Sunday Ethics Refresher, 3/24/2019 [PART I]: Bad News And Disenchantment

It will be a

Good morning!

if I stay away from the network talking head shows…

1 Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Ann Althouse has a valid observation (some commenters feel it has been obvious for a long, long time) this morning…she writes in part,

I’m seeing 2 big examples of how the media are reporting good news for Trump this weekend. It’s really embarrassing for them because the 2 stories are very big and very good for Trump and, in both, the same move is made to turn it into something negative and ominous.

1. The Mueller investigation has concluded, and though we can’t read it yet, we know that it means that there will be no charges against Trump or any of his people that have to do with colluding with Russians to affect the election. Though some Russians were charged and some of Trump’s people were charged with lying to investigators, the whole reason for the special investigation seems to have been a phantom. After 2 years of uncertainty and anxiety, this is an immense relief and vindication for Trump. Fantastic, upbeat news. Now, here’s how the NYT is presenting the story on the top, left corner of its front page:

As Mueller Report Lands, Prosecutorial Focus Moves to New York

The work by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, may be done, but prosecutors in Manhattan and elsewhere are pursuing about a dozen other investigations.

It all but ensures that a legal threat will continue to loom over the Trump presidency.

2. Under Trump, the Islamic State has been ousted entirely from the territory it had taken over. This is a distinct, satisfying military victory in what has been a long and difficult war. It is the second story on the NYT front page right now, where it looks like this:

THE ISLAMIC STATE

Its Territory May Be Gone, but the U.S. Fight Against ISIS Is Far From Over

• Thousands of Islamic State fighters are still at large in Iraq and Syria, rearming and regrouping.

• The U.S. and its partners still face significant battles against the group elsewhere, in Afghanistan, West Africa and the Philippines.

So watch for it. The rule is: When something good for Trump happens, find the nearest bad thing and make that the focus of the news report.

No other U.S. President has been treated like this by the news media, and this treatment has been consistent from the beginning of his administration. It’s goal, and effect, is undermine public trust and distort public perception.

2. Here’s another example of the propaganda saturation strategy of the news media...The New York Review Of Books had a review of one of the proliferating anti-Trump screeds masquerading as history. The book is “THE END OF THE MYTH From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America” By Greg Grandin. Assuming that the reviewer isn’t misrepresenting  the thing, the book’s thesis appears to be that the ethos and culture of the United States falsely relied on the “myth” of the frontier and the American West, and that the nation’s current attempts to constrain immigration (by enforcing immigration laws) proves that it has lost its soul:

Reviewer Edward Dolnick writes,

“Grandin keeps his cool — he prefers the stiletto to the club — but he grows angrier as his history reaches the present day. “The frontier was, ultimately, a mirage,” he writes, because it promised “a limitless world” where “all could benefit; all could rise and share in the earth’s riches.” The wall, on the other hand, is “a monument to disenchantment,” a deafening shout that “there’s not enough to go around.”

It’s disturbing that utter nonsense like this gets published, never mind that the Times thinks it’s worthy of a review. The opportunities created by the vast, unsettled West was no mirage or myth. Millions of Americans, native born and immigrants, found happiness, liberty, wealth and fulfillment. No resource is unexaustable, and I’m sure that the 19th century pioneers and settlers, if the they bothered to think about it, knew that no matter how much open land there was, eventually systems would have to be developed that were more restrictive than “Go west, find land, take it, and go from there.” Current conditions are not “myths” just because they will change some day.

Whether or not it is good, wise or effective policy, the call for a border wall is not “a monument to disenchantment.” Disenchantment with what? The principle is a simple one: when people are illegally trying to take what isn’t theirs to take, barriers to entry are one means of limiting access. My home has walls and a door I can lock: does this prove that I’m “disenchanted”? Once the United States was trying to fill up a huge expanse of land, so it allowed anyone who was healthy and who wanted to become part of the great adventure to come here.  It worked, too. Open borders won’t work any more, however, and  would now lead to chaos. Why is this so difficult to comprehend? Why are writers and New York Times reviewers trying to push a false version of reality?

The review approvingly cites a jaw-dropping quote by Grandin:

“The wall stands as our new emblem, Grandin writes, and “it is a symbol of a nation that used to believe that it had escaped history, or at least strode atop history, but now finds itself trapped by history.” Disenchanted and bewildered, we have become, so Grandin contends, “a country that increasingly defines itself by what it hates.”

