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Friday, December 24, 2010
MRC's Silly 'Christmas Whithout Christ' Study
Topic: Media Research Center

Yes, the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute spent many, many man-hours to compile this study finding:

2,000 years ago, there was no room for Mary and Joseph at the inn in Bethlehem. Fittingly enough, in the past two years, there was no room for their baby at the network evening news shows. Every year, millions of Americans celebrate the most important Christian holiday by reflecting upon the significance of the birth of Christ. Families attend church, count blessings and exchange gifts, and yet the evening news broadcasts for ABC, CBS and NBC almost completely ignored these religious traditions by leaving Christ and God out of Christmas.

Two years of Christmas coverage on three networks produced a scant 1.3 percent of stories mentioning the deity. The true message of Christmas, the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ, has simply been ignored by the mainstream media.

The big three networks ran 527 stories about Christmas in their nightly news broadcasts, but a mere seven of those stories mentioned God or the birth of Jesus Christ. ABC's "World News," "CBS Evening News," and "NBC Nightly News" all thoroughly covered Christmas, but 98.7 percent of the Christmas references highlighted the holiday's impact on the economy, weather, travel, retail sales, the passage of the Senate health care bill and its other less religious connotations.

Of course, Christmas is a secular holiday as well as a religious one, something that seems to have escaped the normally eagle-eyed MRC researchers. Instead, CMI's Erin Brown seems to think this secular aspect is a media conspiracy to avoid talking about religion:

Falling as it does at the end of the calendar year when businesses and governments scramble to show a profit or claim accomplishments, and given the demand it creates for often chancy travel during winter, Christmas offers plenty of excuses the media to talk about anything but its religious dimension.

It is no secret that Christmas gift sales and their impact on the U.S. economy, garners huge press coverage every December. But when the focus on the holiday's impact on retailers becomes all that Christmas is good for, the original message of Christ's birth is completely lost.

Brown goes on to make irrelevant comparisons:

On the Aug. 14, 2010, broadcast of the "CBS Evening News," Jeff Glor dedicated 327 words to the possible addition of table tennis to the Olympics in 2012. That's more words devoted to ping pong than were devoted to God during all of the Christmas coverage in two years of broadcasts.

Plainly, to the networks, Christmas means travel delays and spikes in sales for retailers hoping to see profits in the black. Christmas means arbitrary congressional deadlines and general placeholders for timelines. Christmas means that a sexy Santa can get away with toeing that naughty line in order to attract buyers to his store.

On ABC, CBS and NBC, Christmas means everything except the birth of Christ.

Finally, Brown serves up her recommendation to jam religion into everything Christmas-related:

The Culture and Media Institute recommends that ABC, CBS and NBC not show bias against Christians by glossing over one of their most important holidays. If there are more than 300 million Americans, and 80 percent claim to be Christians, than the networks are slighting an important holiday for more than 24 million people.

CMI recommends that the networks:

  • Recognize the lack recognition given to Christ during the Christmas season.
  • Include more discussion about the birth of Christ and what it means to 80 percent of Americans.
  • Interview Christians, Catholics, pastors, church leaders, authors, musicians and others who celebrate the Christmas every year by remembering its true meaning.

This study, like so many MRC studies, focuses only on the broadcast networks. There's no mention of conservative Fox News, whose Christmas coverage would likely reflect that of the networks.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:36 AM EST
Aaron Klein Hypocrisy Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein attacks Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration for "legitimizing Islamic organizations of questionable character."

That's quite amusing, since Klein has own record of legimizing extremists of questionable character. Mike Guzofsky, anyone?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EST
Thursday, December 23, 2010
When Will NewsBusters Apologize to Nina Totenberg?
Topic: NewsBusters

On Dec. 20, Brent Baker wrote a NewsBusters post attacking NPR's Nine Totenberg for saying on a TV show, "I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice." Baker declared that she was "seemingly embarrassed to invoke any religious terminology for Christmas," adding: "She didn’t say what she’d prefer for parties this time of the year to be named. 'Winter solstice party'? Just plain old 'holiday party'? Or a 'seasonal gathering'?"

