Tag Archives: journalistic bias

Unethical Quote Of The Week: New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. [UPDATED and CORRECTED]

“Our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be. Our responsibility is to empower all of those watchdogs, and to listen to them, rather than to channel their voice through a single office.”

—-New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr, announcing that the Times was eliminating its “public editor” and its public editor position.

The decision was bad enough, the disingenuous excuse was almost worse. Yes, by all means, the Times doesn’t need an independent, internal expert on journalism ethics to blow the whistle when the Times ignores its duties of competence, independence and objectivity and breaches its own ethics code: the overwhelmingly left-wing readers the Times panders too daily will keep it on the straight and narrow! Besides. why does the Times need an ethics cop now? After all, the public’s trust in the news media, of which the Times is supposed to be the role model, has never been higher!

Well, no, actually, the public’s trust in journalism has never been lower, and the New York Time’s blatant bias during the 2016 campaign and in the wake of Donald Trump’s election is one of the main reasons. Tell me: if an organization finds its public trust diminishing drastically, which act shows a sincere interest in addressing that distrust and reversing it…

A. Hiring an independent journalism ombudsperson who investigates instances of dubious journalism ethics and reports to the public in the paper, no matter what the results, entering criticism and recommending changes as needed, or

B. Eliminating the above position entirely?

The New York Times chose B. What this indicates is that the Times doesn’t care about the public trust, just its readers’ trust. It knows most of its current readership wants an aggressive progressive advocacy rag, not bold, objective and independent journalism. When a new less-progressive-than-usual op ed writer dared to suggest that critics of climate change orthodoxy be listened to respectfully, Times readers tried to get him fired. Continue reading

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The Times’ Timothy Egan Doesn’t Get It: Hillary Lies, Trump Just Has No Respect For Facts

polygraph

In a Sunday Times op-ed called Lord of the Lies, Timothy Egan argues that Donald Trump, and apparently only Donald Trump, should be fact-checked live in any Presidential debates. Egan is adopting the current fad among journalists, which is the argument that Trump is so bad, the media should apply a double standard, making sure his misrepresentations are immediately debunked, while presumably allowing Hillary to continue to issue whoppers every time she talks about Benghazi, her State e-mails, the Clinton Foundation, her record as a champion for victims of sexual assault, etc.

I already pointed out how unethical it was for CNN to employ an  on-screen fact-check of a Trump speech ( “Trump: I never said Japan should have nukes (he did).” ) especially since they will never do the same to Hillary (“Hillary:I never sent e-mails marked classified (She did…)”)  Egan thought CNN’s intrusion was just peachy, though, because the news media now believes their task isn’t to be fair to both candidates and treat them the same, but to employ any means necessary to defeat that one journalists have determined shouldn’t win.

A larger problem with Egan’s thesis—even more than his apparent belief that the notoriously biased PolitiFact is “non-partisan”)—is that he doesn’t know what a lie is. He adopts the flat-out wrong definition of lie used by most fact-checkers in fact: if they disagree with a statement or can show it is untrue, it’s a lie. That’s not what makes a statement a lie. For example, PolitiFact is demonstrably biased and Democratic-leaning, far more so than the Washington Post’s Factchecker or Fact Check.org. But I wouldn’t assume that Egan is lying when he says otherwise. Progressive journalists just assume PolitiFact is fair and non-partisan because they think they are fair and non-partisan. They are deluded, not lying. That’s an important distinction. Continue reading

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MORE Gender Issues Confusion Monday, PART 3:The New York Times’ Hit Piece On Donald Trump And Women

Trump girls

The New York Times assigned six reporters to interview over fifty women who have dealt with The Donald, and the resulting story proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he engages in routine sexual harassment, acts like a high school student, behaves like the archetypal male chauvinist pig, and habitually ogled women and made comments about their appearance. Of course, anyone who hadn’t been in suspended animation for the past decade or so would know or assume all this based on the Trump’s activities and words. This is the dilemma in trying to cover an obviously unfit and unqualified Presidential candidate like other Presidential candidates. For a traditional politician, the Times’s revelations would be devastating. In Trump’s case, we have learned so many worse things about his nature during the past six months that his misogyny is both old news and relatively trivial. It’s like a character “Jurassic World” warning  that the murderous Indominus Rex has bad breath.

It appears that the Times was also sloppy in its reporting, but never mind: the real mystery is how any Democrats thinks that what Trump has done can benefit Hillary Clinton in any way. Nothing Trump is accused of in the article approaches the conduct that women who  were involved with Bill Clinton claim he inflicted on them, only to have their claims dismissed or ignored by the news media and Democrats. That party went on record as believing that personal conduct, no matter how offensive or abusive to women, doesn’t matter, or at least didn’t matter in Bill’s case, because “Bill was on the right side of the issues, especially abortion. Indeed, one famous female journalist wrote that she would sleep with him anytime, just to thank him for supporting abortion.” Continue reading

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It’s Corporation For Public Broadcasting Fundraising Time, Which Means Deception At NPR And PBS

The "Car Talk" brothers today, or so we are told.

