Good morning, everyone…
1. Tales of the King’s Pass. Fox News put out a statement saying that Sean Hannity had its “full support.” We can assume that means no punishment, no sanctions, not even any public regrets, despite the fact, and it is a fact, that the right-wing talk-show host-turned-Trump propagandist went on the air and defended Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, without mentioning the fact that Hannity was Cohen’s client. Thus Fox is announcing, in effect, that undisclosed conflicts of interest are just fine and dandy if your ratings are good enough. This also means that Fox News is admitting that it really doesn’t care about candor, honesty, and objectivity, since it will ignore blatant violations of all three if the profit is sufficient.
In fairness to Fox, Hannity’s blatant biases toward all things Trump are no more egregious than the open Obama bias displayed across the mainstream media’s full spectrum of journalists and pundits; it just stands out more because he has less company. However, this is a specific conflict of interest, with Hannity having undisclosed connections to a newsmaker that could reasonably affect his commentary. The closest parallel would be ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reporting on the Clinton Foundation’s dubious activities without telling viewers that he was a $75,000 donor. ABC didn’t discipline him, either, but at least he made a public apology on the air.
To make the King’s Pass case even stronger, after Politico reported this week that dinnertime news anchor Bret Baier played nine holes of golf with President Trump over the weekend, Fox News acknowledged that Baier was admonished by the president of the network. I don’t agree with the reprimand at all. The opportunity to spend that kind of time with a President is invaluable, a rare opportunity to acquire insight and access over an extended period of time. The idea, I assume, is that it creates the illusion of chumminess. It’s a dumb illusion. If I were a journalist, I would play golf with anyone if it allowed me to learn something. If I were president of a network, I’d reprimand a reporter for turning down such an opportunity.
2. The Virtue-Signaling Hall Of Fame. Starbucks is reacting to the PR nightmare arising out of the arrest of two black men for refusing to order anything while waiting for a companion in a Philadelphia Starbucks by a grand gesture: it will close all U.S. stores and corporate offices on the afternoon of May 29 for “employee racial bias training.” I suppose this is good crisis management, though cynical and non-substantive. It also permanently tars as a racist the Starbucks ex-manager, who says she was following a locale-specific company policy in an area that had experienced problems with loitering.
Ace of Spades has a well-reasoned and argued take on the episode, although it is one that assumes the least sympathetic stance toward the two men imaginable, Ace being Ace. I am not prepared to conclude, as he does, that this is “a contrived, made-up racial controversy.” Everyone is leaping to conclusions without sufficient knowledge about what occurred. Read it all, but I will highlight some of his points:
Restaurants/coffee shops like Starbucks exist, in case the Social Justice Warriors weren’t aware of this, to sell things to paying customers…
The individuals here were not paying customers. They were free riders, permitted in the store only due to the indulgence of the manager and his desire to not make a scene. Rather than accepting that their presence was merely tolerated as an indulgence, they decided to take it up another notch by asking for the bathroom code, despite (I’m pretty sure) signage indicating that bathrooms were for paying customers only.This is the standard way these shops operate. They do not wish to become private unfunded homeless shelters, providing indoor chairs and bathroom facilities for transients.
…[The men] were then told to leave, which is Starbucks’ right — again, the table and chairs and space are provided as a courtesy to paying customers, not anyone who just wants to get off the street and use the business as an office-away-from-home as they wait for another party, who would probably also be a nonpaying noncustomer. I say that because if they planned on staying at Starbucks, they shouldn’t have been so resistant to just paying for a tea.
…Black people often claim that white people don’t listen to them or don’t believe them about cops and businesses hassling them. Well, let me note that goes in the other direction: I and most white people here can attest that this rule — no bathroom use for nonpaying noncustomers– also applies to white people, and I’ve been denied the code or the key most of the times I’ve asked to use the bathroom without first paying. Sometimes I’ll say “I have to go to the bathroom, but I’ll order as soon as I’m out,” and they give up the code, and then I order. This is not a Black People Only rule….
…They refused to leave, now announcing themselves as squatters, and so the manager called the cops to escort them out — which is what any business would do when their quite lawful and understandable rule that you either buy something or leave is ignored.
…They also apparently believe that the claim “I’m waiting for a friend” somehow gives them the right to remain uninvited and unpaying in someone else’s establishment. They also seem to not realize that if they just went outside and waited for their friend there, their friend would of course see them as he approached the doors to enter.
…I don’t believe the cops had any intent to arrest these guys; they had the intent to get them to leave, per the owner’s lawful request that they do so. I think it was their refusal to do so that escalated this from a “Move on” situation to a “Now we’re taking you in” situation.
… But this is of course racism because the people being asked to move on were black. Once upon a time, the civil rights movement was dedicated to ensuring that blacks were treated no differently than whites by police and businesses; now it seems dedicated to ensuring they are treated differently — with greater latitude and indulgence. Because yes, white people are denied the right to use bathrooms all the time, and no, white people cannot just set up shop in a private business without paying for anything without being asked to either buy something or find someplace else to go.
Here is the highlight of Ace’s commentary:
Now Starbucks is saying this was all contrary to their policy and, presumably, anyone who wants to sit in their shops and not order anything and use the bathrooms has the right to do so as long as they like…Starbucks, in other words, has just announced its stores are not stores primarily, but are now privately-funded shelters and bathroom facilities for the homeless. You don’t have to spend a slim dime in the store to sit as long as you please and use the bathrooms.That’ll be great for Starbucks’ business. Their yuppie douchebag clientele love the homeless in the abstract, but we’ll see how much they appreciate their coffee shops being jammed with them, close-up-like, occupying most tables and chairs. I don’t even want to defend Starbucks; I want them to have the full taste of Social Justice Warrior progressivism. If this is the company’s ideology, then they should live that ideology to the full.
I have a hard time seeing how Ace’s forecast doesn’t come true.
3. Progress, healthy, or capitulation to political correctness? Who The Hill selected for its annual list of the “Most Beautiful” people on Capitol Hill would make my version of the George S. Kaufman MT. Palomar telescope standard. Such lists are idiotic, always tainted with bias and various agendas, and the journalistic equivalent of Count Chocula cereal. Now The Hill has announced that it is killing its popular feature, and not saying why, which is cowardly.
I assume it is being ended because celebrating people for their physical attractiveness is now taboo, and an offense to progressive sensibilities. Is that a good reason to end it, or a bad one? Is this just a long-overdue elimination of something that should never have existed in the first place, or more Leftist mind-control, aimed at preventing politically incorrect thoughts and attitudes?
Let’s have a poll!
4. He never made the Hill’s list...Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tx) resigned. Good! The details are here.
I wrote about whether he needed to resign in 2014, and reached the conclusion that he wasn’t at that point yet. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Right now, I’m thinking that any Congress member that allows this kind of photo to be taken should resign for the good of the nation.