not-so-special "special reports" continues with an Aug. 8 "special report" by Tim Graham and Geoffrey Dickens, "The Media's Obama Miracle," in which they complain about the "the stunning lack of coverage" of certain Obama administration "scandals" in the media (well, only "the morning and evening news shows" on network TV). But really, they're just complaining that the media isn't parroting right-wing anti-Obama talking points.
Graham and Dickens write:
In the first two months of 2002, the Big Three networks reported a stunning 198 stories on the Enron bankruptcy, often tying the fiasco to President Bush. By comparison, since declaring bankruptcy on August 31, 2011, despite a half-billion dollars in federal loans from the Energy Department through Obama donor connections, ABC, CBS, and NBC filed a grand total of 24 stories on Solyndra, and barely connected it to Obama -- even as Obama told ABC he had no regrets, and even as the promise of “green jobs” demonstrably collapsed.
As we pointed out the last time the MRC did this, that's a ridiculous comparison. Enron was a huge company using impenetrable and deceptive accounting methods to obscure massive corruption and market manipulation, and its bankruptcy was the largest in history at the time. Solyndra was a small company making solar panels that fell victim to a change in the market -- a rival method of building the panels suddenly became much cheaper than Solyndra's -- and nobody has accused Solyndra of Enron-level fraud or corruption.
The authors continue with a little conspiracy mongering:
Federal agents twice raided the plants of Gibson Guitar in Tennessee to investigate whether they improperly imported wood from Madagascar and India, but waited for almost a year before settling with the guitar maker for a $300,000 fine. No one found it newsworthy that Gibson’s CEO is a Republican donor, while other guitar makers who weren’t Republicans were not raided by the government over wood imports.
Perhaps that's because the other guitar makers weren't breaking the law. As NPR reports, Gibson continued to import wood from Madagascar despite knowing the risk that it might be improper to do so. In settling the case, Department of Justice officials said that "Gibson has acknowledged that it failed to act on information that the Madagascar ebony it was purchasing may have violated laws intended to limit overharvesting and conserve valuable species." Do Graham and Dickens think Repubicans should be above the law?
As for the rest of Graham and Dickens' so-called Obama "scandals"...
Obama’s presidency is unique in the history of this nation. This president has governed by brittle fiat, forcing socialized medicine down the throats of a majority of citizens who opposed this move. He has wildly outspent his predecessors, swelling the national debt at a dizzying pace. He has proclaimed his hatred for traditional American values (notably, by supporting gay marriage), spat on dead U.S. soldiers by giving light-hearted “shout outs” at what should have been a solemn announcement (regarding the Fort Hood shootings) and revealed his contempt for individual effort (in telling business owners that they “didn’t build that” and were not responsible for their success). The bad news we receive every day is numbing in its scope. We are a nation in decline, and there is no single person more responsible than the president presiding over that decline. How, then, does Obama hold a lead in (albeit Democrat-rigged) national polls?
The answer is simple: Obama understands how to use the Internet. He understands how to influence the many people for whom the Internet is the dominant information and entertainment outlet. He understands the significance of our interconnected and technologically saturated society. He understands why a website is instant credibility … or just the opposite.
Mitt Romney understands none of these things, and that is why he is losing this election.
I am now prepared to say that the photos of young Obama, appearing to be stoned out of his mind, the photos of him doing his best pimp look – wide-brimmed pimp hat cocked to the side with a cigarette in his hand – and the photos of him puffing on a cigarette as if it were a marijuana joint – speak to his commonality.
The photos we see of him as a young man and a college student symbolize him as a pothead or trying to be ghetto-cool. The photos of Michelle show her with angry expressions or in the most unflattering clothing, trying to look sultry.
My son and the FreeRepublic commenter bring an important subject matter to the dialogue pursuant to the Obamas. My late grandmother used to say, “Water always seeks its own level.” Such is the case with the Obamas.
I know leftist liberals and the media like to heap praise upon Michelle as being a fashion plate, but dressing up like a “Soul Train” dancer doesn’t make her Jackie Kennedyesque, as they opine her to be.
