WND's Zahn Tries To Impose Christianity On Pre-Christian 'Hercules' Topic: WorldNetDaily
See if you can follow this chain of thought from Drew Zahn's WorldNetDaily review of the new "Hercules" film:
The film follows the adventures of the ancient Greek hero Hercules after he’s completed his legendary 12 labors, with the clever twist that he’s not really the son of Zeus, as Greek mythology would teach, but only a hardened warrior who has gotten by with the help of his friends. The stories of his conquests, however, grew to mythical proportions (with a bit of help), until people believed him the “son of a god.”
Each “magical” event and “monster” in his life is revealed by the film to be a perfectly natural occurrence only inflated to its supernatural reputation by a bit of trickery and the help of the grapevine.
And so long as we’re talking only about the mythical Hercules, this naturalist explanation for an ancient, supernatural hero is not a problem. Discerning audiences could enjoy the action and imagery and celebrate the movie’s messages about heroism, integrity and the measure of a man.
But if, by chance, this thread theme of the movie – that ancient heroes were not really supernatural, but at best overblown legends and, at worst, frauds – were to apply to Jesus Christ … why, then we’d have a different message to the movie after all.
And that’s where I found the half of a worm.
No, Jesus is never mentioned by name in the movie, nor are any direct parallels made. There’s a companion who betrays Hercules, the son of a god father and human mother, for money – but it’s still clear we’re talking about Hercules, not Jesus and his betrayer, Judas.
Yet the final line of the film feels way too much like finding the head of the thread was a snake all along.
“The world needs a hero they can believe in,” explains Hercules’ companion Amphiaraus. “Is he actually the son of Zeus? It doesn’t really matter.”
Then the final credits roll, with the song singing, “Ain’t no God on these streets, in the heart of the jungle. Won’t you follow me into the jungle?”
For me, the moment just felt a step too far.
I can’t say the filmmakers meant the movie in any way as a reference to Christ – “Hercules” does nothing to really justify that conclusion. But I do think audiences, especially undiscerning audiences culture-wide, will all too easily find their minds greased to swallow the humanistic idea that Jesus was a heroic figure, a good teacher, even if he wasn’t really divine. They just watched, after all, how all magic and monsters and miracles aren’t really real, but legends that grew into supernatural malarkey over the passage of time. If it was true of Hercules …
“The world needs a hero they can believe in. Is he actually the son of [God]? It doesn’t really matter.”
Doesn’t matter? Doesn’t matter! It’s all that matters!
As we read it, Zahn is concerned that a Greek myth might be extrapolated to apply to Christianity, despite the fact that there is no mention of Christianity in the film.Which makes sense, since the time of Greek mythology predates Christianity.
Indeed, Zahn writes later: "The movie is set in a time of superstition, and there’s stories told of the Greek gods, but no actual gods appear, nor is religion prominently displayed. In fact, the point of the movie is that the superstition is all false anyway."
But doesn't the arrival of Christianity implicitly hold that the Greek mythology it superceded was all superstition and, thus, false?
It seems that Zahn is trying to impose his version of Christianity on a pre-Christian narrative. But imposing his own agenda instead of reviewing movies for what they are is what Zahn is all about.
Tim Graham's Imaginary J-School Topic: Media Research Center
Tim Graham is the director of media analysis at the Media Research Center. Here's some of that "media analysis," as described in a July 28 Newsmax article:
Journalists are trained to distrust the United States, and that distrust has trickled down to Israel, says Tim Graham, executive editor of NewsBusters and director of media analysis at the Media Research Center.
"They feel that in most foreign conflicts, they are trained as journalists to always suspect that the United States is doing something immoral,'' Graham said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"In this conflict, Israel is seen as the United States, so Israel must be doing something wrong, especially when the prime minister's not shaking hands with whoever the Palestinian leader of the moment is.
"In this particular case, Israel is the stand-in for the United States. Therefore, Israel is the aggressor and somehow the Palestinians are the victims.''
Seriously? Journalists are trained to distrust the United States? What planet is Graham from?
Graham claims to have had some journalism training in college (well, a mass communications minor), and we're pretty sure that nobody at Bemidji State University ever attempted to train him to "distrust the United States." Meanwhile, I have both bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism, and say unequivocally that learning to distrust the United States was not part of my training.
It seems that Graham's "media analysis" has nothing to do with how journalists actually work and everything to do with perpetuating a right-wing caricature of it. It may be divorced from reality, but hey, it apparently keeps the donations rolling in to the MRC.
