Muhammad Cartoon Contest In Garland, Texas Had Nothing To Do With Free Speech

First things first: Freedom of speech is a cherished liberty among all Americans and most citizens of the rest of the world. It is the bedrock upon which all other freedoms rest. Preserving it is critical for civilized societies to exist. And it must be honored for all speech, especially that which is regarded as unpopular or offensive.

That said, in the practice of defending free speech we must be able to distinguish between actual expressions of genuine thoughts and beliefs, as opposed to cynical exploitation aimed at inflaming emotions and inciting violence. Just as shouting “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire is not protected speech, staging events meant to cause harm is not an excusable act under the First Amendment.

Hypocrites who pervert the notion of free expression need to be called out. They are often easy to spot. They complain bitterly when they are not allowed to malign and insult others with impunity. And while they insist that any derogatory speech directed at their heroes be condemned and suppressed, they outright lust for words and pictures that offend those whom they don’t particularly like. That’s how they can justify support for blatantly repulsive speech against Muslims or other enemies of right-wingers, but the slightest perceived slur aimed at Christians or other conservatives is an abomination. [Just ask the Dixie Chicks and the casualties in the War on Christmas]

Cletus Free Speech

The affair in Garland, Texas was advertised as “The Inaugural Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest.” But lest anyone mistake it for a legitimate exercise in free speech, the facts about its organizers and purpose must be known.

The event was a project of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a virulent anti-Islamic operation that has been been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. It is run by notorious Islamophobes, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Geller & Co. have often produced media-centric events to promote an overtly bigoted agenda, of which the event in Garland is just the latest example.

To underscore the evil intentions behind this gathering, note that the venue chosen was the very same venue where Muslims held a conference in January of this year with the stated mission of making it clear that terrorists like ISIS and Al Qaeda are “enemies of Islam who are hurting Muslims and neighborly relations toward the world.” That event was heckled by right-wing protesters who apparently object to peaceful Muslims who repudiate terrorism.

Geller admitted that she picked this site as a response to the previous, pro-peace event put on by area Muslims. Which also raises the significance of the fact that the Garland community has a growing Muslim population. Consequently, holding an openly hateful event in such a community is purposefully provocative.

So can this rightly be called a “free speech” event when the primary activity is an alleged “art” contest that the producers know will be inflammatory; the site was chosen as a deliberate poke in the eye; the community is home to those the organizers wish to offend; the guests include international anti-Islam activist Geert Wilders; and the participants are professional hate mongers? Wouldn’t it more more correct to call this a deliberate provocation intended to incite violence?

There was obviously no intent on the part of Geller and her hate brigade to engage in a sincere public discourse. It is far more likely that she got exactly what she wanted when a couple of would-be terrorists showed up with guns blazing. Sadly, what isn’t being reported in the media is that the leaders of the broader Muslim community at large condemned the shooting and expressed unreserved support for the free speech rights of Geller et al. They also counseled other Muslims in the area to refrain from even showing up to protest the event, in order to preserve the peace. In that effort they were successful as there was no onsite protest. The only alleged Muslims who showed up were, unfortunately, the gunmen.

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It’s really too bad that there are people like Geller whose sole purpose in life is to create chaos and disharmony. And it makes it all the worse that they twist cherished principles like freedom of speech to incite violence. It is also too bad that there are idiots who will take the bait and give the hate mongers what they yearn for. Yes, Geller is just as entitled to free speech as anyone else. But she is coming awfully close to that line where she is shouting “fire” and hoping that innocent people get trampled.

Breaking News: Gay Marriage Caused 9/11, Global Warming, Ebola, And Benghazi

The religiously inspired opponents of marriage equality have blamed society’s gradual acceptance of more expansive civil liberties as the trigger for innumerable catastrophes and natural disasters. The range of horrors that they claim are the result of granting more freedom to Americans to live their lives as they chose run from hurricanes to wars to epidemics. These are the lengths that crazy people obsessed with pseudo-religious fervor will go to demonize the objects of their hateful crusade.

