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Ed Driscoll

‘Why Embarrass Journalists?’

July 1st, 2014 - 11:56 am

Hugh Hewitt — with an assist from history and the Socratic method — demolished the Huffington Post’s “Senior Political Economy Reporter” Zach Carter yesterday on his show. Or to put it more charitably, Carter embarrassed himself by not knowing some basic 20th century American history, such as: who is Alger Hiss, and Bill Clinton and Iraq in the 1990s:

Until colliding with Mr. Carter I had never thought to ask if a young journalist who presumed to comment on the war on terror if he or she had ever heard of A.Q. Khan.  I assumed…well, there’s the rub.  I always assume that young journalists would not dare opine on the war without a basic knowledge of the existential threat at its core, and the origins of that threat.

Perhaps a college newspaper editorialist would do so, but not a “senior political economy reporter” for a major political outlet like HuffPo.

I was wrong.

And that’s why I ask the questions I do.  To expose the utter ignorance at the core of so much of the left.  Not their rottenness.  I often say their is a difference between “rotten” and “wrong,” and I believe that.  Some on the left are wild-eyed fanatics and awful people.

But most of the lefties I engage with seem perfectly pleasant if also wildly ill-informed and, yes, lazy.

It is hard work to read widely and broadly, and on both sides of the political aisle.  Time consuming.  Not very fun actually.

But necessary.  If you intend to be taken seriously.  More importantly, if you intend the country to endure.  Most journalists go into the business because they are idealists of one sort or another and they love the whole “first draft of history” stuff.  What journalists collectively do is crucial, because lousy reporting leads to lousy voting, the consequences we see now on full display across the globe.

Perhaps Mr. Carter and his friends think the world around them is all George W. Bush’s fault.  After all, they were in high school when the towers fell, and junior high when Bill Clinton struck at the installations believed to house Saddam’s WMD.

Still, I was in high school when Nixon resigned and I know very well what he did wrong and though I admire him greatly, can explain those wrongful actions in detail.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal wrote that for much of the left, losing the Gore-Bush recount fight in November of 2000 was in many ways, a more traumatic experience than the horrors to come the following year. Perhaps that, and the sweeping rise of broadband Internet and Google in the late 1990s accounts for the fact that for so many on the left, history begins in 2000 — and much of the previous millennia is as blank a slate as any document Winston Smith “revised” in 1984′s Ministry of Truth. It doesn’t help matters that collectively, the left views history in general as black armbands and victimhood from the birth of Christ, on to the present day.

Exit quote:

ZC: And those seem like pretty specious claims that have not been held out by history. And so from my point of view, it becomes very difficult to understand why we went to war. People like Hillary Clinton say well, we just got it wrong. We misgauged the intelligence.

HH: But Zach, you…time out. Zach…

ZC: And I think the argument I’ve heard from Cheney is that basically, things have been, have gone as Cheney had hoped, and there have been some, and maybe it should have worked out slightly better, we wouldn’t have been there as long, but that basically the reasons that he cited have been vindicated.

HH: Well, Zach, again, when you read his memoir, come back and we’ll talk about that. But what I’m curious to ask you is why do you think Bill Clinton bombed Iraq in 1998?

ZC: I’m not really familiar with Bill Clinton bombing Iraq in 1998.

HH: Did you know that he did that?

ZC: No.

Related:

 More: “Huffington Post Has Seen the Face of Evil: The Bacon Cheeseburger:”

On Friday, the main headline on the Huffington Post posited the theory that vegetarianism reduces your carbon footprint (please excuse the technical terminology) a “ridiculous amount.” The progressive website offers a helpful solution to one of the great evils of the day: “As the economic, political and personal costs of doing nothing to mitigate climate change skyrocket, there’s one lifestyle change that slashes dietary greenhouse gas emissions in half: Veganism.”

Breitbart News has reported on a number of scientists who claim the climate hasn’t warmed in 16 years and that some call global warming an unsubstantiated hypothesis. HuffPo has cited a survey that alleges climate change is costing the U.S. billions of dollars and poses a growing national security threat. “Reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation,” the report argues.

“Freud called it displacement.”

