No Humor About Christianity Allowed!
Controversy about “Will & Grace,” from the Internet Movie Database:
Britney Spears’ planned appearance on hit TV show Will & Grace has sparked anger from Christian campaigners the American Family Association (AFA). The Mississippi-based group are calling for the episode to be cancelled amid claims the storyline will see Spears star as a TV host for a program named ‘Cruci-fixin’s.’ The AFA insists the show “mocks the crucifixion of Christ” and believe the designated April 13 broadcast slot “further denigrates Christianity” because it is the eve of Christian celebration day, Good Friday.
The group’s protests last month lead to the cancellation of NBC’s The Book Of Daniel which featured a drug-taking priest. AFA founder Don Wildmon says, “NBC is clearly mocking the Christian faith. I think they are smarting from the Book Of Daniel defeat that they suffered, and this is their way to get even.” NBC issued a statement in defense of the accusations, claiming Spears’ role has yet to be determined. It read, “Some erroneous information was mistakenly included in a press release describing an upcoming episode of Will & Grace, which, in fact, has yet to be written.”
No comedy allowed on Good Friday. Or the day before Good Friday. “Will and Grace” is on Thursdays.
Seriously, I hope “The Book of Daniel” was cancelled because of ratings and not to kowtow to Donald Wildmon.
NBC shouldn’t change what it broadcasts or when it broadcasts in subservience to groups like the AFA. I doubt many fans of “Will & Grace” will be offended by this episode.
There should be humor about the dominant religion in America.
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is a veteran who earned two Purple Hearts in Vietnam.
Brent Bozell is an obnoxious conservative who leads the “Media Research Center, the Parents Television Council, and the Cybercast News Service. “
As we previously described at SpeakSpeak, Brent Bozell was chosen as “The Worst Person in the World ” for heading the Cybercast News Service which attacked the two Purple Hearts of Vietnam veteran, Rep. John Murtha as undeserved.
Now Brent Bozell has sunk lower.
While the earlier article at CNS was written by a pair of other writers, now Brent Bozell has written his own article implying that John Murtha wasn’t wounded enough for his Purple Hearts.
Bozell then has the gall to say that objections to this kind of rhetoric from conservatives shouldn’t come from people who criticize George W. Bush from deserting the Texas Air National Guard.
If Bozell can’t distinguish between attacking the medals of a combat veteran (Murtha), and attacking a stateside National Guardsman for being a deserter (Bush), then his judgement is lacking.
On Monday night, Bill O’Reilly got about ten times the viewers of Keith Olbermann:
8pm: [Bill] O’Reilly: 2,508,000 / [Paula] Zahn: 648,000 / Countdown [with Keith Olbermann]: 272,000 / [Nancy] Grace: 480,000
Personally, I watch Keith Olbermann much more often than I watch Bill O’Reilly.
Twice recently, Bill O’Reilly has described what he does on TV and radio as “bloviating” or “bloviation.”
I take that to mean that even Bill O’Reilly himself know that he’s full of it much of the time. Yet people tune in, particularly to his TV show on “Fox News.”
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann does a nightly feature of naming the “Worst Person in the World.” Brent Bozell was a recent winner for being in charge of the “Cybercast News Service.”
CNS recently ran an article saying Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) didn’t deserve his two purple hearts from the Vietnam War.
The blog “Crooks and Liars” has the story, including the video.
Keith Olbermann names three Worst Persons in the World each weeknight. While Brent Bozell was #2 in August (for his defense of Rush Limbaugh smearing Cindy Sheehan) this is Bozell’s first time at #1, as far as I know.
« More About Brent Bozell’s Organizations »
Bozell is the president of the “Media Research Center” which claims that news coverage has a liberal bias. CNS is a division of the MRC.
In addition to being in charge of those organizations, Bozell is also president of the “Parents Television Council,” which urges people to complain to the FCC about supposed “indecency” on television.
SpeakSpeak, by contrast, asks people to contact the FCC when you don’t consider indecent something controversial which was shown on TV.
Extreme Right-Winger on MSNBC Tonight
As I left my TV set about fifteen minutes ago, Dan Abrams was asking John Yoo his opinion on the Samuel Alito hearings.
John Yoo was a member of the Bush Administration during the first term.
Here is what John Yoo said on December 1, 2005:
Doug Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
John Yoo: No treaty.
Doug Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…
John Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to
People with no decency, who think that the Commander-in-Chief clause lets a president do almost anything he wants in the name of national security, do not deserve to appear on MSNBC.
