Television Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Relative bias in the media vs actual bias. A new book from a UCLA political science professor demonstrate how, because the media is so generally slanted to the left, outlets like Fox appear more right-slanted, when in reality they’re far more centrist.

Rosalina Gonzales had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of injury to a child for what prosecutors had described as a "pretty simple, straightforward spanking case."

Trevor Phillips, chairman of Obama’s Equality and Human Rights Commission accused Christians, particularly evangelicals, of being more militant than Muslims in complaining about discrimination, arguing that many of the claims are motivated by a desire for greater political influence. Hmm, define "militant".

What if Charles Schultz had done cartoons of Doctor Who characters? The result would probably have looked like this.

"Smart" diplomacy; cozy up to dictators, snub our friends.

Democrats pilloried George W. Bush for "not listening to his generals" when he made decisions counter to the Pentagon. When Obama does it, not so much.

Would ID requirements for voting amount to a Jim-Crow-style poll tax on blacks? E. J. Dionne thinks so. James Taranto wonders if ID requirements for Amtrak, hotels, air travel and employment are equally as "racist"?

Nancy Pelosi said that they had to pass the bill before we could find out what’s in it. Apparently, some surprises are buried in there.

President Barack Obama’s health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

Whenever there is a budget shortfall, taxes are always on the table. How about we take them off just this once?

Medicare spending is unsustainable, and the CBO itself admits that its tools for determine any consequences from Obamacare are flawed. Yeah, that should "fix" health care.

And finally, define "emergency" (click for a larger version):

Tebow Ad Alarms, Surprises, and Triumphs

I really like what Focus on the Family pulled off with the Tebow ad on television’s biggest stage. It wasn’t what I expected, but after reflecting on the strategy, it was a great “head fake” that produced unbelievable interest and then really offended no one, showed a sense of humor, and drove people to the Website for deeper messages on life and family (and the full Tebow story).

Focus’s site got 500,000 hits and 50,000 unique visitors in the hour the ad aired.

But the impact kept growing:

Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said:

“For Sunday and Monday only, we had 1.16 million unique visitors, which is eighteen times our normal traffic,” he says. “And we had 8.6 million terabytes streamed. I don’t know what that means [a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes], but that’s apparently 267 times more than we normally have. The full interview with the Tebows that’s mentioned at the end of the ad had been watched a total of 762,897 times as of yesterday, and the ad on our website had been watched 305,000 times — and that’s not counting the number of views on other websites. I just saw a link on Yahoo!, which had posted the ad, and it had been viewed on their website over 1.1 million times.”

Pro-Choice Columnist Calls Out Intolerant Left

Few things have caused as much controversy in recent days as Tim Tebow’s upcoming pro-life Super Bowl Ad. Abortion advocates have been critical of Tebow and of CBS’ decision to air the spot during the upcoming game.
But the most remarkable thing I’ve seen yet is this column from Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins takes the abortion advocates to task for their criticism of the young football star:

I’m pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I’ve heard in the past week, I’ll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the “National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time.” For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.

Tebow’s 30-second ad hasn’t even run yet, but it already has provoked “The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us” to reveal something
important about themselves: They aren’t actually “pro-choice” so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, post-Roe v. Wade, and while on a Christian mission in the Philippines, she contracted a tropical ailment. Doctors advised her the pregnancy could be dangerous, but she exercised her freedom of choice and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her beauteous Heisman Trophy winner son, a chaste, proselytizing evangelical.

Pam Tebow and her son feel good enough about that choice to want to tell people about it. Only, NOW says they shouldn’t be allowed to. Apparently NOW feels this commercial is an inappropriate message for America to see for 30 seconds, but women in bikinis selling beer is the right one. I would like to meet the genius at NOW who made that decision. On second thought, no, I wouldn’t.

There’s not enough space in the sports pages for the serious weighing of values that constitutes this debate, but surely everyone in both camps, pro-choice or pro-life, wishes the “need” for abortions wasn’t so great. Which is precisely why NOW is so wrong to take aim at Tebow’s ad.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Hats off to Ms. Jenkins for calling out the intolerant critics on the Left who wish to demonize the Tebows. Though we may not agree on whether abortion is wrong we can at least agree that we can respectfully disagree with each other.

