Signs and Wonders: Not-so-conservative conservative conference

by Warren Cole Smith
Posted 3/18/13, 11:01 am

Coming apart. Charles Murray’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend is perhaps the latest sign that there’s less and less truly conservative about the event. Murray was supposed to talk about his latest book, Coming Apart, but he used his time to rant in favor of homosexual “marriage.” Some news outlets, including The New Yorker, said it was a “surprise” that Murray, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, would come out in favor of same-sex “marriage.” But it was not much of a surprise to someone who has followed his career. Murray is not a Christian, and he has strong libertarian tendencies. The Maryland resident said last November that he voted for that state’s Proposition 6, which legalized homosexual “marriage” in the state. So Murray’s position is not a surprise, but neither is it a surprise that the media would try to make a big deal out of it.

Christians need not apply. A graphic designer in the United Kingdom said he was turned down for a job because he is a Christian. Jamie Haxby said he felt “victimized and persecuted” when hotel manager Celie Parker “apologized for inviting him to the interview after discovering he was a committed Christian,” according to the British newspaper The Daily Mail. Haxby said the manager told him his presence might upset atheists working in the hotel. Haxby is now suing the hotel. The Daily Mail reported, “This case is unprecedented because Mr. Haxby apparently faced discrimination merely on the basis of his beliefs rather than his actions, such as wearing a cross.” Haxby said his portfolio contained designs for fliers he had done for his church, as well as a T-shirt for a Christian charity. Until then, Haxby said, “Everything was going well, and I felt happy with how the interview was progressing. Celie made several comments about the high standard of my work and how talented I was.”

Justice, finally? The notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell finally goes to court today on charges he performed illegal, late-term abortions and injured countless women through lax medical procedures. Gosnell, 72, has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies allegedly born alive. Eight of his employees who have been charged with him have pleaded guilty, including his wife, a beautician accused of helping him perform stealth third-term abortions on Sundays. If found guilty, Gosnell could face the death penalty. According to Yahoo! News: “A devastating 2011 grand jury report describes nearly unfathomable conditions: fetal body parts stored in glass jars and staff refrigerators; filthy, blood-stained operating areas; women and teens maimed after Gosnell perforated a uterus or colon.”

More reporting, less punditry. According to a new survey done by Pew Research for its Project for Excellence in Journalism, most of the major “news” networks are more opinion than reporting. MSNBC is the most opinionated network by far. About 85 percent of its programming is opinion, which media analyst Howard Kurtz reminds us “is cheaper to produce than reporting.” Conservative Fox News doesn’t have much to brag about. About 55 percent of its airtime is opinion-driven. Only CNN has more reporting than commentary: 54 percent to 46 percent. Kurtz said, though, that “even at CNN, the report says, the number of packaged news reports in prime time dropped from 50 percent to 24 percent from 2007 to 2012, with more time devoted to interviews.” Local newscasts did no better in presenting real news. Sports, weather, and traffic took up about 40 percent of local newscasts last year. Those stories that did make it on-air were often little more than headlines: only 20 percent of stories lasted longer than a minute. Half took less than 30 seconds.

Warren Cole Smith

Warren is the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. He previously served as WORLD's vice president and associate publisher. He currently serves as president of MinistryWatch and has written or co-written several books, including Restoring All Things: God's Audacious Plan to Change the World Through Everyday People. Warren resides in Charlotte, N.C. Follow him on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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