I’m sure you’ve been at least keeping tabs on the drama in Sidney, Australia (now thankfully concluded). When you watch some of what passes for reporting these days, you sometimes get an indication of how poor the journalism of today is:
Despite the Sydney, Australia hostage-taker displaying a flag reading in Arabic, ”There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God,” despite his being a self-proclaimed sheikh and despite his demand that police give him an ISIS flag, MSNBC “The Rundown” host José Diaz-Balart wondered if Iranian-born Man Haron Monis is motivated by Islam at all. (VIDEO: NBC Journo: Islamic Lone Wolf Terrorism ‘Not A Religious Issue’)
“Could very well be he’s hiding behind the flag of Islam to just deal with his own criminal past,” Diaz-Balart said. “It may have very little to do with it. It’s still too early to tell.”
Yet, when it comes to lynch mobs on little other than here-say evidence, we get the full narrative treatment – take the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, or better yet, Ferguson. In both cases, the media played judge, jury and lynch mob with hysteria driven reports that had no real basis in fact. In fact, precisely what all the talking heads and other experts claimed came to be absolutely false.
Meanwhile, Islam gets the benefit of the doubt even when it appears that perpetrator in this case had a history of religious fueled violence. Like the shootings at Ft. Hood were a simple matter of “workplace violence”, this is just some guy using Islam as front to hide his “criminal past”.
The simple question I wish someone would put to the reporter is “why?” If he’s simply a criminal, why would he care about his past?
Oh, I know – too early to tell.
Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been getting bombarded with pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli emails. We’ve all realized over the years that the pro-Palestinian side has successfully built a narrative that has little bearing on the truth, but has a number of abettors. Among them the media. And it is a real problem when “news” ends up being slanted to one side or another because, well, because it fits a narrative the media prefers, because we remain poorly and incompletely informed. Funny how when that’s the case, flaky “facts” go unexamined, while real facts are downplayed, ignored or dismissed if they don’t fit that narrative.
Of course we’ve also been told, by the usual players, that there is no media bias and that the story is “true”. Of course, that’s using the post-modern definition of true. However, now an AP correspondent very familiar with the area, the coverage and the narrative, lays it all out in a couple of articles:
Most consumers of the Israel story don’t understand how the story is manufactured. But Hamas does. Since assuming power in Gaza in 2007, the Islamic Resistance Movement has come to understand that many reporters are committed to a narrative wherein Israelis are oppressors and Palestinians passive victims with reasonable goals, and are uninterested in contradictory information. Recognizing this, certain Hamas spokesmen have taken to confiding to Western journalists, including some I know personally, that the group is in fact a secretly pragmatic outfit with bellicose rhetoric, and journalists—eager to believe the confession, and sometimes unwilling to credit locals with the smarts necessary to deceive them—have taken it as a scoop instead of as spin.
During my time at the AP, we helped Hamas get this point across with a school of reporting that might be classified as “Surprising Signs of Moderation” (a direct precursor to the “Muslim Brotherhood Is Actually Liberal” school that enjoyed a brief vogue in Egypt). In one of my favorite stories, “More Tolerant Hamas” (December 11, 2011), reporters quoted a Hamas spokesman informing readers that the movement’s policy was that “we are not going to dictate anything to anyone,” and another Hamas leader saying the movement had “learned it needs to be more tolerant of others.” Around the same time, I was informed by the bureau’s senior editors that our Palestinian reporter in Gaza couldn’t possibly provide critical coverage of Hamas because doing so would put him in danger.
There are a couple of things to take away from this. One the uber-sophisticated press is being spun by those they tend to look-down upon. Apparently there’s such a thing as being “willingly spun” and we’ve been getting a whole heaping helping of it for years. The irony, if it wasn’t so damaging, is delicious. Two, this is how you get Ferguson’s. This is the same recipe on a domestic level. Facts, be damned, the narrative is what is important and so it is the narrative you get.
How does that serve the consumers of news?
As I watch this nonsense in Ferguson, I’m simply reminded of the daily fare of poor television that reality shows bring us. That’s all Ferguson is. Give a promise of fame, indulge self-importance, ignore facts and film. That’s the formula. It’s “good TV” and the media has been as complicit as anyone in the result. In fact, they’ve egged it on. Remove the spotlight and the interest wanes.
Instead we’ve seen a steady drumbeat of coverage, almost a countdown to the Grand Jury findings and, as usual, a trial by media.