The Constitution gives Congress the power to “declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”
But people like John Yoo overlook that part of the Constitution, due to their authoritarian mindsets.
A more moderate Republican, Theodore Roosevelt wrote that “The president is merely the most important among a large number of public servants,” but John Yoo thinks the president has the power to torture in spite of statutes to the contrary.
The transcript of tonight’s “The Abrams Report” should be online here by Thursday night.
This extreme right-winger is now a law professor at UC Berkeley.
The favorable treatment of John Yoo doesn’t support the notion of a liberal media or a liberal academia.
Keith Olbermann is a host at cable news channel MSNBC; John Gibson is a host at cable “news” channel Fox News.
As a guest on the radio show of conservative Janet Parshall, John Gibson had the following conversation on November 17, 2005:
GIBSON: …listen, we get a little theological here, and it’s probably a bit over my head, but I would think if somebody is going to be — have to answer for following the wrong religion, they’re not going to have to answer to me. We know who they’re going to have to answer to.
GIBSON: And that’s fine. Let ‘em…
Keith Olbermann said that while he used to be friends with John Gibson, this “wrong religion” talk is like something a terrorist would say. He named John Gibson as a “Worst Person in the World” on December 2, 2005. Olbermann concluded, “I’d tell you which religion John thinks is the only one that’s right, but what’s the difference? It’s not the faith that’s the issue; it’s the intolerance. John Gibson, today’s ‘Worst Person in the World.’”
John Gibson recently responded on his own radio show and on Fox News that his remarks were taken “way, way, way out of context” and the he was misquoted.
Keith Olbermann regards that as deceitful. Olbermann said tonight that Gibson has been accurately quoted, and the Gibson’s remarks are worse in context.
Olbermann concluded tonight that John Gibson should “leave the airwaves for good. Because between the remark and the denial, he has, sadly, forfeited his right to stay here.“
Video at Can ‘O Fun.
« Janet Parshall Also Made Dubious Remarks About Religion »
Keith Olbermann tonight also took exception to conservative radio host Janet Parshall’s remarks to John Gibson on that radio show:
I have to tell you, I don’t know when they held this election and decided that tolerance was a transcendent value. I serve a god who, with a finger of fire, wrote, he will have no other gods before him. And he doesn’t tolerate sin, which is why he sent his son to the cross, but all of a sudden now, we jump up and down and celebrate the idea of tolerance. I think tolerance means accommodation, but it doesn’t necessarily mean acquiescence or wholehearted acceptance.
Olbermann said that the Bible verse is, “Thou Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me,” which Olbermann interprets that people who decide to worship the God of the Bible should do so exclusively, but that other people can worship any God they choose.
Personally, I question Janet Parshall’s comment that God “doesn’t tolerate sin, which is why he sent his son to the cross.”
Isn’t the concept that the crucifiction provides a path to atone for one’s sins (not an intolerant message that anyone who sins will burn in Hell?)
Is intolerance for sin really the message of Jesus? What about Jesus saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone?” What about Jesus’ befriending a prostitute?
I’m Jewish, and on the holiest day, Yom Kippur, people go to temple to atone for their sins. There isn’t a sign on the temple door sayng “No sinners allowed,” nor have I ever seen such a sign on the door of a church.
Janet Parshall follows her glorification of intolerance with moderate words about “accommodation…but [not] wholehearted acceptance” and so she’s having it both ways.
Two Opinions of New TV Drama, ‘The Book of Daniel’
It doesn’t debut until January 5, but there are already opinions of the NBC series, “The Book of Daniel.”
It features a minister* named Daniel played by Aidan Quinn and Jesus Christ, played by Garret Dillahunt.
From Robert Philpot of the (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas) Star-Telegram:
Good buzz surrounds this drama starring Aidan Quinn as a troubled Episcopal minister who talks to Jesus — who appears to him — to ask for aid in family and church woes. The bad news: NBC is airing it at 9 p.m. Fridays [a bad time slot.]
But conservative Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association has a different opinion of the show:
New NBC Drama Show Mocks Christianity
Email NBC Chairman Bob Wright over NBC’s latest show, “The Book of Daniel.”
NBC is touting the network’s mid-season replacement series “The Book of Daniel” with language that implies it is a serious drama about Christian people and Christian faith. The main character is Daniel Webster, a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis.
Webster regularly sees and talks with a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus. The Webster family is rounded out by a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop’s daughter.
At the office, his lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.
Network hype – and the mainstream media – call it “edgy,” “challenging” and “courageous.” The hour-long limited drama series will debut January 6 with back-to-back episodes and will air on Friday nights. The writer for the series is a practicing homosexual.
