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Ed Driscoll

Oh, That Liberal Media!

“Time Magazine warned of a growing threat to cops nationwide in September 2010,” Scott Greer writes at the Daily Caller today, one of many visits to the memory hole that conservatives are doing today, to remind readers of just how paranoid the left were from mid-2009 when the Tea Party movement first swept the country, until their orgy of anti-right wing rhetoric in the wake of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords*  by an apolitical lunatic. As Greer noted, “The nationally renowned publication argued that sinister individuals would launch targeted attacks against police officers and even ambush them in their patrol cars…Who are these groups that present such a threat to police? Right-wing militias, according to Time.” At the end of his article, Greer notes:

The author specifically warns that these groups pose an imminent threat to law enforcement officials and should be closely monitored. Gellman relies heavily on a retracted 2009 DHS report — simply titled “Rightwing Extremism” — for his finding. That very same report was quickly pulled by the DHS after its release and was widely criticized for claiming that ordinary citizens upset by the election of President Barack Obama pose a danger to the country.

Since the article’s publication, there have hardly been any reported cases of violence stemming from individuals connected to the militia movement. There is one possible case from June of this year, but it could not be determined whether the two killers in the Las Vegas shooting spree had any connections with militia groups.

Meanwhile, the suspected gunman behind the Saturday ambush of two New York City police officers was certainly not a right-wing militant. Ismaaiyl Brinsley was reportedly a member of the notorious prison gang, the Black Guerrilla Family, which espouses a mix of black nationalism and Marxism. The gang declared “open season” on NYPD officers earlier in December following the non-indictment of the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. (RELATED: Suspect In NYPD Cop Execution Sought Revenge For Mike Brown And Eric Garner)

A thorough search of Time’s archive produced no stories about the threat that communists, black nationalists or prison gangs pose to police.

Until this past summer, Time magazine was owned by Time-Warner-CNN-HBO. CNN would hire admitted communist and 9/11 truther Van Jones to co-host Crossfire, (a brand name the network reviewed despite their pledge in January of 2011 to cease using gun-related language) and Piers Morgan to aggressively push their radical anti-Second Amendment agenda. Jones would later go on to demagogue the Ferguson riots last month while on location for CNN.

* And a federal judge appointed by George H.W. Bush, usually forgotten by the left because he didn’t fit the requirements needed to advance their anti-GOP narrative.

Should MSNBC Cancel Al Sharpton?

December 21st, 2014 - 4:06 pm

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In 1987, while I was still living in New Jersey, I watched Al Sharpton’s initial TV debut in 1987 on the infamous Morton Downey Jr. Show on WWOR, and read in horror as he orchestrated the even more infamous Tawana Brawley hoax that same year. In 1991, I reead about the Crown Heights riots, where, as Jay Nordlinger wrote, “A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was lynched. Over a hundred others were injured.” So I was more than a little horrified to watch Sharpton transform into “Al Sharpton, Power Dem,” as Nordlinger dubbed him in 2000, when Democrat presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Al Gore felt obligated to make the trek to Sharpton’s office and kiss his, err, ring.

And then there was MSNBC a decade later. The Comcast-owned cable network began 2011 vowing a new tone of civility (no really) and comparing gun and violence-related metaphors to the N-Word. That was in January. By August of that same year, MSNBC was demonstrating its commitment to the Era of New Civility and Measured Discourse by giving Al Sharpton his own show. Even New York magazine noted early on that Sharpton’s “biggest opponent so far” was the teleprompter, and in the years since, Sharpton’s nightly “Resist we much!” battle with the teleprompter has become the stuff of legend.

But that didn’t stop Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC from telling NPR that “I’ve known [Sharpton] quite a bit. he’s smart. He’s entertaining. He’s experienced. He’s thoughtful. He’s provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is.” And curiously, the NPR anchor was apparently non-horrified at that thought.

But today, after Sharpton-led protests have lead to an escalating spiral of violence culminating last night in the death of two NYPD patrolmen,  Peter Ingemi, writing at his Da Tech Guy Blog, has had enough:

You might say, “But DaTechGuy Mr. Sharpton has 1st Amendment rights” indeed he does, but said right does not extend to a programing on MSNBC, if that was the case then I would demand one myself.

I call upon the network to immediately “suspend” Mr. Sharpton and remove his show from their lineup.

It is their network and they of course have the perfect right to ignore my call for this action, conversely I have the perfect right to express my opinion that a failure to do so is a direct endorsement of the events of Saturday afternoon by MSNBC and by their parent company Comcast and consumers should act accordingly.

The Comcast contact page is here.

You can contact MSNBC here.

Or perhaps you might choose to contact their advertisers, I’m sure they must be delighted to have their brands associated with the face of the anti-police movement at this time.

Closing thought, If Comcast decides the Rev Al is a liability & removes him from MSNBC & said reverend’s followers quit the network in protest, would anyone be left watching?

Presumably, Phil Griffin believed that hiring Sharpton was a Corleone-level masterstroke: by having Sharpton on the NBC payroll, he’s not very likely to defenestrate another NBC or MSNBC anchor as he did to then MSNBC-star Don Imus in 2007. But Griffin had to know that he was making a Faustian bargain by hiring Sharpton.