Religious Expression Considered Harmful

Any religious expression, it seems.  A commentator can’t say anything remotely religious without getting lambasted by the Left.  (And, no doubt, with exclamations like "Jesus Christ!" thrown in for good measure.)  While commenting on the Tiger Woods situation, former Fox News anchor Brit Hume dared dig deeper into the story and commented on one of the underlying issues.

Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person, I think, is a very open question… the extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist, I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be: ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’

This has led folks like Keith Olbermann to compare Hume to a "jihadist" and his guest Dan Savage to consider him a "lunatic".  Later, Olbermann said that Hume was attempting to "force" or "threaten" Woods into conversion.  From my local paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman called Hume arrogant and pompous.  Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly trashes Hume and seems to think that if adherents of a particular religion aren’t perfect then it’s perhaps hypocritical to suggest turning to that religion.  His multitude of commenters seem to agree. 

But as LaShawn Barber notes, this was all inevitable.  The Secularists, those trying to essentially make religion a taboo in the public square and who overwhelmingly live on the Left, simply will not tolerate any mention of religion.  (How tolerant.)  And certainly not comparatively.  If you dare insist that belief in Jesus is any better than venerating a toaster, you’ll get shouted down. 

On top of that, LaShawn links to Christian apologist and author James White who points out that, indeed, Brit Hume is right.

The secularists are, of course, howling in protest, but if you read what they are saying, one obvious underlying theme comes to the fore. No one is offering reasoned, objective criticism of the substance of Hume’s comments, because, quite simply, he is right. Buddhism does not, in fact, provide for redemption and forgiveness, but instead directs one to look inward for enlightenment and eventual freedom from suffering (via freedom from desire). But redemption? Not in this life, for in its classical expression, this would involve a long process of moving toward enlightenment through many lifetimes. In any case, secularists do not care about the objective truth contained in Hume’s words, but instead they are enraged that he would actually dare to express his thoughts in public—the realm over which they now claim absolute authority and control.

(Emphasis his.) 

If we are not allowed to speak of religion in public, it may be time to hold a wake for the First Amendment, something the Left claims to uphold. 

White House Tries to Bar Fox From Interviews

In an incredibly chilling move, the White House tried to freeze out Fox News from interviewing Obama’s Pay Czar, while granting interviews to all the other major news organizations.  As the video notes, often the White House makes a particular official available to all the groups, one after the other, but today’s event broke with that tradition.

To the credit of the other groups, they all decided to not do any interviews unless Fox was allowed to as well.  The administration blinked, and the interviews, from all news groups, commenced.  Before, it seemed that only Jake Tapper of ABC cared about this situation, as it was something of a big deal when he asked his question of Robert Gibbs.  However, this overreach by the Obama administration finally jolted all the other groups into action.  "First, they came for Fox News…" and all that sort of stuff.

This proves, beyond all doubt, that this has no real equivalence in previous administrations of either party.  This is a President and his staff shutting out a major news organization, and it is absolutely wrong.  First, because of general First Amendment, freedom of the press issues.  Secondly, because of the double standard employed in the reasoning.  If Fox News isn’t a news organization because it has a perspective, we don’t have any news organizations in this country.  And as I noted before, the incredibly liberal bias is merrily ignored, belying Obama’s motivation.

Not to mention liberal media "watchdogs" like Media Matters.  Instead of recognizing this for what it was, they pilloried Jake Tapper for daring to ask such a question.  And of course, if you look at their front page today, you’d think that Fox News was the only TV news organization in the country.  For a group that supposedly knows the media business, it’s pretty clear that what matters to them is not the media, just their (dare I say it) perspective, especially when they cheer this sort of thing on.

Again, it has nothing to do with "perspective".  It has everything to do with not wanting to deal with disagreement.  The Van Jones issue, the ACORN scandal, Anita Dunn fondness for Mao, and many other issues, covered by Fox and virtually ignored elsewhere, clearly shows that, while you could make a case against Fox’s "Fair and Balanced" motto, they at least provide a fair hearing to otherwise ignored stories, and they provide the balance in the extremely one-sided new coverage in this country.