The homosexual son will be network prime-time’s only regular male homosexual character in a drama series.
By the way, Aiden Quinn also starred in a 1997 movie dealing with religion titled Commandments which I recommend.
« Update of December 28, 2005 »
The blogger Pam Spaulding of Pandagon is asking people to send a counter-message not to listen to the AFA to:
Bob Wright, Chairman
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Primary Phone: 212-664-4444
E-Mail: , NBC
* - Update of January 6, 2005: I watched it tonight, and the main character is referred to as an Episcopalian “priest,” not minister.
The Week at SpeakSpeak
Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 24, 2005 @ 4:56 pm
Filed under: SpeakSpeak, Right Watch
, Free Speech
, Media Watch
, TV, Video Games
, Religion, AdWatch
• In Sacramento, California last week, about 50 protesters demanded that Wal-Mart commercialize Christmas. LINK
• Corrupt GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been casting a shadow on Congressmen Tom Delay (R-TX) and Bob Ney (R-OH) for months. But now he’s also casting a shadow over conservative writers Doug Bandow and Peter Ferrara. It was recently revealed that Abramoff paid them to write op-eds. LINK
• Conservative columnist George Will claims there is a lot of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But he wants oil companies to drill there even if there is only “three thimbles of oil,” to strike a blow against “collectivism.” However, blogger Amanda Marcotte responds that collectivism is a good thing. She refers to the US Constitution’s purpose of promoting the “general welfare.” LINK
• US citizens are under surveillance by our government. The Washington Post describes FBI “national security letters” a new military department spying on Americans called the “Counterintelligence Field Activity,” and more. LINK
• Conservative commentator Robert Novak is leaving CNN for Fox News. Novak notes that over the years at CNN he “said some fairly outrageous things.” LINK
• Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said on the channel that “the president has violated the law” by ordering warrant-less wiretaps. LINK
• Bill O’Reilly is a “bully” like “Joe McCarthy,” writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. LINK
• New York police are disguising themselves as protesters to spy on Iraq War protesters and other activists. LINK
• Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) tried to ban the sale of certain video games to minors. A federal judge has put the ban on hold. LINK
• Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has written another racist statement against Arabs. LINK
• Actor Wil Wheaton thinks that right-wing talk radio has made his parents more right-wing. LINK
• Time Warner will offer a group of cable channels called the family tier which are all supposed to be G-rated. However, one of the channels doesn’t meet that criteria: CNN Headline News includes a show about violent crime hosted by Nancy Grace. LINK
Wil Wheaton on the Power of Talk Radio
Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 23, 2005 @ 1:05 pm
Filed under: General, Right Watch
Actor Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” has an article at Salon.com.
He describes how his parents once were liberals. But after they already started moving to the right, right-wing talk-radio made his parents much more right-wing:
These are the same people who took me to nuclear-freeze rallies almost every weekend when I was in elementary school. These are the same people who introduced me to the teachings of the Buddha and Gandhi. The same people who smoked pot in front of me, introduced me to Pink Floyd and the Beatles, and taught me to throw a Frisbee when all my peers were learning how to throw a football. Thanks to my parents, I had Birkenstocks when all the other kids had slip-on Vans, and I thought it was cool.
I think the change began in 1980, when my parents both became Reagan Democrats. My mother took me with her into the booth when she voted for Walter Mondale in 1984 (she was still an antinuke activist then, after all), but when talk radio exploded in the late ’80s, it caught my parents and took them away. The people who drove me all over the American Southwest in their 1971 VW bus to visit our national parks were replaced with RNC talking-points pod people. As a result, I don’t just tune out [Bill] O’Reilly and the rest of the Republican screaming heads. No, I don’t just tune them out: I hate them. I hate them with the same passion and the same fury with which my dad exploded at me, because before those people got rich exploiting Karl Rove’s (er, excuse me, I mean George Bush’s) black-and-white, with-us-or-against-us fantasy world, my parents and I could discuss issues and amicably agree to disagree with each other.
His solution is to get his father an iPod, in the hopes he’ll listen to less right-wing talk-radio:
But I also think it’s worth identifying who is really waging the war on Christmas — and it’s not Target, for having the temerity to wish its shoppers “Happy Holidays.” And it’s not people like me, who use “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” interchangeably, hoping that the recipient of my good wishes will understand that I’m really saying, “I’m not religious, but I hope you have joy and love in your life, good health and happiness.” The one waging the war is right-wing talk radio and its relentless drive to polarize and divide our country, and our holiday dinners, and make a nice profit while it does. Come to think of it, maybe I’ll get my dad an iPod and a stack of Surf CDs for Christmas. It’ll be a gift for both of us.
