Thursday, November 29, 2007

There are also posts about political correctness on today's EDUCATION WATCH and FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC

Media figure criticizes political correctness

During an appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw pointed out that before the invasion of Iraq, even "people who were critical of the war" thought that Saddam Hussein "had weapons of mass destruction," as he responded to criticism that the media were not aggressive enough about challenging President Bush before the Iraq invasion. And while commenting on racial issues, giving his view that "we need to have a dialogue in this country" about race, Brokaw lamented the problems posed by "political correctness" which means "you're in danger of being a racist if you go against the merits of some issues and just try to look at it objectively." Brokaw added: "Within the black culture, there's a fear about speaking out, about what some people see as wrong, because they say, don't go there, you know, it will only hurt our people."

After a discussion of Brokaw's views on the Vietnam War, during which Brokaw recounted that he was "enraged" upon hearing tapes of Lyndon Johnson expressing "deep doubts" about the war even while the former President "kept pouring people in" as "he was protecting his political ass," CNN host Howard Kurtz turned the subject to the Iraq War. Kurtz: "In terms of the coverage, do you see certain parallels here to Iraq? Most people would say, and I would agree, that the media did a pretty poor job during the run-up to the Iraq War in terms of the way that President Bush was selling it, and now, of course, the coverage in recent years has been more critical."

Brokaw defended the media's coverage of the run-up to the invasion, pointing out that most skeptics believed at the time that Iraq had WMD, and contending that there was little opposition to the war expressed within the Democratic Party at the time. Brokaw: "The one thing I would disagree with you about, a lot of what happened on the run-up was unknowable. People did believe he had weapons of mass destruction. People who were critical of the war and the idea of going to war did, in fact, think that he had weapons of mass destruction, which was one of the bases for-"

After conceding to Kurtz his view that "on the war plan [the media] should have been a lot more skeptical," Brokaw continued: "Yeah, but you have to remember the opposition voices were not that many in this town, for example, in Washington. There just weren't that many. We put Brent Scowcroft on 'Nightly News.' I did a two-way with him. And I was one of the few places where he would go where he would do that. We did have Senator Bob Byrd on the air and Ted Kennedy on the air, but it passed by a pretty considerable margin."

Regarding the current news of the diminishing violence in Iraq, Brokaw acknowledged that for the media, "it's time to take a look at it again," and that the media should "take notice of the fact that the attacks are down," but he also poured water on the positive news by contending that "these are small signs of some progress four years later," and that recent developments "won't solve the political issue about whether Iraq can handle its own destiny."

Later on, after Kurtz brought up the controversy over Don Imus making racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, Brokaw recounted that he had hoped something positive would come out of the affair in the form of a "dialogue in this country" about race. He contended that in general there is too much "political correctness" and "danger of being [called] a racist" when expressing disagreement on a racial issue. Brokaw: "I think that we do need to have a dialogue in this country. We don't have language for dealing with race. Everybody hides behind political correctness or a certain mythology. No one wants to offend, no one wants to get at the facts of it. You're in danger of being a racist if you go against the merits of some issues and just try to look at it objectively. That goes on across the racial spectrum, by the way. Within the black culture, there's a fear about speaking out, about what some people see as wrong, because they say, don't go there, you know, it will only hurt our people. So I do, we used to talk about race with a lot more candor than we do now."


Britain: Mention God and you're seen as nuts

Tony Blair has sparked controversy by claiming that people who speak about their religious faith can be viewed by society as "nutters". The former prime minister's comments came as he admitted for the first time that his faith was "hugely important" in influencing his decisions during his decade in power at Number 10, including going to war with Iraq in 2003.

Mr Blair complained that he had been unable to follow the example of US politicians, such as President George W. Bush, in being open about his faith because people in Britain regarded religion with suspicion. "It's difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system," Mr Blair said. "If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say 'yes, that's fair enough' and it is something they respond to quite naturally. "You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter. I mean . you may go off and sit in the corner and . commune with the man upstairs and then come back and say 'right, I've been told the answer and that's it'."

