Sunday, August 26, 2007

CNN airs 'one of the most distorted programs' ever

Documentary compares Jews, Christians to Muslim terrorists

A CNN special series airing this week entitled "God's Warriors" - produced and anchored by the network's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour - is "one of the most grossly distorted programs" ever aired on mainstream American television, according to a media watchdog report.

"God's Warriors" takes up six prime-time hours on CNN this week, airing in three parts at 9 p.m. EST. It started Tuesday and concludes tonight. The first part of the series, "God's Jewish Warriors," compared Jewish and Christian "radicals" to Muslim supporters of suicide terror, presented anti-Israel commentators with no counterbalance, falsely labeled the West Bank as Palestinian land, and minimized Jewish rights to the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site, the critics said.

During Tuesday's program, Amanpour also conducted a friendly interview about Israel with former President Jimmy Carter, whose most recent book, "Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid," criticized the Jewish state's treatment of Palestinians. The book was slammed for a series of falsehoods and was widely labeled anti-Israeli by multiple media critics.

"[The CNN series] is false in its basic premise, established in the opening scene in which Jewish (and Christian) religious fervency is equated with that of Muslims heard endorsing 'martyrdom,' or suicide-murder. There is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns under way across the globe," stated the report by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Amanpour's CNN documentary "God's Warriors" describes itself as focusing on religious fundamentalism among Christians, Muslims and Jews. Tuesday's segment started off comparing "Jewish terrorists" to that of Muslims, specifically focusing on the few instances of violence or attempted violence by religiously motivated Jews against Muslims. It told the story of Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli physician who killed 29 Arabs in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994. Goldstein's actions were widely condemned by Israelis and worldwide Jewry. The organization he was a part of was outlawed in Israel.

States the CAMERA report: "While in reality Jewish 'terrorism' is virtually non-existent, the program magnifies at length the few instances of [Jewish] violence" comparing it to "violent jihadist Muslim campaigns" when indeed there is no such comparison "either in numbers of perpetrators engaged or in the magnitude of death and destruction wrought."

While discussing Islamic suicide attacks, Amanpour painted "martyrdom" as "quite noble." "To the West, martyrdom has a really bad connotation because of suicide bombers who call themselves martyrs," Amanpour stated. "Really, martyrdom is actually something that historically was quite noble, because it was about standing up and rejecting tyranny, rejecting injustice and rejecting oppression and, if necessary, dying for that."

Amanpour's feature moved on to interviews with critics of Israel without providing pro-Israeli voices. The feature repeatedly falsely referred to the West Bank as "Palestinian territory." "It is also Palestinian land. The West Bank - it's west of the Jordan River - was designated by the United Nations to be the largest part of an Arab state," stated Amanpour.

The West Bank contains some of Judaism's holiest sites and biblical Jewish cities, including Hebron, home to the oldest Jewish community in the world. The territory was recaptured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War after Jordan, which controlled the West Bank, ignored Israeli advice to stay out of the conflict. The U.N. labels the West Bank as "disputed," not Palestinian territory.

Several guests, including former Sen. Charles Percy and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, who co-authored Carter's book on Israel, state in Amanpour's documentary pro-Israel lobbies in Washington force American lawmakers to support Jewish expansion in the West Bank and promote causes contrary to U.S. interests. Carter is interviewed claiming no American politician could survive politically while calling for cuts in aid to Israel unless the Jewish state ceases expanding West Bank Jewish communities. "There's no way that a member of Congress would ever vote for that and hope to be re-elected," stated Carter.

Contradicting Carter's sentiments, CAMERA notes critics of Israel's West Bank policies have thrived politically, including Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd and Reps. James Trafficante, Dana Rohrabacher, Nick Smith, Fortney Pete Stark, Neil Abercrombie, David E. Bonior, John Conyers Jr, John D. Dingell, Earl F. Hilliard, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, George Miller, Jim Moran, David R. Obey, Ron Paul and Nick J. Rahall II, among others.

Amanpour suggests West Bank settlements are the cause of Arab anger. "The Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Arab world," she says. Multiple guests describe West Bank settlements as being the cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But CAMERA points out multiple Arab wars and acts of violence were waged against Israel long before the settlements were first established in 1967. "The Arab world was just as anti-Israel (actually more so) before the settlements were built," stated the CAMERA report.