The facts don’t matter. The findings of the Grand Jury have to be racist because the court of public opinion, sans few if any concrete facts, has already found the officer guilty. Does anyone even pretend to believe that if that crowd last night had been able to find officer Wilson that he wouldn’t have later been found hanging from a lamp post?
This, as with the Trayvon Martin case, is a media event. You only have to look at all the disparate groups who’ve camped out in Ferguson since the Brown killing to gather that. The usual groups have gone through some incredible contortions to make Brown’s death relevant to their cause. And, of course, with the media lights on, the usual suspects among the race baiters are there as well, preening and goading.
Are there grievances? I’m sure there are. But burning out your neighborhood isn’t the way to settle them. I’m still trying to figure out what Panera Bread did to deserve to be torched other than be in the wrong location. This is beyond “civil disobedience”. This is criminal destruction. And yet, when this is all said and done, the denizens of the neighborhood are going to demand these businesses build again. I know what my answer would be – “you made a desert, now live in it”.
Anyway, the bottom line here is I don’t take reality shows seriously. Nor should you.
Several networks won’t be carrying President Obama’s prime-time address on immigration Thursday night from the White House.
ABC, CBS and Fox are saying they won’t air the president’s speech live; NBC also reportedly isn’t planning to carry his address.
With polls saying that only 38% of Americans support his intent to use his executive power to provide amnesty to a portion of illegal aliens here in the US, there’s certainly no ratings upside to televising it. And, in fact, there may be a little payback involved:
There was also griping among the White House press corps Wednesday at Mr. Obama using a Facebook video post to announce the timing of tonight’s address, rather than using the traditional media.
A television correspondent asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest if the move was “a thank you” to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who helped launch the immigration reform advocacy group FWD.us that is aiding the administration’s push for immigration changes.
Mr. Earnest denied the White House was playing favorites with Facebook, but said it was a good way to reach the president’s audience.
“The good news is that the wires, the networks and the press corp are all on Facebook,” Mr. Earnest said. “We don’t have to choose.”
The denial comes as no particular surprise – this administration denies everything. As for choice, the White House did choose, and it chose to snub the White House press corps and the networks. Apparently it finds their reaction to the snub problematic.
White House officials are expressing annoyance with the networks’ decision, saying that all major networks aired a prime-time address by Republican President George W. Bush in 2006 when he announced the deployment of national guard troops at the U.S-Mexico border.
Well perhaps that was because the Bush administration included the networks in its announcement of his speech. The fact that the big 4 (if NBC refuses to carry it as well) are not going to carry it doesn’t mean it can’t be seen live if you’re so inclined to view it:
Two networks with Hispanic audiences, Univision and Telemundo, will air the president’s address live. CNN, MSNBC and PBS also plan to broadcast live.
But the bottom line of this little dust up is it appears that at least some of the networks are willing to strike back a bit at the White House press operation and it’s treatment of an unhappy White House press corps. Now if we could get some actual unbiased and factual coverage from that press corps that would be a bonus. Being water carriers hasn’t worked out very well for them, has it?
When it comes to the mid-terms, I’m about in the same place psychologically as McQ. But we might as well have some fun with this election. So I sat down and thought about what I expected from it, and came up with the following list:
- The Republicans will do well. They will likely retake the Senate and add at least a dozen seats to their House majority.
- Lots fewer people will care about that outcome than in previous cycles such as 1994 and 2010. More people are now cynical that the GOP doesn’t really intend to do anything of consequence.
The default strategy of the establishment GOP right now seems to be to give the Democrats a turn, knowing they’ll screw things up even worse. Then the voters will give the establishment GOP another chance, because they screw things up more slowly. Thus, the establishment GOP believes they are assured of another round of favoring their particular crony capitalists rather then the crony capitalists favored by the Democrats. Plus, they get the nice corner offices for a while.
- At least one Senate race will be close, and will go into protracted recounts. The Democrats will eventually win that race with questionable votes. (Bonus points on entertainment value if it’s Al Franken again.)
- The media will not report the questionable votes and tactics used to secure the Democratic victory in #3.
- The media will be surprised at the depth of loathing for Obama shown by the election. After all, everyone *they* know likes him.
- The media will only show a flicker of that surprise before they get back to covering for and pimping for Obama.
- At least one major media figure will use the phrase “temper tantrum” or a close synonym to describe what the voters did to cause the GOP gains.
- At least one incident at a polling place will involve blacks supposedly being denied the right to vote because of new voter ID laws. The media might have to manufacture, or at least exaggerate, that incident, but they’ll find one no matter how hard they have to search.