Gay Marriage Fire

So what about the people who are not crazy? On last night’s Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (video below), the host cited a report that claimed that same-sex marriage would produce 900,000 more abortions in the next thirty years. That must be because of all the unwanted pregnancies among gay couples. Wilmore explained that this inane theory was what happens when “people who don’t believe in science try to do math.” However, the important thing to note about this claim is that it was not made by the Westboro Baptist Church (aka the “God Hates Fags” tabernacle), but by a group of a hundred conservative attorneys and academics who filed their opinion in a brief to the Supreme Court. In addressing the absurdity of these claims, Wilmore entered into this exchange with former press secretary to George W. Bush and current Fox News host, Dana Perino:

Wilmore: These are things that people actually blamed the gay marriage on. These are true: Hurricane Sandy, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Northridge earthquake, mass animal deaths, and September 11th was also blamed on gay marriage.
Perino: All the things you mentioned that people are absurdly saying that gay marriage has caused, people have also said that global warming is causing. They’re almost interchangeable at this point.
Wilmore: Global warming caused 9/11?
Perino: Oh yeah, there are people who say that. Because of the unrest in the Middle East. And then you have the drought. Yes, believe me.

Perino is no Glenn Beck (who said this week that gay marriage will also cause church attendance to decline by 50% in the next five years), but she has managed, in that brief exchange, to dismiss the gay bashing nut cases by suggesting that everybody does it, while simultaneously associating Climate Change with the same coterie of crackpots who think God is punishing America for its descent into sin. Note that the gay marriage doomsayers are faith-based purveyors of myth, but those warning of the harmful effects of Climate Change are scientists. In the contest of credibility, who would you trust: Rush Limbaugh or Prof. Neil deGrasse Tyson?

As the time nears for the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, the religious right is convinced that it also represents the nearing of the End Times. Conservative wingnut Alan Keyes called a decision upholding the right of all Americans to marry “a just cause for war.” Likewise, Rev. E.W. Jackson, a frequent guest on Fox News, declared that Christians “must enlist in this war” and be prepared to “give our lives.” But all of that may be unnecessary if Rick Wiles is right:

“America will be brought to its knees, there will be pain and suffering at a level we’ve never seen in this country. The word that I hear in my spirit is ‘fire.’ I do not know if it refers to riots or looting or war on American soil or a fireball from space.”

A fireball from space? Now THAT sounds like global warming.

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Not News On Fox News: Pope Francis Calls Male/Female Pay Disparity A ‘Pure Scandal’

The bias in journalism is as much evident in what news editors chose to report as it is in what they chose not to report or in how they slant stories that make it to the air. Therefore, by recognizing the omissions of news enterprises you can identify their biases.

This is particularly true when a media outlet fails to cover a story that would ordinarily be of interest to it. For instance, Fox News is a devoutly religious news organization. They are not shy about expressing their faith personally or in relation to a news item they are covering. Most of their anchors are avowed Catholics, and the inclusion of Christian themes in their reporting is routine. They have a Catholic priest on the payroll as a regular contributor (Father Jonathan Morris), and their Todd Starnes is an aggressive advocate for evangelical causes and a critic of perceived, imagined, and fabricated slights.

So it should come as no surprise that Fox News has failed to report on the views expressed today by Pope Francis. In his regular “catechetical reflection,” the Pope came out squarely in favor of equal pay for equal work, a social reform that has long been a goal of the feminist movement. This is not, however, a reform that is favored by business interests, Republicans, and consequently, Fox News. As a result, they shut out of the news cycle the Pope’s message that…

“…as Christians, we must become more demanding in this regard […] supporting with decision the right to equal retribution for equal work; disparity is a pure scandal.”

The last thing that Fox News and other right-wing media outlets want is to advertise that the head of the Catholic Church agrees with feminists and Democrats on the issue of fair pay. That would only extend the list of issues on which the Pope has taken sides with liberals, including the judgement of gays, Climate Change, economic inequality, and health care, to name a few.

