Good morning to you,
me, not so much…
I’m ticked off at myself this morning for being cripplingly anxious. I have a looming appointment with a specialist later today regarding a medical issue that could be minor or, in a worst case scenario, could be “curtains.” My father taught me better than this: my anxiety is completely irrational. If I dropped dead tomorrow, I would have no basis for complaints; as Clarence tells George Bailey, I’ve had a wonderful life. Regrets? I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention….
1. About the cultural literacy test...To be fair, I’m going to put up a second test that requires recognizing the name and significance of various figures rather than identifying photographs. They are indeed two different kinds of knowledge, although some of those in the current test are also iconic images. I tried to include some visual clues when I could: the guy with the cigar was famous for his cigar, and that basketball player is an iconic basketball player. The complaints about the figure holding the gun are fair, but literally every other photo I could find of him gave his identity away. Commenter Zoltar’s scoring method of taking half the points when he knew why the person was famous or important but couldn’t fetch the name was justified.
I checked the score of the photos I felt culturally literate Americans ought to be able to identify, and the total was 40. Let’s check the most recent poll…ah! 21 of the 46 results so far met that benchmark. And someone score a perfect 125! My score was only 118…
I felt a little guilty about including the old movie star, but she was the inspiration for the test. Her Academy Award-winning turn was on TV, and she has always been a favorite of mine, as well as legendary with film buffs for her comic technique. I wondered how many Americans recognize her today, for once she had one of the best known faces in the nation. And what a face it was!
2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias–Columbine anniversary division. Times reporter Julie Turkewitz produced journalism museum exhibit-worthy example of biased hype, fake news and fake history while reporting on a 20-year reunion of Columbine survivors in Littleton, Colorado. The result was anti-gun propaganda and fear-mongering. I hate to repeat myself, but no ethical newspaper editor would have let her account be published. Examples:
- “Twenty years after two students attacked Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 of their peers and one teacher and marking the beginning of an era of school threats and mass shootings, Columbine’s survivors are now parents.”
This is simply untrue. There have been school shootings since the 19th Century, and no identifiable increase since Columbine (in 1999) that would justify the label “era of mass shootings.” This is particularly true if we omit colleges and universities from the definition of “schools,” which we should.
- “Kari Bryan, who was a senior at Columbine when the attack happened, drove from Utah to attend the event in Clement Park. “I’m terrified to send my son to high school next year,” she said.”
The tone and context of the article suggests, as the news media has since the New Town shooting, that such fear is rational. Of course it isn’t:: the risk of her son being killed in a high school shooting is considerably smaller than his risk of dying while driving to school.
- “But nationally, the country has not been able to stop these shootings, as officials struggle to close gaps in mental health care, and as gun defenders and gun control advocates fight over appropriate prevention measures. Many in Colorado thought the Columbine attack would be remembered as a uniquely horrifying moment, never to be repeated. Instead, they have watched similar attacks play out again and again.”
“Again and again” is deceitful journalism. There have been exactly three “similar attacks” on schools, which I guess would be “again and again and again,” but the phrase suggests, and is meant to suggest, constant attacks. If one includes the Virginia Tech shooting, which was at a college and not truly similar, that would make 4 such shootings in 20 years. Too many, but hardly a trend or regular occurrence. The statement that “the country has not been able to stop these shootings’ is also deceptive writing. The country hasn’t stopped all such shootings, because that would be impossible. Of course it has stopped potential shootings.
3. Is the only way to stop craven companies from caving to anti-speech boycotts from the Left to punished them with anti-censorship boycotts from the Right? As the King of Siam used to say (or sing), “Is a puzzlement.”
Fox News host Laura Ingraham lost a sponsor this week when the men’s wellness line Hims dropped its sponsorship after Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick mocked 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke as “light in the loafers” on her show. Yeah, that’s an anti-gay slur, and Patrick should be slammed for it, but trying to punish Ingraham’s show is unjust and a transparent effort to kill the messenger. Also this week, the foriegn language-teaching company Babbel apologized after one of their ads appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” releasing this virtue-signaling grovel:
“If you saw our ad on Tucker Carlson’s show, you’re right to be upset. We are too. While we did place our ad with Fox, we did not know it would air on a show so repugnant and at odds with our mission and values. We are blacklisting the show going forward. We are deeply sorry.”
Such boycott-triggered attacks threaten the exchange of ideas and open debate in a free society. Ingraham is so far right of me that I need binoculars to see her, and I have many issues with Carlson as well, but trying to silence them, which is the intention behind the boycott threats (largely organized by Media Matters) is a threat to democracy. Of course, companies have no obligation to sponsor shows they don’t like or that their likely customers object to, but i wonder if companies that cave to the totalitarian, pro thought-control and censorship Left don’t deserve to be taught that abandoning free speech has its penalties.
4. In related news: Conservative Hollywood blogger Christian Toto indicts Stephen Colbert and other TV comics for lying outright about the Mueller report and other matters, like the Steele dossier, Biden’s false statement that the President called white supremacists and racists “fine people,” and more. That they do, and he closes,
Late night hosts crack wise with impunity. They serve up biased or downright fake news and never pay a single consequence. What’s to stop them from doing it all the way through the 2020 presidential campaign? How many viewers will listen to their rants and think it’s the cold, hard truth?
The next time you read a survey saying Americans get their news from late night comics be afraid …. very afraid.
Yet I don’t see how we can legitimately hold comics to journalism ethics standards. If Americans get the news from late night shows, Maher or “The Daily Show,” or, for that matter, fake news from Russians on social media or even MSNBC, whose fault is that? The schools? Their parents? The web? Smart phones?
Is a puzzlement…