Though Beck is a multi-faceted individual, his greatest talent is that he's a master teacher. His Fox News shows are like going to college, but learning things they don't teach at the most expensive campuses in the country.
And therein, I believe, lies the crux of the problem. Beck is too good of a teacher, something Will Durant warned about when he said, "Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn." Most Americans are not yet ready to accept the truths Beck teaches, so they find it easier to dismiss him as a doomsayer or conspiracy nut.
The bottom line for me is that Glenn Beck is still the most remarkable person on television, and I'm hoping he stays with Fox. But if the powers that be ever did insist that he put a more positive spin on his show (i.e., that he lie to his viewers), I believe his sense of honor would compel him to leave Fox. Beck is on a mission, and I think purity in thought, speech and action are nonnegotiable with him.
Newsmax Baselessly Takes Credit for NY Times Bestseller List Change Topic: Newsmax
A March 17 Newsmax article by Chris Gonslaves details Dick Morris' allegation that "The New York Times is politicizing its powerful best-sellers rankings to keep conservative authors who contribute to Fox News off of the most influential part of the list." It's a powerful allegation, but it lacks substance.
Morris' specific complaint is that new books by himself, Mike Huckabee, and Frank Luntz -- "all Fox News contributors," he points out -- appear on the Times' how-to book list instead of the main nonfiction list. Not only does he offer no evidence of liberal books appearing on the nonfiction list instead of the how-to list, he ignores the fact that the subtitle of his new book is "How to Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs," which sure sounds like a how-to title. He also fails to offer sales figures that would prove his point.
It's also undermined by the fact that, as Gonslaves points out, 'The Times doesn't seem to have a problem with conservative authors in general," as evidenced by the presence of books by George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Scott Brown on the nonfiction list. Of course, those, unlike Morris' book, are narratives, not how-to books.
When Huckabee's book popped up on the nonfiction list the next day, Newsmax immediately took credit for it, with Gonslaves touting the change in a March 18 article and how it came "one day after Newsmax detailed complaints that the paper was politicizing its best-sellers rankings to the detriment of Fox News contributors." Needless to say, Gonslaves offered no evidence of any link, merely embracing the correlation-equals-causation fallacy.
In a separate article, Gonslaves trotted out Morris' reaction to the change, in which he insisted that "the New York Times is playing favorites, which is almost worse than consigning all of the conservative books to the How To list in the first place." Again, Morris offers no actual evidence to prove his point.
For to grasp the reason this homogenous society's culture has endured, one would have to juxtapose it with balkanized America, a country riven by feuds and factions courtesy of state-imposed tribalism (multiculturalism and mass immigration). Far better to crank things up by pursuing the partial meltdown, full meltdown or core meltdown angles.
Most members of the meltdown media have been schooled in activism, not in journalism. To them, every news story becomes, reflexively, a cause – a reason to "educate" and promote "awareness," rather than to report the facts. That so many of our news outlets settled on identical front-page, or pixelated, leads is unsettling.
As a consequence of this pervading groupthink, we have not seen nearly enough of how impressively the Japanese people are coping, how calm and courageous they appear in interviews. When CNN's international correspondent alluded to "scenes of hardship," the camera cut to a shelter. The images were heartbreaking, to be sure. But, unlike those taken during Katrina, there was much to inspire in Japan. One saw rows of neatly laid-out mats. The elderly had been snugly tucked in clean blankets. Kids, faces covered with masks, were sweeping the floors industriously.
In other footage, lines of people snaked around the neighborhood, waiting patiently, sometimes for days, to purchase food and water. The individuals interviewed were grief-struck, but they held it together. Nobody was screaming for government aid. There has been no menace or murder on what remains of the streets of Sendai city.
Accustomed as I am to seeing abreacting Americans or unhinged Haitians, these sights astounded me. My heroes have always been in the Greek tradition. This makes the silent, stoic, refined Japanese my heroes.
Will Bozell Denounce Hannity For Hosting Shock Jock? Topic: Media Research Center
High on the list of radio shock jocks that MRC chief Brent Bozell despises are Opie and Anthony. Bozell attacked the duo in a 2002 column after one particularly egregious stunt:
Now here's something that doesn't happen every day: radio shock jocks are having to absorb some shock of their own. Greg Hughes and Anthony Cumia, known in 18 markets as the envelope-pushing "Opie and Anthony," were fired by Infinity Broadcasting for encouraging a Virginia couple to have sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City while producer Paul Mercurio gave listeners the pew-rocking play-by-play on his cell phone.
