Archive for Matthew Balan

NPR Touts ‘Underground Railroad’ For Abortion in Ireland

<p>NPR's <em>All Things Considered</em> on Thursday promoted an activist's own spin about her abortion campaign in Ireland, which likened the cause to the 19th-century effort that helped slaves escape bondage in the Southern United States. Lauren Frayer spotlighted how "there's a sort of modern-day underground railroad discreetly shuttling thousands of Irish women to abortion clinics" outside of the Emerald Isle. This is the same phrase that Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network used during a soundbite later in Frayer's report: "You could call it an underground railroad. I prefer to think of it as sisters doing it for themselves."</p>

NBC Reporter Hypes ‘Courageous’ Defense of Aborting Down Syndrome Babies

<p>On Friday, NBC's Ken Dilanian praised Washington Post editor Ruth Marcus on Twitter for her "courageous" column that defended the "right" of women to abort their unborn babies if they have Down syndrome. Dilanian underlined his agreement with Marcus after another Twitter user cited how his child has the genetic condition: "And you made the right choice for you—a choice to be celebrated and respected...She [Marcus] is affirming her legal right to make a different choice for her own family."</p>

NPR Censors Pro-Second Amendment Voices In Boycott, Gun Divestment Coverage

<p>NPR couldn't be bothered to include pro-gun rights talking heads in their Monday coverage of boycotts targeting the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers. <em>Morning Edition</em> featured pro-gun control activist Shannon Watts during their report on the "more than a dozen companies...cutting ties with the National Rifle Association." However, the program merely read an excerpt from a NRA statement responding to the corporate moves. Hours later, <em>All Things Considered</em> turned to two gun control supporters — California state treasurer John Chiang and Avery Gardiner of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence — during a segment on the anti-gun manufacturers campaign. The evening newscast followed its sister program's lead in leaving out gun rights suppporters from the report.</p>

Director of Karl Marx ‘Bromance’ Movie on NPR: Marxism Had ‘Nothing To Do’ With USSR

<p>Raoul Peck, the director of the new film, <em>The Young Karl Marx</em>, acclaimed the 19th-century radical leftist on Sunday's <em>All Things Considered</em> on NPR: "Today, his [Marx's] analyses are even more urgent and necessary than before." Anchor Sarah McCammon pointed out, "But hasn't this been tried before many times? I mean, Marx's ideas pervaded, for instance, the Soviet Union." Peck denied this historic reality: "It did not influence the Soviet Union. Marx and Engels would have probably been the first one to be shot....this incredible monster that was fabricated after the Russian Revolution has nothing to do with their ideas."</p>

Glamour Praises ‘Hero’s’ ‘Hilarious’ Edit of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Without Men

<p>On Friday, <em>Glamour </em>magazine's Evelyn Wang marveled over a leftist's eyebrow-raising edit of the critically-acclaimed war film Saving Private Ryan. The activist created a two-minute-long "manfree" version of the Academy Award-winning movie in response to a "douche who edited all the women out of #TheLastJedi." Wang touted how "the new cut...has since achieved viral acclaim," and hyped the creator's "solid sophomore...edit of <em>The Shawshank Redemption</em>....Beautiful."</p>

Surprise: NPR Spotlights Pro-Life Outreach To Abortionists and Clinic Workers

<p>NPR's <em>All Things Considered</em> on Thursday zeroed in on a pro-life organization that tries to get the employees of abortion facilities to end their participation in the killing of unborn babies. Despite the surprising attention on former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson and her group, And Then There Were None, the public radio program still inserted slanted language into their report. Sarah McCammon labeled the organization an "anti-abortion group." McCammon later noted that Johnson has "gradually been embraced by the anti-abortion rights movement."</p>

Surprise: NPR Spotlights Pro-Life Outreach To Abortionists and Clinic Workers

<p>NPR's <em>All Things Considered</em> on Thursday zeroed in on a pro-life organization that tries to get the employees of abortion facilities to end their participation in the killing of unborn babies. Despite the surprising attention on former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson and her group, And Then There Were None, the public radio program still inserted slanted language into their report. Sarah McCammon labeled the organization an "anti-abortion group." McCammon later noted that Johnson has "gradually been embraced by the anti-abortion rights movement."</p>

Bioethicist on NBCNews.com: Having Kids is ‘Indulgence’ That’s Bad For The Earth

<p>Professor Travis Reider of Johns Hopkins University boosted population control as a solution for climate change in a Wednesday op-ed for NBCNews.com. Reider, an assistant director at the school's Berman Institute of Bioethics, hyped that "having a child is a major contributor to climate change," and asserted that "the logical takeaway here is that everyone on Earth ought to consider having fewer children."</p>

AP Boosts LGBT Activists’ Lament Over ‘Rarely Used’ Hate Crime Laws

<p>AP's David Crary filed a slanted report on Thursday that spotlighted the complaints of left-wing organizations regarding hate crime laws that, in their view, are "rarely used to prosecute the slayings" of "transgender" individuals. Crary zeroed in on a murder case in Missouri where " a transgender teen...was stabbed in the genitals." He used the homicide as a jumping-off point to cite several activists, who bemoaned that the "[hate crime] provisions have led to few prosecutions."</p>

AP Paints Roy Moore As God-‘Embracing’ Extremist; Touts Alabama’s Segegation Past

<p>Jay Reeves and Kim Chandler did their best to portray Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore as an extremist in a Wednesday item for the Associated Press. The pair led their report by playing up that Moore "wouldn’t stand a chance in many Senate races after defying federal court orders, describing Islam as a false religion, calling homosexuality evil and pulling out a revolver on stage before hundreds of supporters."</p>

Ex-CNNer Piers Morgan Badgers Conservative Over Traditional Christian Views

<p>Former CNN personality Piers Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid hounded a Conservative member of the British Parliament on ITV's <em>Good Morning Britain</em> on Wednesday over his Catholic views on sexuality and abortion. The pair wouldn't accept Jacob Rees-Mogg's repeated affirmation that he "support(s) the teaching of the Catholic Church" on traditional marriage, and badgered him to explicitly say he opposed same-sex "marriage." The anchors also challenged Rees-Mogg's unequivocal stance against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.</p>

Ex-CNNer Piers Morgan Badgers Conservative Over Traditional Christian Views

<p>Former CNN personality Piers Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid hounded a Conservative member of the British Parliament on ITV's <em>Good Morning Britain</em> on Wednesday over his Catholic views on sexuality and abortion. The pair wouldn't accept Jacob Rees-Mogg's repeated affirmation that he "support(s) the teaching of the Catholic Church" on traditional marriage, and badgered him to explicitly say he opposed same-sex "marriage." The anchors also challenged Rees-Mogg's unequivocal stance against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.</p>

WashPost Likens End of Columbus Day in Los Angeles To ‘Toppled’ Confederate Statue

<p>Samantha Schmidt's Thursday item for <em>The Washington Post</em> played up how the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to rename Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples Day." Schmidt boosted a wild statement from the proposal's sponsor, Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who denigrated the holiday: "As statues aggrandizing the Confederacy topple across the South, so too should this symbol of oppression and genocide."</p>

NPR Targets Trump, Cruz Over Hurricane Harvey Recovery Funding

<p>Tuesday's <em>All Things Considered</em> on NPR aired two segments that took shots at President Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Both reports featured talking heads from liberal organizations, but didn't explicitly mention their ideological stance. By contast, the segments clearly identified specific individual and groups as "conservative." </p>

AP Plays Up ‘Misery’ in Venezuela After Trump Imposes Sanctions

<p>On Tuesday, Joshua Goodman of the Associated Press trumpeted that the economic "misery is likely to get even worse" in Venezuela due to new sanctions implemented by the Trump administration. Goodman acknowledged that the South American country is becoming "increasingly authoritarian," but didn't once describe the regime of President Nicolas Maduro as left-wing. He also cited an expert who asserted that possible additional sanctions might "throw Venezuela back to the stone ages."</p>

Salon: The U.S. Has A ‘Neo-Confederate’ National Anthem

<p>On Sunday, Salon's Jefferson Morley contended that the United States adopted the "Star Spangled Banner" as its national anthem due to an ascendant "neo-Confederate spirit" during the decades after the Civil War. Morley played up that "observing Memorial Day and singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' are uncontroversial patriotic gestures, yet there is no disputing that neo-Confederates developed these rituals."</p>

Salon: The U.S. Has A ‘Neo-Confederate’ National Anthem

<p>On Sunday, Salon's Jefferson Morley contended that the United States adopted the "Star Spangled Banner" as its national anthem due to an ascendant "neo-Confederate spirit" during the decades after the Civil War. Morley played up that "observing Memorial Day and singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' are uncontroversial patriotic gestures, yet there is no disputing that neo-Confederates developed these rituals."</p>

NPR Spotlights Conservatives’ Exit From California; Hypes ‘Downsides’

<p>NPR's <em>Weekend Edition Sunday</em> zeroed in on conservative California residents who are leaving the Golden State for Texas due to the left-of-center political climate. The public radio program highlighted a former Californian's business of "connecting [California] families with realtors on the buying and selling ends; helping them move; and taking a commission for it." However, correspondent Vanessa Romo wondered if there were "downsides" to his enterprise of "encouraging people to stick with their own kind [and] discouraging them from having neighbors with different points of view."</p>

NPR Smears Conservative Group as ‘Alt-Right’ ‘White Nationalist,’ Even Though Founder Is Asian-American

<p>Friday's<em> Morning Edition</em> on NPR hyped two "far-right" protests planned in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday. However, the public radio network improperly labeled Patriot Prayer, the group behind one of the demonstrations, as "alt-right." In fact, the controversial liberal Southern Poverty Law Center "does not list Patriot Prayer as such, nor is [founder Joey] Gibson considered an extremist," acccording to a Wednesday report from <em>The Mercury News</em>.</p>

Shock: NPR Touts Civil Rights Activist Who Opposes Destroying Confederate Memorials

<p>On Wednesday, NPR's <em>Morning Edition</em> surprisingly featured former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, who opposes the dismantling of Confederate memorials across the United States. Young, a close associate of Martin Luther King, contended that the controversy was "a total distraction that is undercutting most of the progress we made." Journalist Ailsa Chang zeroed in on the Confederate sculpture on Stone Mountain in Georgia and pointed out that "a lot of Black Lives Matter activists would probably disagree with you."</p>

Networks Punt on Bombing Plot Against Confederate Monument in Houston

ABC, CBS, and NBC's evening newscasts on Monday all failed to cover the thwarted bombing of a Confederate monument in Houston, Texas. The Big Three networks led and concluded each program with full reports on the solar eclipse that crossed the United States, but didn't even set aside a news brief to the arrest of Andrew Cecil Schneck, who allegedly prepared explosives and tried to set them off near the Texas landmark. CNN and MSNBC also punted on covering the FBI's investigation of the bomb plot, while Fox News aired an eleven-second news brief on Monday evening [video below].

Correspondents Daniel Arkin and Tracy Connor covered Schneck's arrest in a Monday afternoon article on NBCNews.com. The pair disclosed that a park ranger found the suspect "kneeling in the bushes near the statue of Richard Dowling, a commander in the Confederate army" in Hermann Park, one of the most-visited public spaces in Houston. According to a court document, the law enforcement officer "observed Schneck to be holding two small boxes with various items inside," including "what appeared to be duct tape and wires." During the arrest, the ranger asked Schneck "whether he wanted to harm the Dowling statue...[He] replied that he did not 'like that guy.'"

Arkin and Connor also noted that federal and local officials "praised the park ranger, Tamara Curtis, for her quick thinking." They quoted FBI Special Agent Daron Ogletree, who underlined that "her initial response could have saved lives." The correspondents also pointed out Schneck's criminal record. Several years earlier, the suspect "pleaded guilty to...[a] misdemeanor federal charge" after being caught "improperly storing explosive material." He received a five-year probation sentence.