Amanpour claims all U.S. presidents since 1967, including Ronald Reagan, deemed Israeli settlements "illegal." But U.S. policy did not deem settlements illegal. Amanpour quoted Reagan as stating, "the United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements." But the documentary failed to produce the rest of Reagan's quotes, in which the late president stated West Bank settlements are not illegal. "As to the West Bank, I believe the settlements there - they're not illegal," stated Reagan.

Amanpour moves on to holy sites in Jerusalem, where she minimizes Jewish rights to the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - and exaggerates Islamic claims, critics said. Muslims say the Mount it is their third holiest site. "It was from here [the Temple Mount], according to Muslim scripture, that the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven around the year 630. But Hebrew scripture puts the ancient Jewish Temple in the same location, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70."

The Quran doesn't once mention Jerusalem. Islamic tradition states Mohammed took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" - believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia - to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The Jewish Temple is described throughout biblical sources as the center of religious Jewish worship. The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact. Amanpour interviews the Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who offers an Islamic perspective on the importance of the Temple Mount and Al Aqsa Mosque to Muslims, but no Jewish religious figure is presented to discuss the paramount religious importance of the Mount to Jews, noted CAMERA.

Amanpour's feature also claimed a visit to the Temple Mount by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 instigated the Palestinian intifada which began that year, even though multiple intifada planners and Palestinian leaders admitted the violence was pre-planned and that Sharon's visit was used as an excuse.

The intifada was launched after Arafat returned from U.S.-mediated peace talks at the Camp David presidential retreat during which the Palestinian leader turned down an Israeli offer of a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem. "Whoever thinks the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong.This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations," admitted Palestinian Communications Minister Imad Al-Faluji to an Egyptian daily newspaper. Arafat himself spoke of planning the intifada months before Sharon's visit, as did Marwan Barghouti, a jailed Palestinian parlaiment member and one of the chief architects of the intifada. Multiple senior terror leaders involved in intifada admitted during numerous WND interviews Sharon's visit to the Mount did not spark the intifada.

The CAMERA report concludes: "Whether wittingly or not, Amanpour's program, with its reliance on pejorative labeling, generalities, testimonials, and a stacked lineup of guests, is a perfect illustration of classical propaganda techniques. Unfortunately propaganda is the opposite of journalism, the profession Amanpour is supposed to practice."


Kids have a great experience: Killjoys whine

Weeks before the debut of Kid Nation - a reality show featuring 40 children on their own in the high desert of New Mexico - questions are being raised about possible child endangerment and neglect on the set.

When the show was filmed earlier this year in New Mexico, the state's Department of Labor tried to adhere to guidelines set by the Screen Actors Guild regarding children on film and television sets. The rules stipulate that children can work a limited number of hours and are to be schooled by a certified teacher on site.

But a state official says the department's inspectors were not allowed to visit the set. Carlos Castaneda, a spokesman for New Mexico's Department of Labor, says when his office got word that there was a production involving children working long hours, an inspector tried to visit the set three times. But the network, he says, maintained it was not a television production. "It was considered a summer camp by CBS," Castaneda says, even though the show's promotion trailer says the children are hauling water cleaning latrines, cooking meal and washing dishes. "That limited our authority and jurisdiction on some of the events that were taking place," Castaneda says.

By calling the production a summer camp and not paying the children wages the network argued it was exempt from the state's labor laws, he says. The New York Times has reported that, after the production wrapped, an anonymous letter was sent to various state officials alleging that there were a couple incidents in which children in the show required medical attention. In one, several children accidentally ingested bleach. A letter from a mother of one of the children backed up the complaints.

CBS turned down our request for an interview, but the network released a statement stating there were paramedics and a pediatrician on the set. "These kids were in good hands and under good care with procedures and safety structures that arguably rival or surpass any school or camp in the country," the statement says.

The 40 kids spent 40 days in what is billed as a New Mexico ghost town. In fact, it is a 10,000-acre, working cattle ranch and historic western movie set. Imogene Hughes, the ranch's 70-year-old owner, says she never heard of any problems on the set.

The children's parents signed an extensive release and waiver for the show's producers. Cindy Osbrink, a Los Angeles agent who has represented children in the industry for more than 14 years, says parents have to be the responsible party when turning their children over to the entertainment industry. "It's a business, so to think they had the children's best well being? I'm sure they did in their hearts, but it's not about your child. It's about the money. It's about making money and making a successful show," she says.


