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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
MRC's Graham, Starr Still Upset Over 2010 Gay-Themed Art Exhibit
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center director of media analysis Tim Graham has spent years keeping his employees obsessed over the "macaca" remark that help to sink George Allen's campaign for a Virginia Senate seat in 2006. So he clearly has experience nursing a grudge.

That tendency appears again in a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post by Graham:

In the Arts section of Sunday’s Washington Post, they celebrated the appointment of curator David Ward as the senior historian of the National Portrait Gallery. Why does it matter? Ward was a central figure in the controversial 2010 exhibit “Hide/Seek,” which contained a defamatory video of Jesus crucified being crawled on by ants.

As a libertine leftist, Ward hated it when complaints from top Republicans caused the gallery bosses at the time to "cave" and remove the Jesus-trashing piece, as did liberal journalists. So the headline on Sunday honored Ward as “A historian with an eye on the future.” The caption under his picture promised Ward “is not afraid to present history in new ways.”

Notice how Post reporter Katherine Boyle – not on staff during the 2010 controversy – completely elides exactly what was controversial about the exhibit – no mention of Jesus or ants crawling on his dead body – and like most reporters, ignores how the story broke, in a eye-popping report with pictures by Penny Starr of our own

Why disturb the Post subscriber on Sunday by describing how Christians were mocked with their own money?

As we documented at the time, this was a completely manufactured controversy -- Starr, and by extension Graham and their boss, Brent Bozell, were simply upset that a gay-themed art exhibit and wanted to exploit the exhibit in order to engage in a little homophobia and rile up their right-wing base.

Graham botches a few facts in his rant, though. First, it seems that Graham is unable to differentiate fact from fiction by suggesting that the video showed the actual Jesus with ants crawling on his "dead body." In fact, the ants were crawling on a plastic crucifix. We grew up Catholic, but we don't recall transubstantiation applying to crucifixes.

Second, Graham's description of the video as "Jesus-trashing" and "defamatory" conveniently ignores the intent of the artist, David Wojnarowicz, and the context of the time of its creation. As we pointed out the last time Graham did this, the image is a reflection of Wojnarowicz's personal and religious themes as someone who grew up Catholic and was a victim of AIDS at a time when that diagnosis was essentially a death sentence.

Third, Graham's claim that "Christians were mocked with their own money" ignores the fact that the exhibit in which the video appeared was privately funded.

Starr made her own contribution to reviving the homophobic attacks in a Dec. 31 CNS article in which she ignores the fact that the exhibit was privately funded and waits until the 24th paragraph of her 28-paragraph article to mention the artist's intent. Biased much?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:45 PM EST

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