There's much more to this story that Baker didn't report. The Washington Post, unlike Baker, actually sought an explanation from Totenberg for the remark, noting that "Conservative bloggers jumped all over Totenberg, accusing her of a liberal, politically-correct agenda." It turns out she wasn't dissing Christianity at all:

Then we reached Totenberg herself during her "Christmas vacation" (her term) in Jamaica. Turns out her critics got it completely wrong: She was, she says, defending Christmas. The DOJ celebration was officially dubbed a "holiday" party, and she was gently mocking that generic designation. "I think that's kind of silly because it's obviously a Christmas party," she told us. "I was tweaking the Department of Justice. It was a touch of irony at the expense of the Justice department, not at the expense of Christmas."

As for the bloggers who were so quick to judge -- without bothering to ask her what she meant: "Jeesh, these folks need a life -- and perhaps a touch of the Christmas spirit, as well."

The Post story has been out for more than a day. MRC employee Kevin Eder even linked to it in a Twitter post, if only to highlight that it "links to at least three MRC websites," so they must be aware of it. Yet Baker nor anyone else at NewsBusters or the MRC has seen fit to acknowledge its contents, let alone apologize to Totenberg for blowing her comment out of proportion without bothering to find out the story behind it.

It's time for Baker to exhibit a little Christmas spirit and admit his error.

UPDATE: Baker, it appears, is not in an apologizing mood. In a new NewsBusters post, he highlights how Fox News promoted his earlier attack, and only then did he acknowledge the Post's reporting. He sneered that the Post "lamely" noted how much Totenberg loves Christmas.

Self-promotion before a very weak tacit acknowledgement that he was wrong -- nice Christmas spirit you have there, Brent.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010 2:39 PM EST
WND Misleads About City's Transportation Fee
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh carries the headline "Town taxes Christians for listening to sermons." Unruh's opening paragraph: "Christians who attend worship services in a suburb of Kansas City will have to ante up for new thousand-dollar city "fees" that are being assessed against their churches based on the number of seats in their sanctuaries."

You'd think this suburb was specifically targeting Christians, right? Wrong.

It's not until the fifth paragraph that Unruh writes that the fee in question in Mission, Kan., is a "Transportation Utility Fee," and that "The law requiress [sic] that owners of all property within city limits with improvements such as buildings or landscaping pay a fee."

So all property owners are subject to the fee, not just Christian houses of worship -- and,thus, not the case of religious discrimination Unruh suggests it is. That makes WND's headline and Unruh's opening paragraph highly dishonest.

As per usual, Unruh doesn't bother to report the other side, or even why the city is seeking to impose it. As the Kansas City Star reported, it's intended to pay for roadwork in the city, and the fees are not exactly onerous, especially by comparison with commercial businesses:

The fee is based on how much traffic each property produces. It shifts the burden for financing roadwork away from single-family homes that may not generate a lot of traffic, to properties such as box stores, churches and schools, which generate more traffic.

Homeowners will pay $72 a year in fees while the local Target store will pay about $46,000. According to the suit, First Baptist has been assessed $970.77 and St. Pius $1,685.19.

Unruh also offers no explanation of why churches should not pay their fair share to maintain city services, other than quoting a representative of the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund (with whom WND has a close relationship) insisting that "Churches are exempt from taxes for good reason."

There may be good reasons to oppose the city's fee, but pretending it's a case of religious discrimination -- as Unruh is doing by uncriticially regurgitating the ADF's claims -- is not one of them.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 AM EST
MRC: Obama-Bashing, Yes; Media Research, Not So Much
Topic: Media Research Center

For an organization that has the words "media research" in its name, the Media Research Center sure spends a lot of time doing things that aren't media research. Like attacking its political enemies and pushing a political agenda.

This mission creep comes straight from the top. Here's Brent Bozell ranting in a press release:

Congratulations, liberal media! The blustering failures of Obama have sent our country into an economic nose dive, while destroying his party politically and still you love him and his radical policies. In equal measure you despise the conservative Sleeping Giant and its Tea Party and will say anything, even lie through your teeth, to discredit them. No wonder your own numbers are collapsing. Best of luck in 2011.  I’m sure the Republican Congress will offer plenty of excuses to return to gnashing your teeth.

