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Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity

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...a stupefyingly superficial, stultifyingly simplistic, and stunningly silly waste of paper. It would scarcely merit comment were it not extruded by a division of a major publishing house, Simon & Schuster, and sporting a foreword by presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee.[1]
—Ed Doerr

Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity is a book by supposed atheist S. E. Cupp, published in 2010 with a foreword by Mike Huckabee.

Blurbs[edit]

The cover of the book features a quote from Fox News's Sean Hannity: "S. E. Cupp brings her irreverent wit to Losing Our Religion and pulls no punches. If you think the Christian majority in America isn't under attack, this book will change your mind."

On the back, there are comments from Andrew Breitbart and Michele Bachmann.

Foreword[edit]

The tl;dr edition
Cupp's Losing Our ReligionRationalWiki Responses
Mike Huckabee starts off the book by explaining why he took the responsibility to write this foreword. He explains why he likes S. E. Cupp, because she is not religious and calls herself a "skeptic" when it comes to faith. Cupp is younger than Huckabee's daughters, but he likes Cupp and says her book Losing Our Religion is a delightful read and lots of fun. Huckabee says Cupp does not "substitute volume for veracity and use hyperbole to thrash opponents in an entertaining but ineffective way. Instead, S. E. Cupp uses a sharp blade of careful research, thoughtful reasoning, and brilliant logic to dismember many of the sacred cows of today's liberalism and serve them "well done" to the point of being charred." Keep this point in mind folks. S. E. Cupp does not use volume or hyperbole to thrash opponents.

Huckabee says Cupp does a wonderful job of showing how the Left manipulates polling data to give the false impression Americans are fine with abortion terminating a life. Cupp also shows how Democrats de-evolved from pro-lifers to become pro-choice. Complete with misconceptions about evolution! This should be good.

The Revolution is All Around You[edit]

Cupp's Losing Our ReligionRationalWiki Responses
S. E. Cupp begins by expressing there is a revolution against the readers all across America, and they have a lot of dedication and faith. The red baiting starts on page one, with references to Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin. The Obama administration has supposedly hastened these "revolutionary" plans with various media figures acting as the "Marxes, de Sades, and Kants" of today. Cupp warns that soon, you will be standing in wonder what happened to your views you believed in and held sacred. Cupp says this revolution is not about power, but knowledge. It is a class war that does not require them to leave their desks. What is this revolution? To overthrow God, and silence Christian America for good. The projection and propaganda in this chapter is astounding. The tactics parallel that of typical conservative propaganda, such as equating the Obama administration with Mao or Stalin. Neither the Obama administration nor the left wish to start a revolution or overthrow God. Cupp also presupposes that the reader holds views that are "sacred". What if the reader held a sacred view that women should be slaves or whites were superior? Also, Kant was neither a revolutionary, nor atheist-he was a Christian.

The revolution is being led by the media, supposedly in the grips of a cabal of liberal coastal elites. Cupp also lists the ACLU as one of the organizations providing foot soldiers for this supposed revolution. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the ACLU's history (outside of the usual bogeyman caricature presented by the religious right) knows that they have represented atheists and Christians alike, including the most zealous fundamentalists such as the Westboro Baptist Church. According to Cupp, no matter what you believe, it ultimately affects all Americans. Even the atheists and secular, because the media they trust is being "dishonest, wholly subjective, and, frankly, un-American." And by subjective, she means a system full of biases and prejudices to guide you in one direction: left. Already red flags are going up. How can you overthrow something that cannot be demonstrated to exist? And how can Cupp be pointing the finger at the liberal media for being dishonest, when the very channel she frequently visits (Fox News) are the kings of exactly that? Even S. E. Cupp has a track record of being deliberately dishonest.[2] The media is not perfect, but it should not be the target here. Trustworthy media do their best to be fair and balanced, but the important thing is to give accurate reports and the facts. As we will see throughout this review, Cupp has her own one-sided views of criticizing the media for upholding certain standards, such as telling the truth. If the media reports a homosexual couple being the target of abuse, they name the culprit (which may be or may not be Christians). If a couple of Christians are being harassed by Muslims, they do the same. And yet, Cupp only looks at one story and then asserts that the media dislikes Christians by calling them out for abusing a couple.

