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Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

5 Things About the Hobby Lobby Ruling

I ran across this report earlier today.

I’ve seen some bad reporting over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article that seems to be deliberately designed to make people more ignorant.

Let’s look at a few points:

1. If you work at certain types of for-profit companies, they no longer have to cover the cost of any contraception that they say violates their religious beliefs

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) requires most health insurance plans to cover birth control without cost-sharing. Without healthcare coverage, the pill can cost about $25 a month and an IUD (intrauterine device) can cost up to $900 (though it’s inserted once and lasts up to 12 years).

So my first observation is that they all but admit that this is about saving a measly $25 per month at worst. And there’s the elephant in the room that this is covering something that anywhere else would not be an insurance item.

They also tacitly admit that there was only 4 of the 20 methods covered. So really, it’s hard to see this being a very serious sort of issue. They also start out by talking about the Pill, giving the impression that that is one of the methods removed – but it’s not.

2. All three female Justices dissented, arguing that this ruling limits women’s rights

All of the women on the court are liberals. The liberals voted for less religious liberty, and only one of them is a man. Apparently (since this article is aimed at women) it’s important that you know that all the women on the court were rooting for you. Or something.

Then there’s this quote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer (the only male justice who dissented). “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage,” Ginsberg wrote

Here’s the thing about that. It’s complete nonsense.

It is not even remotely true. It is literally impossible for one simple reason: this decision has given employers of any sort precisely no, zero, zilch rights to determine what pharmaceuticals and employee might buy. That’s not a right employers have ever had, sought, or wanted, even in their wildest dreams.

Yet, that claim not only appears in a media report, but a supreme court decision.

3. The ruling may depress use of IUDs at some privately held corporations that deem it a form of emergency contraception

This is where we really get into the weird zone. I mean, who cared about the IUD use rate at privately held corporations? Seriously, that’s a really weird thing to say.

Now, it would be more useful to say, “this will reduce the use of this really effective method”. And they do try to say that… sort of.

But note this:

The IUD can also be used as emergency contraception if it is inserted five days after intercourse, hence the Hobby Lobby’s objection to it and not birth control pills.

That’s about as good an example of what the article does all the way through: skirts the core issue that this ruling is about abortifacients. Seriously, the word never appears yet that was the entire ethical objection that the court case was about.

4. Women’s rights groups are angry because they see the ruling as a loss of autonomy for women

Feminists don’t like this? Gee, who knew.

See what I mean about making people more ignorant?

Oh, and did you notice that having someone else pay for your birth control somehow = more autonomy. Feminism, gotta love it. (Seriously, you have to, it’s in the rules of modern liberalism.)

In fact, this point is so idiotic, it required detailed fisking.

Some women’s rights advocates have taken the argument even further than Ginsburg did. Up until this point the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been interpreted as a protection for individuals’ religious practices—not those of corporations. The Supreme Court just said that these protections also extend to for-profit companies,

Bzzzt. Wrong. It ruled that when you have a closely-held company, forcing a company to do something is forcing an individual (or a small group of individuals) to do something.

but didn’t protect a woman’s right to choose her method of birth control.

Bzzzt. Wrong. As pointed out above, this ruling says precisely nothing about that. It’s about who pays for it.

Thus, many critics argue, the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people, but women are not.

They may even honestly believe that. But I doubt it – I mean, they’re not that stupid, aren’t they?

Women’s rights groups say restricting insurance coverage for some types of contraception, or making coverage more difficult to obtain, undermines access to birth control in general and point to studies that have shown that offering greater access to contraception—rather than restricting it—leads to fewer unintended pregnancies and thus reduces the number of abortions by 75 percent annually.

That’s a true statement, they do say that. They also say that women are more autonomous when given $25/month worth of pills by their employer. Did I mention that? Yep… ok, just checking.

5. Under the ruling, some corporations could attempt to refuse coverage for other, non-contraceptive medications and procedures citing their religious beliefs

But even the people who wrote this admit almost immediately that it’s a bogus claim:

In the majority opinion written by Justice Alito, he specifies that the ruling applies only to the contraceptive mandate, and states that it should not be understood to include to other insurance mandates, like those for blood transfusions or vaccinations.

Fact is, if something else comes up, it’ll go through the courts again.

