Sunday, March 03, 2013
TV Networks Make Pope Butt of Jokes, Center of Scandal:
* Since the Pope’s resignation announcement, networks have characterized the Catholic Church as “troubled 122 times and used the word “scandal” 87 times.
* Catholics Must Get With The Times: ABC, CBS and NBC have pushed for the church to be more liberal – calling for church to “modernize” 32 times, change its stance on women seven times and on gays 13 times.
* Making a Joke of Faith: The resignation of the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics is the time for … making jokes. The networks ran jokes from late night shows about the Pope seven times and even brought on comedian George Lopez to give his sacrilegious perspective on Catholicism.
* All They Learned, They Learned From Fiction: ABC was obsessed with Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” comparisons, even though Brown was reviled for his attacks on the church and for his outlandish account of Jesus.
A frail, ailing 85-year-old man announces he doesn’t have the strength to continue as the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion people. With the humility of one whose entire life has been in service to God and his Church, he says he will retire to quietly live out his remaining years.
Cue the laugh track and gin up the scandal rumors. It was three weeks full of journalistic contempt for the Pope and the Catholic Church.
ABC, CBS and NBC have never been fans of Pope Benedict XVI. They saw the former Cardinal Ratzinger as a “hard-liner” for “strenuously condemning divorce, homosexuality, and abortion,” as ABC’s Dan Harris put it in 2008. But the broadcast networks’ coverage of Benedict and the Catholic Church in the weeks since he announced his retirement has been bizarre – relentless negativity punctuated by often inappropriate humor and personal attacks.
From Benedict’s Feb. 11 resignation through the evening of Feb. 27, the day before it took effect, the networks referred to the Catholic Church as a troubled institution 122 times and aired the word “scandal” 87 times in 112 reports. Anchors and reporters suggested that the Church must modernize (32 times) and pressed for change in issues regarding women (7 times) and gays (13 times). At times, they trivialized the first resignation of a Pope since the 1500s as “worthy of a Dan Brown novel.”(ABC’s Harris again.) and sensationalized it by entertaining theories about other reasons Benedict might be stepping down.
The night before the Pope’s resignation took effect, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos said he was “known as God’s Rottweiler.”
The networks also aired jokes from late-night comics about the Pope and the church, and even asked a comedian for his thoughts on the resignation.
Network bias against the church and traditional Catholicism has never been so clearly apparent as in these few weeks ending Benedict XVI’s papacy.
Laughing the Pope Away
Christians have long suspected that most of what media types know about the faith comes from comic monologues and satirical TV shows. Over the last few weeks, the networks have done their best to confirm it, choosing to air seven jokes about Benedict and the Catholic Church from late night comics.
The most inappropriate injection of comedy into the story came from CBS “This Morning” on Feb. 22, during an appearance by comic George Lopez. Lopez, although a Catholic, has repeatedly cracked pedophilia jokes about the church in the past. So of course CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell treated him as an authority on Catholicism, asking, “Do you think we’re going to have a Hispanic Pope?” Lopez had hope, because, after all, “There’s enough room for his children [in the Vatican].”
Lopez only went downhill from there. He gnawed at the Pope’s resignation saying, “But first of all, with the Pope now, you don’t quit. Listen, there’s no crying in baseball.” At O’Donnell’s prompting he went on, “There’s no quitting in Catholicism.” Lopez then said he didn’t believe the Pope’s health was the real reasons for his resignation. “You can’t throw in the holy towel and say, listen, I’m concerned about my health.” Instead, Benedict is “being squeezed out by some bad cardinals.”
Over at NBC’s “Today” show February12, the hosts expressed a particular appreciation for Jimmy Fallon. They aired a Fallon spoof of a Twitter war between the Dalai Lama and Pope Benedict XVI calling each other names. Willie Geist summarized one of the Pope’s “tweets:” “My hat is dope says the Pope.” Natalie Morales immediately added, “We love Jimmy Fallon. We love it. He’s so creative.”
Both CBS “This Morning” and “Today” aired a piece of “Saturday Night Live” concerning the Pope’s resignation on February 18. CBS showed a greater extension of the clip, beginning with a man declaring, “There is no God.” SNL’s Jason Sudeikis replied, “Hey, hey, there is a God. He has not abandoned us, OK. All right. Let’s see what’s in the news. The Pope resigned. Oh, lord.”
Jimmy Fallon material turned up again on “This Morning” February 12, saying that for Lent, “Some Catholics will give up chocolates. Some Catholics will give up alcohol and one Catholic is giving up being Pope.”
The next day, “This Morning” showed a clip of Jimmy Kimmel quipping about Benedict’s next occupation: “What will the Pope do for – for work from now on? He could become the most over qualified Wal-Mart greeter of all time …”
“This Morning” featured Conan O’Brien twice, on February 12 and February 21. In the first clip, O’Brien commented on the Pope’s surprising resignation, “Yes, a pretty dramatic change. It means he’ll go from wearing a robe all day to wearing a robe all day.” The second clip showed him turning the papal conclave into a baseball game: “It’s being reported that the next Pope could be a cardinal from Boston, which means the Vatican may soon endorse birth control but only for Yankee fans.”
David Letterman also made an appearance on “This Morning” in a clip where he said “The Vatican is already holding auditions to see who might be the next Pope. And we – we have one of those auditions…” The clip ended before proceeding to Letterman’s Vatican audition skit, which turned the cardinals’ conclave into an acrobatic exhibition.