The fact is that many right-wingers have already given up on this Pope calling him ignorant, delusional, leftist, Marxist, etc. Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, are among those who have explicitly denounced him. And in an act of utter absurdity, the Republican House balked at honoring the Pope because he “sound[s] like Obama.”

Pope Francis

No really, it’s true. GOP House Speaker John Boehner refused to even bring up the resolution for a vote, so it died in committee. That’s how severe the epidemic of Obama Derangement Syndrome is. And it isn’t getting better any time soon. After Obama leaves the White House its next occupant could be Hillary Clinton. Should that occur, look for the Republican Party to cut the salary of the President by thirteen percent.

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In The Church Of Fox News A Telephone Pole Is A Sign From God

For the faithful, God is not just omnipresent, his visage is manifest in all things no matter how trivial. It is that devotion to holy encounters that has resulted in believers finding the Almighty in everything from toast to tacos.

The knowledge that the Lord is present everywhere and in everything must be comforting to those who require the assurance that their heavenly master is always watching over them. However, there ought to be limits to the imagination of these disciples. Not every vague profile of a man with a beard, visible when squinting at an old brick, is a manifestation of Jesus. Likewise, not every perpendicular arrangement of french fries or the twisted wreckage of a demolished building represents the cross of the crucifixion.

That is, unless you are a five year old child, a glassy-eyed devotee, or a Fox News host.

Fox News

The picture above was featured on Friday morning’s broadcast of Fox & Friends. It was taken by a teenager in Moore, Oklahoma, who spotted the miracle following a devastating tornado. The Curvy Couch Potatoes at Fox then posted it to their Facebook page and reported that it went viral. They viewed it as a sign of hope following a catastrophic natural disaster that proved that, in spite of the tragedy, “God is with us.”

For some reason, when people of faith find insignificant trivialities like this they manage to assign some positive spiritual meaning to it. Something as common and trifling as a telephone pole becomes an unmistakable symbol of God’s benevolence and protection. You have to wonder why they never seem to associate the negative occurrence (e.g. a tornado) with the Lord’s work, even though there were hundreds of cross-like telephone poles throughout the city that was just flattened, presumably with God’s knowledge. Apparently, in their view, God had nothing to do with the tornado. but he hoisted a broken telephone pole up so that his children could see he was keeping them safe. At least the ones that didn’t get killed or had their homes destroyed.

The only reasonable message that can be derived from this photo is that local communications are going to be interrupted for some period of time. Maybe it’s God telling you to use your cell phone or the Internet to let your loved ones know you’re OK.

Or worse, maybe it’s a message from Satan. Maybe the Devil is taunting the victims of the tornado by showing them that their Savior is powerless to help them. How else would you interpret a broken cross dangling in the air with no foundation? And maybe Satan is using his minions at Fox to spread this fearsome message. Did you ever notice the numerical significance of “FOX?”

F = 6
O = 15 = 6
X = 24 = 6

That’s right. FOX = 666. The self-described “most powerful name in news” is literally branded with the mark of the beast. Is that where they derive their power? If you’re looking for spiritual messages, you better consider the source. In truth, people determined to find hidden meanings (I’m looking at you, Glenn Beck) can find pretty much anything they want with a little imagination. Following 9/11, Christian zealots were certain they found a cross in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Never mind that every structural component of the tower’s architecture was in the form of a cross. It would have been a miracle if there weren’t any cross-shaped pieces of debris. Yet with literally millions of embedded crosses, the towers still came down snuffing out some 3,000 lives.

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But don’t try to convince these cultists that the signs they see all around them are anything but signs of hope. After all, if they can see Jesus in the ass of a dog, they are not about to have their faith shaken by the likes of you and your “reason.” Especially when they have Fox “News” devoting its airtime to stories that pay tribute to preposterous figments of the imagination.

Fox has indeed completed the transformation to full fledged televangelism. In addition to nonsense like the telephone pole miracle, they openly advocate on behalf of Christians, whom they believe are an oppressed majority. They characterize blatantly bigoted legislation, like that just passed in Indiana, as religious liberty. They promote prayer in school and the use of the Bible as the basis for law, in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. And they engage in the annual idiocy of their imaginary War on Christmas.

