Yes, it’s time again for Gene, Debbie and Donald to begin the day with the level of enthusiasm that I wish I could muster. A Jack Russell Terrier would also help.
1. “Nah, there’s no news media bias!”The New York Times costs the Marshalls $80 a week. The last two editions were essentially anti-Trump campaign brochures, front to back. Even the sports sections had gratuitous anti-Trump vibes. The Washington Post is worse than the Times, but it’s much cheaper, being a home town paper. Nonetheless, I feel badly enough paying Jeff Bezos for digital access. At least the Times didn’t smear Catholic school boys because an established Native American propagandist told them to.
Yet these are, really and truly, the best newspapers in the country. Think about that. One close relative of the hard-left persuasion subscribes to no papers, and the holes in her basic knowledge of what’s happening would fill the Albert’s Hall. (She relies on MSNBC.)
Newspapers… can’t live without them, can’t have a functioning democracy any more with them. And progressives still tell me to my face that I’m imagining it: the claim that the news media is partisan and biased is a “conservative conspiracy theory.”
2. Fact check! I saw this “fact check” of Barr’s testimony two days ago in my Times today, knew what was coming, decided I didn’t feel well enough to have my temperature raised, and then commenter Dr. Emilio Lizardo was cruel enough to send me a link and a precis.
As with so much of the news media’s fake news and biased analysis, I’d assume that savvy readers can smell the stennch of these things, but maybe not. The good doctor writes,
“This is misleading” – 4 occurrences
“This is exaggerated” – 2 occurrences
“This is false” – 1 occurrence
“This lacks evidence” – 1 occurrence
Nothing like using subjective terminology to demonstrate your objectivity.
Here was my favorite:
What Mr. Barr SAID: “According to statistics compiled by The Washington Post, the number of unarmed Black men killed by police so far this year is eight. The number of unarmed white men killed by police over the same time period is 11. And the overall numbers of police shootings has been decreasing.”
This is misleading. Mr. Barr accurately cited a database of police shootings compiled by The Washington Post. But the raw numbers obscure the pronounced racial disparity in such shootings. (The statement was also an echo of Mr. Trump’s technically accurate, but misleading claim that “more white” Americans are killed by the police than Black Americans.When factoring in population size, Black Americans are killed by the police at more than twice the rate as white Americans, according to the database. Research has also shown that in the United States, on average, the probability of being shot by a police officer for someone who is Black and unarmed is higher than for someone who is white and armed.Nationwide, the number of police shootings has remained steady since independent researchers began tracking them — declining in major cities, but increasing in suburbs and rural areas.When Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, took issue with Mr. Barr’s presentation of the data, Mr. Barr responded, “You have to adjust it by, you know, the race of the criminal.” But some research has shown that even when controlling for the demographics of those arrested, there are still racial disparities in the use of police force.
In other words, “misleading” means “contrary to the narrative Democrats and activists want to push.” Got it.
3. The fear-mongering. One of the Times’ persistent devices to manipulate its readers is the weekly “Those We’ve Lost” feature in its Obituaries. These are allegedly people who have died from the Wuhan virus, though not infrequently, as with many of the pandemic death totals, the causes of death are blurry, with multiple factors involved. There’s always a mix of races and ethnicities: in this group of five, there was a Hopi quiltmaker and a black poet. There are also usually a disproportionate number of victims under 60. Over 80% of deaths from the virus are over that age, but 40% of the Times list were under it this week, and that’s typical. All the better to keep the public fearful.
The entire concept is obnoxious and transparently political. Why are the deaths of these people more newsworthy than the deaths of anyone else? They aren’t. The fact that virus victims are being treated as greater losses to society than those who succumb to any other cause of death is a special species of fake news; I’m trying to come up with the right name for it.
What would be the reaction, I wonder, if the “Those We’ve Lost” feature only contained the victims of black criminals? Or illegal immigrants? Or legal immigrants? What would we think about that kind of journalism?
4. The Emmy nominations are out. Every one of the nominated shows in the “Variety Talk Series” are all-Trump-and-conservative-bashing all the time: “The Daily Show,” Jimmy Kimmel,” “Full Frontal,” John Oliver’s “Last week Tonight,” and, of course, Stephen Colbert.
Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” is substantially non-political, and his occasional Trump jokes are generally benign. The Tonight Show wasn’t nominated. Nor was James Cordon’s “Late Late Show,” easily the most light-hearted and apolitical of them all.
5. Finally, this Cancel Culture note: Several women accused Canadian digital media artist Jon Rafman of “sexual misconduct.” Accused. So the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. has put an exhibition of his work on hold. The exhibition, “Jon Rafman: The Ride Never Ends,” had been scheduled to open in October. The Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal in Canada, Rafman’s home country, already suspended an exhibition that had opened July 4 and was scheduled to run through September. The City of Montreal postponed the unveiling of a public artwork by Rafman, and his gallery in Montreal, Bradley Ertaskiran, broke off its relationship with him last week.
Moreover, what is the nexus between an artist’s work and his alleged private behavior? There is none. The art stands alone. All art stands alone; it has to. This is just as irrational as the argument that the race of authors and artists should be considered in assessing their work. If a white male serial rapist painted the most beautiful landscape ever created, it would still be the most beautiful landscape ever created.
Of course, Rafman is denying the accusations while groveling apologies, following the usual script. He might as well stand up for his art, and be cancelled while demonstrating some integrity and courage.