However, reasonable people can disagree with Ingemi as to whether or not Sharpton should be dumped in the rapidly escalating wake of the violent protests Sharpton helped gin up. As with past anchors Keith Olberman at his must lunatic, Alec Baldwin at his most violent, and Martin Bashir at his most scatological, Al Sharpton is the spokesman for MSNBC — and Comcast — right now. After all, Sharpton is “all the things” its network president thinks “that MSNBC is.” as the network’s president says. And he’s a powerful daily reminder of just much hatred lurks in the hearts of the left:

Can the mayor of New York govern without the support of the police? We’re finding out right now, Roger Kimball writes:

Consider this exchange, overheard yesterday at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn:

De Blasio: “We’re all in this together.”
Unnamed police officer: “No we’re not.”

This was after police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, shot by a crazed black Muslim named Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had been pronounced dead but before the mayor and his entourage made their way through a hospital corridor jammed with police who turned their backs on the mayor, shunning him.

On December 3, in the aftermath of the death of Eric Garner, who died of a heart attack after resisting arrest, the mayor held a press conference and told the world that he worried that his biracial son Dante might be the victim of police brutality. “I’ve had to worry over the years,” de Blasio said, “Is Dante safe each night? And not just from some of the painful realities of crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods but safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.”

Ten days later the mayor was back in front of the microphone praising the anti-cop protestors in New York for being peaceful. That was the protest at which one could hear this chanted refrain:

“What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!”

They got their wish.

It was during that pacific event that two police lieutenants were, as the New York Post  reported, viciously attacked by a mob.  The mayor described the attack as “an incident . . . in which a small group of protesters allegedly assaulted some members of the NYPD.”

“Allegedly.”

When my wife asked me last night why the NYPD loathe de Blasio so much, I quipped that as a young man, he read Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic as a how-to guide. I was being glib, but didn’t realize how close to the mark that was until I read this link later in Roger’s post, to a September 25th article in the New York Post titled “Top adviser to de Blasio dates a cop-bashing killer:”

A top adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio is in a live-in relationship with a convicted killer and drug trafficker who considers police officers “pigs” and continues to get into serious scrapes with the law, public records show.

For six years, Rachel Noerdlinger, who serves as chief of staff to first lady Chirlane McCray, has been living with boyfriend Hassaun McFarlane, sources told The Post.

While McCray, accompanied by Noerdlinger, enjoys attending high-level NYPD CompStat meetings, her top aide’s boyfriend has plenty of serious crime stats of his own — a rap sheet that includes homicide, conspiring to run a cocaine operation, and nearly running a cop off the road in Edgewater, NJ, last year in an incident that was later pleaded down to disorderly conduct.

Still, the administration is sticking by him, despite what DNAinfo.com, which broke the story, described as online posts — since taken down — in which he repeatedly called cops “pigs.”

Classy stuff. But still though, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the left in January of 2011, there’s no way you can attack a single organization for the crazed actions and statements of its more extreme members. Or non-members.

Or its clip art.

Update: And speaking of radical chic:

 

Its Orgin and Purpose, Still a Total Mystery

December 20th, 2014 - 3:25 pm

That’s the shot (literally, alas). Here’s the chaser:

 

Related:

Twitchy has a round-up of initial “f*** the pigs”-style tweets from those expressing sympathy for the shooter and his “unclear” motives, a a thoroughly depressing but necessary archive, as some will likely be deleted upon further consideration.

Update:

More from Rick Moran at the PJ Tatler.

“Just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and you won’t be far wrong.”

Hey, it’s not like they were on the Axis of Evil of anything:

North Korea has similarly denied the massive hack of Sony Pictures, which has been forced to cancel next week’s planned release of “The Interview,” a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But KCNA applauded the attack.

“The hacking into the SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK,” it said, using the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “The hacking is so fatal that all the systems of the company have been paralyzed, causing the overall suspension of the work and supposedly a huge ensuing loss.”

Experts point to several signs of North Korean involvement. They say there are similarities between the malware used in the Sony hack and previous attacks against South Korea. Both were written in Korean, an unusual language in the world of cybercrime.

“Unfortunately, it’s a big win for North Korea. They were able to get Sony to shut down the picture. They got the U.S. government to admit that North Korea was the source of this and there’s no action plan really, at least publicly no action plan, in response to it,” said Cha. “I think from their perspective, in Pyongyang, they’re probably popping the champagne corks.”

I didn’t see the segment, but my wife was telling me that when she caught a few minutes of CNN while having lunch with some business associates today, everyone the network interviewed was angry with Sony (this was before news of Paramount knuckling under as well) for capitulating to North Korean demands to censor their media. Which seems rather paradoxical, given that, as is their wont with any socialist dictator*, CNN gave in to North Korean censorship long ago:

And let’ss not forget this infamous 2005 segment with the network’s goofy far left founder. Ted Turner red-lined the Godwin meter in interviews when he learned that Fox News was launching in the mid-1990s. But when faced with a 21st century national socialist regime, he was quite happy to sing their praises, the very definition of the phrase “useful idiot”:

* Foreign and domestic.

But then, it’s not like most MSM outlets don’t have a similarly huge mote in their eye on the issue of choosing self-censorship over advancing the First Amendment:

Update: From Ace, “What Exactly Has North Korea Done That Progressives Don’t Do Every Single Day?”