And the White House is trying to silence them.  When did dissent stop being patriotic and start being a club to silence the opposition?  Do rank and file Democrats really think this is okey dokey?

P.S. Ironic, isn’t it, that Obama says he is willing to talk to our enemies with no preconditions, but goes to war with a media organization that is challenging him (which is arguable what all media organizations are supposed to be doing, the whole 4th Estate thing).  Good thing he’s already been given the "peace" prize.

Perez Hilton vs. Miss California and Honesty

You’ve may have heard by now some of the fallout from Miss California’s answer to a same-sex marriage question from one of the Miss USA judges, Perez Hilton.  If not, it’s probably because, like me, you didn’t watch the Miss USA pageant (or because, also like me, didn’t even know it was on).  What happened there has put on display for all to see what happens when you stand up for beliefs which are contrary to the liberal line.

Perez Hilton asked Carrie Prejean, "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage," he said. "Do you think every state should follow suit, why or why not."  Prejean answered:

I think it’s great Americans are able to choose one or the other.  We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what in my country, in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be, between a man and a woman.

While starting out with a little fumbling for words, she ultimately comes to her honest answer.  And that, in what is now a pageant fully engulfed in liberal dogma, was her downfall. 

According to this ABC News article, the initial boos were ultimately overcome by applause.  However, Hilton was taken by surprise.

"I was floored," Hilton told Monday. "I haven’t said this before, but to her credit, I applaud her for her honesty. However, she is not a politician, she’s a hopeful Miss USA. Miss USA should represent everyone. Her answer alienated millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their families and their supporters."

Instead, I suppose, he wanted an answer that alienated tens of millions of those who do not support same-sex marriage.  If it’s about the numbers, Hilton is currently on the down-side of that.  If it’s about not alienating people, Prejean’s answer, no matter what it was, would alienate some, so she actually did well on that front, if that’s what you’re going to judge her by.

So what answer would Hilton have preferred; one that would be less political and represented everyone?

Hilton said Prejean could have chosen an answer that he believed would have been less political. When he asked Miley Cyrus the same question on Twitter after the show, he was surprised by her response: "I believe that EVERYONE deserves to be happy. That’s all I’m saying."

Comparing Cyrus and Prejean, Hilton said, "A 16-year-old gave a better answer. If she [Prejean] had said those two sentences, that would have been a better answer."

On his video blog, he offered another alternate answer. "I would have said, ‘Hmm, Perez, that’s a great question, that’s a very hot topic in our country right now. And I think that’s a question that each state should decide for themselves."

He was looking for politically correct (i.e. liberal) and / or one that is, in fact, more political.  Not to mention, what if you don’t actually believe that answer?  The truth, to these left-wing elites, means little.

It wasn’t just this gossip columnist that was irked by her answer.  This aversion to a truthful answer extends to the Miss California organization itself.

Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, released a statement to the media in response to Prejean’s answer last night.

"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."

Co-director Shanna Moakler, the 1995 Miss USA, told the media that she fully supported Lewis’ statement.

Apparently, the Miss California organization can’t handle an honest answer that diverges from the liberal line without issuing a statement and denigrating their own representative.  At least Hilton had the guts to give Prejean credit for honesty before he tore her up.

And that honest also cost her more than just national scorn from the Left.

"She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that," Hilton said, adding that he’s "very happy with whom the judges chose," Miss North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton.

He’s a judge.  He would know.  He didn’t want her to politicize her answer, but he politicized the who event. 

From the Nobel Prize committee, who made past Peace Prize choices to tweak George W. Bush, to the Miss USA Pageant, the Left is showing just how much they tolerate dissent.  They don’t.  Oh the irony.

How the Media Fared in the Campaign

Short answer:  Not very well, and it doesn’t appear they care.