A solution I recommend on this issue: support liberal Air America Radio. Become an Air America Associate or buy a t-shirt.
Ann Coulter: “The Government Should Be Spying On All Arabs”
Is racism against Arabs acceptable to CNN?
CNN has invited Ann Coulter to be a guest since she her racist suggestion that Helen Thomas (an American-born reporter of Lebanese descent) be treated as a security threat (”Press passes can’t be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president,” wrote Ann Coulter in a February 23, 2005 column.)
In her latest column, Ann Coulter writes that “the government should be spying on all Arabs.”
These remarks may be intended as jokes, but Ann Coulter isn’t a comedian and these remarks aren’t funny. If these racist remarks aren’t intended as jokes, then they are even worse.
Why does CNN give Ann Coulter respect which she doesn’t deserve?
“Media Matters for America” has more on Ann Coulter and CNN.
Bill O’Reilly is a conservative talk-show host on radio and cable television.
Nicholas Kristof is an op-ed writer for the New York Times.
Kristof recently criticized Bill O’Reilly in a column.
Kristof implied that O’Reilly is “a self-righteous bully in the style of Father Coughlin or Joe McCarthy.” Kristof then quoted O’Reilly on liberal radio networkAir America: “Dissent, fine; undermining, you’re a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the F.B.I. and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they’re undermining everything.” (Audio .)
O’Reilly claimed yesterday on his Fox News show that the above quote was “humorous talk radio hyperbole, as anybody listening would know.”
I’ll take O’Reilly at his word that he was trying to be funny.
But was he funny? No. It isn’t funny to say that people who criticize Bush are traitors who should be arrested.
When O’Reilly mixes hateful comments with hyperbole, it doesn’t produce humor. It produces demagoguery.
We’ve seen this pattern before. Bill O’Reilly also said on his radio show that it would be acceptable for Al Qaeda to blow up the Coit Tower in San Francisco. (”You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.”) He later said on his TV show that he had just been doing a “satirical riff.”
O’Reilly’s remarks against San Francisco were demagoguery too.
I’m not the first to call O’Reilly a demagogue. Neil Gabler, a commentator at Fox News, did so on on “Fox News Watch” (December 3, 2005) as he exposed the phoniness of the “War on Christmas” stories:
NEIL GABLER: I want to talk about the media angle because we have avoided it-it’s the elephant in the room. It’s Fox News. Come on-It’s Bill O’Reilly, it’s Sean Hannity, it’s [John] Gibson. They’re demagogues [A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace] who realized that in Christmas time you can…rouse the masses on this issue. They’ll do it every Christmas. They did it last Christmas, they’ll do it next Christmas.
Bush “Violated the Law,” Fox News Legal Analyst Says
Judge Andrew Napolitano, a legal analyst for Fox News’ “Dayside” program, said today:
When Congress enacted the FISA act (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) in ‘77, it also made it criminal for anyone in this country to use the power of the government to wiretap without a search warrant. It made it easy to get the search warrant with the FISA law, but it said you have to get the search warrant.
…The president has violated the law in the name of national security, not wanting to violate the law, believing he’s doing the right thing, but he violated it nonetheless.
He can’t pick and choose which laws to obey and not to obey any more than the rest of us can.
Does Robert Novak Believe Everything He Says?
Conservative commentator Robert Novak is moving from CNN to Fox News.
An AP article on the move concludes:
Novak said the switch to Fox had nothing to do with finding a more comfortable home for his views.
‘’I don’t think that’s a factor,'’ he said. ‘’In 25 years I was never censored by CNN, and I said some fairly outrageous things and some very conservative things. I don’t want to give the impression that they were muzzling me and I had to go to a place that wouldn’t muzzle me.'’
Robert Novak said during one episode of “Capital Gang” that for Senators to filibuster a judicial nominee is like the Nazis sending a prisoner to death.
Novak’s characterization of his CNN comments as including “some fairly outrageous things” could mean that Novak himself may not believe that comparisons such as that one are valid.
From May 14, 2005 Capital Gang:
AL HUNT: Bob, why would Senator Frist refuse an offer to break the deadlock?
ROBERT NOVAK: Because the whole system (inaudible) you’re not going to have — like going to a concentration camp and picking out which people go to the death chamber. You’re not going to let the Democrats do that, say, We’re going to — we’re going to confirm this person, we’re not going to confirm the other person.
Video of Novak’s dubious reference to a concentration camp at Crooks and Liars.