A professor blogged a criticism of a teaching assistant, who’d discussed gay marriage in her classroom, but then shut down all dissent, claiming dissent to be illegitimate (per his claim).

Result? The university is “investigating” him and has suspended him from all teaching duties.

Ace’s headline resonates particularly strongly here in California, where Sacramento’s first impulse is to ban everything. Not to mention at CNN, which has a pretty strong ban everything instinct as well. As does MSNBC, where “Lawrence O’Donnell probably would have pulled ‘The Interview’ too,” his associate Chris Hayes tweeted tonight.

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“The great start-up slowdown” is explored by the Washington Post:

The more pronounced of those trends is a slowing birthrate for new businesses. The slowdown has persisted over two decades and has worsened since 2000. Economists aren’t entirely sure what’s causing it.

The nation’s “start-up rate,” the number of new companies as a share of total companies, declined by 12 percent from the late 1980s to the eve of the Great Recession. That’s according to research by John Haltiwanger, a pathbreaking University of Maryland economist who studies business dynamics, and several co-authors. They found the rate dropped even further during the recession: By 2011, it was about 25 percent lower than it was in the late ’80s.

Recent research from the Brookings Institution confirms that compared to 25 years ago, a smaller share of Americans today work in start-up companies and that a smaller share of companies are start-ups. Even the tech industry — that bastion of venture capital and IPOs — has seen its start-up rate decline. In 1982, Haltiwanger and coauthors report, 3 in 5 high-tech firms were young start-ups; in 2012, that had fallen to less than 2 in 5.

This is bad for middle-class workers. Newer companies create a lot more jobs, on net, than long-established ones, according to several studies, including a recent one by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which compiles economic statistics for wealthy nations around the world. (This is true even though so many start-ups fail.) Haltiwanger’s research suggests America would have 1.1 million more jobs today if dynamism were still at even mid-1980s levels. More jobs would reduce competition among would-be workers for available slots, which would mean companies would need to pay workers more to attract or keep them.

I blame the Washington Post.

Well, at least a little bit. After pulling out all the stops to get Mr. Obama elected, at dawn of his presidency, the Post, through its then-Newsweek division, ran the following cover:

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If you’re plumping for socialism, you’re also rejecting a dynamic entrepreneur-friendly economy in search of what Virginia Postrel calls stasism, a freeze-dried early-20th century economic paradigm in which big corporations, through plenty of help from government, happily crush small businesses into the ground.

Short of full-out nationalization*, that model seems like an ideal solution or at least a nifty modified limited hangout** when your industry is in its death-throes, and it’s not a coincidence that the Graham Family first divested itself of Newsweek after a half century of ownership for a dollar a year and a half after the above cover, and then last year offloaded the Post itself at fire-sale prices to Jeff Bezos.

Since Bezos made his money launching a quintessential start-up, presumably the new iteration of the Post is a bit more start-up friendly (at least for now). But the sins of their namesake predecessors shouldn’t be forgotten.

* Which Salon called on the government to do to all of media. No, really. Say, I wonder if they’ll ask the new Congress to take up the idea next year…?

** Whom the Gods destroy, they first transform into the second coming of the Post’s nemesis, the Nixon Administration. (See also: Rather, Dan.)

Actually only the first three words of Ed Morrissey headline at The Week are really necessary when it comes to anything involving the pedantic Hollywood archleftist. As Ed writes, “The famed screenwriter is unhappy that news outlets are publishing emails leaked by hackers. But that’s what the media do:”

Sorkin, for his part, argued that the leaked material had no real news value, unlike the leaks from the Edward Snowden cache or the Pentagon Papers. Sony isn’t a government or Enron, he pointed out, but a movie studio, and nothing of what was stolen and published had any social or cultural value, appealing only to the prurient and the nosy.

In this, Sorkin landed a clean punch — but perhaps he was too much on target. His essay could easily be taken for an argument against the existence of Variety altogether. After all, Variety doesn’t cover governments or the Enrons of the world. What exactly is Variety supposed to cover, if not news about the studios and celebrities, the appetite for which can be best described as prurience and nosiness?

For that matter, the entertainment industry hardly rises to Sorkin’s stated standards, despite his best efforts. He fulminated about a NATO-type treaty among studios and unions to lobby Congress for some kind of action to defend against an attack on “one of America’s largest exports.” Sony Entertainment is a subsidiary of the Japanese corporation, of course, so it’s not exactly an American export. And if the American film industry as a whole is so important that it requires Congress to protect it, then suddenly we’re back to grounds that it is newsworthy, and that Variety and other media outlets are correct to exercise scrutiny whenever possible.

There is also a hint of double standards in Sorkin’s outrage. If the Rudin-Pascal email exchange had taken place at another corporation — say, Walmart or Koch Industries — would Sorkin have objected to a hack that exposed it, and media coverage about the exchange? Or would it have been just great journalism, as long as it didn’t gore Sorkin’s own ox?

Consider this: The IRS leaked confidential financial information about the National Organization for Marriage before the 2012 election, after which it ended up in the hands of its opponents, Human Rights Watch. It then got disseminated to media outlets, which published the data and damaged the conservative group’s operations during a political campaign. A similar leak struck the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, whose financial records also got published by a liberal outlet before the 2012 election.