- There will be incidents of the opposite kind, like this one in 2008. Those will not be reported by the media, no matter how many there are or how egregious the violation of laws happens to be.
- November and December will see dozens of media stories on how the “ground game” failed for the Democrats. Some of those stories will infer that the Democrats’ ground game was sabotaged. There will be no stories in major media of how the Democrats and their ground game failed because Obama has become a laughing-stock.
- Opinion columnists in the major media will begin to excuse Obama’s almost total disengagement by blaming it on the new GOP dual majority in Congress. They’ll say things such as “Why should he even try, when they won’t cooperate with him?” (i.e. “bend over and do what he wants”) Some will push for Obama to use even more executive power to bypass the democratically elected majorities in Congress. Some of those will be the same ones who screamed about Bush’s “illegal war”, even though he sought and received authorization from Congress.
- Someone will attempt to spread rumors about an Ebola outbreak in key places to depress voter turnout by making people unwilling to go out in public. Either side is capable of this – both sides might do it.
- Ted Cruz will give a rousing speech shortly after the election on what the Republicans should do. It will be ignored by the major media, though they might run an out-of-context soundbite of it to try and make him look bad.
- Very stupid social science academics will shake their heads and wonder how the voters could dislike Obama since he’s such a great president. Then they’ll talk about how things go “back and forth” or “move in cycles” or some such meaningless blather, as if the GOP victories simply resulted from an inevitable force of nature and have nothing to do with Obama’s screwups.
- Allies of the establishment GOP, such as the bloggers at Hot Air, will immediately begin justifying why the new majorities can’t possibly do anything of consequence. I’m guessing their catchphrase will become “Don’t expect too much.”
- Allies of the establishment GOP will claim that the election results show definitively that the GOP needs to nominate a moderate for president in 2016. I can’t predict what tortured logic they will use for that conclusion.
OK, that’s enough for me. How about our astute and intelligent commenters add their own?
Like her or not, I think MoDo pretty much nails it here:
A front-page article in The Times by Carl Hulse, Jeremy Peters and Michael Shear chronicled how the president’s disdain for politics has alienated many of his most stalwart Democratic supporters on Capitol Hill.
His bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude, the article said, “has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, an early Obama backer, noted that “for him, eating his spinach is schmoozing with elected officials.”
First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction.
His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.
The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.
The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.
That fact was apparent to anyone who took the time to review what little we knew of Obama’s sparse political record. He only stopped at each elected office long enough to get himself elected to the next higher office. He had no record of accomplishing anything of substance at any of those stops and spent most of his time campaigning for the next job he wanted.
Yet that was ignored. What was gobbled up were his words. Words that were backed by nothing but hot air. He had no record as a “uniter”. He had no record as a legislator. He had no work record nor had he ever actually run anything that could be described to have given him “executive experience”.
So, what some of us saw, everyone got. An empty suit. A clueless political face that managed to pull off one of the most incredible, and it appears, devastating victories of modern times.
And yet his own party is now “surprised” he’s so useless and clueless. They’re surprised he’s been so pathetically incompetent. As they watch the world crumble, they still want to complain that it is someone else’s fault (meaning those old reliable standbys – the GOP and Bush).
But as each horrific day of this presidency moves into the next, it is clear that most of the country hold the president responsible for most of the problems – both domestic and international – we are suffering.
And Democrats, as well as the liberal media, have finally figured out that defending this failure is “politically dangerous”.
So we see the Claire McCaskills and Maureen Dowds of the world beginning to really distance themselves from “The One” – the one they backed to the hilt.
Rats. Sinking ship.
Sometimes though, it’s not particularly helpful to be right about something or someone, as those of us who pointed out all these problems before Obama was elected were. Because when you’re right about something like that, it means you’re also right about the consequences.
Cast your eyes upon them – they are exactly what logic dictated would happen when you give a job as important as the presidency to a grossly unqualified man or woman.
But not that much.
Because it is a re-run. In fact, it’s a re-run of a re-run. A re-make if you prefer. The same-old, same-old.
It is so predictable that you could set up a timeline and be pretty sure that you’d be 90% right.
It begins like this:
Incident occurs. In this case, black teenager, white cop (template says black/white with black the victim). Tensions build. Protests erupt and violence ensues.
Then the real problem occurs.
Before everything can be sorted out and calmed down, the media shows up.
