Tag Archives: right-wing media

Obama’s birth conspiracy theory was concocted by an anti-Semite & circulated by racist extremists

Southern Poverty Law Center has an action alert on this; see below:
 

July 24, 2009
 
Dear Friend,
 
Lou Dobbs is at it again.
 
We’ve told you about how the CNN host has used his platform to spread
hateful propaganda that demonizes Latinos.
 
Now, Dobbs is supporting the bizarre claims of so-called “birthers” who insist that President Obama isn’t really a citizen of the United States and that his presidency, therefore, is not legitimate.
 
The truth about Obama’s birth in Hawaii is not in dispute. It has been verified by many reputable journalists, including CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who called the claims “a joke,” and even a reporter on Dobbs’ own show. Yet Dobbs continues to fan the flames.
 
It’s important to note that this conspiracy theory was concocted by an anti-Semite and circulated by racist extremists who cannot accept the fact that a black man has been elected president. Among those who helped disseminate the lie was the neo-Nazi who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in June.
 
Respectable news organizations should not be peddling propaganda that supports the agenda of radical extremists who are only interested in stirring up hate and fomenting violence. But Dobbs continues to do just that. And it’s irresponsible for CNN to let him continue trading in falsehoods.
 
Enough is enough. Today, I’ve written to the president of CNN urging that Dobbs be removed from the air
[to read the statement, visit]:

http://www.splcenter.org/news/item.jsp?aid=390&splcnewsletter=newsgen-072409
 
I encourage you to contact CNN yourself. If enough of us speak up, the network will listen.
 
[To contact CNN, visit]:
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form6a.html?2
 
Thank you for standing strong against hate.
Sincerely,
J. Richard Cohen
President, Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

Update 08/08/09: Looks like this same racist crowd is mobilizing people on the far far right to oppose and even shut down a simple townhall conversation on Healthcare and on caring for the sick.  It’s gone so far that the subtext of the extremist far-right is becoming clear: the promotion of violence and murder. Truly scary … watch:

Update 08/09/09: The American Jewish Congress issued a statement, “The Limbaugh comments comparing Obama (and Pelosi) to Hitler and the Nazis are grossly offensive and intolerable. They reflect a nasty and hyperbolic tendency on our political culture, one which makes reasoned discourse impossible, confuses disagreement with evil, and which makes it impossible to distinguish evil from ordinary politics. … It behooves all participants in the political process to unequivocally disavow the comparison and to make it plain that peddlers of such noxious comparison have no place in our politics, no matter how large their audiences. And all Americans should make plain their disgust at the comparisons by talk show hosts by a prompt use of the off button.” Read the story by clicking here.  

Media Matters for America also has a revealing piece on all this, focusing on another right-wing propagandist of hate, Glenn Beck:

…a perfect example of the game conservatives in the media are playing: pouring gasoline on the fire, and then, once they are criticized, saying that they were only kidding. But what does Beck expect his viewers to take away from his broadcasts? After a week of increasingly violent protests at town halls around the country, including one such event at which protesters reportedly mentioned Beck by name when explaining what inspired them, he cannot seriously contend that his rhetoric isn’t having an impact, isn’t stirring up the rage and confusion that is defining opposition to Democratic reforms.  Read the rest here.

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Filed under Health, Political, Progressive Media Personalities

Jesus WAS a LIBERAL

Was Jesus a Liberal or a Conservative?  Some people answer “neither” because he is supposed to transcend human labels … but this view is a little contradictory because Jesus was the incarnation of God into human flesh, and if that was the case, then shouldn’t we assume that he also adopted human qualities as well?  The question of Jesus’ orientation is nevertheless explored more in depth in the new book: “Jesus Was a Liberal.”  The media, nevertheless, would have you believe that Jesus was a staunch right-wing conservative even though there are many Christians that see through the current so-called conservative “culture of life” because it often contradicts itself when it refuses to promote a true all-encompassing culture of life, that is, one that celebrates and protects the human condition in all of its facets: through social programs that follow the teachings of Jesus to combat poverty,  promote compassion and empathy, and protect God’s creation (to agressively combat such threats to our environment-like global warming and offer everyone Universal Healthcare).