On a public policy basis, as well as on the affront-to-American-values scale, those infractions should rank a little higher than the Sony hack. Yet Sorkin didn’t seem bothered by reporters following up on those leaks. Or perhaps I missed Sorkin’s call for Congress to take action against the IRS and its targeting of private conservative organizations.

Note that Sony’s op-ed ran in the New York Times, which published the Pentagon Papers during the Nixon era, but famously did everything it could to bury the Climategate scandal in November of 2009, as Alana Goodman wrote at Commentary:

Some may argue that it’s unfair to criticize [New York Times’ ‘environmental’ ‘reporter’ Andrew Revkin] for his private comments, and point out that none of these emails on its own could be characterized as an egregious ethical lapse. Maybe. But combined, they point to a pattern. There’s also this: Revkin was the same Times reporter who refused to publish the first trove of ClimateGate emails in 2009, claiming they were off-limits because they were “private” conversations (a standard the paper evidently hasn’t applied to other leaked documents). He also dismissed the scandal as meritless.

As one of the leading national environmental reporters, Revkin had a huge amount of influence over whether the ClimateGate controversy went anywhere. He ended up doing all he could to snuff it out. Should the fact that he wasn’t just involved in the emails, but also seemed to portray himself as an ideological ally to the scientists, raise ethical questions about the Times’ coverage of the first ClimateGate? I’d say so. And maybe Revkin’s departure from the news section one month after the emails leaked in 2009 means that, internally, the Times thought so as well.

As I wrote in November of 2009, Revkin’s motto back then seemed to be “All the News That’s Fit to Bury:”

Seeing as they each impact key pillars of what today passes for liberalism, there seems to be more than a few connections between the recent ACORN stings by Giles, O’Keefe and Breitbart, and the recent hacking of the emails of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, or “Global WarmingGate”, as Charlie Martin dubs it elsewhere at Pajamas. Not the least is that they each sent the legacy media into full gatekeeper mode, hoping to prevent exciting, important news of current events from ever reaching their readers. Or perhaps, like the scandal last year involving John Edwards, sitting on the stories for so long, while making claims that they have to endlessly research them to verify their authenticity — Keep rockin’! — that when the legacy media decides to go “public” with news that everyone already knows, they can dramatically dilute the ultimate impact of these stories.

And then the Times went on to ask its readers to crowdsource any revelations in Sarah Palin’s emails, confirming its biases, and what news the admittedly leftwing paper deems fit to print.

Related: While Sony’s Amy Pascal, who previously banished Mel Gibson to industry Siberia for his drunken anti-Semitic rants rushes to Al Sharpton in an effort to save her job (see also: Imus, Don), don’t miss the New York Post on Scott Rudin, her co chair, “The man known as Hollywood’s biggest a-hole.” And that’s saying something, given the industry baseline.

If the Lies Don’t Fit, Time Magazine Must Omit

December 16th, 2014 - 2:22 pm

“Jonathan Gruber should’ve been Time’s Person of the Year,” Jonah Goldberg writes at the L.A. Times, likely much to the consternation of his ultra-PC editors there, who I’m sure have dreams of using Time as a career escape valve, one way or another:

I think Time missed an opportunity in not putting Gruber on the cover. Tea partyers and Wall Street occupiers disagree on a great many things, but there’s one place where the Venn diagrams overlap: the sense we’re all being played for suckers, that the rules are being set up to benefit those who know how to manipulate the rules. The left tends to focus on Wall Street types whose bottom line depends more on lobbying Washington than satisfying the consumer.

But Gruber is something special. He was supposed to be better, more pure than the fat cats. Touted by press and politicians alike as an objective and fair-minded arbiter of healthcare reform, the MIT economist was in fact a warrior for the cause, invested emotionally, politically and, it turns out, financially through undisclosed consulting arrangements. The people who relied on his expertise never bothered to second-guess his conflicts of interest because they, too, were warriors in the same fight.

In speeches and interviews, Gruber admitted he helped the Obama administration craft the law in such a way that it would seem like it didn’t tax the American people when it did. Using insights gleaned in part from his status as an advisor to the Congressional Budget Office, Gruber helped construct an actuarial Trojan Horse that could smuggle a tax hike past the CBO bean counters. If the individual mandate was counted as a tax it would be a big political liability for President Obama (fortunately for Obamacare, the Supreme Court saw through the subterfuge and called it tax, rendering it constitutional).

Gruber then mocked the “stupidity of the American voter” for not seeing through the camouflage he helped design.

No matter much Gruber and his fellow leftists hate us, as Iowahawk has noted, it wasn’t we on the right Gruber was mocking; we immediately saw the multifaceted dangers of Obamacare for what they were and sounded the alarm. Still, perhaps Time magazine didn’t want to rehash their previous mea culpa last year for how badly they and the rest of the cogs in the Time-Warner-CNN-HBO* conglomerate blew this story:

But in 2009 and 2010, when it mattered,  during the run-up to Obamacare’s passing, HBO and CNN, both owned by the same conglomerate as Mark Halperin’s Time magazine were doing the DNC’s bidding by insulting any of its detractors as racists, and CNN was inviting high school kids into the studio to sing pro-Obamacare propaganda:

* Time left their namesake owners this past summer. But they were very much a key member of the conglomerate during the period it thoroughly enjoyed being spokesmen for the Obama administration’s disastrous signature “achievement.” I mean, they gave themselves cake and everything to celebrate the joys of being used.