It must be the end of secularism

Secular liberalism stands helpless before a new century of religious wars, Columbia University Professor Mark Lilla concedes in "The politics of God", a despairing vision of the political future published in the August 19 New York Times Magazine. [1] It is one of those important statements, like the "end of history", that will repeat on us indefinitely, like a bad curry. It comprises most of the Times weekend magazine, presented with all the pomposity the newspaper can summon.

For the few of us who asked not how to avoid religious war, but rather how best to fight it, Lilla's essay provides double validation. Not only does he admit that the foundation has crumbled beneath the secular-liberal position but, even better, he lays bare the rank hypocrisy that infected this position from the beginning. Lilla does not love Reason; he merely hates Christianity. He is beaten, and knows he is beaten, but cannot bear to surrender to Western Christians; instead, he proposes to surrender to the Muslims, particularly to Professor Tariq Ramadan. If that sounds strange, it is not my fault. It is all there in black and white, as I will report below. But first, here is Lilla's de profundis:
For more than two centuries, from the American and French revolutions to the collapse of Soviet communism, world politics revolved around eminently political problems. War and revolution, class and social justice, race and national identity - these were the questions that divided us. Today, we have progressed to the point where our problems again resemble those of the 16th century, as we find ourselves entangled in conflicts over competing revelations, dogmatic purity and divine duty. We in the West are disturbed and confused. Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.
That is well enough, and Exhibit 1 for the prosecution is the president of Iran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Lilla quotes his May 2006 letter to the US president at some length, eg, "Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today, these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems ... Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice, and the will of God will prevail over all things."

Yet by wink and nudge, Lilla conjures us to believe that the true problem is not resurgent fanaticism in the Muslim world at all, but rather the new ascendance of Christian faith in the West. He presents not a shred of evidence for this outlandish charge. The reader will peruse the essay in vain for a word of explanation concerning the origins of Muslim fanaticism. Instead, the entire content is devoted to presenting the history of a Christian fanaticism that does not exist, and has not existed for a century or more. It may be that Lilla, a follower of Leo Strauss, is trying his hand at what Strauss called esoteric writing - concealing a message for adept readers. Whatever the motive, his argument is inconsequential and silly. Fascism, communism, neo-orthodox Protestantism, Zionism - any movement that elicited passion and commitment - all are summoned to the prisoner's box to hear Lilla's bill of indictment.

The generation that survived World War I, he writes, "craved a more robust faith, based on a new revelation that would shake the foundations of the whole modern order. It was a thirst for redemption. Ever since the liberal theologians had revived the idea of biblical politics, the stage had been set for just this sort of development. When faith in redemption through bourgeois propriety and cultural accommodation withered after the Great War, the most daring thinkers of the day transformed it into hope for a messianic apocalypse - one that would again place the Jewish people, or the individual Christian believer, or the German nation, or the world proletariat in direct relation with the divine." Karl Barth, the anti-Nazi Swiss theologian, and the young Zionist Martin Buber are just as guilty as Marxists and Nazis.

Before all these dreadful people brought faith back into politics, Lilla avers, 17th-century British philosopher Thomas Hobbes had saved civilization from religious wars by changing the subject of political thought to tolerance and compromise:
Over the next few centuries, Western thinkers like John Locke, who adopted his approach, began to imagine a new kind of political order in which power would be limited, divided and widely shared; in which those in power at one moment would relinquish it peacefully at another, without fear of retribution; in which public law would govern relations among citizens and institutions; in which many different religions would be allowed to flourish, free from state interference; and in which individuals would have inalienable rights to protect them from government and their fellows. This liberal-democratic order is the only one we in the West recognize as legitimate today, and we owe it primarily to Hobbes. In order to escape the destructive passions of messianic faith, political theology centered on God was replaced by political philosophy centered on man. This was the Great Separation.
Precisely how Hobbes accomplished all of this is a mystery known only to political scientists who take themselves far too seriously. The masses, after all, did not rally in the public squares waving little books of quotations from Chairman Hobbes. Never mind that the United States, which defined the modern democratic state, was founded by radical Protestant refugees from Europe who set out to build a New Jerusalem, and that impassioned religious faith has characterized American discourse from its founding. Lilla desires us to believe that an elite of political scientists much like himself managed to re-engineer the social order during the 18th century, before those awful fanatics came back. He reminds one of the scientists on the flying island of Laputa in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, who wander with their noses in the air and must be hit on the nose with inflated pig's bladders to prevent them falling over the edge. And so we come to the first decade of the 21st century, Lilla argues, over which a terrible shadow lies: man's desire for redemption:
The idea of redemption is among the most powerful forces shaping human existence in all those societies touched by the biblical tradition. It has inspired people to endure suffering, overcome suffering and inflict suffering on others. It has offered hope and inspiration in times of darkness; it has also added to the darkness by arousing unrealistic expectations and justifying those who spill blood to satisfy them. All the biblical religions cultivate the idea of redemption, and all fear its power to inflame minds and deafen them to the voice of reason ... It was as if nothing had changed since the 17th century, when Thomas Hobbes first sat down to write his Leviathan.
Does Professor Lilla seriously believe that nothing has changed since the 17th century, when religious wars killed off half the population of central Europe? Christian America confronted the atheistic Soviet Union during the 1980s, and without a shot fired in anger, the Soviet Union collapsed. Where was the fanaticism, the rancor, the bloodlust on the part of the West? The greatest danger to central Europe today, which over the next century will suffer population declines comparable to those of the 17th century, is the absence of a notion of redemption. Secular Europe has lost its will to live and its desire to reproduce, a malady most prominent in the former communist countries where religious faith was most suppressed.