Cupp says that the media uses three methods to spread the message of liberalism and secularism.
  1. Target the Christian majority, because the majority never feels threatened.
  2. Unfairly target Christians and propagating untruths against them by breaking the media's promise to be "fair and balanced."
  3. Use the opinion media to to spew ugly invective against Christians by forsaking all virtues of decency, dignity, and tolerance.
Let's go over the 3 media methods.
  1. Christians are not targeted just because they are the majority, but because they have the most influence. If a sect of Christians wanted to return to the days when the Bible justified slavery, of course they would be confronted and criticized (which is similarly what happens today with a variety of issues). And this is not only regarding Christians, but any group of influence. Cupp is merely cherry-picking and trying to make Christians appear to be the targets of prejudice.
  2. Cupp thinks that conservative media provides a "fair and balanced" view? She must be out of her mind. There have been hundreds upon hundreds of documented instances when Fox News projected their biased prejudiced views instead of properly reporting and journalism.[3] Granted the left may have its own instances, but Cupp should drop the double standard if she wishes to be taken seriously.
  3. Cupp reveals more of her hypocritical double standard by bashing media for not promoting tolerance, while saying not a word towards conservative media who bash homosexuals, racial minorities, immigrants, the nonreligious, environmentalists, and several other groups.

Cupp then goes on to explain the media has a "covenant" with five tenets.
  1. The Judeo-Christian values that form the basis of American democracy should be overthrown entirely—because a minuscule disgruntled minority finds them objectionable.
  2. Religious tolerance is crucial to the success and health of any democracy—but not when it is applied to the vast majority.
  3. A robust, fair, and objective press is better for freedom than a hostile, biased, and corrupted one—but not if being objective competes with the media's ideological impulses.
  4. The spokespeople for our culture should commend good works, not mock them—unless those good works are being done by Christians.
  5. Civility and decency are disposable commodities when the values of citizenry compete with secular values of the press.
Next, reviewing the "covenant." This is false labeling and mere ranting, plus a healthy dose of not even wrong. Perhaps Cupp does not believe it herself, but is just trying to stir the audience.
  1. Where in Judeo-Christian values does it promote democracy? Nowhere in the Bible does it say that man is capable of ruling himself, rather the Bible says we are all worms and sinners who should humbly submit to our masters (both heavenly and earthly).
  2. Religious tolerance is crucial to minority and majority. The American Constitution protects the minority from the majority, which is the big problem nowadays (when Christians insert their beliefs everywhere possible while excluding the beliefs of other minorities).
  3. Cupp perfectly describes Fox News, which really is not a news station at all - simply a political machine for the right.
  4. What are these "good works"? George W. Bush drove America into an unnecessary war, but he is not bashed simply for being a Christian. If a Christian believes homosexuality is wrong, and yet is caught entering and leaving a gay bar, or hiring an escort on Rentboy.com, then that is when they are targeted, not for being a Christian but a for being complete hypocrite.
  5. Finally, secular views are neutral. If the media was run by Scientologists or any other group, decency goes only one way. The Scientologists would drop all civility and decency towards psychiatrists as fundamental Muslims would towards infidels and Jews. Secularism will not judge based on religious grounds, but on rational grounds.

Cupp then goes on to address the media attacking the Christian Bush administration, then quieting down when Obama took office and took a more or less secular tone. Cupp says Obama was "raised by atheists, uncomfortable with Christ, disconnected from evangelical America, and perceived to be too smart to be religious". Oh noes! The media attacks one president for advancing a particular religious faith, and doesn't attack his successor for not promoting one? Do we really need to explain why this is the media being fair and balanced, just like Cupp says it should be? Obama was raised by Christians, not atheists as she asserts—and he would probably be insulted at being told he was "uncomfortable with Christ".

