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Has Peggy Noonan finally recovered from her Obama swoon?

Perhaps.  It certainly seems so.  She’s out with a column calling the Obama administration a “house of cards”.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but there was something else she said in the column that caught my attention:

Political professionals now lay down lines even before a story happens. They used to wait to do the honest, desperate, last-minute spin of yesteryear. Now it’s strategized in advance, which makes things tidier but less raggedly fun. The line laid down by the Democrats weeks before the vote was that it’s all about money: The Walker forces outspent the unions so they won, end of story.

Two points – one, that “line” has been debunked, but Democrats continue to try to make that conventional wisdom (which is fine by me, because the CW hides the real truth that it was their message).  But more importantly, point two, Noonan is right – political professionals try to shape the story before it happens, with their spin already being generated so that if they win their positive spin becomes CW and if they lose their negative spin becomes CW.  In Wisconsin, the negative spin or excuse was Democrats were outspent and being outspent means losing.

That takes us to the part where Noonan talks about Obama:

President Obama’s problem now isn’t what Wisconsin did, it’s how he looks each day—careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn’t go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker’s place, where the money is.

There is, now, a house-of-cards feel about this administration.

It became apparent some weeks ago when the president talked on the stump—where else?—about an essay by a fellow who said spending growth is actually lower than that of previous presidents. This was startling to a lot of people, who looked into it and found the man had left out most spending from 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency. People sneered: The president was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture! But you know, why would he go out there waving an article that could immediately be debunked? Maybe because he thought it was true. That’s more alarming, isn’t it, the idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.

For more than a month, his people have been laying down the line that America was just about to enter full economic recovery when the European meltdown stopped it. (I guess the slowdown in China didn’t poll well.) You’ll be hearing more of this—we almost had it, and then Spain, or Italy, messed everything up. What’s bothersome is not that it’s just a line, but that the White House sees its central economic contribution now as the making up of lines.

Any president will, in a presidential election year, be political. But there is a startling sense with Mr. Obama that that’s all he is now, that he and his people are all politics, all the time, undeviatingly, on every issue. He isn’t even trying to lead, he’s just trying to win.

There’s so much packed into those few paragraphs.  Apparently Noonan has shed the blinders that had her backing Obama in 2008 and sees him for what the rest of us saw him to be all along.  An empty suit.

She talks about the fact that his campaign has been “laying down the line” that it is Europe’s fault our economy is in trouble.  Typical Obama.  He’s failed miserably and, perfectly in character, is trying to blame it on another entity.

Everything is political.  Obama petulantly claimed that it was offensive to be blamed for the national security leaks that have been coming out of his administration.  Question: who the hell else should be blamed?

Most ominously, there are the national-security leaks that are becoming a national scandal—the "avalanche of leaks," according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that are somehow and for some reason coming out of the administration. A terrorist "kill list," reports of U.S. spies infiltrating Al Qaeda in Yemen, stories about Osama bin Laden’s DNA and how America got it, and U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet computer virus, used against Iranian nuclear facilities. These leaks, say the California Democrat, put "American lives in jeopardy," put "our nation’s security in jeopardy."

But everyone of them served to burnish the Obama “Commander-in-Chief” record.  Even DiFi recognizes where they’re coming from.  As Noonan says, it has becomes clear that “he and his people are all politics, all the time” and those leaks simply serve that end.

Finally Noonan talks about the absurd article Obama was waving around touting the equally absurd notion that he was the president who had spent less than any other president.  You have to be a syphilitic inbred moron with a single digit IQ and totally unaware of what has happened these past 4 years to even begin to believe that.   Yet he’s out there presenting it as “fact”.

And then yesterday, he talked about the private sector “doing fine”. 

It is becoming increasingly clear the man has no grounding in or understanding of economics whatsoever.  And so, the claim he’s “smartest man in the room” seems to be only true if the room is empty.

What Noonan’s deconstruction of Obama signals though, in a larger sense, is the disenchantment of the big middle with Obama.  She’s one of the bellwethers. 

You know E.J. Dionne is an Obamabot.  You know Charles Krauthammer is anti-Obama.  Noonan was among those who were nominally from the right but who endorsed Obama last cycle.

It was cool to be for Obama last time.  It was hip.  It was in.  Our first black president.  A chance to show the world our racial differences have been put aside. 