Who ARE these people? How did they get this way?

[PART II coming right up!]

13 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Refresher, 3/24/2019 [PART I]: Bad News And Disenchantment

  1. 2. Mrs. OB and I went west in 1981 and it worked out great for us. Maybe this guy Grandin should look into some places other than Brooklyn or DuPont Circle.

  2. Quite by accident, I came across a book titled “People’s Republic” by Kurt Schlichter, but it is far from a literary masterpiece. The genesis of the book is Red & Blue have separated and this is an unabashed view (insert my shock) where the Blue states are disintegrating and the Red prospering and maintaining the Constitution! You get so used to being spoonfed the opposite.

  3. 1. Trump news

    No other U.S. President has been treated like this by the news media, and this treatment has been consistent from the beginning of his administration. It’s goal, and effect, is undermine public trust and distort public perception.

    Nixon was treated pretty shabbily, my dim memory says. Still, he wasn’t persecuted to the degree Trump has been, and no matter what the Mueller report says (up to and including explicit vindication), the media has signaled it simply doesn’t care — Trump is bad for America, and it’s their duty to make sure he does as little damage as possible.

    When that became the definition of journalism, I’ll leave to the reader to decide.

    2. The Old West

    The opportunities created by the vast, unsettled West was no mirage or myth. Millions of Americans, native born and immigrants, found happiness, liberty, wealth and fulfillment

    And death. Don’t forget death by angry indigenous, renegades, outlaws, and sundry highwaymen.

    The opportunity of the vast, unsettled West should never be mentioned without the risks those settlers were willing to run to take advantage of them. Those risks were manifold and deadly.

    Who ARE these people? How did they get this way?

    I don’t know. Higher education? Hollywood? The 1960’s? All of the above?

      • And yet my Facebook friends are still in denial. To hell with it. I just posted this, cribbed from Instapundit:

        I know all of you, being good and fair Americans, are happy to learn that Attorney General William Barr released the “principal conclusions” of the Mueller report to members of Congress. According to his letter, “The special counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

        In other words: there was no Russian collusion.

        Of course, there was never any reason to think otherwise, except for hype and misrepresentation.

        As Sean Davis of the Federalist tweeted: “Hands up, don’t shoot. Trump’s a Russian spy. Kavanaugh ran a secret gang rape cartel. Covington kids assaulted a vet. Never forget that these lies — and yes, they were outright lies — were deliberately peddled by all the same people for all the same reasons.”

        Bingo.

        • So far my friends on Facebook haven’t said much about it. One in particular, an outspoken liberal Democrat and college professor whom I used to regard as reasonable and level-headed, hasn’t said a word. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, as he’s traveling abroad, but I’ll be waiting to see if he’ll admit that he was grossly mistaken with his rhetoric of “high treason” and warnings that Trump was, any day now, going to trample the free press and rule the country as an autocrat, à la Turkey’s Erdogan.

          I won’t be holding my breath, though.

  4. Re: the Old West

    Are these the same people who get after us cowboys for being cowboys? The ones who say that cowboys are and were old white racist misogynistic isolationists? (Despite the fact that many cowboys were black and Mexican? I’ll give them misogynistic as cowboys were always to display extreme courtesy to ladies and could be shot for not displaying adequate courtesy. That’s misogyny by the current standards.) What about all of their claims that the Old West was unfair to the Indians (probably true, but many homesteaders were fighting for their lives or, in the case of the womenfolk, their virtue)? How about when they tell us we owe the native Americans everything, even when they aren’t respecting boundaries, like my fences (oh wait, too close to a wall, right) and my vegetables. I sure didn’t like feeding their cattle on my garden that was supposed to feed my family. But, it used to be their land, so no matter what the deed said, we had to let them have it as an apology for things that happened before my grandparents were born? Everything that those settlers did is considered evil by the current progressives.

    That Old West? That frontier? That American Dream?

    I’m currently agreeing that double standards are the only standards they have, if they can say this BS without blushing. I’m blushing for them.

  5. Re: Old West

    One of the reasons I work on what I work (space exploration) is that I believe having a frontier will make us smarter, braver, richer, and better both as individuals and as a species. Maybe I’m right, maybe there’s still too much of a seven-year-old inside me.

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