Thou Shalt Not Worship False Idols[edit]

Cupp continues to blather on about the "liberal media" for a bit and how it worships celebrities and other such liberal things. Apparently, the reader is supposed to take this claim on faith (har har). Then she goes into how comparing belief and non-belief is comparing "apples and oranges." However, conflation seems to be her stock-in-trade. She continues to make the claim that America is a "Christian nation," but is not explicit about whether she means that America is majority Christian demographically (an undeniable fact) or she's talking about the Constitution being a religious document (a bit of pseudohistory and mythology popular among the religious right). Cupp misquotes a statistic from the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), claiming that 80% of Americans identify as Christian, but the actual figure is 76%. She also quotes the rise in the absolute number of self-identified Christians but fails to mention that the percentage actually declined by 0.7% from 2001 to 2008, demonstrating that the increase in absolute numbers is an artifact of a growing population.[4] She selectively cites these numbers to spin Christianity as growing stronger, but one of the points of the report the authors themselves include in a "highlights" section is that, although Christians still constitute an overwhelming majority, belief in Christianity is weakening.

Cupp claims that non-believers should be insulted by Obama's comment that "we are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers" because non-belief is not the same as religion. Speaking of "apples and oranges," Cupp seems to fail to understand that Obama was not drawing a philosophical equivalence among these belief systems, but that he was merely acknowledging that, guess what, agnostics and atheists exist as a demographic—and the fact that he mentioned them in a positive light at all came as a breath of fresh air to many of them.

Cupp goes on to excoriate Obama for covering up a crucifix in the background during a speech at Georgetown University (a Catholic institution) and his ambivalence toward the national day of prayer. She then cites an article listing Obama's "top ten faith moments." But these are obviously exceptions that prove the rule.

She then offers up some boilerplate about the War on Christmas (insert a Charlie Brown-style "good grief" here). Her prime exhibits are some pundits in the media just asking questions about a supposed subliminal cross in a Huckabee ad (justified, at least, this was fairly idiotic) and a Freedom from Religion Foundation ad. Pretty flimsy considering how many "War on Christmas" stories her own Fox network airs every December.

Thou Shalt Hate Prop 8[edit]

The supposed substance in this tract is completely non-existent in this chapter (and it's a bit outdated now with Obama's successful push for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.) According to Cupp, the fact that the likes of Newsweek and USA Today covered gay rights rallies while ignoring stories about local declarations against gay marriage happening at the same time demonstrates some sort of "pro-gay" bias. In addition to this, she throws in some instances of Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, and Katie Couric bashing Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean for her anti-gay marriage remarks. Obviously, these are quite representative of the media as a whole. Cupp offers no statistics or figures on coverage of gay issues as a whole. Instead, she just cites some comments by very trustworthy representatives of organizations such as World Net Daily, Media Research Center, and Family Research Council.

Even if we grant Cupp her premise that the "liberal media" has a "pro-gay" bias, let's look at it from a different perspective. If one considers the anti-gay marriage cause to be sheer bigotry (hard to discount since the anti-gay activists cite the Bible as the authority on this issue), why should there be "balance" in the media? Should the "pro-black bias" of the media be balanced by citations of the Ku Klux Klan in order not to offend racists? In addition to this, Cupp is once again conflating "religion" with the opinions of the religious right. There are many religious people who are not against gay marriage. In fact, the majority of Americans now support it.[5]

Thou Shalt Worship Profits Not Progress[edit]

This chapter is ostensibly meant to contrast the "liberal media's" bias against Christian businesses with its alleged pro-environmentalist bias. Cupp makes a brief but valid point about greenwashing techniques, but then goes off the rails. Supposedly, the media has lionized Al Gore and his crusade against global warming. However, she fails to mention the generous and scientifically undeserved coverage of climate deniers such as S. Fred Singer and Patrick Michaels. She also steers clear of any actual numbers, most likely because a study such as the one conducted by the Boykoffs would demonstrate that the media often "balances" the opinion of the current scientific consensus against the voices of a few contrarians and experts for hire.[6]

Cupp then cites a few stories with mocking puns in their headlines (because newspapers never run stories with bad puns), warnings against "hucksters" in religious businesses, and the decision by NBC to scrub religious references from the re-runs of Christian cartoon Veggie Tales. (The horror! Help, help! We're bein' repressed!) The reader is also treated to some more illuminating commentary by Brent Bozell and his Media Research Center. This is Cupp's modus operandi if it isn't obvious by now -- cherry-pick some stories and insinuate that it's representative of the entire media. Furthermore, the selection of NBC's Veggie Tales whitewash is rather ironic, since conservatives are supposed to be all about the virtues of the free market. If the invisible hand directs cartoon programming toward a more secular format, shouldn't that be a good thing? It's the free market at work!