Brent Bozell Wants “Fox News” in the ‘Family Tier’
Time Warner cable will introduce a “family friendly” cable programming package sometime next spring.
The concept is that instead of basic cable, which includes channels like MTV which may not be appropriate for small children, subscribers would get 15 G-rated channels (Toon Disney, Food Network, etc.). This would be in addition to the broadcast channels and some public service cable channels.
The news channels that purported to be part of Time Warner’s family tier are CNN Headline News, The Weather Channel, C-SPAN-2, and C-SPAN 3.
Conservative Brent Bozell implies that the family tier should also include Fox News (as well as CNBC and MSNBC).
However, a new article at Media Matters for America explains that Fox News isn’t always G-rated.
Fox News Channel has, as part of several recent segments, aired a series of photographs and videos of scantily-clad women, and blurred images of nude women. A Media Matters for America review of Fox News Channel from December 5 through December 15 found at least eight different segments featuring photographs or video footage of nude or nearly nude women, as well as discussions on news programs of “hot” videos, and an item on provocative attire in the workplace. One program, Your World with Neil Cavuto, a weekday business program that airs at 4 p.m. EST, featured six of the eight segments. While host Neil Cavuto offered little in the way of explicit justification for the use of the material, the segments listed below were all cast as business stories…
December 5: Your World with Neil Cavuto featured a segment on Playboy’s plans to offer “Playboy Bodcasts” for Apple’s new video-capable iPod, which allow users to download features such as “joke of the day” or “video advice from Playboy’s sexy Cyber Girls” directly onto their video player. Cavuto showed an iPod’s screen featuring the “sexy,” scantily clad women.
The article continues with more examples.
It’s acceptable for a cable news channel to show racy images. The point is that including a channel that shows racy images — like Fox News — to the family tier would undermine the concept. Which is why Time Warner was right to exclude it from that package.
« Is “CNN Headline News” always G-rated? »
“CNN Headline News” isn’t always G-rated, either. It showed the dead bodies of Saddam Hussein’s sons after they were killed by the US military in Iraq.
Arguably, CNN Headline News shouldn’t be part of the family tier, either. (Though it’s G-rated a greater percentage of the time than is Fox News.)
George Will Exposes His Mindset Against Environmentalism
The real elitists are conservatives.
George Will is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post.
A recent column by George Will describes what a huge amount of oil there supposedly is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but concludes by saying it should be drilled even if there are “only three thimbles of oil.”
Amanda Marcotte of the blog Pandagon implies that this column by George Will reveals an elitist mindset that the rich should control everything. No commons. No general welfare. No collectivism:
George Will cracks and admits that the whole push to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has more to do with fucking shit up just for the hell of it than actually getting any oil.
A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism.
In other words, it’ll be worth it to piss off the Birkenstocks crowd.
What is it with knee-jerk anti-environmentalism? Is it just this desire to leave a footprint on the planet, no matter how odious? Sure, earlier civilizations will be remembered for great art and architecture, but hopefully we’ll be remembered as the civilization that destroyed as much natural beauty as humanly possible. That’s something, isn’t it?
You know what? I’m not even feeling that generous today. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Will-style conservatives dislike environmentalism just because of this “collectivism” that he takes a piss on. Natural beauty doesn’t have a price tag on it.
…The rabble should live in squalor, with black skies over our heads as we trudge back and forth to our jobs, working our asses off throughout our meaningless lives, making money for our betters so they can purchase grand estates that they then fill with all the beautiful plants and animals that the rest of us should be denied the pleasure of of ever seeing. That’s the end game of these anti-environmental ideologues, make no mistake. Living in the manicured gardens of Versailles is a lot more desirable if the poor live in their own filth.
Will pretends that collectivism is simply an anti-freedom idea, that by protecting national parks and wildlife refuges, we’re somehow giving up “freedom”. Sure, conservatives loooooove freedom. The freedom of the authoritative government to tap your phones, for instance. He’s just interested in stomping out the idea of “collectivism”, which I do believe the Constitution calls the “general welfare.”
ANWR is offensive to conservatives because it’s collectively owned, which means the common rabble have technical ownership over something of great beauty.
Environmentalism is a threat to the conservative push to end “general welfare” as a goal of government, because it exposes the very serious problems with the anti-collective ideology, which is for instance that every-man-for-himself class warfare would result in massive pollution and destruction of most natural beauty.
Two Op-Ed Writers Were Secretly Paid by Republican Lobbyist Jack Abramoff
Conservative op-ed writers Doug Bandow and Peter Ferrara were each paid to write op-eds by corrupt GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
This payoff was exposed in a Business Week article by Eamon Javers, “Op-Eds for Sale.”
