Unfair & Unbalanced

As regulars readers of this blog know, one of my principal concerns is the manner in which the news media present—or fail to present—stories. A twin concern is the entertainment media, with its subtle undermining of Biblical morality in its programming. There are also times when the mainstream news media act almost like entertainment media. When it’s hard to tell the difference, you know we’re in deep trouble.

The events of last week with the Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent chase and investigation of the bombers gave the media an opportunity to redeem itself. With the exception of Fox News, it failed miserably. If you followed closely what was proclaimed on many of the networks, you heard a variety of commentators practically falling over themselves in hopes that the bombers would prove to be angry Tea Partiers. The worst offender, naturally, was MSNBC, with Chris Matthews, as usual, leading the way. Disappointment reigned supreme when the bombers were revealed to be Muslims with ties to radical groups, perhaps even Al Qaeda. The networks’ theme was destroyed.

They also were adept at their other primary tasks:

Sometimes it could get rather comical, despite the seriousness of the story:

Meanwhile, the other massacre that should have held our attention remained in the deep background:

After all, in the view of the mainstream press, some stories really aren’t stories at all, particularly when they challenge their ideology:

If you still expect fair and balanced reporting from any of the major networks besides Fox, you’re living in a fantasy world.

Passing Thoughts

There are just too many stories this morning, so I’ll offer some passing thoughts on a number of them. We have to begin with the Boston Marathon bombings.

  • Unlike many of the liberal news anchors [forgive the redundancy], we need to withhold our speculations on who is responsible for the attacks that killed at least three. There is no need to rush into accusations. Wait and see where the evidence leads.
  • Apparently, all the pressure on the media to cover the Kermit Gosnell trial is working. For the first time, reporters from the major networks and newspapers have decided to watch the proceedings. That, by itself, is only half the battle; the second half is ensuring what they report is not skewed.

  • In their heart of hearts, they’d rather be elsewhere, reporting on what they consider to be the breaking news stories of the day:

  • Speaking of the media, we now know that there is no such thing as an illegal immigrant:

  • On the healthcare front, it seems Obamacare’s true nature is being revealed—by its own supporters and those responsible for carrying it out:

  • Then there’s the budget President Obama has presented, increasing the debt annually forever and ever. Amen. It even calls for all four-year-olds to be enrolled in school. Hey, it’s never too early to make the government one’s real family. Even though his new budget is a monstrosity, he continues to make ludicrous statements about his bipartisanship:

  • Fortunately for us, his new budget is getting the same reception his previous ones received:

  • I began with the Boston Marathon; I’ll end with it: May those who lost family and/or friends in this terrorist act find their true solace in the love of God displayed through His Son. May those who were injured in the blasts turn to the only One who can provide healing, both physically and spiritually, and comfort. May those in the vicinity of the tragedy who escaped serious injury come to the recognition of their mortality and how they might have to face eternity at any time, and may they turn from their selfishness and turn toward the Cross and the Empty Tomb. May those who were there and already know the reality of repentance and forgiveness, be God’s arms and hands in the midst of this turmoil.

Benghazi: The Facts as We Now Know Them

Most people, I’m sure, had never heard of Benghazi, Libya, until last month. But on September 11, 2012—the date of which was not coincidental—it became the latest scene of Islamic terrorism against the United States. Nearly seven weeks later, we are still discovering the details of what occurred, and with every new detail, the Obama administration’s response to it looks increasingly worse.

What do we now know? I’ll try to summarize.

  • The consulate came under attack shortly after 9:30 p.m.
  • There was no demonstration beforehand that got out of control; rather, this was a well-planned act of terrorism
  • No internet trailer for a video was the spark; it was designed to occur on the anniversary of 9/11/01 to show the ongoing hatred the Islamic radicals have for America
  • There were Al Qaeda elements involved with it; they probably were the masterminds
  • The White House, and President Obama personally, were monitoring what occurred via drone pictures, so they had real-time information
  • Not only did they have the drone to help see what was happening, but there were reports coming in from the ground at the scene of the attack
  • Three times personnel requested aid, knowing they were in a precarious situation
  • Three times that aid was denied even though it could have been sent in a timely manner since this attack continued for seven hours
  • As a result of the lack of aid, four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, were killed
  • Two of those who later died first defied the direct order to “stand down,” and staged a heroic rescue of consulate personnel, taking them from the consulate to the annex a mile away, saving the lives of those personnel

Incredibly, the American government watched while these people risked their lives and did absolutely nothing to help them. We were then treated to at least two weeks of misinformation about the entire episode, with White House spokesperson Jay Carney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Obama himself continuing to claim that this was in response to that video trailer. They knew for a fact the video was not the real cause for this attack. In the real world, we call that lying.