Thou Shalt Evolve[edit]

Cupp begins this chapter by sharing a Gallup poll that only 39% of the American public accepts Darwin's theory of evolution. The reader, of course, gets some more spin on the numbers as she goes on to say: "The rest believe that God created humans as described in Genesis, or guided evolution over a longer period of time. Or they have no opinion at all...." The poll itself asks nothing about religious belief, ideas about theistic evolution, etc., only "Do you, personally, believe in the theory of evolution?" That 39% figure is actually a plurality, with "Do not believe in evolution" coming in at 25%, "no opinion" at 36%, and "no answer" at 1%.[7]

However, while Cupp's "facts" often have more spin on them than a tilt-a-whirl, this statistical navel-gazing is beside the point. What should really matter is how much of the scientific community accepts the theory of evolution (over 95%!), but she does address this piece later. Her abuse of equivocation and conflation goes into overdrive here. She once again spins some stats to claim that belief in creationism has never dropped below 44%, using polls that are ten-plus years old. Besides the use of dated figures, the definition of "creationism" is rather slippery and Gallup uses slightly different terminology, making it difficult to evaluate the validity of this figure. Gallup has done a much better job compiling their own figures than Cupp and you can decide the accuracy of this stat yourself.[8] Rather, Cupp paints the media as portraying Darwin as a man of science and reason while religious believers are people of emotion and faith, and the liberal media constantly praises Darwin and his theory. Cupp says liberals adore Darwin, because Darwin is the "antidote to Jesus, quite literally the anti-Christ[9], and those who criticize his theory of evolution are part of a backward and still-evolving fringe minority of Bible-thumpers and rednecks." The point here is to conflate evolution with atheism, a rather tired canard. However, this doesn't require an answer as Cupp herself undermines this point later in the chapter.

Cupp calls Intelligent Design (ID) as the "younger cousin" of creationism, and claims the liberal media takes turns either attacking or mocking ID proponents as "fanatics and idiots." Cupp then quote mines Joy Behar, The View´s "liberal philosopher," who supposedly stated that teaching creationism is a form of child abuse. In fact, Behar called teaching only creationism and not evolution "child abuse" and stated she had no problem with "teaching both," as long as evolution was covered.[10] This also touches on the point that creationism is more than just about origins, it is also an ethical movement, which is why many of the arguments against the theory of evolution are about moral issues. Some forms of creationism have taught that certain races are created differently (such as that blackness is a curse from God) and have been used to justify genocide.[11]

To Cupp, the reason behind the debate between evolution and religion is not because of facts, it is because of Christianity and the liberal attempts to eradicate all of it from society. To the liberals god does not belong in science, and any opposition to evolution does not belong in schools. This degree of dishonesty is astounding and disgusting. Science constantly looks for new answers, and science would gladly accept opposition to evolution if there were a better alternative. The thing is, not a single "alternative" to evolution (even close to being more than a hypothesis) has ever been shown to be valid. The problem is indeed about facts. It is about deliberately dismissing the facts and data in favor of inserting religion and fantasies. It is also a strict violation of the Establishment Clause, making this not a crusade against Christianity, but a movement to protect the Constitution (as well as science).

Evolution is Time-honored[edit]

Cupp argues that the liberal media misrepresents evolution using certain rhetorical tactics. One of those tactics is that evolution is believed to have withstood trials over time, and the liberal media makes questioning Darwin an assault on common sense. However, Cupp tries to argue that when Darwin first proposed his theory he had little support in the scientific community and that his theory did not have that much support among the American public until after the Scopes Trial.

Here, Cupp equivocates scientific trials with legal trials in a stunt of breathtaking rhetorical dishonesty. She claims that the media wrongly portrays evolutionary theory as "time-honored" and "widely accepted" because creationism was only barred from being taught in public schools in the 1980s as a result of the Edwards v. Aguillard case. Obviously, this has nothing to do with the scientific consensus or the history of research in evolution, so it's irrelevant.