Perception in the media most of the time trumps reality … in fact so much so that perception at some point becomes so pervasive that it starts to influence and define reality.  In the United States, religion has become a topic of division, mainly because it has been hijacked by its portrayal in the hands of who dominates our corporate media: the conservative right-wing. 

The conservative right-wing media has been extremely successful at dominating the dialogue in mass communication.  One perfect example is how they have been incredibly successful at perpuating the myth that the media has a “liberal bias”, when in fact the opposite is true: for the most part, mass media has a CONSERVATIVE bias, which continues to persist to this day

Point in case is the way that religion is portrayed in the corporate media. “Religious values” to the media talking heads has come to mean a very narrow set of issues: “anti-abortion” and “anti-gay” (by the way, the Bible never even talks about abortion and Jesus himself never even mentioned anything about gays-the only mention of it is some vague mention in the Old Testament, which according to Christianity, was rendered invalid by the advent of the New Testament).  This has come to be because of a concerted behind-the-scenes strategy through political manipulation from the right-wing think-tanks.  Yet, there is hardly any mention that for many Americans who identify themselves as “religious”, those issues are not really that important to them-in fact, issues such as social and economic justice are far closer to their hearts.  However, right-wing think-tanks, their corporatist sponsors, and their media talking head enablers are not all to blame. 

The left-wing of this country also bears some responsibility: for many secular liberals, religion has often been viewed as an obstacle to progress and enlightment or as a sign of weakness (never mind that some of the biggest leaps foward in our society have been rooted in religious themes: Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and organizing tactics were a perfect example of that).  Meanwhile, politicans on the so-called “Left” are left with the difficult task of trying to fill in the gaps and get across the message (most of the time in a very awkward manner) that not all religious people are authoritarian conservative but that in fact many are actually liberal and yes, even supportive of the sanctity of love inherent in the concept of Gay Marriage.  

Overall, conservative religious personalities such as James Dobson and Pat Robertson and their campaigns get all the attention from the media, and the progressive religious personalities like Michael Lerner or  Jim Wallis and their campaigns get almost no attention.  Point in case is the recent supposed (if not manufactured) uproar that the media is currently focusing on 24/7: President Obama speaking at Notre Dame.  According to right-wing outlets, “Catholics” are supposedly “outraged” that President Obama was scheduled to speak at Notre Dame (because of his defense of pro-choice policies), a Catholic University:

As a Catholic, I really don’t know what’s more offensive: the fact that right-wing religious outlets claim to speak for ALL Catholics (including myself and an overwhelming majority of Catholics that don’t share their views), or the fact that their hypocrisy is just so offensively transparent: the Pope himself gave an Honorary recognition to President Sarkozy, who is a supporter of pro-choice polices … so do you think they will boycott the Pope? Yeah, don’t hold your breath … and if you want to talk about contradictions between the Catholic Church’s teachings and peoples’ practices: how about the support of the American Catholic Conservatives for capital punishment, which is a direct violation of the Catholic Church’s official position … oh and let’s not get into the whole Occupation of Iraq: both John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict have been very critical of America’s military campaigns in the Middle East.  But do you think these contradictions are getting media coverage?  Nope, not a peep.  Instead, we hear carefully-crafted messages about how Nancy Pelosi is not worthy of communion because she supports “abortion rights.” 

This is not the first time that a blackout of the progressive religious view has taken place in the media.  Back in 2007, a group of progressive Evangelical Christians were arrested for protesting former President Bush’s Occupation of Iraq.  This got covered in a few print & online outlets, but it really did not make it to the corporate cable news cycle nor did it get the under-the-microscope intensity that Obama’s speech at Notre Dame got.  More recently, the online advocacy community “Faithful America” launched a drive to support Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Obama to speak, but do you think that got any major attention from the media?  Nope. 

