An Analysis Of How The Government, The Resistance And The News Media Forfeited The Trust of The American People

Image: Pro-Trump Protesters Gather At State Capitols Across The Nation On Day Of Electoral College Ratification

I wish it were my analysis, although every component of it (I think) has been covered here in the past, most of them several times.

One of those elements is the complete betrayal of the American public and our democracy by the news media. President Trump was excoriated and condemned for his pronouncement of the mainstream media as the”enemy of the people,” typical meat-axe rhetoric for him in an area that calls for more nuance and restraint by a President, but he was generally right, and Ethics Alarms declared him so. Similarly, he decried the weaponization of “fake news,” an accusation which was undeniable, yet people of good will and intelligence (well, they were once anyway) denied it, no matter how many instances occurred before or afterwards.

Last week a Rasmussen poll—it’s a conservative outfit: the other pollsters wouldn’t dare ask the questions—reported that 58% of likely voters agree with the “enemy of the people” assessment. It’s amazing and disturbing that the figure isn’t much higher. Who are the 23% who told Rasmussen they “strongly disagreed” with that description? What are they? Idiots? Saboteurs? Relatives of journalists? Or just progressives covering for their allies in a hostile takeover of the culture and nation?

But as I said, this was just one element. The tweeted epic by “Martymade,” apparently a podcaster whose real name is Daryl Cooper, covers far more than that. He wrote this in a series of 36 tweets on July 8, making it essentially unreadable by people like me (especially people like me who have quit Twitter), but managed to “go viral” nonetheless. Tucker Carlson read it all on Fox, but of course it’s not Fox News viewers who need to consider the analysis, but everyone else.

Here is the whole thing, made possible by an innovative new app called Threadreader. It is long, but it needs to be long. It is also clear, and true; I cleaned it up a little for readers here:

Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Sohrab Ahmari, New York Post Op-Ed Editor

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This episode should alarm ­every American. A very few people can unaccountably shape what you read. This is how freedom dies.

—–Sohrab Ahmar, New York Post op-ed editor, regarding the mainstream media’ and social media attempting to embargo the Post’s story today suggesting Joe Biden’s participation in his son’s Ukrainian influence peddling.

Ahmar was writing about the events described in this Ethics Alarms post.

You should read his entire column here.

Particularly striking is his list, though far from complete, of instances in which the mainstream media didn’t hesitate to report what Twitter termed in this case “the lack of authoritative reporting on the origins of the materials included” in the report. The Post editor begins by echoing what Ethics Alarms has been emphasizing regrading the news media’s descent into unprincipled partisan propaganda over journalism: “This is what totalitarianism looks like in our century…”

“Enemy of the people”? The President was correct, if impolitic, with his blunt assessment, and each succeeding month has made that more evident.

Among All The Smoking Guns Showing The Mainstream Media’s Willingness to Lie Outright To Impugn President Trump, This Might Be The Smokingest

Here’s a sequence from yesterday’s news conference:

Watch it, please. Here’s a summary of what transpires:

Step 1.:  A reporter asks the President about his thoughts on the theory floated by a Constitutional law professor in Newsweek that Kamala Harris shouldn’t be considered a ‘natural born citizen” and thus technically isn’t eligible to be Vice-President or President.

Step 2: The President offers no opinion on it whatsoever, and makes it clear he didn’t read the article (who reads Newsweek?). He says 1) he heard about it 2) it is his understanding that the author is a genuine authority 3) he doesn’t know what the guy actually argued (Trump asks the reporter if the problem is that Harris “wasn’t born” in the U.S.)

Step 3.The reporter quickly summarizes the professor’s point.

Step 4. The President says, first, that he has no idea if the professor’s claims are right, and  concludes by saying he “doesn’t know about it” that he “just heard about it” and will “take  a look.”

And Step 5?

CNN headlines, “Trump promotes another birther lie, this time about Kamala Harris”

Reporter wrote,

” President Donald Trump spent years pushing lies about the birthplace and presidential eligibility of President Barack Obama, the first Black president. On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president. Trump’s incendiary nonsense about Harris was part of a Thursday self-described “news conference” he largely used to campaign against his Democratic election opponents…”

Three reporters wrote this completely false story, and CNN published it!

