Is Fox News run by Muslims?

No, Barack Obama did not misquote the Bible.
And no, Fox News is not a news organization.

Barack Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast:

In our own lives it’s easy to be consumed by our daily worries and our daily concerns. And it is even easier at a time when everybody is busy, everybody is stressed, and everybody — our culture is obsessed with wealth and power and celebrity. And often it takes a brush with hardship or tragedy to shake us out of that, to remind us of what matters most.

We see an aging parent wither under a long illness, or we lose a daughter or a husband in Afghanistan, we watch a gunman open fire in a supermarket — and we remember how fleeting life can be. And we ask ourselves how have we treated others, whether we’ve told our family and friends how much we love them. And it’s in these moments, when we feel most intensely our mortality and our own flaws and the sins of the world, that we most desperately seek to touch the face of God.

So my prayer this morning is that we might seek His face not only in those moments, but each and every day; that every day as we go through the hustle and bustle of our lives, whether it’s in Washington or Hollywood or anywhere in between, that we might every so often rise above the here and now, and kneel before the Eternal; that we might remember, Kaye, the fact that those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint.

When I wake in the morning, I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to give me the strength to do right by our country and its people. And when I go to bed at night I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to forgive me my sins, and look after my family and the American people, and make me an instrument of His will.

Fox News, “reporting” on the event:

Obama Botches Bible Verse at Prayer Breakfast

President Obama misquoted a familiar Bible verse during a faith-based address at the National Prayer Breakfast.

“Those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint,” the president said during a speech to several thousand people at the breakfast.

But the actual passage, from Isaiah 40:31, states: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31, New International Version:

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Yes, someone botched something here. But it wasn’t the President. The Fox News reporter seems to think that the King James Version is the standard translation, and that any deviation from it constitutes error.  But the New International Version is now in widespread use, especially among evangelicals.

The President in fact drew on both sources, using the KJV “wait” rather than the NIV “hope.” And he omitted “renew their strength.” But he wan’t quoting; he was paraphrasing. That’s indicated by “the fact that” and the omission of a chapter-and-verse reference.

The way Obama used the text suggests a familiarity with both the Bible (in at least two different translations) and with the way Christians use the Bible in discourse, which is different, for example, from the way Muslims use the Koran. Perhaps Fox News needs to look to the religious education of its staff.

In truth, of course, there’s no blunder here at all. If the story had been a mistake, Fox would have retracted it. What we have here is deliberate propagandistic lying. Fox has been on a campaign to stir up hatred against Obama for more than two years now. (Remember the “terrorist fist bump”?)

Now, – thank God for the First Amendment! – Roger Ailes is free to spread right-wing propaganda masquerading as news, and Rupert Murdoch is free to make money at it. But it’s time for the rest of us – and the White House – to stop going along with the charade that Fox is a news organization.

Footnote Apparently the Hebrew says, literally, “they shall put forth new feathers like eagles,” which follows naturally from “shall renew their strength.” Perhaps both the King James translators and the NIV folks missed the Isaiah-poet’s metaphor.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

15 thoughts on “Is Fox News run by Muslims?”

  1. I saw Mark’s comment over at Fox Nation:

    If Fox wants to be taken seriously as a news organization, it needs to retract and apologize.

    But then, if Fox wanted to be taken seriously as a news organization, it would’t be Fox News.

    Got 15 of likes (as of now). Congrats on getting past the Fox Nation comment screeners!

  2. And the “honest” journalists keep silent.

    1. Hire TV journalists who want a lavish lifestyle.
    2. Pay them just enough to sustain a lavish lifestyle, but not enough to make them independently wealthy.
    3. Watch them obey.

  3. Both renderings seem substantivly the same. Perhaps the point is that exactness of wording rather than the meaning of those words is what is important when reading the Bible. This idea fits the current trend in rightie thinking to cleave to black and white, nondebatable answers to subtle or complex questions.

    But no doubt the true intent of pointing to this quible in phrasing was to denounce the president’s right to be a member of the Chrisian community. That is a right reserved to the GOP and it’s supporters. ‘How dare President Obama quote or even read the sacred text that is the property of the Right?’

    I will say I think the King James version is better poetry when read silently but Obama’s reading would sound better (less pretentious) read aloud to a modern american audience.

    Now try to imagine GWB’s fumbly mouth trying to wrap around either rendering.

  4. Completely off-topic question about health care reform and the litigation that surrounds it, for any/all of the lawyers at samefacts. I am not a lawyer, and have been meaning to ask this for awhile, so… Maybe I’ll try Balkinization as well.

    My understanding is that what is called the individual mandate is equivalent to a tax surcharge if you don’t have health insurance; or a tax increase plus a tax credit if you do have health insurance. Is this not so? Then under what constitutional theory imaginable does Congress not have the authority to legislate this, and why are all the arguments based on the commerce clause? If it is so is it just that the law is equivalent to this but not explicitly this?