What evidence does Bozell offer that Obama is a "blustering failure"? None.

Bozell's lieutenant Dan Gainor, meanwhile, devotes an entire column belittling Obama as immature, as well as rehashing decade-old smears of President Clinton and pumping the perceived maturity of a Republican president:

We all know more than we want to about the maturity of the hormonally challenged Bill Clinton. Given the dog-like ways of the Big Dog, figure he's in his teens emotionally. Not exactly the guy you want running a country, but more than capable of handling an under-age kegger.

Then there's Obama - wildly confident, but like that awkward, gawky teen no one ever gets close to. Yes he can play basketball (injuries happen), so he's not a total nerd. But he's so lacking in bowling skill he should almost be rolling the ball between his legs.

Despite some of the stupid things he's done, he's obviously intelligent. But his bookishness makes him act like the smartest kid in the room -- even when there's little evidence of that. Combine that with a hefty dose of narcissism and you get a typical adolescent personality.

In short, he acts even less mature than Bill Clinton.

There's no doubt the American public is clamoring for adult leadership. In August, House Republican leader John Boehner said Obama needed a new economic team and that 'it's time to put grown-ups in charge.' He may or may not be right.. Look at how we turn for political commentary to some of the sharpest minds of the day, like Joy Behar, Kanye West and Bill Maher.

Maybe we just want a slightly older child to lead us. That might be all we have to choose from anyway.

And what of George W. Bush, so often bashed by the media for a frat-boy past and for sophomoric gaffes. A recent viral video summed some of those missteps that had Bush saying silly things and unable to open a door to escape after a speech.

When Bush knew he had flubbed or stood stuck a door that wouldn't budget, he showed self-deprecating humor and a good-natured willingness to laugh - even at himself. Not the only measure of maturity, but not a bad start either.

Media research? What media research?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:51 AM EST
WND Anti-Gay Freak-Out Roundup
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's post-Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal anti-gay freak-out continues apace.

Barry Farber writes that letting gays serve in the military is a bad idea because the Dutch did, and their military sucks:

Former Marine General and NATO Commander John Sheehan told a Senate committee flat-out that the Dutch failure was the result of their open-gay policy. He says he was told that by a former chief of staff of the Dutch Army.

Let's introduce a surprise element into this debate: fairness! I don't believe the failure of the Dutch to lift a rifle at Srebrenica was the fault of the presence of openly gay Dutch troops. There was too much else: the unionization of the Dutch military, insufficient troop strength, a collapse of the CULTURE of a fighting force fit to fight. But, yes, the admission of openly gay troops was a significant contributor to the collapse of that once-fierce Dutch fighting tradition. The Dutch didn't control Indonesia for four centuries with tulips, windmills and wooden shoes.

It turns out that's not really true. The New York Times' Robert Mackey pointed out:

As my colleague David Rohde has documented in his book, “Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica,” the small force of  450 lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers tasked with defending the enclave by the United Nations was simply not equipped to repel the invading Bosnian Serb Army. When the Serb commander,  Gen. Ratko Mladic, led an attack on Srebrenica in July 1995, the Dutch repeatedly requested that their NATO colleagues use airstrikes to keep that force at bay. That close air support failed to come in time to prevent the Serbs from taking control of the town and eventually killing more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys.

Mr. Rohde explained that when the United Nations voted to declare Srebrenica and five other Bosnian towns “safe areas” in 1993, the United States and other countries that supported the resolution failed to agree to send enough troops to police the towns. The United Nations estimated that it would take a force of 34,000 soldiers to protect the civilian populations of Srebrenica and the other towns that were completely surrounded by Bosnian Serb positions. Only 7,600 troops were divided among the six towns.

Also, the Dutch ambassador said there was no evidence of Sheehan's claims in the extensive record of research on Srebrenica.

Linda Harvey, meanwhile, had nothing to say that wasn't pure hatred:

Those in the full flower of young manhood or womanhood will be unable to simply act naturally while being who God truly made them. Those who have embraced their God-designed heterosexual identities, as all should, will be unable if confronted with the imminent expression of sodomy to signal or voice distaste or repulsion.