Long answer:

The adulation given to Barack Obama was far more than can be accounted for by his historic run for the Presidency.  It got so bad before the election that Michael S. Malone, a tech journalist for ABC News, got to the point he was "deeply ashamed to be called a ‘journalist’".  Michael explained, back in late October:

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions.  But I always wrote it off as bad judgment, and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.  Sure, being a child of the ‘60s I saw a lot of subjective “New” Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from ‘real’ reporting, and at least in mainstream media, usually was.  The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.  I’d spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else’s work – not out any native honesty, but out of fear: I’d always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense . . .indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.


But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current Presidential campaign.  Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates.  But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass – no, make that shameless support – they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press.  I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather – not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake – but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.


The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.  Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a Presidential candidate.  So much for the Standing Up for the Little Man, so much for Speaking Truth to Power, so much for Comforting the Afflicted and Afflicting the Comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

Read the whole thing(tm).  Malone is more certainly not against reporters digging for the dirt (he supported the "reportorial SWAT teams" sent to Alaska to see what they could find about Gov. Palin).  What he is aghast at, however, was how utterly unbalanced this hardball treatment was. 

Aside from the viciousness given mostly to Republicans and their supporters, the Pew Research Center found that McCain’s news coverage was incredibly lopsided.

Slightly fewer than a third of the stories about Obama were negative, whereas more than a third were positive and about the same number were neutral or mixed. More than half of the stories about McCain cast him in a negative light, whereas fewer than 2 in 10 were positive, according to Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The study suggests that advancement in the polls does translate into more positive coverage, but with the polls so tight this season, bouncing around in the high 40s & low 50s for so long, that explanation doesn’t really fit.

The Washington Post ombudsman, Deborah Howell, also says that her paper tilted towards Obama and didn’t really cover the issues well.  The big question is, will this translate into better coverage?  With the media still in the tank for Democrats after decades of being that way, it doesn’t seem likely.

Just ask Chris Matthews:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, well, you know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that —

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist!

MATTHEWS: Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country.

The phrase "speaking the truth to power" is about to drop quickly out of fashion in national media circles.

What Would We Do Without Studies?

They spent money on this?

Sexual content on television is strongly associated with teen pregnancy, a new study from the RAND Corporation shows.

Researchers at the nonprofit organization found that adolescents with a high level of exposure to television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years. It is the first study to demonstrate this association, RAND said.

Next week, RAND comes out with their study that gravity leads to falling.

The suggested remedy is equally obvious.

A central message from the study is that there needs to be more dialogue about sex in the media, particularly among parents and their children, said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND.

Although the Hollywood culture is certainly a major contributor to the oversexualization of the media (and they could do their part, but won’t, and will whine publicly and loudly if you suggest they do), parents still need to be the gatekeeper.

As my kids would say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious!"

It’s Only A Scandal When It’s A Republican

Contrasting coverage of the Mark Foley scandal vs the Tim Mahoney one, NewsBusters notes that the media is seriously one-sided. 

Two years ago, ABC’s Brian Ross broke wide open the scandal of Republican Rep. Mark Foley sending sexual Internet messages to Congressional pages. Foley resigned quickly, but that didn’t dampen the story. We reported "On the ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening news programs, from the story’s emergence on Friday night, September 29, through Wednesday morning, October 11, the Big Three networks have aired 152 stories." On October 11’s Good Morning America, news anchor Christopher Cuomo spoke insistently: "Less than a month before the elections and the Mark Foley scandal just keeps growing." Reporter Jake Tapper added: "This is the scandal that will not go away."

But what about a scandal that will not be acknowledged? Even when a network breaks the story? On October 13, ABC reporter Brian Ross broke the news on his Blotter blog that Rep. Tim Mahoney, the Democrat who replaced Mark Foley in the House, who ran on returning morality to Congress, "agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him." The FBI is now investigating. ABC has audio of him yelling at the mistress (with profanities) that she’s fired. Mahoney didn’t resign. He’s running for reelection.

Number of ABC stories on the morning and evening newscasts? Zero.

Number of CBS stories? Zero.

Number of NBC stories? Zero.

Yeah, that liberal media.

Open Questions About Debate Moderators

It’s just a debate moderator, the lefty blogosphere tells us.  She’s just asking questions.  What’s the big deal about her book?  Well, just a few questions.