The NBC journalists' online coverage of Schneck's alleged bomb plot apparently didn't warrant any on-air coverage on NBC Nightly News or MSNBC's late afternoon and evening programming. By contrast, anchor Eboni Williams zeroed in on the story during the eleven-second news brief on The Fox News Specialists: "Highlighting the intensity of the controversy, federal officials announced today that a 25-year-old man has been arrested after attempting to blow up a statue of Confederate officer Richard Dowling on Saturday night."

The City of Houston's website includes a short description of the Richard Dowling monument. It had been dedicated in 1905 in honor of the Civil War veteran, who led Confederate troops to victory at the Second Battle of Sabine Pass, which lies on the border between Texas and Louisiana. Dowling was "hailed as a war hero in Houston, and the end of the war saw him resume his successful business career. Yellow fever took his life in 1867."

NBC's Houston affiliate, KPRC-TV, also gave additional details on Schneck's arrest in a Monday write-up. Initial tests of the suspect's device found that device contained "most likely nitroglycerin and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine." A criminal complaint against Schneck outlined that the latter susbstance is a "high explosive organic compound used as an initiating, or primary explosive." After summarizing his criminal history, the KPRC article noted that "if convicted for Saturday's incident, Schneck faces a minimum of five to 40 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine."

NPR Hypes Vatican-Approved Article Blasting 'Right-Wing' American Catholics

NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday followed the lead of the New York Times and boosted a recent article published by an ally of Pope Francis that targeted "ultra-conservative" Catholics for forming a so-called "alliance of hate with evangelicals who support President Trump's policies."

Host Lulu Garcia-Navarro turned to Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter for his analysis of the article, but failed to mention his publication's heterodox/left-wing stances on many Church issues. McElwee contended that these "right-wing" Catholics are "operating in the exact opposite way of the Pope — which, for a Catholic, is obviously a very strange thing."

Garcia-Navarro led into the segment with the writer by outlining that "ultra-conservative Catholics in the U.S. are the target of a controversial article penned by two priests in Pope Francis's inner circle." However, one of the authors of the article, Marcelo Figueroa, is actually a Protestant theologian, as well as a longtime friend of the pontiff. After using the "alliance of hate" phrase, the NPR host noted that "some conservative Catholics here are accusing the Vatican of overstepping" with the piece. While Garcia-Navarro and her guest repeatedly identified the targets of the piece as "right-wing" and "ultra-conservative," neither used a corresponding ideological label for Figuero, his co-author, or their allies.

McElwee first summarized the contents of the article: "These two authors are known to be quite close to him. One, [Father] Antonio Spadaro, was the person who interviewed him in 2013...And what they're saying is that they're concerned about ties between fundamental (sic) evangelicals and, kind of, right-wing Catholics in the U.S. that are focused only on very neuralgic issues and, kind of, dividing in politics." Garcia-Navarro pointed out that "the article, I believe, specifically talks about xenophobic and Islamophobic views."

The National Catholic Reporter journalist explained that "Pope Francis has really been trying to create a culture of dialogue encounter...what the two authors in this article are saying is that these right-wing groups in the U.S. have been really doing the opposite....And they're, kind of, operating in the exact opposite way of the Pope — which, for a Catholic, is obviously a very strange thing." He soon added that the article "says that certain groups in the U.S. Catholic Church have, kind of, gone off the track — that all they care about are, kind of, creating political alliances for, kind of, right-wing conservative ends; and not for...wider concerns of the Catholic Church."

Later in the segment, Garcia-Navarro wondered, "What has been the reaction among the Catholic community here in the United States?" McElwee acknowledged that "it's been very divided. Some Catholics thought that it was a very good thing....Other Catholics think that it's very inappropriate for the Vatican to, kind of, get mixed into particular politics in one country when the Church is so global and is all over the world."

The full transcript of the Joshua McElwee segment, which aired on the August 6, 2017 edition of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday:

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ultra-conservative Catholics in the U.S. are the target of a controversial article penned by two priests in Pope Francis's inner circle. The article appeared in a Vatican-vetted journal last month, and suggests that some American Catholics are forming an alliance of hate with evangelicals who support President Trump's policies. And some conservative Catholics here are accusing the Vatican of overstepping.

Joining us from Rome to talk about the article is Joshua McElwee. He's the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. Joshua, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

JOSHUA McELWEE, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER: Yeah. Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So tell us what the article said.

McELWEE: Well, it's very interesting. It's in the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica. It's a very historic magazine — the Jesuits, of course, being the same order that Pope Francis — an order of priests that Pope Francis is a part of. And what's very interesting is that these two authors are known to be quite close to him. One, Antonio Spadaro, was the person who interviewed him in 2013 and made a big splash. And what they're saying is that they're concerned about ties between fundamental (sic) evangelicals and, kind of, right-wing Catholics in the U.S. that are focused only on very neuralgic issues and, kind of, dividing in politics.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And the article, I believe, specifically talks about xenophobic and Islamophobic views.

McELWEE: Yeah. What the authors say is that — you know, Pope Francis has really been trying to create a culture of dialogue encounter — really working with people across all the spectrums. And what the two authors in this article are saying is that these right-wing groups in the U.S. have been really doing the opposite. Where Pope Francis is trying to build bridges, they're trying to build walls; and they're playing up concerns about migration — about refugees. And they're, kind of, operating in the exact opposite way of the Pope — which, for a Catholic, is obviously a very strange thing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. This article also directly mentions President Donald Trump and his adviser, Steve Bannon. What does it say about them?

McELWEE: Beyond Donald Trump or beyond the current presidency, it looks at the past ten or fifteen years of development in right-wing Catholicism. And it says that certain groups in the U.S. Catholic Church have, kind of, gone off the track — that all they care about are, kind of, creating political alliances for, kind of, right-wing conservative ends; and not for — you know, wider concerns of the Catholic Church — particularly, the concerns of creating unity between Christian churches; not just on political issues, but on deeper theological, philosophical, and other issues.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Just to get some perspective, how did Catholics vote in this recent election? I mean, are Catholics more Republican-leaning? Are they more likely to support President Donald Trump?

McELWEE: Well, Catholics in the U.S., for the past several election cycles, have been really split down the middle. They're considered kind of a swing constituency. One or two percentage points one way or the other might swing a vote in a certain state. In the last election, the latest numbers are that they voted for Hillary Clinton, but by a very small margin — one or two percentage points — among Catholics in the U.S. But in recent years, what these writers are trying to say is there has been a very strong right-wing presence among the U.S. Catholic Church - particularly around abortion, and in trying to elect Republicans who say that they will appoint judges to overturn Roe v. Wade.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What has been the reaction among the Catholic community here in the United States?

McELWEE: It's been very divided. Some Catholics thought that it was a very good thing. They liked that the Church is identifying what is going on in the U.S. church. Other Catholics think that it's very inappropriate for the Vatican to, kind of, get mixed into particular politics in one country when the Church is so global and is all over the world. They particularly criticized the article for not having an American writer. You know, it was an Italian and an Argentinean writing about the U.S. political situation, and some people have said that that is quite problematic.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joshua McElwee is the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. Thank you very much.

McELWEE: Thank you.

Slate Bemoans 'Far Right' Justice Thomas's Former Clerks Fill Trump Administration

Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern hyped in a Wednesday item for Slate that "hard right" Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's "fingerprints are all over" the Trump administration, due to the fact that many of his former clerks now hold "high places" there. Litchwick and Sterm played up that Thomas's "once-fringy ideas are suddenly flourishing," and touted that he is "close buddies with Rush Limbaugh...[and] fringe radio dogmatist Mark Levin."

The pair also bewailed that the justice "trained a small army of acolytes to implement his larger project of shrinking the regulatory state and fighting back against the supposed chokehold of political correctness."

Lithwick, a former Newsweek journalist, and her collaborator led their piece, "The Clarence Thomas Takeover," by noting that Justice Thomas has supposedly "spent more than 25 years staking out a right-wing worldview that can generously be described as idiosyncratic." After summarizing his "extreme position" on the Court, they underlined that the conservative jurist, who "spent his career teetering off the right edge of the federal bench, finds himself at the center of the table." They soon added that "Thomas is more than just the Trump administration's philosophical hero. His once-fringy ideas are suddenly flourishing—not only on the high court, through his alliance with [Justice Neil] Gorsuch, but also in the executive branch."

The Slate writers departed from past liberal attacks on Thomas as an empty "vessel." Instead, they spent the bulk of their item portraying the Supreme Court justice as a diabolical genius. They first outlined that "Donald Trump's crude understanding of the United States government aligns startlingly well with Thomas' sophisticated political worldview....Thomas is a thinker and Trump is a feeler, but together they have arrived at similar conclusions. They want less government, a more authoritarian executive, more God, fewer racial entitlements, and more guns."

Lithwick and Stern continued by spotlighting Justice Thomas's "small army of acolytes" in the Trump administration:

Everywhere you turn in Trumpland, you'll find a slew of Thomas' former clerks in high places. They are serving in the White House counsel's office (Greg Katsas, John Eisenberg, David Morrell); awaiting appointment to the federal judiciary (Allison H. Eid, David Stras); leading the departments of the Treasury (Heath P. Tarbert, Sigal Mandelker) and Transportation (Steven G. Bradbury); defending the travel ban in court (Jeffrey Wall); and heading the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (Neomi Rao). Thomas clerks are also working with dark money groups to execute Trump's agenda (Carrie Severino) and boosting him in the far-right media (Laura Ingraham).

The pair emphasized their point about the conservative's "army" by citing longtime Thomas critic Jeffrey Toobin: "[I]t's easy to see that an enormous number of Thomas protégés are stepping into positions of immense power. Every expert we spoke to, among them the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin, agreed the Trump administration has brought on a striking number of Thomas clerks." They zeroed in on three former clerks in particular  — Jeffrey Wall, Neomi Rao, and Allison Eid. The writers devoted several paragraphs to highlighting Wall's defense of President Trump's travel ban; Rao's work "criticizing the administrative state;" and Eid's possible role as a "critical ally in his [Thomas's] fight for ever-more entanglement between church and state," if she is confirmed to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Later in their item, Lithwick and Stern emphasized that "Thomas, who has described his clerks as his 'little family,' sees them as trainees in a very specific ideological program. He famously invites them to watch The Fountainhead at his home each year and has taken them on annual trips to Gettysburg to reflect on what he views as the conservative lessons of the Civil War." They also pointed out that "while Thomas is famously one of the most personable justices on the high court—the stories of his generosity to former clerks and court staff are myriad—he has also cultivated a with-us-or-against-us mindset that owes more to AM radio than George Will, and that maps perfectly onto Trump's Fox News–inflected worldview."

The Slate writers concluded their opinion piece by asserting that "Thomas stands as a symbol of what a faltering, lawless Trump may yet accomplish...At the precise moment in which the more than 120 vacancies on the federal courts may be the only reason for conservatives to hold their noses and stand by Trump, it's Clarence Thomas who stands as a living embodiment of wars already won and triumphs yet to come."

AP Plays Up Transgender Soldier's 'Uncertainty' After Trump's Tweet

On Monday, Julie Watson and Christoph Noelting of the Associated Press spotlighted the plight of Captain Jonathan Sims, an officer in the U.S. Army who came out as transgender in April 2017. The two journalists hyped how Captain Sims, who now goes by the name "Jennifer," felt "unease" and "uncertainty" in the wake of President Donald Trump's Twitter post on Wednesday announcing he would reinstate the military's ban on transgenders. The pair cited sympathetic family members and colleagues of the serviceman, but failed to include any quotes from supporters of the President's policy proposal.

Watson and Noelting led their item, "'I am transgender': A US soldier shares personal journey," with an account of how Captain Sims sent an e-mail to "200 fellow troops" in April 2017 that disclosed his transgender identification. The two correspondents underlined that "the April 13 email officially ended the secret that burned inside Capt. Jennifer Sims, who was known as Jonathan Sims. But the feeling of relief swiftly turned to unease last week after President Donald Trump tweeted that transgender people were no longer welcome in the U.S. military."

