Bias Makes The News Media Stupid, But It Makes Politicians Untrustworthy Jerks

Dad warned me about people like you, Al...

Dad warned me about people like you, Al…

The Stupid: Journalists

Let me begin by saying how happy I am that the mainstream news medias “fake news” gambit, where it attempted to blame President Trump’s election on ridiculous hoax stories spread on social media to distract from its own biased, dishonest and incompetent reporting, has blown up in its metaphorical face like those Acme booby traps do to Wile E. Coyote.

Here’s a new and especially stupid example of the biased, dishonest and incompetent reporting, although “dishonest” wasn’t in play.

The website Pop Suger posted an extremely inept and confusing story concerning U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in the 2016 Olympics as the first female Muslim American to medal for the United States and the first American to compete in the Games wearing a hijab. The site and the reporter signal their untrustworthiness and Bias Makes You Stupid (BMYS) credentials by writing of the controversial immigration halt Executive Order,

“The executive order blocked thousands of refugees, immigrants, and visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States before it was struck down by a judge many days later.”

No, you ignorant dolts, the order was not and has not been “struck down.” It has been subject to a temporary restraining order, which is absolutely not the same as being struck down, as any second year law student intern could have told you if you cared more about accurate reporting  than bashing the President.

The story described Muhammad’s statements when she took the stage at a conference last week  and answered a question about the “travel ban” by saying that she had been personally “held at Customs for two hours just a few weeks ago.”  The athlete is not as adept at time sense as she is at her sport, because she eventually had to clarify that “just a few weeks ago” meant “in December.”   The website followed  with an update, but never mind. TIME saw her statement, didn’t check the time frame or notice the update, and tweeted yesterday (remember, the story was clarified two days before, and was wrong to begin with) the headline in TIME’s “Motto.”

“Olympic athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad was detained because of President Trump’s travel ban”

The U.K.’s Independent went with a story titled, “US Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad says she was detained by Customs after Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban.’

The Hill published an article whose opening paragraph read, “A Muslim-American Olympic medalist says she was detained by Customs for nearly two hours without explanation after President Trump’s travel ban was instituted a few weeks ago.”

Sports Illustrated and ESPN also published stories implying that Muhammad’s Customs detention was triggered by Trump’s immigration order,  and other journalists and pundits expressed indignation on social media.

Remember,  Muhammad was detained in December of 2016. Barack Obama was President. Trump’s Executive Order was just a twinkle in his eye. Never mind, though. TIME has yet to pull down its tweet, and several of the news sources haven’t corrected the story. None of them have explained how they got it wrong, which would make them look like the hacks they are. The liberal, as in mainstream, media, hasn’t reported  its own botch, either. Why? Because they don’t want the public to know how utterly untrustworthy their reporting, editing and fact-checking is, especially while they are swept up in the Left’s strategy of undermining the ability of the Trump administration to govern.

Yet that is definitely something the public needs to know. What does the mainstream news media think is important? Certainly not the unethical journalism of its compatriots. But  the fact that someone at the Republican National Committee posted a dubious Lincoln quote on the 16th President’s birthday was worthy of long, mocking articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Hill, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, AOL, ABC,  in Vox, and other sources, none of which, so far, have bothered to cover the collective media smear by false facts. Their argument, I’m sure, would be that Ibtihaj Muhammad would have been detained had she traveled “a few weeks ago,” so the story was true enough.

This is called “the Rather Principle.”

And that, my friends, is how and why we get fake news, especially when Trump, immigration, Muslims, women, and an opportunity to show a sympathetic victim of “Nazi” policies are involved.

The Jerks: Two Democratic Senators

What do you think of people with whom you have private conversations, and then without your permission tell others what you said about them? I think they are jerks who have betrayed my trust, and I never, ever trust them again. This is straight Golden Rule stuff. You don’t do it, because you know you would be furious if someone did it to you.