The “Car Talk” brothers today, or so we are told.

It is fundraising time for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and once again, perhaps more than ever, NPR and PBS are lying to you. If you watch the PBS broadcast of “Downton Abbey” this weekend, for example, you will find the show introduced by a series of promotions for such companies as Viking Cruise Lines. These spots look, feel, sound and smell like commercials, but because PBS describes them with the euphemism “promotional considerations,” it thinks it can magically make them non-commercial, and thus, within seconds of running these ads, and while making its audience wait fifteen minutes to actually see the programming, describes PBS as “commercial-free television.”

If you can sell commercials, guys, don’t tell me that the survival of Western civilization depends on my tax-payer dollars going into your pockets.

Over at National Public Radio, it’s also deception and hypocrisy, but worse. I just turned on WMAU, a local NPR affiliate, and heard the familiar strains of Boston townie accents talking about automotive issues on “Car Talk,” where  the Tappet Brothers made the banter between Cliff and Norm sound pedestrian by comparison. After the last segment, in which “Click and Clack” answered a query from an LA area student about whether he should buy a car (Their answer, after much foolery: “No.”) Tom Tappet came on and explained that if this were commercial radio and they were sponsored by an auto manufacturer, the bothers might have felt pressured to give a different answer, or perhaps been fired for giving the honest one they did. And this is what is so important about NPR being listener-funded, he explained. It is independent radio. NPR is only interested in the objective truth, and isn’t swayed by conflict of interest.

Right, Tom! Ask Juan Williams about how independent NPR is. Continue reading

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Prof. Jonathan Turley On The Latest Clinton E-Mail Revelations

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“Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence” – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a U.S. government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News.”

The mainstream media is dutifully ignoring this while they can, so you may well say, “Oh, well that’s just Fox News.” However, this bit of leaked information should not be surprising, and assuming that it is accurate, it follows the pattern of each bit of new data further discrediting Clinton’s various defenses for her indefensible handling of communications.

I point you to the analysis of George Washington law professor and blogger Jonathan Turley, who is that rarity in academia, a non-partisan, fair and unbiased commentator. Here, in part, are his recent comments on this matter. Please send it to the unshakable Clinton enablers in your life: a mind is a terrible thing to waste. (The emphasis is mine.)

While I agree with the Clinton campaign that these leaks are themselves problematic (both in terms of their timing and their disclosures from an ongoing investigation), I have long maintained that this was a serious scandal and that Clinton’s evolving defense does not track with national security rules or procedures. I consider the decision to use exclusively an unsecure server for “convenience” to be a breathtakingly reckless act for one of the top officials in our government. I am also deeply concerned about the level of “spin” coming from the campaign that is misrepresenting the governing standards and practices in the field. Much of what has been said in defense of Clinton’s use of the email system is knowingly misleading in my view.

In addition, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who sits on the House intelligence committee, “suggested the military and intelligence communities have had to change operations” due to the presumption that Clinton’s emails were compromised.

… I have previously noted that the decision of Clinton to use a personal server showed incredibly bad judgment that put classified information at risk. The defense that the information was not marked, which the campaign has been using recently, does not address the fundamental issues in the scandal. Clinton has insisted that “I never sent classified material on my email, and I never received any that was marked classified.” The key of this spin is again the word “marked.” I have previously discussed why that explanation is less than compelling, particularly for anyone who has handled sensitive or classified material. Continue reading

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Jumbo Alert, As An Integrity And Corruption Check For Pundits, Journalists, And All Your Hillary Clinton-Defending Friends Looms

Jumbo film

The real test of when someone will lie to your face is when they will insist that their former, perhaps bias-supported but still sincerely-held position is still valid after all justifications for it have vanished. This is Jumbo territory, the point where Jimmy Durante, giant elephant in tow, shrugged to the accusing sheriff in front of him and said, “Elephant? What elephant?” That, however, was a joke. This is tragic.

Many of us knew we would reach this point long ago, of course. As many, including me, have documented since the New York Times first broke the story of how Hillary Clinton had defied policy, best practices, competent national security management, technology common sense and perhaps the law by receiving and sending her official State Department e-mail on a home-brewed server. First she said there was nothing improper about doing this, then she said she had received no classified information, then she said she had received no material marked classified. She trotted out rationalizations: “everybody did it,” “other Secretaries of State did it,” “don’t sweat the small stuff,” ultimately adding a rationalization to the list, “It wasn’t the best choice.”