Great Moments in Journalism

December 15th, 2014 - 9:19 pm

“Story of the $72 million teen trader unravels” CNN-Money reports. Possible alternate headline? At Long Last CNN Finds a Media Outlet It Can Look Down Upon:

It didn’t take long for New York Magazine’s story on a 17-year-old stock whiz with a rumored net worth of $72 million to make a splash. But the story’s juicy premise unraveled almost as quickly.

Jessica Pressler wrote the profile of Mohammed Islam, a senior at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, for a feature called “Reasons to Love New York.”

After getting an advanced look at Pressler’s piece, the New York Post put the improbable story on its Sunday front page. By Monday morning, Islam’s story was one of the hottest on Facebook.

Then it fell apart. In an interview with the New York Observer published Monday night, Islam admitted that he fabricated the whole story and has never actually made a return on any investment. “So it’s total fiction?” asked the Observer. “Yes,” Islam said. (updated)

Early Monday, CNBC’s Josh Brown wondered if Islam was duping “an overly eager press willing to believe.”

That last sentence is certainly a perennial these days, isn’t it? In any case, perhaps the once mighty New York magazine, founded in the late-1960s by legendary editor Clay Felker as a spin-off of the dying New York Herald Tribune, which helped put Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin and other practitioners of “the New Journalism” on the map, should these days stick to profiling men who have sex with horses. It’s safer for them, that way.

As Jeff Jacoby spots in the Boston Globe, “Journalists, says Jorge Ramos, shouldn’t make a fetish of accuracy and impartiality:”

Speaking last month at the International Press Freedom Awards, Univision’s influential news anchor told his audience that while he has “nothing against objectivity,” journalism is meant to be wielded as “a weapon for a higher purpose: justice.” Of course, he continued, it is important to get the facts right — five deaths should be reported as five, not six or seven. But “the best of journalism happens when we, purposely, stop pretending that we are neutral and recognize that we have a moral obligation to tell truth to power.”

As it happens, Ramos delivered those remarks soon after the publication of Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s 9,000-word story in Rolling Stone vividly describing the alleged gang rape of a freshman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity party. Erdely had reportedly spent months researching the story, and its explosive impact was — at first — everything a tell-truth-to-power journalist could have wished: national attention, public outrage, campus protests, suspension of UVA’s fraternities, and a new “zero-tolerance” policy on sexual assault.

Of course, one can find examples of every area of journalism in which leftwing industry publications and industry spokesmen have called for the abandonment of objectivity. For Ramos, it’s to advance socialism through the amnesty of illegal immigrants, through others, it’s to advance socialism through pushing the theme of “climate change.” In 2008, old media seemed like the second coming of Beatlemania-struck preteen girls over Barack Obama. In 2009 and 2010, ostensibly “objective” network TV news readers openly plumped for higher taxes and socialized medicine. The MSM in general loves to transform local crime stories into National Conversations on Race — with plenty of “Mostly Peaceful” riots along the way. For others, the quest for nihilism is advanced via aggressively socialist justice warriors in the reporting of videogames and sports.

And speaking of which, NBC’s low-rated pariah network MSNBC is thinking of covering or running sports in an effort to boost ratings. Or perhaps to find a home for Bob Costas in-between massively politicized halftime lectures on Sunday Night Football. (An earlier, funnier Saturday Night Live would be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of writing sketches along the lines of “Al Sharpton’s Sports Machine.” But then, like the rest of NBC, SNL became palace guard comics long ago.)

Fun With Flags

December 15th, 2014 - 12:10 pm

 

Sheldon Cooper’s next “Fun With Flags” episode on YouTube should be awesome!

Gray Lady Down!

December 15th, 2014 - 11:08 am

“Layer upon layer of factcheckers and proofreaders, yo.” Plus this: “Great moments in journalism: The New York Times correction on the pope’s ‘animals in heaven’ remarks:”

Correction: December 12, 2014

An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of Pope Francis’ remarks. He made them in a general audience at the Vatican, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died. The article also misstated what Francis is known to have said. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said: “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven. Francis is not known to have said: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’’ (Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article that concluded Francis believes animals go to heaven.) An earlier version also referred incompletely to the largest animal protection group in the United States. It is the Humane Society of the United States, not just the Humane Society.

Other than those mistakes, the stories were accurate. Or as John Hindaker writes at Power Line, “Will the Last Employee of the NY Times Please Turn Out the Lights?”

Which better all be Al Gore twisty bulbs. And Saul Alinsky and I better not find any air conditioning on, or toilet paper in the corporate bathrooms!

