Thursday, July 27, 2006

Distressing media morning

I got up early this morning, and spent my time reading the news on the BBC, and watching the wannabe news on Good Morning America.

BBC Mideast round-up

One of the more infuriating stories from the Mideast:
Israel says the decision by a summit of world powers not to call for a halt to its Lebanon offensive has given it the green light to continue.

"We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world... to continue the operation," Justice Minister Haim Ramon said.
Great. The USA prevents the summit from resulting in a clear call for a cease-fire, and this gets read as "permission" to do this:
He said that in order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops moved in.
Marvelous. And here is the brilliant defense of this plan.
He added that Israel had given the civilians of southern Lebanon ample time to quit the area and therefore anyone still remaining there could be considered a Hezbollah supporter.

"All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah," Mr Ramon said.
With some nice Bush-esque rhetoric thrown in just to make it extra-palatable:
"everyone understands that a victory for Hezbollah is a victory for world terror".
And Al-Qaeda is happily playing along.

From the infuriating to the merely nauseating:

L&J on GMA

After getting through the latest on the BBC, I watched in exasperation as LaHaye and Jenkins, the authors of the Left Behind series, were interviewed on Good Morning America. The interviewer genially asked them about the Rapture, and their views on current events in the Mideast and Hurricane Katrina. They explained how this was all predicted in the Bible, and how Jesus is probably coming back Real Soon Now. And at the end of the interview they were thanked for their "insight".

Someone watching this interview who didn't know any better would naturally assume that the views of LaHaye and Jenkins must be pretty central, mainstream, orthodox, uncontroversial stuff in Christianity. After all, GMA is hardly a forum for controversial opinions and debate. If it's on GMA, it must be pretty humdrum.

With media exposure like this, you'd never guess that the theology of the Left Behind series presents a profound distortion of Christianity. (Slacktivist is currently in the process of the doing the admirable public service of exposing the first Left Behind book, page by dull-yet-agonizing page.)

Maybe you don't really care about the health of the Christian religion, but you should still care about these guys anyways. Millions of Christians think that they've got things spot on, and these people have the ability to vote, which they tend to exercise poorly.

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