Tag Archives: Zeitgeist

New York Times walks back their biased coverage of the Tucson killings

From the radically left-wing, unreliable New York Times.

Excerpt:

The Times’s day-one coverage in some of its Sunday print editions included a strong focus on the political climate in Arizona and the nation. For some readers — and I share this view to an extent — placing the violence in the broader political context was problematic.

[…]The Times had a lot of company, as news organizations, commentators and political figures shouldered into an unruly scrum battling over whether the political environment was to blame. Meanwhile, opportunities were missed to pick up on evidence — quite apparent as early as that first day — that Jared Lee Loughner, who is charged with the shootings, had a mental disorder and might not have been motivated by politics at all.“If I were a reporter on this story, my very first call would have been to a mental health professional willing to consider the nature of Mr. Loughner’s illness,” Max Etchemendy of East Palo Alto, Calif., wrote. “The ‘political’ angle has been beaten to death, and ‘medical’ angle has been ignored completely.”

So why does a story get framed this way? Journalism educators characterize this kind of framing as a storytelling habit — one of relating new facts to an existing storyline — and also as a reflex of news organizations that are built to handle some topics well, and others less well.

Er, actually to the extent that he was motivated by politics at all, he was motivated by left-wing politics.

Gateway Pundit explains:

The Tucson killer was an anti-Christian, anti-Constitution, left-wing, pro-Marx, antiflag, “quite liberal” lunatic who hated Bush. He had been targeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since 2007.

2007? That’s before the Tea Partying even started. And before Sarah Palin was even discovered by most people except bloggers who live and breathe politics.

The New York Times just cannot report the facts on what animated the killer, because the New York Times journalists are largely animated by the same conspiracy theories and left-wing nonsense, (as seen in peer-reviewed studies of media bias and records of political contributions made by journalists). They believe in catastrophic man-made global warming now, just like they believed in catastrophic man-made global cooling 40 years ago. These are not rational people. They have an agenda, and it affects their ability to apprehend reality.

The thing that annoys me is that the rest of us in the blogosphere were all over this guy from day one, reporting on his Youtube channel and so on. Even I was paying attention to the story because ECM kept bombarding me with the details for 2 hours. He was the one that picked up on the anti-Christian ranting and the flag-burning video. The morons at the New York Times apparently took a week to find that video, but ECM found it in a minute. Maybe they are not capable of understaning things like Twitter, Youtube and RSS feeds. It was obvious that Loughner was a lefty. The only reason they didn’t report it is because they are not objective journalists at all, but Democrat operatives. They are as much in the tank for Obama as Robert Gibbs.

Why did the mainstream media ignore Jared Loughner’s Zeitgeist obsession?

First, a bit more about Loughner from the Arizona Republic. (H/T Robert Stacy McCain)

Excerpt:

At the end of Loughner’s junior year, in May 2006, the school nurse had him taken to the emergency room. “Extremely intoxicated,” the sheriff’s report would later say. It was 9 in the morning.

Loughner told a deputy that he stole a bottle of vodka from his parents because his father had yelled at him.

Loughner was changing. Drugs and alcohol blurred some days, but what friends remember most are the things he thought. Theories, ideas, strange questions.

In Loughner’s latter two years of high school, friend George Osler saw him drinking and smoking marijuana more and more.

He would go off on these tangents and then he would stop talking altogether,” Osler said. “He struck me as odd. It was an uncomfortable feeling.”

Loughner began fixating on a documentary: “Zeitgeist: The Movie.”

The movie is a bramble of conspiracy theories involving Sept. 11, the international monetary system, and Christianity.

“There are people guiding your life and you don’t even know it,” the trailer for the movie intones.

“He wanted to watch it all the time,” Osler said. “It was cool at first. But then it got weird. It was all he wanted to do.”

Loughner developed a seeming obsession with currency, grammar and literacy rates. They were becoming the objects of his rants and screeds. Those around him didn’t understand.

By the way, Mary wanted me to mention this refutation of Zeitgeist by New Zealand philosopher Glenn Peoples.

Robert McCain is happy about this new mainstream media coverage of the story he broke, but not happy with the rest of the mainstream media that is still silent.

He writes:

As of noon Sunday, there were 39 search results on Google News for “Loughner+Zeitgeist.” Most of those were passing mentions. Meanwhile, a Google News search for “Loughner+Palin” returned 10,395 results. There were 595 results for “Loughner+Limbaugh.”

By comparison, so far as I have been able to determine, by Sunday noon there had been exactly five substantial articles devoted specifically to the Loughner-Zeitgeist connection:

Thursday, the Washington Post published a 2,700-word profile of Jared Lee Loughner, and today the New York Times published a 5,000-word profile of the Tucson killer.

Neither story so much as mentioned Zeigeist.

Can you count on the Washington Post and New York Times to tell you the truth about the world? Or rather, will they tell you what they want you to think about the world so that you will vote “the right way” – for left-wing politicians?