Those of us who have followed the pattern of Clinton scandals over the years knew that her camp was running out of smoke when it defaulted to the old “vast right wing conspiracy” diversion that worked so well—for a while—during the Monica Mess. The facts have been pretty clear for a while now, to anyone with the honesty and fairness to acknowledge them. Hillary Clinton, for her own convenience (as she has said) and to keep her communications out of the view of Congress, the public, political adversaries and law enforcement as she mixed personal business, politics and influence peddling with her official duties, willfully endangered US security and even the lives of intelligence personnel by handling official communications in an insecure manner.

The FBI has been investigating all of this—not her, her campaign keeps reminding us, just the e-mails!—and the State Department, which has been acting as a partisan ally when it’s duty is to the American people, finally was forced by a judge to review and turn over the e-mails involved, other than the ones Clinton had destroyed by her lawyer (nothing suspicious or irregular about that). With each new batch revealed, more e-mails that contained classified information have been found. Former Defense Secretary and CIA director William Gates said this week that Russia, China and Iran, among other foreign nations, probably hacked Clinton’s e-mails, “given the fact that the Pentagon acknowledges that they get attacked about 100,000 times a day.” Meanwhile, State has identified over 1,200 emails that it deems classified were sent over Hillary’s private server, making her first denials ridiculous, and her ultimate denials an admission of gross negligence and stupidity, even if they were true. The Secretary of State didn’t discern that any of 1200 e-mails contained information requiring care and confidentiality? This is the “I’m not corrupt, I’m stupid” defense, which is one no Presidential candidate ought to be allowed to get away with, especially one being extolled by the current President for her alleged competence and experience.

Now the walls, and the facts, are closing in. Yesterday, the Obama administration confirmed for the first time that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, and announced that 22 emails that containing material requiring one of the highest levels of classification were so sensitive that they could not be released.  Is that clear? These are communications that were on an insecure server, vulnerable to hacking, that Clinton saw, and either didn’t recognize as such—she’s not that stupid—or didn’t care enough to start being responsible. With such e-mails, it doesn’t matter if they are marked: they are self-marking: big, loud, throbbing documents that any Secretary of State, even Secretary Gump, must know are classified because of their content.

The State Department revelation came three days before  the Iowa presidential caucuses, and, incredibly, the Clinton campaign complained about the timing! Yes, it is certainly outrageous to let voters know about the duplicity and incompetence of a candidate for President before they vote for her. This is how Clinton thinks. If that doesn’t bother you, get help.

Federal law makes it a felony for any government employee to mishandle classified information, and here comes the integrity check. With this new information, Clinton has no defense. By definition, allowing top secret information to be received and perhaps forwarded on an insecure, private server is mishandling, and illegal.  Clinton’s campaign, of course, is lying and spinning: the current tactic is to dismiss this as an inter-agency dispute over what is classified. (The Clinton-enabling Vox made bolstering this deflection the centerpiece of its “explainer”) However, when the current State Department is so sure of 22 e-mails’ top secret character that it feels it must withhold them from the public and the media, it is obvious that this was no close call, especially since State has been covering and spinning for Hillary to a disgraceful degree already.

So the facts speak: Yes, she lied. Yes, she endangered U.S. security. Yes, she willfully exposed classified documents to hacking by our enemies. Yes, she did this for her own personal and political benefit.

Yes, she broke the law, and this law ain’t jaywalking. Continue reading

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Observations On The Democratic Presidential Candidates “Debate”

Jets Cowboys

1. The major significance of the way the Democratic nomination competition has been handled so far is what it appears to say about the complacency and/or corruption of ordinary Democrats. Why is there no outrage—hell, disgust— over this sham of a race? Are Democrats so devoid of character and standards that they are satisfied with a Communist regime-like process where the Party’s hand-picked candidate has a giant box next to her name in the ballot while it is made clear to all that the other candidates are window dressing?

2. Well, they did it: this debate was scheduled so cynically to avoid viewers that even I was foiled: I had other things to do. [ I’ve read the transcript, here.] Scheduled on a  weekend, against NFL football, on the biggest shopping Saturday of the year, right before Christmas…Wow.

I actually laughed out loud to hear CNN analysts expressing puzzlement at the scheduling. “It’s really mind-boggling; I can’t conceive of why the DNC would do this!” one said. “I know, it really is incomprehensible,” said the other, looking befuddled.

Pop Quiz: Lying, or stupid?

This reminded me of the TV reporter—I can’t recall which network—who said, after the second airplane slammed into the second tower, “Now, the tendency will be to assume this is a terrorist attack, but we caution viewers not to leap to conclusions.” That’s right, it might all be a horrible coincidence! The head-scratching over the DNC’s third straight weekend debate is just about that ridiculous. They don’t want Hillary, who is a shaky campaigner and debater, to be seen or heard by any more undecided voters than necessary.

With that, back to #1. What kind of respectable political organization tries to minimize the opportunities for citizens to know its leader? No kind, that’s the answer. Deceptive, manipulative, dishonest, suspicious, untrustworthy organizations behave this way, and only them. Do Democrats care? Does this trouble them? By the evidence, I guess not. Continue reading

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