Doug Bandow admits that taking money to write op-eds without disclosing the payments was wrong. He says, “It was a lapse of judgment on my part, and I take full responsibility for it.”
Peter Ferrara, however, is unapologetic:
“I do that all the time,” Ferrara says. “I’ve done that in the past, and I’ll do it in the future.”
Ferrara, who has been an influential conservative voice on Social Security reform, among other issues, says he doesn’t see a conflict of interest in taking undisclosed money to write op-ed pieces because his columns never violated his ideological principles….
“These are my views, and if you want to support them, then that’s good.”
More on Social Security at Move Left.
The blog JABBS notes that in addition to these two writers being paid by a Republican lobbyist:
At least four journalists have been cited in the past year as being paid by the Bush Administration to write favorable items, or make favorable presentations on television, about administration programs or proposals.
Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 16, 2005 @ 8:07 pm
Filed under: SpeakSpeak, Right Watch
, Free Speech
, Media Watch
, TV, Flag Burning
, Religion, Radio
• Bill O’Reilly admits that “Happy Holidays” isn’t offensive after all. LINK
• Hillary Clinton proposes legislation that could be used to jail a protester who burns an American flag for a year. Senators should be thinking up ways to INCREASE our freedom, but no. LINK
• Departing FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy says indecency fines are “probably the hardest area for me as a commissioner. This is one where I could argue both sides very easily. I am a firm believer in the First Amendment and the right of free speech. And at the same time, I appreciate the need to protect children.” How about writing clear rules, if one could easily argue something is indecent or that it’s not indecent under the current rules? LINK
• Meanwhile, what is “indecent” in the general sense of the term? How about Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) wasting “$223 million of pork earmarked for the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ to be used by about 50 Alaskans”? LINK
• Bill O’Reilly’s reporting about bans on red-and-green clothing (Christmas colors) is false. No surprise. Will O’Reilly have to resign like Dan Rather did (for a flawed story which was more ambiguous and better researched?) LINK
• New Hampshire’s liberal radio host Arnie Arnesen: She may get fired because she’s criticized SUVs. Car dealerships are threatening to pull advertising from her radio station. LINK
• Ted Koppel says ABC News has fewer foreign correspondents today than it did 30 years ago. LINK
• “A la carte” cable would mean people get exposed to less diversity in programming, says AdAge columnist Simon Dumenco. LINK
• Gay groups and the American Family Association took opposite positions on whether Ford should advertise cars in gay magazines. Ford originally said it would pull its advertising from magazines with mostly gay content. Eventually, the gay groups won. LINK
• The US military is spying on civilians who oppose the Iraq War. This includes Quakers. LINK
• Conservative groups disagree on whether Congress should mandate “a la carte” programming. The Parents Television Council and Concerned Women for America argue that a la carte is the best solution to the “indecency” problem. Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and TBN’s Paul Crouch, Jr., fear (logically) that a la carte programming would vastly decrease viewership of religious channels. LINK
• A trend in entertainment is increased consumer options in how to view content. Therefore, I argue that Congress should be hands-off for the next few years regarding indecency and mandated a la carte. Let things develop. LINK
• Bush told the NSA to spy on US citizens. LINK
• $300 million of our tax dollars are being spent on propaganda — for example, covertly planting stories in the press of other nations. That includes allies’. Planting propaganda is legal abroad, but not in the US. LINK
• Clear Channel owns billboards, as well as radio stations and concert halls. The company refused to post a billboard which would say, “‘Wal*Mart: Killing Local Businesses…One Main Street at a Time.” They had no problem hosting a billboard that states “George W. Bush, Our Leader.” LINK
• NPR is soooo liberal. If you believe the hype. If you look at statistics, however, NPR favors conservatives. LINK
• Howard Stern aired his last show on broadcast radio. He was driven out by the pressure of FCC indecency fines. Sad day for free speech. Howard Stern will start a show on Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006. LINK
• Time Warner describes its “family tier,” which may debut next spring. LINK
Utah Senator Wants to Outlaw Gay Support Groups
From the Deseret Morning News:
Two months after a gay-straight alliance club started meeting at Provo High, a state senator said he plans to run a bill in the 2006 Legislature that would prohibit such clubs in Utah’s public high schools.
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, already taking on the public school establishment with legislation to require schools to teach a religion-based alternative to the theory of evolution, is now aiming at high school gay-straight alliances as well. His effort is backed by the conservative Utah Eagle Forum.