Now that Obama’s hair has begun turning gray, I think the folks at Grecian Formula are missing a good bet by not hiring him to do commercials for their product. It’s a natural connection. After all, when it comes to our economy, this goof has spent the past three years employing the Grecian formula as his model. As a result, we’re nearly in the same dire financial straits as Greece.
The Church of Obama, much outspent by the Latter-Day Saints in the White House campaign, is in a panic. It has even resorted to a swear-word in an email inviting potential supporters to stump up $5 or more to keep Mr. Manchurian in the luxury to which he has become accustomed.
The hard-left “Democrats” of today (the quote-marks should surely be part of WND’s house style from now on) don’t just hate conservatives. They fear us.
Right now, pragmatists are laser focused on only one thing: getting Son of Saul out of the White House before he finishes the job of destroying America. The decades-long Republican argument goes something like this: “Forget what you think about our candidate. Let’s just get this evil guy out of office; then, once we’re in power, we can work on changing our man.”
Truly, Obama promised change and delivered chains. This is not hyperbole. It’s not about race. It’s about placing limits on liberty in favor of expanding government power. His philosophy and his practice, his rhetoric and his actions, all suggest he detests everything that made America the greatest experiment in self-government the world has ever known.
I might even question why Obama doesn’t think “The Star Spangled Banner” isn’t “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset” as said of the Muslim call to prayer. I might even have someone ask the question of whether Obama can recite the Apostles’ Creed with the same perfect annunciation that he recites the Muslim call to prayer, the Adhan. After all, he does profess to be a Christian.
As I watch Obama and his army of lying thugs frantically spewing out the most preposterous lies imaginable, I am reminded of Eric Hoffer’s warning that the louder the drums of deceit, the more vigilant one has to be about learning the facts. And therein lies the problem. A significant portion of the populace is totally uninformed, and it comprises the very people who decide the winner of every election!
To Obama and his army of taxpayer-funded community organizers, the America he inherited was so screwed up he needs eight years to fix it, not four. That makes perfect sense to them; in fact, they knew it all along. If they could amend the Constitution to make Obama president for life, they would.
Newsmax's Walsh Tries His Hand At Media Criticism Topic: Newsmax
James Walsh takes a break from hating immigrants in his Aug. 24 Newsmax column, devoting it instead to bashing a Tampa-area newspaper prior to the Republican National Convention in that city next week.
Walsh asserts that the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) is "nown locally as the 'Florida Pravda,'" something he provides no evidence for. He also insists that it's "an ultra-liberal anti-Republican paper," though Walsh demonstrates only that it has criticized Republicans, which hardly makes it "ultra-liberal."
The paper's actual record belies Walsh's smear attempt. Would an "ultra-liberal" newspaper have investigated a Democratic member of Congress for accepting a car from a West African financier for whom the member of Congress had mounted a lobbying campaign to keep the him out of prison? Probably not.
After first going back to the 1960s for things to attack the Times over, Walsh jumps to opinion columns published in the past week. He nitpicks one Times columnist for daring to criticize Paul Ryan:
Times columnist Bill Maxwell attacked Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for being a radical devotee of Ayn Rand, an author who saw laissez-faire capitalism as the ideal economic system.
Ryan says he respects some but not all of Rand’s positions, differing with her in part because he is a Catholic. Ryan believes education decisions are better handled at state and local levels than at the federal level. Maxwell says, “Do not believe him, especially when it comes to public education, higher education in particular.”
Walsh omits the fact that Maxwell pointed out that Ryan is hiding his devotion to Rand now that he's a VP candidate:
Ryan, first elected to Congress in 1998, has said during interviews that he started reading Rand in high school and credits Atlas Shrugged for triggering his interest in economics. "I give out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make my interns read it,'' he told one interviewer. "Well … I try to make my interns read it."
Now, because he wants to be vice president and is under the harsh light of the media, Ryan is trying to partially distance himself from Rand. "I reject her philosophy," he told National Review recently. "It's an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview."
Walsh's unsubstantiated claims and selective quoting in the service of pushing the "liberal media bias" meme would make him an ideal employee at the Media Research Center.
