Category Archives: Journalism & Media

See How They Spin: Justifying Hillary Clinton Fans’ Ignorance

Anything to avoid admitting the truth...

Anything to avoid admitting the truth…

Apparently Mark Halperin still has a job with Bloomberg after his atrocious interview with Ted Cruz, since he is back in the news. He held a discussion with some Iowa voters who think Hillary Clinton is just wonderful—you know, morons—and when he asked them to name her accomplishments in the one job she has held requiring leadership and management, Secretary of State, they couldn’t come up with anything. None of them. This has caused comment among pundits and consternation among Democrats.

Well, what did Halperin expect them to say? Clinton was a disaster as Secretary of State, as evidenced by the fact that President Obama’s foreign police has reaped the wild wind. Hillary’s tenure left the U.S. with ISIS, a failed state in Libya, chaos in Iraq,  a more nuclear Iran, Hamas attacks on Israel, a North Korean government that felt it could threaten a U.S. corporation with impunity, Russian incursions into the Ukraine, continuing violence in Syria, and, of course, a Mexico that encourages its citizens to have contempt for the laws of the United States. Meanwhile, she used her office to attract foreign and domestic interests to give large amounts of cash to her foundation, while paying her family large amounts of money through speaking fees that look suspiciously like access fees. Of course, it’s doubtful that these classic low information voters knew anything about her failures and misdeeds, either. The incident was nothing more nor less than supplementary proof that Hillary Clinton’s supporters have turned their brains and/or consciences off, and want her to be President in the absence of evidence or in defiance of it, not because of any rational analysis.

Nonetheless, the Hail Hillary team in the news media rushed to explain what needed no explanation, using a lot of rationalization and spin. In the Washington Post, Hunter Schwartz does himself proud with his skill in rationalizing and changing the subject:

“[N]ot being able to name specific things politicians have done isn’t that unusual for the average voters.  Quick, name something that John Kerry has done as Secretary of State. Right. Think Iowa Republicans could do much better naming significant things Jeb Bush did as governor or Marco Rubio has done in the Senate? So, yes, while the stumped Democrats’ response might be short-term vindication for Republicans, it not necessarily that damaging for Clinton.”

Ugh. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Citizenship, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

Cover-up: Successful

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee's investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don't mind being lied to any more.

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee’s investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don’t mind being lied to any more.

From USA Today:

One day after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the assault had been planned 10 days earlier by an al-Qaeda affiliate, according to documents released Monday by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. “The attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman,” said a preliminary intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained through a lawsuit following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Wait…I thought that Hillary Clinton, State, President Obama and Susan Rice were all laboring under the misconception that the attack was spontaneous and prompted by a YouTube video, and the claims that the Obama Administration was stalling the revelations of what they already knew so Mitt Romney couldn’t challenge Obama’s carefully manufactured narrative that he had terrorism on the run were just partisan sour grapes. That’s been the spin the liberal press has been accepting from the White House for over two years.

What’s going on here? Well, the “narrative” carefully shifted away from the most transparent administration in history lying to the American public to excessive Republican claims that the outpost wasn’t given proper security, wasn’t rescued when it could have been, was the product of criminal incompetence. As soon as those accusations failed, Democrats and the news media promptly adopted the official Obama line: Benghazi was a “nothingburger,” in the contemptuous words of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. It was a manufactured scandal of no substance designed to discredit Hillary Clinton.

But no evidence proved that Obama, Clinton and Rice weren’t lying about the attacks being spontaneous and not organized terrorism, and all the evidence has demonstrated the contrary, with this latest piece of the puzzle simply filling in some of the blanks. Of course, the latest story wasn’t even covered by most of the mainstream media; I was shocked to see it in USA Today. Judicial Watch is a conservative organization, you see. To be fair, it’s a whack job conservative organization. That means it could legitimately discover cold fusion and the news media wouldn’t pay attention.

Maybe it isn’t news. After all, the Obama cover-up worked. As Harry Reid said, after admitting his part in the organized effort to make sure that the 2012 Presidential elections was based as much on smears, lies and slight of hand as real issues, “Romney lost, didn’t he?” Hillary’s famous dismissal of the issue in the Benghazi hearings was on the mark: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Continue reading

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Note To The News Media: Stop Encouraging Consequentialism!

Marco Rubio gallantly stood up to Fox’s Chris Wallace as the news anchor repeatedly asked him whether “knowing what we know now,” it was a mistake to invade Iraq in 2001. The previous version of the question that inexplicably tripped up Jeb Bush was self-answering: knowing how badly it would work out, no sane leader would make that decision, but since nobody can see into the future, it is like asking if we should have recruited Superman to help out U.S. troops if, you know, he was real. Wallace’s question, if possible, is worse. It validates the ethics rotting principle of consequentialism, in which we judge an action by its unpredictable results.

An decision is only a mistake if it was badly reasoned based on the information the decision-maker had at the time the decision was made. It does not become a mistake based on subsequent, unknowable events. Similarly, an action doesn’t become ethical just because it worked out well, or unethical because it didn’t. This misconception is rampant among the public, and leads to bad policy, bad decision-making, bad leadership, bad lots of things. It is bad.