Frankly, I wouldn’t be the least surprised to learn that all this media frenzy was manufactured by the conservative right as a strategic piece in their quest to torpedo Obama’s upcoming nomination of a new Justice to the Supreme Court.  Regardless, I am pretty sick and tired of the way the media is portraying religion as a battle between “secularism” and “religiosity”.  It is a frame that is manipulative at best and morally bankrupt at worst because it is devoid of meaningful debate.  The topic of abortion is the perfect example of how the messaging wars play out, to the detriment of the American public.  All we hear in the media is how the “pro-choicers” are in a battle with the “pro-lifers” … but these lables just block us from moving forward on views that recognize that this is more than just a black-and-white issue.  It deprives us of views such the one espoused by the Network of Spiritual Progressives on this topic:

“Make [abortion] safe, legal, and rare … And make childbearing safe, economically supported, and surrounded by a loving community that celebrates the mystery and miracle of life and that honors and rewards the parent or parents who have undertaken the difficult and beautiful task of raising children.” -Rabbi Michael Lerner.

So what can you do about all this? Well, for starters, check out the action alert that “Faithful America” has up on their site to support a new way in how we deal and talk about abortion.  Click here to visit their site.

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Filed under Abortion, Gay Marriage, Media Literacy, Political, Progressive Movement, Religion, Spirituality

Hate Speech

…”the only reason [Luis] is dead is because he was Mexican,” law experts recently argued on CNN.  Recently, there was a disturbing verdict on a racially-charged case where an all-white jury found a group of teens as not guilty of a hate crime for beating up a Latino kid to death.  CNN reported on this:

Equally troubling, is the fact that there is little attention being paid to the effects of verbal violence from certain right-wing media outlets and personalities that, under the cover of being “anti-illegal immigration“, get away with vicious statements that are sometimes full of misinformation at best and morally criminal at worst.  During the recent swine flu media frenzy, for example, right-wing pudits seized on the opportunity to push their racist rhetoric.  As is often the case, sometimes the most dangerous kind of rhetoric is the kind that is subtle and pretends or claims not to be racist, precisely because it lurks in the shadows.  One perfect example of this is media-talking-head Lou Dobbs.  He is married to a Latina, by the way, and that tidbit has often been brought up as an argument to claim that Lou Dobbs coudln’t possibly be racist.  Yet at closer examination, this seems to defy logic.  First off, the fact that he is married to a Latina does not give him license to spread lie after lie (after all, Hernan Cortes had the Malinche as a lover, and that didn’t make Cortes any less of a pillager of Mexico’s land and of its people).  In addition, a little-known fact is that Lou Dobbs often quotes “reports” as “facts” from or has people on his show that are members of right-wing extremist groups that either have deep ties with or are themselves groups classified as hate groups.  By all accounts, one cannot help but ask this: “if Lou Dobbs pushes defamatory falsehoods day after day based on racist sources (he does not disclose this fact, by the way) then what is his motiviation for doing so?  Is it racism?”   

Beyond Lou Dobbs, there is the larger issue of the potential effects that the violence (whether verbal or visual) in the media has on stoking the fires that eventually lead to violent murders against particular groups of people.  While it is difficult to prove a direct relationship between violent hate speech or even subtle but vicious anti-Latino immigrant rhetoric  and actual violent hate crimes, one would have to be a fool to not see a correlation that is just too evident to dismiss it as a coincence.   People influence media and media influence people-it is a self-reinforcing cycle.  To claim that media should not be held accountable for the impact that it has on people is just as naive as saying that individuals do not impact and influence media itself.  Somewhere along the lines, there needs to be accountability-otherwise, grotesque acts of hate go unchecked. 