And heck, what real damage could he do, right?  So she touted his candidacy over McCain’s.

Then reality bitch slapped her.

She’s finally now come to the point where the adage “if you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you’re not a racist, you need to vote against him in 2012 to prove you’re not an idiot” is staring her directly in the face.  Credibility is in the balance.

Over the next few months, a whole lot of marginal Obama voters are going to come to the same conclusion and in November, the Obama house of cards will collapse.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Summary of election reporting by legacy media for the next seven months

I’m very busy these days*, so I doubt that I’ll have much time this summer to weigh in on the election. But I don’t think it matters much. We’ve seen enough of these elections, and we now have the measure of the legacy media. It’s not that hard to predict a trajectory in advance.

Insert usual disclaimers here: future is uncertain, who knows what will happen, blah, blah, blah – hey, if any of us could predict the future in detail, we’d be on the beach enjoying all the money we made in the stock market.

With those caveats, here, then, is my expected approximate trajectory of reporting, straight from my patented combination of cracked crystal ball, Ouija board, and leaky 8-ball. It includes short summaries of legacy media narratives at various points from roughly a month ago up until past the election. Along about December, we can see how close I came.

(April) Obama is almost certain to be re-elected. How could anyone think otherwise? Plus, did you know Romney has a weird religion and carries dogs on the top of his car?

(early May) Obama is very likely to be re-elected. Though he has challenges to meet as a result of the problems he inherited from Bush. Plus challenges from wingnuts who take things out of context from his books. Which we are absolutely not going to talk about, especially any stuff about eating dog meat.

(mid May) Romney is a strong candidate because he has so much money, but Obama has the hearts and minds of the people, so he’ll win. The economy is showing signs of improvement, which will help Obama.

(June) Romney’s well-funded right-wing henchmen are going all out, and according to polls this will be a close race, but Obama has the advantage because of his committed base. The economy is improving slowly, despite some negative indicators, and will probably peak just as Obama needs it to.

(early July) Romney’s rich buddies have spent millions to make this a toss up, but Obama’s incumbency and natural connection to voters still make him the likely winner. A lot depends on the continued improvement in the economy. By the way, doesn’t Obama look presidential at this 4th of July event?

(late July) The continuous unfair attacks on Obama have put him somewhat behind in the polls, but there’s still plenty of time for him to catch up as the voters realize who is behind the negative campaigning, and as hoped-for economic improvements kick in.

(early August) Obama seems to be losing his mojo, probably because he’s tired from fighting those nasty right-wing partisans who distort everything he says and denigrate his record by blaming him for things that were Bush’s fault. In other unrelated news, unemployment continues to be high because of the Bush recession and financial markets are jittery because of events in Europe, China, and the Middle East.

(mid-August) Obama has lost his mojo because he’s distracted with important matters of governance and frustrations of unfair right-wing attacks. Yes, we know it’s late summer and Congress is out. There are still important matters of governance. (Shift to tone of the guys at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark claiming “top men” were investigating the ark.) Important. Matters.

(late August) Polls show Romney ahead. Obama is fighting for his political life against great odds, as unscrupulous racist opponents level unceasing unfair attacks and as he continues to fight the Bush recession. By the way, did you know Romney believes in a weird, cult-like religion?

(end of August) Romney’s choice for VP at the GOP convention shows just how far right he is. Choosing such a far-right partisan for VP will benefit Obama. Voters will finally realize just how beholden Romney is to rich conservatives who own yachts. Pay no attention to the polls showing Romney with a large lead. It’s just a post-convention bounce.

(early Sept, after a mediocre speech done by Obama at the Democratic National Convention after a couple of days rest, in which he sounds a little like he did in 2008:) Obama has regained his mojo and is surging in the polls according to left-wing polling organization X, and a post-convention bounce has nothing to do with it. By the way, we have an exclusive, documented report that GOP VP candidate X once threw a candy wrapper out on the highway, and is therefore unfit to be vice president.

(late Sept) Obama has pulled almost even again or maybe a little ahead according to internal polls and has momentum that will eventually give him the edge. Due to the rapidly approaching election, we don’t have time to report anything about the economy. But here’s some more negative stuff about GOP VP candidate X.

