1. Topic for a longer post when I can think hard about it: five officials in Michigan, including the head of the state’s health department, were charged with involuntary manslaughter yesterday in connection with the Flint water fiasco. The use of criminal sanctions based on gross incompetence by public servants is such a slippery slope that I instinctively recoil from it. Unless an official can be shown to have deliberately harmed people, trying officials for crimes when the real “crime” is that they were stupid, negligent, incompetent or lazy has the whiff of scapegoating about it, will discourage more citizens from entering government service, and is so likely to become a political weapon—especially these days–that abuse of process is almost inevitable. The Flint catastrophe involved culpability at three levels of government, all the way to the EPA. These five officials are criminals, and the rest are—what? Acceptably incompetent?
2. The polarization in the news media and society is such that I find myself hesitating to use material that appears on an openly conservative website, papers like the Washington Times or New York Post, or Fox News. This, despite the fact that I use the New York Times and the Washington Post more than any other sources, despite the undeniable evidence that their coverage is often partisan and biased. In the current environment where the Left and its allies appear to be circling the wagons, I encounter articles like the one by Megan Fox discussed in the next item and wonder why similar analysis isn’t appearing in the Times, the Post, or Vox? It is obviously valid and fair. But it is also critical of the left-biased news media, and so far, that entity is refusing to acknowledge how much harm its abandonment of objectivity is inflicting on the nation. So the analysis appears on a right-biased site, giving half the country an excuse to ignore it, and those who read my related post an excuse to dismiss it, and Ethics Alarms.
3. The article is Top 6 Media Lies That Radicalized the Violent Left, written in response to yesterday’s attack on Republicans by a Trump-hating “Bernie Bro,” though much of the news media is spinning that narrative that he’s just a “madman,” just as all those Muslim shooters and stabbers are just “madmen.” Fox’s six:
1. Trump colluded with the Russians.
This wouldn’t be my number #1, but it belongs on the list. The news media has hammered the “ties to Russia” theme outrageously and in a manner designed to create suspicion. There is and has never been any evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia, Putin or Wikileaks to affect the election results. This was a smear, one of many, launched to allow Hillary Clinton to avoid accountability for somehow managing to lose to a ridiculous candidate. Those, and there are many, whose minds can’t accept the fact that someone like Donald Trump could win the Presidency fair and square, have grasped this false accusation as a way out of madness, and assume that eventually it will be proven correct.
This means Trump is a traitor, and you know what we do to traitors….
2. Trump and Republicans hate the planet.
The climate change policy debate was transformed by progressives into a battle between good and evil long ago, at the second skepticism about climate change cant was declared the equivalent of Holocaust denial. At that tipping point the dispute became more likely to turn violent, as fear-mongering infected so many people with climate change panic completely unmoored to facts or science. The public freak-out over the US leaving the largely non-substantive Paris accords was the latest escalation. Killing Republicans to save all life on earth doesn’t sound like such a bad trade-off, does it?
3. Republicans hate gays
Some prominent Republicans and anti-gay zealots helped make this canard plausible by their bigoted rhetoric and efforts to obstruct full rights for LGBT Americans. Still, opposing same-sex marriage, the main battlefield where this weapons was used, is not the same thing as hating gays, though it was politically expedient for gay activists to frame it as such. The issue was touched upon in the last post.
4. Republicans have launched a war on women’s health
A still live dishonest and inflammatory accusation from 2012. Imagine if the entire Republican party, aided by an overwhelmingly conservative news media, relentlessly promoted the belief that Democrats hated babies, and this was why millions of nascent human lives were ended by abortion every year. Which party would be ducking sniper shots then?
5. Republicans want you to die.
This statement has been made in exactly these words by Democratic Prep. Alan Grayson, Bernie Sanders said that “thousands of Americans would die” if Republicans repealed ObamaCare. “Families will go bankrupt. People will die,” Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted.
Save a life, shoot a Republican…
6. “Nationalism” is synonymous with “racist”
There are more than six, but these are real incitements to violence against Republicans, even without assassinations in Central Park.
4. It was so predictable that rather than accept their share of responsibility for creating the toxic culture of fear and hate that led to yesterday’s shooting, the propaganda organs of “the resistance” would once again try to use the tragedy to attack the right to bear arms. Today’s New York Times editorial was especially hypocritical, since not even CNN approaches the volume of daily Republican hate the Times belches into the atmosphere. “This was one of two mass shootings in the United States on Wednesday. At a San Francisco UPS facility, a gunman killed three people and himself,” the Times editorial board observes. Yes, these two events were basically the same.
“Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl. At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs. But no connection to that crime was ever established.”
That’s because there was no connection. Loughner wasn’t even a conservative or a Republican. The Times is seriously comparing Sarah Palin’s metaphorical map graphics to the full-bore campaign to characterize Trump and Republicans as menaces to life on earth, a campaign prominently joined by the Times itself. Meanwhile, yesterday’s shooting came amidst the Times itself endorsing a play that has audiences cheering as a look-alike of President Trump is stabbed to death by women and minorities.
No established connection, of course.
“Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals.”
This is a lie. Conservatives don’t condemn “hate speech,” because they, unlike progressives, don’t believe in government censorship, and understand that while some speech is not civil or appropriate, “hate speech” is just speech, and Constitutionally protected. What all objective and fair Americans should be condemning is the Democratic Party’s unprecedented strategy designed to represent the President of the United States as a fascist, a lunatic, a traitor, a monster, and an illegitimate leader with his finger on the nuclear button, with those in his party who enable him as the equivalent of Hitler’s lackeys. That’s not “hate speech.” That is an attempt to sow anger, fear, hate and divisiveness to overthrow an elected government, and to accept the risk of inciting unstable partisans like James Hodgkinson to violence.
Then the editorial pivots to gun control, ending with…
“President Trump said just the right thing after the attack on Wednesday: “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace.”
Yet he will not help create that nation if he continues to advocate easy access to lethal weapons.”
The Times chooses to ignore the bedrock principle that when citizens don’t have “easy access” to their rights—speech, assembly, abortion, voting—they have no rights at all.
Then, online, this hilarious coda:
Correction: June 15, 2017
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.
That earlier version is the one that was published in the Times’ print edition. I’m looking at it right now.
UPDATE: I was one of the first, but others noticed that last item:
Here’s Guy Benson: New York Times Only Partially Corrects-Palin-Giffords Lie.
The Times has added an online correction on this coruscating inaccuracy, reducing the likelihood that they’ll get sued over their libelous bilge. I obviously approve of the decision to alter this grossly inaccurate content, but the fact that their essay was approved as fit to print in the first place last evening is quite revealing. A central piece of their argument was rooted in fantastical left-wing folk lore, repeated so frequently by people who populate institutions like the New York Times editorial board that it morphed into a “fact.” The new version of the editorial still mentions Palin’s map, which is totally unconnected to anything of relevance on this subject. A bizarre non-sequitur. Their utterly wrong, unsupported implication remains intact. How about deleting the entire piece? Also, having made a change to their virtual copy under intense criticism today, will the Times showcase an apology and retraction in tomorrow’s print edition?
Nah, no bias at the Times…