Certainly there could be that element of wanting to make people vote for Democrats and wanting to demonize Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. But I think another reason why they didn’t report on it is because they don’t disagree with the ideas presented in the movie. They may be sympathetic that Christianity is a myth, that 9/11 is some sort of conspiracy to make poor, innocent Islamic theocrats look bad, and that global communism really would be much better than free market capitalism. Jared’s beliefs are the mainstream media’s beliefs. So why would they associate murder with their own beliefs?

And moreover, the mainstream media doesn’t DO detailed historical investigations of Christianity, so they would be more likely to fall for “Christianity is a myth” viewpoints. Even on the right-wing, you have ignorant journalists reducing Christianity to faith, who have never heard of William Lane Craig, the kalam argument, the fine-tuning argument, or specified complexity. All of these complicated arguments for theism are just beyond them – they only want to believe things that will make the right kinds of people like them, and provide them with maximum autonomy in their own lives. Their support for things like abortion and same-sex marriage isn’t something that they have carefully weighed by listening to academic debates… they take their position because they want to behave selfishly and do not want to be told about boundaries or consequences. And they embrace left-wing economic policies because it gives them the feeling of being enlightened, compassionate and generous… with other people’s money. They love the idea that people can act selfishly and stupidly and yet be rescued with someone else’s money.

So don’t expect the mainstream media to tell the truth about stories like this. They are Democrats, and they will never undermine the central pillars of the Democrat party, which are largely in agreement with the Zeitgeist movie. Those pillars are, of course, that Christianity is a myth, that Christian positions on social issues are therefore false, that American military action is necessarily imperialistic and evil, and that socialism would be much better at creating prosperity for the masses than free market capitalism. Most event reporting is going to be massaged so that it fits that narrative, to some degree or other. Not sports stories, but certainly sensational stories like this one.

Is the media biased to the left?

Here’s a UCLA study on media bias.

Excerpt:

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.

[…]The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.

From the Washington Examiner.

Excerpt:

Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.

By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.

Don’t count on them to tell you the truth… that’s not their job.

Related posts

Zeitgeist conspiracy movie had profound impact on Jared Loughner

Robert Stacy McCain is ALL OVER this story. Let’s get caught up.

Here’s Zach Osler, a friend of the Tucson murderer.

That’s an Associated Press video.

Transcript excerpt:

“There was a lot of talk about lucid dreaming and understanding reality. . . . And there were a lot of books and movies . . . things that I never would have heard about or watched — things like Loose Change about the 9/11 conspiracy . . . He watched things like that. . . . He had basically nothing going for him, and I think he just couldn’t deal with reality anymore. . . . I know that he was experimenting with the drug, or herb or whatever it is, salvia divinorum. And from what I hear, he used it quite frequently. . . . It’s like a hallucinogenic type of effect.”

McCain also links to more interesting stuff:

Loughner, now 22, would come over several times a week from 2007 to 2008, the Oslers said.

The boys listened to the heavy-metal band Slipknot and progressive rockers the Mars Volta, studied the form of meditative movement called tai chi and watched and discussed movies.

Loughner’s favorites included little-known conspiracy theory documentaries such as “Zeitgeist” and “Loose Change” as well as bigger studio productions with cult followings and themes of brainwashing, science fiction and altered states of consciousness, including “Donnie Darko” and “A Scanner Darkly.” . . .

Roxanne Osler [said]: “Jared struck me as a young man who craved attention and acceptance.”

In another post McCain summarizes a conspiracy theory movie called “Zeitgeist” in another post.

PART I: Attacking Christianity as a ‘Myth’

This segment has been called “The Da Vinci Code on steroids.” Toward the end, the narrator says, “Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age. It serves to detach the species from the natural world and likewise, from each other. It supports blind submission to authority. It reduces human responsibility to the effect that God controls everything.”

PART II: 9/11 Was a Conspiracy

Not much to say here. You’ve seen one 9/11 “Truther” documentary, you’ve seen ‘em all. But the guys at Loose Change can’t sue for copyright infringement because, hey, it’s a “documentary,” and you can’t copyright crazy.

PART III: TOTAL FREAKING KOOKINESS!

This is the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test of Zeitgeist where, if you’ve gone along with the Jesus-Was-a-Myth stuff and the 9/11-Was-a-U.S.-Plot stuff, you’re going to find yourself throbbing helplessly in spasms of conspiratorial ecstasy, covered in kook-splooge. The U.S. government and “international bankers” scheme behind the scenes to control every damned thing in the world — and plant computer chips in your brain, to boot!

Guess who liked Zeitgeist? Jared Loughner. He liked Zeitgeist a whole lot.

Does Zeitgeist sound like right-wing Tea Party material? It’s an atheistic, anti-American, anti-capitalist movie. And that’s what Jared believed. That’s why he favorited flag-burning videos. He is the complete opposite of a Tea Party conservative.

I wonder why the left-wing mainstream news media isn’t reporting on what Jared’s friends are saying about his views?

In fact, I wonder what the left-wing media thinks of Zeitgeist? I wonder what the left-wing media thinks of Loose Change? I wonder what the left-wing media thinks of capitalism? I wonder what the left-wing media thinks on the war against Islamic extremism? I wonder what the left-wing media thinks of American exceptionalism? I wonder what the left-wing media thinks of Christian theism?

Can they afford to tell the truth about this story?

Did Christianity copy from Buddhism, Mithraism or the myth of Osiris?

Have you ever heard claims that Christianity borrowed the virgin birth from Buddhism, or the other elements from pagan religions? Well, Dr. Glenn Peoples has, and he’s prepared a few responses that I thought I would share.

Please note

IF YOU WANT TO REPLY TO THIS POST TO DISAGREE WITH A SPECIFIC CLAIM IN IT THEN PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU CITE THE SAME KIND OF EVIDENCE THAT GLENN USES TO BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS. PLEASE DON’T SUBMIT OPINIONS AND ASSERTIONS AS COMMENTS TO THIS POST.

Mithraism

Glenn introduces the problem as presented by Dan Brown, a non-scholar who writes sensational fiction that is later made into popular movies for mass consumption by those seeking low-brow entertainment (and worse):

He writes:

According to Teabing in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, “Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras—called the Son of God and the Light of the World—was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days.”

Regarding the virgin birth, he has this to offer:

As we read in Mithraic Studies, Mithras, “wearing his Phrygian cap, issues forth from the rocky mass. As yet only his bare torso is visible. In each hand he raises aloft a lighted torch and, as an unusual detail, red flames shoot out all around him from the petra genetrix.” [Franz Cumon, “The Dura Mithraeum” in John R. Hinnells (ed.), Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies (Manchester University Press, 1975), 173.

And about the resurrection, he writes this:

This is where things start getting really confusing. None of the Mithras mythology depicts him being killed for humanity. In fact, he is not depicted as being killed at all. On the contrary, it is Mithras himself who does the killing! As is seen in the most widely use image of Mithras, he was said to have slain a great bull. Actually the very earliest reference to this event is from the close of the first century (AD 98-99), so it is post Christian, but setting that aside, Mithras’ death is not depicted at all. For the earliest reference to the slaying of the bull, see R. L. Gordon, “The date and significance of CIMRM 593 (British Museum, Townley Collection),” Journal of Mithraic Studies 2:2. Read it online here. As there is no depiction of Mithras’ death in any ancient mythology, there is likewise no depiction of any resurrection.

Swedish scholar Tryggve N. D. Mettinger (I can only wonder how his first name is pronounced!) is professor of Hebrew Bible at Lund University in Sweden and a member of the Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm. Although he claims that there were in pre-Christian antiquity a few cases of myths of dying and rising gods, he makes two important admissions in his monograph, The Riddle of Resurrection. Firstly, he affirms that he is going against a “near consensus,” and a consensus held not by Christian scholars, but by historians in general. Secondly, while he suggests that there existed myths of gods rising from death, he never suggests that the accounts are similar to that of the death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact he concludes the opposite:

There is, as far as I am aware, no prima facie evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mythological construct, drawing on the myths and rites of the dying and rising gods of the surrounding world.

Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, The Riddle of Resurrection (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wicksell, 2001), 221.

And so on for the other points.

I notice that Glenn cites a lot of peer-reviewed literature in his response. I like to be able to look at evidence when I am deciding what to believe about the world. I think that having solid evidence from scholarly research is a great way to ground a worldview. I definitely do not want to be parroting statements that I heard in a movie as though it were common knowledge, because people might ask me for evidence – and what would I do then if I didn’t have any?

Buddhism

The challenge here is that Christianity stole the virgin birth narrative from Buddhism.

Glenn goes back to the primary sources and looks:

Head over to the sacred texts website and read about the birth of Gautama Buddha (http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe19/sbe1903.htm). Do you see any reference to a virgin birth?

Glenn doesn’t see any virgin birth, but intead finds this:

The reality is, they wrote that he was born to a woman who had been married for twenty years, without so much as a hint that she and her husband were abstaining from sex prior to the birth of the baby.

That doesn’t sound like a virgin birth!

And now I have some advice for skeptics. When you want to believe something, the wise person proportions his belief to the evidence. You don’t choose your beliefs based on non-rational criteria. If you don’t know, then just say “I don’t know”. It’s a mistake to run your life on beliefs that you hold uncritically, just because those beliefs make you feel good.

Osiris

Glenn has a podcast on Osiris here.

What to read to find out more

I recommend these two books. The first is more advanced than the second.

  • Ed Komoszewski, James Sawyer, and Daniel Wallace, Reinventing Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications: 2006).
  • Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 2007).

Note that Lee Strobel interviews scholars in the second book, since he is a journalist, not a scholar.

Related debates with history of religions skeptics

You can see how well the history of religions theories do in formal academic debates. Listen to these two debates with the two best “mystery religions” people, squaring off against William Lane Craig.

Neither skeptic lands a glove on Craig – Carrier admitted defeat on his blog, and Price admits in the debate that he is on the radical fringe and virtually no one takes him seriously. This Christ-myth stuff isn’t cognitive, it’s an emotional outburst with a verbal smokescreen.

Related posts

Here are some posts about the historical Jesus:

Some debates on the historical Jesus with a reasonable atheist:

Check out this post for some historical debates with evangelicals and radical skeptics.