Sometimes, some action is taken against the hate rhetoric on the media: recently, a radio talk show host was suspended because of his plainly racist comments against Mexicans:

As the video above discusses, Jay Severin should be fired (by the way, you can contact the station that puts him on the air and ask them to fire him; click here).  Now, will Lou Dobbs ever take responsibility for his role in the rising violence against Latinos?  Think again, he actually slammed and criticized the civil rights organizations that have denounced or warned the media of the hate speech that is on the air.  Yet, the number of extremist groups continue to grow and the tide of hate acts continues to rise.  For a list of high-profile cases exemplifying the rising incidence of hate crimes against Latinos, click here.

Perhaps what is most tragic and maddening is that amid all the violent rhetoric on the media and the grotesque acts it accompanies, it comes as no surprise that an all-white jury recently decided to let the murderers of Luis Ramirez walk free.  There is something you can do about it, though.  Read this message (below) from the organization America’s Voice:   

Dear Friends,

Last year a group of teenagers brutally murdered Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

As Luis lay unconscious at their feet, the teens yelled to a young woman by his side: “Tell your effin Mexican friends to get the eff out of Shenandoah or you’re going to be laying next to him!”

Just last week an all-white jury found the teens “not guilty” of the serious charges of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation. The ruling was greeted with cheers in the courtroom, and gasps of disbelief from Luis’s grieving fiancee and children.

Today we’re asking you to join with us and our friends at the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) to demand justice for Luis, his children, and his fiancee.

Sign the petition to the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Demand that they prosecute Luis’s murder as a federal Hate Crime:

http://www.AmericasVoiceOnline.org/ProsecutetheHate

Afterward, the head of the jury said publicly “I believe strongly that some of the people on the jury were racist.” He said that some “had their minds made up maybe before the first day.”

Hate crimes against immigrants are on the rise across the country.

Law experts on CNN have argued that “the only reason [Luis] is dead is because he was Mexican.” It’s becoming clear that in that courtroom an undocumented Mexican immigrant was seen as less than a man.

Make sure justice is served for Luis Ramirez and the loved ones he left behind — sign the petition and forward it widely:

http://www.AmericasVoiceOnline.org/ProsecutetheHate

Together we can stand up to forces of extremism that threaten our country’s best values by playing upon our worst instincts.

Please send this email to 10 of your friends and loved ones now.

Thanks for everything you’re doing,

Adam Luna

America’s Voice

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Filed under Economic Refugees, Immigration, Media Literacy

Oh poor little innocent Miss California…

So no doubt you’ve heard about Miss California and how she answered a question about Gay Marriage in a beauty pageant.  The question was asked by media-drama queen Perez Hilton:

It’s been interesting to watch how the various media outlets have cut and spliced the event

There are multiple reasons why I think these made such big news; but I think there are two that stand out the most:

1) The event was pretty unusual-anything outside of the norm steals the show.  Remember when the media picked up on Miss Teen South Carolina’s response?:

We stereotype beauty pageant constentants as not being, ehr shall we say, Albert Einsteins.  Because Miss Teen South Carolina’s response was so way out there even for beauty pageant standards, it made huge news because the news media thrives on the unusual. 

2) Usually during the beauty pageants, questions of such complexity or controversy are not asked-the more usual questions are those that have to do with neutral topics like “what is your opinion of world hunger” or the like.  Miss California’s response stood out also because it was not a “neutral” response but rather one loaded with conflict, which the media just loves.    

3)The massive right-wing media is having a field day with this.  She’s now being paraded around as an example of how the “gay mafia” is trying to take over the world because it took poor little innocent Miss California’s crown away.  Yes, I can almost see the commercials on the right-wing propaganda network Fox News starting with Miss California crying over what “was done to her” and then ridiculously asking “what’s next? putting you in jail for opposing gay marriage?”  Amazing how they can manipulate the public’s perception huh?

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Filed under Gay Marriage