(early Oct) Romney is a mean rich guy who hates dogs, with an uncaring wife who spends her money on expensive horses, and a VP candidate who is a litterer. We don’t understand how anyone with a brain could vote for him. Look at this thing we just dug up about him which is totally legit and makes him look really bad. Meanwhile, noble Obama is struggling with troubles in Europe and the Middle East, and continued economic problems inherited from Bush, and sure is doing a great job of acting presidential. The race is still very much in doubt. The polls suggesting that Romney has a large and growing lead don’t mean anything.

(late Oct) Obama has mismanaged his campaign by not attacking Romney strongly enough and exposing the fact that he’s a mean, rich guy from a weird cult who throws people out of work. As a result, he might lose the election, though it’s still a toss up according to some small-sample polls who over-sampled urban Democrats by thirty percent.

(early Nov) With voters going to the polls in 48 hours, Obama is embarking on a marathon with twenty speeches a day to remind voters of how wonderful he is. The limited time for planning is the reason the venues are not full to overflowing. Photos of half empty auditoriums are distortions taken while the stage was setting up. Pay no attention to the ones in which Obama is actually speaking to a half-empty auditorium. Those are not from an official media photographer, and are probably Photoshopped.

(election day) As voters go to the polls today, Obama’s campaign staff are quietly confident that the marathon campaigning has turned the tide, and he’s back in the race. Nasty right-wing partisans who will stop at nothing are trying to block him with voter suppression efforts in key states that are probably illegal. Pay no attention to the noble Obama minions at polls bravely fighting back against the wingnuts, even though some get a bit over-enthusiastic and hold billy clubs while standing outside polling doors.

(election day plus two) Obama looks like he has lost a close election, though recounts in several states could still win it for him. Republicans are trying to block all recounts, probably to cover up their own illegal election tampering.

(election day plus seven) Obama is pinning his final hopes on recounts in large state X, where he is 100,000 votes behind, but his staff has expressed confidence that they know about missing ballots that will close that gap.

(election day plus nine) Some of the missing ballots put forth by Democrats turn out to be shredded newspapers in cardboard boxes, but Democratic election officials deny any attempts to manipulate election results.

(election day plus ten) Obama has conceded to Romney. As we long predicted, Romney’s money and right-wing meanness were enough to dupe the electorate into electing him over the noble Obama. Though some doubts remain as to whether the election really should gone the other way and was only decided by throwing out Obama votes that were slightly irregular but clearly indicated voters’ intent, and were certainly not votes from dead people and illegal aliens no matter what those right-wing hacks at Fox say.

(late Nov) Romney is now choosing his cabinet. We can only hope that Romney chooses wise and moderate Republicans who will reach across the aisle to the Democratic minority to craft bipartisan legislation to fix our financial crisis which is still left over from the Bush years, and exacerbated by problems in Europe and China, and definitely was not Obama’s fault. Obama and Michelle have been gracious during the transition, and rumors of broken vases in the White House after Obama’s concession speech are just more right-wing rumor-mongering. Michelle has been working so hard with Ann Romney that she hasn’t been seen in public in weeks.

(early Dec) Romney has chosen a cabinet of right-wing partisans, and is off to a bad start. With a questionable election behind him, instead of healing the nation, Romney chose hard-line GOP insiders like Mitch Daniels and Lamar Alexander as advisors. He’s probably going to be worse than Bush.

 

(*) If you’re a software developer and want to see what I’ve been up to lately, my first video training course for online training company Pluralsight went up a couple of weeks ago. More info here. The course is basically me droning on for four hours about user experience design principles, so I doubt that very many of you would be interested, but perhaps a few would be.

Trashing the left on Twitter

John Hinderaker at Powerline discusses what Dale, Michael and I talked about briefly on the podcast last night – i.e. how the left (particularly the Obama campaign) continues to get “clobbered” on Twitter.

If you’re not a denizen of Twitter, you may be unaware of the “streams” represented by hashtags.  Twitter followers know to follow certain streams to keep up on particular conversations/events even if they don’t follow everyone participating in that convo.

Literally thousands will watch a particular Twitter stream represented by a hashtagged word.  Think #Olympics2012 for instance.  Or #WorldSeries2012.  Dancing with the Stars has its own #DWTS hashtags. And fans flock to read what is said in that stream.  Hashtags are added to the end of Twitter messages and direct them to those particular streams for everyone to read.