Ah, but when President Trump is involved, the Golden Rule doesn’t apply, fairness doesn’t apply, one’s duty not to use the statements of others as weapons without their consent when they thought a discussion was just between the two of you doesn’t apply, and common decency doesn’t apply…at least not if you are a Democratic Senator.

Jerk I is Senator Richard Blumenthal ( D-Conn.)  While meeting with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Blumenthal asked the judge about his reaction to President Trump’s attacks on the judges who had blocked his Executive Order on refugees and immigration. Gorsuch  responded candidly and correctly that he found the comments “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”  Senator Blumenthal then immediately repeated the exchange to reporters. He knew Gorsuch assumed that the conversation was private. He knew that the betrayal of trust would embarrass the judge, whose “crime” was being candid and trusting a U.S. Senator for who partisan warfare is more important than basic manners and decency. He just didn’t care.The ends justify the means.

The President, predictably, sent out an idiotic and irrelevant tweet:

Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?

First, this is an ad hominem attack. Second, there is no reason to doubt that Gorsuch said that the President’s attack on the judiciary was  disheartening and demoralizing; any judge would say that. I would say that.  Blumenthal, jerk that he is, laid a trap for the judge, and Gorsuch, who is not a politician and still believes in the importance of trust, fell into it. Third, this typical denial of fact by the President gave the news media a chance to duck the real issue, which wasn’t truthfulness but dirty politics practiced by a rotten human being, Senator Blumenthal. Thus we saw media analysis like this, making the story about Trump, instead of any analysis like, well, what you are reading now. We all know, or should, that President  Trump’s personal attacks on judges is unprofessional and wrong. What not everybody has accepted is how completely without scruples the Democratic Party has become in its furious effort to undo the election as a much as it can, which brings us to…

Jerk II, Senator Al Franken (D-Minn). Franken, not surprisingly for a man whose ticket to the political scene was a book called “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations,” engaged in the same basic unethical conduct as his colleague but in an even more sophomoric and despicable manner. Franken told CNN that “a few” Republican Senators had told him that they were concerned  about the President’s mental health. Naturally he knows that the news media will run with this, and that it bolsters the latest stage of the De-legitimize the President And Scare The Public To Death No Matter How Much Harm It Does To The Country Plan, the claim that Trump is insane.

I know my reaction when, in junior high, someone would say “You know, lots of kids hate you, even the ones you think are your friends.”  As usual, my father pointed the way. He said, “Son, that’s just a cruel tactic really nasty  people use to undermine your own confidence and to make you fearful of everyone. Don’t let them do it. If they won’t tell you who they are talking about, and they won’t, then they are the ones who are using other people as an excuse to tell you what they think. And since they are such cowards and so unfair, you don’t want them to like you, and you don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

“But what if there really are kids talking about me behind my back?” I asked. “Two things,” my father said. “First of all, there are always people like that, and you will have to deal with them all of your life. You only pay attention to them when you find out who they are, and then you confront them to their face. Basically, people who act like that have no credibility with anyone, so it doesn’t matter what they say.”

Nevertheless, when someone does to me what Franken did to the President, it drives me crazy, because it drives everyone crazy. You can’t find out who the people are who supposedly made the critical comments, and yet the hearsay that is maliciously passed on still hurts. Of course this is a Golden Rule breach, but it is also signature significance indicating a truly rotten human being. Ethical, nice people just don’t do this. We now know, if there was any doubt before, that Al Franken is a rotten human being. “Jerk” is really too kind.

In Franken’s case, at least, maybe it is inaccurate to call this an example of bias making someone a jerk. Franken has always been a jerk, but isn’t usually stupid. As with the rest of his party and ideological brethren, bias has made him stupid by making him miss what should be obvious. If you are trying to convince the public that an opponent is too much of a jerk to trust to be President, acting like a mega-jerk yourself is counter-productive.

_______________________

Sources: Motto, Washington Examiner

28 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President

28 responses to “Bias Makes The News Media Stupid, But It Makes Politicians Untrustworthy Jerks

  1. Glenn Logan

    Blumenthal and Franken learned at the knee of the second-most unethical man to serve in the Senate in recent memory: Harry Reid. It seems that they are determined not to let his legendary tactics of innuendo and disregard of common human decency die out after he’s gone.

