Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Newsbusters and the Peanut Farmer

Newsbusters, devoted to exposing and confronting liberal media bias, was predictably incensed at a November segment on the CBS Early Show in which Harry Smith and Julie "Pivot" Chen concluded that Hillary Clinton's appearance at Rick Warren's Saddleback indicated a sea change in evangelical politics. Excerpts:

Furthering the media’s love affair with Hillary Clinton, Friday’s CBS "Early Show" featured a segment on her recent speech at Saddleback Church in Southern California and how Evangelical Christians may be moving to the left in 2008. As co-host Harry Smith wondered at the top of the show, "Hillary Clinton addresses an Evangelical megachurch in California. Is it really possible that the Christian Right could be convinced to turn left?"...

The key issue on which Clinton spoke at the California church was how she would address AIDS as president. As Whitaker described it, "...her message of compassion for AIDS victims was greeted with applause."

Whitaker followed that positive assessment of Clinton’s appearance with the observation that, "White Evangelical voters make up about a quarter of the electorate, and in 2004, fully 78% of them voted Republican." However, Whitaker soon described the possibility of that trend reversing in 2008:

"But the GOP's grip on this crucial block might be loosening...Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church, where Clinton spoke, says fighting AIDS and poverty aren't Democratic issues, they're crucial Christian issues too...Sensing that opening, Democrats are reaching out."

This gave the impression that some how Democrats like Clinton are more committed to fighting AIDS than Republicans, but as co-host Chris Raggie explained in a news brief right before the segment: "And the White House is marking World Aids Day, a huge red ribbon now hangs on the mansion's north portico. President Bush today plans to visit a church in Maryland that helps African children orphaned by AIDS." So why would fighting AIDS be an "opening" for Democrats among the religious right?...

Smith followed up by asking Warren: "Do you think the world has Evangelicals wrong in terms of thinking of Evangelicals as a voting group and voting as a block?" Warren responded:

"They're not a political force. They're a religious force, and they never have been in the corner of just the Religious Right or the Religious Left or anywhere else. And every time you try to define us by political terms, you totally miss the point. It's not about politics, it's about something much bigger than that."

Yes, that’s why Warren has invited political candidates into his church, to show how non-political it is.

It seems, however, that Newsbuster's analysis of history was written by TechCrunch. Newsbusters talks about Republican AIDS ribbons, the black Democratic electorate, and everything but "the religious right." I fear what Newsbusters would say if a major network made some type of statement about the first born-again President. Would such a statement reek of liberal bias? Here's what a major media outlet declared in 2005:

Former President Jimmy Carter may be one of the best-known evangelical Christians in the country. Since his term in the White House, Mr. Carter has founded the Peace Center and helped to build hundreds of houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Can you see the righteous indignation of Newsbusters at the statement above? The inherent bias at identifying Carter as "one of the best-known evangelical Christians" and completely ignoring Republican evangelicals? Singling Carter out for his Habitat for Humanity work, and completely ignoring what other evangelicals do?

Unfortunately for Newsbusters, the statement above was made by Brit Hume on Fox.

Danged Commie.

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