For that matter, where has Lilla uncovered a streak of religious fanaticism in the West? The previous pope did penance for the murder of the 15th-century Protestant rebel Jan Hus, and worshipped at the synagogue in Rome as well as the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Except for Northern Ireland, the Europeans long have ceased to quarrel about religious issues; in the US, the biblical religious always got along, more or less, and get along today better than they ever have. Toward what end does this messianic urge for redemption manifest itself, and what danger does it pose to the West? Again, there is not a line of argumentation, let alone a shred of evidence, to support the charge that man's desire for redemption has taken us to the brink of religious wars.

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. The adept readers of Professor Lilla's essay, the diehards of liberal secularism, know that Christianity is the enemy, no matter how docile, peaceful, quiescent and non-threatening it might appear. Christianity is guilty until proven innocent; the peaceful intentions of all Christian denominations toward one another and to non-Christian religions merely disguise an irrepressible urge toward violence, in the perverse view of the Lilla-Putans.

Don't bother to try to liberalize Islam, Lilla intones: "A number of Muslim thinkers around the world have taken to promoting a 'liberal' Islam. What they mean is an Islam more adapted to the demands of modern life, kinder in its treatment of women and children, more tolerant of other faiths, more open to dissent. These are brave people who have often suffered for their efforts, in prison or exile, as did their predecessors in the 19th century, of which there were many. But now as then, their efforts have been swept away by deeper theological currents they cannot master and perhaps do not even understand."

The only hope lies in "renovators" rather than "liberalizers" on the Islamic side, Lilla concludes, such as Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan. Given the admitted bankruptcy of his position, it is to these Islamists that Lilla proposes to surrender the broken sword of secularism.

Regarding Ramadan's terrorist connections and totalitarian ideology, I summarized the principal issues in a June 12 essay (The faith that dare not speak its name). Lilla is not stupid; he knows that Ramadan and his co-thinkers offer a radically conservative version of Islam steeped in the doctrine of religious conquest.
Today, a few voices are calling for just this kind of renewal of Islamic political theology ... like the Swiss-born cleric and professor Tariq Ramadan ... whose writings show Western Muslims that their political theology, properly interpreted, offers guidance for living with confidence in their faith and gaining acceptance in what he calls an alien "abode". To read their works is to be reminded what a risky venture renewal is. It can invite believers to participate more fully and wisely in the political present, as the Protestant Reformation eventually did; it can also foster dreams of returning to a more primitive faith, through violence if necessary, as happened in the Wars of Religion.
In the full light of day and in recognition of this danger, Lilla nonetheless proposes that the grandson of the founder of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood is the last best hope for religious peace in the world:
Perhaps for this reason, Ramadan [has] become [an object] of intense and sometimes harsh scrutiny by Western intellectuals. We prefer speaking with the Islamic liberalizers because they share our language: they accept the intellectual presuppositions of the Great Separation and simply want maximum room given for religious and cultural expression. They do not practice political theology. But the prospects of enduring political change through renewal are probably much greater than through liberalization. By speaking from within the community of the faithful, renovators give believers compelling theological reasons for accepting new ways as authentic reinterpretations of the faith. Figures like ... Ramadan speak a strange tongue, even when promoting changes we find worthy; their reasons are not our reasons. But if we cannot expect mass conversion to the principles of the Great Separation - and we cannot - we had better learn to welcome transformations in Muslim political theology that ease co-existence. The best should not be the enemy of the good.
It is as if the High Priest of Reason had ascended its Temple to offer himself as a sacrifice to the Goat God. Professor Ramadan personifies everything that Lilla hates, and Lilla knows it. But Ramadan has one redeeming virtue. He is not a Christian. Lilla does not love Reason; he simply hates Christianity with all his heart, and will make alliance with whichever of her enemies might be available. Lilla's essay summarizes a book to be released this month. Don't bother.