Even as late as September 25th, during his speech at the UN, Obama referred to the video six times while studiously avoiding calling it an act of terror. As the truth has leaked out, the administration has slowly, and painfully, backtracked on that scenario, but it has been a reluctant backtrack.

The big question has been “Why was the administration so adamant that this was not a pre-planned attack?” The best answer has to do with the campaign for reelection. The Obama team, knowing it has a losing hand on the economy, desperately needed a “win” in the foreign policy field. Their convention trumpeted the killing Osama bin Laden and the “fact” that Al Qaeda had been defeated. To admit Benghazi was a successful attack orchestrated by Al Qaeda would undermine their assertions and give them nothing positive to proclaim on the campaign trail. It would also destroy The One’s credibility even more.

Now they find themselves in an awkward situation, and they are going to have to depend more than ever on their biggest supporter to overcome this “bump in the road”: the media.

Obama can always count on the mainstream media to hide the truth from the public. The only—and I mean only—news organization that is digging up the truth on Benghazi has been Fox. All the other news outlets have given this episode only scant mention. Well, let me modify that. They were giving it good attention as long as the video was the centerpiece. Now that it appears this is a coverup of gargantuan proportions, they have shown little interest. On those few occasions when Obama allows any reporter to ask him questions, no one in the mainstream media feels any duty to press him on the Libya fiasco. He’s getting, as usual, a free pass.

In the midst of this “fog of reporting,” only the very brave few have ventured to lay the blame where it belongs. It’s always the president’s call as to when to send in the military to help. The night of this attack, President Obama was fully aware of what was transpiring, but he was the one who ultimately decided not to provide the aid that was required. He must shoulder the blame for those deaths because they could have been avoided. Yet he will never take real responsibility for his actions. Why do I know that? Because he never has for the last four years—for anything. It’s a pattern in his life. In his upside-down perspective, others are always to blame for whatever goes wrong; he is guiltless.

Obama’s very polished at manifesting faux outrage whenever anyone questions his actions [remember his well-practiced response on Libya in the second debate?], but the truth will eventually win out in this instance. Despite the media near-blackout, the word is spreading, and it can’t help but have an effect on the final vote one week from tomorrow.

A Meditation on Disinformation, Taking Responsibility, & Apologies

Polling since the second debate has been fascinating. While every “snap” poll gave the overall debate to Obama by small margins, those same polls show that Romney won in basically every category, from how to handle the economy to taxes to security. In some cases, the numbers weren’t even close. How then did Obama gain a “victory” when the particulars show differently? It all comes down to perceptions. Since he was aggressive, he won points for that, but it seems the voters don’t really believe he has any solutions.

If not for the Libya stumble at the debate, the overall number might have been different. Romney didn’t handle that question well, focusing as he did on the president’s Rose Garden statement when he should have stuck exclusively to the trail of evidence from September 11 through the  couple of weeks that followed the terrorist attack. Of course, it is increasingly clear that Obama had some inside help from the moderator, Candy Crowley:

No moderator should ever interrupt a candidate with a presumed “fact check,” particularly when the fact check is inaccurate itself. Crowley as much as admitted afterward that Romney was essentially correct in his statement that Obama never specifically acknowledged the Libyan murders to be a terrorist act. He spoke about acts of terror in general, but the main thrust of his statement that day was on the so-called provocation of the anti-Muslim video on the internet. He continued to spread that disinformation for at least two weeks, culminating in his UN speech on September 25.

After the debate, Obama went up to the man who raised the question of the security status at the Libyan consulate and told him that the reason he didn’t call it terrorism from the start—which, by the way, reversed what he said in the debate—was that he wanted to get all the facts first, and that he was sensitive to not spreading disinformation. Huh? From September 11 through at least September 25, he was the master of disinformation. Even now, he has found it difficult to boldly declare the event a terrorist attack. This is reminiscent of the way he handled the Ft. Hood massacre. Anytime there’s evidence of Islamic radicalism behind an act, he instinctively recoils from “pre-judging.”

Did anyone notice that he never really answered the question the man asked him at the debate? It had to do with the lack of security at the consulate on the president’s watch. Obama avoided addressing that directly, and then when Romney critiqued him for the security lapse, the president’s rejoinder was to become indignant and deliver a “how dare you accuse me of not caring about our embassy personnel” diatribe. It was a forceful statement, to be sure. It was also devoid of any facts to back up his indignation. He chose bluster over substance.

The question remains: why was security so lax?

Hope can only go so far.

Finally, just prior to the debate, someone stepped up and took responsibility, at least technically.