An Aug. 24 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr promotes a lawsuit by sseveral Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers against the Obama administration to halt a directive that delays deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.
In noting that Kris Kobach is the ICE agents' attorney, Starr writes that "Kobach also serves as Secretary of State in Kansas and he is the author of SB 1070, the Arizona immigration law that was partially upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year." Starr fails to mention, though, that Kobach is also an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, raising the specter of a partisan political motive behind the lawsuit.
That seems like something significant to report, but Starr ignored it.
MRC Claims It's Irrelevant That Akin, Ryan Voted The Same on Anti-Abortion Bills Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Clay Waters is desperately trying to ignore reality on the Todd Akin controversy.
In an Aug. 23 MRC TimesWatch item, Waters complains that the New York Times is "trying to change the subject from the bad economy to social issues, for Obama's sake" by trying to "tie controversial comments by Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin to Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan."
How far in denial is Waters? He huffs that the Times "irrelevantly noted that Paul Ryan and Todd Akin voted the same way" on several anti-abortion bills. How is that irrelevant? Waters never explains. Inconvenient to Waters' right-wing agenda? Sure. But hardly irrelevant.
This appears to be another example of the MRC violating its own "Tell the Truth" mantra by attacking anyone who dares to do so about conservatives.
Joseph Farah's Pretense to Christianity Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's Aug. 23 column is devoted to denigrating President Obama's Christian faith -- he insists that "Barack Obama is simply not a Christian, as he claims" because "He will say anything and do anything to attain his radical, transformative objectives."
Farah ridicules the way Obama came to his faith:
Here’s the way Obama used it most famously, explaining his claimed conversion to Christianity: “I’m a Christian by choice. My family didn’t – frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church. So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead – being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.”
So what’s my problem with that statement?
For starters, Jesus never used the phrase about being my brother’s keeper. Even a third-grade Sunday school child would recognize it from the Bible. But the words never came out of Jesus’ mouth. The only person who ever said anything like that in the Bible, of course, was Cain, after murdering his brother, Abel.
Genesis 4:9: “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Obama is not his brother’s keeper any more than Cain was – as he has proved by his lack of compassion for those he claims as family members.
Is this one of the key biblical phrases that inspired Barack Obama’s alleged conversion to Christianity?
Is Farah really saying that being your brother's keeper is not a key tenet of Christianity? What Bible is he reading?
Which brings up a larger question. Farah delcares himself to be a Christian in this column, but he fails in the same way he accuses Obama of failing.
It's abundantly clear that Farah will say anything and do anything to attain his objective of destroying Obama, for which WND is his primary vehicle. That includes tellingnumerouslies, hiding information from his readers and publishing the most hate-filledcolumnists who hurl lie upon lie and libel upon libel at the president.
Is that Christian behavior? Most Christians would not recognize it as such.
If Farah is truly the Christian he claims he is, he should pray to God for forgiveness over his using WND as a vehicle for hate and destruction, and for deliverance from the bile in his heart.
Newsmax's Kessler Fawn's Over Romney Staffer's Looks Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Ronald Kessler keeps up his trademarkRomney-fluffing in an Aug. 23 column devoted to portraying a meeting between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan prior to Romney naming Ryan as his vice presidential candidate as having been conducted with CIA-level secrecy. It's also a profile of Romney staffer Kelli Harrison, and Kessler brings a little borderline-creepy attention to her looks and athleticism:
A blonde who has a self-deprecating manner, Harrison looks like a volleyball star, which she once was on the Tufts team. She keeps a red, white, and blue volleyball on the floor beside her desk at campaign headquarters on Commercial Street in Boston. During conference calls, she tosses the ball against a wall.
According to what her Tufts volleyball captain Lindsey Moses told the Tufts Daily, on the court Harrison “plays hard, dives for balls, and is never afraid to use her kneepads and leave some sweat on the floor."
Kessler has done this sort of thing before -- he once wrote that Romney's wife "has the look of an outdoors woman bred to be an equestrian, which she is — good carriage, rosy complexion, square jaw, and blond mane. ... She is unpretentious, but she isn’t shy. She lowers her eyes, thinking, and then looks up directly at her interviewer and dazzles him with that smile."
