Thursday, July 31, 2008

Media bias and the coronation of a rock star

He’s a rock star, a political savior and he’s running for president. But Sen. Barack Obama’s recent whirlwind tour of the Middle East and Europe may have left doubts as to what exactly he’s running for: President of the United States or leader of the European Union?

The European throng came just short of placing palm branches on the road before Obama’s cavalcade in Berlin (not Jerusalem). They clearly love him – 72 percent of Germans said they’d vote for him, but they can’t vote in this election. At least not yet. And the media, enamored with his performance, stood ready to crown their prince in Berlin – perhaps a fitting location to be enthroned even though Obama is not in the Hapsburg line.

Without question, Sen. Obama is a dynamic candidate and articulate speaker. He can move a crowd, but does this justify the media establishment’s infatuation with him? The media’s courtship of Obama is indicated by how much time they recently spent covering his campaign. According to a recent survey, Obama received 114 minutes of network coverage last month compared with McCain’s 48 minutes. Since January, Obama has 389 minutes of network coverage to McCain’s 203 minutes.

McCain, once the darling of the media, especially when he defied core Republican principles, now knows how it feels to be jilted.

Daniel Shore of National Public Radio justified the unequal coverage this past weekend by saying that Obama is making news and McCain is not. Whatever the rationale, the press establishment must realize that such imbalance in coverage amounts to free advertising for the Democratic nominee. On July 30, CNN reported on both candidates equally – kind of. The two-minute clip reiterated that McCain’s skin cancer had not returned. The report on Obama emphasized that he will work to expand freedom and liberty of the American people. Translation to prospective voter: old man with skin cancer or young man who will make you free?

This is not real journalism. It is advocacy journalism. Good journalism will report dispassionately. It should give both sides of a story equal time and report equally on a given topic. (I’m sure McCain would have liked to weigh in on the freedom issue). Good journalists should give political candidates equal coverage throughout an election. But that’s not happening here.

Consider that last week, all three network anchors – Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams – followed Barack Obama to Europe and the Middle East. McCain has been to Iraq eight times and Afghanistan four since the war began and has yet to be accompanied by such a string of paparazzi. The New York Times gladly printed Obama’s essay on his plans for Iraq. But they promptly denied McCain the same opportunity unless he changed the content of his piece to "mirror" Obama’s perspective.

"With their lips they cry diversity, but their hearts yearn for ideological uniformity." Blessed be the name of Barack, And woe be to lowly yon voter.

Establishment media is making the news today. Could they be doing any less to help Sen. Obama get elected? Whatever the case, American voters see through the facade of the media’s pretense of objectivity.

According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 49 percent of voters believe that a majority of reporters will try to help Sen. Obama with their coverage while only 14 percent believe that most reporters will try to help Sen. McCain win. The numbers have probably edged upwards since the survey took place before The New York Times debacle.

Media bias is nothing new, but they are doing voters a disservice when they feign impartiality. Allegiance should be to the truth, not to a particular political candidate. Then again, truth and fairness appear to be obstacles for the king makers devoted more to a coronation than delivering unbiased news to the American voters.

UK drops ten spots in major college ranking

For Immediate Release
July 31, 2008

Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

The University of Kentucky dropped in U. S. News and World Report's national college rankings from 112th in 2007 to 122nd in the 2008 rankings and was near the bottom of top-tier schools in the percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students. "This is one more indication that President Lee Todd and those running the university may not have their priorities in order," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation.

When UK was challenged on its attempt to implement health benefits for the live-in partners of its staff last year, the university defended itself by saying that it needed such a program to pursue top-20 status, prompting The Family Foundation to point out other, more important factors such as class size and lagging faculty salaries that were being ignored in favor of special interest social policy.

"The University of Kentucky needs to figure out whether it is there to serve students who have to foot rising tuition bills or whether it is going to continue dabbling in special interest politics through its employee benefits policies and its increasing emphasis on social and political activism in some of its departments," said Cothran. "If it started putting first things first maybe it would begin rising in the rankings instead of falling."

The U. S. News and World Report College Rankings are the most well-known college rankings.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The CJ looking the other way

Anyone notice that in the growing fraud scandal at the University of Louisville over federal education money that was apparently lining the pockets of Education Department Dean Robert Felner, e-mails pretty clearly indicated that not only was Felner engaging in financial fraud, but he was apparently doing it with his gay lover who was getting a cut of the money in his bogus nonprofit Illinois organization.