The army officer, who is currently stationed in Germany, emphasized that President Trump's social media posts were "devastating because I still have work to do and here I am reading basically what sounds like the president of the United States — who is the commander in chief, he is the ultimate boss of the military — telling me and anybody else that is transgender that we are fired." He added that "in the initial moments after the tweet, I saw myself forced into the state that I was in before I started transitioning — a state of depression, exhaustion and inability to enjoy things."

The two AP journalists pointed out that Mr. Trump's "reversal of the Obama administration policy that allows transgender people to serve openly and receive military medical coverage for transitioning from one gender to another also could affect her physically. Sims has been on hormone therapy by her military doctor since November. If she interrupts the treatment, her body will revert to being male." They continued with a sympathetic three-paragraph summary of the captain's life that noted that "Sims, a high school football player, never felt comfortable being male. The son and grandson of military veterans quietly came to terms with identifying as a woman a year after joining the Army R.O.T.C."

Watson and Noelting then highlighted that "after the Defense Department announced in 2015 that it was considering allowing transgender troops to serve openly, Sims told...[his] parents. When the policy became official in June 2016, Sims said she felt the meaning of the word freedom personally after spending years fighting for it for her country." They also included several quotes from Captain Brandon Shorter, a colleague of Captain Sims, who was initially "at a loss for words" after the April 2017 e-mail, but later "texted Sims about how that was brave."

The two Associated Press correspondents later underlined that Captain Shorter "describes himself as conservative...[and] struggles with his beliefs about what's appropriate." However, they quickly added that the military officer "speaking on his own behalf and not that of the Army, said he would be 'incredibly disappointed' if Sims were kicked out." The pair also included that "after Trump's tweet, a few soldiers, including Shorter, asked Sims how she was doing. She didn't know what to say.

Just three paragraphs before the end of the report, Watson and Noelting disclosed that Captain Sims's "pills will run out in three months. Doctors recommend 12 months of hormone therapy before surgery. The cost of her surgery can run close to $50,000, which Sims was expecting the military would help cover." They let the transgender serviceman give one final personal lament about the situation: "'I had waited so long just to be able to tell the world this is who I am,' Sims said."

AP Plays Up Transgender Soldier's 'Uncertainty' After Trump's Tweet

On Monday, Julie Watson and Christoph Noelting of the Associated Press spotlighted the plight of Captain Jonathan Sims, an officer in the U.S. Army who came out as transgender in April 2017. The two journalists hyped how Captain Sims, who now goes by the name "Jennifer," felt "unease" and "uncertainty" in the wake of President Donald Trump's Twitter post on Wednesday announcing he would reinstate the military's ban on transgenders. The pair cited sympathetic family members and colleagues of the serviceman, but failed to include any quotes from supporters of the President's policy proposal.

Watson and Noelting led their item, "'I am transgender': A US soldier shares personal journey," with an account of how Captain Sims sent an e-mail to "200 fellow troops" in April 2017 that disclosed his transgender identification. The two correspondents underlined that "the April 13 email officially ended the secret that burned inside Capt. Jennifer Sims, who was known as Jonathan Sims. But the feeling of relief swiftly turned to unease last week after President Donald Trump tweeted that transgender people were no longer welcome in the U.S. military."

The army officer, who is currently stationed in Germany, emphasized that President Trump's social media posts were "devastating because I still have work to do and here I am reading basically what sounds like the president of the United States — who is the commander in chief, he is the ultimate boss of the military — telling me and anybody else that is transgender that we are fired." He added that "in the initial moments after the tweet, I saw myself forced into the state that I was in before I started transitioning — a state of depression, exhaustion and inability to enjoy things."

The two AP journalists pointed out that Mr. Trump's "reversal of the Obama administration policy that allows transgender people to serve openly and receive military medical coverage for transitioning from one gender to another also could affect her physically. Sims has been on hormone therapy by her military doctor since November. If she interrupts the treatment, her body will revert to being male." They continued with a sympathetic three-paragraph summary of the captain's life that noted that "Sims, a high school football player, never felt comfortable being male. The son and grandson of military veterans quietly came to terms with identifying as a woman a year after joining the Army R.O.T.C."

Watson and Noelting then highlighted that "after the Defense Department announced in 2015 that it was considering allowing transgender troops to serve openly, Sims told...[his] parents. When the policy became official in June 2016, Sims said she felt the meaning of the word freedom personally after spending years fighting for it for her country." They also included several quotes from Captain Brandon Shorter, a colleague of Captain Sims, who was initially "at a loss for words" after the April 2017 e-mail, but later "texted Sims about how that was brave."

The two Associated Press correspondents later underlined that Captain Shorter "describes himself as conservative...[and] struggles with his beliefs about what's appropriate." However, they quickly added that the military officer "speaking on his own behalf and not that of the Army, said he would be 'incredibly disappointed' if Sims were kicked out." The pair also included that "after Trump's tweet, a few soldiers, including Shorter, asked Sims how she was doing. She didn't know what to say.

Just three paragraphs before the end of the report, Watson and Noelting disclosed that Captain Sims's "pills will run out in three months. Doctors recommend 12 months of hormone therapy before surgery. The cost of her surgery can run close to $50,000, which Sims was expecting the military would help cover." They let the transgender serviceman give one final personal lament about the situation: "'I had waited so long just to be able to tell the world this is who I am,' Sims said."

'How Did That Feel?' NPR Touts 'Trans Man' Veteran to Decry Trump Transgender Service Ban

On Wednesday, NPR's All Things Considered blatantly sided with opponents of President Donald Trump's proposal to bar transgender people from serving in the military, and avoided any supporters of the new policy. Host Kelly McEvers interviewed veteran Jordan Blisk, who served in the Air Force Reserve before then-President Barack Obama's administration lifted the previous ban in June 2016, and came out as transgender after leaving the military. McEvers failed to mention that Blisk is now a LGBT activist in Colorado. 

The public radio host introduced her guest by outlining  that Blisk is "a former senior airman with the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He served from 2011 to 2015. He's also a trans-man — meaning he was assigned female at birth. He enlisted in the military when he was 17 years old; and he says being in the military actually helped him figure out his gender identity." The veteran first summarized how her experience as an aircraft mechanic apparently helped her "break traditional feminine gender roles by being able to work on aircraft and, kind of, be one of the guys."

McEvers tossed three softball questions during the interview. She first asked, "With the ban in place — I mean, there was a ban in place on transgender servicemembers at that time — how did that play out for you?"

Blisk lamented, in part, that she "couldn't be who I was in my civilian life. And so, that manifested itself in things like my partner having to switch my name and my pronouns anytime we were out in public, to me being so afraid to use any bathroom...So it definitely caused a lot of problems in my personal life — a lot of stress."

The NPR host followed up by wondering how her guest reacted to the Obama administration's transgender move in 2016: "President Obama's defense secretary, Ash Carter, lifted the ban on transgender servicemembers. You weren't in active service at that time, but how did that feel when you heard about it?"

The veteran replied, "It felt good to know at that point that...the military, who is the largest employer of transgender people in the entire world...that they were making steps towards being affirming towards people like me." She added, "And so, now, to feel...this tension with what we're going through right now, it's very scary; and it definitely sends the opposite message of hope that I felt a year ago."

Near the end of the segment by asking, "It sounds like he [Trump] essentially wants to reinstate the ban on transgender servicemembers. I mean, knowing what you know about your own experience when there was such a ban in place, what consequences do you think that would have for trans-men and women now?"

Blisk answered, in part, by emphasizing that "if we're talking about potentially trying to go after troops that are currently serving, that's going to devastate them from a career perspective; from a family perspective; from a financial perspective; from every single way, because the military is everything to you when you're in."

The public radio journalist concluded by repeating her "former senior airman for the U.S. Air Force Reserves" label of her guest. However, McEvers didn't disclose that the veteran led a legal clinic at the University of Colorado Law School in April 2017 for transgender people interested in changing their names. Buzzfeed also released a fawning graphic novel-style article about Blisk in October 2016.

The full transcript of Kelly McEvers's interview of Jordan Blisk from the July 26, 2017 edition of NPR's All Things Considered:

KELLY McEVERS: A ban on transgender servicemembers could mean that trans-men and women would not be able to serve openly. And to understand how that would play out for people, we're going to talk to Jordan Blisk. He's a former senior airman with the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He served from 2011 to 2015. He's also a trans-man — meaning he was assigned female at birth. He enlisted in the military when he was 17 years old; and he says being in the military actually helped him figure out his gender identity.

JORDAN BLISK: That was the first time in my life that I was really exposed outside of the area that I grew up in. The military gave me a way outside of the world that I knew. I grew up in the — in the Midwest, and that was my first real experience being outside of it. And throughout that experience — and especially given the opportunity to perform as an aircraft mechanic — I was given the opportunity to be able to express myself in ways that I had really never been able to in the past. And so, you know, being able to kind of break traditional feminine gender roles by being able to work on aircraft — and, kind of, be one of the guys — it really started to bring out parts of me that I had kind of known were there, but didn't really have the words for. You know, I started realizing that — hey, my sexuality is this, but that doesn't mean anything as far as who I am.

McEVERS: With the ban in place — I mean, there was a ban in place on transgender servicemembers at that time — how did that play out for you?

BLISK: It was difficult, because during the same time that I was in the military — in the reserves — I was also a full-time college student. And some of the people that I was stationed with at my unit were going to college with me at the same time. And so, even though I was only serving for — you know, maybe two, three days a month, I couldn't be who I was in my civilian life. And so, that manifested itself in things like my partner having to switch my name and my pronouns anytime we were out in public, to me being so afraid to use any bathroom — because at that point, I wasn't comfortable using female restrooms, but I was terrified of using male restrooms — and being caught by one of the members of my unit; and then, being reported and eventually discharged. So it definitely caused a lot of problems in my personal life — a lot of stress.

McEVERS: And then, last year, President Obama's defense secretary, Ash Carter, lifted the ban on transgender servicemembers. You weren't in active service at that time, but — but how did that feel when you heard about it?

BLISK: It felt great. It felt good to know at that point that — you know, the military, who is the largest employer of transgender people in the entire world — the U.S. military is — to know that they were making steps towards being affirming towards people like me. It felt amazing. And so, now, to feel — you know, this tension with what we're going (laughs) — going through right now, it's — it's very scary; and it definitely sends the opposite message of hope that I felt a year ago.

McEVERS: We don't have all the details yet on what President Trump is proposing to do, but it sounds like he essentially wants to reinstate the ban on transgender servicemembers. I mean, knowing what you know about your own experience when there was such a ban in place, what consequences do you think that would have for trans-men and women now?

BLISK: I think it's absolutely devastating. I know a lot of people — very good soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines — who have dedicated their lives to the military and to protecting the United States. And for them to lose their career; to lose their family; to lose their support system; to lose their entire world — I mean, that's just — that's unthinkable to me, especially when they've done nothing wrong. And so, I think if we're talking about potentially trying to go after troops that are currently serving, that — that's going to devastate them from a career perspective; from a family perspective; from a financial perspective; from every single way, because the military is everything to you when you're in.

McEVERS: Jordan Blisk, former senior airman for the U.S. Air Force Reserves, talking to us about President Trump's announcement today that he intends to ban transgender servicemembers from the U.S. military, thank you so much.

BLISK: Thank you.

NPR Lets Pro-Abortion Activist Smear Pro-Lifers as Potential Terrorists

NPR's Morning Edition on Monday zeroed in on a pro-life group's ongoing protest outside Kentucky's last abortion clinic. Correspondent Lisa Gillespie featured three pro-abortion activists during her report versus just one pro-lifer. Gillespie also let one of the abortion backers smear pro-lifers as potential terrorists. Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation contended that prosecuting those who use the controversial tactic of blocking abortion clinic entrances prevents "the kinds of arsons, bombings, and murders that we've too often seen."

Host Steve Inskeep led into the correspondent's segment by noting that "a federal judge decides today whether a buffer zone will remain indefinitely in front of the last clinic that provides abortions in Kentucky....As Lisa Gillespie reports from our member station WFPL, the ruling is expected as a Christian group kicks off its week-long conference in Louisville." Gillespie first highlighted how David Street of the "fundamental (sic) Christian group, Operation Save America" recently spoke at a church in Louisville. Street decried how "fifty-nine million-plus babies [were] murdered" via abortion.

