Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. Fair and Balanced debate: Jon Stewart v. Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

IMHO: The Daily Show and Fox News Sunday hosts both represented their sides well.  They’re also both right. There’s a conservative/Republican bias at Fox and there’s a liberal/Democrat bias on The Daily Show and in most of the mainstream media.
The irony is that Fox News Sunday may be one of the few shows on Fox that actually lives up to network’s “fair and balanced” mantra (along with Special Report and, surprisingly, The O’Reilly Factor). On the flip side, The Daily Show, while having an ideological bias (fine in a comedy show, BTW) is often more fair and balanced than the mainstream media. There is usually at least some truth in Stewart’s pointed humor and, while his humor is pointed, it’s usually not truly mean.

My favorite exchange:

STEWART: I think that there is a — probably a liberal bias that exists within the media that is because of the medium in which it exists. I think that the majority of people working in it probably hold liberal viewpoints, but I don’t think that they are as relentlessly activist as the conservative movement that has risen up over the last 40 years.

And that movement has decided that they have been victims of a witch hunt. And to some extent they’re right.

People on the right are called racists and they’re called things with an ease that I am uncomfortable with — and homophobic and all those other things. And I think that that is absolutely something that they have a real right to be angry about and to feel that they have been vilified for those things. And I’ve been guilty of doing some of those things myself.

WALLACE: I accept your apology.

You can read the entire transcript of the Stewart-Wallace discussion here.

2.  Jindal: Don’t demonize President Obama. From Politico: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal diverged from the red meat attacks on President Obama that have characterized the Republican Leadership Conference to caution conservative activists that they ought not demonize the president in the fashion some liberals did President Bush.
Comment: With Stewart on the left and Jindal on the right both acknowledging that vicious personal attacks on those holding differing political beliefs is wrong (and counter-productive to actually solving problems), perhaps there’s hope for our public discourse after all. Our differences can either force us to seek solutions that will bring us together or they can tear us apart as a nation. The choice is ours.

3. Atheist raises money for vandalized church. Here’s some heartwarming proof that we don’t need to agree with each other (even about religion) to treat each other with respect, kindness and dignity.

4.Weiner heckler apologizes. From Politico: Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned Thursday before a very vocal crowd, but none made more of a splash than Benjy Bronk, a “Howard Stern Show” writer.
Bronk, now known as the Weiner heckler, could be heard bellowing inappropriate questions about Weiner’s anatomy as the congressman gave his speech. Considering the nature of his comments and his presence at both of Weiner’s recent press conferences, you wouldn’t expect Bronk to have any regrets about his actions. But he does.
Comment: Okay, so if you read on, it’s more the timing of his tasteless comments than the comments themselves that Bronk is apologizing for, but it’s a start. Slowly, civility may be making a comeback.

Meanwhile in other apology news…

5. NBC apologizes for editing “one nation under God” out Pledge of Allegiance during U.S. Open open.

Here’s the video of the original opening followed by the apology by announcer Dan Hicks about three hours later.

The apology actually (as quoted in USA Today) reads “We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago, and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time,” announcer Dan Hicks told viewers. “Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone, and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

Observation: I find it interesting that the phrase “one nation under God” was omitted from the apology for omitting it from The Pledge in the first place. That said, give the network credit for apologizing.

6. Tracy Morgan’s apology tour continues. From The Hollywood Gossip: The comedian, who came under heavy fire for going off on the gay lifestyle during a set in Nashville this month, apologized last week and made plans to meet with teens who had suffered due to their sexuality. He did just that yesterday. During a meeting organized by GLAAD, Morgan spoke with Jayden Love and Raciel Castillo, gay teens who were forced to live on the streets after getting the boot from their families…Up next, the 30 Rock star will head back to Nashville, apologize to the folks he offended there and meet with the Tennessee Equality Project.

Comment: It’s right and appropriate that Morgan apologize to the gay community for his “joke” about stabbing his son if he came out as gay. It wasn’t funny in the worst way. An episode of 30 Rock dealing with the issue of what happens when an edgy comedian goes over the edge might not be a bad idea.

Mean humor isn’t funny — no matter who it’s directed at.

P.S. (from Fox News): The Nashville audience member who publicized a homophobic rant by comedian Tracy Morgan has accepted the “30 Rock” star’s apology and said he should not lose his job.
Forgiveness is a good thing. Let’s all try it.

7. Can Mel Gibson stage a career comeback? From Hollywood Reporter: In May, Mel Gibson stood basking in the applause of the black-tie audience as The Beaver had its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. But now Cannes has come and gone, and so has Beaver, which grossed less than $1 million. So where does Gibson, whose image was tarnished by his outbursts during his bitter custody battle with his former girlfriend, go from here? Turns out, Hollywood is still eager to get into the Mel Gibson business.

8. Will Fox News Channel pickup America’s Most Wanted?From AP via Breitbart: John Walsh has said goodbye and thanked viewers of “America’s Most Wanted” for helping bring almost 1,200 fugitives to justice over more than two decades. Walsh told his audience in brief farewell remarks: “You’ve saved lives and gotten people justice.”…But Walsh vows he’ll return to television. He said earlier this week he has heard from other networks, including Fox News Channel. A decision on a new TV home could be announced within two weeks, he said.
Comment: AMW was perhaps the only show on the Fox Broadcasting Network that actually provided a public service. If the network cares about such things, they’d have been better advised to keep the show and dump its exploitive Saturday night stablemate Cops instead.

9.  Harsh reality. From MSNBCTake note, fans of mindless reality shows like “Jersey Shore”: New research suggests watching something dumb might make you dumber. In other words, you are what you watch.

10. Weekend box office (from

1. Green Lantern $52.7 mill.

2. Super 8 $21.3 mill.

3. Mr. Popper’s Penguins $18.2 mill.

4. X-Men: First Class $11.5 mill.

5. The Hangover Part II $9.6 mill.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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