Their rights to disgust – to "hating evil" – are gone. This is a tragedy, because "open homosexuality" means empowerment of homosexual desire, and those who have monitored this movement know exactly what the fascist fruit of such power has unleashed in our schools, our streets, our workplaces, our courts and our churches. It means the exaltation of perversion and the silencing, by humiliation, intimidation and then force if necessary, of those who cherish and want to express traditional morality.


So, cooperate or leave. That means, in practice, that the rights to freedom of association, to freedom of religion and the rights to privacy of our troops will be sacrificed on the altar of sodomy. "Gay" pride parade values trump other interests. Here come compulsory diversity training courses, de facto speech codes and the prompt labeling of any objections as "hate."

Welcome to the new emasculated America, where the revolution is happening without firing a shot.


I'm very sad for our country, even though I know that God will enact His justice one day, and short of repentance, it's not going to go well for the likes of George Voinovich, Sherrod Brown, Scott Brown, Mark Kirk (who may have issues with homosexuality himself) or Lisa Murkowski. Let's note that her name, for future Alaska elections, is spelled "c-l-u-e-l-e-s-s."

When Joe Lieberman confidently faces the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who's going to win that encounter? God-1, Joe-0.


No, there's no question that, like the tragic election of Barack Obama, God is giving America what we apparently want. And even though the recent November election promises us relief in early 2011, like all disasters, there's still the interim clean-up of the wreckage. But can this mess be cleaned up?

Now it's a toss-up as to which movement will take down our country first: radical Islam via creeping Shariah, or the Christ-hating left with a lavender military in the lead.

Jesus, come quickly.

One wonders how a woman with that much bile in her heart can sleep at night. We're guessing pretty soundly, knowing that she has outlets like WND that will lap out every hateful word she spews.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 10:15 PM EST
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
New Article: Penny Starr's Anti-Abortion Crusade
The reporter is so biased on the subject that she thinks Harry Reid is a baby-killer, yet she's allowed to report on the subject anyway. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:09 PM EST
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Both WorldNetDaily and published Pat Buchanan's screed against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, in which he lashes out at Congress for doing its job, likens gays to child molesters, and proved himself to be outside the American mainstream on the issue. Media Matters' Jamison Foser has more.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 AM EST
Let WND's Loving Portrayal of Terrence Lakin's Martyrdom Begin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A couple days ago, we described how Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily must be happy would-be birther doctor Terrence Lakin has been convicted and imprisoned by the military for disobeying order, since he feeds WND's birther fanaticism much better in prison than as a free man.

As we predicted, WND is getting serious about portraying Lakin as a martyr.

A Dec. 20 article by Brian Fitzpatrick described how "as Dr. Terrence Lakin was being processed at the Fort Leavenworth military prison Monday morning, well-wishers were bombarding Army authorities with requests for clemency." The article provided an address to send Lakin cards as well as listed the phone number for the Army public affairs officer to "the 'Convening Authority' over the former lieutenant colonel's court martial," whom a Lakin supporter encouraged like-minded birthers to "call, write, email and fax" because he "has the authority to accept or reduce the sentence handed down by Lakin's court martial panel, or to order Lakin released." Of course, Fitzpatrick made sure to include contacts for donating to the "Terry Lakin Action Fund."

Fitzpatrick followed the next day with an article quoting the Army public affairs officer asking people to stop calling him and pointing that out he and the "Convening Authority" are the wrong people to contact. Fitzpatrick includes the email address of the defense counsel the public affairs officer said to contact.

Farah, meanwhile, was burnishing Lakin's martyrdom credential in his Dec. 21 column, complete with biblical imagery and a sneering glance at gays:

Terrence Lakin was not allowed to speak up in his own defense. He was not permitted to use the power of discovery to prove his innocence. He was not granted the right to introduce evidence.

He was an innocent lamb led willingly to slaughter.

That a man like this, committed at all costs to the integrity of the Constitution and to truth, would be sentenced to prison and discharged from the military he loved while the Congress of the United States votes to allow open homosexuality in the armed forces says a great deal about the state of our nation.