The public radio journalist continued with a slanted summary of the controversy surrounding the EMW Women's Surgical Center, the last abortion clinic in Kentucky: "Street...[is] acutely aware that Louisville has become a battleground between those that believe a woman shouldn't have the choice of an abortion, and those that do. That's because there's only one place left to get an abortion in Kentucky." She also noted that Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's role in helping to close the abortion clinics that used to operate in the Bluegrass State.

Gillespie then played back-to-back clips from a pro-abortion activist and the founder of the EMW Women's Surgical Center. Both talking heads blasted Governor Bevin's role in shutting down the other abortion clinics. The correspondent did play one more snippet from Street before setting up her sound bite from Saporta. She detailed that "in May, ten OSA protesters were arrested outside the EMW Center when they blocked the entrance. As a result, a judge granted a temporary restraining order...to keep those ten people — and anyone associated with them — from entering a 15-foot buffer zone...Vicki Saporta with the National Abortion Federation said on Thursday that this was critical."

After playing the inflammatory clip from the National Abortion Federation clip, Gillespie ended her report by stating the federal judge's order "seemed to have worked on Saturday morning, the first day of the buffer zone. It was quieter than expected. But on Wednesday, [Operation Save America] is planning on screening footage of an abortion on a Jumbotron in front of Louisville's City Hall."

The full transcript of Lisa Gillespie's report from NPR's Morning Edition, which aired on July 24, 2017:

STEVE INSKEEP: A federal judge decides today whether a buffer zone will remain indefinitely in front of the last clinic that provides abortions in Kentucky. It's the EMW Women's Surgical Center.

As Lisa Gillespie reports from our member station WFPL, the ruling is expected as a Christian group kicks off its week-long conference in Louisville. (clip of music from Christian worship service)

LISA GILLESPIE: It's Sunday night in Louisville, and around 450 people are packed into a church here. An organizer from the fundamental (sic) Christian group, Operation Save America, is at the pulpit.

DAVID STREET, OPERATION SAVE AMERICA: Fifty-nine million-plus babies murdered!

GILLESPIE: David Street and the others here are acutely aware that Louisville has become a battleground between those that believe a woman shouldn't have the choice of an abortion, and those that do. That's because there's only one place left to get an abortion in Kentucky. One reason behind the recent closure of several of the state's clinics is Republican Governor Matt Bevin. Health clinics that provide abortions here must have an agreement with a hospital to transfer a woman there if something goes wrong; and they must also have a contract with an ambulance company to provide transport in that situation. Bevin has gone after these agreements — saying they're not valid.

Meg Stern, a volunteer who escorts patients through anti-abortion protesters, said on a call last Thursday that Governor Bevin is using health and safety excuses in an attempt to ban abortion here.

MEG STERN: If the last clinic is closed, it will be — amount to a ban on abortion in the entire state.

GILLESPIE: Ernest Marshall is the founder of the EMW Center.

ERNEST MARSHALL, EMW WOMEN'S SURGICAL CENTER: He has claimed that his vendetta against abortion providers has to do with protecting women's health and safety, which couldn't be further from the truth.

GILLESPIE: Operation Save America is also trying to close down the EMW Center. David Street again with OSA.

STREET: Since January 22, 1973, Satan has effectively deluded good people with the lie that abortion is a matter of law; and therefore, there is nothing we can do.

GILLESPIE: But there is something that people can do, is the message from OSA. In May, ten OSA protesters were arrested outside the EMW Center when they blocked the entrance. As a result, a judge granted a temporary restraining order to a Louisville federal attorney to keep those ten people — and anyone associated with them — from entering a 15-foot buffer zone directly in front of the EMW door.

Vicki Saporta with the National Abortion Federation said on Thursday that this was critical.

VICKI SAPORTA, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ABORTION FEDERATION: Lower-level criminal activities are prosecuted. They don't tend to escalate into the kinds of arsons, bombings, and murders that we've too often seen.

GILLESPIE: It seemed to have worked on Saturday morning, the first day of the buffer zone. It was quieter than expected. But on Wednesday, the group is planning on screening footage of an abortion on a Jumbotron in front of Louisville's City Hall. For NPR, I'm Lisa Gillespie in Louisville.

NPR Boosts Latina Teens' Pro-Illegal Immigration Protest in Texas

The Wednesday edition of NPR's All Things Considered spotlighted 15 teenaged Latina activists who protested a new law in Texas that allows law enforcement in the state to investigate the immigration status of individuals in police custody. The young women dressed in formal dresses during their demonstration outside the state capitol in Austin, and performed a choreographed dance. Correspondent Vanessa Romo identified the group that organized the protest, but failed to mention their liberal ideology.

Host Audie Cornish introduced Romo's report by outlining that "many Latinas mark their fifteenth birthdays with parties called quinceañeras. In Austin, Texas, it's popular to include a photo shoot on the steps of the state Capitol. Today, that rite of passage took on a political bent." The correspondent picked up where Cornish left off: "There are at least three elements that make a quinceañera a quinceañera: a big, poufy dress, check; some declaration that a young girl is now a woman, check; and a highly-choreographed dance — check."

Romo continued by transitioning to the pro-illegal immigration protest: "But what happened on the steps of the Texas Capitol earlier today was something more than a celebratory rite of passage for fifteen teens in bedazzled and sherbet-colored princess dresses; and it's become a social media campaign and an active hashtag — #15contraSB4 — that's been shared all over Twitter." She then played four straight sound bites from Cristina Tzintzun of the organization Jolt Texas, which sponsored the demonstration. The activist contended that "this last election, we saw Mexicans and Latinos demonized and really scapegoated. And so, we want legislators to know — and Trump to know — that we won't sit idly by while legislation of hate is passed."

The NPR journalist simply described Tzintzun's group as "a non-profit group working to get young Latinos to vote and run for office." However, a simple look at Jolt Texas's website reveals their left-of-center credentials. Tzintzun posted an article in June 2017 titled "Trump's Climate Decision Will Hurt People of Color and Latinos the Most." The organization's communications director, Tania Mejia, is an alumna of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, is on Jolt Texas's leadership council.

Later in the segment, Romo featured Maggie Juarez, one of the participants in the quinceañera-themed protest. The correspondent glowingly pointed out that "for Juarez, turning 15 was a really big deal. Turning 18 and being able to vote — that'll be monumental." The journalist omitted, however, that the teen is already a veteran of liberal activism. Earlier in 2017, Juarez participated in pro-illegal immigrant march in February, and walked out of her high school class in April in order to participate in a "resistencia fest" in Austin.

The full transcript of Vanessa Romo's report, which aired on NPR's All Things Considered on July 19, 2017:

AUDIE CORNISH: Many Latinas mark their fifteenth birthdays with parties called quinceañeras. In Austin, Texas, it's popular to include a photo shoot on the steps of the state Capitol. Today, that rite of passage took on a political bent.

NPR's Vanessa Romo reports.

VANESSA ROMO: There are at least three elements that make a quinceañera a quinceañera: a big, poufy dress, check; some declaration that a young girl is now a woman, check; and a highly-choreographed dance — (clip of Mexican norteño music) check. But what happened on the steps of the Texas Capitol earlier today was something more than a celebratory rite of passage for fifteen teens in bedazzled and sherbet-colored princess dresses; and it's become a social media campaign and an active hashtag — #15contraSB4 — that's been shared all over Twitter.

CRISTINA TZINTZUN, JOLT TEXAS: It's an event that's gotten a lot of traction from Latinos, as I said, across the country; but also here in Texas.

ROMO: That's because this quinceañera was also a protest against a new state law that allows law enforcement to check the immigration status of residents, and penalizes those who don't. It was organized by Cristina Tzintzun.

TZINTZUN: Texas has become ground zero for the fight for the rights of immigrants and Latinos.

ROMO: Tzintzun is the founder of Jolt Texas, a non-profit group working to get young Latinos to vote and run for office. And this demonstration in Austin, she says, was part of a larger national movement.

TZINTZUN: This last election, we saw Mexicans and Latinos demonized and really scapegoated. And so, we want legislators to know — and Trump to know — that we won't sit idly by while legislation of hate is passed — that our communities are going to organize and mobilize.

ROMO: So why the quinceañera theme? Because, Tzintzun says, it's when—

TZINTZUN: A girl takes on the full duties of becoming a woman; and one of those duties is protecting your family.

ROMO: In a traditional quince, the birthday girl performs a dance — usually a waltz. But these 15 ladies went a different route (clip of track, "Immigrants") They choreographed a mash-up dance to Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)' and 'Somos Mas Americanos' by Los Tigros del Norte — one of Mexico's most famous bands. The two songs tell the stories of immigration and the search for jobs. (clip of track, "Immigrants")

Sixteen-year-old Viridiana Sanchez explains why.

VIRIDIANA SANCHEZ: Basically, because, a lot of the things that the song is saying are true — like, we are America; like, we keep this economy moving.

ROMO: Maggie Juarez is 17 — about to start her senior year in high school. She says—

MAGGIE JUAREZ: Using these quinceañeras is showing that, as an adult, and as a Latina, we are responsible in voicing those who cannot speak for themselves in the moment.

ROMO: For Juarez, turning 15 was a really big deal. Turning 18 and being able to vote — that'll be monumental. Vanessa Romo, NPR News.

AP Hypes Climate Change's 'Devastating Effects' in War-Torn African Country

A Tuesday report from the Associated Press played up climate change's apparent impact inside the African country of South Sudan. Correspondent Sam Mednick acknowledged that the civil war in "the world’s youngest nation" was a factor, but still touted the "devastating effects of climate change" in the country.

Mednick also hyped that "countries across Africa are struggling to cope with a warmer world," and that "impoverished nations face some of the world’s harshest impacts from global warming."

The journalist led his item, "War-torn South Sudan at grave risk on climate change," with a quote from Taban Ceasor, a South Sudanese logger who likened his occupation to a chemical dependency: "I’m addicted to cutting trees." Mednick noted that the African country is "well into its fourth year of civil war," and that it is "ravaged by fighting and hunger." He quickly added, however, that South Sudan "also grapples with the devastating effects of climate change. Officials say the conflict is partly to blame."

Mednick continued by underlining that "impoverished nations face some of the world’s harshest impacts from global warming and are the least equipped to fight back." He predictably pointed out that "the United States recent withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement hurts a huge potential source of assistance" for these countries. The AP correspondent also cited that "South Sudan is ranked among the world’s five most vulnerable countries and is experiencing some of the most acute temperature changes," according to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2017 — a publication released by the UK-based firm Verisk Maplecroft.

The journalist devoted several paragraphs to quotes from United Nations officials, who all zeroed in on the environmental damage in South Sudan. There was only one passing mention about the ongoing civil war:

...Both U.N. and government officials call it a partially man-made crisis. While up to 95 percent of South Sudan’s population is dependent on "climate-sensitive activities for their livelihoods" such as agriculture and forestry, the civil war is worsening the problem.

The rate of deforestation in South Sudan is alarming and if it continues, in 50 to 60 years there will be nothing left, says Arshad Khan, country manager for the U.N. Environment Program. The lack of trees is directly contributing to the rise in temperatures.

(...)

Thirty-five percent of the country’s land was once covered with trees, and only 11 percent is now, according to the ministry of environment and agriculture.

"Desperate people are destroying the environment," says Lutana Musa, South Sudan's director for climate change.

Countries across Africa are struggling to cope with a warmer world. Although the continent produces less than 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, the UNDP [United Nations Development Program] says climate stresses and a limited capacity to adapt are increasing Africa's vulnerability to climate change.

After detailing the problem of illegal logging in South Sudan, Melnick returned to the issue of the United States' exit from the Paris climate accord near the end of his article: "At its climate change conference last month, South Sudan reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris climate agreement and criticized the U.S. withdrawal under President Donald Trump." He included another quote from the African country's climate change director, who targeted President Trump: "'Trump thinks climate change isn’t a reality,' says Lutana...'He should know that his pulling out won’t stop people from continuing to work on it.'"