So there you have it. A report that never actually talks about the key issue, grossly insults women, tells incredibly silly lies, and then tells us about the most obvious thing ever written.

Modern journalism – gotta love it.

 (See also this post at Patterico)


If you opposed Bush on imaginary grounds, you were a patriot.

Watch as MSNBC tries to cover for Obama’s IRS scandal. The left have used Obama’s skin colour as a weapon before, but it’s usually not anything like this this naked.

Thing is, during the Bush years, there were a lot of fears floating around about how him seizing power and such. All but a few of these were completely baseless, held up only by vivid imaginations.

On the other hand, when you have a situation like the IRS scandal, where the government persecuted members of the public who happened to oppose the president, you get this sort of response.

News Organisations screw up sometimes

Just a quick reminder that every time you see something like this, there’s always things like this.

Newsrooms are staffed with people, and people make mistakes. Just because you can spot a mistake in a news service you don’t like, doesn’t mean they’re not a news service and doesn’t mean others don’t make the same sorts of errors.

Obama’s war on journalism

This is absolutely, utterly incredible.

The Washington Post has today revealed that the Obama administration has been spying on a Fox news journalist.

The Kim case began in June 2009, when Rosen reported that U.S. intelligence officials were warning that North Korea was likely to respond to United Nations sanctions with more nuclear tests. The CIA had learned the information, Rosen wrote, from sources inside North Korea.

The story was published online the same day that a top-secret report was made available to a small circle within the intelligence community — including Kim, who at the time was a State Department arms expert with security clearance.

So he Mr Rosen got the “inside goss”. Classified yes, but not particularly earth-shattering.

The Administration’s response? They went to court.

Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target.

Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a “covert communications plan” and quoted from an e-mail exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information.

In case you missed it, the US government went to court and told that court that a journalist was in breach of the law, for doing his job.

This is bad for Obama. A lot of news outlets hate Fox for various reasons, but they’re not so blinded that they can’t work out that the administration is completely out of control.

I think there might be a little more of a critical eye on the president from now on.

Obama Caught Out – this is huge (or should be)

By all rights, this should have a major impact on Obama’s re-election.

But that assumes the media are interested, and let’s face it, they are activly not interested in holding Obama to any sort of reasonable standard.

The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event.

I think a lot of people who hated George W Bush did so origionally because of his accent. Obama knows this full well, and hence makes sure he talks more properly. But in the video, he drops that.

Obama gave the speech in the middle of a hotly-contested presidential primary season, but his remarks escaped scrutiny. Reporters in the room seem to have missed or ignored his most controversial statements. The liberal blogger Andrew Sullivan linked to what he described as a “transcript” of the speech, which turned out not to be a transcript at all, but instead the prepared remarks provided by the campaign. In fact, Obama, who was not using a teleprompter, deviated from his script repeatedly and at length, ad libbing lines that he does not appear to have used before any other audience during his presidential run. A local newspaper posted a series of video clips of the speech, but left out key portions. No complete video of the Hampton speech was widely released.
The media knew about this, but ignored it. Not exactly suprising, given the media also covered up for Hillary after Bill Clinton had (another) affair while she was running for president.

Obama begins his address with “a special shout out” to Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago pastor who nearly derailed Obama’s campaign months later when his sermons attacking Israel and America and accusing the U.S. government of “inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color” became public. To the audience at Hampton, Obama describes Wright as, “my pastor, the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He’s a friend and a great leader. Not just in Chicago, but all across the country.”

By the time Obama appeared at Hampton, Jeremiah Wright had become a political problem. Wright told The New York Times earlier that year that he would no longer be speaking on the campaign’s behalf because his rhetoric was considered too militant. And yet later in the Hampton speech Obama explicitly defends Wright from unnamed critics, a group he describes as “they”: “They had stories about Trinity United Church of Christ, because we talked about black people in church: ‘Oh, that might be a separatist church,’” Obama said mockingly.

Wright was about the only thing the media investigated on Obama. But it’s clear now that not all the media were interested in fully reporting what was going on.

It’s a remarkable moment, and not just for its resemblance to Kayne West’s famous claim that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” but also because of its basic dishonesty. By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11.

Moreover, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.

