Thursday, February 09, 2006


Promoting biased journalism

Both of the following are outrageous, not because of the donations but because of the comments from outsiders in each. One is real.


Conservative Christian media support conservative Christian writing awards

American Family Radio, SRNNews and a loose coalition of other conservative Christian broadcasting and print media made a $100,000 donation to the Amy Foundation, sponsor of the annual Amy Writing Awards, "a call to present biblical truth reinforced with scripture in secular, non-religious publications."

According to the Amy Foundation, the money will endow a scholarship fund that will give $5,000 a year to a conservative Christian college student who plans a career in journalism and "is committed to furthering Amy's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the conservative Christian community" -- which clearly would mean writing stories with a pro-conservative Christian bias.

Don Wildmon, founder of American Family Radio, said the donors are investing in the future of pro-conservative Christian journalism.

"This donation helps ensure that we not only support an outstanding organization for conservative Christian journalists," Wildmon said, "but a deep resource for hiring future news producers and writers."

Alec Baldwin, the actor, a board member of the liberal People for the American Way, said no news organization should give money to an activist organization like the Amy Foundation.

"Make no mistake about it: This group exists for one reason and one reason only -- to advance a pro-conservative Christian agenda disguised as journalism through the news media," Baldwin said. "The only bright side for 'the Wildmon bunch' in so
blatantly catering to that agenda is that it isn't like conservative Christian 'journalism' has a lot of credibility left to lose."

Media Giant Supports Gay-Journalist Association

Cable news giant CNN made a $100,000 donation to the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), an endowment to support the Leroy R. Aarons Scholarship Award, the NLGJA Web site reported.

According to NLGJA, the scholarship fund will give $5,000 a year to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) college student who plans a career in journalism and "is committed to furthering NLGJA's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community" -- which clearly would mean writing stories with a pro-gay bias.

Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said his company is investing in its future.

"This donation helps ensure that we not only support an outstanding organization of journalists," he said, "but a deep resource for hiring future CNN anchors,
correspondents and producers."

Gary Schneeberger, director of media and constituent communications for Focus on the Family Action and a secular newspaper reporter and editor for more than a
decade, said an objective news organization has no business giving money to an activist organization like the NLGJA.

"Make no mistake about it: This group exists for one reason and one reason only -- to advance a pro-homosexual agenda disguised as journalism through the news media,"
Schneeberger said. "The only bright side for CNN in so blatantly catering to that agenda is that it isn't like the network has a lot of credibility left to lose."


BTW, I mean no defense of homosexual behavior. This is an attack on hatred and fear masquerading as "Christian love." And on selective outrage and hypocrisy.
This was a real potshot by FOTF. Beneath even them. It's none of their business what CNN does. Just like it would be none of People for the American Way's business who the conservative organizastion choose to donate to.

FOTF is picking a fight here, once again to shore up its base.

Focus on the Family is a GREAT political action committee, with a little religion tossed in.
you know, I've submitted some of my christian-themed essays to the Amy Awards.

No winners yet. Hmmmm, what could I be doing wrong?
So your last two quotes for each (Baldwin and Schneeberger), only one of those is real? I'd bet the quote from Mr. Schnee is the real one.
ER, I think this dovetails with your post the other day questioning why the religious right is so mad when they already control all three branches of government. I think several of your commenters noted that this is really about thought control. We, who don't believe the same things that they do, must be MADE to believe. So it makes sense for them to promote participation in the mass media so that their message is widely spread. It may also surprise you to learn that they are doing the same thing on the legal front. There is a law school, Regent University, that is dedicated to providing "Christian Leadership to Change the World". So year after year, the law school will crank out laywers whose explicit mission is to put God back in the law. Or at least, their version of God.