This isn't the first time in recent weeks that the Associated Press has played up the supposed impact of climate change in the developing world. A slanted June 2017 report from the wire service hyped that "some island states may not survive through the next 100 years" due to global warming. The write-up hyped that the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord "makes the future seem as fragile and built on hope as a sand castle" for these countries.

Cosmo: 'Archaic' Gender-Reveal Parties 'Damaging' to Unborn Babies

Diane Stopyra attacked the new phenomenon of gender-reveal parties for pregnant women in a Sunday item for Cosmopolitan. Stopyra contended that such celebrations are "potentially damaging to said tiny humans," and that they exclude "a cross-section of the population out, adding to a culture of trans and intersex shame." The feminist writer also took aim at baby showers in general, and claimed, "We'd be better off showing the little girls in attendance that changing the world is every bit as much a female prerogative as bedazzling onesies."

Stopyra's opinion piece, which originally appeared in sister publication Marie Claire on Wednesday, carried the blunt title, "Dear Parents-to-Be: Stop Celebrating Your Baby's Gender" (and the subtitle, "Cutting into a pink or blue cake seems innocent enough—but honestly, it's not."). The freelance author led with an account about her negative experience at a recent baby shower: "If you're like me—a woman in her early 30s—your weekends are increasingly planned around these pastel celebrations...And, if you're like me, you swallow your feminist pride long enough to eat fetus-shaped cookies, finger-paint bibs in gender normative colors, and support a pregnant friend. I've accepted that, when it comes to the baby industrial complex, there are some things I'm better off embracing…no matter how antiquated or absurd."

The "environment heavy" writer, as she puts it on her Twitter profile, continued with her first volley at gender-reveal parties specifically: "But I cannot stomach the latest fad of the knocked-up set: gender-reveal parties. The It's A Boy/It's A Girl fetes have been an economic boon to stationary companies and party supply stores nationwide....But despite the popularity, the ritual is a lot like a rousing game of Pin-The-Umbilical-Cord-On-The-Newborn: cutesy in theory, taxing in practice." She soon explained her feminism-based argument against this trend:

...[M]y discomfort with the gender-reveal party goes beyond my standard objection to fanfare surrounding gestational markers—which is primarily that, because we don't celebrate non-pregnancy-related milestones with the same enthusiasm, we're reinforcing the archaic notion that a woman's value rests squarely in her ability to grow tiny humans. The issue with gender-reveal parties in particular is: Aren't they potentially damaging to said tiny humans?

For starters, gender-reveal parties don't actually reveal gender—they reveal anatomy. Gender is a wholly different thing, inextricably tied to the social constructs around it. (Fun fact: Blue used to be the color most associated with little girls, due to its association with the Virgin Mary. But Hitler—yes, Hitler—feminized the color pink by forcing gays to wear triangles in that shade during World War II.) A gender reveal conflates the two.

Stopyra supported her Hitler claim by linking to a 2015 book from Oxford University Press titled "The Luxury Economy and Intellectual Property." The citation appeared in an essay in the book by University of New Hampshire Law Professor Ann Bartow. However, mainstream articles by NPR and Smithsonian magazine about the history of blue and pink as colors for the sexes do not mention this supposed Nazi connection.

The Cosmo/Marie Clare author also cited City University of New York Professor Carly Gieseler, who wrote an academic paper about gender-reveal parties in 2016. Gieseler asserted, "Some of the themes we're seeing are so backwards and biased." She outlined, "I'm thinking of 'Tutus or Touchdowns' and 'Bows versus Badges.' Women can't become a sheriff and wear a badge? At a time when these expectations about gender are eroding, this type of ritual is working against that progress. We're affixing a label to a child who hasn't even had a chance to enter the world and assume that identity."

Stopyra then spent the following six paragraphs on the plight of intersex and "trans-sexual" people:

Projecting gender perceptions onto a fetus becomes especially thorny when you take into consideration that, globally, one in every 1000 to 1500 children is born with a visible form of Difference of Sex Development (DSD), which means being neither entirely male nor female, since the chromosomal/genital makeup falls somewhere in between....Then there are the millions of kids assigned a sex at birth with which they don't align: 150,000 American teenagers identify as transgender. In a ritual that celebrates only a binary way of thinking about identity, we're leaving a cross-section of the population out, adding to a culture of trans and intersex shame. And for what? Confetti poppers?

Near the end of her piece, the writer left her ideologically-based polemic against gender-reveal parties and adopted a new attack against such bashes: "Some readers will roll their eyes at these arguments, I'm sure, complaining that America is overwhelmed with political correctness and that there's nothing wrong with some guns-or-glitter-themed fun before the birth of your baby. So instead consider this most basic criticism of the trend: It's a little, well, narcissistic."

Stopyra conceded, "This is not to say that everyone who's ever hosted a gender-reveal party is a raging egomaniac with a Kardashian-level selfie collection. But the trend may have started out that way...And thanks to social media, there's a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses factor at play." She concluded with one final appeal for a feminist future: "[M]aking guesses about anatomy under a canopy of tissue paper pompoms is doing little to assuage a new mom's very real fears about motherhood, nor is it sending a great message to any of the kids running around the yard. We'd be better off showing the little girls in attendance that changing the world is every bit as much a female prerogative as bedazzling onesies. And that step one is celebrating who—not what—a child will be."

AP Spotlights Pro-ObamaCare Campaign Targeting West Virginia Senator

On Friday, AP's Michael Virtanen and Alan Fram touted the apparent conundrum that Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito faces in her state of West Virginia, as the state is "one of the poorest and sickest states in the U.S., relying heavily on Obama's 2010 statute [ObamaCare], which Trump and top Senate Republicans want to repeal and replace."

The duo also played up how "liberal, labor, patient and provider groups...are using social media, advertising and demonstrations to pressure Capito" to oppose the current Republican proposal. The journalists later cited two "nonpartisan groups," which actually back ObamaCare.

Virtanen and Fram got right to the point in the lead sentence of their article, "WV reliance on Obama law makes it tough for GOP senator." The journalists outlined that "West Virginia likes to say it’s 'almost heaven.' Less idyllic is the spot its Republican senator, Shelley Moore Capito, is in as she decides whether to back her party’s effort to bulldoze Democrat Barack Obama's health care law."

The pair continued by highlighting that "Capito's home state has shifted strongly toward the GOP in recent years, giving Donald Trump a runaway 42-point victory over Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election." They acknowledged that the senator isn't facing electoral pressures any time soon: "That leaves little doubt about...the head start Capito should have when she runs for re-election in 2020."

After pointing out that West Virginia "heavily" relies on ObamaCare, Virtanen and Fram underlined that the Mountain State is "saddled with one of the country’s lowest median incomes and has some of the worst rates of unemployment, drug overdose deaths, life expectancy, smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and disabilities." They added that it is "the most dependent state on the health insurance program [Medicaid] for the poor, disabled and nursing home residents that the GOP bill would cut."

The Associated Press correspondents also quoted from Senator Capito: "I do think changes and reforms in Medicaid are necessary. We can't have an open pocketbook." They played up that the Republican's "stance has attracted the attention of liberal, labor, patient and provider groups, who are using social media, advertising and demonstrations to pressure Capito."

Virtanen and Fram then outlined how "Bernie Sanders...is headlining a health care rally in the state on Sunday. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee ran a TV ad featuring the mother of a grown daughter with cerebral palsy saying she 'wants to cry' when she hears Capito may support Medicaid cuts, and liberal MoveOn.org, the state AFL-CIO and others are using #savemecapito on Twitter to whip up opposition to the GOP bill."

Later in their write-up, the journalists noted that the "amiable and popular moderate" from West Virginia was "among at least a dozen Republican senators who publicly opposed or expressed qualms" regarding the current Senate health care proposal. They detailed that Senator Capito had stated that the bill "cut Medicaid too deeply, would hurt rural providers and shortchanged efforts to combat the abuse of drugs like opioids, a deadly scourge back home."

The correspondents emphasized the senator's point about Medicaid by pointing out that "the Senate GOP bill would phase out the extra money West Virginia and other states get for the Medicaid expansion. It also would turn the program, which currently pays states for all eligible services, into one with a dollar cap that increases only with inflation." They added that "that would be tough, according to a report by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two nonpartisan groups. They estimated that by 2022, the measure would boost West Virginia’s uninsured rate to 20 percent and halve its Medicaid enrollment."

Less than a week before President Trump's inauguration, the Urban Institute released a report that recommended that "policymakers should consider fixing the major problems they have with the ACA [ObamaCare] rather than repealing it." Robert Wood Johnson Foundation promoted Hillary Clinton's health care proposal back in 1994, and released an earlier pro-ObamaCare study with the Urban Institute in May 2017. The organizations might be "nonpartisan" from the view of the IRS, but they are taking a clear left-of-center stance on health care.

Jezebel Rants: Mixed-Race Couples in Movies Promote 'White Supremacy'

Aditi Natasha Kini blasted Hollywood portrayals of interracial couples in a Thursday item for the feminist website Jezebel — specifically, the multimedia artist singled out two movies about "a brown man wanting to date a white woman." Kini asserted that the comedian creators of the two films produced "masturbatory fantasies that give brown men the vantage point of a white male cinephile." The writer singled out these movies for their depictions of "brown" women as "caricatures...and/or the butts of a joke." She contended, "Representation isn't a checklist, or an excuse for exclusion of more minoritized people. 'Representation' like this furthers white supremacy."

Kini first pointed out in her provocatively-titled piece, "I'm Tired of Watching Brown Men Fall in Love With White Women Onscreen," that one of the films, "The Big Sick," had received many positive reviews, and "not without good reason: it's a funny, heartwarming love story based on the true-life experiences of cowriters/married couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon." She continued with her first sharp critique: "But as much as I liked it—and I did—I also found myself exhausted, yet again, by the onscreen depiction of a brown man wanting to date a white woman, while brown women are portrayed alternately as caricatures, stereotypes, inconsequential, and/or the butts of a joke."

The Jezebel writer, who, to no one's surprise, recently directed a music video about white privilege, quickly acknowledged that her argument was subject to its own criticism. However, she pressed ahead with her complaint that the protagonists of the two films fell in love with white women:

I know, I know: isn’t it progress to see Asian men get the girl for once, instead of stand-in as a prop, token or joke? Sure, it's great that Hollywood is putting its money behind narratives with brown men at the helm, as in The Big Sick and Master of None. But both also center white women as the love interest—a concept which, in the complex hierarchy of power and race in America, pays lip-service to the one notion that has shaped the history of South Asian and American culture alike: Whiteness as the ultimate desire, the highest goal in defining oneself as an American....

Kini noted that "onscreen Asian men have been depicted coveting or romancing white women through the ages." She then underlined that "it seems that directors and writers have sought to solve a lack of Asian representation onscreen by casting Asian men opposite white women—but that tack almost inevitably erases interracial relationships between people of color." The artist added, "In choosing an Asian man, these white women also symbolically reject all the white men who have oppressed Asian men for centuries. And by earning white love, the Asian man gains acceptance in a society that has thwarted them from the very beginning."

After launching her inflammatory "white supremacy" attack on "The Big Sick" and "Master of None" later in the piece, the writer lamented that "the fact that writers' rooms do not currently seem capable of writing believable brown women into rom-coms is a disservice to all women. And the trope of the White Princess, even if she is interested in an Asian guy, just perpetuates old school Hollywood misogyny."

Near the end of her article, Kini did admit that from her far-left perspective, "The Big Sick, in addition to having a refreshingly funny script, gets a lot of things right." But she also included one more barb at the movie industry: "We, brown women, do not expect men to be our savior. Brown women are out there, making art too. But too often, Hollywood’s depictions of brown men amount to an erasure of brown women. And that is not good enough."

