1 “A Murder in the Park.” The 2014 documentary about how the Northwestern University “Innocence Project” freed a guilty murderer hours before his execution and framed an innocent man who was eventually exonerated is now available on Netflix. I wrote about the case, which had the unanticipated consequence of causing Illinois to ban the death penalty, in 2014. Then I concentrated on how badly the whole mess reflected on the justice system. As I watched the documentary last night, however, what struck me was the self-satisfied smugness and certitude of the journalism students who participated in selective investigation, advocacy instead of objective reporting, manipulation of witnesses, cause driven conclusions and more. The documentary shows us why journalism has become whatever it can be called now–certainly not journalism. Northwestern has one of the elite journalism schools in the nation, and David Protess, then the professor who ran “The Innocence Project,” was teaching students that corrupt journalism was honorable. Protess at the time was perhaps the most praised journalism teacher in the nation. It seems that he was less the exception than the rule.
2. Real discipline would be nice for a change. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump yesterday that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act twice. The findings were referred to President Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action.” The White House promptly denied the charges, so we should assume that Kelly won’t be disciplined at all.
The Hatch Act allows federal employees to express their views about candidates and political issues as private citizens, but forbids them from using their official government positions try to influence elections. Of course Conway violated the Act. On Fox and CNN, she made it clear that voters in Alabama should reject Democrat Doug Jones. The White House ludicrously claims that Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate. Nah…she just told Fox viewers last November,
“Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners.”
On CNN, she said in part,
“The only endorsement that matters in this race is President Trump’s,” Conway said the week before the vote. “And he came out questioning the ideology and the vote of Doug Jones. He’ll be a reliable vote for tax hikes. He’ll be a reliable vote against border security. He’ll be a reliable vote against national security and keeping [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS in retreat. He’ll be the reliable vote against the Second Amendment and against life.”
I’m sure the news media and Democrats will make a fuss about Conway’s breach of Federal law being ignored, as they should, except for the general silence surrounding Obama Cabinet members–there were two–who also violated the Hatch Act, and also were not disciplined. The most egregious of these was Juan Castro, HUD Secretary. The Obama White House didn’t deny the violations; it just dismissed them as “mistakes.”
You know, like Megan Barry’s “mistake.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings called for President Trump to issue “swift and serious” punishment for Conway’s violations, saying,
“The President must take swift and serious disciplinary action against Ms. Conway. Anything else sets a terrible example.”
Oddly, Rep. Cummings made no such declaration when the violator was an Obama official. Elected representative who so obviously wield double standards also set a terrible example.
3. Good! The Justice Department is finally suing California over three state laws that specifically interfere with the federal ability to deal with illegal immigration. If the Trump Administration doesn’t take hard and serious action, California and other states will escalate efforts to declare federal laws nullified—just like Southern states did in the decades before the Civil War. Jerry Brown, California’s governor, proves the point, responding to the lawsuit with this dishonest bravado:
“At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!”
Amusing. California is the epicenter of the unprecedented political turmoil, from its universities’ disrespect for free speech, to its elected officials, like Maxine Waters, urging pre-election over-throwing of the Trump Administration. California has primed the national conflict over illegal immigration, and its removal from the nation would reduce polarization dramatically, especially since its governor regards enforcing the rule of law as a “stunt.”