That’s what the Obama administration and the left in general has been trying to use for some time to use to establish narratives or conversations they think will be beneficial to them.  And for the vast majority of them, it has blown up in their faces because almost immediately, the hashtag they publish becomes a target of the right and, frankly, it ends up being highjacked.

The most recent examples are given by John:

Maybe it’s because Twitter puts a premium on brevity and cleverness. I don’t know. But for some reason, it seems to be a natural medium for conservatives. We saw it when the Hilary Rosen interview (“Ann Romney never worked a day in her life”) prompted a Twitterstorm. We saw it again when #ObamaEatsDogs exploded, and when #Julia blew up in the White House’s face like an exploding cigar. Currently, the White House is promoting #AskMichelle, where loyal Democrats can go to ask the First Lady a question. Only nearly all of the questions have come from conservatives. A sampling:

-When you vacation in Hawaii, can you see the rise of the oceans beginning to slow?
-What’s up this week for the @BarackObama campaign and “Operation Change the Subject” (to anything except the economy)?
-Do you still exchange May Day cards with Bill and Bernadette?
-Do you think your daughters should request affirmative actions preferences?
-Do you still get Christmas cards from the Rezkos and Blagojeviches?
-So who succeeded you at that critical, highly important $300k/year community outreach job at UC hospital?
-I have several friends who specialize in relocation. Shall I give them your number so they can help you relocate in January?

You have to know that such attempts and the result must really frustrate the on-line types at the Obama Campaign headquarters.  It is like they set them up on a tee for the right.

One of the things I asked last night was how such a supposedly net savvy campaign staff could repeatedly do these sorts of things and expect different results?   How many times do you have to see the same thing happen before you figure out that the strategy is fatally flawed?

The answer?  When you figure out it isn’t 2008 anymore.  I’m not sure his staff has figured that out yet.  In 2008, they likely could have gotten away with this.  But 2012 brings us what?  Oh, yeah, a president with a record, something he lacked 4 years ago.

And, as we’ve seen, he’s reluctant to talk about it, certainly isn’t touting it and provides few venues for others to question him about it.

Except with his clueless Twitter gang.

Long may they continue to flail away trying to find some hashtag that won’t provide the usual .  They at least provide some comic relief to this travesty.

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

What’s the subject today? Not the economy …

While President Obama tries to keep the subject on anything but the economy (and I think he miscalculated on the gay marriage thing), the economy continues to take its toll whether the center of media attention or not.

Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and handling it remains President Barack Obama’s weak spot and biggest challenge in his bid for a second term, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

And the gloomier outlook extends across party lines, including a steep decline in the share of Democrats who call the economy "good," down from 48 percent in February to just 31 percent now.

And yet we’re engaged in discussions about whether Romney was a bully and Obama was bullied or gay marriage.

The economy is the No. 1 issue in the presidential race, thanks to the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression and one of the shallowest-ever recoveries.

While the recession officially ended in summer 2009, unemployment remains stubbornly high, at 8.1 percent in April. Some 12.5 million Americans are out of work.

The increasing skepticism toward the recovery tracks a weakening overall economy as measured by the gross domestic product, and matches economic growth downgrades by many economic forecasters.

We keep hearing the “economy is the No. 1 issue in the presidential race” but we rarely hear about it in that regard.

Instead we’re continually diverted and distracted by the latest “issue du jure”. 

You’d almost think it was a strategy.

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Obama didn’t make a “gutsy call” but he didn’t cover his rear either

I am on record saying that Joe Biden is full of crap when he tried to sell Obama’s decision to okay the raid that killed bin Laden as “gutsy”.  Biden’s claim is that had the raid failed, his presidency would have been over.

Nonsense.  We’d have simply never heard about it.  There was no risk to Obama or his presidency to okay the raid and tremendous upside (which he continues to try to cash in on) if it succeeded.  Most reasonable people know and understand that.  It is the usual Biden hubris.

But, this new claim which has been floated by Big Peace is also nonsense.  The claim is a memo that authorized the raid also was used to cover the President’s rear if it failed.  Here’s the memo that is being touted as proof:

Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.

The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.

The decision to shift operational command to McRaven is being characterized as a CYA move by the president who, if the raid failed, would or could throw McRaven under the bus.

Nonsense.

