I have no idea if the various scandalous theories about the Paul Pelosi beating have any truth in them, but I will say this: the Democrats and members of the media that immediately leaped to the Gabby Giffords replay that Republican rhetoric seeded the attack richly deserve to be humiliated, which they will be if the incident turns out to be a gay hook-up gone wrong. The Axis immediately defaulted to exploiting the incident before they had the facts—if they are settled, I haven’t seen them— and now there at least appears to be some chance that the whole thing was misrepresented. The key takeaways ethically are 1) leaping to use the attack as a political weapon was indefensible and 2) if we had ethical journalists, reporters from major outlets would be digging to find the facts. Right now, it is only the fringes of the conservative media and blogosphere that even appears curious. Why did Paul Pelosi refer to his attacker as “a friend”? Why wasn’t there evidence of a break-in? Is there security footage, and what does it show? Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Many journalists see the glaring questions and evidentiary holes in the Paul Pelosi narrative. But they also know how important that narrative is to Dems right before the mid-terms. So why stick their heads up, provoke a liberal Twitter mob, and be branded? That’s the climate.”
Well, it’s an unethical climate.
1. How hard should we be on Eric Burton? The Texas native and the founding member of The Black Pumas took the field at Minute Maid Park to start off Game #1 of the World Series with his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and botched the lyrics. This has happened to many more prominent singers before, most famously Robert Goulet, in a performance he was mocked for until the end of his career. Having botched lyrics I know cold in a public performance myself (more than once, in fact), I am inclined to be kind and forgiving, but his rendition was also pitchy, and just didn’t sound very good. To my ear, it seemed that he was more interested in showing off his voice and riffs than actually doing the song justice, and that song deserves respect.
2. Oooh, Ann Althouse, increasingly impatient with the biased mainstream media, scooped me on two examples of slanted commentary. First, she justly criticized Maureen Dowd for taking “a ridiculously cheap shot” at Donald Trump, in her column, “The Pelosis and a Haunted America”
Dowd said that Trump saluting the now departed rock-and-roll great Jerry Lee Lewis but not sending his sympathies to Paul Pelosi was classless, and Ann replies,”There is no general principle that if you talk about anything, you must talk about everything in proportion. It’s a fake principle relied on only to criticize people you want to criticize anyway….you can see why Trump’s best choice was to say nothing. He’s not going to tone down his rhetoric. Of course, he is criticized for saying nothing.”
Then in assessing the Washington Post’s coverage of the Pelosi attack in “Alleged assailant filled blog with delusional thoughts in days before Pelosi attack”, she says,
WaPo casually defames Jordan Peterson:
In late August, DePape became engrossed in the decision by Twitter to ban Jordan Peterson for his posts about transgender people. The Canadian psychologist turned conservative podcaster had once said that being transgender was comparable to “satanic ritual abuse.”
Jordan Peterson did NOT say that “being transgender was comparable to ‘satanic ritual abuse.'” Peterson compared the belief that one is transgender to the belief that one has been a victim of satanic ritual abuse. He did not suggest that transgender people are like satanic abusers! He was discussing the phenomenon of “social contagion.”…
DePape also misunderstood Peterson, but not as badly as the Washington Post.
Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!
3. Here’s an inadequate news report with an slanted headline, from 538: “Overturning Roe Has Meant At Least 10,000 Fewer Legal Abortions.” I’d like to know if not being snuffed out by those 10,000 abortions will result in 10,000 human beings having a chance to live. Talk about burying the lede…this aspect of the matter never surfaces in the 538 story at all.
4. More speech-chilling from the Left’s allies. Wyoming Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman received a letter from researchers at North Dakota State University telling her they are “monitoring” her Twitter account and will collect her tweets using “toxic language.”
“Dear Harriet Hageman, We are two independent researchers at North Dakota State University,” the emailed letter informed her. “We are not affiliated with any partisan group in any way. We are writing to let you know we are conducting research on the use of toxic language on Twitter by candidates, specifically how use of such language affects election outcomes. Just before the election, we will write a post on the Monkey Cage blog of The Washington Post that discusses our findings regarding patterns in the use of toxic language.”
“Bite me” would be the appropriate response, but Hageman, who defeated Rep. Liz Cheney in the GOP primary and is expected to win her seat, had a good one too: “I’ll tell you what’s ‘toxic’ — trying to freeze free speech with ominous warnings that ‘we’re watching you’ from pointy-headed college professors and the leftist corporate media,”
Daniel Pernstein, one of the authors of the email, explained that his research team has been studying“toxic language” on Twitter across party lines. “We have attempted to equally monitor candidates across parties, but, because Democratic party candidates use Twitter more than Republicans, our sample includes more Democrats than Republicans.”
Then do it, and be damned. “We’re watching you” warnings distort what is being studied. These resaerchers haven’t heard of the “observor effect” and the The Heisenberg uncertainty principle?