Janet Porter (who you may remember as one of the more vicious spewers of anti-Obama hate) hasn't been around WorldNetDaily much in recent months -- she's been working in a failed effort in Ohio to pass a extremist anti-abortion "heartbeat bill" that would have banned abortions if a heartbeat could be detected in the fetus. Porter's stunts and rhetoric in support of the bill were so egregious that even supporters of the bill were alienated by her.
But she's back, and she's using her Aug. 22 WND column to defend Todd Akin, even his "legitimate rape" statement:
When Rep. Todd Akin stood for protecting all innocent human life in a recent interview, he used a word with more than one meaning. He used the word “legitimate” before the word “rape” to mean “real,” “forcible,” a tragic event that “really took place.” Anyone who doesn’t think false claims of rape can be made should check with Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe v. Wade. The infamous abortion case, based on her false rape claim, has resulted in the deaths of 55 million innocent human lives.
But because “legitimate” could also modify the word rape, some in the Republican Party are practically writing Willie Horton ads about it, pretending that the congressman is “pro-rape” and wants to let rapists out on furlough. This “interpretation” of the congressman’s words doesn’t resemble reality, and everyone knows it.
If Republicans love their country, they will quit using fiction to shoot their own and focus on the real enemies of life: Democrats Claire McCaskill and Barack Obama, who stand for legally sucking the brains out of half-born babies in a procedure called partial-birth abortion.
Porter goes on to list "men and women of courage who stand with Rep. Akin, beginning with the founder of National and International Right to Life, Dr. Jack Willke." Willke is credited as the source of something else Akin said: that a woman's body can "shut down" unwanted conception, which as that from a "legitimate rape."
Porter is silent about her view on that discredited claim, but her approving reference to Willke suggests that medical reality doesn't matter to her.
Soros Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has another fit of George Soros derangement in an Aug. 21 Business & Media Institute item by Julia Seymour complaining that news reports on Soros Fund Management's purchase of a minority stake in the Manchester United soccer team "excluded any indication of Soros’s politics or his controversial history."
Seymour doesn't explain why Americans should care about Soros' politics in a story about his buying a stake in a British soccer team.
Seymour went on to complain about "allegations of racism among the media when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh was part of a group making a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams pro football team," adding that some media outlets "repeated fake quotes about slavery attributed to the talk show host that eventually forced Limbaugh his attempts [sic] to buy the Rams." Seymour doesn't mention the racially charged statements Limbaugh has made that are undeniably true.
Seymour's boss, Dan Gainor, is obsessed with attacking Soros.
He claims to have made the decisive call to get Osama bin Laden. For starters, we now know Obama had several opportunities to order that raid and passed on them at the advice of Valerie Jarrett.
Farah is presumably referring to the claim to that effect made in a new book by right-wing author Richard Miniter. But as Media Matters points out, Miniter gets his facts wrong by falsely portraying events in the hunt for bin Laden that happened in 2010 as happening a year earlier.Planning for the mission to raid bin Laden's compound didn't begin until late 2010, meaning that Miniter is bizarrely claiming that Obama repeatedly canceled a mission that hadn't even been planned yet.
And the White House has stated that Jarrett wasn't appraised of plans for the raid on bin Laden's compound, casting further doubt on Miniter's -- and Farah's -- veracity.
But Farahdoesn'tcare about the facts where Obama is concerned, so he has no incentive to do any research before spouting lies in his column.
Jay Leno's Brief Stay in Noel Sheppard's Doghouse Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' archive of references to Jay Leno is filled with instances of Noel Sheppard whipsawing between bashing Leno for making a joke about conservatives and patting Leno on the head for a joke making fun of President Obama. This week, Sheppard managed to perform one of these flip-flops in a 24-hour period.
In an Aug. 21 post, Sheppard huffed that Leno was "feeling the need to take a cheap shot at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney" by quipping that recently reported layoffs on his show's staff and Leno himself taking a pay cut was the result of "taken over by Bain Capital."