One of Felner's e-mails to Tom Schroeder in Rock Island, Illinois, his partner in crime, begins "Hi Honey." And several end with "Hugs".

Does this mean that the Felner scandal is an indication that gays are more likely to engage in financial fraud? Of course not. But what is interesting is that in today's story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, which has been a day late and a dollar short trying to keep up with the breaking story in the blogosphere, didn't even mention the gay angle on this story.

Now when was the last time the media failed to mention a sexual angle in a scandal story? If Felner has been engaged in a heterosexual relationship with a co-conspirator in this case you know darn well they would be all over it. But as it stands, not only does the CJ look like it is protecting James Ramsey and his increasingly ridiculous administration at U of L, but it also looks like it is running interference for the gay community--just like they did during the last election.

Let's see how long it takes the CJ to acknowledge the Felner/Shroeder relationship in this case. We're starting the clock now...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slot Machines and Strippers make cozy bedfellows

Slot Machine opponents' worst fears are being realized in Somerset KY, where local authorities just busted an illegal club that offered patrons a chance with one of eight slot machines and a shot at one of the strippers/hookers that reportedly offered "bottomless lap dances." Is there any wonder that the people of Somerset want to keep slot machines and the parasites that accompany them out of their community? Read the H-L article...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stumbo fires the first shot in run for Speaker

State Rep. Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) fired the first shot in what looks to be a several month long campaign to unseat Jody Richards as Speaker of the Kentucky House in a story in last Thursday's Louisville Courier-Journal. Stumbo criticized Richards for not doing enough to help the Governor in his campaign for casinos during the 2008 legislative session.

Look for Stumbo to increase the heat as the January 2009 organizational session approaches.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Slots Machines in Kentucky with no vote?

Rep. Tom Burch wants to circumvent the constitution and push slot machines without a vote from all Kentuckians. The media covered the story of Burch's new plan to bring slot machines to every "hill and holler." We appreciate Channel 32 (CBS) for allowing slot opponents a few words on the issue, but we found it pretty funny that 32 literally turned the microphone over to slots pushers (the racetrack spokesperson actually gave her monologue holding the mic):

Connie Leonard of Wave 3 (NBC) had a more balanced piece, although she mis-stated my position on how slots would affect racing. I told her that there is an initial bump in purses, but that slots eventually detract from horse race betting as people pour their money, time, and interest into the one-arm bandits. Otherwise good reporting from Connie:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Family group calls on legislators to hold universities accountable for public funds

LEXINGTON, KY—A family group today questioned the media spin coming from U of L President James Ramsey concerning a criminal investigation at his university and called for closer financial scrutiny by legislators of university spending. Dean Robert Felner and U of L’s education department are under federal investigation for the possible misappropriation of millions in educational grant dollars.

While U of L announced appointment of an auditor to look into grant appropriations, Ramsey had previously been dismissive, telling WHAS-11 News that many people “get a little weak and violate the law every once in a while.”

“Legislators must exercise their power of oversight to hold the universities accountable for the millions they are failing to manage responsibly,” said David Edmunds of The Family Foundation. “Attempts by the legislature to hold the universities accountable are often met with hostility by administrators who charge the legislature with ‘micro-management,’” Edmunds said. “But taxpayers should be asking, ‘Who’s manning the store?’”

U of L President James Ramsey also admitted in the WHAS interview, “There’s no system of internal controls anywhere” in relation to oversight of grant money. “Today’s announcement that U of L will appoint an independent auditor will appear to some as media spin. Given U of L’s track record, they are losing credibility on the issue of accountability with the people’s money and it is time for the legislature to step in.”

This investigation comes on the heels of controversy regarding U of L’s expenditure of a $1 million “bucks-for-brains” state grant on “drag queen research” and UK’s expenditure of tax and tuition dollars on advocacy for Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and The Fairness Alliance.

“Given U of L’s track record of violating the law [the Marriage Amendment] and of giving false testimony to legislators about U of L subsidizing domestic partner plans, Ramsey’s media spin and remarks in defense of Felner’s potential criminal activity are beginning to look like a pattern and are deeply troubling,” said Edmunds.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doin' the Ramsey Shuffle

University of Louisville President James Ramsey, far-famed for lying to a legislative committee about his university subsidizing domestic partner benefits, is apparently standin' by his man in the case of former education dean Robert Felner, who is accused --making excuses for criminal activity to top it all off.