Hectored by Wallace, Sen. Rubio, who does understand that “mistake” doesn’t mean what Wallace was implying it does, kept saying, “No, it was not a mistake, because it was the right decision based on what we knew at the time.” Now, you can argue that the decision was the wrong one based on that information, but that’s not what Wallace was asking…and asking, and asking. He obviously thinks “mistake” is defined as a decision that doesn’t work out the way the decision-maker hoped. Wrong.

Chris Wallace was making his audience dumber and less ethically astute. We judge actions and decisions based on the quality of the choice when it is made, which includes a rational, well-reasoned analysis of its likely results. By Wallace’s logic, driving home from the Christmas party smashed is only a mistake if you crash, kill someone, or get arrested.  The sober party goer who gets killed by a drunk driver as he drives home, in Wallace’s reasoning, made a mistake going to the party at all. The lesson, apparently, is that its a mistake to go to parties.

This is how incompetent and arrogant journalists made us dumber, and our leaders so risk averse that they are incompetent.

By the way, on CNN this morning, the gang is making fun of Rubio, like he’s the idiot. Of course. After all, he’s a Republican.

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

If You Are Going To Make Citizens United A Campaign Issue, You Are Ethically Obligated To Know What The Decision Actually Says

straw man

Here: read the damn thing.

There may have been other Supreme Court decisions that have been more shamefully misrepresented by pundits, activists and demagogues, but I can’t think of one.

The case is back in the news because Hillary Clinton, who  will try for a world record in cynical pandering to the least informed voters if she gets the Democratic nomination, told a group of her top fundraisers this week that if she is elected president, her nominees to the Supreme Court must share her belief that the Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision should be overturned, according to people who heard her remarks. In this she is echoing socialist candidate Bernie Sanders, who has said…

“If elected president, I will have a litmus test in terms of my nominee to be a Supreme Court justice. And that nominee will say that we are all going to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United because that decision is undermining American democracy. I do not believe that billionaires should be able to buy politicians.”*

The decision does not say that, or hold that, nor are the implications of the decision intended to allow that. Never mind. Bernie’s ideological leftist supporters don’t care what the decision really is about any more than Clinton does. It’s just a rallying cry against “the rich” and “big corporations.” The slogan is a positive litmus test result for ignorance, or, in Bernie’s case, the willingness to deceive. In Hillary’s case, it is just Hillary being Hillary, trying to keep Sanders from flanking her on the left. Do any of those who cheered her fatuous remarks about the decision know what the decision says? I’m dubious. I don’t even think that’s what they were cheering. They were cheering the symbolic use of the case as class warfare rather than the case itself. In fact, Hillary must be banking on nobody paying attention to the case for a very simple reason. Citizens United was about whether that government could ban a documentary that was critical of…Hillary Clinton!

That’s right, a presidential candidate is going to be on record that the films, books and other communications that criticize her should be illegal. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

The Jeb Bush “Gotcha!”: Unfair Question, Dumb Answers

Enough about Iraq, Jeb: When did you stop beating your wife?

Enough about Iraq, Jeb: When did you stop beating your wife?

In the vast history of unfair questions, even including such immortals as “When did you stop beating your wife?,”none is more unanswerable in a substantive way than the question Jeb Bush was asked on Fox News—yes, that’s the same Fox News that supposedly lobs softballs for any Republican. The question: “Knowing what we know now” would he have authorized the Iraq war?

What possible use is that question, other than as an exercise in complete hindsight bias? If the answer is no, it appears to validate the dishonest criticism of the war decades ago, by those who attributed new knowledge about the infamous WMD’s to the original decision, which wasn’t about weapons of mass destruction in the first place. If it is yes, it is evidence of insanity.

Now we know that the invasion would be botched, the U.N. would cravenly and irresponsibly withhold support for enforcing its own resolutions, that our hillbilly soldiers would torture Iraqi prisoners and take photos of it, that the new Iraqi government would be incompetent and corrupt, that the news media would assist Democrats in re-writing the history of the decision, and most of all, that even after the situation in Iraq had finally been stabilized, an incompetent President would prematurely pull out our troops, causing the government to implode and ISIS to thrive.

George W. Bush had even said when he was President that if he had known that no WMD’s were there, he would not have invaded Iraq. That was also a dumb answer at the time, and I believe a dishonest one. But today, W. would give the same answer, and knowing what we know now, it would be both correct and honest. That’s if he were silly enough not to say, as his younger brother was too dim to say, this:

“I’m not answering that. It’s pointless. Would Lee have ordered Pickett’s Charge, knowing how it would turn out? Would I have left the dock as captain of the Titanic, knowing that it would hit an iceberg? Would I have approved the Space Shuttle program, knowing that two shuttles would meet with disaster? “Would you still go to see ‘Our American Cousin,’ Mrs Lincoln?” A decision can only be judged based on what the known situation is at the time. It cannot be fairly judged based on the results of the decision, immediately or years later. That’s consequentialism; it’s a logical fallacy.

and

“Nor can I answer the question of what I would have decided in my brother’s place, because I do know how things worked out, and he, of course, could not know. So asking that question is unfair to me, and answering it would be unfair to him. “

But Jeb was too dim to say that. So first he answered… Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Comment of the Day: “Remember That “Kaboom!” About ABC’s George Stephanopoulos’ Hypocritical Conflict Of Interest? Well…”

Still exploding after all these years...

