1. More thoughts on “Meet the Press” and Chuck Todd. Pause now to reflect on last night’s post on the “Meet the Press” cheat, leaving out the key portion of AG Barr’s answer to an interview question, then having anchor Chuck Todd criticize Barr for not saying what he in fact said and that he withheld from his audience.
- Does anyone think NBC’s “oops!” apology after being called on this by CBS (from whence the original interview came) and Justice (in a tweet by Barr’s spokesperson) is credible? The only way one could believe this was accidental is to assume there are no standards of review and oversight in network news. With all the preparation that goes into a weekly show, how could the anchor not review the entire interview he is planning on discussing? True, Todd is uniquely stupid for an anchor, somewhere in the Chris Cuomo range, but applying Hanlon’s Razor here strains the rule. This was almost certainly malicious.
- The example ought to be aggressively and relentlessly shared on social media, with enablers and apologists being dealt with harshly. (I just posted it on my Facebook page. I know what’s coming. To hell with them.) This is a smoking gun and signature significance: a journalism culture where this happens is corrupt and agenda-driven The episode also ought to be a tipping point where the public, all of it, wakes up to how it is being manipulated by propagandists. Note I say “ought” but not “will.”
- For this reason, the episode isn’t just about news, it is news. It should be a headline on every news broadcast and in every newspaper. “Meet the Press,” even as diminished as it is, still holds a symbolic place in the industry. This is a scandal, and an important one.
- Is it of greater national and historical importance than most of the items on my Times front page this morning? Absolutely.
- To those who will argue that Todd’s cheat was an innocent mistake that conservatives, Republicans and “Trumpers” are “pouncing” on, I would ask, “Where is the parallel instance of an Obama official, a Democratic leader, or a progressive being similarly misquoted on a network news show?” The closest example I can recall was when NPR falsely edited an interview with…Ted Cruz.
- The standard increasingly becoming the norm in the mainstream media is not “how can we inform our viewers?” but rather “how can we advance our agenda by manipulating the content and get away with it?” The latter begins with the assumption that their partisan and ignorant audiences will tolerate being deceived, and that is how democracies die.
2. The point when I stopped reading Joe Biden’s op-ed in the Post: “President Trump is reverting to a familiar strategy of deflecting blame and dividing Americans. His goal is as obvious as it is craven: He hopes to split the country into dueling camps…”
The reason shifting blame and dividing the country is a familiar strategy is that Biden’s party has been doing this continuously from the moment Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “deplorables.” Well, let’s reconsider that: maybe the strategy started when President Obama’s mouthpieces began using “racist!” as the default response to any criticism of him, and “xenophobe!” as the response to those wanting to enforce our borders. Either way, Biden’s attack ( or that of whoever wrote it for him while he was working on his coloring book) is gaslighting. Imagine anyone trying to divide Americans over public policy!
PS: Here’s an Atlantic article from a few days ago: “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying.”
Post Post Script: Why look! “Dr. Gregg Gonsalves, who teaches about microbial diseases and law at the Ivy League school, took to Twitter recently to slam the administration, saying:
“How many people will die this summer, before Election Day? What proportion of the deaths will be among African-Americans, Latinos, other people of color? This is getting awfully close to genocide by default. What else do you call mass death by public policy?”
3. In related news...Yesterday, Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called the shooting death of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery “a lynching”and blamed President Trump.
“It’s 2020 and this was a lynching of an African-American man. My heart goes out to the family,” the Democratic mayor said. “With the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House, many who are prone to being racist are given permission to do it in an overt way we wouldn’t see in 2020.”
I’m sure Joe Biden will have a thoughtful response.
4. Here’s a funny headline, sparked by the declassified Flynn documents: “It’s Time for the Left to Stop Pretending Obama Was Scandal-Free.” I’d say that time was long ago, during Obama’s Presidency, and many times.
5. This is what virtue-signaling and grandstanding reaps...Kroger announced it will end its $2 hourly “hero bonus” to its workers in this month. Naturally, the decision has prompted widespread protest from chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers union across the country.
Kroger workers were no more “heroic” than anyone who has continued to work outside of their homes during the lockdown. Indeed, they aren’t heroic at all, any more than any human being who incurs necessary risks to go through life. My son’s a master technician at a car dealership, which is an essential business. He’s risking getting sick, but he’s glad to still have his job, loves what he does, and wants to get paid for it. That’s not “heroic.” Would I teach a live ethics seminar if I could tomorrow? Damn right I would, and unlike most Kroger “heroes,” I’m in a high risk group–several, in fact. Would that make me a hero? Be serious.
Kroger was grandstanding when it came up with the “hero bonus,” and it deserves all the flack it is getting now.
6. The Shelley Luther saga. Hair salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail last week by Dallas Judge Eric Moye for reopening her business a few days ahead of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order allowing all hair salons throughout the state to reopen. She antagonized the judge for refusing to apologize as the judge demanded, and was fined as well as sentenced to a week in jail.
This was classic civil disobedience, and only the judge’s excessive sentencing blew up the script. Her case, plus the stench of Laredo police running a sting and arresting two women for reopening their nail salon triggered a lot of backlash that hasn’t receded yet. Dead ethics alarms! Across the country during the lockdown, judges have released about 16,000 convicts from prison to protect those convicts from infection by the Wuhan virus, and now another judge was putting a small business owner in the place deemed too dangerous for convicted criminals because she breached a safety order regarding the same health threat.