The editorial policy at Fox is stridently pro-Christian to the detriment of any other faith or the absence of it. They have a roster of openly pious Christian activists like Todd Starnes and Kelly Wright. So don’t be too surprised when Pat Robertson signs on to host his own primetime hour of worship, or Jesus & Friends premiers on Sunday morning with Fox’s resident pastor (and GOP presidential hopeful) Mike Huckabee.

Obama Condemns All Acts Of Barbarism Due To Perversion Of Faith – Fox News Freaks Out

In a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama acknowledged the “sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith,” and broadly condemned the use of religion to justify barbaric acts of terrorism. So leave it to Fox News to surgically extract a fragment of the speech in order to disparage the President.

Fox News

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The portion of the address that ruffled Fox’s fur was a snippet wherein Obama referenced the Crusades to remind the audience that “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Fox News latched unto that phrase and, for much of the day, used it to distort the President’s meaning in order to denigrate him as anti-Christian. But the President’s remarks were much more inclusive of the evil done by all perpetrators of violence in the name of religion. Here are some more extended excerpts of what he actually had to say:

“From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism. […] We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion. […]

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Any reasonable person would have to agree with what was expressed in the whole of the speech. But, as usual, reasonableness was not in attendance at Fox News. As a representative example of the departure from reason and fair discourse, Fox’s Neil Cavuto brought in Catholic League extremist Bill Donohue to rant feverishly about Obama’s alleged insult to the world’s Christians (video below):

Donohue: Had he said just said that, that people have killed in the name of their God and it’s not unique to one religion, who could argue with that? But he didn’t do that, did he? He spoke with specificity. he singled out the Crusades and the Inquisition.

Actually, Obama did not single out anyone. Quite the opposite. He specifically identified numerous religions that have all had issues with violent extremism. But the only thing that Donohue heard was the bit about the Crusades. The same is true for Cavuto who later demonstrated the essence of a loaded question by asking “Do you think [Obama] is dismissive of religion in the aggregate?” Huh? Did Cavuto even bother to listen to the speech which was dripping with piety and deference to God? The ludicrous question gave Donohue the opportunity to further slander Obama’s commitment to faith by excitedly responding that Obama is “a thoroughgoing secularist. I don’t think he believe’s in anything.”

This is typical of the Fox News editorial mission to cherry-pick Obama’s remarks and present them in the most negative way possible. It furthers their criticism of the President for his reluctance to associate the terrorists of ISIL with Islam. In that regard, he got some support today from Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who said that “If there was any doubt that this is an organization that has anything to do with any religion on the face of this planet, that doubt is gone.”

Judeh’s comments are additional proof that the world’s Muslims are united in rejecting the violence of terrorism and the false accusation that it is inherently connected to the Muslim faith. In fact, the only people who are determined to make that link are the terrorists themselves and Fox News, which has the disturbing effect of putting Fox squarely on the side of the terrorists.

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To top it off, the following morning Fox’s Gregg Jarrett made the wholly delusional statement that “It struck some people in an odd way that the President was justifying ISIS.” Really? Which people? Jarrett doesn’t say. And how could these imaginary people reach that insane conclusion? Jarrett doesn’t say. But just to keep things fair and balanced, Joe Scarborough on MSNBC also took up the criticism of Obama for telling the truth about religion’s bad actors.

American Sniping II: The Hypocritical Right-Wing Attack On Jesus

Last week News Corpse published an article exposing the conservative guardians of virtue as hypocrites for their surreal denunciation of Hollywood as contemptuous of the film American Sniper. What makes their criticism absurd is that the movie was produced and distributed by Warner Bros., a big Hollywood film studio, and all of its major creative participants are familiar Hollywood figures. How conservatives can bash Hollywood for not appreciating this film is puzzling since Hollywood appreciated it enough to award it six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The absurdity is continuing this week as a Fox News host doubles down on the Tinseltown bashing (video below), but escalates the animus by adding a bit of deranged sermonizing into the mix.

Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes is Fox’s resident pearl-clutcher every time he imagines that some slight has been directed at Christianity, which he is convinced is the biggest victim of oppression since the Third Reich. His most recent remarks on American Sniper were incited by Michael Moore’s tweet:

“What Would Jesus Do? Oh, I know what he’d do — hide on top of a roof and shoot people in the back!”

Moore has become a target of the right for expressing his antiwar views (which he shares with Clint Eastwood), despite his long support for veterans. In response to Moore’s tweet Starnes leveled a vile and poorly thought out assault on Moore that included this mangling of Christian doctrine:

“I suspect Jesus would tell that God-fearing, red-blooded American sniper, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant for dispatching another Godless jihadist to the lake of fire.'”

That is a sentiment that ought to make every good Christian wretch. In effect, Starnes is preaching that in order to win the praise of Jesus, one must enlist in battle and cause the deaths of other human beings. Since Jesus himself preached that “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God,” it’s hard to find any theological justification for Starnes’ war mongering. The example set by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and at Golgotha demonstrate just how far removed from the gospel Starnes is.

But let’s be clear, none of this is about God or faith. It is a blatantly political attempt to glorify war and celebrate a phony patriotism that exalts the militarization of society and the promotion of national (and religious and racial) supremacy. The purpose is to advance the agenda of the Republican Party and its Patriopathic obsessions. It’s an agenda of flag-waving, scripture-spewing, blood-lusting, Tea Partying, bigots who favor small government when it comes to meeting the basic needs of its citizens, but massively large government when it comes to imposing religious values and supporting wealthy corporatists, particularly in the defense industries.

Just as the wingnut critics knew nothing about Hollywood when throwing their puerile insults at an entire American industry (including thousands who voted to pay tribute to American Sniper), the same people know nothing about the religion they pretend to embrace. It’s as if they worship an image that might have been manufactured for a Hollywood horror film, rather than the teachings of a church that venerates peace and forgiveness.

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[Update:] A Facebook commenter, Faith Equality, pointed out this video of Starnes completely contradicting himself on Fox’s Hannity show saying “Jesus wants to be your Lord and Savior, He doesn’t want to blow you to Kingdom Come.”

Hateful “Real” Americans Protest Muslim Conference Against Hate And Terror

This weekend there was a conference held in Garland, Texas by a Muslim organization hoping to address the negative stereotypes disseminated by the media and racist politicians. The event was met with opposition by a small band of protesters whose vulgar behavior illustrated the need for the conference in the first place. Not surprisingly, Fox News offered coverage of sorts by posting a link on their Fox Nation website to an article in the ultra right-wing Washington Times. The piece led with the headline “‘Stand With Prophet’ Event In Texas Draws Thousands Of Protesters.”

Fox Nation

The first problem with the story is that there were not “thousands” of protesters. The attendance was reported by media at the scene as being a few hundred, and that included people who were supporting the event.

However, much worse was the tone of the protesters who were overtly hostile to a group whose purpose was to renounce terrorism, repudiate violence, and seek harmony with their fellow American citizens. The conferees stated mission was to make clear that terrorists like ISIS and Al Qaeda are “enemies of Islam who are hurting Muslims and neighborly relations toward the world.” They were met with angry accusations that “You are not Americans. Don’t fly our flag,” and demands that “If they want to live their life like the middle east, they can go back to the middle east.” It’s unlikely that these malcontents would make the same demands to banish orthodox Jews or the Amish.

It is notable that the photo chosen to represent the allegedly patriotic protesters included one carrying a sign that said “Go home and take Obama with you.” Not only was this an exclusionary sentiment that falsely implied that America was not their home, it also revived the idiotic delusions of birthers who still can’t accept that Obama was born in the U.S.