Top Rated Comments   
It's not that they are ignorant of basic facts, it's that, if you try and educate them, they reject what they are being taught, because a) their mind is made up already; new facts make them doubt their worldview b) you are an evil conservative, and as such, everything you say can be ignored, for you are Unclean, and to be destroyed by any means necessary.
And these are the people that report the "news".
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is what you ask even possible? Can you embarrass journalists?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not surprised. The Zach Carters of the world (and their targeted audience) still believe that Bush served a plastic turkey to the troops in 2003, NYT retraction to the contrary.

Here's a little factoid for Zacky Zach (once he gets over his shock about Bill Clinton bombing Saddam): Bill Clinton deployed more US troops to the Middle East as backstop for Operation Desert Fox (the 1998 attack against Saddam) than GW Bush did for the initial 2003 boot-on-ground OIF invasion. Look it up.

And let's not even discuss the budgetary costs or manpower needed for the decade-long Operations Northern and Southern Watch.

It would be fun to ask Zach to diagram a map of the Second Battle of Fallujah (2004). (Zach: "You mean there was a first?") Hint: start with the railway line...
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (41)
All Comments   (41)
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The media is so hopelessly corrupted it has gotten as bad as professional boxing.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zach Carter? Seriously?

Look at Zach Carter here:
http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/H_F42ty6nmg/hqdefault.jpg

Now, go back and read this guy's comments.

It's like in the movie Ghost when those black things all slither out of the ground. Those black things are Liberals.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
""Why Embarrass Journalists?""
- - - -

You can try, but it can't be done.

Every day they're confronted by stories they ought to be pursuing - "ought to be" being defined, of course, by the journalists who used to do that kind of work in the years pre-Obama.

Every day they have to face all the world with a knowing smile as they cover current US politics and government without ever uttering the word "IRS".

They're constantly giving each other awards for their brave, selfless, dogged public service working - heck, slaving in dangerous conditions - to dig up what we the public otherwise would never know, keeping us the most-informed society in history!

(And when they hand out those little statues, they never ever giggle.)

How are you going to embarrass such people?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why embarrass journalists?"

People actually have to ask?

Why NOT embarrass journalists? They embarrass the people they interview and report on all the time, and they actively try to destroy some of them.

They can dish it out, but they can't take it? Boo-freakin'-hoo.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
UnknownSailor (top rated comment): "It's not that they are ignorant of basic facts, it's that, if you try and educate them, they reject what they are being taught, because a) their mind is made up already; new facts make them doubt their worldview b) you are an evil conservative, and as such, everything you say can be ignored, for you are Unclean, and to be destroyed by any means necessary.
And these are the people that report the "news"."

Bingo!

That is not only MSM's world view, it is also the NARRATIVE that they ceaselessly promote. In fact, the dissemination of the "evil conservative" narrative forms the core of what they do. No need to deal with messy things like facts or serious analysis of public policy when they can simply reduce every issue to opposing "evil conservatives".

MSM pushes this narrative via the MEGAPHONE and the MEMORY HOLE. Any item that furthers the narrative (whether or not the item is factual) is broadcast thru their giant megaphone. Any item that contradicts the narrative goes down the memory hole. Here are a few examples:

Megaphone: Todd Aiken, the Valerie Plame affair, "Bridgegate",

Memory Hole: Kermit Gosnell, Jon Corzine, all the Obama Administration scandals


11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Guy probably thinks "Wag the Dog" is a movie about the Westminster Dog Show.

Read an article this week about why Silicon Valley execs are worried that Immigration Reform won't get done this year. The Senior Business Reporter writing the article thought John Boehner was the Majority Leader in the House, apparently oblivious to Eric Cantor's recent primary loss.

The reason journalism died so suddenly was not that the reading public stopped buying the product, the producers of the product wouldn't touch it as well.

People for the most part are like geese: they think today is all there is and are oblivious to what happened yesterday, and that what happened last week or last year might as well be a fairy tale. If you try to interest them in something which happened before they were born, your time would be better served teaching your dog to talk so you could have an intelligent conversation with at least one other being.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
" . . . Silicon Valley execs are worried that Immigration Reform won't get done this year."

Well, of course they are. There are lots - lots! - of sweatshoppy tech-type factories in China right now, frantically churning out phones and tablets and screens and oven controls and car computers and chips and headphones and - and - well, let's just say that whatever Silicone Valley happens to be making at any given time, "making" has more to do with placing orders with Chinese factories than with any actual manufacturing-type art.