For Cupp, this demonstrates the political correctness of the media, which specifically bludgeons Christians with the club of evolution while leaving other religions untouched. This shows that Cupp knows as little about creationism as she does evolution. There are, in fact, creationists of a number of faiths, including Muslim creationists and the "Vedic creationists." They simply don't get the media attention, however, because they're not involved in high profile Supreme Court cases.

According to Cupp, the liberal media equates faith with stupidity. However, Cupp argues people who do not accept evolution are not stupid, they just choose to believe in something else. That something else involves denial of the evidence and the science built upon it, which is a dangerous trend for our population to engage in, since our future as a country depends heavily on the continuation of scientific progress. That may not be stupid, exactly, but it's certainly unwise.

Evolution is, Like, Totally Famous[edit]

The second so-called tactic Cupp "explores" is that the liberal media uses celebrities who accept evolution to boast the validity of the theory and have made a "celebrity" of Darwin (not only is he the anti-Christ, he is also the "Tom Hanks of science").[12] Cupp's best counter argument is that the religious have their celebrities, and no one is bigger than Jesus or the Bible.[13] Cupp criticizes Bill Maher and his documentary Religulous, stating that Maher will ridicule creationist museums but not other museums that honor celebrities. As noted above, one guy who had his own network show canceled and had to move to HBO is hardly representative of the media. Similarly, one could make a ridiculous claim that the televangelist set and other religious programming is representative of the media's "all-out assault" on atheism (but that wouldn't fit the narrative, of course, and the narrative must be maintained).

Cupp brings up the Dover trial. Even though it had nothing to do with celebrities, the left jumped into it because it was another opportunity for a swing against religion. She criticizes the PBS NOVA documentary Intelligent Design on Trial for bias because it covered the death threats and hate mail Judge Jones received while ignoring Tammy Kitzmiller's. This demonstrates that she never watched the special, because Kitzmiller herself talks about the subject in it.[14]

Believing in Evolution Makes Us Look Good[edit]

Cupp repeats the Behar quote mine and offers up some op-eds mocking creationism as bogus and expressing worry that it will harm science education and make us look bad in terms of technology and science on the international stage. Pointing out the actual fact that creationism is bogus and the truth that the issue is a manufactroversy is somehow not allowed in Cupp's book. Yeah, nothing of substance in this section (as usual), just some whining about "bias" and the odd claim that liberals are pushing evolution because it makes us "look good."

Evolution is Legit[edit]

After spending much of the chapter setting up the false dichotomy of "science and atheism vs. religion," Cupp then undermines her own argument. In this section, she argues that science and faith can be reconciled and cites some scientists who are both Christians and accept evolutionary biology. This is entirely true and valid, but it really destroys her own framing of the issue.

Cupp continues to flog the "science as secular religion" trope as hard as she can, stating: "The media's continual propping up of science (and its attack on Christianity) raises another issue. Just how unimpeachable is science?" Apparently, this shadowy cabal of liberals has also completely infested scientific institutions. She then parrots some climate denialist talking points to demonstrate that the "ideology of the far left had corrupted science" in the global warming "debate." She cites the leaked Climategate e-mails as "proof" that the data had been fudged. This is a blatant lie -- both the scientists at East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and Michael Mann of Penn State were cleared of wrongdoing by multiple ethics investigations. Furthermore, much of the data they relied on is publicly available and independent temperature reconstructions using other datasets have supported the work done by the CRU and Mann. Cupp goes on to assert that the media buried this supposed hot scoop; however, this is just more of Cupp's patented brand of bullshit. The story was trumped up in not only the American press, but the international press, and even the "liberal" Newsweek (one of Cupp's bete noires), some British papers, and a number of other sources offered retractions of their Climategate stories and related incidents after the ethics investigations.

