Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where’s Howard Beale When We Need Him?

ABC, CBS, and NBC all recently had breathless stories about Mitt Romney performing an unwanted haircut on a boy forty-seven years ago. There were “news” stories galore on the nets and their affiliates, and a few editorial comments besides. But when forty-three Catholic dioceses filed lawsuits against Obamacare on May 21, the silence was deafening.

After months of pleas, negotiations, meetings and conferences, the Catholic Church got absolutely no cooperation from the Obama administration on religious exemptions from Obamacare for religious institutions which oppose abortion and birth control. Unless an Obamacrat is passing out condoms during mass or performing an abortion on the altar, the administration’s position is that the government’s activity cannot be thwarted by the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.

Religious hospitals, church-sponsored insurance companies (there are more than you might think), homeless and women’s shelters (even on church grounds) and church schools are not religious activities which should be allowed exemptions from the Obamacare mandates, according to the administration. The official position of the Catholic Church is, and has long been, that artificial birth control violates church doctrine. Along with that, traditional Catholics and a great many Protestants oppose abortion in any form, including abortifacients.

Nevertheless, the administration says that only sermons and activities within the church worship facilities are proper subjects for exemption. No matter how intimately the church-sponsored activity is tied to its religious base, if it takes place outside the sanctuary, it is not a religious activity. This leaves the church hospital, for instance with two options—either cure all disease through Vatican-sanctioned exorcism, or participate in the government’s insurance program. The third option is to seek redress in court, which is the actual subject of this article.

Regardless of which side a news reporter might come down on, it is still extremely big news when forty-three Catholic dioceses file suit in federal courts on the same day. But when big news conflicts with the networks’ officially unofficial love affair with Barack Obama, out come the blinders. On the night that the lawsuits were filed, ABC and NBC made zero comment about them during their national news segments. CBS gave the subject nineteen seconds. And in that brief nineteen seconds, CBS framed the issue as a “contraception lawsuit” with no mention of either religious conscience objections or the First Amendment right of the free exercise of religion.

It should also be noted that leading clerics in the Catholic Church, along with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and some evangelical leaders have declared that they will go to jail rather than comply with the birth control/abortifacient mandates of Obamacare. These lawsuits reflect a much deeper commitment to religious belief than the birth-control and abortion zealots in the Obama administration were expecting. These are not nuisance suits that can be dealt with by a quick payoff or a federal jobs program. The nets would like to report that they are nuisance suits, but then they would be required to discuss the actual issue, which might get their viewers thinking. Better to ignore it.

So what was more interesting than the church lawsuits that would require spiking the religious news in favor of something “more important?” ABC gave three and a half minutes to the sentencing of the Rutgers student who posted photos of his unsuspecting roommate having gay sex, which resulted in a suicide. CBS and NBC both ran lengthy stories about prostate cancer screening, including the reasons why Medicare shouldn’t routinely cover the screening. NBC did a big feature piece on the “ring of fire” solar eclipse.

Fortunately, the big three networks are fading as fast as their counterparts in the print media. Dan Rather’s “fake but true” story about George W. Bush was probably the swan song for network news anchors. People who were once considered nearly sacrosanct are now regularly taken with a grain of salt by a doubting public that has access to cable news and the internet. People watching the national network portion of the news are outnumbered by those who wait for the late affiliate news to see what’s going on locally.

I wish the Catholic Church every success in court, and I pray for a really hot place in hell for the Obama News Corps (that’s pronounced “core” even though network news is pretty close to being a corpse).

27 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

It's never been quite so obvious before has it, Hawk? I get so fed up with, but as you say, there is enough "new" media coming on to give hope. I would love to see true figures on how many people, say, watch various outlets, anymore. I know, for example, Fox kicks the collective butts of the cable news competition, but if one throws in networks, it's hard to know. Another example, although it is a little apples to oranges. How many liten to first hour of Limbaugh vs. anything on MSNBC? I'm not going to take it anymore.

StanH said...

The good news, the news of the lawsuit got out anyway. Also, I find this blatant bias by the MSM a good thing. The charade of unbiased reporting by the big three has been forever shredded, this is suicide by Barry, and that’s a good thing.

T-Rav said...

Gee, where's all those advocates of separation of church and state now, I wonder?