Let’s count the lies: Continue reading

Susan Rice Again, Part 2

Continuing with the observations regarding this remarkable document…

4. I was once involved in an anti-trust lawsuit triggered when all of the competitors of the company I was working for gathered together and conspired on ways to sink my employer’s business. Before the minutes of the meeting, the group’s lawyers prepared a statement that that the group absolutely intended to obey all anti-trust laws, and the meeting would embody the ideals represented in those laws. Then they went ahead and, based on a recording of the meeting, planned ways to conspire against our business in direct violation of the laws they claimed to hold in such high esteem.

It was really comical; these idiots though that by having everyone sign a statement that they weren’t doing what they obviously were doing, this would provide some plausible deniability.

5. We now know that Rice’s bizarre memo was written upon the advice of the White House Counsel’s Office. Rice says she waited 15 days because it was her first opportunity to do so, since she had been so darned busy. It would be a more likely srory if Rice had any credibility at all, which she does not.

6. Let’s let Andrew McCarthy try to explain what’s going on here. The anti-Trump news sources will never give him a forum, so he’s related to Fox News, but McCarthy was spot-on in predicting the course of the Mueller investigation, as is as knowledgeable on the machinations of the Deep State as anyone. He explained in part,

How amusing to find President Obama’s national-security advisor, Susan Rice, suddenly calling for public release of the Flynn–Kislyak conversation intercepted by the Obama administration in late December 2016. I called for its release nearly three-and-a-half years ago. Dr. Rice, in a familiar pattern for her, has spent the ensuing years saying things that were obviously untrue only to reverse herself once the paper trail starts to dribble out.

….Rice has gone from claiming to have had no knowledge of Obama administration monitoring of Flynn and other Trump associates, to claiming no knowledge of any unmaskings of Trump associates, to admitting she was complicit in the unmaskings, to — now — a call for the recorded conversation between retired general Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to be released because it would purportedly show that the Obama administration had good reason to be concerned about Flynn (y’know, the guy she said she had no idea they were investigating).

Naturally, we have now learned that Rice was deeply involved in the Obama administration’s Trump–Russia investigation, including its sub-investigation of Flynn, a top Trump campaign surrogate who was slated to replace Rice as national-security advisor when President Trump took office.

Regarding the memo, McCarthy writes, Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/2020: A Rich Assortment Of Jerks And Assholes To Begin The Year.

 It’s finally Getting Back To Normal Day!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like everything’s been one big, holiday/stress/disruption blur since I enlivened Thanksgiving dinner by keeling over. There should be  law preventing Christmas and New Years from falling on Wednesdays, which effectively kills two full weeks. I’m behind on everything, and I don’t know what I could have done to avoid it…

1. Sigh. This is what we have to look forward to in 2020…Ezra Klein, the Left-biased Washington Post journalist who founded Vox, which he then staffed with all Left-biased journalists, tweeted out the link a nine-month-old Post article stating as fact that counties hosting Trump rallies saw massive spikes in hate crimes compared to counties that didn’t host Trump rallies. By Wednesday afternoon, Klein’s tweet had been re-tweeted  more than 7,000 times and had more than 14,000 likes. It also polluted many Facebook feeds.

Klein didn’t tell his 2.5 million followers  that the article relied on a study that had been debunked months ago by  Harvard University researchers Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton.  “The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway,” they revealed in in Reason magazine four months ago. That’s four. 4. IV. F-O-U-R.

Lilley and Wheaton tried to replicate the original study—if a study is valid, you can do that.  They discovered that “adding a simple statistical control for county population to the original analysis causes the estimated effect of Trump rallies on reported hate crimes to vanish. “Given how little scrutiny was required to reveal the flaws in the thesis that Trump rallies cause hate incidents, one cannot help but wonder whether its viral status was aided by journalists predisposed to believe its message,” the researchers noted.

Ya think?

Klein’s tweet is still up. It’s false and inflammatory, but it advances one of the key Big Lies (that would be #4), so he is running with it anyway. Do you wonder why those on opposite sides of the partisan divide have different views of reality? This kind of thing is a primary reason.

Enemy of the people.