And it seems a safe bet, having watched the course of global events and relationships over the past six or eight years, that we're coming up on a time in history when we are denied access to that great Asian labor pool.

Silicone Valley owners are going to have to revisit many cost/benefit decisions if they have to switch from paying $0.53/hour (and getting the resultant motivated, hard-working labor pool - those $0.53/hour jobs represent some breathtakingly high pay in that region, and those workers can get far ahead by busting their butts for the job) to paying (probably union) American workers' wages of $12.00-$15.00 per hour with high sick days, lots of rejected work, and a constant anchor slowing the effort.

Once you start using the equivalent of auto-worker labor, the average phone - built in an American UAW factory - will cost us something around $49,330.00.

OR (thinks the somewhat frantic Silicone Valley exec), we can start now and get our own China sweatshop system established right here in River City, by pretending no one can see us as we unlock the gate between us and all of that Third-World potential labor, who will be thrilled and eager to fill up the workbenches of the new American tech factories for $4.50/hour!

Which still leaves us with $9,000.00 phones, but at least that's better than the $49,330.00 ones the Kentucky workers were going to build for us.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
If anyone is thinking that only our own journalists are historically ignorant, I just found a fine example of the ignorance of foreign journalists. I was reading the AFP (Agence France Presse) report on the poll that found Obama the worst post-WW II president, and they said this:

The poll appeared to show a bias towards more recent presidents. Only 13 percent said Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace, was seen as the worst president. Jimmy Carter, a one-term Democrat whose 1981-85 presidency is often pilloried, was seen as the worst president by only eight percent.

I would have thought any journalist would at least get the years that someone served as President of the United States right; after all, it must be in thousands of reference works but they gave him the years of Reagan's first term.

A few months back, when South Korea elected their current president for the first time, the foreign journalists scored another triumph of accuracy in referring to the new president as "he". The current president of South Korea is a woman, the first woman ever to hold that office. That fact alone was known to anyone following the presidential race even in the most half-hearted way. I had expected better of the BBC....
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why Embarrass Journalists?"

Because we are great big ol' Meanyheads?

Actually, the questions should be, why not embarrass them. I mean, isn't that what they are supposed to be doing to our government, in order to keep them somewhat honest? After all these years of puff pieces on Dems, they probably have not seen how to go about actually embarrassing our political class. They need instruction.

Of course, Hewitt did not embarrass the guy. He embarrassed himself by not educating himself. Such knowledge is absolutely essential to his job, and he doesn't have it.

I occasionally watch Fox's 'The Five'. It is amazing to watch Bob Beckel get handed his head on a regular basis, because he knows so little. Everyone there chides his poor work ethic. They all outwork him, and so, he gets caught flat-footed, regularly.

Of course, he was a dumb jock in school, and the others were A students (except maybe Gutfeld). He is always outclassed. Often he just sulks, because he is outnumbered... and outclassed. Conservatives on Liberal shows always fight back, because they can. Bob is helpless like a turtle on its back. It's the poor work ethic.

In fact, I think that is the real key to Fox's success. It's not the ideology or the balance. It's the vastly greater depth of knowledge possessed by their personalities. Who wants to just hear the usual buzz-phrases and talking points all the time? It's like Groundhog Day on other channels. Tune in a month later, and they are still saying the same things. What part of "news" do they not understand? The "new" part?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why Embarrass Journalists?"

Because it is our best chance for success.

It helps to clarify things if one views MSM as the Leftists' CENTER OF GRAVITY, while viewing Lefty politicians as merely the current FIGUREHEADS put forward by MSM.

Bash Obama all you like. Even if ultimately successful in changing public opinion about Obama, there will be little impact on the next figurehead (Hillary being the early favorite) that MSM tries to foist on us.

Changing public opinion about MSM is much more important than ranting against whatever "flavor of the month" figurehead MSM is currently shilling for.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe Zachy Boy doesn't need to know important details like "the facts" because he expects Obama to Bend The Reality Curve...

On the upside, A.Q. Khan may indeed be the LightBringer we've been waiting for. Unfortunately, the light will be a brilliant flash against the Manhattan skyline, and the fallout - literal fallout - will pollute the entire city.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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