Of course, as soon as the media grows enough to include national outlets, the professional race baiters are soon to follow. Right on their heels the other opportunists arrive – the anarchists, communists, community activists, agitators and looters. And soon the circus is in full swing.
Rumor is published as fact. Hate rages from both sides. Social media is inundated with trash talk, nonsense and stupidity aided and abetted by an agenda driven media. Death threats, threats of violence, racial hate and other garbage flows like a river. Anchors from the national outlets put on their safari jackets (or now I guess it’s their protective vests and helmets) and get cameo shots near the protests to certify their “bona fides” as brave news men and women. Irresponsibility and immaturity on all sides rules the day.
Former CNN anchor and Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” host Howie Kurtz criticized some outlets for creating “almost a lynch mob mentality” in Ferguson, MO in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“Some liberal outlets [are] creating almost a lynch mob mentality around this, the Huffington Post today, screaming banner headline ‘Arrest Him.’ Now, the Huffington Post, nor you or I, knows exactly what happened” he said. And “when you cross that line into becoming an advocate and to demanding that somebody be prosecuted before the facts are in, while the investigation is going on, you’re grandstanding, you’re trying to keep the story alive and I really think it’s troubling.”
Kurtz also criticized CNN for showing the house of accused officer Darren Wilson, stating, “It defies my understanding how you could put his life or the life of his family in danger by even briefly showing the house or naming the street.”
When it all finally sorts itself out, we’ll likely find that the problem wasn’t necessarily about race, didn’t conform to any of the preconceived notions presented by the press (like, you know, “George Zimmerman” wasn’t white) and wasn’t any of the nonsense the “experts” opined endlessly about.
It was an unfortunate incident that needs to be addressed, but hasn’t had the chance to be addressed. And now the DoJ has decided the Civil Rights division needs to be involved along with 40 or so FBI agents. And the governor has sent in the National Guard.
Is there an injustice here? Possibly, but I don’t know yet. I’d go as far as to say probably, but again, I don’t know. I do know that it points to a growing trend of over-policing that I attribute to a seeming change in philosophy among police departments. Police, in many cases, seem to escalate a situation instead of defusing it. That needs to be reversed, in my opinion. But I certainly don’t know if this officer would have acted any differently if the teenager had been white. Nor do I yet know whether his actions were warranted or not (which is why we impanel juries and have evidence presented in cases like this). And neither does anyone else.
But in the street theater all of this has become, that’s likely to be lost in the shuffle.
In other words, this is the Trayvon Martin template redux with nightly violence added for variety.
Formulaic, predictable and disgusting. But that’s how we do it in America today.
(This screen cap done at 9:00 AM CST 15 June, 2014)
We’ve known that the New York Times has been part of the palace guard for Democrats for quite a while.* But this is a new low.
If 18 minutes of lost taped conversations in Nixon’s White House is good for weeks of coverage, surely close to two years of lost emails from someone accused targeting the president’s political opponents is even more important.
The story has been on the networks’ web sites since Friday (NBC, CBS, Fox) plus outlets like Forbes, the Fiscal Times, and lots of others. Given that, no serious, objective media outlet would ever ignore the lost IRS email story for two days, and leave it out of their biggest edition of the week. Not the “paper of record”. Not the publication that brags it contains “all the news that’s fit to print”.
But that’s exactly what the Times has done.
The Washington Post is marginally better. No front page story, as the story manifestly deserves. No original reporting, even though the story is in their own backyard. But they do have a couple of Associated Press reports in two sections Politics and Business (yeah, Business – I don’t get it either).
If you still think the Times and Post have not chosen sides politically, then you are a willfully blind, naive fool.
*Occasionally a decent article slips through, or perhaps is done as camouflage to bolster the idea that they are serious objective journalists. They stopped fooling anyone connected to reality quite a while back.
Michael Sam is a college football player. He’s was a good player in college. Good enough, in any event, to barely make it into the NFL draft at number 249 of 256. Which means he probably isn’t a great player, and probably won’t make it in the NFL. After he finished his college football career at Mizzou, he announced he was openly gay.
So, when he was waiting to hear whether or not he’d be drafted, with his boyfriend at his side, TV cameras were there to broadcast live on ESPN, when he heard he’d squeeked into the NFL and exchanged several kisses with his boyfriend.
Now, TV cameras don’t usually show up to see the reaction of guys who get picked #249, mainly because no one usually gives a crap that they got picked. But Michael Sam is different. They decided they were going to cover him, well before the day of coverage.