Farah leaves out the little matter that Lakin isn't "innocent" -- there's no question Lakin committed the crime of disobeying orders that he was accused of. He was merely prevented from getting into the birther stuff because it's irrelevant to the immediate matter of whether he disobeyed orders. As we noted earlier, it's an issue of maintaining the system of military discipline that Farah has yet to address.

Farah goes on to spew more hatred at the president:

Beginning in a few short weeks state legislatures will come back into session in 50 states.

In several of those states you will see bills introduced to require future presidential candidates to prove their constitutional eligibility to get on the ballot.

When you see that happening, it will spell the beginning of the end of Obama's charade.

I no longer believe it is likely that Obama can pass that test.

If he could, why wouldn't he just release it? Would he really let a man like Terrence Lakin go to jail when he could prevent it so easily? If he could, what kind of a man is Barack Obama?

If I'm right about these moves in the state legislatures, Obama will have a choice to make in 2012. If he wants to seek re-election, he will have to produce the evidence so many of us have longed to see. Or, he will have to forgo his ambition and not seek re-election. If he chooses the latter path, you and I will know why. Remember, it will not be because of any of the excuses he offers. It will not be because he wants to spend more time with Michelle and the kids. It will not be because of a mysterious health concern. It will not even be because his popularity ratings are so low – though I have no doubt they will be.

It will be because he can't or won't prove his own constitutional eligibility.

Let's hope his successor has the decency to offer a full pardon for the man who stood up and tried to get the truth out two years earlier – Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin.

But not before Farah and WND milk Lakin's martyrdom for all it's worth.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 AM EST
Gotcha Fail: Rep. Frank Turns Tables on CNS
Topic: has a habit of springing loaded questions on members of Congress. For example, it asked Obama administration official John Holdren to explain something he wrote in a book published nearly 40 years ago.

Apparently feeling confident (and sufficiently homophobic), CNS decided to target Rep. Barney Frank with a question about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell -- specifically, whether he thought gay and straight soldiers should shower together. This was based on a statement calling for a ban on separate showers from the Pentagon’s report on the impact of repealing DADT that CNS had previously singled out.

Frank saw this coming from a mile away. As CNS reporter Nicholas Ballasy slowly got out the words “shower with homosexuals,” Frank let out an exaggerated gasp and responded, “What do you think happens in gyms all over America?” After calling it a “silly issue,” Frank added, “What do you think goes wrong with people showering with homosexuals? Do you think it’s the spray makes it catching? ... We don’t get ourselves dry-cleaned.”

Frank then turned the tables on his interviewer by quizzing Ballasy: “I know you’re looking for some way to kind of discredit the policy. Do you think that gyms should have separate showers for gay and straight people? I’m asking you the question because that’s the logic of what you’re telling me. You seem to think that there’s something extraordinary about gay men showering together. Do you think gyms should have separate showers for gay people and straight people?” Ballasy wouldn’t answer, insisting that he was “just quoting the recommendation.” Frank responded: “Don’t be disingenuous. You’re quoting those you think may cause us some problems. You’re entitled to do that, but you shouldn’t hide behind your views.” Frank again asked the question of Ballasy, who again wouldn’t answer, trying to change the subject: “So that’s the question you would pose to people who have an issue with that part of the report, the recommendation?” Frank made his point one more time, and that’s where the CNS ends the video.

The CNS article on Ballasy’s gotcha interview ignores how Frank saw through his tactics, instead playing up the irrelevant point that Frank opposes opposite-sex soliders showering together. But give credit to CNS for posting the video of Frank using its reporter’s gotcha tactics against him -- and thus providing other politicians with a how-to manual for the next time CNS pops up out of nowhere to fire a loaded question.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 12:58 AM EST
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
NewsBusters Claims 'Errors' In Fox Study, Doesn't Cite Any
Topic: NewsBusters

a Dec. 20 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay carries the headline, "'Study' Claiming Fox News Viewers 'Misinformed' Is Fraught With Errors." But Markay doesn't identify any actual errors.