2. The first “I don’t understand this story at ALL” of 2020:

 In July 2018, Michael J. Reynolds. a New York City police officer, was in Nashville for a three-night bachelor-party trip with six other officers. At one point in the festivities,  Reynolds, who is white, kicked in a black woman’s door in a drunken rage, threatening her (“I’ll break every bone in your neck…”) and her sons while calling them “niggers” and showering them with obscenities. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 15 days in jail with three years’ probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanors, court records show. Nevertheless, he remains an employee of the N.Y.P.D. More than 10,000 people signed an online petition demanding his dismissal and supporting the woman whose home he invaded.

Theories? Never mind unions, due process and mandatory investigations: the incident took place a full year and a half ago. There is no excuse for this. Reynolds apologized and said that he was so drunk he doesn’t remember the episode. Oh! Then that’s OK, Officer! Let’s all forget the whole thing!

As it habitually does, the New York Times reached a false analogy, writing,

The case of Officer Reynolds is again focusing scrutiny on the pace of the Police Department’s disciplinary process. In a prominent example of how it can drag on, five years passed before Officer Daniel Pantaleo, whose use of a prohibited chokehold contributed to the 2014 death in police custody of Eric Garner, was fired and stripped of his pension benefits in August.

Ridiculous. There were legitimate issues involved in Pantaleo’s case that made the proper discipline in his case complicated and controversial. There are no reasons for controversy here. Continue reading

From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files: The Washington Post Plays Partisan Politics With A Headline, And Can’t Even Do It Competently

Once again I will begin by saying that those who deny the partisan bias in the mainstream media against President Trump (among other topics) deserve contempt, either for their lack of perception of the obvious, or for their atrocious citizenship. The last metaphorical rotten journalism gun choking the public with smoke was September’s effort by the New York Times and two of its reporters to continue the smearing of Justice Kavanaugh, a story quickly buried by the Ukraine phone call impeachment plot. (I know, I know, I never got my promised post up on Kavanaugh II. But I will, if it takes until December…) The latest, this time by the Washington Post, is pure res ipsa loquitur. Let me break it down:

I. From the New York Post:

A “high value” target believed to be ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a US raid in Syria Saturday, according to multiple news reports. Baghdadi was targeted in a strike by US Special Operations forces, three US officials told ABC News. One of those officials told ABC that it is believed the ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest as the ground raid was carried out in the northwestern city of Idlib. Defense Department officials told the White House Saturday it had “great confidence” that Baghdadi was killed in the raid, Newsweek reported, citing Army sources.

This is an undeniable achievement by U.S. forces of the type that the previous President claimed great credit for, and received from the news media without hesitation.

II. Reporting on the terrorist leader’s death, some headline writer at the Washington Post naively played it straight, as if the Post was a real, trustworthy news source. Referring to Al-Baghdadi as “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-Chief” in the obituary heading. Oooh, can’t have that! It will make casual readers assume that the Trump Administration did something praiseworthy!  So the foolishly objective headline writer was dispatched to the Kids Post section, and new headline was appended:

That means President Trump just killed a religious scholar! Oh, he may have been austere, but that’s no reason to kill him! Trump’s a monster!

This was so misleading and blatantly absurd that it didn’t remain for more than a couple of hours. Ultimately the Post settled on…

That’s better, but it omits the little detail that the man was a terrorist, like, for example, Osama Bin Laden. The first headline was the right one; unfortunately, it might have benefited President Trump.

III.  The Post was caught red-handed. Tweeted muck-raking journalist Glenn Greenwald, no friend he either to the mainstream media or President Trump…

Democrats, Washington Post, mainstream media…Greenwald properly lumps them all together. Charles Glasser wrote, Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/6/2019: Unethical Journalism, Free Press, “Gotchas!,” And Shut Up…

Good morning…

1. Now here’s a nice, professional, objective headline from the Times: ASSAILING HATE, BUT NOT GUNS.

Inexcusable. Several journalists have been arguing of late that it’s time for news organizations to openly and vigorously take a position on guns, and I bet you can guess which position that would be. (Of course, they have been taking that position for some time now, just denying it, like Brian Stelter denied that CNN’s coverage of the Mueller inquiry was slanted.) Have you been fooled?

The Times headline makes an assumption that is purely emotional rather than factual. There is nothing innately hateful about guns. “ASSAILING HATE, BUT NOT SPEECH”  would be an equivalent headline. “ASSAILING OBESITY, BUT NOT MASHED POTATOES”  is only slightly more idiotic.