Still exploding after all these years…

I knew I would quickly regret making the initial post about George Stephanopoulos’s undisclosed and hypocritical conflict of interest partially about me rather than just George. I couldn’t resist, though: I was still (am still) annoyed by the comments on the original post that suggested that there was nothing wrong with his cross-examination of “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer and his mouthing all of the Clinton team’s talking points while sounding like a clone of Lanny Davis.

I’ll admit it: I am finding it increasingly difficult to hold anything but contempt for those who refuses to see, or admit that they see, how corrupt Hillary Clinton is, and how utterly unqualified and untrustworthy she is to hold any elective office. I have the least respect for the women who disgrace feminism (and embrace bigotry) by saying that they will (ewwww) “vote with their vaginas.” This is the essence of brain-dead tribalism: sorry, if all you care about in the White House is chromosomes, you’re a sexist idiot and a disgrace to democracy. I’m curious, too: is there anyone with a vagina that you wouldn’t vote for? Rosie O’Donnell?  Maxine Waters? Sofia Vergara?  Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Paris Hilton? Kris Kardashian? ANY Kardashian? Because, you know, I’d trust any one of them at least as much as I’d trust Hillary Clinton.

Stephanopoulos was angry and adversarial in the interview, while Schweizer was candid and unconfrontational. The ABC News star’s pro-Clinton orientation—sharp tone, annoyed expression, defense attorney language— was obvious to anyone not thinking “Go get him, George!” That’s not objectivity. That’s taking sides, without admitting it.

I was right again, you’ll note, when I concluded by saying that ABC wouldn’t discipline George, and that’s exactly what the network has said. The entire journalistic establishment should rise up and slam the network for this, but all but a few slivers of that establishment are as corrupt, biased and conflicted as George and his bosses. Tell me, ABC, why is he too conflicted to moderate debates, but not too conflicted to continue to interview candidates and critics challenging Clinton? Or to discuss controversies involving the Clintons, or to moderate—moderators are supposed to be fair and neutral–round table discussions about those controversies? Would an objective moderator keep putting a paid Democratic operative like Donna Brazile at his round table and pretend that she is an independent pundit?  ARRRGH!

I’ll have more after Dwayne N. Zechman’s spot-on Comment of the Day covering other aspects of this ethics fiasco, on the post: Remember That “Kaboom!” About ABC’s George Stephanopoulos’ Hypocritical Conflict Of Interest? Well…. Continue reading

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Remember That “Kaboom!” About ABC’s George Stephanopoulos’ Hypocritical Conflict Of Interest? Well…

applause-sign

From Mediaite:

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos was forced to apologize today after it was revealed that he donated roughly $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation in the past two years and never, in all his coverage of Clinton Foundation controversies, disclosed it.

[UPDATE: The new figure is $75,000 in the past three years.]

I don’t generally like to take bows, but I had this one pegged, ladies and gentlemen, exactly.

I had it so pegged that my head exploded, remember? I was astounded that this journalist of all journalists would have the cheese to raise an eyebrow and challenge “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer’s credibility and integrity because he had been a Bush speechwriter, when George himself was playing defense for the Clintons as former long-time Clinton insider, staffer and adviser. Now we know that his conflict was far worse: George Stephanopoulos was debating the propriety of the operation of a Foundation he supported and contributed to.

This isn’t a minor conflict of interest. This is a major one, and not to disclose it—it is not credible that George forgot—is disqualifying for a news anchor…easily as disqualifying as Brian Williams’ tall tales.  The Clinton conflict has always been George’s ethical Achilles heel. I have argued in the past that he should be required to withdraw from covering any story in which the Clintons are involved—and that’s a lot of stories. This proves that Stephanopoulos is insufficiently sensitive to his conflicts, which means he is insufficiently sensitive to conflicts, which means he is insufficiently schooled in the ethics of journalism, which means he is not an ethical journalist, which means he is not a trustworthy journalist. ( The increasingly pathetic New York Times wrote that this makes Republicans less likely to trust him. Good lord. So it’s okay for a Democratic journalist to be conflicted and not transparent as long as he’s biased toward Democrats? What has happened to this paper?) At worst, it means that Stephanopoulos is still an agent of the Clintons. I just know I’ve written this before: a news organization that is properly concerned about its integrity and professionalism would fire him. At very least, he has to be suspended.

He won’t be, and I just explained why. The ABC statement: “As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.” Yes, he’s admitted that he’s a biased, conflicted, dishonest, untrustworthy hack. Can’t wait to see him moderating those debates.

But we’ll have plenty of time for all that.

Meanwhile:

Thank you!

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen!

I’ll be here all week!

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