As a sitting United States Senator, Obama must have been aware of this. And yet he spent 36 minutes at the pulpit telling a mostly black audience that the U.S. government doesn’t like them because they’re black.

Politicans telling big fat lies to friendly audiences is not a new thing. The media deliberatly turning a blind eye… I’m guessing that happens a lot less – and almost never if you’re on the right.

But he was also playing to the ignorance of his audience. Most people were aware that the Bush administration was trucking obscene amounts of money into Katrina hit areas – small government conservatives were livid about it

In the prepared version distributed to reporters, Obama’s speech ends this way:
“America is going to survive. We won’t forget where we came from. We won’t forget what happened 19 months ago, 15 years ago, thousands of years ago.”

That’s not what he actually said. Before the audience at Hampton, Obama ends his speech this way:

“America will survive. Just like black folks will survive. We won’t forget where we came from. We won’t forget what happened 19 months ago, or 15 years ago, or 300 years ago.”

Three hundred years ago. It’s a reference the audience understood.

The Daily Caller (who is breaking the story) have also got a story on the media response. basically, many members of the media were already claiming there was nothing to it before the story was even published.

Which means that they’re not going to report it.

A few weeks ago, we had the respective party’s conventions. At one, a couple of racist idiots got kicked out for saying something racist. This generated thousands of news articles (though not one from Fox news as far as I can tell – which is something they should be ashamed of).  One Julia Rodriguez stated she would like to kill the opposing candidate (and that’s only one example). That little outburst (and watch the video – she really meant it) generated barely a blip on the radar. I searched Google News the day after it became news, and got a mere handful of mentions. I can’t even find if she was disciplined, I assume not.

(MSNBC and CNN news sites give no hits on a search for her name.)

Let’s see if this story get the same treatment.

New Evidence Suggests that Someone Wrote “Jesus” and “Wife” on the same bit of papyrus in the 4th century

Glenn’s got this one covered. I’ll pull out a few quotes.

In a statement released by Harvard University, Professor Karen King says “Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim,” This appears to be a strange reversal of duty. If anyone wishes to claim that there was a woman who was married to Jesus, surely it is they who would need to provide “reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim.” What is more, the fact that all the biographical material written about Jesus, right up to this scrap in the fourth century, no not include references to him having a wife is a significant fact. Given the reverence shown in many parts of the Christian world, even from an early time, to the mother of Jesus, the natural expectation we should have is that if Jesus had been married, his wife would have been singled out as an especially important person. But the reality is that none of the accounts of the life of Jesus that we have even make reference to such a person existing – until this snippet appeared, dating from the fourth century.

The Gnostic heresy is pretty well documented, so the fact that there’s a bit of papyrus from thte 4th century is one big yawn.

The Huffington Post (no surprises there) called the discovery “shocking,” although who is actually shocked is anyone’s guess. Massaging the notion that Jesus being married is a fairly common suggestion, it throws this wee gem into the mix: “The life of historical Jesus is often a matter of controversy, and this is not the first time it’s been proposed that Jesus was married. Most recently, Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code” depicted Jesus as being married to Mary Magdalene.” That may not be the best way to make the claim sound more plausible (but there’s at least a chance the Huff’s writers and editors aren’t aware of that).


But wait, here’s a chance for the media to attack the big, bad Roman Catholic Church.

“Angered” is hardly the word (perhaps the writer is attempting to connect dots to the angry protests over an anti-Islamic film happening as I write this). The film was more of a laughing-stock among early church historians and New Testament scholars. But notice that the idea that Jesus was not married is here presented as the position represented by the Catholic Church. The fact is, quire regardless of church affiliation, Jesus being married is simply not a view taken seriously across the spectrum of New Testament scholars – and churches for that matter. It’s a cute attempt to imply that it’s the Catholic Church in one corner and the rest of us in the other, but such is not reality.

I think some Christians were angered by the The Da Vinci Code, but that is hardly worth writing home about. The movie presented easily verifiable lies about the christian faith, it’s hardly news that some people would be angered by that. But there were (of course) no riots or ambassadors being dragged through the streets and killed.

Update: In case you hadn’t heard, the fragment has now been declared absolutely fake since it contains an error that only occurs in a PDF(yes, really!) of the so-called “Gospel of Thomas”.