The purpose of the conference, as stated on its website, was to “develop effective responses to anti-Islamic attacks, as well as to train young Muslims in media.” Clearly that is a goal that has been validated as necessary if the coverage of this event is any indication. The story was carried with the same negative slant, and false attendance estimates, by much of the conservative media. And the wretched prejudices expressed by the protesters proves that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

Hopefully cooler, less intolerant heads will prevail and citizens of all races, religions, and origins will be able to come together to defeat bigotry in all its vile forms. But that will not happen until media outlets like Fox are shamed into abandoning their own biases that serve no purpose other than to inflame the ignorant and empower racist, political demagogues.

Right-Wing Media Lusts For Images That Offend Muslims

The murders of the staff of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris are universally regarded as a heinous assault on humanity and free expression. Virtually every public commentary on the crime repudiates the killers and the violently extremist ideology they claim to represent. That includes the prominent Muslim advocacy organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the major Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, and more.

Yet even as this international chorus of condemnation resounds throughout the world, there are some petty voices in the media that seek to take political advantage of the situation. One of the tactics they employ is to attempt to cast shame on any media enterprise that fails to publish the offensive images that are reputed to have incited the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Many conservatives are calling anyone who doesn’t repost the images cowards and terrorist appeasers.

Why is the willingness to give more attention to a specific example of insulting imagery a test of dedication to a free press? Certainly the right to publish such material is one that must not be infringed in a free society, but that doesn’t make it a requirement for everyone to do so. It is possible to protest censorship, intimidation, and terrorism aimed at free speech without engaging in the same speech.

For instance, conservative extremists like Ted Cruz have every right to compare supporters of ObamaCare to Nazis, as he did on the Senate floor. But that doesn’t mean that in order to uphold his rights I have to stand up in public and make the same asinine comparison. It is quite enough for me to articulate my opinion that he is free to say whatever idiotic and inflammatory bullcrap he wants.

The problem is that there is an ugly underpinning to the calls by the right to post offensive images of Mohammed everywhere. And that is that they get off on it. They are only too happy to malign the prophet of a religion that they hate and regard as an evil enemy. Never mind that, by far, most Muslims are as appalled by the Paris murders as everyone else. The rightist, Christian martinets of virtue won’t be happy until every magazine, newspaper and television program has featured the images on their front pages and at the top of every broadcast.

It goes without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) that these same defenders of freedom would never insist on such widespread reproduction if the images maligned their sainted Ronald Reagan. Can you imagine Todd Starnes of Fox News calling out the cowards in the media for not prominently displaying an offensive picture of Reagan? Of course not. But that’s what he did to those not displaying the Mohammed cartoons.

A few years ago there was a movie about a fictionalized assassination of President Bush. It wasn’t even a political film, but rather a crime drama that delved into the complexities of an investigation into the killing of a president. Conservatives were apoplectic, complaining about the film and demanding that it be pulled from distribution. CNN and NPR refused to air advertisements for it.

The Dixie Chicks had the temerity to exercise their rights to free speech by saying merely that they were ashamed that Bush was from Texas. That rather tame bit of criticism led to record burnings, concert boycotts, and even death threats. No one was demanding that everybody play their music on the radio to demonstrate a commitment to free speech.

And then there was the notorious parody ad that appeared in Larry Flynt’s Hustler Magazine. It was a mock ad for Compari that played off of the liquor’s ad campaign at the time. However, Hustler’s version put televangelist Jerry Falwell in, shall we say, a compromising position. The response to that was both outrage from offended Christians and a lawsuit from Falwell. Eventually, Flynt prevailed in the Supreme Court, scoring a victory for free speech. But none of the conservatives today who are so anxious to see more public displays of Mohammed cartoons were clamoring for such a movement of solidarity in defense of Flynt. And it should not be forgotten that Flynt was also the victim of a terrorist attack when he was shot by a white supremacist, severing his spinal cord and leaving him confined to a wheelchair.

Jerry Falwell Compari

What is painfully clear is that conservatives would never condone reproducing images, or promoting other forms of speech, that they find offensive. But they are drooling ravenously to see more of the images that offend Muslims. And it’s all in the name of defending free expression. But beyond the obvious hypocrisy, it is apparent that they are more interested in satisfying their own repugnant desires to denigrate their perceived foes than in standing up for freedom.