WND Columnist Botches Facts On U.S. Humanitarian Aid To Gaza Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ben Kinchlow gets a couple things wrong about the U.S. role in the Israel-Hamas conflict in his July 28 WorldNetDaily column. First, he writes: "Please correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall Secretary of State John Kerry flying in to meet with the Palestinian leadership to stop their firing rockets into Israeli towns and villages."
But "the Palestinian leadership" is not firing rockets into Israel; Hamas is. Because Hamas is considered a terrorist organization, the U.S. does not negotiate directly with them.
Keep in mind, Israel and America are allies, yet the Obama administration announced a week ago that it is sending $47 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinian government.
“Humanitarian aid” to a government that calls on its own citizens to refuse to leave buildings Israel has warned will be targeted? If these government officials are willing to have their people killed by pre-announced Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages, how much humanitarian concern does it have?
First, Kinchlow is again falsely conflating Hamas with all Palestinians. Second, that aid is not being given to the Palestinian government -- it's going to USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Still, Kinchlow clings to his misinformation:
I have a question for the current administration. You just approved an additional $47 million in humanitarian aid to a government that openly calls for the destruction of its neighbor, continually allows rockets to be fired at civilians and promotes the death of its own citizens as martyrs and human shields.
“What up wid dat, Homies?”
The better question is what up wid a columnist who fails to get his facts straight before he opines.
I was astonished and angered to read last week that the American Civil Liberties Union gathered “a coalition of 45 civil rights, human rights, privacy rights and faith-based organizations (and) sent a letter to President Obama asking for ‘a full public accounting of … practices’” related to the NSA’s spying on five leading American Muslims.
Sure, it’s a legitimate complaint, so why am I angry? Because instead of requesting this “full public accounting,” the ACLU should be organizing with other presumed guardians of our individual constitutional liberties to demand that impeachment proceedings begin against Obama, the most flagrant presidential violator of the Constitution in our history.
This is for the sake of our very identity as Americans.
So, what are the real sympathies of the Obama administration and Democratic power players toward their beleaguered black urban constituents? I would imagine it is something in the area of utter contempt. Think about it: Progressive-socialist Democratic politicians have been exploiting blacks for decades; certainly, having managed to bring them from a place of cultural viability to abject thralldom – with their willing participation, I might add – can’t have improved these elites’ opinions of blacks at large. As far as Obama and his cabal are concerned, well, blacks are just useful idiots in the true Leninist sense.
My question is what these suffering inner-city blacks across America would think – and do – if they knew that their suffering was by design. I suppose that ultimately using blacks’ outrage to foment violent urban uprisings may indeed be part of the plan, but this remains to be seen.
It wasn’t that long ago that a prospective Supreme Court justice was blackballed because he had occasionally smoked marijuana while in college. Although it seems as if it happened a hundred years ago, it wasn’t that long until we elected Bill Clinton, who admitted he had smoked pot, but lied about never having inhaled. That’s like saying you ate a T-bone steak, but didn’t swallow.
We then elected Barack Obama who not only smoked weed on a regular basis, but bragged about it in his autobiography. All along, I had thought that all of his obvious problems were the result of his having been abandoned as a child by his mother, father and stepfather, and left to be raised by communist grandparents and a sexual pervert, Frank Marshall Davis, who served as a mentor to young Barack.
However, now that medical research has linked marijuana not only to a diminished mental capacity, but to schizophrenia, I have had to revise my diagnosis. It’s just possible that marijuana played an equally large role in the stoner’s turning out to be such a lousy excuse for a president.
You have to be extraordinarily ignorant or gullible to believe that the chaos on the southwest border is an accident of history or the unexpected byproduct of a well-meaning act of Congress back in 2008. Just the opposite is true.
The current “surge” in border crossings by families and unaccompanied children is about as unexpected and unplanned as the expansion of Medicaid enrollments under Obamacare. Both are the logical and predictable results of Obama policies.
The question has been asked many times over the last five years: What is Barack Obama doing?
Why is he inviting massive numbers of illegal aliens, including children, to risk their lives to swarm our southern border?
Why has he created a national health-care system that is unsustainable economically in the long term and is creating crisis in the short term?
Why is he turning down the opportunity to buy oil from our neighbor to the north and forcing Canada to sell it to China instead?
In short, why is he doing so much of what he is doing that seems not to make a lot of sense to the American people?
The shocking answer is that they do make sense in a perverted, un-American paradigm – one I have tried to bring to the attention of the American people for many years. The purpose is to increase misery and manufacture crises.