Related: “How Much Does the NYT Hate America? Click Here!”  As Michael Walsh writes, even his radical chic leftwing alter-ego David Kahane couldn’t make this up, as the Gray Lady slides even deeper into self-parody. Though all those crazy low-sloping foreheads high atop Pinch Avenue are forcing the rest of us to really step-up our game:

Rolling Stone and the Myth of a Rape Epidemic

December 13th, 2014 - 2:08 pm

“The stunning news that Rolling Stone now disowns its story that claimed a female student was gang-raped at a University of Virginia (UVA) fraternity shows that the drive to root out ‘rape culture’ is spinning out of control,” Sean Collins of England’s Spiked writes. “We’re living through a full-blown panic, akin to the daycare sexual abuse scandals of the 1980s and early 1990s, with bad consequences for both women and men:”

The unravelling of the Rolling Stone article is not an isolated event, nor simply the case of one journalist’s lapse in ethics. The New York Times has highlighted cases at colleges such as Columbia and Hobart and William Smith, among others, in a similar way to Rolling Stone’s latest, focusing on the accuser’s allegations at the expense of the full picture (an enterprising journalist might revisit these stories, too). But more importantly, the UVA story is the product of a fevered atmosphere whipped up by ‘rape culture’ campaigners, an atmosphere where advocacy and emotion override fact.

Central to the myth of a rape epidemic is a statistic: that one in five women are sexually assaulted on US campuses over four years. The survey from which this statistic derives has been thoroughly debunked by Christina Hoff Sommers and others, who note, in particular, that the survey was based on a small sample (two schools) and a definition of assault so broad as to include uninvited touching and kissing, which even most respondents did not think rose to the level of an attack. In fact, according to more reliable Department of Justice data, sexual assault has fallen by more than 50 per cent in recent years, to a rate of 1.1 per 1,000 women, with similar rates on and off campus.

Found via Kate of Small Dead Animals, Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist asks if by singling out Rolling Stone, and its journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely, conservatives aren’t ignoring or downplaying the bigger picture, the “widespread journalistic worship of narrative and advocacy over truth,” expected in political coverage, it’s now rampant in all facets of modern journalism, from sports to videogame magazines to (of course) radical environmentalism.

But let’s not move on entirely from examining the corruption at Rolling Stone just yet. Veteran blogger Tom Maguire senses a pattern in their reporting of campus rapes, and/or the lack thereof.

Update: As one Rolling Stone-approved artist would say, strike a pose, there’s nothing to it:

More: ”The Violent Threat Near UVA that Rolling Stone Downplayed,” as spotted by Jim Geraghty, who adds, “This is one more consequence of ‘narrative journalism’: When you set out to write the evil-fraternities story, you end up missing the serial-killer-stalks-campus story.”

Communist Propaganda Writ Small

December 13th, 2014 - 10:40 am

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

—Theodore Dalrymple, as quoted by Mark Steyn yesterday in the wake of Rolling Stone’s meltdown over its collapsing University of Virginia rape story. Along a similar line, Ann Althouse spots a New York Times columnist on Thursday drafting a column which posits, “What if every kid on every college campus was given new language — a phrase whose meaning could not be mistaken, that signaled peril for both sides, that might be more easily uttered?”

A doubleplus good rip off of George Orwell’s “Newspeak,” Althouse notes, the dumbed-down, Soviet and Nazi-inspired socialist proto-PC language spoken by the Inner and Outer Party controlling England in 1984:

His sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words sexcrime (sexual immorality) and goodsex (chastity). Sexcrime covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication, adultery, homosexuality and other perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake. There was no need to enumerate them separately, since they were all equally culpable, and, in principle, all punishable by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific and technical words, it might be necessary to give specialised names to certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by goodsex— that is to say, normal intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was sexcrime. In Newspeak it was seldom possible to follow a heretical thought further than the perception that it was heretical: beyond that point the necessary words were non-existent.

Yet another reminder that consciously or otherwise, the left views 1984 as a how-to guide, and not Orwell’s warning of wear socialism invariably leads.

Related: “‘I could cry right now’: Al Sharpton’s DC protest blasted for VIP section, threats to call security.” Hey, all violent socialist revolutions end with an Outer Party performing all the actual manual labor and an Inner Party reaping their spoils — why would Al’s be the exception?

Return with us now to the early 1990s, a period when the World Wide Web was just taking off, there was no Drudge, no Blogosphere, no Twitter, no Fox News, and “alternative media” consisted of Rush on the radio and William F. Buckley on PBS once a week. In other words, the last waning days the MSM still had complete control over The Narrative. Which they used for very bad purposes, as the Draw and Strike blog notes, before adding:

After what happened in the LA Riots and the OJ Simpson trial, Americans had gotten an eyeful of what ‘social justice’ resulted in.  Dead people, burned & looted stores, racial discord, & killers going free.

That’s why the last couple of times the Social Justice Warriors have tried to launch a new false narrative, it hasn’t gone so swell.  They had a great start in the Duke Rape Case,  and then the facts came out,  the charges were dropped, and the prosecutor got himself disbarred.  The designated victims all were proven innocent and got away.  The mob was disappointed.  Social Justice didn’t advance, darn it!

The case in Sanford FL, the false narrative there resulted in more than two years of the DNC Media trying to save a dying racial narrative by calling Zimmerman a ‘white Hispanic’.  It didn’t matter. The facts came out at the trial.  The system worked.  Again, the mob didn’t get the scalp it demanded.  Social justice – denied!

Then came Ferguson, Missouri and the Michael Brown case.  Once again the most racially inflammatory version of the story was rushed out the door to the mob.  And again, it didn’t matter in the end. The facts came out. The false narrative fell apart.  Not shot in the back and no hands up.  No matter how many stores they looted or businesses they burned down, the mob didn’t get the scalp it screamed for.  The system worked and social justice was denied again.  And don’t think the rest of America didn’t see who ginned up the mob & unleashed it on that poor town.