Quite conveniently, Hillary Clinton said she was accountable for the security problem, not the president. I do agree that it was her task to look out for the safety of our diplomatic personnel, but whose orders was she following? It’s always nice when underlings take the entire blame, but it never relieves the one in charge of ultimate responsibility no matter how much he may want to pawn it off on others.

I suggest that President Obama now undertake another apology tour, only this time it should be directed to those who actually are owed an apology:

We apologize also, Mr. President. Please forgive us for putting someone in the highest office in this land who combines a radical ideology with massive incompetence. You weren’t qualified for the job you now hold and we are responsible for placing you there. On November 6, we would like to deliver that apology to you in person—on a massive scale.

Those Persistent Libya Questions

The Libya questions won’t go away, and for good reason. The timeline has gone something like this:

Shortly after our consulate was attacked with rather sophisticated weaponry, the administration’s line was that this was a spontaneous protest fueled by an obscure video trailer for a movie about Mohammed. All the blame was focused on that movie, and there was even some comment that it was a shame we couldn’t clamp down on such people because our First Amendment right of free speech got in the way:

Then that explanation began to unravel. Cameras on the scene revealed there was no spontaneous demonstration that morphed into an attack; rather, it was a full-scale, prepared act of terrorism. The administration tried to deflect attention away from the date of this act—September 11. No, they said, it was not done to commemorate September 11, 2001. And, by the way, we have taken Al Qaeda out of the picture. Bin Laden is dead; the organization has lost its teeth. At least that was the brave face put on it, as the Obama team didn’t want their candidate to appear impotent during his reelection campaign. However, that theme also began to fray at the edges when it became more obvious that Al Qaeda was indeed behind the attack, followed by the revelation that the people on the ground in Libya had repeatedly sought more security and had their request just as repeatedly denied. The intel was indicating that something was brewing, but the administration ignored the looming threat.

Hope that things would change was not enough. There was one thing that did change, though.

During presidential campaigns, we have gotten used to what the analysts have called “The October Surprise,” where one candidate comes up with something at the last moment to bolster his chances. The opposite seems to be happening this time around:

The latest installment in this tragic drama was the statement by Vice President Biden in last week’s debate when he said “we” had no knowledge of those requests for added security. The spin since then is that when he said “we,” he meant he and Obama hadn’t been informed about it. All the Obama people are now throwing the State Department—and by inference, Hillary Clinton—under the very familiar Obama bus, where others have been thrown in the last four years whenever anything threatened to expose the man at the top as ideologically radical, uninformed, or incompetent.

First, I don’t accept that definition of “we.” In context, it seemed pretty clear Biden was talking about the administration as a whole. For him to say nobody knew about the security request is ludicrous. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say the White House, per se, had not been informed. Why not? Why was the president and his national security team in the dark about this? What does it say about the nation’s leadership? What does it say about a president who has failed to attend nearly 60% of his daily intel briefings and who, on the very day the attacks were carried out and our ambassador was slain, flew to Las Vegas to meet with the Beautiful People for a fundraiser? Is this man even thinking about his day job?

Consequently, the administration has found itself in an unusual position: the press—or some of them, at least—are finally doing what the press is supposed to be doing—asking the right questions.

Since they’re not used to being held accountable for either their words or their actions, they seem more than a little befuddled as to how to respond. May I suggest a novel approach? How about telling the truth?

9/11 & the Two Visions of America

Can anything new be said on the anniversary of 9/11? Maybe we don’t need to hear anything new; perhaps we just need to be reminded that there are those out there who hate us. However, what is meant by “us?” America, you say? Yes, in the abstract, but what comprises America anymore? Do I with my Biblical worldview represent the true America, or do Planned Parenthood—as one example—and Barack Obama constitute the real America?

On 9/11, eleven years ago today, members of Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang together. At the moment, I can’t recall if they sang “America the Beautiful” or “My Country Tis of Thee” or another similar tune. That specific memory eludes me. But sing they did, although some commentators noted that the Republicans seemed to be leading it and a good number of the Democrats looked reluctant to add their voices to the chorus. What a wonderful image it presented: a united nation.

But it was a false image.

It played well for the camera, but the camaraderie was short-lived. The chasm between two very different visions of America is too deep and wide to be bridged for long, even with a common enemy. After the initial shock of the attack, the progressive visionaries began to downplay the severity of the terrorist threat. They even began seeing in their minds’ eye, though not in reality, a kind of pogrom instituted against Muslims in the U.S. All of a sudden, we were the problem, not them. We weren’t sensitive enough to the way they had been treated; we had brought this on ourselves.