Slightly OT, but since you mentioned it in passing, the only outrage with that "gay suicide" story is that the other guy was practically in danger of being lynched, thanks once again to the media hacks. He probably shouldn't have posted those sex pictures, but suddenly that makes him responsible for the kid killing himself? What bizarro legal world are these people living in?

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk - If the SC finds Obamacare unconstitutional and strikes down the entire legislation in total, will that render these lawsuits moot?

tryanmax said...

TJ - I think a more apples to apples comparison might be the first hour of Limbaugh against the nightly news shows. I realize it's cross medium, but they have broadcast in common and I would argue similar audience accessibility. And I'm pretty sure Limbaugh wins.

Putting aside any issues I have with Fox News, I don't understand why they don't to a nightly on their networks? I doubt their affiliates are raking in the viewers with syndicated sitcoms, and even if they were, I'd lay dollars to donuts that an alternative evening news broadcast would blow at least one of the "Big 3" out of the water.

AndrewPrice said...

Clearly, the Catholics are evil if they want to stand in the way of leftist progress. For shame.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - Some of my favorite justifications for why the Catholic Church should have to pay (but really they are not going to have to pay which is a whole 'nother line of reasoning) is that there are billions of Catholics who use birth control anyway, so the whole Catholic condemning and not wanting to pay for it is just bogus.

It's kinda the same reasoning that if you don't believe stealing should be a crime, then the state shouldn't get to procecute you for stealing.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I'm afraid there are far too many people still who listen to the first five minutes of the network national news then go on to their game shows and reality shows thinking they've heard all that was worth hearing. How else to explain Obama? Still, the times they are a-changin' and the left can't rely on that much longer.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: It's getting increasingly hard for the network talking heads to avoid some actual reporting. They had it all their way for decades, so spiking real news was easy. More and more they're getting called on it while at the same time their credibility on what they do cover is shrinking rapidly.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: There is a centuries-old legal dictum that says "you take your victim as you find him." It means that once you have committed an unlawful act, the results, even those which you never intended, are on your shoulders. The law school example is "the eggshell skull." The defendant gets angry and gives the victim a hard slap on the head. The victim has an "eggshell skull" and dies from the otherwise minor blow. It's a homicide, even though the intent was only to cause a physical insult to the victim. It's the intent to do the act that results in the death that the law concerns itself, not the intent to do that which actually results. That said, the law around invasion of privacy is expanding rapidly with the advent of easy "spying" and recording devices. I would have to see the actual jury instructions in this case to know what law regarding the roommate's death applies in that particular state.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: As for the separation of church and state, the crazy liberal logic is that they are doing exactly that with their birth control mandates. The church is the church, but once outside the confines of the church sanctuary (like a church hospital), the religion must be ignored and civil authority alone must prevail. The ancient rule that the liberals are ignoring is that the government must not "excessively interfere with religious practice," and it doesn't distinguish between church sanctuaries and church practice outside the sanctuary. They've forgotten that religious belief doesn't end at the church exit door.

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk - The guy transmitted a live feed from the room. From what I have read, the reason why he got such a mild sentence is that the procecutors could not tie the suicide directly to the spying. There were so many other factors like the victim being rejected by his mother for being gay, that though the spying/broadcasting may have contributed, it was not the main factor in this sad kid's suicide. Also, the other party filmed admitted on the stand that he saw the camera pointing directly at the bed, but said nothing. This poor kid was betrayed by many people.

K said...

"The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or SPIRITUAL values can exist, much less have value."

Benito Mussolini

Emphasis mine.

Minitrue News: Ann Romney's horse.

Minitrue Double Plus Un-news: Democratic party under Obama = democratic fascism.

Not all that surprising when you read in Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" that the European fascists were influenced by American progressives and FDR. The news has informed us that Obama is the next FDR and that both he and Hillary consider themselves progressives. Perhaps the really big news we're not getting is the full implications of progressivism - certainly this must information have been a shock for the Catholic Bishops who supported the passage of Obamacare.

tryanmax said...

LawHawk, in reference to your allusion, the networks don’t look too keen on swimming…

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Probably, but not necessarily. It would depend on whether the court determines that declaring Obamacare unconstitutional resolves all the issues of the lawsuits. It could decide the cases are moot, or it could decide that the mandate issue is moot but there is still a First Amendment issue of whether or not religion stops at the church house door. The way the court rules on Obamacare will likely determine whether there is anything left to litigate.

