BBC Election Coverage Features Derisive George Bush Impersonator --5/6/2005
2. Apple: Religious See NYT and WPost as "Arms of Democratic Party"
The BBC's idea of humor during its live election coverage on Thursday night: Bring aboard an impersonator of President George W. Bush to mispronounce names, confuse titles and terms and advocate Florida-style vote fraud. At about 7:10pm EDT during the live coverage carried on C-SPAN2, BBC went to a party at "Television Centre" where "George W. Bush" proceeded to tell a BBC host: "You're in Londonchester, Ohio, while you're having your general electrician while you try and find your new Prime Sinister, and I just wanted to pitch in with my people and wish my staunch ally, Barry Blair, a bunch of luck, him and his Chandelier of the Exchequer, Charlie Brown." The Bush character soon referred to "Michael Howard, the Duck from the Convertible Party" and urged: "If you don't get the result you want, keep counting the ballots until you do get it, and, you know, this is Britain, this is like the United States of Britainland. I mean, it's only about as big as Florida..."
About an hour earlier, the BBC had featured an impersonator of Tony Blair who played him as an elitist snob.
Both sessions took place in a noisy and crowded room with the BBC's Natasha Kaplinsky conducting the mock interviews.
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the appearance, at about 7:10 EDT/12:10am BST, from the pretty poor Bush impersonator, and the MRC's Brad Wilmouth went back to take it down:
Natasha Kaplinsky: "The party is in full swing here at Television Centre with some extraordinary guests turning up. We were speaking to the Prime Minister early on. Well, President Bush has turned up, no less. Can you believe it? President, we are truly honored to have you with us this evening."
Check the posted version of this CyberAlert for a still shot of Kaplinsky with the Bush impersonator.
In a May 4 Washington Post op-ed, "When Columnists Cry 'Jihad,'" former New York Times reporter John McCandlish Phillips, who recalled that "I was the only evangelical Christian among some 275 news and editorial employees," charged that "in more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers [Times and Washington Post] in the past 40 days." Asked about the allegation that night on MSNBC's Hardball, New York Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple conceded to Chris Matthews: "I think both papers tend to be secular in their approach. Yes, I do. They serve largely secular audiences" and "like it or not, religious people, particularly in the Midwest, the mountain states, and the south, think that the Democratic Party is anti-religious. And, of course, they consider the New York Times and the Washington Post as arms of the Democratic Party."
Back in late March on CNN's Reliable Sources, Steve Roberts, who noted how he "worked for the New York Times for 25 years," revealed: "I could probably count on one hand, in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, people who would describe themselves as people of faith." That disconnect hurt the media, Roberts suggested, in how "there was so much attention...on the rockers and the sports celebrities who were registering voters." Roberts asked: "And how many stories did we see about that compared to the pastors and churches in Ohio who were registered ten times as many voters?" For more, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
I have been looking at myself, and millions of my brethren, fellow evangelicals along with traditional Catholics, in a ghastly arcade mirror lately -- courtesy of this newspaper and the New York Times. Readers have been assured, among other dreadful things, that we are living in "a theocracy" and that this theocratic federal state has reached the dire level of -- hold your breath -- a "jihad."
In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market.
I come at this with an insider/outsider vantage and with real affection for many of those engaged in this enterprise. When the Times put me on its reporting staff, I was the only evangelical Christian among some 275 news and editorial employees, and certainly the only one who kept a leather-bound Bible on his desk....
The opening salvo of the heavy rhetorical artillery to which I object came in on March 24, when Maureen Dowd started her column in the Times with the declaration "Oh my God, we really are in a theocracy." While satiric, as always with the ever-so-readable columnist, it was not designed to be taken lightly....
