- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008

Partisan viewing

“Television news audiences are divided along party lines like never before. Ideology and partisanship used to be completely unrelated to TV news, but they’ve become significant factors in the last five years: In 1998, 18 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans watched Fox News regularly. By 2006, 36 percent of Republicans watched Fox News regularly compared to 19 percent of Democrats, according to a Pew Research study.

“The trend for CNN over the same period shows a dramatic drop in exposure to CNN for Republicans — from 27 percent to 19 percent — while Democrats have remained fairly stable, with exposure rates of 25 percent and 29 percent in 1998 and 2006, respectively.

“Republicans have dramatically dropped news sources that they perceive as being biased against their position. They’ve completely fled into Fox and have left CNN, broadcast news and all the others — including C-SPAN, which is raw content.

“Individuals who do not identify strongly with either the Republican or Democratic party are watching less news, not surprising considering the average consumer now has more than 100 channels from which to choose. What we are seeing is the natural product of technology allowing people who never really have been interested in the news to find something else to do with their time. And what’s left is a fairly partisan red-state/blue-state news audience.”

Barry Hollander, writing on “Fragmetation of News Audience,” in the April 16 edition of Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

Two visions

“‘I’ve always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way,’ [President Ronald] Reagan said innumerable times, ‘that some divine plan placed this great continent here between the two oceans.’ It was a divine edict to bring freedom to the world — one that Reagan sought to fulfill. As he summed up in his Farewell Address from the Oval Office on Jan. 11, 1989: ‘We stood, again, for freedom. … We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.’

“In short, Reagan’s optimistic view of America would compel him to lead a positive America to create a better world. Reagan looked at America and saw freedom, not slavery.

“And that’s the kind of thinking that Ronald Reagan took from his religious instruction, beginning with the pulpit of Ben Cleaver. It is not the view of America that Barack Obama has taken from his pulpit of choice. In Obama’s case, we can only hope he wasn’t ever listening to Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s deranged, angry sermons, or that these rants somehow managed to have no effect whatsoever on the senator, his wife, and his children. What are the chances of that?

“In a July 1983 speech, Ronald Reagan noted that ‘two visions of the world remain locked in dispute.’ One was the American vision, said Reagan, which ‘believes all men are created equal by a loving God who has blessed us with freedom.’ The other vision was the Soviet one.

“Here today, we have two visions of America locked in dispute, and poised to produce very different fruit. I prefer the image of a blessed Shining City over the view of an America that is deservedly damned.”

Paul Kengor, writing on “Blessing vs. Damning America,” April 11 at


Silent witnesses

“In April 2007, Liu Huiwen, a Chinese Christian, was arrested for distributing ‘Christian literature’ to Muslims in the Gansu province. Huiwen was reportedly severely beaten before his arrest and sentenced to 18 months in prison. … Pastor Cai Zhuohua was imprisoned for three years for ‘illegally printing’ Christian literature. … He was tortured with a cattle prod, held in a cold and cramped cell with 27 other prisoners and forced to make soccer balls for 10-12 hours a day for the Olympic Games. …

“When it comes to dealing with dissidents, whether political or religious, Chinese officials seem to consider torture part of the routine. This is graphically illustrated in a series of disturbing photographs, smuggled out of the country, [that] depict Chinese policemen, hoping for a promotion, who allowed themselves to be photographed torturing Christians. …

“There has been the deafening silence from the evangelical church in America. Content to peddle their trinkets — many of them made in Chinese sweatshops — and wallow in materialism, American evangelicals have turned their backs on Chinese Christians when they should have been calling for a boycott of the Olympic Games. Shame on American Christians. They’ve been silent on the war. They’ve been silent on the question of torture. They’ve been silent about human rights abuses in China and elsewhere. In fact, they’ve remained silent on almost every major moral issue of our times.”

John Whitehead, writing on “Chinese Christians Are Paying a High Price for the Olympics,” posted Monday at www.rutherford.org

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