What was done is exactly what should have been done by standard operating procedure for any operation – unless, of course, you want people who have no situational awareness, haven’t been in on the planning and are thousands of miles away, making minute-to-minute operational decisions.  You know LBJ designating targets in North Vietnam or Jimmy Carter trying to run the Iranian operation.

Of course you give operational control to the operational commander for heaven sake.  He’s the guy who has planned, rehearsed and is most familiar with the operation.  He knows the operators, he knows the terrain, he has helped configure the force, he knows the best time to go in.

He is the guy best qualified to have operational control and the shift noted at 10:45 am means at that point it was up to the best qualified man to make the call “go”.

The sort of nonsense that Big Peace is running is, unfortunately, done out of apparent ignorance.  This is not a story.  It has nothing to do with CYA.  It is how operations are done.  When the command authority, who retains the right to make the decision of “go” or “no go”, makes the decision to  proceed they then hand the operation off to the operational commander.

That’s what was done here.  It was the correct thing to do.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am no fan of Obama’s. And I remember when he criticized another campaign for using bin Laden to “score political points”.  But this sort of attack is just nonsense.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

New tone: How culpable is the news media and the left in this crime? (Update)

I ask because I have found the coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting and death to be sensationalist and, many times, based in rumor later found to be incorrect.

Or, to put a finer point on it, the coverage of the case has been anything but objective and fact based.

For instance, the original reports that said the incident was a white on black killing.  In fact, Zimmerman isn’t white.  He’s Hispanic.  ABC then published a video from the police station claiming there was no evidence of injury.  A closer look revealed ample evidence of injury, but that meme had already traveled the world twice.  MSNBC, not to be out done, made the claim that Zimmerman uttered a racial slur that was caught on the 911 tape.  Again, when examined more closely, it appeared clear that it wasn’t a racial slur at all, but a comment on the weather.

Meanwhile, the race baiters, attracted to the killing like sharks to chum, had picked up on the story as presented by the media and converged on Sanford FL, the site of the killing, to seek “justice” for Trayvon Martin.

Well, apparently some of it was served yesterday … in Mobile, AL:

Mobile police need your help to catch a mob that beat Matthew Owens so badly that he’s in critical condition.

According to police, Owens fussed at some kids playing basketball in the middle of Delmar Drive about 8:30 Saturday night. They say the kids left and a group of adults returned, armed with everything but the kitchen sink.

Police tell News 5 the suspects used chairs, pipes and paint cans to beat Owens.

Owens’ sister, Ashley Parker, saw the attack. "It was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed." Parker says 20 people, all African American, attacked her brother on the front porch of his home, using "brass buckles, paint cans and anything they could get their hands on."

And, according to Ms. Parker, as they were leaving something else occurred:

What Parker says happened next could make the fallout from the brutal beating even worse. As the attackers walked away, leaving Owen bleeding on the ground, Parker says one of them said "Now that’s justice for Trayvon." Trayvon Martin is the unarmed teenager police say was shot and killed February 26 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.

The left is fond of trying to blame the right for inciting incidents of violence.  The Gabby Gifford shooting is the most recent example. 

I have to wonder if the news media who sensationalized the Martin shooting and the race hustlers who inflamed the situation are willing to take the blame for this beating?

UPDATE: Ace points to two more beatings that appear to have been motivated by the Martin case.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Media again goes with unsubstantiated rumor in Nikki Haley story

Yesterday I talked about the horrendous coverage of the Trayvon Martin case by much of the mainstream media.  How, now, they’re walking a back much of what they claimed in stories they aired or wrote.  About how both NBC and ABC had abused anything called objective and/or unbiased reporting with NBC’s purposeful re-editing of a 911 tape to make Zimmerman sound racist and ABC’s false claims concerning a lack of injuries to Zimmerman as well as claiming he made a racial slur on the 911 call.

Not to mention the NY Daily News’ claim that Neo-Nazis were patrolling Sanford FL, a completely false rumor a simple check with the Sanford Police Dept. would have revealed (as a blogger proved). 

Well, the beat goes on:

It took only two minutes. An unfounded report on a little-known blog claiming that Gov. Nikki R. Haley was about to be indicted rocketed from South Carolina political circles into national circulation, along the way becoming the latest lesson in the perils of an instantaneous news culture.

Well, no, that’s not the peril.  The peril is forgetting to do what journalists and editors are supposed to do and that is check their sources and get confirmation before going with a story.