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias.

2. Speaking of unethical journalism…I was struck by a letter fromone of the knee-jerk liberals who frequent the pages of the New York Times Book Review supplement, which is always full of propaganda where it doesn’t belong (it is amazing how their guest reviewers can work in cheap shots at President Trump and the attendant Big Lies no matter what a book is about). Ellen Creane (she’s a community college English professor) wrote, “…Britain ultimately had to call on America’s democracy to save the island and indeed all of Europe. Who will America call on to save it from the current attacks on our free media? We must do this ourselves, strongly and now.”

Have you noticed the creeping trope that to criticize how our current journalists abuse freedom of the press is to threaten freedom of the press? I’m not sure if people believe this, thanks to thorough bombardment by the media itself (How dare you tell us how to do our job? Censorship!), or if the argument is just another intentional effort to protect an ally, and an unethical one, of the progressive culture wars. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/31/2018: “Goodbye 2018, And Good Riddance!” Edition

Happy dying gasps of 2018!

1. Double standards inquiry: Will someone please explain to me why this magazine cover, which made O.J. Simpson blacker than he really is…

 

was universally condemned as racist, and this current cover of New York Times Magazine, making the late Aretha Franklin look like a ravenous rotting zombie from Hell..

…is just an artistic choice? (ARRGHHHHH!!!)

2. And speaking of looks…It is impossible not to notice that TV commercials are increasingly featuring overweight, ordinary-looking actors instead of the impossibly beautiful people who once were the automatic choices to sell products. This is an ethical development for the culture generally, and should help children develop more realistic aspirations regarding their own appearance. Now if only TV dramas would adopt the same inclusive casting policies—a particularly egregious candidate for reform is “law and Order” creator Dick Wolf.  His old series cast one eye-popping beauty after another as the male ADA’s sidekick, and now he is stocking his current NBC line-up of Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD, with police women, female firefighters and distaff doctors who would be right at home in the pages of Vogue.

3.  More on “Enemies of the People”: Novelist and conservative gadfly Sarah Hoyt has issued a spirited defense—okay, it’s a screed, a rant even— of President Trump’s characterization of the news media, going over ground I have covered (most recently here and here), but with special brio. Read the whole thing— she is mostly right, if a bit hyperbolic and inflammatory—but here are some highlights: Continue reading

Signature Significance For “The Enemies Of The People,” Part II

Thinking about this since posting Part I yesterday, I have realized that the denial of toxic mainstream media bias, and particularly the media’s efforts to bring down President Trump, is the ultimate Jumbo-–“Elephant? What elephant?” on a grand and unforgivable scale. Want some more elephants? There were oh-so-many of them in 2018, like…

and…

and…

and, in a slightly different context,

The unethical methods used by the anti-Trump mainstream news media to ensure public fear and hostility and to minimize support for the President are familiar by now. They include…

  • Framing facts and events, whenever possible, in ongoing anti-Trump narratives rather than just reporting them.
  • Outright fake news, including misleading headlines, negative spin that distorts understanding, innuendo without evidence, and giving prominence to minor or insignificant stories to imply that they are significant.
  • Using unethical leaks and hearsay without verification to embarrass or impugn the President.
  • Deliberately under-reporting positive developments.
  • Hyping developments by speculating on worst case scenarios for the President.
  • Publishing “future news,” suggesting dire events that might happen.
  • Applying hyper-critical standards to all Presidential words and actions, and actively seeking “gotcha!” fodder.
  • Applying news standards for Trump that have never been applied to past Presidents.

It isn’t necessary to review the whole ugly year of unethical journalism. The steady state of hostility was spectacularly demonstrated over Christmas when CNN and many other news sources reported that President Trump had broken a tradition among recent Presidents by not visiting the troops. Indeed, this embarrassing fiasco could stand as the ugly monument to what our journalism has become.  Wrote NBC:

On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors….By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel around Christmastime.

This was the epitome of fake news, because the President and First Lady were deplaning in Iraq as the false story was published. Only the eagerness of the news media for a negative “gotcha!” can explain such shoddy and nasty journalism. Nobody checked with the White House. The Trump-hating journalists couldn’t wait until after Christmas to report on what the President didn’t do on Christmas, which is as incompetent as it is unethical. Incredibly, some sources have still not removed the original false story.