Another Rant.
I have written this three times, toneing it down each time:
Talking as a guy who has seen his world smeared across the front page of a statewide newspaper everyday for up to six months at a time, and who has made guest apperances by name on the editorial page as the subject of unsigned editorials, it is my view that all journalist and all media are biased.
Historically all newspapers and magazines have a political viewpoint. You can try to tell me that that is kept to the editorial page, and my response will be bullshit. I've seen blood drawn on the front page too many times.
So what?
The American Media is composed of privately owned businesses organized for profit. If they don't like the journalist that a school puts out they won't hire them. So in the end you will have a lot of newly minted christian journalist employed as church secretaries or unemployed all together.
As for the over all bias of the Press, well if you can get away with telling the truth go for it. Sometimes you'll make it. But remember that a half truth told as if it were the whole truth is a lie.
What turns my stomach is the way reporters try and add more to a story than is really there. I’ve seen reporters that carry teddy bears, dolls and other children’s toys in the trunk of their cars to use in a picture or video of a car wreck. Imagine what goes on with bigger world size problems. And who could forget CBS doctoring papers and putting rocket motors in fuel tanks to spark a bigger public outrage.
I think much of the problem is the media claiming not to be biased. It would be better if they admitted their bias. WORLD Magazine, written from a Christian perspective, admits their bias, which is why I think it is such a good magazine. We all write from our bias. So why not admit it up front, instead of hiding behind the lie of being non biased.
Tim, that's where ER's logic/outrage breaks down. Christian (or gay and lesbian groups, for that matter) using their money and media channels to promote their point of view is perfectly fine. The fake example ER gives here, of Christian media hoping to promote Christian journalists, isn't outrageous at all. Nor would it be outrageous if GLAAD or the Human Rights Campaign want to give money to the Gay and Lesbian Journalists Group to further their agenda.

The problem comes when a supposedly "objective" media outfit -- and CNN still claims to be that -- gives money to a group with clear political advocacy goals. The gay journalists group cited in this item, for instance, pushes very aggressively on newsrooms nationwide a "stylebook" filled with their preferred, p.c. terms for things related to "GLBT" issues.

CNN should be neutral on that sort of thing. When it isn't, those who consume its news have every right to point it out.

On another front, ER, I've never understood why it's OK for you, as a Christian, to bellyache and pontificate about all sorts of social and political and media issues, yet you repeatedly seek to deny that right to Focus on the Family. Is your view that only liberal Christians have the right to comment on anything of an issues nature?

I mean, you think Focus (not even Focus, really, but its lobbying arm, Focus Action)has no right to comment on what a media organization like CNN does -- presumably because, as you've indicated in your profile, you're in the media yourself. Well, if it's none of Focus Action's business what the media does, why do you consider it such a huge part of your business to call the waaaaaaah-bumlance over everything Focus on the Family (or Focus Action) does? You don't work in the ministry (or lobbying). Shouldn't that preclude you from expressing opinions on those subjects or groups who engage in those pursuits?

Is that hypocrisy I smell?
The difference between message media (ie, World Magazine) and "unbiased" media is not that "unbiased" media is unbiased. That's just not possible, as some have pointed out.

The difference is that what I'll call the Regular media strives for unbiased reporting. Sometimes to a fault. They have rules in place regarding what they can and can't do. What they can and can't be a member of or take part in. Reporters aren't supposed to editorialize and, believe it or not, editors watch for stuff like that (I've dabbled in the media a very little myself).

Yes, they'll fail and bias will come through, but the regular media is striving for it whereas message media is not, and that is an important difference.

That's why I wouldn't fault World Magazine for a biased story when they DO come out nearly so much as I would Fox News or CNN.
I never once have ever suggested that FOTF doesn't have the *right* to do what it does. I have repeatedly said that I think what FOTF does in the political arena is unChristian -- and sometimes anti-Christian. And that I hate it. FOTF is free to hate me back -- it has hate left over, I'm sure.

If you smell something bad, Nick, it's the stench of the world, coming from FOTF, which still pretends it's a ministry.
BTW, I think it was Dateline NBC that blew up the trucks, and any "reporter" who would do what Anon said is clearly a TV moron -- but I repeat myself -- and I already those bozos in contempt. Any TV person who would doctor an accident scene is a puke who should be shot.
BTW again, it's from a traditional redneck perspective that I have come around on the gay thing:

Leave 'em the hell alone. And leave me and my rooster-fighting buddies alone until what we do affects you directly.