The next day, however, Sheppard was gushing over Leno airing "a mock video of ABC's Jake Tapper reading a question at Monday's press conference from cue cards held by the President." Sheppard added: "Was this NBC spanking Tapper for telling the truth about media's complicity in aiding and abetting the White House? Only Leno's hairdresser knows for sure."
Sheppard's inconsistency on Leno seems to undercut the MRC's "liberal media bias" message.
WND Gets U.N. Press Pass -- And, Of Course, Uses It to Bash U.N. Topic: WorldNetDaily
We noted earlier this year that WorldNetDaily was trying to get a press pass from the United Nations -- the same organization WND has vowed to destroy. (We also earned a little hate mail from WND's U.N. correspondent, Stewart Stogel, for pointing out that he, by definition of his employment by WND, is a right-wing hack.)
Well, WND got its wish. An Aug. 9 WND article describes how it "has been granted an office to establish a formal bureau at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the latest sign of the new [sic] organization’s expanding coverage." WND self-aggrandizingly adds, "WND joins the likes of the New York Times, the Times of London and the NHK (Japan) with formal bureaus."
And what does Stogel do with his first article from WND's new U.N. bureau? Attack the U.N., of course, over a tweet:
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs apparently has decided to ignore concerns raised by Israel after a public affairs officer in Jerusalem Tweeted an anti-Israel hoax.
That's right -- Stogel wrote an article about a tweet. Apparently, there was nothing more important happening at the U.N., or at least something he couldn't use to attack the U.N. ... which appears to be Stogel's mission.
CNS' Jeffrey Parses Akin To Save Anti-Abortion Talking Point Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief recognizes that Todd Akin's statements on rape and pregnancy undercut the absolutist right-wing argument that abortion should be outlawed in all instances, including in cases of rape. So his Aug. 22 column is devoting to parsing Akin's remarks to disassociate that claim from the rest of what he said:
Akin's answer had two distinct parts. In the first, he made a claim about the physiological likelihood of a rape victim conceiving a child as the result of the criminal act committed against her. In the second, he made a policy statement about whether aborting such a child ought to be permitted.
The first part of Akin's answer was worse than gratuitous. It made a claim he could not back up and did so in language that itself raised questions.
But what about the second part of Akin's statement — that rapists ought to be punished but not children conceived through rape?
Is this a logical, morally defensible, even laudable and courageous position?
Needless to say, Jeffrey insists it is, and also that Mitt Romney believes the same thing, even though he has never explicitly said so and has actually denied the position in criticizing Akin:
Given Romney's premises, what would be the logical position for Romney to take on whether American law should permit the taking of an innocent human life conceived through a rape?
"Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told multiple news organizations on Monday.
This has been Romney's position ever since he declared himself pro-life. "I am pro-life," Romney wrote in a July 26, 2005, op-ed in the Boston Globe. "I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape and to save the life of the mother."
So, if abortion is not the "wrong choice" in cases of rape, what kind of choice is it?
Who exactly benefits when the government permits the deliberate killing of an innocent child conceived through rape?
Like WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, Jeffrey wants to change the subject away from Akin and insist his larger point was accurate:
Rep. Todd Akin's substantive position that we should protect the right to life even of those conceived through rape — who are themselves a second victim of that evil act — is not only in keeping with the good heart of America, it is plain and simply right.
By the way, Jeffrey's "worse than gratuitous" statement was his only criticism of Akin.
WND's Farah Agrees With Akin: Pregnancy From Rape Is Rare Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah mostly defends Todd Akin's remarks on rape and pregnancy in his Aug. 21 column, particularly endorsing Akin's claim that pregnancy from rape is rare:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s (conception as a result of rape) really rare.” So far, he is absolutely, 100 percent right. It’s exceedingly rare. Some feminist sources claim as many as 5 percent of women raped get pregnant. Though you will find studies placing the percentage at 1 percent to 5 percent, many of them are politically loaded. The fact of the matter is that women can only get pregnant when they are fertile. One-third of women are either too young or too old to get pregnant. A woman is capable of being fertilized only 3 days out of 30 every month. A fourth of all women in the U.S. of childbearing years have been sterilized. Only half of all rapists deposit sperm in the victim’s vagina. Many sexual attackers are impotent or ejaculate prematurely. But, at the end of the day, it’s very rare for a rape victim to become pregnant following one attack.
