John Murtha

Media Research Center: Liberal Bias in Obituaries!

Just when you thought that the Media Research Center couldn’t get any lower in its constant digging to find “liberal bias” in journalism, the conservative group is now complaining that the Associated Press was biased in their brief, one-line obituaries of political leaders who passed away in 2010. Bernard McGhee’s “Notable deaths of 2010” featured succinct obituaries of people from author J.D. Salinger to Polish President Lech Kaczynski and businessman George Steinbrenner. But according to Tim Graham, the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis, McGhee reported on the deaths of US political figures using a liberal bias:

AP's Notable Deaths of 2010 List Has Some Liberal Mini-Spins:

When the Associated Press put together a roll call of the notable deaths of 2010, some of them came with a little glitter in their brief descriptions from reporter Bernard McGhee. For example:

"Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 92. Rose from an impoverished childhood in West Virginia's coal country to become the longest-serving senator in U.S. history. June 28."

Or this one:

"U.S. Rep. John Murtha, 77. The tall, gruff-mannered former Marine who became the de facto voice of veterans on Capitol Hill and later an outspoken and influential critic of the Iraq War. Feb. 8. Complications from gallbladder surgery."

Both of these men were renowned as pork-barrel champions. But guess who was tagged with pork in their sentence? The Republican:

"Ted Stevens, 86. The longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate; funneled billions of dollars to his remote state of Alaska. Aug. 9. Plane crash."

But in fairness to McGhee, Ted Stevens was extremely proud of his use of “pork” to fund projects throughout Alaska. The former Chair of the Appropriations Committee was simply best known in both Alaska and across the country for his ability to steer federal money to help his home state, and he made no apologies for it.

Graham also criticizes the obituaries of a Puerto Rican activist and a Soviet diplomat as too cordial, saying that they should have been portrayed more negatively. His bizarre blog post though didn’t find bias with McGhee’s description of Alexander Haig, the former Republican Secretary of State under Reagan, and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford, who McGhee referred to as a “statesmen.”

He goes on to allege that the obituary for Elizabeth Edwards contained liberal bias because they didn’t mention her husband’s affair:

The adulteries of John Edwards were papered over a bit, too:

"Elizabeth Edwards, 61. Closely advised her husband John Edwards in two bids for the presidency and advocated for health care even as her marriage publicly crumbled. Dec. 7. Cancer."

Graham's final bizarre claim of “liberal bias” is his offense at the description of the late actress Rue McClanahan:

PS: On a cultural note, Rue McClanahan was remembered for playing “sexually liberated Southern belle Blanche Devereaux” on “The Golden Girls.” This is nicer than her character being a “slutty senior citizen.”

The Media Research Center has really hit a new low by trying to find bias in a list of extremely brief obituaries, maintaining that any kind words about Democrats show bias and any description of a Republican must therefore be negative.

Wiley Drake Hails Rep. Murtha's Death

When Dr. George Tiller was murdered in church, Wiley Drake declared it an answer to his prayers ... and he is now saying that same thing about the passing of Rep. John Murtha

Southern Baptist Pastor Wiley Drake of Buena Park sent out an email Monday night, saying that perhaps his prayers had been answered with the death of Rep. John Murtha yesterday.

“Maybe God took him out,” Drake wrote. “Maybe God Answered our IMPRECATORY prayer that we prayed every 30 days.”

The Pennsylvania congressman, a decorated former Marine who fiercely opposed the Iraq war, died at the age of 77 after complications from gallbladder surgery.

I asked Drake if his statements weren’t distasteful, particularly coming immediately after Murtha’s death. He said that as a Christian, he didn’t buy into the sentiment of not speaking ill of the dead.

“It’s not distasteful to pray the word of God and include somebody’s name,” he said. “I didn’t celebrate his death. I said maybe it was God’s answer to our imprecatory prayer.”

Drake regularly asks his “prayer warriors” to participate in prayer targeting “unrighteous” politicians. He typically uses Psalms 109, including these passages including in his Monday email: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” And, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”


Drake said he and his prayer warriors had been praying for Murtha’s death for four or five months. Among other things, Drake said Murtha’s use of profanity and his use of God’s name in vain. Beside praying for the death of specific politicians, he said they pray for “politicians in general who are taking unrighteous stands.”

You may recall that last year Drake said he was also praying for President Obama's death, but then backed off until Obama can be tried and imprisoned for treason.

Blackwell Says Army recruiter killed by…Congressman John Murtha?

By now, most Americans have heard about the tragic killing of a Little Rock, Ark. army recruiter last week. What may be more shocking, however, is that Congressman (and heavily decorated Marine veteran) John Murtha (D-Pa.) was a catalyst for the murder, at least according to Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell. 

In an article written for, Blackwell blames the killing of the Little Rock recruiter on Murtha, citing his outspoken criticism over the Haditha massacre, in which 24 civilians, including women and children, were slain by U.S. marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Blackwell claims that Murtha’s criticism incited Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, the 23-year old arrested in the Arkansas shootings, and caused him to perform the act of violence:

Well, if liberals believe that O’Reilly bears responsibility for the killing of George Tiller, would they agree that Congressman John Murtha is guilty of creating a hostile environment for members of our all-volunteer military?

Murtha, a liberal Democrat, was most vocal in accusing our troops of war crimes in Iraq. When Marines who had fought in Haditha were brought up on charges, he said: "There was no fire fight; there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Could Murtha and his fellow liberals be responsible for inflaming Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed, the 23-year old arrested in the Arkansas shootings? The New York Times reports that, “in a lengthy interview with the police, Mr. Muhammad said he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chief Thomas said. 

While Blackwell overexerts himself in trying to make a connection between Murtha's comments and the actions of Muhammed, there is absolutely no evidence that the then-17-year-old had even heard of John Murtha, much less his comments about the Haditha killings.

In Promoting GOP, Religious Right Expands Agenda to War, Economic Policy

In a message to the Family Research Council’s “prayer team,” Tony Perkins warns what could happen “If Democrats Win the House”:

Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will likely become House Speaker. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) boasts, "When I become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, we will have power over the entire tax system, Social Security system, pension system, Medicare and all international trade." Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., the vociferous former Marine who derides the Iraq war, will chair the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) will become Judiciary Committee Chairman and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) chairman of the Government Reform Committee.

While Perkins asks FRC supporters to pray that “God-fearing men and women be elected and may those with no fear of God be unelected,” he does not explain the connection between fearing God and pension policy.

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