The study in question is by the University of Maryland's World Public Opinion project, which examines misinformation in the 2010 midterm elections. Among its finding was that, as summarized by the project:

Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely), most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points), the economy is getting worse (26 points), most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points), the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points), their own income taxes have gone up (14 points), the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points), when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points) and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points). The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it--though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.

Rather than identify "errors," Markay attacks a couple of the study's premises. First, he's indignant that anyone would trust the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office regarding whether the stimulus created jobs. He insists that "CBO's numbers have no basis in reality, as I have reported a number of times before. They are based on models that assume stimulus spending will create growth and employment, and hence the success of this particular stimulus package is predetermined. The blind faith the study puts in CBO's numbers suggest that it is quite eager to pass them off ipso facto as truth. That says a lot about WPO's perspective on the issue, and their politics generally."

That's not an error.

Markay goes on to quote Baltimore Sun quibbling that the study assumed that an "informed" person "is essentially someone who agrees with the conclusions of experts in government agencies." That's not an error either; that's a question about methodology.

Still, the UMD study's methodology is much more rigid than any given study done by the parent of the blog where Markay posts.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:27 PM EST
Les Kinsolving's Anti-Gay Derangement
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving has a longstanding obsession with gay sex, and it shows up again in his Dec. 21 column, in which he once again indulges in his paranoiac reasoning that repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will allow necrophiliacs into the military:

Will the incoming House of Representatives – which is so overwhelmingly Republican – vote to repeal the repealing of DADT? And will the 2012 election remove a number of U.S. senators who voted for repeal? Or, if they fail to do so, what if an amendment is then introduced to provide armed forces recruitment of all sexual orientations rather than confining such recruitment to homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals?

Since practicing non-monogamous homosexuals have this nation's highest per capita rate of AIDS, why should they be recruited but not other alternative sexual orientations?



polyandrists (women with multiple husbands)



necrophiliacs (sex with corpses)

coprophiliacs (those sexually aroused by feces)

urophiliacs (those sexually aroused by urine)

zoophiliacs (practitioners of bestiality)

incest practitioners

klismaphiliacs (sexually stimulated by enemas)

Kinsolving goes on to approvingly quote founder of WND's favorite gay-haters, MassResistance, calling Sen Joe Lieberman a "shameful disgrace and embarrassment to orthodox Jews everywhere" for "desecrat[ing] the holy Sabbath to go to work – the U.S. Senate – and vote to force the U.S. integration of homosexuality into the U.S. military."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EST
NewsBusters Likens School Obama's Kids Attend to South's Segregation Academies
Topic: NewsBusters

Private schools that cater to the children of the wealthy and prominent are exactly the same as the Southern private academies founded by whites in order to skirt public school integration? That's what Mark Finkelstein wants you to think.

In a Dec. 21 NewsBusters post, Finkelstein writes of an exchange on "Morning Joe":

Eugene Robinson took the lead in belting [Haley] Barbour for sending his children to private schools in Mississippi rather than to local public schools attended by black children.  Joe Scarborough chimed in with his Mississippi-childhood recollections of such post-integration private academies springing up.  Mike Barnicle did his bit, contributing the tale of whites in South Boston pulling their kids out of integrated public schools in favor of parochial and private ones.

One thing was missing from the conversational mix, however: any reference to the tradition of Dems in DC--from Bill and Hillary, to the Gores, to of course the Obamas--sending their kids [or in the case of the Bidens, grandkids] to tony private schools like Sidwell Friends rather than to the heavily African-American public DC schools.

Finkelstein is ignoring a whole bunch of inconvenient facts here. First, Sidwell Friends was founded by Quakers -- not known for their virulent racism -- in 1883. There is no evidence whatsoever that it was founded in opposition to any effort to desegregate schools.

By contrast, the history of private academies is very a reaction to integration. According to Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, responding to Barbour's remarks about how the White Citizens Council in his hometown of Yazoo City, Miss., managed to keep school integration relatively peaceful:

In fact, if you look at Yazoo City, their approach to integration was very similar to other communities across the state, where the parents pulled their children out of the public school system so white children would not have to attend an integrated school system. ... They established a private segregated academy which still exists today. The majority of the white citizens of Yazoo County and Yazoo City still do not allow their children to attend public education today. That trend happened as a result of the civil rights movement and full integration, and that the struggle that blacks had across the state was the same in Yazoo City as it was across the state.