This unusually offensive prank – carried on as worshipers came to this hallowed house of God to celebrate the holy day of obligation marking Mary's assumption into Heaven – prodded even the usually comatose Federal Communications Commission to announce it would move swiftly to investigate whether it violated federal rules against broadcasting "indecent" material.
Before this pratfall, Opie and Anthony were best known for encouraging women to show their breasts in public on "Whip ‘Em Out Wednesday." Their last straw came as part of a promotion listing 54 risky locations for couples to have sex, offering the winners a trip to the Samuel Adams brewery for pitching woo in public. Isn't that a nice commercial tie-in? "Have our nice premium-brewed Sam Adams. Drink enough of these beauties and you too might have your judgment so impaired you try to get in on at a church – with our compliments."
The transcript of the 14-minute stunt has the cackling co-hosts claiming that "obviously everybody knows...they're just simulating the acts...right?...They wouldn't be stupid enough to actually have [inaudible] sex in a church? Right?" How pathetic that these drive-time dimwits would bail out on the people they encouraged into this shameful behavior by lamely insisting they didn't really mean to encourage cathedral copulation. And how pathetic then that Infinity's action – dead-right as it was for one day after years of profiting from wrong – somehow tries to flush out the labor without taking any blame as management.
This only underlines everything that's wrong with this brand of autoerotic audio. These stations pile up millions of listeners – ten million for Opie and Anthony – by pushing every sexual button. Then they hide behind the teasing fakery of it all – you weren't really scandalized, because it's only radio, and you can't see if we're making it up or not.
Bozell railed against Opie and Anthony again in 2007:
If you thought the radio airwaves would suddenly turn nicer in the wake of the Don Imus firing, think again. The shameless shock jocks Opie and Anthony have succeeded in ramming through whatever wall of post-Imus politeness was constructed with a grotesque routine on XM Satellite Radio that played – for laughs – the idea of raping the Secretary of State.
On a satellite-only segment promoted on the Opie and Anthony website as “uncut, uncensored, and totally filthy,” this duo laughed as a character named “Homeless Charlie” described how he would like to “[F-word] that [B-word].” The hosts giggled and said “I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice's face.... as she realizes what's going on...as you were just holding her down and [F-word] her." They continued to laugh as “Charlie” sickly imagined punching Rice in the face and raping Laura Bush “to death.” Opie and Anthony then suggested he add Queen Elizabeth to his list of victims.
Ask yourself this very simple question: How does the Imus “ho” comment match on the horror scale with this rape-and-murder gag?
So it was with no small degree of surprise to us that on last night's edition of Fox News' "Hannity" -- in the segment immediately after Bozell did his usual liberal-media-bias schtick -- Sean Hannity brought on his "Great American Panel" which included ... Anthony Cumia.
Will Bozell publicly criticize Hannity for giving this offensive shock jock a forum on a highly rated cable TV show? We'd be shocked if he did.
Why? First, Hannity and Bozell are buddies, and any criticism would likely jeopardize Bozell's weekly slot on his show. Second, Cumia used his appearance to spout right-wing talking points, attacking President Obama for purportedly not acting presidential enough. Asked by Hannity if Obama will be re-elected, Cumia responded, "I sure hope not."
This, by the way, is not the first time Cumia has appeared on the "Hannity" panel; he's been on at least once before. And in 2004, Hannity had Opie and Anthony on his radio show to tell their side of the story on the cathedral sex incident.
Bozell is simply too gutless and too beholden to his right-wing agenda that he will toss away his claimed principles on radio decency to tolerate a serial violator of those principles as long as he's parroting the right talking points and he gets to be TV every week.
WND's Farah Shills for Radiation Detector Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is there no news story or disaster WorldNetDaily is too shameless to try and cash in on? Apparently not.
A March 17 WND article proudly announces that "the WND Superstore has committed to holding steady on the price of the RADSticker, even though demand, literally, has exploded." As the name suggests, the RADSticker is a sticker that detects radiation levels. The article goes on: "During times of catastrophe, the smallest act of preparation could make all the difference for you and your loved ones."
WND editor Joseph Farah, that shameless huckster himself, is even trotted out for an endorsement:
"Why resign yourself to the notion that in the event of a nuclear disaster – accidental or intentional – you and your family must perish?" asks Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND. "As I've written before, as devastating as radiation is, it actually dissipates quickly, often within the first 24 hours. Beyond the blast, essential to survival is being able to immediately ascertain the radiation risk levels and determine what medical treatment – if any – you would need. There's nothing that you can carry on your person that accomplishes this feat quite like this amazing little device."
