My old friend Robin Langer claimed when we were kids that “Bvuh” was the stupidest-sounding syllable that could be uttered in any language. It accurately expresses my state today, after a business trip that involved 6 hours of delays in two flights into and out of Ft. Lauderdale.
1. Is this fair? I’m in no shape to judge. Our second flight, last night, was delayed over an hour because Jet Blue delayed take-off for more than an hour so a plane of travelers from Aruba could make their connection to D.C. That’s funny: I’ve missed connections when my flight was a half-hour late landing. So the deal with Jet Blue is that your flight is late if your plane or its connections have problems (like the late arriving aircraft that caused me to arrive the night before at 12:30 am instead of 7:30 pm), and it’s also going to be late if any other flights are late, is that it? We got on the plane last night with the entire front of the plane empty, waiting for the Arubans.
2. CNN is now completely insane. Both airports play nothing but CNN on the TVs in the terminal—someone might want to review that policy, which probably originated from the period when it was a news channel, like when Bernie Shaw was on the air—and the guy sitting next to me on Jet Blue last night had CNN playing on his seat screen the whole three hours we were on the plane. It’s incredible: there are virtually nothing but anti-President Trump stories on CNN, without a break or end. Anti-Trump spin (“Of course Nancy Pelosi should block his speech!”), unsubstantiated anti-Trump hearsay (“Cohen says he was “threatened” by Trump!”), anti-Trump panels (“What has Mueller found and how soon should the House impeach him?”), and anti-Trump gloating (“The art of the deal hasn’t produced a deal, has it? Nyah nyah!”) One after another. Relentless. It is much, much worse than it was on my last trip, and the CNN obsession with feeding hatred and anger against the President was absurd then. No other stories appeared to be being covered except in the crawls across the bottom of the screen. Is it possible that people aren’t sick of this? Even the most drooling, deranged Trump-hater? It isn’t just propaganda; it’s more like brainwashing, a constant drum-beat of “Trump bad! Hate Trump!,” usually devoid of anything approaching fair analysis.
3. Today’s baseball ethics note: Yankees relief ace Mariano Rivera, who was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame this week, is being praised to the skies in the sports media and elsewhere because the vote was unanimous for the first time in the Hall’s 80 year history. (A retired player needs 75% of the vote to be enshrined.) Nobody disputes that Rivera deserved to be admitted, and that his qualifications were beyond argument, but the fact that this time some idiots didn’t choose not to vote for him has nothing to do with the pitcher whatsoever. It certainly doesn’t mean that he’s somehow more deserving that the other slam-dunks (is that a mixed metaphor?) who didn’t get every vote they were due, like Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Hank Aaron.
If everyone before you has been treated unjustly, the fact that you weren’t mistreated isn’t something to be proud of.
4. Headline on Paul Krugman’s column in the Times: “Donald Trump and his Team of Morons.” Stay classy, Paul. Krugman, you will recall, is the genius who predicted on election night 2016 that the stock market would crash and never recover. Among the “morons” on Trump’s “team,” according to the Times pundit, is Fox’s Sean Hannity, because he is a relentless Trump booster and acolyte (and, I have to agree, a moron). Doesn’t that logic make the New York Times and 90% of the news media part of Obama’s “team”? If “the morons” were wise enough to cancel a deal with Iran that gave it billions to promote world terrorism while relying on its promise not to try to blow up Israel until after Obama was retired and beyond blaming, how should we describe Obama’s “team” that engineered such a deal?
Krugman, Charles Blow and David Leonhardt write columns like this every single time, and have been doing so non-stop for more than two years. Don’t Times readers tire of it? Don’t the editors?
5. And speaking of mainstream media bias and unethical journalism: Commentary and updates from the Covington Catholic Students Ethics Train Wreck!
Here’s the anti-Trump Atlantic at least having the courage to admit reality:
How could the elite media—The New York Times, let’s say—have protected themselves from this event, which has served to reinforce millions of Americans’ belief that traditional journalistic outlets are purveyors of “fake news”? They might have hewed to a concept that once went by the quaint term “journalistic ethics.” Among other things, journalistic ethics held that if you didn’t have the reporting to support a story, and if that story had the potential to hurt its subjects, and if those subjects were private citizens, and if they were moreover minors, you didn’t run the story. You kept reporting it; you let yourself get scooped; and you accepted that speed is not the highest value. Otherwise, you were the trash press. At 8:30 yesterday morning, as I was typing this essay, TheNew York Times emailed me. The subject line was “Ethics Reminders for Freelance Journalists.” (I have occasionally published essays and reviews in the Times). It informed me, inter alia, that the Times expected all of its journalists, both freelance and staff, “to protect the integrity and credibility of Times journalism.” This meant, in part, safeguarding the Times’ “reputation for fairness and impartiality.”
I am prompted to issue my own ethics reminders for The New York Times. Here they are: You were partly responsible for the election of Trump because you are the most influential newspaper in the country, and you are not fair or impartial. Millions of Americans believe you hate them and that you will causally harm them. Two years ago, they fought back against you, and they won. If Trump wins again, you will once again have played a small but important role in that victory.
Even this article is tainted by anti-Trump bias and an unethical mindset; the author is saying that unethical journalism is bad because it doesn’t work. No, it’s bad because it’s unethical journalism.
- Then there is the sick and cowardly effort by those who don’t have the integrity to admit that a wrong—several, actually—has been done to try to push the “there is blame on all sides” lie. No, there isn’t. As with the Kavanaugh hearings, another smear on Catholics school boys, the blame is on one side only. “The Today Show’s” Savannah Guthrie asked prime schoolboy media victim Nick Sandmann, “Do you see your own fault?” this week. What? This is a 15 year old boy who has been vilified, insulted, and threatened for doing nothing but standing in place while an obnoxious Native American activist got in his face from one side and anti-white black nationalists hurled racist taunts at him from behind–oh, I forgot: he was also wearing a hat supporting our President and he smiled-–and he’s supposed to apologize? How can anyone justify a question like that?
- On a related note, the kid’s parents are irresponsible fools to put him on live TV to be grilled by a biased and partisan hack like Guthrie, at least without instructions like, “If she asks you if you will acknowledge any blame for this, get up, and walk out.”
- It’s not just the journalists. University of Pennsylvania associate professor Ebony Elizabeth Thomas wrote as the false story was circulating, “Whiteness endlessly forgives its own transgressions. It rarely, if ever, gives those of us it harms and maims and kills time to process our emotions.” Then after she learned that new video exonerated the students, she wrote,
A more perfect embodiment of the mindset “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up!” would be difficult to find. Never mind the racism: How can a university justify employing a Professor who reasons like that?
- Thomas is not alone. Dartmouth Associate Professor of English Jeff Sharlet, who is also a bestselling author, wasn’t moved not convinced by nearly two hours of video that showed what really happened–after all, to paraphrase “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” when the facts contradict the official “resistance” narrative, embrace the narrative. Long after the facts were known, Sharlet tweeted, “I’ll have no problem with someone doxxing these boys.”
6. Good! In Kentucky, Kenton County prosecutor Rob Sanders says he is preparing to prosecute those who made threats against the Covington Catholic High School students. He said yesterday that his office has already issued grand jury subpoenas and is working on search warrants for detectives in other agencies. At the same time, lawyers for the students say they will sue everyone, even journalists, who falsely attacked the students for defamation. The latter is a long-shot because of the First Amendment, but remember, the kids weren’t public figures. The may have a case.