Thou Shalt Worship at the Altar of the Multiplex[edit]

In this chapter, Cupp tries to glorify Hollywood using religious terms (such as Trinity, altar, church, saints, and such). Cupp attempts to portray Hollywood as its own religion (much like all the other "secular religions") which gets uncomfortable when actual religions confront it. Certain religious films were a hit and made lots of money, but over time the left grew uncomfortable with all the attention religion was getting and thus campaigned against films that were "too Christian." The left was critical and uncertain about making religious films like Narnia (but not too much for Harry Potter) simply because of the religious aspects. In response, British leftist Philip Pullman wrote the trilogy His Dark Materials, the first of which in the series was The Golden Compass. This series was purposely written as the Anti-Narnia. Cupp says that Pullman was "denouncing organized religion" and had labeled Narnia as "propaganda." The New York Times gave The Golden Compass many positive reviews. She no doubt has more baskets full of cherries than Washington DC in spring at this point, as her cited reviews are (naturally) cherry-picked. According to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, film critics as a whole gave The Chronicles of Narnia a 76% positive rating while The Golden Compass received a measly 43% rating.[15]

Thou Shalt Fornicate[edit]

No argument here folks. Alright, giggity.

...

All right, on a more serious note, Cupp uses this chapter to demonize the media for demonizing pro-lifers. Here she actually offers up a Gallup poll without copious amounts of spin on it, noting that a 2009 poll marked the first time more respondents had identified as pro-life rather than pro-choice. However, she cruises by this part to play up the results:

Gallup also found public preferences for the extreme views on abortion about even -- as they are today -- in 2005 and 2002, as well as during much of the first decade of polling on this question from 1975 to 1985. Still, the dominant position on this question remains the middle option, as it has continuously since 1975: 53% currently say abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances.[16]

She then whines about the coverage of George Tiller by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, using the rhetorical sleight of hand of the "liberal media" to stand in for the entirety of the media (and what, exactly, is "the media" was never defined of course). She goes on to complain about the media's "bias" in reporting a study showing the failure of an abstinence pledge program, noting that the pledge is not equivalent to abstinence-only sex education programs. This is true, but she also claims the coverage was biased because another study supposedly demonstrating the effectiveness of these programs was only reported on by the Washington Times. The study cited, however, suffers from some glaring methodological flaws. It compares the abstinence-only Best Friends program with the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). However, the Best Friends program is a nation-wide program and the study only does a comparison in Washington DC. The sample from the Best Friends program is self-selected while the YRBS sample is random, which introduces selection bias. The author notes limitations in the study due to the difference in administration of the questionnaires and that the inventory of questions differs greatly between the two. The author also has to drop out some comparisons due to missing data.[17] So much of the methodology in the study smacks of cherry-picking and the author himself admits a number of limitations to the study's usefulness. Furthermore, the study was published by the Journal of Adolescent and Family Health, which is maintained by the abstinence-only advocate group Institute for Youth Development, and not an academic journal.[18] It makes little sense for the media to cover an obscure paper in a "peer-reviewed" advocacy journal over academic research, especially when meta-analyses and literature reviews in academic and medical literature consistently show that abstinence-only programs are not as effective as comprehensive programs and often contain pseudoscientific information.[19] She goes on to cite a study demonstrating that teen pregnancy and sex has been in decline since around the time many abstinence-only programs were initiated. Of course, there's no scientific control to compare programs (the numbers are nationwide) and so falls into the trap of causalation.[20]

Cupp cites a 2007 Zogby poll in which over 80% of respondents claimed to support abstinence-only education and dismisses criticism of the poll in the media as conspiracy theorizing in order to handwave away data that doesn't fit the liberal agenda because Zogby is a reputable firm, which it is. However, she fails to mention that the poll was essentially commissioned as a push poll by the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) which was conducted through Zogby and Zogby itself issued a statement that the poll was meant as a "message-testing poll" and not an opinion poll.[21]

She further rails against opinion columnists using George Bush's promotion of abstinence-only to paint the administration as anti-scientific (further proof that liberals have hijacked science!). Here she ignores the well-known abuses of scientific policy by the Bush administration that abstinence-only programs were just one part of. These programs were listed in a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists critical of the administration's science policy.[22] There were also multiple complaints filed by science policy-makers within the administration on a number of issues and the infamous incidents of climate scientists resigning due to having their work tampered with.[23]

Finally, she pulls her usual trick by trotting out an op-ed by a columnist in the New York Times and a couple of articles in the liberal rags SF Gate and The Nation criticizing Bristol Palin's support for abstinence-only programs and using these to stand in for "the media." See, bias! In the entire media! For bonus obliviousness points, she spends a number of paragraphs "outing" The Nation as a liberal publication even though anyone vaguely familiar with the publication already knows it openly targets a left-leaning audience.