Obama Derangement: WND's Erik Rush Thinks Hawaii Is A Foreign Country Topic: WorldNetDaily
For a demonstration of what happens to the brain after prolonged exposure to Obama derangement, look no further than Erik Rush, who writes in his March 17 WorldNetDaily column:
Obama didn't even spend his formative years in the U.S.; his teenage years (in Hawaii) were whiled away under the tutelage of Davis, who hated America and was a Communist Party operative in both in Chicago and Hawaii. Obama attended Harvard and allegedly Columbia, and ultimately moved to Chicago to learn how to "be black" and pursue Saul Alinsky's Marxist model of community organizing.
Um, Erik? Don't know if you've heard, but Hawaii is part of the United States.
Rush also plucks out of context a claim in a New York Times article that Obama said 'it would be so much easier to be the president of China" because "No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao's words in Tahrir Square," claiming that the statement shows "this is the sort of power he truly craves." In fact, the full context of the statement shows that it was in reference to the scrutiny Obama faces while trying to balance the demands of citizens in the Middle East with the United States' own interests.
Nevertheless, Rush rants that Mao Zedong "slaughtered 70 million people to get the other 700 million to fall in line. How wonderful it would be if Obama could only operate entirely without restraint!"
Rush might want to consult a doctor to get treatment of his Obama Derangement Syndrome.
NewsBusters Offended That Someone Who Doesn't Hate Gays Is Interviewed Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center doesn'tlike it when a gay person appears on TV or other media without being immediately denounced for their "lifestyle," and that also appears to go for anyone who won't denounce gays.
In a March 15 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd complains about a Time magazine interview with Jay Bakker, the "tebellious son of infamous 1980s televangelists" Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker who is leading a new ministry. What's the problem? Time reporter Amy Sullivan, Shepherd writes, "seems to sympathize with if not outright agree with Bakker's take on how Scripture can justify his stand on homosexuality" and "failed to critically evaluate Bakker's claims or present challenges to Bakker's theology from within the mainstream of orthodox Christian thought."
Shepherd didn't mention, however, that Sullivan described Bakker's "stance urging full acceptance of gays and lesbians in Christian churches" as "controversial."
Shepherd grouses about Bakker's view on leading a church that accepts gays and lesbians: "If God accepts sinners 'just as [they] are' how does that square with biblical and traditional Christian teaching that followers of Christ are to forsake sins such as homosexuality in obedience to Christ as Lord and Savior?"
Shepherd goes on to rebut Bakker's religious views as depicted in the Time interview, but it seems that Shepherd's real problem is that Bakker was allowed to express them in the first place.
Those of you of a certain age may remember the Dickie Goodman comedyrecords in which he spliced pop songs of the day with narration to tell something far different than what those songs were about.
That's pretty much what Molotov Mitchell did in his March 16 WorldNetDaily video in which he purports to interview President Obama. We won't get into it -- it's as lame as that setup sounds -- except to note that, unlike Mitchell, Goodman was trying to be funny and not operating out of hatred.
Shocker: Obama Non-Derangement At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, here's some surprising news: a WorldNetDaily columnist who is, if only briefly, not mindlessly attacking President Obama.
Burt Prelutsky -- whose history of Obama derangement includes lamenting that "if only" Obama had turned out to be a serial killer, "today he'd probably be in prison, instead of the Oval Office" -- shockingly approves of Obama's decision not to get involved militarily in Libya in his March 16 WND column:
But lest anyone get the idea that I disapprove of everything Barack Obama says and does, it only took about 27 months, but he and I finally saw eye to eye on an issue.
Like Obama, I would not have involved our military in Libya. For one thing, I see no reason why the Arab League, which gave the no-fly zone notion a big thumbs-up, doesn't take on that job. They have pilots and jets. Why is it that America and the European nations always have to do their dirty work? All it ever gets us is the ongoing hatred and resentment of Arabs and Muslims.
Because Prelutsky is a cranky old man, he soon returns to form, complaining about how "we should not be letting the 6 o'clock news determine our foreign policy" and that "we already let Walter Cronkite do it once, and it not only cost us a victory in Vietnam, it cost millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians their lives."
MRC Won't Admit The Truth About O'Keefe's Deceptive Editing Topic: Media Research Center
James O'Keefe's NPR videos were so deceptively edited, even Glenn Beck's website The Blaze couldn't help pointing this out. So how does the Media Research Center react: By trying to discredit The Blaze.