The Imus Transgression: Taking a closer look

It was at once the most unnerving and most liberating moment I've had as a college professor. Near the end of a three-hour freshman writing class several years ago, the discussion veered towards the differences between American and British English, so I wrote the word "queue" on the blackboard - which none of the students recognized as an English synonym for "line." Next came "lift" for "elevator," then "bobby" for "policeman." I asked for more examples. One young woman, Renee, who'd spent a summer in London, called out "Bangers!" The class was amused to learn that the word meant "sausages" in England - especially since, in American hip-hop slang, "bangers" meant "gang members." I asked Renee if she knew any others.

She thought for a moment, then shouted: "Niggers!" There was an audible gasp from the class - a racially mixed group of 18 students. My heart raced. Renee, meanwhile, was glancing back and forth, still smiling, trying to figure out why a sudden hush had followed her remark. Finally, she turned to me and asked, "What?"

I managed, "Renee, we don't use that word here." "I know. We say 'underwear.'" Several seconds passed before I got it. "Oh, you mean knickers."

By the time I'd written the k-n-i-c-k on the blackboard, the students were roaring with laughter. As the black girl sitting beside Renee clued her in, Renee blushed beet red. "I'd never . . . I mean, I'd never . . . " That elicited even more laughter. I wound up ending the class ten minutes early because every time I tried to talk, the students began to crack up again.

I recall that moment now in relation to the Don Imus controversy. The disgraced radio talk show host, who lost his job last April when he referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's," has just reached a contract settlement with his former employer, CBS, reportedly for $20,000,000, and is currently negotiating with several stations to return to the airwaves. I've previously steered clear of the subject of Imus for three reasons: First, because the black community, about which I've written critically on many occasions, has far more serious problems than the wisecracking of a radio clown; second, because Imus is such a spectacularly loathsome figure that defending him doesn't seem worth the effort; and third, because I myself have used a close variation of the very phrase that got Imus canned . . . if you're curious, you'll find it on page 37 of my novel Africa Speaks.

Still, it strikes me that the Imus imbroglio is significant, if not quite a watershed moment in racial consciousness. Of course, every discussion about "race" should begin with the observation that it's fundamentally a perceptual category, not a biological one. There's more genetic variation within the most common racial groupings than between them. Even the narrower term "ethnicity" is ill-defined, based on long-forgotten tribal relations; sorting hundreds of ethnicities into arbitrarily drawn color-coded umbrella groups like "white" or "black" or "brown" or "yellow" is, to say the least, anthropologically dubious.

That said, it's also undeniable that perceptions of race have exerted a profound influence on the history and institutions of American life. There was a time in living memory when black people were matter-of-factly thought of as a distinct classification of human beings with distinctly inferior intellectual and moral characteristics. Under such circumstances, it was natural that people who were perceived, and who perceived themselves, as black would share a broad range socio-economic interests. If you're being victimized on the basis of a racial categorization, it makes sense to throw in your lot with other victims in order to work towards a more just society.

With time however, and with the disintegration of the barriers to black equality, those common interests have faded. That's the reality, despite the tired rhetoric of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - the predictable ringleaders of the Imus lynch mob. "The interests of black people" is no longer a meaningful concept because nothing remains to differentiate such interests, in 2007, from the greater good. On the contrary, since it's unquestionably the case that the overwhelming majority of black people are honest, hardworking, law-abiding citizens, their natural constituency should consist of other honest, hardworking, law-abiding citizens - in other words, people who share their socio-economic interests. But black people have been brainwashed, browbeaten and culturally cowed by the likes of Sharpton and Jackson into believing that their natural constituency is made up not of their socioeconomic peers but of a ragtag minority of sociopaths who superficially resemble them. Thus, for example, black people overwhelmingly want to repeal drug laws that land a disproportionate number of young black men in prison - despite the fact that returning them to their inner city neighborhoods guarantees more black-on-black street crime.