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[Addendum] As an example of some of the intrepid Fox News soldiers of press freedom, these statements were recently broadcast:

Ralph Peters: The correct response to this attack by all of us in journalism – we pretend to be so brave. If we had guts those cartoons would be reprinted on the cover pages of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post tomorrow. They won’t be. We’ll cry, but we’ll continue to self-censor.

K.T. McFarland: If there is any guts, if there is any courage, if there is any role that a free media has, it is to go out and call it what it is. If we are already self-censoring, if we are already cowering under the desk because we’re afraid of this, we’re afraid of that, then you know? Free speech is already lost.

Note that the official position of Fox News is to not display the images from Charlie Hebdo. They issued a statement saying that “The safety of its correspondents and questions of taste are at issue.” So apparently, free speech is already lost. But if they are still interested in publishing images to demonstrate their solidarity with oppressed journalists, maybe they will publish this image of a cardinal giving Jesus a blow job on the cross. It was featured on the cover of the German satire magazine, Titanic, who have encountered their own problems with censorship and could use the support.

Titanic

Je Suis Charlie? Not On Fox News Where It’s Je Suis Connerie

This morning there was a gruesome terrorist attack in Paris that took the lives of twelve people at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. It was the sort of assault that generally stirs both outrage and an international commitment to unity in bringing the assailants to justice and preventing anything like it from occurring again.

For the most part that has been true. The governments of the world have expressed sympathy and solidarity for the victims and their families, the people of France, and journalists worldwide who are too often the targets of such violence.

Fox News Bullshit

President Obama issued a statement saying in part…

“I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time.”

But leave it to Fox News to take this tragedy and politicize it in the most nauseating way possible. Before the blood stains on the floor have even dried, Fox News set out to grab political advantage by laying blame on the usual targets of their wrath. And, of course, it begins with attacks on Obama. Fox contributor Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online spent several minutes castigating Obama for his depiction of the attack, saying that it was not enough to call it terrorism, but it must also be labeled Islamic – even before there is any investigation that establishes whether that’s true.

And Goldberg was not alone in shifting the dialog from the attack and its victims to rank politics. Fox’s K.T. McFarland took the same path saying that “This is radical Muslim extremists […] Let’s take the political correctness away and call it what it is.” The abhorrent Ralph Peters (who has advocated for the rampant slaughter of civilians as a tactic in the war on terror) also demanded that the President specifically use the term “Islamist terror.” That was after he took a swipe at Sen. Diane Feinstein and the Senate’s report condemning the use of torture. Peters said that “These terrorists who did this monstrous attack in Paris are the people Sen. Feinstein doesn’t even want to waterboard.” Peters not only condones torture, but he has specifically called for military attacks against the media, which makes him an especially vulgar choice to interview after a tragedy like this.

Monica Crowley took up the political correctness theme in a segment with Fox’s Gretchen Carlson. Afterward, Carlson devoted the whole of her “My Take” commentary to criticizing Obama for not calling the Paris attack terrorism – which of course, is precisely what he called it. She ended by asking whether the United States will be the next victim of a terrorist attack. She must have forgotten that the U.S. was already a victim back in 2001, and that we have been on alert ever since. But there’s nothing like a little fear mongering to brighten up the Fox News morning.

Then there were the Kurvy Kouch Potatoes of Fox & Friends, who turned their bony fingers toward New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. Elisabeth Hasselbeck said that “As soon as police act they’re painted with a racist brush, even by, in fact, our own mayor here.” What that had to do with anything is a complete mystery. But perhaps the worst offender was Fox’s military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney. He was prompted by co-host Brian Kilmeade to address some unattributed Tweets that alleged that in France “most cops choose not even to carry a gun.” Kilmeade added “That, thankfully, is not the case in New York.” to which McInerney responded…

“This is a classical radical Islamist attack. […] With the current leadership in New York — and I’m referring to the mayor, the communist mayor you have up there — that may change. […] The political correctness is killing us.”