“I’m concerned about gay clubs,” Buttars said Wednesday, a day after opening a bill file regarding extra-curricular clubs. Buttars said his goal is to ban gay student associations from meeting on public school property.
“In my mind, if you are in the chess club, what do you talk about? Chess,” Buttars said. “If you are in the dance club, what do you talk about? Dance. If you are in a gay club, what do you talk about? I just don’t believe members of sexual orientation clubs should be sanctioned by the public schools — what they are talking about even a part of the public schools. They should not be allowed to have that on school property at all. It’s just wrong.” […]
“Oh, that silly Sen. Buttars,” said Dani Eyer, executive director of the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “What would we do without him? He just doesn’t have a nuanced concept of constitutionally mandated fairness and freedoms.” […]
In 1995, a group of East High students asked to form a gay-straight alliance, resulting in a firestorm of debate over homosexuality. The Salt Lake City Board of Education responded by eliminating all non-curriculum clubs, a move that took out groups including Young Republicans and Students Against Drunk Driving.
Students protested. The Legislature held a special session to discuss club restrictions. National headlines and lawsuits ensued. The district won one federal lawsuit challenging club policy. But in a second, a judge ruled it must allow People Respecting Important Social Movements (PRISM), which students wanted to create to discuss issues affecting the gay community, until the lawsuit was resolved.
The school board in 2000 allowed all clubs to meet either as curriculum-related “school clubs” or extracurricular “student clubs,” essentially ending the fight.
The article continues, at length.
Ho Ho Ho Hum: O’Reilly’s War on “The War on Christmas” Continues
Posted by Amanda Toering
December 15, 2005 @ 1:47 pm
Filed under: Right Watch
Media Matters for America, that tenacious Bill O’Reilly watchdog, reports that O’Reilly falsely accused a Texas school district of anti-Christian “fascism.”
On December 9, Bill O’Reilly falsely claimed on both Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor and the nationally syndicated The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly that the Plano Independent School District (Texas) “told students they couldn’t wear red and green because they were Christmas colors.” He labeled the alleged ban “fascism.” On December 12, the school district released an official statement by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Doug Otto refuting O’Reilly’s contention:
“The school district does not restrict students or staff from wearing certain color clothes during holiday times or any other school days,” noted Dr. Otto, who said that the school district’s attorney has requested that Mr. O’Reilly retract the statement.
More on the Plano backstory, as well as a video clip, at Media Matters.
Religious Groups Still at Odds Over Cable Packaging
The Parents Television Council and Concerned Women for America held a joint conference call with reporters yesterday denouncing the cable industry’s plan to offer a “family-friendly” programming package. The groups are instead continuing with their attempts to extort the industry into offering a la carte programming.
Meanwhile, leaders of other religious groups oppose a la carte-ism because of the (realistic) possibility that religious programming will disappear from a large percentage of subscribers’ homes.
From Broadcasting & Cable:
The Parent’s Television Council (PTC), whose members have filed a large portion of all the indecency complaints at the FCC, will join with Concerned Women of America (CWA) Thursday in a conference call press conference declaring that the announced tiers aren’t sufficient and that they will join to push for full-blown cable a la carte.
Following the Senate Commerce Committee’s indecency hearing Monday, Stevens said of the tiers: “[I]t should be able to meet the demands that were made of use by the family-based organizations.”
But after that same hearing, which was a follow-up to an earlier one attended by Brent Bozell, the PTC president said that the tiers were a “red herring.”
“The only model Congress should consider and the cable industry should provide is an a la carte cable choice model,” Bozell said in a statement, “giving consumers the ability to choose and pay for the programs they want, and opt-out of what they don’t. Anything less is unacceptable.”
Together, CWA and PTC comprise some 1.5 million members (PTC says its rolls top a million and CWA pegs its head count at 500,000).
More receptive to the tiering plan were Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and the Faith and Family Values Coalition, both praised the tier, but both also oppose a la carte cable, fearing it could push religious channels off the dial.
Ford Will Advertise Its Cars in Gay Magazines, After All
Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 14, 2005 @ 3:51 pm
Filed under: Right Watch
From the AP:
Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it would reinstate and expand the scope of its advertising in gay publications after criticism from gay rights groups.
Ford said in a letter it would restore advertising for its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications and run corporate ads marketing all eight of its vehicle brands in the publications.
“It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford’s desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue to rest,” wrote Joe Laymon, Ford’s group vice president for corporate human resources.