That vision of an America that was too big for its britches, and that needed to be slapped down, clashed with the other vision—that of an America that, while often making mistakes in foreign relations, nevertheless had attempted to do the best for others most of the time. It’s the vision of an America that has helped rid the world of truly evil dictators and totalitarian movements such as communism. It’s the vision of an America that retains basic moral values stemming from its faith in God.

These two visions cannot mesh; they are too opposed to each other.

For too long, we have tried to ignore this massive chasm and assured ourselves that we are all Americans who will pull together despite our differences. We need to face reality.

There is no real external union without internal unity.

These two separate visions of America stem from two contrasting worldviews. One is Biblical and God-centered, while the other is secular and man-centered:

  • Beliefs are different on both sides of this divide
  • Purposes/goals are not the same
  • Christian morality battles humanistic immorality
  • One holds to the sacredness of life while the other aborts it
  • One supports traditional marriage and the family while the other redefines sexuality and the very nature of marriage
  • Limited government and constitutionalism inspire the one, whereas a socialistic welfare state is the dream of those who would transform our society and make it into something neither God nor the Founders ever desired

It would be a fascinating object lesson to be able to separate these two groups and let them have their way completely—two entirely distinct nations with two distinct worldviews—and then compare the results. One would go the way of every socialist/communist experiment that has ever been tried, while the other would be an energetic, thriving society where innocent children would be safe in their mothers’ wombs, the family structure would dominate, Biblical morality would be enacted into law, and the government would not be overseeing all aspects of one’s life.

But that won’t happen; we cannot separate the two; we have to make it work somehow the way it is.

What have we learned, eleven years later? Unfortunately, we’ve learned we are not really one people. We are not united. Our foundations are crumbling and we are in danger of turning our backs on the God who gave us life and liberty. If we choose that path, we are lost.

God didn’t make 9/11 happen. It was the brainchild of perverted individuals. Yet when sin abounds, He seeks to use the consequences to get our attention. He will use every circumstance to try to reach into a people’s hearts and lead them to repentance. By all means, may we never forget what happened on 9/11, and may we honor those who displayed great courage on that day. But the best way to honor them is to return to the truth, and to the One who is Truth. That is our only hope.

The Multicultural Fallacy

Over the past few months, I’ve shared some insights from Mark Steyn’s indispensable book America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. Let me wrap up that sharing with some thoughts from his concluding chapter.

Steyn’s main thesis is that the West is losing its culture and is bowing before an ascendant Islam, which will destroy the West if it’s not challenged. At the root of the problem is the new devotion to multiculturalism. While it may sound nice on the surface, one need only peer just beneath that surface to see the rot on which this philosophy is built. Consider this historical example:

In a culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee”—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Steyn declares that “non-judgmental multiculturalism is an obvious fraud,” and he is correct. From a Biblical understanding of the world, one must make moral judgments. If we don’t, we will face disaster:

But if you think you genuinely believe that suttee is just an example of the rich, vibrant tapestry of indigenous cultures, you ought to consider what your pleasant suburb would be like if 25, 30, 48 percent of the people around you really believed in it too. Multiculturalism was conceived by the Western elites not to celebrate all cultures but to deny their own: it is, thus, the real suicide bomb.

How does this apply to the Islamic threat? Steyn explains:

After September 11, the first reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, so did the Prince of Wales, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, the prime minister of Canada and many more. And, when the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died away, you couldn’t help feeling that this would strike almost any previous society as, well, bizarre. Pearl Harbor’s been attacked? Quick, order some sushi and get me into a matinee of Madam Butterfly! Seeking to reassure the co-religionists of those who attack you that you do not regard them all as the enemy is a worthy aim but a curious first priority. And, given that more than a few of the imams in those mosque photo-ops turned out to be at best equivocal on the matter of Islamic terrorism and at worst somewhat enthusiastic supporters of it, it involved way too much self-deception on our part.

Although the following comments are not Steyn’s final ones in the book, they serve admirably as final ones for this blog:

At the heart of multiculturalism is a lie: that all cultures are equally “valid.” To accept that proposition means denying reality—the reality of any objective measure of human freedom, societal health, and global population movement. Multiculturalism is not the first ideology founded on the denial of truth. You’ll recall Hermann Goering’s memorable assertion that “two plus two makes five if the Fuhrer wills it.” Likewise, we’re asked to accept that the United States Constitution was modeled on the principles of the Iroquois Confederation—if a generation of multiculti-theorists, the ethnic grievance lobby, and even a ludicrous resolution of the United States Congress so wills it.

Still, it’s harmless, isn’t it? What’s wrong with playing make-believe if it helps us all feel warm and fuzzy about each other?

Well, because it’s never helpful to put reality up for grabs. There may come a day when you need it.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to do so.