Apparently the standards are getting pretty low at UofL. Now it's okay for department deans to be “a little weak...violating the law now and then.” I wonder if that's what they teach in business ethics at Ramsey's university.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Response to David Hawpe's flip-flop in the C-J

(David Edmunds' letter appeared in the C-J on 7/12)

In last Sunday’s editorial, David Hawpe denounces The Family Foundation for raising questions concerning the expenditure of tax dollars on left-wing political activism at a university that talks a good game on the issue of diversity, but doesn’t appear to want to practice it.

In a Feb 23,2005 CJ opinion piece, “Academics give way to activism and it’s not a change for the better,” the writer raised a similar concern: that grant money from political activist Carla Wallace, who had “ties with Fidel Castro,” would be used to support “left-liberal interests, including Yassir Arafat.”

The author of the 2005 article was David Hawpe.

But when we raised similar questions about UofL using the same money plus 1million in taxpayer dollars on scholars whose specialty is research on “male-bodied drag queens” and UK funding the agenda of Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Fairness Alliance, Hawpe’s concern over political activism suddenly gave way to liberal sanctimony.

Most of us wouldn’t care if the head of Planned Parenthood were teaching math or literature at UK, but teaching “abortion and family planning” at taxpayer expense and promoting one particular political agenda in the name of academic freedom and diversity, will come as unwelcome news to taxpayers.

UK is now paying homosexual couples $100.00 for interviews about the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment ( ) We wonder how Hawpe would react if our public universities, instead of running down the Marriage Amendment, which over 70 percent of Kentuckians approved, were promoting it.

(The C-J chose to delete the above website reference and change the sentence that mentions interviewing people "about the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment" to "interviews about challenges they face outside their relationship.")

Thursday, July 10, 2008

UofL President Ramsey a Martyr

Glorius reviews hit the front page of the C-J today announcing that UofL President James Ramsey, in an effort to bite the bullet for the sake of higher education, accepted salary increases that would bring his compensation to only $456,131. He received praise for accepting a $700 bonus- well short of the hundreds of thousands in bonus pay lavished on him the past several years.

Whether students struggling to pay tutuion increasing at a rate of 10% annually will recieve any comfort from the reduction to Ramsey's paultry $456,131 salary is unclear.

With Ramsey approving of 2 million dollars going to Drag Queen research, His false testimony in Frankfort last year regarding UofL subsidizing Domestic Partner Benefits, and now a federal investigation of UofL's Education department for misappropriation of funds one has to wonder what he has achieved to recieve such lavish praise.

Oh yeah, "Diversity Goals."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Herald-Leader on record in support of ideological uniformity

By Martin Cothran

In its July 2 editorial, "Academic Witchhunt," the Lexington Herald-Leader charged The Family Foundation with engaging in a "witchhunt" in its efforts to shed light on taxpayer-supported political and social activism at the University of Kentucky. The Foundation had also pointed out the university's hypocritical rhetoric about "diversity" when, in fact, there seems to be little diversity in the ideological makeup of its own faculty.

In its frenzied attempt to burn The Family Foundation at the rhetorical stake for doing little more than reprinting several UK web pages, Herald editors didn't bother to address why it is that amidst the tiresome propaganda about diversity, left-wing professors get to occupy comfortable offices at our state universities while conservatives seem nowhere to be found.

There are entire departments at UK where there is not a conservative in sight. One of them is the "Gender and Women's Studies" department, a little bastion of state-supported, left-wing activism where conservatives don't even get to be the object of witchhunts – since there aren't any to hunt.

We have challenged the ideological mullahs in the department to produce just one faculty member on its staff who supported the Marriage Amendment of 2004, which was approved by 75 percent of voters – the very people whom the Herald-Leader expects to stand placidly by like good little taxpayers while their public universities use their tax money to undermine their beliefs.

In the Herald-Leader's story, former director of the Gender and Women's Studies Department, Joan Callahan, defends the program by saying that "there is no longer a single, traditional view" on the family. You can say that again. Not only is there no longer a single traditional view in her former department, there isn't any traditional view at all: there is now a single liberal view.
"The days of exclusion are coming to an end," she said. Oh really? If the "days of exclusion are over" in this little political fiefdom, then Callahan ought to be able to point to at least one faculty member in the Gender and Women's Studies program who has a traditional view on the matter.

We're not holding our breath.

Instead of the diversity people like Callahan like to talk about, there is none in this particular program. UK’s website lists faculty affiliations with groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and The Fairness Alliance, along with hyperlinks to those organizations.

Professors are listed as teaching “family planning and abortion” and also “involving students in activism” as part of the course descriptions.

One professor teaches a course for UK’s Discovery Seminar Program called “I know my Rights” that focuses on civil liberties law. Problem is, he's not even an attorney. His sole qualification for teaching about constitutional law appears to be that he is a Board member of an ACLU pro-abortion program.

Another professor even has UK funding her research on the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender couples and paying them $100.00 to be interviewed about their “challenges.”

It would make an interesting thought experiment to imagine what the Herald-Leader's response would be if, instead of the left, the right had control of a whole department at one of our public universities. How would the Herald respond if UK's website proudly touted the fact that it had a whole department filled with professors who were members of prominent right-wing organizations?

Would it call those who pointed it out "witchhunters"? Not likely. In fact, it would be spearheading the attempt to draw attention to it – and naming names as it did so.

Would Lee Todd take time out from his empty rhetoric about diversity and join his pals at the ACLU to issue a statement about "academic freedom" to defend such a department, as he has done for the "Gender and Women's Studies" program? We doubt it.

But the Herald's editorial serves at least one useful purpose: it puts it on record in opposition to real diversity in our public universities.

Thanks for the clarification.

Monday, July 7, 2008

CJ's David Hawpe defends UK and U of L's Ideological Uniformity Initiative

by Martin Cothran

In yesterday's Louisville Courier-Journal, editorials editor David Hawpe condemns The Family Foundation for drawing attention to the lack of ideological diversity at our state universities and for questioning why, in a time of tight state budgets and rising tuitions, our public universities are spending public money to fund scholars and campus organizations who promote left-wing special interest political and social causes on campus.

In response, Hawpe says that the best thing to do with The Family Foundation is to ignore it, and he spends almost a thousand words explaining why.

Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

I'm trying to remember how many times The Family Foundation has been condemned in Courier-Journal editorials. It's become sort of a ritual. Now it is going to pretend the organization isn't there--by talking about it. It's nice to be ignored: you get so much attention that way.

Hawpe first observes that, although it tried, The Family Foundation "failed to start much trouble" with an op-ed piece in the CJ on UofL's use of "Bucks for Brains" money on a scholar whose specialty was studying the cultural influence of "black, male-bodied drag queens."

Really? Failed to start much trouble? I now count six UofL faculty or officials who have written in to the CJ indignant that anyone would question the funding of special interest political and social activism on its campus. That doesn't count the letters and internet comments on the CJ website--on both sides of the issue. Add to that an editorial by one of the opinion editors. What's his name? ... Oh yeah: David Hawpe!

If it didn't start much trouble, then why is Hawpe writing about it?

The self-defeating response by Hawpe was rivaled only by UofL's response to the charge of a lack of diversity on its campus, which, strangely, was to roll out a parade of left-wing professors to deny it. UofL isn't lacking in diversity and they've got a whole faculty full of liberal professors willing to say so. If you think you have fallen down the rabbit hole, you have.

No wonder Hawpe identifies with these people.Six different UofL professors and faculty published in the CJ in defense of the university's Ideological Uniformity Initiative and not a single, solitary conservative from the university on the other side willing to identify himself.

I wonder why.

Hawpe then comments on similar criticisms The Family Foundation made of UK, where the "gender and women's studies" program enjoys a publicly subsidized ideological monopoly, saying, "UK president Lee Todd and state American Civil Liberties Union director Michael Aldridge have issued appropriate statements defending academic freedom."

Gee, Lee Todd - and the ACLU. No liberals there!

Then Hawpe, his eyes and ears covered, desparately trying to ignore The Family Foundation (you remember, the group that didn't start the trouble Hawpe is not concerned about), tries to paint a scary picture of what could happen if The Family Foundation gets its way. He recounts events in Florida in the early 1960s in which a number of faculty were dismissed at the behest of the Johns Committee on grounds of homosexuality.

Of course, homosexuals are no longer fired, but recruited. Conservatives, on the other hand, are not fired. They don't have to be. They are simply not hired in the first place. We have challenged UK's "gender and women's studies" department to produce a single, solitary conservative on its diverse staff.

So far, no response.

UK and UofL don't need a John's Committee to rid themselves of conservatives who might challenge the liberal ideas that now enjoy protected and subsidized status at their ideologically uniform campuses: they've got people like Hawpe to keep them at bay.

We wonder what Hawpe's reaction would be if, instead of left-wing causes, right-wing causes were getting taxpayer and tuitions subsidies from our public universities. What would be Hawpe's reaction if, instead of Queer Theory and the study of "black, male-bodied drag queens" the university had a scholarly enclave of, say, white supremacists which the university proudly boasted about on its website? Let's call it the "Aryan Studies Center."

Would Hawpe be writing editorials defending its publicly supported status? Would Lee Todd and his pals at the ACLU be talking about academic freedom?

Not on your life.

Our academic institutions - particularly our public institutions of higher learning -should be focused on the critical scholarly examination of all view points, and should be a place where the skills to do this are taught and nurtured. In no case should they be turned into centers for political indoctrination of any kind.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Swingtown, California judges break rules on marriage and civility

by Richard Nelson

When CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said the network was "going to throw out the rule book," in late 2006, she wasn’t kidding. In case anybody was wondering just what rules she was talking about, the wait is over. On June 5, CBS officially joined the marriage deconstruction movement when it premiered Swingtown-- an edgy sitcom that eviscerates what is left of marriage in our postmodern culture.

One can only wonder if California’s Supreme Court judges attended a sneak preview before they legalized gay marriage back on May 15.

Swingtown, named in part for the wife-swapping, features open marriage and group sex as normal. Comparatively, it makes the show’s casual drug use among adults look mild; and the young teen boys ogling porn in the basement, not so bad-- after all the dad pats his son’s head after warning him not to let his mother catch him.

Today’s cultural elite hope Swingtown, which also refers to the mid-'70s as a watershed when the cultural and moral tide turned, serves as a catalyst to turn the tide again. In one scene, sex provocateurs, Tom and Trina, who are in an open marriage, lead a reluctant and conservative couple into group sex. Such a scene could have only been hatched in the recesses of Hollywood’s deep sickness.

One group out of Californian’s who must have been big fans of the show, not necessarily for the perversion, but for the underlying message that marriage can be anything you want it to be, are the four state supreme court judges who recently overturned California’s marriage law. It’s funny how four judges who say they believe in the democratic process can overturn the votes of 4,618,673 voters without batting an eye.

It would make more sense if they confessed to be actors posing as judges. Then again, maybe they confused Hollywood with their courtroom.

One dissenting judge, Marvin Baxter chastised his colleagues for breaching the separation of powers and called the ruling “legal jujitsu.” “Who can say that, in ten, fifteen, or twenty years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’ analysis to conclude... that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” Baxter said in his dissent.

Gay marriage revolutionaries say they’re not attacking marriage but rather just seeking the same freedom that everyone else has. Perhaps Swingtown could serve as the poster city for that idea. It’s no coincidence that in a scene of a wild July 4th party, complete with drugs and an orgy, one woman extols the grandiosity of open marriage trying to convince her newfound friend that “opening our relationship was the best thing that ever happened.” Partygoers sang the National Anthem, and all of a sudden, lavishing the marital benefits of one’s spouse to another is just as American as apple pie.

Swingtown is made-up. But the legal fiction imposed by the California high court that marriage is whatever you want it to be has real consequences for our culture. Without the opposite sex requirement of marriage there’s no longer a logical basis against the number of participants (polygamy) open marriage (polyamory) and blood restrictions (adult incest).

California’s Supreme Four steam rolled the democratic process and along with it the self-evident truths that gender differences matter and contribute to healthy marriage; That children deserve to have their biological mothers and fathers raising them in the same home; And that man/woman marriage is foundational to social stability.

California judges can pretend that marriage is something other than one man and one woman all they want. But in order to keep up the charade, they’ll need to attend acting school to better convince the million-plus California voters who successfully petitioned to put the marriage amendment on the ballot this November.

If it passes, it will put an end to the sitcom called the California Supreme Court... and maybe its members will decide to take up law instead.