Thou Shalt Fall Spectacularly from Grace[edit]

This is another rather dated chapter. Cupp mostly rambles about how Republican scandals are always played up in the media and Democratic scandals never get the same coverage. Suuure... Specifically, her beef is with liberals dogging "family values" candidates while exonerating their own politicians from similar scandals. Not too surprising — politicians and their pals in the media will always circle the wagons for whatever "team" they're on. She almost makes a credible point by saying it's not hypocritical to have values, break them, but apologize and try to live up to them from that point forward. However, she uses this to defend Newt Gingrich and Mark Sanford. It's really hard to see how going after Bill Clinton for having an affair while you yourself are having an affair is not blatant hypocrisy. Next, she cites a Media Research Center (MRC) study showing that the David Vitter scandal received far more coverage than the contemporary John Edwards scandal or a number of other ongoing (non-sex related) Democratic scandals (Charlie Rangel, William Jefferson, etc.). It's pretty easy to just clip the start and end points of the sample of media coverage to get the desired result and the MRC is not exactly known for its objectivity, but we'll give this one to Cupp since she's so far behind already. The comparison to Edwards is already dated as the story has developed further. In June of 2011, the story resurfaced as further allegations against Edwards were raised concerning his use of public funds to cover up his affair.[24] Ironically, that story was flooded out by coverage of "Weiner-gate," an incident in which Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner ultimately resigned over a "sexting" incident.[25] Note that Vitter is still in office.

Thou Shalt Burn Fox News in Effigy[edit]

Cupp seems to be really running out of steam here. The bulk of the first part of this chapter is spent combing through the archives of the News Hounds blog looking for instances of expletive-laced rants aimed at Republicans. News Hounds, however, is a group blog run by some people who met through the internet (over MoveOn.org, specifically) and volunteered for Media Matters' Outfoxed project. The blog is run by volunteers and has no formal affiliation with either organization and receives no funding from MoveOn or Media Matters.[26] Yes, that's right, we've sunk to the level of trolling through the archives liberal blogs. Cupp is simply nutpicking at this point.

The other half of this chapter concerns Barack Obama's attempts to lock Fox out of interviews at the White House. Cupp recounts how other media outlets stood up for Fox and demanded that they be allowed into the White House. Uh, score one for the liberal media? Cupp seems oblivious to the fact that this undermines her own thesis. Not that this hasn't happened before.

Thou Shalt Have Standards—Double Standards[edit]

This chapter mainly deals with the media coverage of religion in regards to President Obama and Sarah Palin. Cupp recalls the 2008 elections and how race was on the minds of many, but according to her, the media focused on religion to a great extent. The "secular media" supposedly used religion to appeal to the majority of voters to vote in favor of Obama. She does not give any references to how many times religion was brought up, except for Obama's remark about people "clinging" to their guns and god during a crisis, which apparently outraged the American public, so the media tried to downplay it. The point is to show that the media, when it is not criticizing religion, cheapens it and uses it as a political tool. The media allegedly used religion to support Obama while stomping on Sarah Palin's Pentecostalism. The secular media went as far as possible to bash her for every little detail. The media clung onto stories about her church and her infamous prayer that the American military in Iraq was on a mission from God. Based on this, Cupp concludes the media no longer represents people and lost all its credibility that election year. Even after the election was settled, the media continues to harass Sarah Palin, especially on religious grounds. Like most of what Cupp says, there's a high degree of spin on this. While Cupp cites some editorials expressing concern or mocking Palin's church and religious practices, she provides no evidence that religion played a particularly decisive role in the election. According to a study by Pew Research Center, stories relating to Palin's religion accounted for less than 1% of the total coverage of her candidacy.[27]

Cupp then dissects several reports about President Obama from Time, and then breaks it down to a few sentences that undermine the significance of the report. She calls Obama's views "Black Libertarian Theology" and says the Times took a 'theatrical' tone in praising Obama. However, problems escalated when more was discovered about Obama's then-pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and some the moonbatty things he had said (some of which were quote mines anyway). Here Cupp conflates liberation theology, a South American theological movement, with Black Liberation Theology, which arose in the United States (and she's the one lecturing us about Christianity?). She criticizes Black Liberation Theology as a sort of Christianized Marxism. While it is a leftist ideology, Black Liberation Theology concentrates much more on race relations than economics. The movement is considered to have started with James Hal Cone, whose main influences were black civil rights leaders. Some of them were, indeed, influenced by Marxism and Cone wrote a book specifically dealing with Marxism and race relations; however, Marxism is not the sole element of Black Liberation Theology.[28][29] Instead, Cupp decides to engage in more mindless red-baiting, implying that Obama is a Marxist. Well, two can play that game: Marx wrote to Abraham Lincoln. The official reply by the US ambassador mentioned that Lincoln sympathized with Marx's sentiments.[30] Lincoln was a Republican. Therefore, Republicans are Marxists! Many of the original figures involved in the neoconservative movement were disaffected Trotskyites. Therefore, Republicans are Trotskyite Marxists! In any case, Cupp contends that the media overlooked Jeremiah Wright while playing up Palin's Pentecostalism. She completely glosses over the race-baiting that went on over the Wright scandal (though Fox was pushing it hard so that's probably a-okay with her).[31]

Bottom line, according to Cupp, the media uses religion (or supposed lack thereof) as a weapon to push their agenda.


See also[edit]

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Free Inquiry vol. 30
  2. Media Matters category for Cupp
  3. LiberalViewers 150+ examples of Fox Bias
  4. 2008 ARIS report
  5. This is another area where the book is dated. According to Nate Silver's analysis of opinion polls, a slight majority of Americans now support gay marriage.
  6. Boykoff, Maxwell T. and Jules M. Boykoff. Balance as bias: Global warming and the US prestige press. Global Environmental Change 14 (2004) 125–136.
  7. 2009 Gallup poll on evolution
  8. Gallup's compilation of their polls on evolution and creationism
  9. Lest this appear to be a quote mine, Cupp is using the term "anti-Christ" here ironically to frame religion and science as opposites.
  10. This video includes clips of Cupp's bogus defense of the quote mine and the footage of Behar's statement.
  11. Creationists for Genocide, Talk Reason
  12. No knock to Tom Hanks, but you'd think Darwin could at least be an Orson Welles or Marlon Brando.
  13. Except for The BeatlesWikipedia's W.svg, of course.
  14. Transcript of Intelligent Design on Trial
  15. Rotten Tomatoes' score for Narnia and Golden Compass
  16. 2009 Gallup abortion poll
  17. Robert Lerner. Can Abstinence Work? An analysis of the Best Friends program. Journal of Adolescent and Family Health 3(4), 2004.
  18. Institute for Youth Development
  19. Ott MA, Santelli JS. Abstinence and abstinence-only education. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Oct;19(5):446-52. [1]
  20. See, for example, this study demonstrating that fewer pirates causes global warming.
  21. Review of Zogby Survey Conducted on Behalf of the National Abstinence Education Association, Guttmacher Institute. See also RH Reality Check's coverage for further detail.
  22. Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, Union of Concerned Scientists, Mar. 2004. Relevant excerpt.
  23. Undermining Science, Climate Science Watch
  24. John Edwards Pleads Not Guilty, LA Times
  25. Weiner resigns, CNN
  26. News Hounds about us page
  27. How the Media Have Handled Palin's Religious Faith, Pew Research Center
  28. Said book: The Black Church and Marxism: What Do They Have to Say to Each Other? by James Hal Cone
  29. Further context on Cone: PBS interview with Bill Moyers
  30. Marx's letter (on behalf of the First International) to Lincoln and the US ambassador's response (Marx was mainly congratulating Lincoln on his re-election and applauding abolition).
  31. Mr. Obama and Rev. Wright, NY Times