But again, at numerous main stream media organizations, those three levels of editors came up with a big #FAIL.

But journalists from news outlets that reposted Mr. Smith’s report on Twitter — including establishments old and venerable (The Washington Post, CBS News) as well as new and widely read (The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed) — had no way of knowing that in the minutes after it went online, and did not stop to check first.

March 29, 12:52 p.m.: The Palmetto Public Record publishes an article online with the headline “Haley indictment imminent? Stay tuned. …” It cites two unidentified “well-placed legal experts” who said they expected the federal Department of Justice to indict Ms. Haley “as early as this week” on charges stemming from her involvement with a local Sikh temple.

12:54 p.m.: A blogger for The Hill, a Washington newspaper that focuses on government and politics, sends a Twitter post about the article to his 1,500 followers, who include several prominent political journalists with large Twitter followings that reach into the tens of thousands. Some then repost the item — BuzzFeed just two minutes later; The Washington Post 18 minutes after that.

1:03 p.m.: The Daily Beast posts a short article, which it later removes, about the Palmetto Public Record report, becoming one of many online outlets to write lengthier items, including Daily Kos and The Daily Caller. Headlines like one on the Atlantic Wire’s post, “Nikki Haley Probably Won’t Win Republican Veepstakes,” are common.

1:12 p.m.: A USA Today reporter contacts Ms. Haley’s office with a request for comment, the first of dozens of such inquiries that will deluge the governor and her staff for the rest of the day.

1:22 p.m.: The Romney campaign, which is reported to be considering Ms. Haley as one of many possible vice-presidential choices, receives a request for comment from ABC News.

1:25 p.m.: Mr. Smith seems bemused by all the attention his report is getting, posting on Twitter: “Well, now I know what it’s like to watch a story go viral in real time.”

3:29 p.m.: Matt Drudge, whose heavily visited Drudge Report can help drive decisions in newsrooms around the country, links to a Daily Caller article under the headline “REPORT: DOJ targets S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.”

And none of it was true.

Not everyone pushed it out there though:

“I saw the original Tweets, and my first thought was that I’d never heard of the Web site that reported it,” said Byron York, the chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. Mr. York, a prolific Twitter poster, decided not to send the item out to his 30,000 followers. “It was a pretty easy decision to stay away from it,” he said.

D’oh!

Uh, no it wasn’t that easy, Byron … see the rumor mongers above who couldn’t resist.  Not that repeated failures by the main stream media will at any point lesson the condescending lectures  we’ll continue to get from them about why they’re so superior to blogs.  Will these repeated failures on the part of the media prompt any soul searching?  Has it in the past?

More importantly, given their part is spreading a false rumor one has to ask,  where does Gov. Haley go to get her reputation back, media?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Has the Trayvon Martin incident become more about the media than the shooting?

If you’ve been following this incident at all, you know that much of what was initially reported was wrong and some of what has been reported since was false, manufactured and/or misleading.

American Thinker has a good round up of the story to this point.  In the article, Jeff Lipke outlines the “myth” as it was perpetrated by the media.

The two worst offenders in my opinion have been NBC and ABC.  NBC aired an edited 911 tape which was clearly meant to depict George Zimmerman as a racist.  They continue to try to defend it as a “mistake”.  No one with any common sense is buying that nonsense.

ABC used footage of Zimmerman’s arrival at the Sanford police station to claim that it didn’t support his claim he’d been attacked as there was no evidence of blood or contusions. Never mentioned was the fact that Zimmerman had been treated by EMTs who are not in the habit of leaving visible blood on a patient they treat.  Subsequent enhancement showed that initial claim by ABC to have been incorrect.  Additionally, ABC claimed that Zimmerman had used a racial slur when talking to the 911 operator.  Again, enhancing the audio makes it clear he didn’t and instead seems to be remarking about how cold it was that night.  In fact, for central Florida, it was a cold night.  But ABC jumped to the conclusion because it supported the desired evolving story line – it was a racial killing.

The unraveling of the myth seems to have the whole story losing steam.  That may be why Al Sharpton decided to be a no-show at this weekend’s rally.   And there have also been incidents that have done little to gain sympathy for Trayvon Martin.  HIs parents attempt to copyright his name obviously hoping to capitalize on his death. Then there was the rally for Martin by members of the school he attended which turned into a flash-mob looting of a local drug store.