“Which brings us to the UVA Rape Scandal currently ongoing,” Draw & Strike adds. “Once again the Social Justice Warriors were fighting hard to advance ‘progress’ in America by, uh, well, pushing a false story. And they got caught at it.”

Read the whole thing.

Oh, and incidentally:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

The above Tweet is from the New Republic on October 1st of last year, with their fantasies of tank strikes on the GOP in response to last year’s government shutdown. As Jim Geraghty tweeted at the time in response, “The New Republic: Your first choice for violent, authoritarian, eliminationist rhetoric!” And back then, Twitchy added:

When Russia faced a constitutional crisis in 1993, President Boris Yeltsin did what any good dictator would do — he had the military surround the White House and had tanks shell the upper floors as a demonstration of force, announcing to the press that “Fascist-communist armed rebellion in Moscow shall be suppressed within the shortest period.”

It’s an efficient way to show who’s boss, and the folks at The New Republic seem like they’re warming up to the idea.

As I wrote at the time, Leftists convinced themselves in January of 2011 that clip art of targets and bullet points could kill — as long as it wasn’t their own. The same holds true of threatening a shutdown — they’re perfectly fine, as long as they come from an anointed member of the far left. “Elizabeth Warren Is Risking a Government Shutdown to Stop Wall Street. President Obama Should Join Her,” TNR is exuding today:

As always, for the left, the motto is, “It’s Different When We Do It.”

(QED.)

Speaking of which, Ed Morrissey adds today that in addition to Warren’s fantasies of shutting the government down, Maxine Waters is pretty cool with the idea, too:

Even the President’s usual allies are turning on him. Maxine Waters told her colleagues not to allow themselves to get “intimidated” into changing their votes shortly before McDonough arrived. Waters explicitly accused Obama of conducting that intimidation:

Waters gathered more than 20 fellow Democrats to her office Thursday afternoon to push back against the president’s efforts after learning of Obama’s lobbying effort.

And she’s not apologizing for it.

“We don’t like lobbying that is being done by the president or anybody else that would allow us to support a bill that … would give a big gift to Wall Street and the bankers who caused this country to almost go into a depression,” she said. “So I’m opposed to it and we’re going to fight it.”

Waters said the lawmakers who met in her office, including Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), divvied up a list of members and took to the phones to urge Democrats to hold their ground in opposition to the package.

“We’re fighting anybody who is lobbying to tell people to vote for this bill,” Waters said. “If the president is lobbying, we do not like it, and we’re saying to our members, ‘Don’t be intimidated by anybody.’”

C’mon Barry, intimidate ‘em and roll the tanks against your fellow leftists — you already have the (old) New Republic’s blessings!

Shattered Glass, Then and Now

December 11th, 2014 - 12:39 pm

“Too many reporters have ‘Jackies’ — politicians and causes they trust uncritically no matter what,” Mollie Hemingway writes at the Federalist, with her take on what increasingly looks like Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s media fabulism in Rolling Stone magazine, and how it bears a strong resemblance to the earlier fabulism of the New Republic’s infamous Stephen Glass from the 1990s:

Stephen Glass was a journalist at The New Republic who made up stories, or significant parts of them. Three dozen of the 41 stories he wrote for The New Republic were said to be fabricated in part or in whole, along with articles for George and Rolling Stone.

I knew Stephen Glass was full of it in 1997 after I read his absolutely incredible story about all the sex and crazy partying done by young Republicans at a conservative gathering called CPAC. I had been at enough conservative functions — including that one — to know that they would have been a heck of a lot more interesting if they focused on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But in the fever dreams of Stephen Glass, they did. Here are the opening two paragraphs of the very detailed story that, it later turned out, nobody could verify:

On the fourth floor of Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, eight young men sit facing each other on the edge of a pair of beds. They are all 20 or 21 and are enrolled in Midwestern colleges. Each is wearing a white or blue shirt with the top button unfastened, and each has his striped tie loosened. One of the young men, an Ohioan, is wearing a green and white button that reads: “Save the Males.” The minibar is open and empty little bottles of booze are scattered on the carpet. On the bed, a Gideon Bible, used earlier in the night to resolve an argument, is open to Exodus. In the bathroom, the tub is filled with ice and the remnants of three cases of Coors Light. The young men pass around a joint, counterclockwise…

Over the next hour, in a haze of beer and pot, and in between rantings about feminists, gays and political correctness, the young men hatch a plan. Seth, a meaty quarterback from a small college in Indiana, and two others will drive to a local bar. There, the three will choose the ugliest and loneliest woman they can find. “Get us a real heifer, the fatter the better, bad acne would be a bonus,” Michael shouts. He is so drunk he doesn’t know he is shouting. Seth will lure the victim, whom they call a “whale,” back to the hotel room. The five who stay behind will hide under the beds. After Seth undresses the whale, the five will jump out and shout, “We’re beaching! Whale spotted!” They will take a photograph of the unfortunate woman.

So we have eight conservative men — first names only, thank you! — who participate in a gang sexual assault after drinking beer and smoking a joint. Where have I heard this story beforesince?