Had Obama not sought election to the presidency, his ideas could rightly be characterized as un-American. In fact, they were by many opponents in 2008 and 2012.
There were many presidents in American history who exceeded their constitutional authority.
There were many presidents in American history who hurt the country through their actions.
There were many presidents in American history who caused pain and sorrow for their constituents.
But has there ever before been an American president who intentionally took office to subvert and undermine the Constitution for the express purpose of imposing his own will on the people without a thought or care to constitutional limits?
President Barack Hussein Obama is literally destroying the world. If you thought that Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were bad, there is no comparison to this socialist/communist, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white commander in chief whom I frequently refer to sarcastically, but realistically, as the “Mullah in Chief.”
Remember, Obama is not a leader in the traditional sense. He’s not a president in any sense – at least as we have known that office in the past. He’s a community organizer who counts on demonizing his opponents, playing the victim, blaming, as he did last week, “the unjust status quo,” as if he is an outside in Washington rather than the occupant of the White House for the last five and a half years.
I’ve never thought Obama’s decisions were haphazard, unplanned, unscripted and without purpose – just irresponsible, reckless, un-American, extra-constitutional and evil.
And that’s why I raise the question.
More and more critical observers are suggesting Obama wants Republicans to move toward impeachment. It is as if he is daring them to do so. Maybe he recognizes the party’s timid national leadership is reticent to take him on in any meaningful way. Maybe he hopes the midterm election damage will be less severe if the Republican base throws up its hands in frustration over having no meaningful alternative. Maybe he just wants to introduce more confusion and chaos into American politics. Maybe the border crisis is yet another attempt to play the race card that has been his trump card since he ran for president.
Whatever it is, America is paying a big price right now for electing and re-electing this fraud, this impostor, this demagogue.
Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy Watch Topic: Media Research Center
You'd think that after 25 years of attacking the media, the Media Research Center would have developed a clue about how news works. Apparently not.
A July 30 MRC item by Kyle Drennen carries the headline "NBC Touts Palestinian Teen Praising 'Justified' Hamas Terror Attacks on Israe." Drennen complains that NBC "highlighted a Palestinian teenager celebrating the terror group's attacks: 'In Gaza, many see these attacks as justified. 16-year-old Farah Bakkar has developed a following online after live tweeting as [Israeli] bombs fell....Farah never supported Hamas before, but does now.' A sound bite ran of Bakkar proclaiming: 'When I see the [Hamas] rockets getting to Israel, I start loving them more and more and I pray for them.'" Drennen presents this as NBC endorsing the teen's remarks.
This is the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy run amok. It's simply absurd to claim, as Drennen is trying to do, that the inclusion of a point of view in a news report means the news outlet agrees with that viewpoint.
After all these years, this is what passes for "media research" at the MRC.
No, WND, Sandra Fluke Never Claimed She Was Too Poor To Afford Birth Control Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily reporter Chelsea Schilling has a long, long history of getting facts wrong. She starts off her July 29 article with yet another whopper:
Sandra Fluke – the feminist attorney who in 2012 claimed she couldn’t afford the $9 monthly cost of birth control pills and has said taxpayers should pay for it – is loaning her own legislative campaign a hefty sum of $100,000.
In fact, during the 2012 congressional testimony that prompted WND friend Rush Limbaugh to misogynistically label her a slut and a prostitute (which Schilling soft-pedals as Limbaugh merely suggesting it), Fluke did not discuss her own personal circumstances.
Schilling also furthers the misnomer that all birth control costs $9 a month. As the New Republic points out, not every birth control method works for every woman due to side effects, and that includes cheap generic birth control:
For some women, finding the right contraceptive is a matter of finding the right pill. For others, it’s a matter of finding a whole other birth control method – like implants, inter-uterine devices, or surgical sterilization. Most of these alternatives cost more than $9 a month and some of them cost a lot more than $9 a month.
Such ignorance of basic facts in order to forward a political agenda is just another reason why nobody believes WND.
Tim Graham Transgender Freakout Watch Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham has been on quite the roll lately when it comes to freaking out about transgenders. He's in freakout mode once again in a July 27 NewsBusters post railing at the New York Times for treating transgenders as if they had basic human rights:
In the same Friday New York Times in which “conservative firebrand” Dinesh D’Souza was dissected and a “conservative script” was honed to “light fire on abortion,” the social leftists pushing transgender issues were never identified as liberal or leftist. This time, the venue for gender delusion was a Quaker college in Oregon.