Quit calling it "marriage," which is what churches sanction, and let queers have their dang civil contracts! Why TH not? It's only fair.

And find me where Jesus said a damn thing about constantly attacking and ridiculing one stripe of sinner over any other.
ER said:
"Any TV person who would doctor an accident scene is a puke who should be shot,"

Historical footnote here: all of your most famous Civil War battlefield photographs were "sweetened" by slightly repositioning the body (or bodies), or adding a stategic rifle or pistol into the scene, indeed the photographers carried such props with them so as to have a more artistic and dramatic photograph.

I think I just thought up a new American Jounalist term:
"Waving the Bloody Teddy Bear!"
Consider it copyrighted.
Mathew Brady, et al., lived in a different time, with different standards for journalism.
Oh, Dan, I've spent some postage on Amy entries, too. This rant was not ment to disparage the Amy Foundation. Or People for the American Way. Just Wildmon's bunch and FOTF and its PAC.
Depends on what kind of person the reporter is. Or the photographer reporter. Those of us who went to journalism school have a lot of education in journalism ethics and laws, as well as journalism history. Those of us who take our job seriously report without altering the situation. Even 30 years ago when I was in school, that myth about adding toys (or baby shoes -- that was a big prop in some circles) to a scene was not only discouraged, but considered a firing offense. All of the professionals I have worked with since the mid 1970s would rather cut off a limb than be accused of falsifying a news scene.

We also don't like to receive gifts after we've done a story. I've got a gift certificate which will be going back to the sender this afternoon -- I appreciate that he liked the story, but will not accept gifts for doing my job.
Ok Mr. ER, the next time you see a photo in the newspaper of a close up at ground level of a teddy bear with a bad wreck in the background rethink you're calling it a tv problem. I believe more of what I see on tv than anything a paper could print.
People do have teddy bears in cars with their kids. And if I was sent to shoot a wreck, and there was a teddy bear on the shoulder, your damn right I'd shoot the pic where the teddy bear was in the foreground.

Hell, I drove back and forth in controlled traffic past a bad wreck four times, unable to stop, hanging out my car window as a I drove, to get a shot of rescuers putting a man on a stretcher.

But I didn't put the stretcher, or anything else, into the scene. Just shot what was there.
Friends sent me this just now. Pretty good timing:

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
by the lights of its decor,

But it was the folks in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics, the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet,
so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said He "They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd see you."

Judge NOT.
How bout journalism "wins" one today? Hillary Clinton holds Bush's feet to the fire for not catching Osama one minute, next minute Bush is telling National Guardsman group that he stopped an Al Qaeda plot from flying a plane into a West Coast tower in Los Angeles in 2002. Yeah, right.
Dude, no offense, but you judge people (and organizations) on here all the time. "Righty-rights" is not exactly a nonjudgmental phrase, is it?
I'm not judging their souls, or their relationship with God. That's the kind of judging we're admonished not to do -- and that's what the little poem is talking about. I used to, as you know. No mas.
Besides that, "righty-right" is a description. And, bizarrely, something of a term of ... not affection exactly, but ... something ... said with a resigned a smile. Heck, Poison Pero embraced it and wears it with honor.

Just like I embrace and wear this one:


And, interestingly, it's my righty-right bloggy buddies who have slammed me back over a ways from the center!
On Christian journalism: I don't know World magazine but it would be interesting to track the rise of the Christian Science Monitor to a reasonably respected paper to see how it can be done. Remember that Christian Science wasn't just a sect, but arguably a cult, and the subject of what I think is Mark Twain's longest work: three full volumes of derision.
But Christian Science is neither Christian nor science.

But cultists or not, they put out one hell of a newspaper.

The Moonies don't do too badly with the Washington Times, either.
Christian Science isn't a wasn't either, it's an is.
DT said:
"Yes, they'll fail and bias will come through, but the regular media is striving for it whereas message media is not, and that is an important difference."