But for the media, this has been anything but its finest hour.  One of the reoccurring criticism of blogs by the media is they’ll publish anything and have no editors to check them.  Yet it is the media, especially the two networks named above, who’ve seemed to fall into that category, editors notwithstanding.

Take the latest story circulating.   Supposedly “Neo-Nazis” are patrolling Sanford, FL.  The NY Daily News reports this as a fact.  But Legal Insurrection’s Professor Jacobson has actually tried to confirm it (wait, isn’t that what editors and research assistants are supposed to do in the media?).  And, according to his inquiry to the Sanford Police Department, there’s no evidence of any neo-Nazi group patrolling the city:

My initial e-mail (which included an embedded link to the Memeorandum thread):

“There are a number of reports in the media that Neo-Nazis are conducting armed patrols in Sanford.  Can you confirm or deny whether this is true, and provide any information you have on the subject? If someone is able to get back to me as soon as possible (and before Monday) that would be appreciated, since such rumors are spreading.”

Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:

“At this time the City of Sanford has not confirmed the presence of Neo-Nazis groups.”

My follow up:

“You say “not confirmed.” Is there any indication of such patrols that the Department is aware of?”

Further Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:

“We have no indication of any such patrols at this point in Sanford. The only large gathering was the children and their parents at the Easter egg hunt.”

How poorly are we being served by a media which now seems to be engaged in precisely what it criticized blogs for?  And how ironic is it that a blog is doing the work the media should be doing?  That’s not to say blogs are in the clear.  Every left wing blog of any size has been parroting the rumor as well.

But the fact remains this case, no matter how you feel about it, has shown the media in a very unflattering light.  Sensationalism, poor journalism, lousy and false editing, conclusion jumping,  and rumor mongering have all been evident in their coverage.

And the industry wonders why so many Americans don’t trust them any more?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

New York Time editorial declares war on GOP [update]

I sometimes wonder what world the editorial board of the New York Times calls home.  It certainly isn’t the one the rest of us live in.  But I guess it is necessary to live in an alternative world to be able to push narratives like it pushes in an editorial today.  The NY Times has decided, to use a poker term, to go “all in” on Obama’s “right-wing extremism” and “dishonesty” meme. 

Referencing the Obama speech yesterday, the editorial board says:

Mr. Obama provided a powerful signal on Tuesday that he intends to make this election about the Republican Party’s failure to confront, what he called, “the defining issue of our time”: restoring a sense of economic security while giving everyone a fair shot, rather than enabling only a shrinking number of people to do exceedingly well. His remarks promise a tough-minded campaign that will call extremism and dishonesty by name.

Remember Obama, who’s answer to the “defining issue of our time”, submitted each of the two years (I’m talking about his budgets) has gone a collective 0-511.  That’s right, the two budgets he’s submitted to address the “defining issue of our time” hasn’t garnered a single vote in two years.  

Why?  Primarily because neither of the budgets convinced a single legislator of either party, to include the President’s own, that they addressed that issue at all.

Yet he presumes to lecture the GOP on the failure to confront this issue?  And the NYT somehow manages to buy into that nonsense?

The GOP budget at least passed the House.  The NYT presumes that no negotiations are possible because, again, it buys into the Obama claim that the GOP won’t compromise.   Nonsense.  Compromise doesn’t mean wholesale capitulation.  In an negotiation or compromise there are lines drawn over which the two parties won’t give in.  Each side has them.  The NYT and Obama, naturally, want to characterize the lack of movement as GOP intransigence.  But the Democrats are equally intransigent.  They want more money in taxes.  The GOP continues to point out that taxes aren’t the problem.  The problem is spending.

Says the NYT:

Mr. Obama has, in recent months, urged Republicans to put aside their destructive agenda. But, in this speech, he finally conceded that the party has demonstrated no interest in the values of compromise and realism. Even Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes in multiple budget deals, “could not get through a Republican primary today,” Mr. Obama said. While Democrats have repeatedly shown a willingness to cut entitlements and have agreed to trillions in domestic spending cuts, he said, Republicans won’t agree to any tax increases and, in fact, want to shower the rich with even more tax cuts.

Ronald Regan agreed to raising taxes in return for what from the Democrats?

Spending cuts.  In fact as I recall, his deal was 1 1/2 to 2 times the spending cuts to the tax increases.  Guess what never happened?