First up was Matt Hadro, who argued in a March 14 NewsBusters post that "The damage control effort over at National Public Radio (NPR) is at such a state that they've consulted a piece from Glenn Beck's TheBlaze.com to argue it's the victim of a smear operation," adding that "In what seems to be an unprecedented move for NPR, much of its audience might be surprised that they drew from a Glenn Beck publication, of all places, for its defense."
Hadro tried to spin away the Blaze's critique, insisting that "Scott Baker of "The Blaze" himself even admits that the 'full cut' of one of [NPR fundraiser Ron] Schiller's most controversial remarks, about the 'racist' Tea Partiers, does not change the context but simply adds some background."
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham followed up in a March 16 post attacking NPR media writer David Folkenflik for reporting NPR's defense and invoking The Blaze, preposterously suggesting that The Blaze is conspiraing with NPR to save it:
It should be quite clear from this story that Scott Baker, the Glenn Beck employee, doesn't know "fairly balanced people" at all. It should clearly be questioned whether Baker is blatantly assisting NPR here because of a personal agenda, since his comments are exactly what Folkenflik and NPR want in this "precarious" political atmosphere. Will NPR be thanking Glenn Beck on air for saving their subsidies?
Because Graham is in hateful freak-out mode, and there's nothing more he likes having hateful freak-outs over is the existence of gay people, he feels the need to informus that Schiller is "openly gay," which he claims "would explain the 'fanatical about private lives' rant, and the wouldn't-call-them-Christians slam."
Graham, of course, has no knowledge whatsoever that Schiller's alleged gayness "explains" what he said during the sting, unless he has some special ability to read minds.
At no point does Graham dispute anything The Blaze reported. He's merely upset that the right-wing corporate line that NPR must be destroyed (or at least defunded) is being undermined by the truth.
Newsmax's Dr. Blaylock Fearmongers About Nuclear Radiation From Japan Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's dubious, fearmongering doctor, Russell Blaylock, is back to fearmonger again, this time about radiation from Japan's troubled nuclear plants.
In a March 15 Newsmax Health article, Ashley Martella and Jim Meyers interviewed Blaylock:
Prevailing winds in the area of the stricken reactors have been heading east into the Pacific, toward the Western Hemisphere. Blaylock was asked about the threat to Americans if radiation from the reactors eventually does reach Hawaii or the West Coast of America.
“Most of the health risks are not going to be due to acute radiation poisoning,” he tells Newsmax. “It’s going to be a risk of increased cancer.
“When we look at Chernobyl, most of West Germany was heavily contaminated. Norway, Sweden. Hungary was terribly contaminated. The radiation was taken up into the plants. The food was radioactive. They took the milk and turned it into cheese. The cheese was radioactive.
“That’s the big danger, the crops in this country being contaminated, the milk in particular, with Strontium 90. That radiation is incorporated into the bones and stays for a lifetime.”
If radiation does arrive in the United States, people would need “to change their diet. They need to stop eating Western farm products,” Blaylock says.
Meanwhile, in the real world, actual experts say the amount of radition that makes its way across the ocean under the current situation at the Japanese nuclear plants should pose no danger to the United States.
How narcissistic must WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving be that he believes it's newsworthy that he didn't get to ask a question at a press conference?
Kinsolving continues to cop his imperial attitude on new White House press secretary Jay Carney in a March 14 article complaining that Carney "declined to recognize the second-most senior reporter on the White House beat, who had wanted to ask a question about the National Public Radio scandal."
It's once again noted that Kinsolving is "second highest in seniority on the White House beat," as if mere longevity deserves to trump his history of frivolous and biased questions that more than brand him as a right-wing partisan hack.
Kinsolving would have pushed this sense of privilege had he been called on. From the article:
Kinsolving had prepared a second question about the president's news conference on Friday, where he allowed only seven of some 50 reporters to ask any questions. Kinsolving noted John Kennedy handled many, many more than that.
Nothing like wasting a question on complaining that you don't get to ask enough questions. That's just more evidence of Kinsolving's narcissism and hackery.
AIM's Flip-Flop: A Case Of Two Deceptive Videos Topic: Accuracy in Media
After we posted our item yesterday on how Accuracy in Media surprisingly reported on James O'Keefe's deceptive editing in his NPR videos, AIM responded in a tweet: "Of course we will lend a skeptical eye to O'Keefe's editing practices. Otherwise, how could we call ourselves @AccuracyInMedia?"
The reason why AIM's skepticism was surprising is because not only had it not evinced such skepticism in the past, it has even honored O'Keefe's previous deceptive video work.