    You do good work pointing this out, Jack. I was hoping this wouldn’t slide by without comment. I have nothing to add, because there is really nothing more to say. You nailed it.

    • Pennagain

      You nailed it, indeed, Jack, as Glenn Logan said. What is most disheartening about this all too frequent progression from lie (whether careless or deliberate) to perceived truth — which may have gone beyond journalism to become a national characteristic where Trump is concerned — is the job of taking that annoying carpentry tool (a cat-claw?) to a hill of wrongly nailed-down boards just to reach the original and yank that one out to show to a world that just shrugs and says “move on”. This is becoming as discouraging to read about it as to do it, and it amazes me that you persevere.

      And thank you very much for influencing me to simplify my own writing. When I remember to do it.

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Reminds me of the common tactic of “two steps forward, one step back.” Even if the media and the senators later have to walk back attacks, the damage has already been done, though maybe not as much as they would like. Like it or not, the media still has the power to write the national narrative, even if it isn’t the whole truth, like “a smart, cool, and popular black senator came out of Illinois and rode a wave of popular discontent with the white establishment all the way to the White House.” Going forward the national narrative will be “a fake-tanned reality TV star who was in way over his head conned this nation into electing him without the popular vote and didn’t know what to do once he got there.”

  3. John Staszak

    Hey Jack, We in Illinois have enough of A Democratic Party created nightmare to deal with without the further indignity of having to take credit for Senator Blumenthal. He’s from Connecticut.

  4. Other Bill

    I think Al Franken’s line was made out of whole cloth. It’s a gag he wrote. He’s a comedy writer. I doubt it has any basis in fact. I guess the people of Minnesota think he’s great and speaking truth to power. I’m sure someone in Minnesota considers him the embarrassment he is. He’s Sarah Silverman but he’s been elected a U.S. Senator.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Not quite. He’s nowhere near as nasty or transgressive as Sarah.

      • Other Bill

        Steve, I think he’s nastier than Sarah because he’s craftier and maintains a greater veneer of legitimacy. Kind of comes with being a senator. I think his election is a travesty.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Then again, MN elected a pro wrestler as governor…

        • Other Bill

          He writes a joke (set up line followed by punch line) and passes it off as reportage. Deplorable.

          So Al, are you writing and delivering comedy or acting as a member of the Senate?

          • Other Bill

            Yes, a pro wrestler as governor was weird but at least he stopped wrestling, didn’t he?

            • Other Bill

              I just think Franken is lefty smugness personified. (See, eg. that face in the picture above. It’s his go to look. It says, “I’m not only smarter than these Republican idiots, they’re hilarious and I’m funny.) He really drives me nuts.

              • Yet he literally refused to make any cracks at all nor utter a word of criticism no matter what the previous President did.

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  He has supposedly been trying to get to a point where people take him seriously, I think it kinda stung when McConnell called him out on eyerolls and gestures during the Kagan hearings. That said, yes, he played the part of the good Democratic soldier and kept quiet when he should have spoken up. He IS a smug jerk, he always has been a smug jerk, and he will always be a smug jerk, but he just won’t make jokes on the Senate floor like it’s a nightclub.

              • True, but, gosh darn it, people like him.

                jvb

  5. Michael Ejercito

    I wonder if those representatives who staged that sit-in in an attempt to enact “No Fly No VBuy” actually support a ban on Muslims immigrating into the country.

  6. Wayne

    I liked Franken a whole lot better when he was doing his Stuart Smalley stitch for SNL. It seems that he has turned into a really untrustworthy nasty Senator. His moral compass is broken and most likely unfixable. “Have you no sense of decency, Senator Franken!”

  7. Can you add Jerk III, Chuck Schumer- for misctornuing Gorsuch’s refusal to answer many questions as a reason to worry that he isn’t valid as a nominee?