Just four years earlier, Jezebel published an item that celebrated a Cheerios ad that featured a mixed-race family (though the parents in that ad were a black man and a white woman). The author hoped that it would "lead to even more positive representations of...interracial families." One wonders what has changed in the intervening years that would lead the feminist website to change its own stance on interracial romance.

I should disclose that while I'm not of South Asian ancestry, I am the child of a marriage between a "brown" man — a naturalized immigrant from the Philippines — and a white woman, who is herself the child of an immigrant who came through Ellis Island. I noticed on Thursday that Jezebel promoted Kini's item on their Twitter account; and, as you might expect, I had a strong reaction to the piece.

Thankfully, I wasn't the only mixed-race conservative who took the artist to task for her racial rant. Siraj Hashmi of Red Alert Politics, who is partially of South Asian descent, pointed out in his Friday op-ed that "liberals constantly preach that you should marry the person you love, especially when it comes to debates over same-sex marriage. But when it comes to marrying outside your race or ethnicity, all of sudden it's taboo." Hashmi concluded that Kini's item "proves that liberals and social justice warriors are literally finding the tiniest things to be mad about and making a career out of it."

NPR Hypes How California Conservatives 'Benefited' From ObamaCare

Wednesday's All Things Considered on NPR touted how a conservative portion of California supposedly needs ObamaCare to stay, despite the personal opposition of the people there. Robert Siegel played up that "a lot of people there have benefited from a law Republicans are trying to roll back — the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare." April Dembosky of local affiliate KQED spotlighted how "clinics in the northeast corner of the state are lobbying local officials to take an unpopular position in this conservative land: defend ObamaCare."

Siegel led into Dembosky's report by noting that "people think of California as liberal. But in the northeast corner of the state, up to seventy percent of people voted for Donald Trump in the last election." He continued with his claim about ObamaCare. The correspondent first detailed how "Modoc County is roughly the size of Connecticut, and it only has one stoplight. Greta Elliott runs a tiny health clinic on the edge of the national forest, and she says this area is beyond rural. It's frontier."

Dembosky continued by outlining that "there's a frontier mentality, too. People take care of each other, and they take care of themselves. They don't like being told what to do. Being forced to buy insurance made ObamaCare a dirty word." She also pointed out that "overall, the law helped 25,000 people in far northern California buy plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace; and it helped three times as many people enroll in Medicaid."

The public radio journalist turned to Dean Germano, the head of a local health center, who asserted that "the data shows it's the rural communities that have greatly benefited from the Medicaid expansion. That's the irony." Germano is among those "lobbying local officials to take an unpopular position in this conservative land: defend ObamaCare." The health official was also apparently "shocked when the right-leaning Shasta County Board of Supervisors took it on," as the correspondent put it.

Dembosky then highlighted that "one of the supervisors, David Kehoe, asked the local Republican congressman to reject the repeal and replace bill, because it would hurt local people." Kehoe stated, "We have an obligation to say something. And if it may be mildly offensive from a political standpoint for some — well, we're not going to be intimidated by politics."

The reporter later zeroed in on how local health clinics "struggled to sign people up" for Medicaid, as lower-income people in the area "feel like it's a handout," according to Carol Morris, who works as an enrollment counselor. The correspondent noted that "one way she [Morris] gets around this: they don't call it Medicaid. Instead, they promote the name of the insurer that manages Medicaid here."

Dembosky closed out her segment by playing up that "Morris has seen the difference ObamaCare has made. She's seen patients get treatment for diabetes, breast cancer, and knee surgery that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten. The patients won't fight for ObamaCare, but Morris says that's why the county has to."

It should be pointed out that Siegel revealed after the report that it was "part of a reporting partnership of NPR, KQED, and Kaiser Health News." The third outlet is adminstered by the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation, which has a history of supprting ObamaCare.

The full transcript of April Demobsky's report, which aired on NPR's All Things Considered on July 5, 2017:

ROBERT SIEGEL: People think of California as liberal. But in the northeast corner of the state, up to seventy percent of people voted for Donald Trump in the last election. And yet, a lot of people there have benefited from a law Republicans are trying to roll back — the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.

KQED's April Dembosky reports.

APRIL DEMBOSKY: Modoc County is roughly the size of Connecticut, and it only has one stoplight. Greta Elliott runs a tiny health clinic on the edge of the national forest, and she says this area is beyond rural. It's frontier.

GRETA ELLIOTT, CANBY FAMILY PRACTICE CLINIC: There are more cows in Modoc than there are people.

DEMBOSKY: There's a frontier mentality, too. People take care of each other, and they take care of themselves. They don't like being told what to do. Being forced to buy insurance made ObamaCare a dirty word. Even Elliott, the head of a health clinic, decided against buying coverage for herself.

ELLIOTT: It's too expensive. I choose to put my money back into paying the bills of the whole family.

DEMBOSKY: Overall, the law helped 25,000 people in far northern California buy plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace; and it helped three times as many people enroll in Medicaid.

Dean Germano is head of the Shasta Community Health Center.

DEAN GERMANO, SHASTA COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER: The data shows it's the rural communities that have greatly benefited from the Medicaid expansion. That's the irony.

DEMBOSKY: Now, clinics in the northeast corner of the state are lobbying local officials to take an unpopular position in this conservative land: defend ObamaCare. Germano was shocked when the right-leaning Shasta County Board of Supervisors took it on.

GERMANO: And we thought, whoa! That is really bold.

DEMBOSKY: One of the supervisors, David Kehoe, asked the local Republican congressman to reject the repeal and replace bill, because it would hurt local people.

DAVID KEHOE, SHASTA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: We have an obligation to say something. And if it may be mildly offensive from a political standpoint for some — well, we're not going to be intimidated by politics.

DEMBOSKY: But the congressman, Doug LaMalfa, still voted in favor of dismantling ObamaCare. Clinic staff met with his staff, and were told the people calling the congressman were middle-income folks complaining about expensive premiums. But lower-income folks, who gained Medicaid, didn't call. In fact, clinics struggled to sign people up, says enrollment counselor Carol Morris.

CAROL MORRIS, ENROLLMENT COUNSELOR, MOUNTAIN VALLEY HEALTH CENTERS: They feel like it's a handout, and they don't — they're too proud. They don't want to.

DEMBOSKY: One way she gets around this: they don't call it Medicaid. Instead, they promote the name of the insurer that manages Medicaid here.

MORRIS: It feels like it's more of an insurance. It's just like a laminated — and it's got your number. It just looks exactly like an insurance card.

DEMBOSKY: Patient Kay Roope knew she had Medicaid, and she liked it.

KAY ROOPE: It did me good. They did good.

DEMBOSKY: Now, she has a plan through the ObamaCare marketplace; and she likes that, too.

ROOPE: It's okay, because I'm at the doctor's at least once a month.

DEMBOSKY: But when I ask her what she thinks of ObamaCare overall—

ROOPE: I don't like ObamaCare.

DEMBOSKY: You don't like ObamaCare.

ROOPE: No!

DEMBOSKY: How come?

ROOPE: Because of Obama himself (laughs). I rest my case (laughs).

DEMBOSKY: The contradictions and the confusion are common, says enrollment counselor Carol Morris.

MORRIS: People just don't understand the different names. But it's — I mean, of course, it's the same thing.

DEMBOSKY: Morris has seen the difference ObamaCare has made. She's seen patients get treatment for diabetes, breast cancer, and knee surgery that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten. The patients won't fight for ObamaCare, but Morris says that's why the county has to. For NPR News, I'm April Dembosky.

SIEGEL: That story is part of a reporting partnership of NPR, KQED, and Kaiser Health News.

NPR Touts Protest of 200 ObamaCare Supporters in Deep-Red Texas

On Monday, NPR promoted a demonstration of 200 ObamaCare supporters, who gathered in a county in Texas where President Donald Trump almost got 80 percent of the popular vote. Despite this statistic, the public radio outlet couldn't find any conservatives for their report on All Things Considered. All but one of the sound bites during the segment came from ObamaCare backers. The remaing clip came from a libertarian, who watched the demonstration from his workplace.

Host Robert Siegel led into Texas Public Radio correspondent Wendy Rigby's report by noting that "politicians in Texas have been opposed to the Affordable Care Act since the beginning....But a University of Texas and Texas Tribune poll this month shows that while ObamaCare is unpopular, so is GOP legislation to replace it. And this weekend, some took to the streets to voice their opposition to GOP plans."

Rigby first underlined that "this is one of the least-likely places you'd expect to see a political rally — Fredericksburg, Texas — an upscale, touristy retirement town of 10,000 people in the Texas Hill Country. It's rural, beautiful — a haven for fishing and camping — well known for its fresh peaches."

The NPR journalist featured two snippets from a musical group that called itself "The Impeaches" — hinting at the deeply anti-Trump nature of the rally. She followed with two clips from senior citizens who participated in the protest, and spotlighted how many "waved handmade signs with provocative messages. One senior's note read, 'Now you've pissed off grandma.'"

After playing a clip from a demonstrator in her twenties, Rigby included her sole sound bite from an ObamaCare opponent, "self-described libertarian Dean Osteen [who] says he doesn't qualify for a subsidy and can't afford Obamacare; so he just pays the tax penalty. He's in favor of repealing and replacing the law to get coverage he can afford."

Later in her report, the correspondent turned to two more talking heads. The first was a member of the "local Democratic club" who bemoaned how "the Senate committee who came up with this latest [health care] plan behind closed doors was composed of only men." The other labeled the Republican proposal "an abomination."

The full transcript of Wendy Rigby's report from NPR's All Things Considered, which aired on June 26, 2017:

ROBERT SIEGEL: Politicians in Texas have been opposed to the Affordable Care Act since the beginning. Repealing and replacing the law has been a rallying cry for them for years. But a University of Texas and Texas Tribune poll this month shows that while ObamaCare is unpopular, so is GOP legislation to replace it. And this weekend, some took to the streets to voice their opposition to GOP plans.

Wendy Rigby from Texas Public Radio reports. (clip of protesters chanting, "The people united will never be divided!")

WENDY RIGBY: This is one of the least-likely places you'd expect to see a political rally — Fredericksburg, Texas — an upscale, touristy retirement town of 10,000 people in the Texas Hill Country. It's rural, beautiful — a haven for fishing and camping — well known for its fresh peaches.

"THE IMPEACHES" (singing): Donald Trump dump. Donald Trump—

RIGBY: This weekend, a choir called The Impeaches took center stage at the main square.

"THE IMPEACHES" (singing): You've got to know how to listen to a lady.

RIGBY: The vocal crowd of about 200 was a mix of men and women, old and young — all gathered against the Republican plan to change the ACA — one of them: 73-year-old Jane Crone.

JANE CRONE: We just have to make our voices heard, and get the message out that what's going on with our legislation right now is not to the best interest of the majority of the Americans.

RIGBY: They waved handmade signs with provocative messages. One senior's note read, 'Now you've pissed off grandma.' The bill's cuts to Medicaid threaten the 65 percent of people in nursing homes who are supported by Medicaid. (clip of protesters chanting 'TrumpCare, don't care; TrumpCare, don't care.')

J.B. Chimene, a senior from Johnson City near Austin, says the proposed bill puts American health care in rewind.

J B CHIMENE: Cuts to Medicaid; the cuts to kids; the cuts to seniors — we really need to put more people under health care, not fewer.

RIGBY: Lily Beaumont was one of the youngest participants. She's in her 20s. She is one of the 1.2 million Texans who get insurance through the exchange.

LILY BEAUMONT: I get my insurance through the free market. I'm a freelance writer, so I'm very concerned about losing it.

RIGBY: At a Western wear store just across the street from the rally, an employee muses about the gathering. Self-described libertarian Dean Osteen says he doesn't qualify for a subsidy and can't afford Obamacare; so he just pays the tax penalty. He's in favor of repealing and replacing the law to get coverage he can afford.

DEAN OSTEEN: I'm not that familiar with the Republican plan, but I am in favor of some sort of change. I would like to have health care at some point again.

RIGBY: Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country. The state didn't expand Medicaid, and the rate of people who get coverage from their employer is lower than the national average. But a June poll showed both ObamaCare and the House version of the health care bill were unpopular.