Once that mode of attack failed, the news media seamlessly and apparently without any self-awareness slipped into attacking the President for making the visit and manufacturing outrage over how the visit was handled.

Both CBS and NBC framed the troop visit in negative terms. CBS Evening News fill-in anchor and NFL Today host James Brown announced,  “But we begin with a historic trip today for President Trump. His first-ever to a combat zone. The President and First Lady paid a surprise visit today to U.S. troops in Iraq. The Commander-in-Chief had been criticized for not visiting a war zone sooner.”

Let me state right now that I think it is certifiably nuts to send Presidents into war zones, ever. Nobody criticized FDR, Truman, or the multiple Presidents who presided over Vietnam for not visiting the troops to boost their morale. That was Bob Hope’s job. Send Bill Maher.

Then CBS chief White House correspondent Chip Reid found a way to compare Trump’s visit unfavorably to President Obama’s time in office, saying,  “It’s the first time the President has traveled overseas to visit U.S. troops in a war zone. Critics say it took far too long, especially compared to President Obama, who visited troops in Iraq in his first three months in office.”

Note the standard “critics say” trope in both instances, which is pure deceit. You’re the critics whose saying it, you hacks.

Next CNN decided, having been among the first to attack the President for not visiting the troops, to bash the President for going! Don Lemon, who no longer even makes a pretense of objectivity, said that he and his family “turned on CNN and we saw the President politicizing a Christmas message, it was like– we kept saying, ‘he’s like the Grinch.’ I’m being honest.”

Every Presidential troop visit is political, of course. It isn’t necessary, it is costly and dangerous, and it is political theater. Only in Trump’s case, however, is this considered a legitimate target of criticism.

Then Lemon attacked the President’s words and demeanor during the visit: Continue reading

Signature Significance For “The Enemies Of The People,” Part I

Perhaps no intemperate statement by the President has caused such excessive outrage as his accusation that the news media are “enemies of the people”—maybe it’s tied with his infamous “they’re sending murderers, they’re sending rapists” line when he threw his hat in the ring; I don’t know. It’s close. I think both comments were better off unsaid by him, but that is a matter of prudence and decorum, not truth. The murderers and rapists point was intentionally misconstrued by the news media to “prove” that Trump’s objection to illegal immigration was based on prejudice, rather than the rather obvious fact that illegal immigrants are breaking the law if they are the salt of the earth, and a lot of them are a lot worse. As the accuracy of the Trump’s characterization of the news media, its distortion of his Mexicans comment was one of many thousands  examples that prove the President right–intemperate, undiplomatic, perhaps unwise, but tragically correct. Bolstered by their Constitutional immunity from any consequences arising from horribly abusing their rights to print and say whatever they choose, the American news media has decided, virtually as a bloc, to

  • manipulate the reporting of the news to undermine this President of the United States and make it difficult, and, if possible, to govern;
  •  bombard the public with unceasing negative characterizations of the man, his words, his appearance, his habits, his past, his thoughts, his family, and his alleged private conversations;
  •  frame all of this within predetermined narratives concocted by his most virulent foes and detractors that were launched and burnished during the 2016, after his election, or shortly after he took office,
  • among them being that he is corrupt, that he is President only to make money through graft, that he is a fascist, an autocrat, and an aspiring dictator, that he lies constantly, that he is a racist, that he hates immigrants, that he doesn’t care about the nation or the American people, that he treasonous conspired with Russia to “steal” the election, that he is the worst possible leader for the country and should be removed as soon as possible, and
  • that he is insane, senile, unstable, stupid and a danger to civilization as long as he remains in office, and
  • that all previous standards, honors, traditions and basic amenities of respect that have been every previous President’s right from George Washington through Barack Obama must not be accorded to President Trump, and
  • nothing, absolutely nothing, he accomplishes or does can possibly be beneficial or praiseworthy. If it is, then he isn’t really responsible for it: It’s an accident, or not as good as it seems, or is hiding a sinister purpose, or that someone else, preferably Barack Obama, really deserves the credit, and
  • all of his critics, opposition and adversaries are right and praiseworthy, no matter how despicable and untrustworthy they have been in the past.

Continue reading