  1. So then, the next Presidential debate can be moderated by John Stossel and the Democrats would be fine with that?
  2. If all the moderator does is ask questions, why wouldn’t Democrats even debate themselves on Fox News?

Either blatant partisanship, real or perceived, is to be avoided at a debate, or it isn’t.  Either moderators with their own biases, plain or hidden, can be fair questioners, or they can’t.  Just pick an answer and stick with it, or don’t be surprised when Republicans ask for the same deal the Democrats ask for.

Couric Tees Them Up for Biden, Plays Hardball with Palin

To mix a metaphor.

The Media Research Center has the details on how Katie Couric treated Joe Biden vs. Sarah Palin. 

Y’know, there’s nothing wrong with having a bias.  We all do.  But be up-front and honest about it, eh?

"Courting" the Latino Vote

Though “stealing” would be more the verb I’d use.  In Obama’s latest ad running in the southwest, with narration in Spanish, he ties McCain to Limbaugh and then quotes Limbaugh on immigration issues.  It calls McCain two-faced and a liar.  But as Jake Tapper of ABC News discovers, the ad itself is where the deceit is.

The Obama camp draws a very tenuous link between Limbaugh and McCain to start the smear.  Essentially, they say, they both supported the Minutemen.  Well, except McCain didn’t, and Limbaugh has openly and loudly disagreed with McCain on immigration for a long time. 

And then the two quotes from Limbaugh are out of context, one in the extreme.  They took a quote from Rush’s sense of what American immigration law would be if they were like Mexico’s.  He paraphrased protest laws for foreigners in Mexico by saying, “shut your mouth or get out”, and the ad makes it sound like he’s speaking to immigrants. 

Tapper’s article has the full context for the quotes and both sides of the story on the “lies”.  Karl Rove would be proud. 

Oh, and someone please tell Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post that his entirely uncritical reporting on this new ad does a disservice to his readers (but a rather nice service to Obama). 

Liberals in Media: "Opinionators" vs. Anchors

The recent buzz around the conservative blogosphere (and a bit on the liberal side, too) is that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will no longer be anchoring MSNBC’s election coverage specials. 

I have never considered hosts of opinion shows — including Matthews and Olbermann, as well as O’Reily, Beck and Dobbs — as examples of bias at a network one way or the other.  The sum total of “opinionators” and their leanings at a network might be indicative (i.e. if they all lean one way or the other), but their specific pronouncements never seemed to me to be fair game for claiming bias.  Of course they’re biased; that’s their programs’ stock in trade.  They have an opinion, and it comes out in their “Talking Point Memo” or their interviews or whatever.  The bias is the purpose for the show.

On the other hand, bias when it comes to those in the more pure journalistic endeavors — news anchors and reporters — those folks have a higher standard to attain to.  Their stock in trade is their even-handedness and objectivity.  When they abdicate that responsibility, then I see it as fair game for scrutiny.

In this, MSNBC crossed way, way over the line putting Matthews and Olbermann in the anchor chairs for their convention coverage.  The idea that they thought they could get away with this and still insist they’re objective and balanced strained credibility to the breaking point.  All the networks had other opinion folks on to give their takes on the events of the day, and that’s fine, too.  But MSNBC put guys with their own opinion shows in the anchor chair during two events that are already very partisan.  This says a lot about the editorial leanings at the network.  At least they’re doing the right thing now, though why they thought this was ever a good idea is beyond me.  The liberal bias in the editorial room is probably mistaken for “mainstream”.

Hamas’ Generational Problem

The Strategy Page calls it “an image problem”, but they’re description of the result of the problem goes deeper.  I think the next generation is embarrassed by them.  So much so that they are becoming less convinced of the religion behind it.

Hamas has an image problem, and it’s getting worse. It’s gotten so bad that the 30 year old son (Mosab Yousef) of one of the Hamas founders (Hassan Yousef) has not only renounced Hamas, but has become a Christian. Mosab is fed up with the terrorism/”destroy Israel” approach the Arab world has embraced over the last sixty years. Mosad notes, as have many other Arabs, that this has not worked.