Even Alastair Campbell - his former communications director who once said, "We don't do God" - has conceded that Mr Blair's Christian faith played a central role in shaping "what he felt was important". Peter Mandelson, one of Mr Blair's confidants, claimed that the former premier "takes a Bible with him wherever he goes" and habitually reads it last thing at night.

His comments, which will be broadcast next Sunday in a BBC1 television documentary, The Blair Years, have been welcomed by leading Church figures, who fear that the rise of secularism is pushing religion to the margins of society. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev John Sentamu, said: "Mr Blair's comments highlight the need for greater recognition to be given to the role faith has played in shaping our country. Those secularists who would dismiss faith as nothing more than a private affair are profoundly mistaken in their understanding of faith."

However, Mr Blair, who is now a Middle East peace envoy, has been attacked by commentators who say that religion should be separated from politics and by those who feel that many of his decisions betrayed the Christian community.

In the interview, Mr Blair, who was highly reluctant ever to discuss his faith during his time in office, admitted: "If I am honest about it, of course it was hugely important. You know you can't have a religious faith and it be an insignificant aspect because it's profound about you and about you as a human being. "There is no point in me denying it. I happen to have religious conviction. I don't actually think there is anything wrong in having religious conviction - on the contrary, I think it is a strength for people."

Mr Blair is a regular churchgoer who was confirmed as an Anglican while at Oxford University, but has since attended Mass with his Roman Catholic wife, Cherie, and is expected to convert within the next few months.

He continued: "To do the prime minister's job properly you need to be able to separate yourself from the magnitude of the consequences of the decisions you are taking the whole time. Which doesn't mean to say . that you're insensitive to the magnitude of those consequences or that you don't feel them deeply. "If you don't have that strength it's difficult to do the job, which is why the job is as much about character and temperament as it is about anything else. But for me having faith was an important part of being able to do that. Ultimately I think you've got to do what you think is right."

Mr Blair's opponents say his religious zeal blinded him to the consequences of his actions, and point to his belief that his decision to go to war would be judged by God. The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said last night that Mr Blair's comments echoed the feelings of religious leaders. Mr Campbell, in the same TV programme as Mr Blair, said the British public were "a bit wary of politicians who go on about God".


Australia: Sperm donors to ban Muslims, lesbians?

Why is discrimination bigotry? We ALL practice discrimination in our personal life. Women tend to choose tall men and men tend to choose busty women, for instance. Hence boob jobs for women and Filipina brides for short men. And what is more personal than your offspring? More practically, I believe that there is a shortage of sperm donors -- hence the new legislation -- as men are scared away by possible legal obligations to offspring (Obligations that have in fact been imposed by courts in Sweden). So giving donors the right to express personal preferences should encourage more of them to come forward

A BIZARRE row is set to erupt over claims that reproductive donors will be given the right to direct their sperm or eggs not go to certain groups such as Muslims, Jews, single mothers or lesbians. Critics believe the Iemma Government's Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill allows sperm and egg donors to specifically discriminate against ethnic, religious and other minorities.

The Bill, due to be debated in the NSW Legislative Council, is primarily aimed at allowing donor-conceived children to access information about the donor parent when they turn 18.

But Greens MP John Kaye said yesterday there was widespread concern the Bill, as currently drafted, allowed donors to nominate classes of people to whom their sperm or eggs may not be given. "While the Bill contains a number of positive features, it is simply unacceptable to enshrine discrimination into the law," Mr Kaye said. "Granting legal sanction to bigotry and prejudice sends an appalling message that it is acceptable to discriminate on grounds that are irrelevant."

Under the Bill, the names of donors in NSW will be recorded on a compulsory central register to guarantee they can be found by their offspring. But Health Minister Reba Meagher has said the legislation will not oblige donors to have contact with their offspring or make them legally or financially responsible for the children.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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