Forget the science. The dictatorship of relativism is bearing down. A person's gender is utterly dependent on what they feel like being. A caption on Friday explained: “Jaycen, a George Fox University student who identifies as male, wants to live next year with a group of male friends; however, the college considers him a woman and turned down his request.”
Now what if someone took this same argument and made it about race? As in: I was "assigned whiteness" at birth, but I feel like I should be black based on my "lived experience" pretending to be what I am not? Jaycen is supposedly more male because she's into "the video game Call to Duty and listening to R&B and hip hop." Could it be discriminatory not to allow people who "identify as black" into black colleges or affirmative action programs, as the "identify as women" advocates push their way into women's colleges?
There's not one sliver of space in this politically correct story for the idea that the "LGBTQ" agenda is completely at odds with Christianity and other major global religions, and that to force this sinful agenda on religious institutions is a breach of religious liberty, which seems to be one of the Obama administration's goals.
What does Obama have to do with this? Nothing that we can see, beyond Graham inadvertently exposing the Media Research Center's agenda to be less about "media research" and more about partisan politics, which the MRC's nonprofit tax status theoretically forbids.
NEW ARTICLE: There's No Place Like WND (For Discredited Filmmakers And Unethical Reporting) Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joel Gilbert knows the best way to get WorldNetDaily to promote his new anti-Obama film and ignore his track record of falsehoods: Put Jerome Corsi in the movie. Read more >>
CNS Promotes Levin Lawsuit, Doesn't Disclose MRC's Business Deal With Him Topic: CNSNews.com
Susan Jones writes in a July 25 CNSNews.com article:
A conservative legal group is asking a federal judge to punish the Environmental Protection Agency for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages requested in August 2012 under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Landmark Legal Foundation believes the requested -- but never delivered -- messages to outside groups would have revealed EPA attempts to influence the 2012 presidential election.
"The EPA is a toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution,” said Landmark Legal President Mark Levin.
CNS neglects to mention that CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, has a business relationship with Levin, in which the MRC pays Levin on his radio show and uses Levin's endorsement on its own websites.
Though CNS presents itself as a news operation presumably subject to journalistic codes of ethics, it regularly publishes stories about Levin while failing to disclose that he's a paid spokesman.
WND Pretends 9-Year-Old Attack On Al Franken Is New Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily tries hard to push a scandal in a July 27 article:
While the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Joe Walsh, D-Mont., has been rocked by claims that he plagiarized 25 percent of his 2007 master’s thesis, another well-known Democrat senator is in the hot seat, facing plagiarism accusations from an author.
As a radio host on the left-leaning network Air America, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., regularly emphasized the importance of telling the truth.
“Telling the truth is something I take seriously, and I try to hold myself to an impossibly high standard,” he wrote in his book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”
But Alan Skorski, author of “Pants on Fire: How Al Franken Lies, Smears and Deceives,” contends Franken plagiarized a chapter, “The Chapter on Fox,” lifting the words from a leftist group called Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, or FAIR.
Skorski lists at least 18 examples of what he claims is Franken quoting almost word for word from the group’s reports on Fox News and conservatives.
There are two significant pieces of information missing from this unbylined article. First, WND published Skorski's book. Second, WND published it in 2005.
That's right -- WND is reporting 9-year-old allegations as new. Heck, Skorski himself stopped promoting his book in 2006. And WND certainly won't tell you that Skorski's main attacks against Franken have been discredited.
What we seem to have here is a desperate attempt to move some books moldering away in WND's seemingly vast warehouse. WND is currently selling the book for $19.96, which is about $19.95 more than you will pay for a nice used copy of it through Amazon.
NewsBusters Glosses Over Plagiarist's Conservative Ties Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters had little to say about BuzzFeed's Benny Johnson being fired for plagiarism, using it only as the introduction to a "weekend open thread" in a July 26 post.
NewsBusters clipped a Huffington Post item noting that "Benny Johnson was previously with Glenn Beck's The Blaze, and has also written for Breitbart News," but it avoided further discussion of the unavoidable conclusion those ties mean: Johnson is a conservative.
Outlets like the Blaze and Breitbart are ideologically driven -- much more so than the mainstream media outlets NewsBusters' minders at the Media Research Center love to fearmonger about -- so it's unlikely that Johnson could have gotten jobs there without demonstrating a commitment to right-wing ideology. That says a lot about right-wing media ethics, but you won't hear NewsBusters talk about that.