In citing only Democratic politicians, Finkelstein also conveniently igmores that the children of Republican politicians, like Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, also attended Sidwell.

In playing his elitist card, Finkelstein is also suggesting that the Clintons and Gores  -- and, bizarrely, the Obamas -- are racist for sending their children to Sidwell. That's dumb even for Finkelstein, who's best known for speculating that Matt Lauer's checkered scarf was a declaration of support for Palestinians and complaining that a soccer ball looks suspciously like the Obama campaign logo.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 PM EST
Newsmax: Obama Wants START Ratification to Justify Nobel Prize
Topic: Newsmax

Beneath the veneer of respectability Newsmax has been trying to build over the past few years is a seething hatred of liberals that has been part of its DNA since its founding by Christopher Ruddy as an outlet dedicated to attacking President Clinton. That hatred pops up every once in a while, such as when columnist John L. Perry advocated for a military coup to solve the "Obama problem."

It has popped up again in a Dec. 20 article by David Patten, which cites "some observers" claiming that Obama's push on the START treaty means he "may be trying to justify the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded just nine months into his presidency. Patten's apparent inspiration was a New York Times blog post calling the START vote Obama’s "hope of living up to that expectation" of the Nobel.

As is his wont, Patten quotes only right-wing "critics" of Obama speculating on this pressing issue:

  • "Author, columnist, and national security expert Andrew McCarthy" said that Obama should proceed with a treaty “on the basis of his own merits and what it might do for our security, rather than fixing his place in history.”
  • Dick Morris isparaphrased as saying that "he believes Obama is more interested in bolstering his standing with his party’s left wing than in proving he deserved a Nobel Peace Prize."

In his attack on START --  Newsmax has issued a separate editorial opposing it -- Patten fails to report the fact that the entire U.S. military leadership, led by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, supports ratification.

Patten also utterly fails to demonstrate that Obama would not be pursuing START ratification if he had not received the Nobel. That idea is belied by the fact that the New York Times blog post Patten cites as justification for his article points out that Obama signaled his pursuit of START ratification well before he received the Nobel:

Just three months into his presidency, Mr. Obama made the audacious pledge to pursue “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Even then, he understood how dramatic a promise he was making. He declared himself “not naïve” and said he understood that such a result would not be achieved quickly, perhaps not even in his lifetime.

But he outlined a series of steps that he would take, including an effort to seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and aggressive new approaches to stopping the spread of nuclear material that could be used by rogue nations or terrorists to create nuclear weapons.

And, he said, he and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia would complete a new strategic nuclear arms reduction treaty by the end of the year. He promised it would be “legally binding and sufficiently bold” and would set the stage for further cuts.

This is nothing more than a biased hit piece on Obama. But that's what Patten does.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:38 AM EST
AIM Starting “Center for Investigative Journalism”
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media -- known in recent years for little beyond Cliff Kincaid’s homophobic rants -- has launched the “AIM Center for Investigative Journalism,” headed by, you guessed it, Cliff Kincaid.

Now, Kincaid isn’t exactly known for anything remotely resembling journalism; while he has a college degree in it, it’s not what he has spent his career practicing. In addition to the above-linked homophobic rants, Kincaid has embraced birtherism, smeared Ted Kennedy by claiming he likely engaged in “a drunken orgy” on the night of the Chappaquiddick incident, and speculated about Hillary Clinton’s supposed lesbianism. He’s also shown a tendency to ignore facts that conflict with his far-right agenda.

As far as AIM’s own respect for journalism is concerned, one need only look to the AIM website’s publication of a blog post falsely smearing Obama administration official Kevin Jennings as a “pedophile” who is “teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of 'fisting.' “ AIM had no choice but to delete the post and apologize, but not before spreading even more smears about Jennings.

So, yeah, the idea of Kincaid leading something related to “investigative journalism,” and AIM operating it, is pretty much a joke.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EST

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