Heh. As Allahpundit quipped yesterday at Hot Air, “Trust no Penn graduates from the class of 1994,” in his post titled, “Devastating: WaPo report strongly suggests Jackie made up the UVA rape story whole cloth,” he linked to the Rosetta Stone of fabulists — Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s profile of Glass and the 2003 biopic of his downfall, Shattered Glass, for her University of Pennsylvania student newspaper.

And keep reading Hemingway’s article for yet another coincidence, albeit one likely not intended by Erdely — plenty of shattered glass appears in her Rolling Stone profile of “Jackie,” which led to the beginnings of the story’s unraveling.

Related: Glenn Reynolds adds:

I’d also like to know how much coordination there was among folks at UVA — Emily Renda worked in UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s office, and on the White House “It’s On Us” campus rape group, and I believe was the one who told Erdely about Jackie’s case — and Rolling Stone, and the White House, and Sens. Gillibrand and McCaskill. Perhaps someone will ask them, or submit a FOIA request to the White House and a state FOIA to President Sullivan’s office. Conveniently, McCaskill and Gillibrand aren’t subject to FOIA, but that doesn’t stop intrepid reporters from asking them.

I’d also be interested in hearing from reporters themselves: Was the White House pushing this story?

Yes, I’d like to hear from all the president’s stenographers as well.

“Don’t Cry (Too Much) for The New Republic,” Lee Smith writes at the Weekly Standard (arguably its neoconservative spin-off), dubbing it “A magazine of ideas without ideas:”

There was no longer an argument in the magazine, or Peretz’s head, that might have taken on the serious issues the U.S.-led invasion and occupation raised—about projecting American power, for instance, or democracy promotion, both of which had been important issues to TNR in the past. Rather, the magazine simply advocated the position staked out by Democrats who, like TNR, had supported the war before they were against it.

Bush’s war, from their perspective, was so obviously bad, stupid, and vile that even American soldiers agreed with The New Republic. In July 2007, Pvt. Scott Beauchamp reported from Iraq and Kuwait that his fellow servicemen were violent jerks who, among other things, killed dogs and humiliated disfigured female soldiers. THE WEEKLY STANDARD’s Michael Goldfarb was the first to note problems with Beauchamp’s diary pieces, and then in August 2007, an Army investigation showed that Beauchamp’s reports were false.

But TNR and its editor at the time, Franklin Foer, didn’t budge. THE WEEKLY STANDARD was wrong, Goldfarb was wrong, the Army was wrong. What had Beauchamp, a novice journalist, done to merit the magazine’s trust, its willingness to stake its own reputation to the claims of an untested reporter? Nothing. The Beauchamp pieces weren’t part of a larger argument, rather they were part of a political campaign against Bush and his supporters, so any criticism of them from those quarters could only be more political warfare. Thus, TNR slid out of the world of ideas and facts. It wasn’t until four months later, in December 2007 that Foer finally decided that the magazine could no longer “stand by [Beauchmp’s] stories.”

Frank Foer is a good guy but the fact that he backed Beauchamp for so long was yet more evidence of a systemic problem with the culture of the magazine. It’s why Kelly stuck with Glass, why the staff was happy to take Hughes’s money when he bought the magazine in 2012, and why they walked out last week in self-righteous outrage. It’s not about ideas, but prestige, privilege, and self-image. They’re always right even when they’re wrong—like they were about Hughes, the wunderkind they once saw as the messiah: they’re arrogant. The TNR Hughes bought was a flattering looking glass that reflected back to its writers and editors, and readers, what they wanted to believe about themselves—that they’re serious people, which they are, with serious ideas, which they do not now have.

But then, that last paragraph, describing a smug arrogant mindset that thinks it’s “always right even when they’re wrong” doesn’t describe the worldview inside the old TNR bullpen, but of the 21st left itself:

 

Update:  “Three Top Lessons from the New Republic Implosion,”  from Kathy Shaidle at the PJ Lifestyle blog.

time-ebola-cover-person-of-the-year-12-10-14-1

Unlike some of Time’s other contestants, nobody’s going to get of offended at “The Ebola Fighters” as person (people?) of the year*; fighting the disease is certainly an extremely worthy cause deserving of praise. As is fighting the hubris of those being monitored for having the disease. (See also: Soup-craving NBC celebrity doctor, Nancy Snyderman.)

As Big Journalism notes, this is far from the first time that Time has pulled their punches in their selection: “Osama Bin Laden was almost named Person of the Year by the publication in 2001 after 9/11, but lost to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.” And this year, one of the possible choices for person (people?) of the year were the Ferguson arsonists, but likely, that would have been a rehash of Time’s 2011 choice of ”The Protestor” as person (people) of the year.** And of course, Time pulled their punches that year as well, going with relatively tasteful cover art, rather than really playing it edgy, as one media critic suggested:

occupy_wall_street_time_magazine_parody_12-10-11

* One minor peeve: Picking a large relatively faceless group goes against Henry Luce’s original intent in creating his annual “Man of the Year” cover in the 1920s to combat the Marxist cant of what was then seen as history’s dispassionate emotionless sweep, but then, pretty much every opinion uttered by Time in recent decades goes against its founder’s sane, centrist worldview.

** Which is one of the dangers of being in a permanently seething mood. After a while, the temper tantrums start to blur as the grownups become increasingly inured.