It serves the purpose of Sharpton and Jackson to beat the drum of black solidarity because their shtick - I honestly don't know what else to call it at this point - depends on the continued perception by black people of their own persecution. To be black, according to those who recognize Sharpton and Jackson as legitimate leaders, including perhaps a majority of black people, is to be perpetually victimized; more than skin color, the belief in ongoing black victimization is now the unifying element of black culture. If black people ever cease to define themselves first and foremost as racial victims, then neither Sharpton nor Jackson has a following.

Which returns us to Imus's transgression - and, in a roundabout way, to my student Renee's "knickers" comment. What both incidents underscore is that outrage is a conscious act. It's never necessary. It's always selective. You need to work yourself up to outrage; in that respect, it's qualitatively different than merely taking offense, which is immediate, visceral and, most often, fleeting. Renee inadvertently gave offense to the class, but the offense lasted only a moment, and her remark produced no outrage, because her intentions became immediately apparent. Likewise, no doubt, Imus inadvertently gave offense with his comment . . . and apologized abjectly, relentlessly, nauseatingly afterwards. Clearly, it wasn't his intention to insult black people generically. More likely, his intention was to say something funny, something hip, something that underscored his familiarity with inner city lingo. The joke was pathetic and, ultimately, pointless. The rational response should have been a moment of general offense followed by a shrug. Who cares what Imus says? He's a radio clown. Yet, despite Imus's groveling, offense quickly gave way to outrage.


I'd suggest it was the very pointlessness of Imus's remark that did him in. "Nappy-headed ho's" meant nothing, in the context Imus used the phrase, except to indicate he didn't find one particular group of young black women especially attractive. Insulting people is what Imus does; it's his shtick. Did Imus's words give offense? No doubt. That's what insults do. Yet, on this occasion, Sharpton and Jackson were able to parlay the momentary offense into widespread outrage, to work up and sustain a tide of indignation that ultimately washed Imus from his job.

That could not have happened if the original insult had had a point. For example, in a November 2006 episode of FOX's animated sitcom The Family Guy (a kind of nastier version of The Simpsons), Baby Stewie complains to Brian, the talking dog, that his mock marriage to the baby girl next door has hit the skids:

Stewie: "Why is it so hard? I didn't know it was going to be so hard!

Brian: "Look, Stewie, you stood up before God and all your toys, and you took an oath to stick it out when things got tough. You wanted us to see you as an adult. Well, this is adulthood."

Stewie: "You're right, Brian. I can't hide from this relationship. It's my responsibility to deal with it. I mean, what kind of a man would I be if I ran off now?"

Brian: "Well, you'd be a black man."

Stewie: "Wow, wow, whoa, what was that?"

Brian: "Ahh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, that was my father talking."

Stewie (walking away): "You, uh, you gotta work on that, man. Bad dog."

No protest ensued after that episode was aired - which is curious, since the insult was directed not merely at a handful of black women but at black men in general. It was a racist joke, in the purest sense. No doubt many black men who were watching took offense. What's more, the offense seems intentional - as evidenced by Brian's quick excuse that he's inherited his prejudices from his father. Granted, Stewie and Brian are cartoon characters. But so, in his own way, is Imus.

So why weren't Sharpton and Jackson all over this case? Where was the outrage?

Perhaps the answer is that Brian's slip of the tongue, unlike Imus's, contained an uncomfortable element of truth about black manhood. It was pointed rather than pointless - and thus of no use to Sharpton and Jackson. To work up public outrage at the writers of Family Guy, Sharpton and Jackson would have had to confront the content of the offense. They'd have had to acknowledge the fact that black men do indeed forsake their familial responsibilities in grotesquely disproportionate numbers, that 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock - that the phrase "my baby's daddy" has by now become so intimately linked with black culture that white women cannot quite carry it off.

Indeed, if Sharpton and Jackson were truly concerned with the welfare of the community they claim to represent, they'd turn their attention to the dire implications of that three-word phrase and let pass the idiocy of "nappy-headed ho's."



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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