NewsBusters also won't mention the fact that it previously promoted a Johnson post at BuzzFeed item later found to have contained plagiarized content. A February 2013 post by Randy Hall highlighted a Johnson item headlined “7 Things Democrats Would Have Freaked Out About if Bush Had Done Them”; that item now contains an editor's note that "This post has been corrected to remove phrasing that was copied from The Hill. BuzzFeed takes its responsibility to readers very seriously, and plagiarism is a major breach of that responsibility."
NewsBusters has long covered for the mistakes of conservative writers. When conservative Washington Post blogger Ben Domenech was forced to resign after evidence of plagiarism surfaced, the MRC did what it could to change the subject. Tim Graham asserted that "What the Domenech fiasco should show is that left-wingers like those Media Mutterers are quite furious in attempting to keep the liberal media as liberal as they can muster," and Greg Sheffield claimed that the Post "cave[d] in to left-wing pressure" to fire Domenech while not mentioning his plagiarism.
(Interestingly, Domenech has rehabilitated himself, now running the the Federalist website, and NewsBusters likes to cite him.)
WND's Loudon Tries To Capitalize On Teen Daughter's Relationship With 57-Year-Old Actor Topic: WorldNetDaily
What to make of Gina Loudon?
We've already noted her apparent mental health issues as manifested in the dishonesty and Obama derangement that appears in her WorldNetDaily column. Now she has devoted her July 27 WND column to her 18-year-old daughter's relationship with a 57-year-old man.
Loudon begins her column with this odd note:
This is a very personal family matter. With all the darkness, violence, conflict and trauma in the world today, it’s stunning that the news media would focus in on a personal family matter and exploit sensationally for a little titillation. But it is what it is. This is an emotional topic for me – not one I was prepared to deal with publicly. But here are my thoughts and feelings as I balance the privacy of my family, my concern and love I have for my daughter and the curiosity of the public over the latest “entertainment” story.
I would ask for the prayers of your readers that God takes charge of this situation for the best interests of all concerned.
Loudon can't possibly be that naive. The man her daughter happens to be having a relationship with (described in the headline as a "well-known actor" though we had never heard of him until now) is Steven Bauer, currently starring in a critically acclaimed TV show, "Ray Donovan," and he was once married to and has a son with actress Melanie Griffith. The two made their relationship public by attending a movie premiere together. Does Loudon really think that the entertainment media would ignore such catnip?
Loudon's column is about her trepidation about, and ultimate acceptance of, her daughter's relationship. But it's about something else too -- damage control and an attempt to control the narrative. It's as if Loudon has decided that if anyone was going to "exploit sensationally" her daughter's relationship, it would be her.
How else to explain the somewhat sultry-looking mother-daughter picture that begins Loudon's column (shown above)? That's an odd image to use in a column in which you're trying to convince readers that your daughter "has remained (and remains) pure until marriage" despite dating a 57-year-old actor.
Loudon's attempt to capitalize on her daughter's relationship may be more disturbing than the relationship itself.
CNS' Hollingsworth Dutifully Transcribes More Right-Wing Talking Points Topic: CNSNews.com
Barbara Hollingsworth has yet another fit of lazy journalism in which she decides to serve as stenographer for a right-wing activist group in a July 22 CNSNews.com article. This time, she uncritically repeats attacks from the Institute for Energy Research that a new report warning of the dangers of climate change "is just another attempt by economic and political elites to impose a carbon tax on Americans."
Of Course WND Loves Heckler Who Called Obama The Antichrist Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily devotes an entire July 25 article to how some random heckler called President Obama the Antichrist:
A heckler blasted Barack Obama during the president’s speech in Los Angeles this week, calling him the “anti-Christ” and warning him that he would be “destroyed,” before being ushered out by a police officer.
When Obama got up to speak, the man, wearing a blue shirt and standing at the front of an otherwise Obama-adoring crowd, shouted: “Jesus Christ created the heaven and the earth. … You are the anti-Christ. You are the anti-Christ. … You will be destroyed. You will be destroyed.’
Amid a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd, with several people shaking their heads, the man continued shouting as an officer came and took his arm and led him away.
Curiously, WND fails to take the opportunity to let its readers know that it was an early rider on the Antichrist bandwagon.
As we've documented, WND has been pushing this idea since even before Obama was elected, later promoting a anonymous YouTube video (since revealed to be the work of Carl Gallups, under his nom de smear PPSimmons) erroneously quoting Scripture to claim that the Bible has identified Obama as the Antichrist.
This is a rare example of the WND self-promotion machine failing.
(Image: Mark Geary's Kickstarter for "A Is For Antichrist")