How about groups like the Christian Broadcasting Network, who delibertly stage their propaganda with format and props and proticols of a regular news broadcast. I watched CBN show how Tom Delay was a Christian Angel the other day. Had I not known what I was watching, I would have sworn it looked like the network news. Is that not an intentional subtrafuge that needs to be confronted? Lie should there be a little banner at the bottom saying this is not news but propaganda.
Well, actually, the regular media should run dollar signs across the screen, the paper should should put dollar signs on the frotn page.

If it ever ceases to be profitable to run a newspaper, newspapers will disappear. But it's still like having a license to print money, no matter what the ball-less publicly owned media companies say.
Could you say that again, perhaps a little louder, E.R.? The "poor newspapers" side seems to have its volume turned up a little higher.... :-(
An old back-shop boy says, NO, they won't disappear. They will evolve towards the profitable, just like CNN and Fox. The only difference is that Newspapers are slower evolvers, they're sort of the marsupials of the media world. So long as they have a pouch full of advertising what surrounds the advertising is relatively un-important. When I worked as a hot-type make up man 40 years ago, not a single night would go by that the Advertising Department would not bring an Ad in at the last minute and we had to unlocked the chase, pulled a news story of like type size on the desired page and dumped it in the hell box. The reason journalist write their stories the way they do is so that they can be cut from the bottom by some dufas make-up man to make them fit between and among the advertisements. But I'm preaching to the front-shop now.
Of course, we got digital hell boxes now. The ad creeps are forevermore bringing in last-minute ads.
BD,DT, got the hot lead slugs to prove it. Learned to read upside down and backwards to make cuts on the floor in the hot-lead days, a skill younger journalists never heard of.

But more and more, newsrooms are cutting their budgets even as ad revenues rise.

I helped a friend place a paid obit this week. I was SHOCKED at what my paper charged. It was more than the cremation, and I am not kidding.
I used to place employment ads across the U.S. for some of our "more important" positions way back when I worked as a personel director for my old work place. The OKC paper cost more than any other paper except the NYT! No Kidding, swear on the book.
I was trying to get my mind around the concept of a "digital hell box". Strange. I remember when I emptied the hell boxes into the hell cart and took it back to the hell pot where the printers devil would dump it in, melt it down and then pour it into molds and make the lead pigs for the Murgenthaler and the Ludlow. All the dirt and heat and smells of ink cooking off the lead.
And now you push a key on your key board.
Sometimes, I think I've lived too many lives. For some reason today, I just can't let the concept of a "digital hell" into my mind.
In the in the old hell everything got recycled and came back again and again sort of like re-incarnation, now in the digital hell it just disappears off your screen, but not out of your hard drive, or out of the net if you've sent it somewhere. Maybe in the new hell it suffers out there in cyberspace for eternity?
Think about that next time you click that key. Aaurrgghaaa, there it goes.
Hell will be having to read this blog over and over again ... oh, wait .... we're already doing that... there's that Badlands picture come back to the top of the thread again...what is this....Groundhog Day????
I think in the New Technologies, it's technically called "Digital Purgatory."
Maybe the Gay grant was set up to counteract all the misreported “facts” that the Christians have been saying and reporting about gay people since the beginning of time. Maybe someone does need to report that the DSM used to classify homosexuality as a mental disease and that AIDS was blamed on Homosexuals when the vast majority of AIDS cases and deaths are among heterosexuals.

The Christian agenda gets pushed every day of the year, Christians aren't being beaten and killed in this country for being Christians, gay people are killed and attacked for being gay. Apparently the Christians haven't heard the news that gay people are indeed people too and that killing someone is more of a sin than blowing them. So maybe there should be more media coverage on gay society. Up until now it has been the straight people and Christians making the gay issue news. They are the ones who passed amendments to state constitutions and putting ass sex and homosexuality in every 3rd graders vocabulary.

Sure I think it's terrible that a reporter is encouraged to have a biased slant on anything. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, just not their own facts. I don't recall anywhere in the "gay agenda" where they made up lies about homosexuality as Christians have made up lies, and jumped to conclusions and discredited true science based on hearsay and not verifiable facts.
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