    That Schumer is relying on the collective ignorance of Americans about decorum and judicial neutrality.

    Schumer, et al, asked a quantity of questions about Gorsuch’s opinions on a wide range of topics that may potentially or very likely will be presented before the Supreme Court in the near future. In the past, judicial nominees have not answered those questions because their confirmation should not be contingent on the perceived “friendliness” to a desired political outcome of a ruling.

    But Schumer dishonestly claims this proves Gorsuch’s inability to rule at all.

  8. Every now and then, I check out a reddit link and always want to strangle one or more commenters there. This post was linked, and some jackass calling himself “HonestJoe” wrote:

    “Yes, that is well demonstrated by an article about bias, spin and misrepresentation which engages in its own bias, spin and misrepresentation along the way. All as bad as each other.”

    This is the obligatory “everybody does it and nobody’s different” smear, and boy, does it annoy me.

    I defy HonestJoe or anyone to tell me how this post involves any bias, spin or misrepresentation on my part. (Even deery would fail…) The Olympian;s story WAS misreported, It was confirmation bias. The MSM has not covered the botch. Both Senators did do exactly as I described, their conduct was a breach of trust and a Golden Rule violation.

    I just had to ban about the fourth commenter on the Snopes post, as these bitter-enders who don’t want a reliable leftist ally exposed are determined to deny what can’t be denied, and are insulting about it.

    To jerks like HonestJoe, pointing out actual misconduct by anyone means you must be biased against them. You can’t argue with someone who thinks like that, all you can do is….strangle them? Is strangling someone like HonestJoe like punching a Nazi?

    • Other Bill

      My brother in law is like that. Always has been. I think it’s a pretty deep and wide vein in the lefty demographic. It’s verboten to judge anyone. That’s being judgmental and that’s not nice. Must be some Methodist felt banner thing: Judge not lest ye be judged, etc. It’s a very common personality trait.

      • Other Bill

        My bible says “I’ll judge whoever I think needs to be and hell yes, you can go ahead a judge the hell out of me if you’re so inclined. That’s fair. I can take it.”

        • Other Bill

          And of course when lefties criticize anyone, usually on the right of course, they’re not being judgmental, they’re just being right.

    • Glenn Logan

      In my early days as a blogger, when somebody would go at me like this, I’d write a whole post laying the wood to them, and bait it with a click-worthy headline. It’s funny that this comment made me think about that, and how crazy I was to do it. But that was back in the day when the Internet was truly the wild, wild West. It didn’t take long for my readers to get me back on the right track.

      I guess I’m just sorry this person will never get to read your comment above. Knowing nothing about HonestJoe except this one small slice of ignorance makes it worse, as it’s impossible to judge if he’s truly as clueless as this comment makes him look. Maybe one of the readers will alert him to it. Here’s hoping.

  9. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    The “bias makes you stupid” rule needs a new sub-rule or addition (or it’s so obvious that it need not be stated): “Envy makes you stupid.” Because that’s what it’s about: we had power and lost it and we miss it. So we’ll do whatever we have to to try to regain it, now matter how low it may take us.

  10. Isaac

    And the brave, celebrated Ibtihaj Muhammad has a habit of posting tons of crazy conspiracy theories and fake-news on Twitter herself…mostly of the anti-Semetic kind. So it’s like layers of fake-news. It’s fake-news Inception with these people. There’s fake news inside their fake news.

    • Other Bill

      I really don’t get the term “fake news.” What’s wrong with “bull shit?” Normal, intelligent people have been dealing with bullshit their entire lives, for generations. Do we really need a new term?

  11. This story about how the “Olympic athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad was detained because of President Trump’s travel ban” is the exact thing that feeds Progressive Magical Thinking. They don’t give a damn if the story is true or not, they publish it to smear and so left wingers have something to link to to spread the smear in a viral way. This follows the Liberal critical thinking ideological path which “states” that the truth is what I say it is and Conservatives are always wrong.

    The Ends Justify The Means

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