Get it right please

TVNZ reports on the switch off of the analog signal.

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman announced the switch from analogue to digital television would be phased in across the country in four phases.

When the switch is carried out, television will only be broadcast through digital Freeview, Sky or TelstraClear set top boxes.

Fair enough, but then we come to this:

About 20 per cent of Kiwis still have analogue television sets and people without a digital set top box may need to buy one as well as a new aerial or satellite dish, Coleman said.

Um, I still have an analogue TV as does most of the country I’d guess. But I have a set top box underneath.

It’d be nice if people could get their terms right.

Actually, I initially missed this mistake from earlier in the report.

Analogue television sets will be gradually switched off from October next year, it was announced today.

Wow, so the government is going to visit homes in New Zealand and switch off TVs? Or are they going to switch off the signal that those TVs can process?

What would be an interesting story would be one on those TVs being sold in shops now that do not have Freeview built in. It seems incredible that people are being fooled into purchasing something that appears modern, but will be unable to receive signal next year.

Interesting Choice of Headline

From the Herald, here’s the story:

Police are hunting a bag snatcher who pushed a pregnant woman to the ground and smashed her husband in the head with a hammer outside a McDonald’s restaurant.

The couple were taken to hospital where the man was treated for head injuries. His wife and their unborn child were not injured.

Given the Father-to-be was hit in the head with a hammer, requiring treatment, and his wife was uninjured, it’s a curious decision to headline the article:

Bag thief shoves mum-to-be

One wonders if the person who wrote the article though it’d get more hits because of the trivial suggestion of the headline, or that fathers are so unimportant that even a serious injury ranks below a mother getting shoved.

I expect it’ll get changed in due course.

Fox New, Lies and Canada

Saw this on Huffington Post via twitter.

As America’s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades — against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News — fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canada regulatorsannounced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

I’m sure that sounded funny to liberals, however to a conservative like myself it’s outright weird. Fox may be contentious, and their positions questioned by liberals, but the idea that a law on lying keeps them out of a market just doesn’t make any sense.

Then I read the first comment.

The funny things is this story is almost 100% false. Fox News already broadcasts in Canada, Sun TV News is run by a totally separate company, it’s the CRTC that wants to repel the false news law, not the prime minister, and said law had nothing to do with Sun TV News, it’s a totally separate issue.

Comments go onto to further correct the article in that Sun TV News is launching anyway.

So the story that claimed that Fox news was all lies was… all lies.

Fancy that!


Media tries to make govt softening extortion demands into story about aiding private companies

Oh boy, this is crazy.

The Government has thrown a lifeline to ailing private media company MediaWorks, which owns TV3, Four, and about half New Zealand’s commercial radio stations.

MediaWorks’ latest accounts show it has essentially received a $43.3 million loan from the Crown to enable it to renew its radio broadcasting licences for the next 20 years.

According to the accounts, which MediaWorks is obliged to file with the Companies Office because it is overseas-owned, the private company is paying 11.2 per cent interest on the money, which has been granted for just over four years.

The Government appears to have agreed to the deal despite MediaWorks taking the Inland Revenue Department to court over a disputed tax bill. The IRD alleges the company owes $24.5 million in tax, interest and penalty payments from 2002 to 2004.

Telecommunications Minister Steven Joyce yesterday said the money was not a loan, but a deferred payment system to help the radio industry during tough times in 2009. Earlier reports said MediaWorks had been due to pay the Government the $43m in October last year to renew its radio licences for the 2011-2031 period.

The Rhema Broadcasting Group has had to raise significant money to re-purchase their frequencies.

I understand from their campaign that this renewal demand was somewhat “out of the blue” in that the government decided one day to re-charge existing owners for their frequency rights. Because media organisations had no idea they were going to to recieve such a large bill, many have been caught short.

Rhema has recently announced it’s success in raising the money. Apparently MediaWorks has had some issues, given they run as a rather less than profitable for-profit enterprise.

I would venture that shutting down the government’s main free-to-air competitor in such a way would be a very, very bad look so hence the softening of the extortion demand.

Note: For those new to this blog, I will point out that I only listen to National Radio. My wife disagrees with my assessment of quality radio.

Update: Grammar in original title fixed.

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