    Please feel free to respond to my email address rather than here, if you prefer, though I’d love a post or a back and forth from the lawyer types about this.

    Thank you

  5. Fox News is being Fox News (All Noise, Faux News)?

    The most significant thing here is that they missed the NIV translation: as Mark notes, this is the preferred translation among the Evangelical crowd. As to missing Isaiah’s metaphor, that’s nothing new. Copyists from the time of Constantine on through the development of the printing press worked hard at harmonizing Isaiah with Joshua bar El’s divine nature. It also doesn’t suprise me that the President knows the Bible in at least two translations. If you’re serious about your faith (and he seems to be) and you can’t read Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, then you have to be satisfied with alternative translations.

    In other news, we will have two high tides today in coastal areas, water remains wet, and bears still do their business in the woods, or will if it warms up.

  6. @Nonny Mouse,

    I’m not a lawyer, but I hang around with some on our campus. We don’t have a law school, but we have a B-school and large-ish Government and CJ departments where colleagues have JDs and PhDs. We’ve talked about this over coffee, and the only thing they can say is that it matters what you call something. Or at least it apparently matters to some judges. If the so-called fine had been labeled an income-tax surcharge, there would be no possible gripe. Congress has the constitutional power to implement an income tax by passing enabling legislation, which it did. The structure of that tax is within Congress’ purview.

    So, yes, under your interpretation there is no question that the matter is constitutional. But (as my friends like to point out) the Law isn’t about common sense or Justice or Truth, the Law is about the Law. That is, it’s a great big game of Nomic played with all our lives on the line. In that guise, it matters (sometimes a lot) what label is attached to something.

    The more interesting discussion came about when I asked, “What if the Atty’s General persuade Kennedy to their view?” Viewpoints vary on that: some say Congress won’t have the will to act for at least a decade, or until the entire system collapses. Others think it will be taken up soon, probably by the next Congress after Kennedy’s judicial veto. That view is held by my colleagues who believe the system is already on the verge of collapse. In either event, they seem to generally feel that a decision that the ACA is unconstitutional will tie the Right’s hands pretty tightly and force a Medicare Part E (for Everybody) type of solution. That said, the consensus is that Kennedy won’t come down on that side.

  7. Mark, do you really think that Fox News gives one flying fornication about the niceties of Biblical exegesis, or the difference between various translations/versions?
    It is blatantly obvious that the one, sole, and only priority they have is to find some – ANY – “error” in the President’s citation of a Biblical verse, so that they can run the headline “Obama Botches Bible Verse….” – anything else is irrelevant.

  8. Hold the phone, Dennis — you mean I’m supposed to *want* the Supremes to strike down the ACA??? Your rosy scenario takes my breath away. From your lips to God’s ears.

    On the other hand, how much more collapsed can our system get? Millions go without and half the country doesn’t give a hoot. I’m thinking this particular penny may not ever drop for them. To a Social Darwinist, aren’t catastrophes a good thing?

  9. Forget Fox News for the moment. Is anyone else bothered by the President, who hold a secular office, stating publicly things like that when he “wake[s] in the morning, I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to give me the strength to do right by our country and its people. And when I go to bed at night I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to forgive me my sins.” I’m not saying that Obama is violating the Establishment Clause by making such statement; I’m saying that he ought to keep his personal religious beliefs to himself, or express them in personal conversations.

  10. @NCG

    I’m numbered among those who is very unhappy with what came out of the sausage maker. It doesn’t remotely approach what I believe we need. On the other hand, it was better than nothing at all.

    Those near and dear to me also believe that I look at the world with optimism, despite my sarcasm. There is a part of me that wants to believe a single-payer system would be the ultimate outcome.

    I’m not sure what I want Kennedy to do. I tend to agree with my colleagues that the decision will come down 5-4 with Kennedy making the decision. If the decision is written in a way that eliminates possibilities that aren’t Medicare for all; and if the Congress has the courage to understand that destroying our economy on a cross of rising health care costs is a bad thing; then I guess that’s what I want.

    On the other hand, I put a low prior probability on that sort of decision coming out.

  11. @ Henry,

    What concerns me more about it is the organization behind the National Prayer Breakfast. It’s the same organization that is behind the C Street cut-rate Congressional dormitory. Jeff Sharlet gives the details in The Family.

    The short version? The group behind the National Prayer Breakfast is a reactionary fundamentalist Christian group, which has no apparent qualms about playing Realpolitik games. To the extent that I understand Obama’s beliefs and the Family’s beliefs, it appears to me that they are in conflict.

    I would have much preferred the President to have had the courage to decline their invitation, and in declining lay out exactly why he was declining.

  12. James Wimberley:
    “Well, eagles do moult and grow new feathers all the time like other birds, especially after breeding. Perhaps Isaiah knew something Joel Levine doesn’t?”

    Mr. Wimberly:

    I am sure Isaiah knew a great many things more than Joel Levine including the Hebrew word to use for “feathers,” and “grow,” neither of which he chose to use in the subject verse.

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