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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Media Bias and Justice Sunday II

One final note about Justice Sunday II. One thing that struck me was the blatant bias of the media. I was there. I heard just about everything. And, yet, reading the MSM accounts, I have to think they were somewhere else. Or were napping during the entire thing.

First, there's the whole bit about Senator Frist "not being invited." Here's what one media source wrote (but they were all pretty much the same):
Frist, a surgeon, wasn't invited to address "Justice Sunday II" because he angered the events' organizers by voicing his support for expanded human embryonic stem cell research.
I guess it doesn't matter that Tony Perkins, the president of Family Research Council, explained, in detail, that Senator Frist has already spoken at two events, and they were trying to get as many voices as possible, AND that the speaker's list was completed prior to Senator Frist's announcement in favor of some stem cell research. I guess it's the MSM's SOP to ignore what people say and just write whatever you want.

Then there's the protesters.
Protesters were also vocal, both outside Two Rivers Baptist Church, where the rally was held, and across town, where a group of religious leaders held a rally to counter what they saw as an extremist message.

“This is so Americans can see the ’Justice Sunday’ sponsors and Tom DeLay don’t have any exclusive hold on religion,” said Glenn Smith, an organizer of “Community of Faith and Unity Gathering.”

Rita Nakashima Brock, founder of Faith Voices for the Common Good, said “Justice Sunday II” was calling for a theocracy instead of democracy.

“Those people meeting with Tom DeLay, Chuck Colson and Jim Dobson think they own the Bible and that God speaks only to them,” Brock said.
Like other bloggers, I listened intently, and I never once heard the speakers call for a theocracy. In fact, they went out of their way to say that they do not want to impose their views, just add their voices to the debate. But I did hear the protesters yell slurs at the cars pulling into the parking lot at the church (my favorite, while not vulger in the least, was at least almost funny. One woman would yell "Sheep!" at every car that turned into the lot. I bet she was hoarse by the end of the evening.) I guess it's what the protester's spokespeople say that really matters.

Then there were the reporters who somehow managed to listen to the entire event and still get their reports in before it was over. (If you'll notice, the first one was posted to the wire before the event even started.)

I have to give credit where credit is due. Jeannine F. Hunter, the religion writer for the Tennessean, wrote a very good piece about the event. It was all fact, no hype. She reported simply what was. (I met Ms. Hunter while I was there... she's a very nice person.)

I know I shouldn't be surprised when the MSM acts with bias. It's what they do. I guess I've just never seen it in something I witnessed personally.

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