Last week, Ford announced plans to reduce its advertising in gay magazines, following a meeting with the conservative “American Family Association.” This was criticized by gay groups, including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Seems like the AFA and gay groups got into a tug-of-war with Ford in the middle, and the gay groups won.
Brent Bozell’s Christmas Humor
Posted by Eric Jaffa
December 14, 2005 @ 1:46 pm
Filed under: Right Watch
, TV, Religion
Conservative Brent Bozell is the founder of the “Parents Television Council.”
He writes a weekly column about the entertainment media. In his latest, Bozell praises the decision of “three different TV networks to produce TV movies about” the life of Pope John Paul II.
Near the end of the column, Bozell writes:
The cynic might argue that these films are just an insincere attempt to cash in by baiting all John Paul’s admirers to the TV set during the Christmas — can I say that? — season, especially after the great love outpoured for the Holy Father after his death.
Great joke! America is so anti-Christian, people aren’t even allowed to write the word “Christmas” anymore — we’re just allowed to watch tons of Christmas specials on TV and listen to tons of Christmas music on the radio.
Bozell illustrates the opposite of the expression, “funny because it’s true.”
Senate to Take Up FCC Nominations
Posted by Amanda Toering
December 14, 2005 @ 12:56 pm
Filed under: Right Watch
The Senate Commerce Committee will address the respective FCC nomination and reappointment of Deborah Tate and Michael Copps tomorrow. Tate would fill the position left vacant by former chair Michael Powell, who left the Commission in January.
If Tate’s nomination is approved, as it is expected to be, there will still be one vacant seat on the Commission — the post vacated by Kathleen Abernathy last week.
Tate, a Republican lawyer from Tennessee, is something of an unknown quantity. She does, however, have considerable political ties to the Bush Administration. (Surprise!)
Tate previously served as an assistant to former Tennessee governor (and current Bush appointee) Don Sundquist. Sundquist now co-chairs Bush’s Medicaid reform panel, despite having faced harsh criticism during his gubernatorial tenure for mismanaging — and possibly profiting from — Tennessee’s TennCare program.
Another assistant of Don Sundquist, Chip Saltsman, was a Bush “Pioneer” fundraiser in 2004. He as also served as the head of the Tennessee Republican Party and as the development director (i.e., chief money grubber) for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Profile of Saltsman.)
Michael Copps, a Democrat, has historically been conservative on indecency issues (pdf file).
Romenesko has posted a letter sent by Plano, TX school district officials to parents about the following claim by Bill O’Reilly:
“In Plano, Texas, a school told students they couldn’t wear red and green because they are Christmas colors.”
This is not even remotely true, Superintendent Doug Otto assured concerned parents. The letter goes on to say this:
“Dr. Otto said that our attorney requested of Mr. O’Reilly that, in the future, he ask his fact checkers to do a more thorough job of confirming the facts before he airs them.”
This reminds me of a piece Matt Taibbi wrote for Rolling Stone during the 2004 election entitled Bush Like Me:
“But here’s the twist. They [Republicans and fundamentalist Christians] are not looking for facts with which to defeat opponents. They are looking for facts that ensure them an ever-expanding roster of opponents. They can be correct facts, incorrect facts, irrelevant facts, it doesn’t matter. The point is not to win the argument, the point is to make sure the argument never stops. Permanent war isn’t a policy imposed from above; it’s an emotional imperative that rises from the bottom. In a way, it actually helps if the fact is dubious or untrue (like the Swift-boat business), because that guarantees an argument. You’re arguing the particulars, where you’re right, while they’re arguing the underlying generalities, where they are.”
ADDENDUM: Crooks and Liars reports that O’Reilly made the same claim about Saginaw, MI on his radio show.
Rachel Maddow Is Hosting “The Al Franken Show”
The radio program “The Al Franken Show” airs each weekday on Air America Radio from noon to 3PM Eastern Time.
Host Al Franken is doing a USO tour of Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq.
Therefore, starting today and through the rest of 2005, Rachel Maddow will guest-host. She usually has her own radio show on AAR. You may have seen Maddow on Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC cable TV show, “The Situation.” But since that TV show doesn’t get great ratings, you may not have.
Recently, conservative Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media wrote “I tuned in once last week [to Tucker Carlson’s cable TV show], only to discover that he was still wasting valuable airtime bantering with liberal lesbian Rachel Maddow.”
That is the entirety of what Kincaid writes about Rachel Maddow in that column. Was Kincaid fair to her?
Judge for yourself. You can listen to Air America Radio over the internet for free.
« Update of December 19, 2005 »
It turns out that while Maddow guest-hosted last week, this week they are playing “The Best of The Al Franken Show.”