SUSAN CURTIS: There's a lot more of us than you think.

RIGBY: That's Susan Curtis from the local Democratic club, who says she was disappointed the Senate committee who came up with this latest plan behind closed doors was composed of only men.

CURTIS: I would have liked to have seen some of the women in the Senate included in this.

RIGBY: Marching with Curtis was Joyce Humble, who was opposed to the deep reductions for federal funding for Medicaid. Texas's senator, [Ted] Cruz, says he's against the bill as of now; while Texas Senator [John] Cornyn supports it.

What would you say to Senators Cruz and Cornyn?

JOYCE HUMBLE: I would say that this bill is an abomination. It is going to impact all of us out here in the Hill Country. For the people in nursing homes, disabled children, disabled adults — I mean, what's going to happen to those people?

RIGBY: The Senate is scheduled to vote later this week. For NPR News, I'm Wendy Rigby in Fredericksburg, Texas.

SIEGEL: And that story is part of a reporting partnership of NPR, Texas Public Radio, and Kaiser Health News.

USA Today Hypes Supreme Court's Move To 'Reopen National Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage'

USA Today played up the Supreme Court's decision on Monday to hear the case of a bakery owner in Colorado who refused to participate in same-sex couple's wedding ceremony by baking the pair a cake. The newspaper spun the judicial branch's move in the lead sentence of its Monday article: "The Supreme Court agreed Monday to reopen the national debate over same-sex marriage." The publication also forwarded this slanted interpretation in a Monday post on their Twitter account.

Correspondent Richard Wolf explained in his write-up, "Supreme Court will hear religious liberty challenge to gay weddings," that "the court will hear a challenge from a Colorado baker who had lost lower court battles over his refusal to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Like a New Mexico photographer three years ago, the baker cited his religious beliefs." He continued with more pro-LGBT agenda bias: "The justices -- who upheld same-sex marriage nationwide in a landmark 2015 ruling -- apparently decided that despite state laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, the merchants' obligation to same-sex couples was not necessarily baked in the cake."

Wolf also spotlighted that "twenty-nine states have no such laws, so gays and lesbians freed to marry by the Supreme Court in 2015 still can face discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. A Kentucky appeals court recently upheld a printer's right to refuse to print shirts promoting a gay pride festival, reasoning that his actions did not discriminate against any individuals because of their sexual orientation." He added that "the key to the outcome of similar cases appears to hinge on whether states have laws barring discrimination against gays and lesbians, or whether they have laws protecting religious liberty. Colorado falls on one side of the ledger, Kentucky on the other."

Several conservative Twitter users called out USA Today for its biased Twitter post that boosted the correspondent's article.

The profile picture for the newspaper's social media account also carries a rainbow logo for "pride month" (see screen capture below).

USA Today's Twitter account also re-Tweeted two posts by one of their interns, who revealed the newspaper's joint photo shoot with the pro-LGBT "No H8 Campaign."

NPR Sides With Leftist LGBT Activists Targeting 'Cruel' Catholic Bishop

NPR blatantly slanted against a Catholic bishop in Illinois who recently instructed his priests to deny the Eucharist, last rites, and funerals to homosexuals in civil marriages. The public radio outlet filled their Friday write-up on Bishop Thomas Paprocki's decree with quotes from four activists who dissent against the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality. While the article included excerpts from the cleric's document, as well as from a statement from his diocese, they failed to interview anyone conservative or orthodox to provide more balance to the four dissenters.

Correspondent Laurel Wamsley highlighted near the beginning of her article, "Illinois Bishop Decrees No Communion, Funeral Rites For Same-Sex Spouses," that Bishop Paprocki had issued "a set of norms on same-sex marriage and related pastoral issues that he says are the policy of the diocese." Wamsley summarized the bishop of Springfield's instructions:

Paprocki's decree bans priests and parish staff from performing same-sex marriages or allowing same-sex weddings or receptions at any Catholic facilities. People in same-sex marriages "should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion." A person in a same-sex marriage who is facing death may only receive communion after expressing "repentance for his or her sins."...Paprocki writes that "unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death," people in same-sex marriages may not receive a Catholic funeral.

The NPR journalist didn't mention that the hierarch concluded his decree by reminding his priests that "while being clear and direct about what the Church teaches, our pastoral ministry must always be respectful, compassionate and sensitive to all our brothers and sisters in faith.

Wamsley devoted 12 out of the remaining 17 paragraphs of her report to the quotes from the dissenters. She first turned to two leaders of DignityUSA, which she described as a "LGBT Catholic group." However, she omitted that the organizaton has a long track record of dissent against the Church's teachings on marriage. An October 2014 report about the group by CBS News pointed out that Dignity peformed a same-sex wedding ceremony for "LGBTQ activist" Brendan Fay and his partner.

The journalist noted that DignityUSA's new president, Christopher Pett, denounced Bishop Paprocki's document as "mean-spirited and hurtful in the extreme." She also cited the organization's executive director, Marianne Duddy-Burke, who contended that it was "simply cruel and shameful to refuse burial or Communion to those who seek the grace and comfort that our Church offers at some of the most difficult moments of life."

Before quoting from her third socially-left activist, Wamsley disclosed that the Springfield Diocese had issued a statement on the controversy: "Regarding the specific issue of funeral rites, people who had lived openly in same-sex marriage, like other manifest sinners that give public scandal, can receive ecclesiastical funeral rites if they have given some signs of repentance before their death." This excerpt referenced the Church's code of canon law, which regulates who may or may not receive Catholic funerals.

The NPR correspondent then set aside five paragraphs to quotes from Michael Sean Winters, whom she described as being a "columnist at National Catholic Reporter, an independent newspaper." Just as in the case of DignityUSA, she failed to mention the Reporter has a decades-long history of providing a platform for heterodox activists. They left out that Winters is a Democrat who had a book party in 2008 at the home of George Stephanopoulos for his tome Left at the Altar: How the Democrats Lost the Catholics and How the Catholics Can Save the Democrats

Winters first asserted, "I can't imagine a cruder thing more at cross purposes with what the Holy Father [Pope Francis] is trying to do." The liberal columnist later made an outlandish claim about Bishop Paprocki's peers: "Privately, 95 percent of other bishops in the U.S. are reading [the decree] and are horrified. Even the ones who are pretty arch on same-sex marriage think this is too far." How would Winters know this?

Wamsley followed her earlier bias by omission with her final Catholic dissenter, Christopher Hale, by merely noting that he "co-edits an online journal for young Catholics called Millennial." She didn't mention that Hale "helped lead national Catholic outreach for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign," as his National Catholic Reporter bio revealed. The editor stated that "a church that excludes the LGBT community is a church without a future," and that "no one goes to the grave without sin....Every Catholic deserves a Catholic funeral."

Hale, along with all of his confreres, should spend more time brushing up on Church teaching and canon law, instead of doing all in their power to change it to suit their left-wing agenda.

Slate Bemoans 'Sinister' App That Helps Pro-Lifers Pray For Women Considering Abortion

On Friday, Slate's Christina Cauterucci‏ bewailed a new iPhone app released by a pro-life organization as a "discomfiting invasion of privacy or a gigantic lie." The program helps pro-life activists pray for pregnant women who are considering abortion. Cauterucci‏ used the app as a jumping-off point to condemn the existence of crisis pregnancy centers and lament the New York Times' decision to publish two pro-life opinion pieces earlier in 2017.

The title of the staff writer's item oddly put scare quotes around the word "pray," indicating there was something more sinister about the app than making it easier to pray for a specific intention: "Bizarre App Lets Users Swipe Right to 'Pray' for Real Women Considering Abortion." She led her article by making light of the app's functions:

On Thursday morning...I helped save the lives of more than 100 human children. I achieved this remarkable feat during what might have been most productive 15 minutes of my lifetime, and possibly the most heroic use of an iPhone in recent history. With the help of an app developed by the anti-abortion Human Coalition, it was easy! I saved real-live babies from the clutches of money-grubbing abortion providers with just a couple dozen swipes of my right thumb, as if I were paging through Tinder....The organization, which calls abortion "the worst holocaust in human history"...runs crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, metro areas...On the Human Coalition app, users can browse a feed that purports to tally real women who are engaging with these centers....

The app leads users to believe that these people ("abandoned and rejected women," according to the Human Coalition website) are on the verge of committing what the organization calls "mass murder." But with a simple left swipe, users can register a "prayer" for each woman, pushing her through divine intervention to reconsider. An "impact" tab records how many prayers a user has performed, how many babies she’s helped save, and how many total babies Human Coalition has saved since its founding....

Cauterucci also underlined that it's "not clear whether Human Coalition is tracking which real women each app user has prayed for, then updating that user's 'babies saved' tally if those specific women choose not to terminate their pregnancies. That is what the app promises, though, making this app either a discomfiting invasion of privacy or a gigantic lie."

Two paragraphs later, the author, who regularly contributes to Slate's XX Factor blog, gave her left-wing spin on the tactics of crisis pregnancy centers: "To those not intimately familiar with the tactics and language of the anti-abortion movement, CPC ads and websites are virtually indistinguishable from those of legitimate care providers. Women often visit these centers expecting medical care, only to find no doctors or nurses—just a free pregnancy test, a pamphlet full of misinformation about abortion complications, and, in at least one case, an ultrasound operator who mistakes an IUD for a fetus." She soon added by asserting that "like most CPCs, Human Coalition traffics in deception at every level." 

Cauterucci then set up her criticism of the New York Times for printing two op-eds from the pro-life organization.

...[U]nlike most CPCs, this one has cajoled a mainstream media outlet into passing over the megaphone. In the span of less than three months this spring, the New York Times published two op-eds by Human Coalition leaders. One rejected the notion that reproductive autonomy is an essential contributor to economic justice...The other contended that feminism rests on the idea that "freedom can be bought with the blood of our preborn children," and that a better feminism would "reject the pressure to believe that killing our children and living full lives are mutually inclusive." Both op-eds battle straw men, contain misinformation...and function as free advertisements for Human Coalition."

The Slate writer contended that it "speaks volumes about the anti-abortion movement that the best representatives the Times could find work for an organization that claims Planned Parenthood has committed greater atrocities than 'the Jewish Holocaust' and that there is no difference between killing 'kindergartners and preborn children.'"

Cauterucci concluded her piece by hyping that "these beyond-the-pale views on women's health care come through in the Human Coalition 'baby-saving' app....[it] is a great example of how things that seem fine in the hands of good people—apps, customer conversion data, prayer—can turn sinister in the hands of those who believe nearly 1 million U.S. women become murderers each year."

In other words, how dare these "sinister" pro-lifers adopt modern technology to help end the industrial-scale slaughter of millions of innocent human life!

AP Panics: Climate ‘Catastrophe’ After U.S. Exits From Paris Accord

On Thursday, the Associated Press played up the supposed impact of President Donald Trump's decision to the withdraw from the Paris climate accord by underlining that "some island states may not survive through the next 100 years." The wire service touted officials from some of these countries, along with several "experts," who predicted "catastrophic" effects on these nations.

Correspondents Seth Borenstein and Nick Perry led their report, "Experts: US exiting climate pact may doom some small islands," by hyping the apparent stakes for these countries: "To small island nations where the land juts just above the rising seas, the U.S. pulling out of the Paris global warming pact makes the future seem as fragile and built on hope as a sand castle." The two journalists continued by outlining that "top scientists say it was already likely that Earth’s temperatures and the world’s seas will keep rising to a point where some island states may not survive through the next 100 years. That likelihood increases, they say, if the United States doesn’t follow through on promised cuts in heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions."

After noting President Trump's decision earlier in June 2017, Borenstein and Perry highlighted that the move caused "leaders of vulnerable islands to talk about their future with a mixture of defiance, hope and resignation." The first leader the pair quoted was Hilda Heine, president of the central Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, who labeled Mr. Trump's announcement "deeply disappointing." Heine added, however, that "I cannot give up on my people and my country and my culture. Its very important for us to be optimistic."