The jokes themselves were mostly inoffensive, and they’re entirely appropriate for late-night talk shows. But to choose to feature them on news programs shows a lack of seriousness and respect. It’s difficult to imagine those shows yucking it up about an important event in any other faith – especially Islam. The Pope is the spiritual father of Catholicism, beloved by the faithful. He, and they, deserve more respect from “news” organizations.
Holocaust row: Liberal MP who condemned 'the Jews' to escape punishment while he has TRAINING in how not to be anti-Semitic
A Lib Dem MP who sparked a row on the eve of a Holocaust memorial with comments about 'the Jews' is to escape censure while he receives training in how not to be offensive.
Campaigners accused Nick Clegg of not taking anti-Semitism seriously after it emerged that plans to punish Bradford East MP David Ward have been 'adjourned' while he learns what language to use in future.
The row comes as the Lib Dems reputation has been battered by allegations of a cover-up over groping claims against Lord Rennard and the resignation of former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne, who faces jail for perverting the course of justice.
Embattled Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg staged a showdown meeting with Mr Ward over his 'unacceptable' comments in which he accused 'the Jews' of atrocities against Palestinians.
Days before the annual Holocaust Memorial Day last month, Mr Ward wrote on his blog: 'Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.'
He was summoned to the meeting with Mr Clegg and Lib Dem chief whip Alistair Carmichael where he was told his use of the phrase was ‘unacceptable and must not be repeated’.
During the hearing Mr Ward agreed to remove the comments from his website and said he would work with the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel to ‘agree language’ that is proportionate, according to the party.
But the Holocaust Educational Trust said the Lib Dems' response to the ‘sickening’ comments was ‘disappointing’.
The row first blew up over a posting made by Mr Ward after signing a memorial book to mark Holocaust Memorial Day last month.
Following the disciplinary meeting Mr Carmichael sent a letter to the MP setting out the party's actions.
He wrote: ‘At the meeting you undertook to work along with Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel and Simon Hughes MP to identify and agree language that will be proportionate and precise in your future interventions in this debate. We would also hope that this would allow you to achieve a better understanding of the legitimate concern that your comments has caused within the wider Jewish community.
‘I am not clear how much time this work will require although it will involve other people making time available to work with you and their availability is at present unknown.
'In the circumstances, therefore, the disciplinary process currently stands adjourned and a date will require to be fixed at which progress can be reviewed and it can be concluded.’
Mr Carmichael added that Mr Clegg wanted it to be understood that the ‘party recognises your right to express your legitimately and sincerely held views’ on conditions in which Palestinians live, especially on the West Bank and in Gaza.
He added: ‘He was equally clear, however, that the language in which these views are articulated must not be generalised and indiscriminate in its nature. Liberal Democrats believe in fearless criticism where it is justified, but abhor generalised condemnation of a whole people where it is not.’
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: ‘This is a disappointing response to Mr Ward's sickening and unacceptable comments which he has kept on his website.
‘He has shown no understanding of the offence he caused in both the language that he used and the timing of his comments - sadly the mishandling of this situation appears to demonstrate that Holocaust equivocation and anti-Semitism are not being taken seriously.’
Must not kill mice?
He's never been one to shy away from controversy. And now Jeremy Clarkson has managed to rile animal activists, after he posted a photo of a huge mouse that had been flattened during rehearsals for his show, Top Gear.
The television presenter, who is currently filming his car series in Russia, posted the photo with the comment: 'Sadly, some animals were harmed during rehearsals for Top Gear Live in Moscow.'
Clarkson, 52, posted a close up picture of the animal, which lay twisted and flattened in the road.
While some of his fans joked that the mouse could be his co-star Richard Hammond, 43, - whose nickname is the 'Hamster' - animal right's charity PETA were not amused.
A spokesman said: 'This man seems doomed to be remembered as an oaf and lout, stuck in a bully boyhood, in which it's funny to mock the misfortunes of anyone in a slightly different form than his own.
'His tombstone will read, "Ignorant and unfeeling, except when it came to cars".'
Australian Muslim activists lose free speech case
Two Muslim activists accused of sending offensive letters to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan narrowly lost a court appeal Wednesday that cited their constitutional freedom of speech.
Iranian-born Man Horan Monis, a self-styled Sydney cleric also known as Sheik Haron, was charged in 2009 with 12 counts of using as postal service in an offensive way and one count of using a postal service in a harassing way. Amirah Droudis was charged with aiding and abetting the offences.
The six judges of the High Court split on whether the charges were compatible with Australians' right to free speech. When the nation's highest court is undecided, an appeal is dismissed and the lower court decision stands.
That sends the charges to a lower court where they will be heard on a date to be set.
Monis allegedly wrote letters critical of Australia's military involvement in Afghanistan and condemning the dead soldiers. He also allegedly wrote to the mother of an Australian official killed in a terrorist bomb blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2009 and blamed Australian government policy for the tragedy.
His lawyers argued in the High Court last year that the charges were invalid because they infringed on Australians' right to freedom of political communication.
The Australian Constitution doesn't include an equivalent of the U.S. First Amendment. But the High Court has held for decades that the constitution contains an implied right to free speech because such political communication is essential to democracy. This right is not as extensive as that guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The pair had appealed in the High Court the unanimous ruling of three judges of the New South Wales state Court of Appeal in December 2011.
"Whilst at one level the letters are critical of the involvement of the Australian military in Afghanistan, they also refer to the deceased soldiers in a denigrating and derogatory fashion," their judgment said.
It is not immediately clear what potential jail term the charges carry.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.