For Chrissake! This imbecile is absolving the terrorists of responsibility for these attacks and assigning it to Mayor De Blasio and political correctness. What’s more, he holds the utterly delusional belief that De Blasio is planning to let NYPD officers choose whether or not to carry guns. Where does he get that idiot notion from? And finally, his incongruous and despicable insult that the mayor is a communist is the sort of stuff that is generally left to wingnut, conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity.

The political correctness argument that Fox is so fond of is a thinly veiled desire for racist policies that accuse all Muslims of being terrorists. The insistence that acts of violent extremism be called, not just terrorism, but Islamic terrorism, is a demand that is rarely heard for any other act of violence. Why for instance, didn’t Fox News refer to the murder of Dr. George Tiller as Christian terrorism? And what about Eric Rudolph’s bombing of the Centennial Olympic Park? Or the bombings of Planned Parenthood offices? Or the murder of 77 children in Norway by radical Christian Anders Breivik? Or the Tea Party terrorists who murdered two police officers in Las Vegas? Or the entire history of the Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity movements? [The SPLC has a more complete list here]

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These are all examples of what could be called Christian terrorism if the Fox News model of journalism were applied fairly. But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. For the radical partisans at Fox the only priority is how can this or any event be exploited to inflict political pain on their ideological enemies. They don’t care about the victims of terrorism or the safety of society or even justice. They only care about slandering the President and other Democrats in pursuit of their ultra right-wing agenda. And if that means twisting a tragedy into a partisan political screed, then that’s what they will do. It’s shameful and contrary to every code of ethics for journalism or common decency.

* Connerie = Bullshit

Christmas Warrior Bill O’Reilly Links Phony War To Climate Change Denial

The war on Christmas began in earnest in October when Fox News went into a frenzy over new federal regulations aimed at reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused by faulty electric holiday decorations. After all, losing a few Christian soldiers in the name of festive light displays is totally justifiable.

Today the battle rages on as Bill O’Reilly, Fox’s general in the annual war, uncovers evidence that the combat has only just begun (video below). And in the process he equates his fairy tale war with the scientifically confirmed dangers of Climate Change.

O’Reilly: We do have a bunch of “War on Christmas” deniers who say that I, and others, are making the whole thing up. Well, here’s the first evidence this year. A billboard put up by an atheist group telling children to skip church on Christmas day. […] If somebody denies global warming they’re all over them, but [the War on Christmas is] right before your eyes. There’s the sign. What generates that denial?

What O’Reilly is presenting as proof of the Christmas conflagration is the appearance of a single billboard in Tennessee that depicts a young girl’s letter to Santa saying that “All I want for Christmas is to skip church. I’m too old for fairy tales.” If that is all the evidence that is required to validate O’Reilly’s Christmas War theory, then he has a pretty low bar for validation. It is rather remarkable that he is so easily convinced on this matter, but he and other Climate Change deniers remain skeptical even after 97% of the scientists who study atmospheric science agree that Climate Change is occurring and is man made.

The segment on O’Reilly’s program consisted mainly of his interview of a psychotherapist wherein they spent the better part of five minutes maligning atheists as sadistic, nasty bullies. It was a display of overt hostility toward nonbelievers, even as they complained, without evidence, that nonbelievers were themselves hostile. They agreed that the billboard was “horrifically insulting” and an affront to the traditional values of this season of goodwill. Which is interesting because O’Reilly never expressed any outrage over the politicization and commercialization of Christmas by the Republican Party last year when the NRCC sold a tee-shirt proclaiming that “All I want for Christmas is to be rid of ObamaCare.”

Republican ObamaCare Christmas

So it’s perfectly OK to wish for the abolition of a program that has literally saved lives and made it possible for millions of Americans to get health insurance for the first time – people who previously could not afford it or who were denied due to preexisting conditions – but to wish to voluntarily exclude oneself from a ceremonial assembly in which one does not believe is a declaration of war. That is the sort of hypocrisy that Fox News is foisting on their faithful and dimwitted viewers during this season of joy. So just go to church and God will provide for your sick child. And Merry (War on) Christmas.

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