The conversion angle is something Moslems are trying to keep quiet. Mosab Yousef’s father pleaded with his son to keep quiet about the conversion (which took place 18 months ago). The elder Yousef knows that this is not an isolated incident. Many young Moslems are abandoning Islam. Most do so quietly. In Iran, the clerics that run the country are shocked at secret police reports about a growing number of young Iranians who have, in effect, abandoned Islam. This sort of thing is happening all over the Moslem world, but especially in Arab countries. The people who switch to Islamic radicalism get all the headlines, not the larger numbers who just walk away from Islam are largely ignored. In the Palestinian territories, there is also a growth in the number of Sunni Moslems who are switching to the Shia version (as championed by Iran). But many other Moslems are openly distancing themselves from the conservative forms of Islam (like the well funded Saudi Wahhabism). One reason this trend is kept quiet is because Islamic militants are inclined to kill such traitors, if the switch is done too openly. Thus the elder Yousef’s plea that his son keep quiet, lest he attract the murderous attention of Islamic radicals out to impose the death sentence on apostates.

The move to Christianity, and even moves just away from the more radical versions if Islam, can only be a good thing for the Middle East, and frankly the rest of the world, too.

Beyond Parody

Often on the Shire Network News podcast, we’ll satirize extremist Islam by reading a new story and replacing the word “Muslim” with the word “Christian”. Upon hearing this, the listener (it is hoped) understands how really extreme extremist Muslims are because, for all the similar and worse treatment Christians are accustomed to, you never hear about mass groups of extremist Christians beheading someone who drew an unflattering cartoon of Jesus.

Indeed we have our Eric Robert Rudolphs, our lone gunmen outside abortion clinics, but the very fact that we know the first, middle and last names of these guys says there aren’t nearly as many of them as there are mobs of extremist Muslims killing teachers, killing anyone over cartoons, and burning churches.

But the BBC, not content to sticking to the “art imitating life” method of fiction, decided to try to paint a little non-existent moral equivalence on their TV canvas.

A recent episode of the series Bonekickers displayed a graphic scene depicting a moderate Muslim being beheaded by a supposed “extremist Christian”.

It’s being reported that BBC1 has received several telephone complaints from it’s viewers over the episode and earlier this week the corporation stated they ‘regret’ viewers had found the scene ‘inappropriate’, but defended their decision to show it.

Viewers were apparently shocked when actor Paul Nichollswas was seen using a sword to hack off a moderate Muslim’s head in an unprovoked attack.

Nichollswas plays a member of the fictional group called the White Wings Alliance. The fictitious group is far-Right evangelical group of Christians inspired by the Crusades.

Instead of being “ripped from the headlines”, as some TV episodes like to advertise, this seems to be the result of a late-night session of “Mad Libs”, mixing what’s really happening with nouns and adjectives describing Christians. “Give me an angelic adverb.”

The BBC, responding to criticism, insists that the story, in and of itself, is internally consistent, because…well…this sort of thing is believable.

We regret that some viewers felt the beheading scene was inappropriate. It appeared half way through episode one of Bonekickers, by which time the character’s ‘extreme fundamental belief’ had been revealed, providing the audience with a good build up to the scene in question.

This storyline looked at religious fundamentalism within a fictional Christian group, and one character in particular who took his beliefs to an extreme. His ignorance and misguided behaviour lead to the beheading of a peaceful Asian Muslim character in the drama. His actions are clearly condemned by leading Muslim and Christian clerics. The drama also has the balance of a Christian character that has a deep faith which she uses humbly and only for good.

In a media world where folks are falling all over themselves to not portray Muslims as the bad guys (as they did in the movie version of “The Sum of All Fears”, for example), the BBC goes out of its way to concoct a truly unbelievable scenario. Might some extreme group identifying itself with Christians someday behead somebody? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but right now beheadings are pretty much a signature of extremist Islam. Even revealing a character’s “extreme fundamental beliefs” is not nearly enough to explain this, as there are plenty of extremist Christians, and yet no Muslims have lost their head over it.

Read the rest of this entry

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »