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Yahoo News Badly Needs An Upgrade

Conservatives tend to focus on legacy news sources like the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC and so on when they talk about media bias. That is understandable, but the fact is that the impact of such news outlets has been surpassed by internet sites that traffic in soft news. Soft, but predominantly liberal. The foremost such site is Yahoo News. In this ranking of news sites, Yahoo News is first, with CNN, MSNBC, Google News and the New York Times trailing well behind. If you compare the NY Times and Yahoo on Alexa–it isn’t possible to segregate out the Yahoo News hits from the rest of the Yahoo empire–you get at least some sense of the disproportion. There is really no comparison:

All of which is by way of preface, to say that Yahoo News is a very important web site, which contributes to molding the perspectives of millions of Americans, many of whom are otherwise ill-informed. So we should take incompetence at Yahoo News seriously–just as seriously as we take incompetence at the New York Times or Washington Post, in fact much more so. Which brings me to this Yahoo News article, which caught my eye a few minutes ago: Is Anti-Muslim Film a Hoax? I was interested in the article because “Innocence of Muslims” does seem in some sense to be a hoax; a purported movie that exists only in the form of a YouTube trailer.

The Yahoo News article is written by Benjamin Radford, who bills himself as a “paranormal investigator.” Radford writes:

In the Muslim world, blasphemy (especially insulting their prophet Muhammad) is considered a grave offense, punishable by death. Islam, however, is hardly unique in that regard. Early Christians were intolerant of blasphemy, and in fact, Leviticus 24:16 specifically calls for blasphemers to be killed.

Hmm. So this guy thinks the Book of Leviticus was written by “early Christians?” And Yahoo News is publishing his ignorance to an audience of millions?

The Hebrew Bible goes even further,…

So there is no ambiguity at all, this guy actually doesn’t know that Leviticus is part of the Hebrew Bible.

…specifying that those who offend God should be butchered alive and their homes destroyed (Daniel 3:29). So there is scriptural basis in both Islam and Christianity for condemning blasphemers to death.

Actually, the verse from Daniel quoted by Radford is part of a decree by King Nebuchadnezzar–not God–after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were unhurt by the fire. And there is not a single line anywhere in the New Testament about killing those who blaspheme against Jesus. But all of that is almost beside the point. It is blindingly obvious that Muslims all too often commit or threaten murder against alleged “blasphemers,” while Christians and Jews never do. Radford’s article is both ignorant and tendentious.

This might not have mattered much in the early, Wild West days of the internet when only a handful of readers might be misled by a wacky blog post. But in the modern era, Yahoo, with a market capitalization of almost $19 billion, needs to get its act together and stop peddling rank ignorance and bigotry to its audience of many millions.

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