“We are very aware that in those last two rounds potentially — maybe even before that — Michael will get drafted and we will definitely spend time on that draft pick,’’ said Eric Weinberger, who is running NFL Network’s draft coverage. “We will spend as much time as we think we have to.”
They were there solely because he is openly gay, hoping to get something good out of it. What they got was several good closeups of gay man-kissing. I’m sure they were very happy with that.
Others were less so. The Dolphins’ Defensive Back Don Jones tweeted his displeasure at the scene, which was broadcast live on ESPN. This got him fined and suspended. Apparently, we are no longer allowed to express our opinions in polite society any more, unless that opinion is anything other than fully politically correct. Personally, I feel pretty much the way Bill Burr does in this comedy bit. I don’t have a problem with gays doing whatever they do. Just don’t care. Looking to get upset at whatever gay people are up to doesn’t interest me.
But, I also don’t want to see gay guys kissing or having sex, because I think sex with guys is icky. That’s not something you’re supposed to express publicly. I’m not sure why, but it’s now hateful to state that you might be a little uncomfortable with gay things. I think heterosexual sex that includes golden showers is icky, too. Not being German, I don’t wanna watch that, either. Nobody will yammer for me to lose my job if say say something negative about golden showers, but saying something less that fully accepting about homosexuality can get you a quick trip to “sensitivity training”, or even the unemployment line. Our limits of acceptable opinion are being circumscribed by political correctness. The government doesn’t have to attack free speech. Our culture is doing that job just fine.
It also irks me how the media handles this. They go out of their way to highlight things that stir up controversy, then gleefully report on the controversy they intentionally ginned up, being sure to point out people who say the “wrong” things about it. Those people then have to make elaborate public apologies for saying something politically incorrect. Then they get suspended or fired. It’s getting pretty constant now. The Opie and Anthony radio show are doing a bit where they are trying to go ten days without one of these cycles of apology. So far, they haven’t made it for three days without resetting the clock.
The Framers of the Constitution were terrified the government would stifle free speech. Turns out, they should’ve been worried about the rest of us. Apparently, it’s not something we really want.
During my usual effort to get good and stressed before sunrise, I was reading the news this morning –
President campaigns for Health Care Enrollment
Where I came across this photo, which I proceeded to doctor and make mock of. I thought it was from the White House Easter Egg ceremony of 2014 – and then found out it was from 2009.
Hardly current. Buggers.
I wandered back to the real 2014 gallery to find some others. Maybe there was another photo that my hostile imagination could play with.
Who needs to play with things when the real thing is so much more entertaining.
The real White House egg hunt photos from 2014. Step right up, this is the real thing folks, accept no substitutes.
So now we can all try and figure out what kind of people think this is funny enough to make part of the National history of what should be a lighthearted thing for kids.
Here’s the caption “Our heavily armed snipers are dressed in kid-friendly bunny attire”.
Oh, ha ha ha. You kidders, your heavily armed snipers are kid friendly heavily armed snipers.
This made me to wonder if we’ve ever lightheartedly made jokes about needing snipers on the White House roof before.
The gallery of previous years, even post 9/11, seem remarkably short of references of this kind. You know, no cute photos of MANPAD equipped agents dressed as Harvey the Pooka who will magic Easter Jihadi’s out of the air (to cascade down in flaming bits over the streets and buildings of the capital, but I digress while expressing thanks that I have neither the job of pulling the trigger or the job of giving the command to do so…).
But the real prize for this year goes to this one -with the caption – “Colorful Easter eggs are tossed off the White House roof at special targets below.”
Given the death from above philosophy I think this humor a little macabre as well.
How about some nice photo shots of the kids and people at the parties as we did in previous administrations? No?
Readers can feel free to tell me to “lighten up Francis,” I won’t mind.
If it were new behavior from this administration, I’d just think it was a little weird. As it is, I’ve come to accept this kind of thing as fairly normal.
That is to say, bizarre.
If you’re at all inclined to go look you might want to do so before some adult becomes aware and sanity takes hold and they clean this, yet another, clueless, tone deaf, gawdawful mess up.
UPDATE – 2014-04-21 – 15:00 Central Time
If you go to the White House web page I linked to, you’ll see a bunch of little eggs floating around the screen, and…..a fly. A fly? A fly walking around the screen?
The Easter Fly? Is this some tradition I don’t know about?
Does someone need to remind these people this is the White House or what? The Residence of the President of the United States of America…
Yeah yeah, I know, lighten up Francis.