In fact, medical experts say the rate of pregnancy from rape is no different than that from consensual sex.
Farah does concede that Akin is on "thin ice" for saying, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," but then adds: "He probably meant to say 'forcible rape' instead of 'legitimate rape.'" But, really, claiming Akin meant to refer to "forcible rape" instead of "legitimate rape" is a distinction without a difference; right-wingers (like Paul Ryan) have attempted to insert "forcible rape" language into law, such as when a bill co-sponsored by Akin and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan attempted to limit taxpayer-funded abortions to instances of "forcible rape." That's a definition that can be read to exclude victims of statutory rape or a drugged woman who was raped.
Farah then quickly moves to declare Akin's comments "unfortunate," adds, "Why should an innocent child, a product of rape, be exterminated because of an act of violence by someone else?" and further rush to his defense:
So Akin made some unfortunate, inaccurate comments. We’ve all done that. Every human being on the plant. Joe Biden does it daily, hourly.
Akin has also apologized profusely for his comments.
I’m not surprised at all that the media and the Democratic Party refuse to let the matter go. What is more disappointing is that the Republican establishment immediately dropped Akin like yesterday’s mashed potatoes – completely writing off his chances and worthiness for victory within hours of the statement.
Who among the Republicans calling on Akin to drop out of the race have never been responsible for a gaffe?
Think about it. It’s like a friend of mine said recently. “Which of the following do you find more troubling? 1) Ted Kennedy kills a woman; 2) Barney Frank runs a homosexual prostitution ring out of his apartment; 3) Bill Clinton is credibly accused of raping Juanita Broaddrick; (4) Todd Akin misspeaks.”
Does that help put this in perspective?
The only thing in perspective here is that Farah has told another lie. In fact, the House ethics committee cleared Frank of any involvement in a prostitution ring operated by a Frank associate, and that claims of prostitution activities taking place in Frank's apartment were discredited by witnesses.
But Farah justdoesn'tcare about the truth, so his eager willingness to lie is sadly unsurprising.
Ed Koch Defends Putin's Prosecution of Punk Band Topic: Newsmax
Most observers have viewed the prosecution of Russian punk band Pussy Riot for performing an anti-Putin song in an Orthodox cathedral as a sign of growing intolerance of political dissent in Russia. But Ed Koch is "delighted" that "religious hatred" is being punished.
Some approve of the verbal attack on Putin. Others support the denunciation of the Russian Orthodox Church leadership and the church disruption because of the church leadership support of Putin. All cited characterize the issue as one of free speech.
I do not.
I would assume that many of the band’s supporters would take a different position, and rightly so, if here in the U.S. a black church were invaded and three men or women engaged in comparable conduct insulting holy places within the church and the pastor.
When I was mayor in 1989 and the AIDS activist group Act Up — unjustifiably angry with John Cardinal O'Connor — invaded St. Patrick's Cathedral and interrupted mass, throwing communion wafers — which for Catholics are the actual Body of Christ — to the floor.
Some were arrested.
As far as I can recall, no one was punished. But I think the decision of the Russian court to punish a hate crime was just and something to be applauded rather than condemned and ridiculed.
One can argue concerning the degree of punishment, whether fines rather than jail time should have been imposed, but that is a function of the Russian penalty procedures.
I also believe it is not in the interest of the U.S. to support the actions of the band. At a time when the Iranian nuclear threat grows by the day and we are fighting Islamic extremists around the world, we should be seeking to enlist President Putin to join the West in our effort to prevent the Islamist fanatics from achieving their goal of destroying Western civilization, not making him the enemy and this band the victim.
I do not believe the issue is properly one of freedom of expression.
The right to free expression is not unlimited and does not mean one can say anything anywhere and at anytime.
Further, Russia and most countries do not have embedded in their law the constitutional protection of the First Amendment that we do.
I for one am delighted they now punish religious hatred. Aren't you?