Topic: Media Research Center
While the Media Research Center normally spends its time around the Super Bowl attacking halftime shows, this year it chose instead to focus on commercials (as it has done in the past) -- or, in this case, to complain about others being outraged. Tim Graham groused in a Jan. 30 post that CNN had on "a writer for 'Religion Dispatches,' a project of the far-left Political Research Associates," to discuss a certin planned ad:
On Friday, The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN investigated the currently prominent "He Gets Us" TV ads promoting Jesus in terms meant to please centrists and liberals. Comically, CNN presented this largely as a right-wing conspiracy.
Fill-in host Pamela Brown explained: "If you're planning to watch the upcoming Super Bowl, you'll likely see a few ads about Jesus. CNN's Tom Foreman looks into the He Gets Us campaign and why some are calling this a PR stunt for right-wing politics." Notice "some" is the usual phrase for "some left-wing hacks."
In short, CNN is a sucker for the notion that any attempt to recruit people into evangelical Christianity is inherently political, and inherently opposed to the Left.
John Simmons served up a Feb. 13 post also complaining that the ads were being criticized:
Super Bowl commercials are one of the most anticipated elements of the NFL’s big game. But Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took exception to a pair of advertisements that were faith-based.
AOC criticized a pair of ads put out by the Non-Profit “He Gets Us,” an organization that tries to portray Jesus and his teachings from a left-of-center perspective.
Both ads focused on a message of loving your neighbor, which is nearly impossible for anyone to find something wrong with. I say nearly impossible because AOC did just that.
Neither Graham nor Simmons noted, as an actual news outlet did, that the "He Gets Us" ads come from a foundation that has found right-wing anti-LGBT and anti-contraception activism. Nevertheless, the MRC still tried to sanitize those ads; a Feb. 14 post by Alex Christy gushed, "The much-talked about He Gets Us ads were about having childlike faith and loving your enemies."
Graham devoted his Feb. 15 column to rehashing how the ads were criticized:
The high-dollar advertisements on Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl 57 were pretty light and humorous, except for the dead-serious black-and-white messages pushing the message “Jesus: He Gets Us.”
This big ad campaign clearly wants to reach young people with Christian messaging in the most contemporary terms, with ads that claim “Jesus was a refugee” or a misunderstood criminal defendant. What’s unfolded is a comedy of liberals furious that anyone would recruit people to worship Jesus, as if it were a vast right-wing Christian conspiracy.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign.” If you thought that was too lame-brained to repeat, MSNBC host Joy Reid copy-catted that a bit on TV: “I think it is fair to say Jesus Christ wouldn’t spend millions of dollars on television ads promoting His image.”
Every Christian is instructed by the Bible to share the gospel of Jesus, from person to person, or on television, if possible. It’s not “fair to say” Jesus would somehow oppose that. It’s fair to say liberals hate it because they see religion -- organized or unorganized -- as a malignant right-wing sickness that ruins the culture.
Graham only obliquely referenced the funding and agenda behind the ads, by criticizing someone who brought it up:
On February 11, weekend All Things Considered anchor Michel Martin brought on Josiah Daniels of Sojourners, a “progressive Christian” website. He threw a red flag. “I think that it's sort of the height of Christian hypocrisy to, on the one hand, say we really want to accept everyone, but then on the other hand, you're taking money from people who have worked to curb access to abortion rights or they've worked to curb LGBTQ rights.”
The glaring hypocrisy here is the secular leftist media do not “accept everyone.” With zero dissent, NPR is putting on Daniels to insist Christians “should disassociate from these groups who are working to curb marginalized people's rights.”
In the end, Jesus sounds “divisive” in the book of Matthew: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Jesus isn’t accepting of everyone. He calls everyone to accept Him. Jesus warned of “false prophets.” These networks and their conspiracy-decrying experts fit the term.
Graham didn't actually admit that the money behind the ads also funds right-wing causes he likes -- that would have been too divisive, right?