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  • The New Yorker gets lost en route to "C Street"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    The New Yorker is drawing fire for its forthcoming profile of the powerful and secretive right-wing religious organization, "The Fellowship." The group is also known as "C Street" or "The Family."

    As Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway writes:

    By all accounts from those who have met the reclusive Doug Coe who heads the group, Coe is a very quiet and charming man. With this New Yorker article, it is evident that [The New Yorker's Peter] Boyle has fallen for Coe's charms. Boyle describes The Family as little more than a "frat house", composed in equal parts of Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews. In fact, he appears to have fully bought the line about The Family not being a Christian organization at all, but merely a group of people whose sole mission is to influence powerful political and business leaders "to follow Jesus." One wonders exactly how one is supposed to define Christianity better than that, and to impose its tenets, if not its theology, from the top. Boyle's description of events in Uganda are equally naïve.

    When Uganda's Parliament took up a bill last year that would have punished some homosexual acts with death, ["Family" member Bob] Hunter and his friends in the Fellowship felt they had the standing to urge the proposed measure's defeat. [Uganda President Yoweri] Museveni appointed a commission that studied the matter and then recommended that the bill be withdrawn.

    One wonders how Boyle managed the dexterity to write those two lonely sentences with his hands over his ears while singing "lalalala" to drown out the noise.

    Nowhere does he mention that it was MP David Bahati, a key "Family" man in Uganda — a guy who organizes Uganda's version of the National Prayer Breakfast that the Family is best known for in the U.S. — who proposed the bill, stands by it, and still insists that the bill must be passed in it entirety so that they can begin "to kill every last gay person." Boyle would have you believe that the Family was responsible for the bill being dead when in fact the bill, while stalled, is still very much alive. It is currently in committee, and MP Bahati and other Ugandan Family members continue to push for its full enactment. Others however recommend that the bill be dismembered with different provisions attached to other bills with less flag-waving titles, and passed surreptitiously.

    As Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner points out, Jim Burroway and Jeff Sharlet are required reading for anyone interested in covering or learning more about the secretive group and, perhaps most notably, its ties to the horrific anti-gay activity happening in Uganda:

    If you don't follow Jim Burroway and the work of the folks at Box Turtle Bulletin on Uganda's anti-gay activity -- most notably the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill -- you're missing out on one of the important stories about international inequality faced by LGBT people.

    If you don't follow Jeff Sharlet's work on the Family (or the Fellowship, or the folks behind the C Street house), you're missing out on great journalism about the extraordinary influence of one religious organization in American public life.

    For a primer on C Street and why this story matters, check out some segments from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show after the jump.

  • Fox News' Huckabee keeping it classy as always

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Fox News host Mike Huckabee sure knows how to keep it classy.

    The former Arkansas Governor managed to make a crack about marriage equality and the physical appearance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Helen Thomas all in one ill-conceived attempt at humor in a forthcoming New Yorker profile. Ariel Levy writes:

    At times, he seems unable to resist the force of his own funniness. I joked with him once that I would write about his (fictitious) affair with Nancy Pelosi. He e-mailed back, "The only thing worse than a torrid affair with sweet, sweet Nancy would be a torrid affair with Helen Thomas. If those were my only options, I'd probably be FOR same-sex marriage!"

  • The New Yorker on Beck: "energetically hateful, truth-twisting...a demagogue"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From The New Yorker's November 23 profile on Glenn Beck:

    If you sensed something of a quiet spell about ten days ago, a lull in the usual media storm, it may have been owing to the fact that Glenn Beck, the energetically hateful, truth-twisting radio and Fox News Channel talk-show host, was absent from the airwaves for a week, to have his appendix removed. A few days after his surgery, he made it clear, via his Twitter feed, that he hated just watching TV, which is, of course, the terrible fate of those of us who don't have talk shows. ("I know how U feel. Watching the news & knowing wht I say 2 my tv makes no difference," he wrote. "I cnt wait 2 giv U wht I think has bn going on.") By the middle of last week, he was back, breathing fire about Obama's response to the Fort Hood shootings.

    [...]

    A headline at the top of Beck's Web site announces what he thinks he's selling: "the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment." If by this Beck means that his product is radioactive, he's got that right. We can only hope that its toxic charge will fade over time. But that seems unlikely. At the end of the Elia Kazan-Budd Schulberg movie "A Face in the Crowd," the Arkansas opportunist and petty criminal who has been repackaged, by a radio broadcaster, as a guitar-playing professional hayseed called Lonesome Rhodes (played brilliantly by Andy Griffith), and who has been consumed and ruined by fame, shows his true colors when he bad-mouths his audience over an open mike. The nation abandons him, and, as the movie ends, he's shouting, unheard, into the night. These days, because of the Internet, it's not so easy to get rid of a demagogue. Long after Beck leaves radio and TV, his sound bites will still be with us.

  • New Yorker's Lizza "gall[ed]" by Clinton's 60 Minutes response, but reported only small part of it

    ››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

    In a column about Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza stated that Clinton's "disingenuous remark on '60 Minutes' that [Sen. Barack] Obama was not a Muslim 'as far as I know' was especially galling." However, Lizza did not include Clinton's full comment, which made clear that she believes Obama is not a Muslim.

  • Myths and falsehoods about progress in Iraq

    ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN & ROB DIETZ

    Supporters of the Iraq war -- rather than waiting for testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on the effect of President Bush's troop increase in Iraq -- have engaged in a campaign to convince the media and public that progress is being made in Iraq and that the "surge" is "working." Media Matters has compiled some of the most pervasive myths and falsehoods advanced by opponents of withdrawal in service of the "surge is working" message, which many in the media have been complicit in perpetuating.

  • The New Yorker reported Giuliani's "expertise on terrorism" and "leadership" on 9-11, cited no criticism

    ››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER & BRIAN LEVY

    In a New Yorker profile of Rudy Giuliani, Peter Boyer uncritically reported that "Giuliani speaks often of his own expertise on terrorism" and asserted that he "performed well on September 11th." He added: "The common refrain among New Yorkers" is that "Giuliani showed leadership on the day of the terrorist attacks." However, Boyer did not mention that Giuliani's performance before, during, and after the attacks has been questioned and criticized.