1 Thanks, Leo! I think.. Althouse reminded me of a Tolstoi quote that offers the perfect explanation of why bias makes you stupid:
“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”
Researching this one led me to another quote from the Peasant Count:
“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their life”.
The quotes explain more of what is going on in the culture, journalism and politics right now than I am comfortable thinking about…which means that I am perpetually uncomfortable.
2. Someone please explain why we have not had this made crystal clear to us...This morning I heard Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican Senator whom I regard as an honorable and ethical public servant, note while talking about the unfolding FISA scandal that Christopher Steele, the author of the so-called Russian dossier, was paid in part by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to assemble the material, for which he visited Russia and engaged with sources there. Wait…what? This made Steele an agent of the Clinton campaign by definition, and means, therefore, that the Clinton campaign was “colluding” with Russia during the Presidential 2016 campaign, to “meddle” with U.S. elections.
[UPDATE and Correction: This is what the honorable and ethical Senator said. In fact, since Steele was a former spy, he couldn’t go to Russia. He did, however, engage sources who did, and who made contacts with Russians. Legally, this makes little difference. An agent who uses an agent to do the work of the principle is still responsible for what THAT agent does. ]
But the statement above is inaccurate. ] This constitutes more evidence of Clinton “collusion” than Mueller’s year-long investigation has uncovered regarding the Trump campaign, since, as far as we know, it has uncovered no such evidence at all. Is Mueller investigating Democratic “collusion”? If not, why not? The argument that Clinton was engaged in exactly the kind of activities Trump’s campaign is being accused of has been brushed off as crazy Fox News talking points by the mainstream media. It seems pretty clear now that this is a false and deliberately misleading representation, even before we arrive at the problematical use of the document by the FBI and the Justice Department.
3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! I have never seen a more stark example of the mainstream news media/ conservative news media divide than this, though there are plenty of ties: Since yesterday morning, Fox News has been leading with reports on the new text messages uncovered showing the chatter between those star-crossed FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page . Fox is hyping them to death, no doubt about it, but there is certainly material there to cause concern. The text that has been the focus of the most attention comes after messages involving a meeting about preparing Comey for a report to President Obama “because potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”
This occurred in the middle of the Clinton email investigation, which Obama has assured the press that he had no knowledge of or involvement in whatsoever. There were other provocative messages as well. The modern day Tristan and Isolde wrote that it was “Fucking terrifying” and “depressing” that Trump won the election, then a week later, Page wrote, “I bought all the president’s men. Figure I need to brush up on watergate .” The next day, she again wrote to Strzok, “God, being here makes me angry. Lots of high fallutin’ national security talk. Meanwhile we have OUR task ahead of us.” The Senate new report also reveals texts about the “risk” of a Trump presidency, “unfinished business,” and “an investigation leading to impeachment.”
The Senate report also revealed that the FBI knew about the thousands of Hillary Clinton e-mails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer a full month before Comey announced he wanted to re-open the Clinton email investigation and informed Congress.
None of this proves anything right now, though Fox and other conservative outlets strongly suggest otherwise. However it is news. It is certainly more newsworthy than what might be in a parade the President says he wants to have on the Fourth of July, another example of the latest development in fake news, “future news,” where the New York Times and other sources obsess endlessly about how bad it will if something happens that hasn’t happened yet and perhaps never will but the fact that the President may have considered it, intended it or wanted it to happen is damning enough.
ABC, NBC and CBS all ignored the release of the emails.
4. The Dreamers Ethics Train Wreck rolls on. From Nancy Pelosi’s marathon speech yesterday:
There you have it: ”Thank-you for breaking our laws, and saddling us with this divisive problem’ from a leader of the Democratic Party. The attitudes and posturing of the Democratic Party regarding illegal immigration is cynical, dishonest, and irresponsible.
Oddly, Pelosi’s direct endorsement of law-breaking did not receive any criticism or coverage from the mainstream media.
From the metaphorical other side of the aisle, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly explained that the illegal residents eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was a far larger group than those who had registered for DACA during the five years it was in operation before President trump suspended it.
“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the President sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” he said. “The difference between 690,000 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”
Naturally, the mainstream news media and Democrats made these comments a big story. Here are some headlines:
Trump aide: Some immigrants ‘too lazy’ to sign up for DACA (Both CNBC and ABC)
John Kelly: Trump Plan Would Help Dreamers ‘Too Afraid’ Or ‘Too Lazy’ To Apply For DACA (Huffington Post)
John Kelly Suggests Some Dreamers Might Be ‘Too Lazy to Get Off Their Asses’ (Daily Beast)
There are many more. All are false and misleading. Kelly deliberately laid out the dichotomy between the arguments of the Dreamer advocates who explained, as several did on TV yesterday, that many of those eligible for DACA did not take advantage of the program because they were afraid (though why they were afraid when the Obama administration wasn’t deporting them is a fair question), and Dreamer critics, who might argue that they were just too lazy to do what was necessary. Kelly did not personally endorse either of these arguments, but naturally many sources chose to highlight the most pejorative part of his statement.
It’s biased, unethical and deceptive journalism.