Boy Scout developments. In an unusual move, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) tapped former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to be its next president. Gates led the military when it repealed its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. That repeal now allows homosexuals to be “out” in the military. Gates leapfrogs AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, who had been president-elect of the BSA and was widely believed to be in line to take over the top spot. Scout spokesman Deron Smith says the fruit-basket-turnover “is not related to the BSA’s membership standards policy. This move was made because the BSA had the opportunity to take advantage of a unique moment to add Dr. Gates, one of our nation’s most respected public servants and a proven leader of the highest caliber.” When I emailed Smith more than a dozen questions related to this surprise move and its possible relationship to the new policy allowing homosexuals to participate in Scouting, he answered, “The BSA just completed a review of its membership policies and there are no plans to discuss it further.” Pro-homosexual groups such as GLAAD and Scouts For Equality were not so reticent. They wasted no time praising the move.
Ender strong. The threat of a boycott did not stop fans of Ender’s Game from turning out in the box office equivalent of a battle swarm. The movie opened with $28 million this weekend. True, these are not Harry Potter or Hunger Games numbers, but they’re in line with expectations for the movie, and put the film on a trajectory to make money. The biggest criticism most fans have levied against it is that it doesn’t stick close enough to Orson Scott Card’s more interesting and sophisticated book. The Christian-themed movie I’m In Love With A Church Girl, starring Ja’Rule, has coaxed $2 million out of viewers in its three-week run. Grace Unplugged is fading fast. It was in less than 100 theaters this weekend, but it has managed to bring in more than $2.4 million, against a production budget of less than $2 million.
Fox rules cable news. Fox (FNC) continues to dominate cable news. In fact, last Wednesday, according to Yahoo News, CNN “hit its lowest primetime time result among adults 25-54 in over a year,” despite all the cable networks’ increased viewership because of the morning testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. CNN attracted 63,000 viewers in that demographic. Fox News Channel had 396,000 and MSNBC drew 127,000. Yahoo News concludes: “Overall CNN had 285,000 viewers in primetime compared to MSNBC’s 683,000 and FNC’s 2.312 million.”
Messing with Texas. You likely know that over the summer Texas passed a new law that provided protections for the unborn, and that a judge overturned many of the provisions of that law. You may even know that on Thursday, a federal appeals court restored most of the law to its original intent. What’s interesting to me is the way the media covered this event. Chris Tomlinson of The Associated Press, for example, led with this: “A federal appeals court on Thursday issued a ruling reinstating most of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions.” I wonder if Tomlinson considered this lead: “A federal appeals court … reinstated most of Texas’ landmark pro-life legislation” or “most of a Texas law providing strong protections for women and unborn children.” Dana Ford of CNN called the law “among the most restrictive in the country.” Another way of describing the bill is that it has the “strongest protections in the country.” Just a couple of examples of how media bias finds its way into what should be even the most straightforward news stories.