That’s right – spending cuts.

So call it a lesson learned.  What the GOP is pointing out that until the spending cuts are implemented and take effect, there is no reason to discuss revenue increases.

That’s a common sense approach that best safeguards the citizenry’s money and is based on a history that says the Democrats don’t keep their word about spending cuts.

I don’t blame the GOP for refusing to compromise on taxes.

Finally, and I’ve flipped the paragraph order in the editorial, consider the NYT lede:

President Obama’s fruitless three-year search for compromise with the Republicans ended in a thunderclap of a speech on Tuesday, as he denounced the party and its presidential candidates for cruelty and extremism. He accused his opponents of imposing on the country a “radical vision” that “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity.”

There has been no search for compromise with President “I won”.  None.  And it is amazing to see smaller and less intrusive government being characterized as a “radical vision” that is “antithetical to our entire history”.  It is the basis of our entire history up until the welfare state came into being.

“The land of opportunity” was such because of a lack of government interference, not because of it.  Obama and the left continue to attempt to rewrite history in a manner in which they redefine the words and key phrases that characterized our nation differently than they’d like prior to the institution of the welfare state.

The radical vision is that which Obama, the NYT  and the Democrats continue to push, not the GOP.  They don’t seem to understand that the majority of the American people have come to understand that we just can’t afford their radical vision and that government control of more and more of our lives is not a “good thing”. 

If there is anyone out of touch with the American people it is Mr. 0-511. He hasn’t a clue.

And neither does the New York Times editorial board.

UPDATE: A further thought sparked by a comment by The Shark.  If compromise is what Obama and the Democrats really want, they’ve had two opportunities to actually force that or at least make the argument they attempted it.  For two years the GOP House has passed a budget.   The way the Congress works is the Senate then passes its version of the budget and the two houses of Congress get together and hash out the differences (known commonly as “compromise). 

Except the Democratically controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 1000 days.  So who isn’t interested in compromise, Mr. President?  And why aren’t you exerting a little leadership and confronting the Senate about its dereliction of duty?  If “compromise” is so all fired important to you, why are you neglecting the easiest way of forcing it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

What reporters do … or at least continue to pretend to do

I was reading TIME’s “Battleland” blog about the Sergeant that allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children.

The reporter/blogger wrote this before the Sergeant had been identified to the press and the reporter produced a long list of extenuating and mitigating circumstances that might work in the favor of the then unnamed Sergeant.   All of them, says the reporter were from his defense attorney, or strong rumor or innuendo or, in some cases fact:

– He was suffering from marital strife.

– He was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

– He was suffering from a traumatic brain injury he got in Iraq in 2010.

– The Army inadequately tested him and permitted his redeployment despite those conditions.

– He’d been promised he wouldn’t have to go back to war after his third tour in Iraq.

– He was ordered to Afghanistan overnight for his fourth tour in December.

– He saw a buddy’s leg blow off hours before the massacre.

– He got drunk before leaving his southern Afghanistan post at 3 a.m. to kill 16 men, women and children.

The reporter then says:

Army mental-health and legal officials aren’t surprised by the expanding roster. That’s what defense attorneys do. And – to avoid the death penalty, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said is possible in this case – proving only one of these extenuating conditions may be sufficient to keep him alive at Fort Leavenworth, albeit for life.

I don’t disagree.   That’s what defense attorneys do. 

However, speaking of trying to introduce extenuating and mitigating circumstances, you have to understand that the reporter is trying to excuse the press for reporting rumors and innuendo.

To do that, the reporter breaks out the BS flag and waves it from the top of Mt. Hood:

It’s also what reporters do, especially when the press lacks a name so they are unable to dig into the suspect’s childhood to see what role his parents, siblings, elementary-school teachers and fellow Boy Scouts may have played.

No it’s not.  Proof? Two words: Barack Obama

Tell me about his Harvard days, Mr. Reporter.  Or heck, his Columbia days.  ACORN days?  Community organizer days (and not just quotes from his book, thank you very much)?  Tell me about his association with Derrick Bell, Bill Ayres and Jeremiah Write and what effect they had on his life.  You dug into all of that, right?  Tell me about others with whom he associated throughout his life and the role they played in his life.   Got a clue?

Yeah … I know … never mind.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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