O'Keefe's videos attacking ACORN were a festival of deceptive editing, designed to support false claims by O'Keefe, sting co-conspirator Hannah Giles, and then-patron Andrew Breitbart about what ACORN employees allegedly did, which were largely disproven when the full, unedited videos were examined by law enforcement.
AIM loved the heck out of this sting. One blog post lionized O'Keefe and Giles as "journalists" who broke "one of the most explosive exposes in recent memory," another blogger unskeptically covered a press conference by O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart, and Cliff Kincaid declared, "I think Giles and James O'Keefe, who played the pimp, have performed a public service."
Ultimately, AIM named Breitbart a winner of its 2010 Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award; AIM chairman Don Irvine said, "I am thrilled to recognize Andrew Breitbart’s groundbreaking investigation into rampant corruption at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now."
So, we have to ask AIM: Why the flip-flop? Why was O'Keefe getting a past for his ACORN deceptions, yet now his NPR deceptions are suddenly worth reporting?
WND's 'Promotion of Homosexuality" Canard Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has a longhistory of treating any discussion of homosexuality that doesn't involve denigration as a "promotion" of the "lifestyle." It does so again in a March 10 article by Bob Unruh regarding the case of a British couple not allowed to serve as foster parents because of their gay-hating views. See if you can detect the pattern:
But Paul Diamond, who served as barrister to the Johns family in the dispute in the United Kingdom over the nation's mandatory promotion of homosexuality to foster children, said there is a solution: The people need to reverse the nation's surge toward treating homosexuals as a privileged class.
WND reported on the court ruling that Christians who want to provide foster care for needy children must promote homosexuality to them, and that there is only a "qualified" right to exercise their Christian beliefs.
"There now appears to be nothing to stop the increasing bar on Christians who wish to adopt or foster children but who are not willing to compromise their beliefs by promoting the practice of homosexuality to small children," the organization said.
On the issue of requiring foster parents to promote homosexuality, the judges said, "If children, whether they are known to be homosexuals or not, are placed with carers who … evince an antipathy, objection to or disapproval of, homosexuality and same-sex relationships, there may well be a conflict with the local authority's duty to 'safeguard and promote' the 'welfare' of looked-after children."
Unruh offers no evidence that British policy is to "promote" homosexuality beyond not officially disparaging it. Unruh doesn't explain how failure to disparage homosexuality equals "promoting" it.
UPDATE: As you might imagine, Unruh is selectively quoting from the British court ruling on the case. In particular, he avoids the court's criticism of his article's main source, Paul Diamond, the lawyer for the parents. From the ruling:
It is hard to know where to start with this travesty of the reality. All we can do is to state, with all the power at our command, that the views that Mr Diamond seeks to impute to others have no part in the thinking of either the defendant or the court. We are simply not here concerned with the grant or denial of State 'benefits' to the claimants. No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not 'fit and proper' persons to foster or adopt. No one is contending for a blanket ban. No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief. No one is seeking to force Christians or adherents of other faiths into the closet. No one is asserting that the claimants are bigots. No one is seeking to give Christians, Jews or Muslims or, indeed, peoples of any faith, a second class status. On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law, to our polity and to our way of life, that everyone is equal: equal before the law and equal as a human being endowed with reason and entitled to dignity and respect.
We add this. On these issues Mr Diamond seeks to equiperate the views of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Thus he says (we quote his skeleton argument) that "all of the major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) teach against homosexual conduct." He says, quoting the claimants' grounds, that "major faith groups (including Christianity, Judaism and Islam), hold to the orthodox view that any sexual union outside marriage between one man and one woman is morally undesirable", describing marriage for this purpose in his proposed declaration as "a lifelong relationship of fidelity between a man and a woman." We find these propositions surprising, at least when stated in this bald form. As far as the court is concerned, the content of any religious faith or belief is a matter of fact to be proved by evidence. We are, however, entitled, we think, to take judicial notice of the fact that, whereas the Sharia is still understood in many places as making homosexuality a capital offence, the Church of England permits its clergy, so long as they remain celibate, to enter into civil partnerships. Moreover, the Christian concept of marriage, encapsulated in the famous definition of Lord Penzance in Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee (1866) LR 1 P&D 130, 133, that marriage is "the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others", hardly accords with the Sharia, which permits a man to have up to four wives and to divorce any of them at any time by his unilateral pronouncement of a bare talaq.
In the circumstances we cannot avoid the need to re-state what ought to be, but seemingly are not, well understood principles regulating the relationship of religion and law in our society. We preface what follows with the obvious point that we live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy.
Funny, the court's statement that "No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity" appears nowhere in Unruh's article.