The nonexistent further news coverage of "Choice Chick"

pat_robertson_blowoutI wanted to open this little post with a fresh piece of “Choice Chick” art, but I could not find any online.

Which is kind of the point of the post, now that I think of it. A Catch-22.

Thus, I had to make do with Pat Robertson. What does he have to do with “Choice Chick”? Not much, but anyone who pays attention to media coverage of this kind knows that a photo or cartoon of Pat Robertson is always appropriate with any story on religion, politics or whatever. Ditto for Jerry Falwell. Also note the web site address in the image. Please address fan mail to that site, not us.

But you remember “Choice Chick.” This is the hip political cartoon from the non-partisan Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the cartoon that attacks President Bush, John Ashcroft, Rick Santorum and other Republican leaders by name. This is interesting, of course, because some would say that it goes beyond the issue-only commentary that is supposed to be the stock in trade of these kinds of non-partisan groups.

At the moment, the religious left is raising questions about the issue-oriented work of people on the religious right and linking this to questions about tax laws. Watch for news about people actually taping sermons in conservative churches, capturing prayers and other controversial forms of speech that cross the line and endorse “Christian candidates.” Also watch for more coverage of the “I Vote Values” campaign to register voters in churches and other controversial locations.

But, apparently, we are not going to see mainstream coverage of “Choice Chick.” Sure, the world of conservative blogs has gone crazy with this. And, Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel has mentioned the cartoon, without linking it to the tax debates.

A new animated, pro-choice ad sponsored by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund features a feminist super-heroine, “Choice Chick,” who rails against Bush as the “evil menace” and his “evil army of judgebots” for chipping away at women’s rights.

“Choice Chick” will save the day, with the help of sidekicks John Kerry and John Edwards, and of course, your generous contribution.

That’s all folks. It’s your basic column on Bush bashing and, of course, we here at are only interested in news coverage of those who are bashing Bush for reasons of biblical literalism and stuff like that. This is rather ho hum, not a new Creeping Fundamentalism entry.

But am I alone in wondering why the tax questions about “Choice Chick” are not drawing serious coverage? Think of it as a breaking story on the “Da Vinci Vote” front lines. Has anyone else seen a good story on the tax implications of this subject? Or of the churches? Churches on the left or the right?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • greene

    You want Choice Chick art? I did a little. (warning, I use profanities in my description but not in the actual graphics). sorry.

    Choice Chick graphics

  • tmatt

    I know there are all kinds of wild things out there on blogs.

    My point — as always on this blog — is that this is an interesting left-right news story that deserves coverage.

    Remember folks: We are trying to do a blog about how the media cover religion, not just a blog about interesting religion tidbits. Right?

  • thecosmopolitan

    Speaking of left-right news stories, my August 13 request for transparency on the subject of Get Religion’s funding as remains unanswered. Specifically, I asked `Whether Get Religion receives financial support for your work on the blog from any foundations and/or agencies?`

    To date I’ve asked that question three times and thus far Tmatt has stopped well short of answering it. His posted response contains not a word about Get Religion’s funding, only a reference to his own activities with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (henceforth CCCU):

    `Cosmo also asked about the funding of this blog. As I said back at the beginning, was born as part of the wider journalism projects linked to my work as Senior Fellow for Journalism at the Council For Christian Colleges and Universities. In particular, you might want to check out the information at the Best Semester site about the Summer Institute for Journalism.`

    I reiterated my request by e-mail, noting: `We know, for example, that The Revealer (another media and religion website linked to by Get Religion) is “published at the department of journalism and the Center for Religion and Media at New York University with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts.` We know this because it is emblazoned on The Revealer’s home page for all to see. I think it behooves Get Religion to speak with an equivalent degree of transparency about its source of support.`

    That e-mail elicited this swing-and-a-miss response:

    `OK, we’ll discuss that. If you read the original founding essay, you know that we mentioned the CCCU role quite openly. My agreement with Scripps Howard is that I continue writing the column as long as my work is mediated by educational institutions. I would not, for example, work for a political think tank.`

    Again, Tmatt asserts instead that the question was addressed in the essay `What We’re Doing Here` with which the blog was launched in early February. Problem is that readers who do go back to the February 4 essay “What We’re Doing Here” will not see this for what it is–another artful dodge. Readers who do consult the essay will learn that Tmatt does a lot of work with CCCU, but nowhere will they find a declarative statement of the relationship between Get Religion and CCCU (or any funder.)

    In fact the essay does not, as Tmatt suggests, state clearly that ` was born as part of the wider journalism projects linked to my work as Senior Fellow for Journalism at the Council For Christian Colleges and Universities.”

    A follow-up e-mail to Tmatt asking `Where did you say that and precisely how does it address the question of funding?` has elicited this gnomic response:

    `I will need permission from the CCCU to post a logo or a tie. I will check that pronto. The ultimate call on this rests with that committee.`

    So let me rephrase the question as a simple fill-in-the-blank:

    Get Religion derives its primary funding from the following sources: (Hint to Tmatt: your answer goes here).

    Ever hoping for transparency,


  • tmatt

    And my answer is the same. I need permission from the CCCU to address that question. It is not a call one person situation. And the call is not ultimately mine.

    BTW, does anyone know who Atrios is?

  • tmatt

    Oh, one more thing, Chris. I do regret the use of the word “pronto.” At the start of the semester academic folks are all over the place. A key CCCU team figure has been in, like, six countries in recent weeks.

    I hope we can fly a CCCU logo on the site. If not, we will surely put the senior fellow language.