Three days later Frank Rich, an often acute, broadly knowledgeable and witty cultural observer, sweepingly informed us that, under the effects of "the God racket" as now pursued in Washington, "government, culture, science, medicine and the rule of law are all under threat from an emboldened religious minority out to remake America according to its dogma." He went on to tell Times readers that GOP zealots in Congress and the White House have edged our country over into "a full-scale jihad." If Rich were to have the misfortune to live for one week in a genuine jihad, and the unlikely fortune to survive it, he would temper his categorization of the perceived President Bush-driven jihad by a minimum of 77 percent. If any "emboldened minority" is aiming to "remake America according to its dogma," it seems to many evangelicals and Catholics that it is the vanguard wanting, say, the compact of marriage to be stretched in its historic definition to include men cohabiting with men and women with women. That is, in terms of the history of this nation, a most pronounced and revolutionary novelty.
From March 24 through April 23 (when The Post twinned Colbert I. King's "Hijacking Christianity" with Paul Gaston's "Smearing Christian Judges"), I counted 13 opinion columns of similarly alarmist tone aimed at us on the Christian right: two more in The Post by the generally amiable and highly communicative Richard Cohen headlined "Backward Evolution" and "Faith-Based Pandering"; one by his colleague, the urbane Eugene Robinson, "Art vs. the Church Lady" (lamenting that "the pall of religiosity hanging over the city was reaching gas-mask stage"); and three by Dowd, two by Paul Krugman and three by Rich in the Times.
In "What's Going On" [March 29], Krugman darkly implied that some committed religious believers in our nation bear a menacing resemblance to Islamic extremists, by which he did not mean a few crazed crackpots but a quite broad swath of red-staters. In "An Academic Question" [April 5], Krugman, conceding the wide majority of secular liberals over conservatives on the faculties of our major universities, had the supreme chutzpah to tell us why: The former, unfettered by presuppositions of faith, are free to commit genuine investigative work and to reach valid scholarly conclusions, while the latter are disabled in that critical respect by their unprovable prior assumptions. So they are disqualified as a class from the university enterprise by their unfortunate susceptibility to the God hypothesis.
Yet most of what became the great East Coast universities (Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia and Yale among them) were, in cold fact, founded by men of faith and prayer for purposes that were informed and motivated by explicitly biblical principles....
In the long journey from the matchless moment when I became "born again" and encountered the risen and living Christ, I have met hundreds of evangelicals and a good many practicing Catholics and have found them to be of reasonable temperament, often enough of impressive accomplishment, certainly not a menace to the republic, unless, of course, the very fact of faith seriously held is thought to make them just that....
END of Excerpt
For the op-ed in full: www.washingtonpost.com
For a picture of Phillips: www.worldji.com
R.W. "Johnny" Apple, a veteran of the paper's Washington bureau where he served as bureau chief, came aboard MSNBC's Hardball on Wednesday night to plug his new book, Apple's America: The Discriminating Traveler's Guide to 40 Great Cities in the United States and Canada.
Host Chris Matthews raised with him the Phillips op-ed and the MRC's Geoff Dickens took down the exchange:
Matthews: "Let me talk about your newspaper. Today, in the Washington Post, somebody unloaded on the New York Times, said, his name is John McCandlish Phillips. He said your paper, and he used to work there, is anti-Christian, anti-evangelical, anti-conservative Catholic, the paper itself is."
Amazon's page for Apple's book: www.amazon.com
-- February 2, 2005 CyberAlert: A September 4, 1967 New York Times story headlined, "U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror," is gaining momentum as the favorite anecdote of liberal journalists interested in undermining any good feelings about the election in Iraq. On Thursday's Imus in the Morning, prompted by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple asserted: "I was struck by the similarity between the euphoric reaction in Washington after the elections there [Vietnam] in 1967 and the euphoric reactions to the elections in Iraq. I'll just read you one, the lead paragraph of a piece from that year in the Times..." MSNBC's Keith Olbermann read the same passage Thursday night on Countdown. George Stephanopoulos had opened Monday's Nightline by showcasing the vintage news article. For more, including a picture of Apple: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker