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Al-Jazeera America Joins U.S. Cable Television Noise

Al Jazeera America. Via RNS, Courtesy KAZVorpal via Flickr

Before its Aug. 20 launch, officials at Al-Jazeera America emphasized that, despite its Middle Eastern roots and ownership, the fledgling cable news network would be aimed squarely at a U.S. audience.

Guess they weren’t kidding.

A new study of cable news coverage of the Syria crisis released  found that the new kid on the block covered the fast-moving story of President Obama’s threat to strike the civil war-torn nation much the way its cable rivals did.

Limbaugh and the Family Research Council: We Love Him, We Love Him Not

(Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

A cardboard cutout of Rush Limbaugh at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference.(Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, appeared on Martin Bashir last week to condemn Rush Limbaugh’s words against Georgetown Law Student, Sandra Fluke.

Bashir asked:

"Mr. Perkins, I’ve found this whole controversy extremely disturbing and it seems almost impossible to find a Republican who unequivocally without conditions condemns what’s been said. Now you are a family man, you’re a committed Christian you play an important role in conservative politics will you for the benefit of our broadcast clearly and categorically denounce what Rush Limbaugh said? "

Perkins response:

"I disagree that because there is a double standard that somehow defends what was said. I do think there is a double standard but that doesn’t defend attacking an individual.

"I think we need to engage in civic -- or civil discussion. I don’t think there’s any room in this process for calling people derogatory names. I think what Rush Limbaugh did by calling this young woman, regardless of her political views, regardless of what she was advocating for, calling her derogatory names. I disagree with her position. I think what she said was off base, what she was advocating for was off base, but I think Rush Limbaugh was wrong in calling her what he did."

Good for him. As Bashir pointed out at the beginning of his program, many conservatives are often hesitant to criticize someone like Limbaugh for fear of on air retribution. Speaking out could cause lost support and donations.

Franklin Graham Apologizes for Questioning Obama's Christian Faith

Franklin Graham by Anthony Correia / Shutterstock.com

Franklin Graham by Anthony Correia / Shutterstock.com

Evangelist Franklin Graham has apologized to President Obama for questioning his Christian faith and said religion has "nothing to do" with Graham's decision not to support Obama's re-election.
   
Graham's Tuesday apology came after a group of prominent black religious leaders criticized the evangelist for saying he did not know whether Obama is a Christian and suggesting that Islamic law considers him to be a Muslim.
   
Graham, president of the relief organization Samaritan's Purse and the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said he now accepts Obama's declarations that he is a Christian.
   
"I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama," he said in a statement.

Pews and Politics

If you’ve watched 6 minutes of news in the last few weeks, you know what this is all about: Christian leaders hurling attacks and using faith as a weapon to score political points. From presidential candidates to public leaders, rhetoric in recent weeks as gone from ‘heightened’ to ‘dangerous.’

To counteract this incendiary environment, prominent evangelical, mainline, and Catholic pastors, theologians and denominational heads have joined together to take a stand. The open letter, which currently has over a hundred signers,  supports the President in light of the recent attacks by Franklin Graham (see clip below), but the letter also speaks to the larger issue at hand, specifically that, “No politician or government will ever reflect God’s will perfectly, but we prayerfully call on political leaders and members of the media to return to the issues Jesus and the prophets were most concerned about and to stop using faith as a weapon to advance partisan politics and self-interest.”

Faithful America to MSNBC: Stop Inviting Tony Perkins to Speak for Christians. He Doesn't.

Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

Tony Perkins speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in DC last week. Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, New York faith leaders, and members of Faithful America  delivered a petition with 20,000 signatures to MSNBC studios in New York City's Rockefeller Center on Tuesday asking that the network stop inviting Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on its programs as a "Christian" spokesman.

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