I've mentioned this before, but the wording of the majority decision is as important as the apparent result itself. And I always use Brown v. Board of Education to exemplify that. If the court had simply said "the Constitution expressly forbids public discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin or prior condition of servitude," segregation would have ended and the issue would have been resolved. But the social engineers had to add their political opinion of the earlier decision in Plessy v. Ferguson in saying "separate is inherently unequal." We are now moving into our sixth decade of litigation because of those loose-lipped words, involving "discrimination" which has nothing to do with the issue being resolved in Brown v. Board of Education. Separation of women and men. Separation of ordinary students from developmentally deficient students. Separation of ordinary people from the severely disabled. Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: I've wondered the same thing. It may have something to do with not wanting to draw audiences away from the Fox News Channel, but that would have made more sense back when people still didn't have cable and satellite access. Today, they should be hitting both markets, not choosing one over the other. Many super-basic cable packages don't include FNC, so viewers aren't getting that point of view. Even FNC doesn't have a real "evening news" hour to compete with the networks. Those reports are loosely put together earlier in the day to make room for their popular opinion shows in the evening. Here in California, at the time that the average guy has come home, had his dinner and wants to see what the news of the day is, Fox News Channel is showing Hannity's show or Greta van Susteren's show rather than an hour of solid news. I think that's a big opportunity missed.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I would really like to see other official church bodies join in the lawsuit, or at least file amicus briefs. The administration is counting on this being a "Catholic" issue, and are fully aware that many Catholics are in more agreement with Obama than with the Vatican on the issue of birth control. It's the old "divide and conquer" strategy. And once again, as it is, it turns the issue from religious freedom to a simple debate on birth control.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: That's very true. When I mentioned the jury instructions, I was referring solely to the law of the state rather than the evidence and the jury's findings. I'm still unsure what the penalty would have been had the jury found a direct link between the act and the suicide, and the judge had given specific instructions based on that jury finding. The punishment probably does fit the crime, and as you said, the other participant betrayed the kid as well. I assume that the family will file (or maybe already has filed) a civil wrongful death suit, and the rules for that are quite different.

LawHawkRFD said...

K: Well said. Progressivism is just socialism/fascism in disguise. And its first big successful proponent, Woodrow Wilson, was an anti-constitutionalist and a racist.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: That's because they're swimming in a sea of real news and facts, and sinking like a brick.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
How can Catholics choosing to disobey the Church doctrine on artificial methods of birth control be construed to make the Church's law not defensible?
A lot of folks drive in excess of the speed laws, does that then mean your defense is that since so many others speed you should not be fined?
Good luck with that.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: Good analogy. I think this whole strategy is going to backfire. Most parents share a common experience--their kids fight with each other like cats and dogs, but when an outsider picks on one of them, they suddenly become The Three Musketeers. I think something similar will happen among Catholics. Whatever their personal view of contraceptives may be, they don't want their church and its leaders being man-handled by an anti-religious government.

LawHawkRFD said...

Is everyone enjoying watching the irony of Obama and Sen Patrick Leahy (chmn of the Senate Judiciary Committee) threatening the Supreme Court (and particularly Chief Justice Roberts)? Their reasoning--if the court strikes down Obamacare, they will be guilty of judicial activism. I love it. Leahy even went into the great time and agony the Democrats went through in cobbling the monstrosity together, forgetting that his House colleague Nancy Pelosi said that they should pass Obamacare so that they could find out what's in it. Morons.

Anthony said...

Obama's attempt to force the church to set aside its age old restriction strikes me as part of a general shift to the left he's making in an attempt to get the various flavors of liberals excited about his candidacy.

Given how small a percentage of the population liberals are that doesn't strike me as a winning strategy but with his track record he's not going to be able to draw the same amount of independents that he did in 2008.

LawHawkRFD said...

Anthony: Welcome.

I think your conclusions are good. One of his problems is that by currying favor with the liberals, he's also dragging in the Catholics which means he's shoring up his position with the hard left but alienating many Catholics who had previously supported him. The more his administration attacks religious institutions, the more the independents appear to be moving to the right.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
I think you hit upon the focal point of condomgate.
Pedophile priests not using condoms is far worse than the pedophilia is, from a liberal viewpoint of course.
Do you think that is the crux of the liberal thinking?

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: I think you got it. LOL

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