The AP correspondents pointed out how the Marshall Islands leader, along with her counterparts, are now looking to Europe for assistance.

Heine and other island leaders are putting their hope in strong pollution curbs by China, other nations, individual American states and cities, as well as improved technology. While visiting Europe, she said "it's all the more important that Europe takes the lead on climate change."

Borenstein and Perry also cited four environmental "experts" throughout their write-up. The first, Hans-Otto Poertner of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, asserted that "if we really push into action, we can save some (small islands) but we may not be able save all of them." He also emphasized that "the chances are even less with the U.S. pulling out of the climate agreement in Paris."

Later, the pair turned to Jim Skea, a scientist with the Imperial College in London, who underscored that islands nations are "the most vulnerable parts of the world." Skea contended that if the global climate warmed more than another 0.5 degrees Celsius, it "makes the vulnerability threat for them more acute. It's kind of existential."

Near the end of their report, the AP journalists cited Steve Nerem, a "sea level expert" from the University of Colorado. Professor Nerem "estimates a meter of sea level rise by the end of this century and emphasizes it could be worse with ice sheet melts in Greenland and Antarctica. 'Anything over a meter (a yard) is catastrophic for these small islands,' Nerem said."

TBS's Bee Slimes Catholic Church: 'Sitting On More Treasure Than Smaug The Dragon'

TBS's Samantha Bee unleashed against her longstanding nemesis, the Catholic Church, during a segment on Wednesday's Full Frontal. Bee zeroed on the Church's opposition to a proposed "child victims act," and contended that "if you're an institution that has hurt so many children that paying out civil settlements would make you go bankrupt, maybe you should?" The left-wing "comedian" added, "Anyway, it's fine. It won't. You're sitting on more treasure than Smaug the Dragon [a character in "The Hobbit"], so pay up."

Bee made sure to include her usual vulgar anti-Catholicism during the segment (for example, see the screen capture at right). The comedian included several sound bites from a co-sponsor of the bill in the New York state legislature, Democratic State Senator Brad Hoylman. In a highly-edited clip, the Democratic politician emphasized that "churches, yeshivas, the Boy Scouts of America are trying to quash the ability for survivors of child sex abuse to file claims" (video below).

The TBS host quickly followed with a snippet from a New York Daily News video report from May 2016, that noted that "the [New York State] Catholic conference, headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, spent more than $2.1 million from 2007 through the end of 2015 to lobby against the child victims act." Bee continued with a diatribe against the Church: "Way to fight the stereotype, guys. Does your flock know where the bake sale money is going? You know what? Everyday Catholics want to make things right, not have their Church forever be known as Our Lady of the Perpetual Bad Touch."

Moments later, Bee dropped her loaded line about the Church "sitting on more treasure than Smaug." She briefly targeted one of the opponents of the law — State Senator John Flanagan — before launching a barrage at Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League. The TBS personality inserted more anti-Christian bile into her attack on Donohue.

SAMANTHA BEE: ...When [child abuse] survivors saw their hopes dashed at last year's legislative session, this humble servant of God made an official statement on the Catholic League website...echoing the New Testament's taunting of the victims on the mount. 'And Jesus said unto them, 'Shit-out-of-luck are the meek for they can sit and spin — losers.' Donohue also called the bill's sponsor, Margaret Markey, the 'principal enemy of the Church.' I guess that means he downgraded the devil to second place.

Bee also played several clips of Donohue making politically-incorrect statements where he attacked "Muslim barbarians" and claimed that the priest abuse scandal was about homosexuality, not pedophilia. She pleaded with her fellow TV hosts, "Will you please stop inviting Bill on television now? Will our senators at least stop siding with him against [sex abuse victims]?"

As you might expect, Donohue replied to Bee in a Thursday press release (MRC president Brent Bozell is a member of the board of advisors for the Catholic League):

Samantha Bee is no stranger to Catholic bashing, so it was hardly surprising to learn that she ripped the Catholic Church in her June 21st show. Her focus was the Child Victims Act, a bill being considered by the New York State legislature. The least controversial aspect of the bill is extending the number of years that alleged victims could sue; the most controversial component is allowing a one-year window to revive old cases.

According to Bee, the bill's opponents are evil-minded persons who seek to justify child sexual molestation (she went off-the-rails on me). She interviewed a sponsor of one of the bills, State Senator Brad Hoylman, who said opposition was coming from the Catholic Church, yeshivas, and the Boy Scouts.

It is striking that Hoylman did not mention the public schools. That's because they have traditionally been exempt from coverage in these bills. In 2009, when they were included, the public school establishment went ballistic and the bill failed. This year the public schools were included, but given their low profile, they either knew that the lawsuits would focus on the Catholic Church, or they were going to get another pass at the last moment.

The reason why I have long opposed these bills is twofold: a) they suspend the statute of limitations, a due process staple for the accused, and b) anti-Catholic bigotry. Regarding the latter, in every state where legislation like this has been considered, rapacious lawyers with a history of Catholic bashing have zeroed in on the local diocese, dragging up cases from a half-century ago where many witnesses have died or memories have faded. The public schools always get a pass.

The latest data show that .004 percent of the Catholic clergy had a credible accusation made against them in the year 2014-2015. No institution, secular or religious, can match that record.

It is in the public schools where child rape exists on a massive scale, and no one is doing anything about it. Moreover, they are still “passing the trash,” moving molesting teachers from one school district to another. Furthermore, because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, alleged victims have only 90 days to file suit, otherwise they are out of luck.

Bee’s wide-ranging attack on me—she looked and sounded delirious—bears no response; the random clips her producers spliced together can be easily defended.

Samantha Bee epitomizes the worst of comedians these days: she is dishonest, crude, and without a whole lot of talent. At least Kathy Griffin can be funny. But Bee seems to have found her niche—feeding the appetite of bigots.

NPR Bewails British Media 'Hate' That 'Fueled' Anti-Muslim Attack in London

Tuesday's All Things Considered on NPR touted how many Muslims in the United Kingdom are blaming British media outlets for the incident on Monday where a Welsh man drove his van into a crowd outside a mosque in London. In their view, "the way the media covers Muslims has fueled hatred of their community," as host Kelly McEvers put it. Correspondent Frank Langfitt let two of his talking heads hype the apparent anti-Muslim coverage. A third expert underlined that the vehicle attack might "set a really worrying precedent."

McEvers introduced Langfitt's report by spotlighting how the "attack yesterday on Muslims has left many people frustrated; and among the targets of that frustration is the British news media." She continued with her "fueled hatred" statement about the supposed anti-Muslim coverage by these media outlets.

The journalist for publicly-funded network led by underlining that "when reporters arrived on the scene, where a white man drove a van into Muslim worshippers, they were met by anger and distrust." He included a soundbite from a man who would only identify himself as "Muhammad," who pointed the finger at the media: "It's 'cause of the media! Yeah! Of course! The government and the media has done this."

Langfitt quickly followed with a clip from Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, who played up that "we have had people within even mainstream news organizations giving platforms to people who have spread hate about Muslims." The correspondent cited how Versi "pointed to a tweet by Katie Hopkins, a columnist with the Mail Online. It followed last month's bombing in Manchester — quote, '22 dead, number rising,' Hopkins wrote. 'We need a final solution.' Hopkins lost her talk radio show for that Tweet, which referred to the Holocaust, but not her column...Versi says extreme rhetoric like this has helped poison public opinion against Muslims."

For good measure, the Muslim Council of Britain representative also referenced a study from the University of Cambridge, that found that "more than fifty percent of the richest population think Islam is a threat to Western civilization. More than thirty percent of young children between the ages of ten and fourteen think that Muslims are taking over England." Versi then contended, "Where does this hate come from? It comes from — this atmosphere of hostility against Muslims — comes from media organizations."

The correspondent emphasized his first talking head's point by highlighting newspaper coverage, and hinted that such reporting helps Islamist groups: "Consider the headlines of these British tabloids - 'Christianity Under Attack,' 'Millions Are Eating Halal Food Without Knowing It.' Charlie Winter says headlines like these and terror attacks, like the one at Finsbury Park, encourage online supporters of groups like ISIS."

Winter, a "senior fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College, London," noted in the immediate aftermath of the attack outside the mosque, "a lot of people...[online] are not quite celebrating the attack, but they are talking about it as confirmation of what they've believed to be the case for a long time." He explained that "according to the Islamic State's worldview, there is a international conspiracy against Sunni Islam; and Muslims in the West are doomed to face this inevitable war. And there's nothing that can be done to stop that inevitable conflict, apart from respond to it with violence."

Later in the segment, the NPR journalist turned to Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute, who outlined that "we had this, sort of, chain of terrorist incidents [in England] that, in part, no doubt, were spurred on by each other. The fact that we're now having a reaction does set a really worrying precedent."

The full transcript of Frank Langfitt's report from the June 20, 2017 edition of NPR's All Things Considered:

KELLY MCEVERS: Now, we're going to talk about London, where an attack yesterday on Muslims has left many people frustrated; and among the targets of that frustration is the British news media. People who live in Finsbury Park, where the terror attack happened, say the way the media covers Muslims has fueled hatred of their community.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London.

FRANK LANGFITT: When reporters arrived on the scene, where a white man drove a van into Muslim worshippers, they were met by anger and distrust.

MUHAMMAD: It's 'cause of the media! Yeah! Of course! The government and the media has done this.

LANGFITT: The speaker, a 30-year-old resident in a New York Yankees cap, would only give his first name — Muhammad — because he said he had no confidence in reporters or officials.

Miqdaad Versi understands why.

MIQDAAD VERSI, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN: We have had people within even mainstream news organizations giving platforms to people who have spread hate about Muslims.

LANGFITT: Versi is assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. He pointed to a Tweet by Katie Hopkins, a columnist with the MailOnline. It followed last month's bombing in Manchester — quote, '22 dead, number rising,' Hopkins wrote. 'We need a final solution.' Hopkins lost her talk radio show for that Tweet, which referred to the Holocaust, but not her column. Miqdaad Versi says extreme rhetoric like this has helped poison public opinion against Muslims. He cites figures from a University of Cambridge study.

VERSI: More than fifty percent of the richest population think Islam is a threat to Western civilization. More than thirty percent of young children between the ages of ten and fourteen think that Muslims are taking over England. Where does this hate come from? It comes from — this atmosphere of hostility against Muslims — comes from media organizations.

LANGFITT: Consider the headlines of these British tabloids - 'Christianity Under Attack,' 'Millions Are Eating Halal Food Without Knowing It.' Charlie Winter says headlines like these and terror attacks, like the one at Finsbury Park, encourage online supporters of groups like ISIS. Winter is a senior fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College, London.

CHARLIE WINTER, KING'S COLLEGE: In the last 24 hours after the attack, I've seen a lot of people who are not quite celebrating the attack, but they are talking about it as — as confirmation of what they've believed to be the case for a long time.

LANGFITT: That the West is out to get Muslims, and they can never feel at home here.

WINTER: According to the Islamic State's worldview, there is a international conspiracy against Sunni Islam; and Muslims in the West are doomed to face this inevitable war. And there's nothing that can be done to stop that inevitable conflict, apart from respond to it with violence.

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: All of this points to a really quite menacing threat picture which - it wouldn't be surprising if it was to lead to further violence.

LANGFITT: That's Raffaello Pantucci. He researches counterterrorism at the Royal United Services Institute. Pantucci suspects the driver — a middle-aged man from Wales — was retaliating in some way for three earlier attacks by Islamist extremists. Witnesses quoted the man as saying he wanted to kill Muslims.

PANTUCCI: I mean, it's a, sort of, incredibly difficult moment now in the United Kingdom — because, I mean, we had this, sort of, chain of terrorist incidents that, in part, no doubt, were spurred on by each other. The fact that we're now having a reaction does set a really worrying precedent.

LANGFITT: Pantucci says the nation's security forces will have to work even harder to prevent more attacks; and politicians will have to reassure communities and bring people together to prevent a cycle of violence. Frank Langfitt, NPR News, London.

%d bloggers like this: