This video needs no further comment from me:
I have mentioned before that I have the smartest readers. I got more proof of that today:
Recently Drudge and American Thinker had articles on the Jay Carney and Claire Shipman household having old Soviet propaganda posters displayed in their kitchen/great room.
That’s not what stunned me. What caught my eye was the amount of food displayed on the counter for breakfast for a family of four. Good Grief!! What a carb overload! and the amount of butter! I realized that this was a staged photo but still…….
According to the administration 1 in 6 are hungry, 50 million or so are on food stamps, etc,, etc, etc. Aren’t we told about starving Americans every day and how we must sacrifice to help them? Isn’t this picture insensitive to those who don’t have enough to eat? Or eat that well?
Not to mention Michelle O’s campaign to “persuade” Americans to eat natural and healthy. The only healthy things I see are the strawberries (pricey), the orange juice (pricey), and the egg (notice that it’s brown, ergo probably free range or otherwise organic, and pricey.)
If this picture featured a conservative couple instead of a liberal power couple, can you imagine the outrage that would ensue?
Well, now that you mention it….
There are so many things about the drive-by mainstream media that irritate me that it’s sometimes hard to prioritize or quantify them. I can, however, say with alacrity that one of the irritants at the top of my list is the media’s 40+ year-long effort to demonize America’s vets, whom they paint as ticking time-bombs in constant, imminent danger of exploding.
Entirely expectedly, then, that was how the media treated Specialist Ivan Lopez, the man who went on the latest shooting rampage on unarmed troops at Fort Hood (where they had to call 911 to rescue them). ”PTSD!” the media shrilled. It turned out, of course, that Lopez wasn’t a combat vet at all. Still, as far as the media is concerned, just being in the military itself is a trauma so great that the media can reasonably claim that every active duty military member and every veteran in America is a potential PTSD explosion waiting to happen.
I’ve never bought that. My parents and all their friends were survivors of at least one war and often two. All experienced WWII (either as troops, refugees, or prisoners of war), and most of them experienced a second war as well: the Israeli War of Independence, the Soviet takeover of Hungary, the Communist takeover in China, etc. Peculiarly enough, all of them, without exception, went on to live productive, non-violent lives.
Were these members of the Greatest Generation always the happiest people in the world? Well, yes, actually — mostly they were quite happy. The only person I met who was a bundle of misery was a man who had escaped from Auschwitz (something extraordinary) by somehow hiding himself in a pile of corpses that, for reasons unclear to me (I was only 9 or 10 when I met him) were being shipped out of the camp. Another Auschwitz survivor I knew, though, was one of the most vital, vibrant people I’ve every met.
All of the WWII survivors in whose shadow I was raised had dark memories and dark moments, but they all still lived with a certain triumphalism. They had survived and were damned proud of that fact, even as many mourned their lost family and their lost friends, and all mourned the lost years of their youth. The Jewish ones also thumbed their noses at Hitler with every child, grandchild, niece, and nephew that they had. They understood that life was to be cherished, not wasted.
That’s why it never, ever, never, absolutely never ever, made sense to me that America’s Vietnam troops all came back as crazed, schizophrenic, psychopathic killers or dysfunctional bums. Why were they so much more vulnerable to war’s horrors than their parents’ generation? Even the excuses offered — lack of support at home or drug use in Vietnam — didn’t make much sense, especially the drug part.
If drugs were the problem, why didn’t every UC Berkeley graduate from 1964 to the present day turn into a crazed killer or drugged-out homeless person? Indeed, I suspect that, if you did a study, you’d find more drugged-out homeless people in the Berkeley graduate cohort than in the American troops cohort. As for rejection by the folks at home, sure that’s demoralizing, but is that really enough to turn you into a mass murderer or dysfunctional bum?
A few years ago, the media, which in the 21st century had opted for the “we love our troops” trope, rather than the dated “we hate our troops” trope, announced that George Bush’s military was driving America’s troops and veterans to mass suicide. I addressed that canard in 2008 (the last year of the Bush presidency). Gateway Pundit also pointed out that the military suicide rate was higher under Clinton’s stint as Command In Chief than it was under George Bush’s.
Just last year, HuffPo again said troops are killing themselves like suicidal flies and the New York Times assured its readers that the high rates weren’t just because the military is made up of young men who are the most likely segment in any population to commit suicide. I’ll just note that, as before, even if one accepts solely for the sake of argument the claim that military suicides exceed those in the generally population, these increased suicide rates occurred under a Democrat Commander In Chief, not a Republican one….
Suicide is a difficult argument for the media to make for three reasons. First, as many have argued and the Times has tried to refute, it’s a sad truth that suicides happen a lot in a population such as the military (lots of young men, especially young men far from home). Second, it’s entirely possible to argue that the suicides aren’t the result of the horrors of combat, which humans are programmed to weather, but because the military is being downsized, troops are being made irrelevant, and the Obama economy means that they have no future in the civilian world. The media doesn’t want to go there. Third, while suicides are tragic, they’re not dramatic. Most are lonely affairs that affect only the actor’s immediate friends and family.
How much more exciting, then, to revive the moribund “crazed Vietnam vet” myth, this one with the neatly clinical label of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We’re right back to the old ticking time bomb, with every vet a mass murderer in the making. Except, as with all of the media’s anti-military narratives, this one isn’t true either:
This generalization — that the millions of veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan are about to snap — plays to a stereotype of veterans being forever broken by war, when the truth is that the vast majority are not afflicted with PTSD.
But even more unfortunate is the perception that veterans are a group people should fear. Indeed, it has become common to mention military service or combat experience of a wrongdoer as if it’s some predictor of crime.
[Snip. Go to the article to see examples of the anti-military canards the media lobs at vets.]
This is a shameful misrepresentation, and it only serves as a stigma to prevent veterans with legitimate mental health issues from seeking the care they need.
“Post-traumatic stress is a manageable condition and a natural response to trauma,” writes Army veteran Alex Horton. “One that can affect a soldier in war as much as a grandmother in a car crash.”
Life is stressful. Life has always been stressful. It was stressful for our prehistoric ancestors duking it out with savage beasts and Neanderthal competitors. It was stressful people in pre-modern eras when disease, famine, and war were ordinary, not exceptional. It’s stressful for the lawyer who loses a case in court, the surgeon whose patient dies on the table, and the check-out clerk who has to play beat the clock every day or lose her job.
If humans couldn’t process stress, even extreme stress, they would have died out a long time ago. Different individuals may suffer more from stress, or certain events may be extraordinarily stressful, but that doesn’t turn every traumatized person into an Al Qaeda bomber. Indeed, the real mass murderers — the Al Qaeda members, the Al Shabaab people (in Kenya), the Nazis, the Soviets in the Ukraine — were and are as often as not products of ordinary lives, not traumatized lives. They don’t have PTSD themselves; they create it in others.
As you may recall, CNN refused to cover State Sen. Leland Yee’s arrest in any detail because his was a local story, and that was beneath them. This was true despite the fact that it was, by any standards, an exceptionally juicy narrative, complete with peculiarly named mobsters (“Shrimp Boy”), hypocritical politicians (gung-ho gun-control Yee selling black market weapons), and murderous Islamists (the recipients of those weapons). ”Feh!” sneered CNN. ”It’s in line with us covering state senators & state secretary of state races just about never. You see another conspiracy?”
In examining the veracity of that smear, let’s put aside CNN’s enthusiastic (although not as enthusiastic as MSNBC’s) Chris Christie coverage. Arguably, Christie was cover-worthy because he had presidential aspirations, raising him above a mere “state senator.”
But what about U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister? He’s the Louisiana congressman who was caught kissing a staffer. Admittedly, he is a member of Congress, making him a nominally national figure, but honestly, it’s a generic story about a guy known only in his Louisiana parish: politician runs on family values (and they all do) and then gets in trouble over a woman. Except for the fact that there’s some implied sex, it’s not a sexy story, it’s not about a man who’s carved out a national reputation for himself, and it doesn’t implicate larger political concerns. None of that has stopped CNN.
To date, and using CNN’s own search engine, I’ve found seven — count ‘em! seven! — CNN main stories and blog posts about McAllister:
Over at NewsBusters, Brent Bozell and Tim Graham offer a primer on the decisions MSM outlets use when they determine what’s newsworthy. You won’t be surprised that the algorithm includes determining what’s good for Democrats and bad for Republicans. Nor will you be surprised to learn that Leland Yee isn’t the only utterly corrupt Democrat — and, moreover, one who is corrupt in interesting and creative ways — whose story the media has determined simply isn’t newsworthy.
Rush opened his show today by focusing on the mainstream media’s joyous assertion that, overnight, Obamacare went from a mere 26% in support to plurality support and that, within two weeks, it went from 5 million to 7 million enrollments (with that 7 million number coming from two “anonymous” White House sources). Rush asserted, and I agree, that this is lies and damn lies, powered through by falsely derived statistics.
Even assuming solely for the sake of argument that there’s any truth to the dramatically increased poll and enrollment numbers, the numbers are still meaningless because the law has failed resoundingly at effecting its primary purpose: to insure the uninsured. As of yesterday, based upon the limited data the Obama administration has reluctantly released, only 1.7% of the previously uninsured have enrolled in Obamacare.
If the uninsured aren’t enrolling in Obamacare, who is? It seems that new enrollees consist primarily of (a) those who were insured but wanted subsidies and (b) those who lost pre-existing coverage because of Obamacare. Moreover, analyzing enrollment data, it appears that the new enrollees are weighted heavily in favor of those requiring subsidies, as opposed to those paying full fare and funding the subsidies. Even math-illiterates (i.e., the Democrat party and its MSM mouthpieces) will eventually figure out that this is unsustainable.
The statements I made above are data-based, although the administration’s death grip on actual numbers leaves one unsure even about the accuracy of that information. Now let me throw in some anecdotal information. I know that anecdote is not data but, to the extent this anecdote tracks the available data, it’s worth noting.
I have mentioned before that I have a friend who has pursued a very different life path from mine. We both come from extremely middle class backgrounds, but while I was able to stay economically middle class, my friend made life decisions that saw her sink lower and lower economically. She now lives in a community where, as she jokes, she and her husband are the only ones she knows who don’t have a parole officer. (A fact that relates in part to substance abuse problems rife in her community and in part to draconian prosecutorial abuse.)
What distinguishes my friend from her neighbors, aside from her lack of a criminal record, is her middle class values. She may not live the middle class life, but she still follows middle class rules, one of which is her belief that you pay your bills and you carry health insurance. Unfortunately for her, she reached a point a few years ago at which she could no longer pay health insurance bills. Quite reluctantly, she let her insurance lapse.
My friend was therefore delighted when Obamacare finally went into effect. Because her state’s exchange was dysfunctional, she had to sign up the old-fashioned way (by mail), but sign-up she did. Moreover, given her dire finances, she qualified for a subsidy. I don’t have the details, but I believe she pays $50 a month for a Gold plan. The moment her plan vested, my friend went on an orgy of doctor’s visits to catch up on all the health care (mostly standard tests and procedures) that she missed in the last few years. While I disapprove of Obamacare, she’s my friend and I’m happy for her. At least someone’s benefiting from the law.
I was speaking to my friend just yesterday about her healthcare and she offered a very interesting observation: She and her husband, the only middle class people in a sea of poverty, are the only people she knows, amongst both friends and acquaintances, who have signed up for Obamacare. The others have no interest in getting health insurance. Even with a subsidy, they don’t want to pay a monthly bill for health insurance. Even a subsidized rate is too onerous when they can get all the free health care they need just by showing up at the local emergency room. Additionally, the ER docs are usually better than any doc who’s willing to belong to whatever plan they can afford. Nor are these people worried about the penalties for refusing to buy Obamacare, since none of them pay taxes.
Not only are the people in my friend’s world refusing to buy Obamacare, they resent it. According to my friend, someone she knows abruptly announced that she’s getting involved in local politics, something she’s never done before. Until recently, this gal was one of those people who just floated along, getting by. Now, though, she’s fired up.
The reason for the sudden passion is unexpected: She’s deeply offended by a law that forces people to buy a product they don’t need — never mind that she might benefit from the product, that she would pay far below market value for the product, or that she’s too poor to be penalized for ignoring this government diktat. The mere fact that the diktat exists runs counter to her notion of individual liberty. Her view of government is that, while it’s fine if it hands out welfare checks and food stamps, it goes beyond the pale when the government uses its power and wealth to coerce activity.
A few years ago, a graphic went around that perfectly illustrated the way in which photographs can be used, not only to capture the moment, but to distort the moment:
That graphic popped into my head the moment I read a story about a really evil act by the hard-Left Associated Press:
“I was horrified,” said John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, a new, rapidly-growing scouting organization that doesn’t allow openly gay members.
Stemberger was referring to an Associated Press photograph that accompanied an in-depth story about Trail Life. The image showed a group of young boys gathered in a circle with their hands raised at an unusual angle. The AP’s original caption on the photo said they were reciting the organization’s “creed” during a meeting in North Richland Hills, Texas.
The photograph ran last Sunday in newspapers across the nation and generated hundreds of angry emails and some threatening telephone calls to Trail Life headquarters.
But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing “Taps,” a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.
The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.
What’s even more despicable is that the AP, having published this gross calumny, initially refused to correct it:
But what really infuriated Stemberger was the Associated Press’ initial reluctance to remove the photograph and correct the caption. The Trail Life leader provided me with email correspondence he had with Nomaan Merchant, the writer of the story.
Eventually, the AP did correct the photo, and remove it from its archives, and Merchant (who was not responsible for the photo) apologized, but the whole thing smells bad — that the AP did that in the first place and that the AP took so long to correct its libel by implication that the implied message from the photograph took on a life of its own. As Churchill (or Mark Twain, or someone else entirely) said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,” a situation made worse when a major media outlet promulgates the lie onto the internet and then takes its own sweet time correcting it.
A couple of days ago, I wrote a lengthy post in which I argued that, during Democrat presidencies, the media constantly elevates non-essential information to top status, thereby keeping America’s attention away from the fact that things are going badly wrong. During Republican administrations, the press focuses exclusively on hard news, always reported to the administration’s detriment.
Today’s Drudge Report perfectly exemplifies what’s roiling the world (Putin) and what’s roiling the media and the Left (a proposed Arizona law that would allow people who practice traditional religions to refuse to provide their services to gay weddings, which they see as a direct affront to their faith):
They’re rattling sabres in a way that presages another Cold War or, worse, a hot war, while our chattering class is incensed that traditional religionists don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy because, while they do not want to be active participants in what is to them a deeply offensive event.
The American media has found its fiddle, even as the world burns down around our ears.
When our Founders (rightly) insisted upon a free press, they could never have envisioned the wounds the modern American media inflicted upon itself and, by extension, upon the American body politic. The Founders’ goal was a press that zealously kept watch on politicians, keeping them honest and reminding them that they were the people’s servants, not their masters. Instead, we have a media that selectively watches some politicians, while following a “don’t ask, don’t tell” standard as to others. And during those eras when the press’s preferred political party is in power, it turns its energies to attacking and destroying people, both private citizens and celebrities, who have the misfortune to catch the media’s eye.
As I hope to demonstrate below, some of the worst media scandals ever took place during the Clinton presidency. While the mainstream media (as opposed to the paparazzi/tabloid media) carefully averted its eyes from the Clintons, it savaged Tonya Harding, Richard Jewell, and Princess Diana. Please remind me if any such “assault by media” events happened during the Bush years. I can’t think of any, and am not surprised at that memory lapse, since the mainstream media’s entire energies were directed towards discrediting George Bush.
Beginning with 2008 election cycle, the media once again reversed course: it kept up the attacks on Bush, as well as targeting any Republicans who looked too close to winning the prize (can we say “Sarah Palin”?), and began once again focusing its energies on non-political inessentials — a pattern that it has kept to through the present-day.
My whole theory about the ebb and flow of tabloid and political reporting depending upon which party is in power began when I watched ESPN’s The Price of Gold, a documentary that examines Nancy Kerrigan’s infamous knee capping back in 1994, six weeks before the Lillehammer Olympics (and a few months before triumphant Republicans were able to seize Congress because of America’s horror at Clinton’s far-Left agenda.) Within a few weeks of the attack, the FBI had figured out that Kerrigan’s main on-ice rival, Tonya Harding, a powerful, scrappy poor kid was somehow involved. There was no question but that her husband and three conspirators actively carried out the attack. Harding subsequently pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by failing to give the FBI information after the attack, but she’s never admitted to being complicit in the attack herself.
If you get the chance to watch The Price of Gold, you should. Kerrigan refused to participate (although her husband appears twice), but Harding finally got the chance to tell her story. The documentary intertwines interviews with people who knew Harding and Kerrigan, fellow Olympic figure skaters, media people involved at the time, and Harding herself, as well as contemporaneous footage showing Harding from a little girl on ice right up until her demeaning post-Olympics career as a boxer. Separate from whether she was involved in the assault, Harding emerges as a very sympathetic figure. Unlike most American skaters, she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps, training in a shopping mall, suffering hunger and parental abuse, and eventually ending up in an abusive marriage. Despite this, she turned herself into one of the world’s top skaters.
Once Harding had hauled herself into the upper ranks, she discovered blatant class discrimination from two sources: the skating powers-that-be and the media. The skating world, still in thrall to Sonja Henie, demanded that, in addition to being powerful athletes, women skaters had to look like fairytale princesses. Nancy Kerrigan conformed nicely to these demands. Not only was she exceptionally pretty, she was also a powerful athlete. Thanks to her looks, she got lucrative endorsements, which enabled her to pay thousands of dollars for a classy princess costume, and to have the best training money could buy. Harding, on the other hand, was attacked for her homemade costumes and energetic rock music routines.
As for the media, they could have championed the working class heroine, but they didn’t. With the Olympics nearing, the narrative was set: beautiful princess facing challenge from ugly stepsister. Yes, Harding was scrappy and self-made, which even the media recognized was admirable, but she simply wasn’t photogenic. The press besieged her, but not in a respectful way.
After the attack, all Hell broke loose when it came to the media. Keep in mind that, when the media went after Harding, never leaving her alone for a single second, no one knew whether she was innocent or guilty. Indeed, we still don’t, although people close to Harding have their guesses. The absence of proof or knowledge didn’t stop the media from making it impossible for Harding to train or to do anything else. It was clear when Harding made her disastrous appearance at the Lillehammer Olympics that she was destroyed, not by a guilty-conscience (and, again, we don’t know if she had a guilty conscience), but by being hunted relentlessly for six weeks. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that this debacle took place as Clinton was plummeting in the polls thanks in large part to his healthcare initiative.
There was another media frenzy in 1994 as well, which was also a distraction from actual news about Clinton’s myriad policy failures: The OJ Simpson trial. For nine months, the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the trial, allowing it to keep to a limit any meaningful political coverage.
Two years later, the media engaged in even more shameful behavior in the case of Richard Jewell, the hero who saved so many lives at the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics. After first lauding him, the media then tried and convicted him, at the same time stalking and harassing him unmercifully. When he was definitively cleared, the media hounds just slunk away into the night; their work was done. That was the same year, as you recall, was that Clinton caved on gay rights, enacting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military.
And then there were the Bush years. Please remind me of any famous media scandals during the Bush years that did not involve attacks on George Bush or his policies. I can’t think of any.
With the lead-up to the 2008 election, the media once again took its eye off politics and started the scandal watch again. It continued to savage Bush, and added Sarah Palin to its list of people it had to destroy. Headlines became pure fluff. Hard news — about the attempted Iranian Green Revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Syrian Civil War, the economy, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, etc. — was quickly and inaccurately summarized to make room for the really important stuff. The MSM primarily devoted itself to attacking Republicans, lauding Democrats, worshipping Obama, supporting gay rights, demanding massive changes to the military, climate change, closed bridges, and Miley Cyrus and her ilk. Whitney Houston, who killed herself directly or indirectly through years of drug abuse got more coverage than Chris Kyle, a true American hero who got murdered.
A good example of the media’s bizarre focus is Alec Baldwin. Baldwin has always had a famously combative relationship with the media, especially the paparazzi. He’s now taken to the pages of The Vulture to reveal that he’s not a gay-bashing monster but is, instead, a compassionate fellow who is a victim of media and gay attacks. It makes for an enlightening read, although not in the way Baldwin intends.
I should say here that I hold no brief for Baldwin. As 30 Rock showed, he’s an extremely talented comic actor — and that’s the only nice thing I can say about him. He’s an angry, combative, whiny, hate-filled man who believes himself to be an intellectual. (Which reminds me of the response the Jewish mother gave to her son when he proudly showed up wearing his “captain” outfit for his new yacht: “Sammy, by me you’re a captain and by you you’re a captain. But tell me — by captains are you a captain?” With regard to Baldwin, one is tempted to say, “Alec, by you you’re an intellectual, and by Leftists you’re an intellectual. But tell me — by actual smart people, are you an intellectual?”)
Nevertheless, despite all that is really unpleasant about him, Baldwin makes some good points in his extended, almost maudlin rant. First, he’s right about the attacks gays are making on free speech. It doesn’t excuse his obscene, abusive language, but Baldwin has vaguely figured out that the speech police are out there. Indeed, he rises to a certain level of sardonic wit when he calls Anderson Cooper (who I always think looks as if he’s lived his life in a deep sea cave) “the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture,” for demanding that the media “vilify” Baldwin. Baldwin doesn’t see or doesn’t care about the way gay issues suck up all the media’s air time to the exclusion of coverage about Benghazi, the IRS, North Korea, Fast & Furious, etc.
Baldwin also makes a couple of good points when he talks about the paparazzi and MSNBC. Of the press, he accurately — indeed, in an almost low-key way — describes its behavior:
And this isn’t the days of Rona Barrett and Ron Galella, who were viewed as outcasts or peripheral at best. Paparazzi today are part of a network that includes the Huffington Post and, much to my dismay, even NBC News, in their reliance on tabloid reporting.
Photographers today get right up in your face, my wife’s, my baby’s. They are baiting you. You can tell they want to get into it with you. Some bump into me or block the entrance to my apartment, frustrating my neighbors (some of whom may regret that I live in their building).
The other point Baldwin makes that is worth noting is his attack on MSNBC. Putting aside the obvious sour grapes, he confirms what all of us have always suspected — MSNBC is run by Leftist businessmen who employ minimally intelligent talking heads to operate as an attack machine, rather than a news agency. (Baldwin concedes that Rachel Maddow isn’t stupid, but thinks she’s a “phony,” whatever he means by that conclusory word.):
Phil Griffin is the head of MSNBC, and when I saw that Griffin didn’t have a single piece of paper on his desk, meeting after meeting after meeting, that should have been my first indication there was going to be a problem. Phil is a veteran programmer who knows well the corridors and chambers of television programming—and couldn’t give a flying fuck about content.
Even as the media has spent the Obama years obsessed by Alec Baldwin, gays, and Miley Cyrus, what about the way in which it’s performed its core function under the First Amendment, which is to ensure open and honest political discourse in America? I don’t think I need to start preaching to the choir here. You can amuse yourself by comparing coverage of Bridgegate to the media’s announcement that Hillary Clinton’s entire past, up to and including Benghazi, is off limits. After all, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Or you might want to compare the microscope placed on Sarah Palin (including reporters going through her garbage or Andrew Sullivan’s increasingly insane theories about her son Trig’s parentage) versus the three monkeys approach the media took to every facet of Barack Obama’s history (“hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”).
The profound damage the media is inflicting on America with its slavish devotion to the Democrat Party came to mind when I read an article about the Ukrainian media’s role in the current uprising. The article shows two things: (1) that a media complicit with the government is terribly damaging to the rights of the people and (2) that a media that backs away from that same government can then destroy it (and that’s true whether or not it’s a government that deserves to be destroyed). Both of these are useful lessons for America.
Lidia Pankiv, a Ukrainian journalist, was invited to speak on a talk show on Inter, the most popular news station in Ukraine. Andriy Danylevych, the show’s host, wanted to do a human interest story with her about how important it is for reconciliation to occur instantly between, on the one hand, a government that governed against the will of the people and then tried to kill them and, on the other hand, the people themselves. Pankiv was expected to tell a heartwarming story about how she calmed down riot police attacking civilians and how she ended up engaged to one of those riot police. Pankiv, however, wasn’t going to talk about reconciliation. Instead, she had a message for her compatriots about the media’s complicity in tyranny (emphasis mine):
You probably want to hear a story from me about how with my bare hands I restrained a whole Berkut unit, and how one of the Berkut officers fell in love with me and I fell in love with him. But I’m going to tell you another story. About how with my bare hands I dragged the bodies of those killed the day before yesterday. And about how two of my friends died yesterday. . . . I hate Zakharchenko, Klyuev, Lukash, Medvedchuk, Azarov. I hate Yanukovych and all those who carry out their criminal orders. I came here today only because I found out that this is a live broadcast. I want to say that I also despise Inter because for three months it deceived viewers and spread enmity among citizens of this country. And now you are calling for peace and unity. Yes, you have the right to try to clear your conscience, but I think you should run this program on your knees. I’ve brought these photos here for you, so that you see my dead friends in your dreams and understand that you also took part in that. And now, I’m sorry, I don’t have time. I’m going to Maidan. Glory to Ukraine.
When the show’s host tried to derail this conversation, the other guest instead agreed with what Pankiv had to say (emphasis mine):
Danylevych immediately tried to return to the night’s topic of reconciliation. But he was stopped by guest Konstantin Reutsky, a human-rights activist from Luhansk. Reutsky agreed with Pankiv, saying that Inter journalists had “lied and distorted information about Maidan over the last three months.” Danylevych tried to interrupt Reutsky, who went on to say that the protestors had tried for months to avoid bloodshed. “But what happened yesterday is a point of no return,” Reutsky continued. “After that you can no longer say, ‘Sorry, we got carried away, let’s turn the page and start afresh without offense.’ What happened yesterday is impossible to forget.” Danylevych, after shouting down Reutsky’s further attempt to discuss the crimes committed by the government, changed the topic. But a chief media mouthpiece of the regime, owned by the president’s oligarch backers, had been exposed. Hours later, the president fled his palace.
John Fund, whom I quoted immediately above, draws one conclusion:
As someone who reported from Eastern Europe during the fall of Communist regimes there, I recognized a recurring pattern in the collapse a quarter century later of the regime in Kiev. Regimes can stay in power in an age of mass media only if they have enough murderers willing to gun down people in the street.
There’s more to add than that, though. Certainly it’s true that, when the blood really starts to flow, the media can no longer hide what’s going on, and the government can hold out only if there are enough people willing to stomach the bloodshed of their fellow citizens to fight them to the death (e.g., Syria). What struck me most strongly about what happened in Ukraine, though, is the way in which a corrupt, complicit media propped up an administration that was governing against the will of the people. The Ukrainian government hadn’t resorted to physically attacking its people in the months leading up to last week’s uprising. Instead, it simply lied to the people and it was able to do so because the media covered for it. (I wrote those words before Putin stepped up his game against Ukraine. Putin understands that when a once great power is governed by a paper rat — Obama doesn’t rise even to the level of a paper tiger — the bad actors of the world no longer have anything to fear.)
If you’re now thinking about Obamacare and other events in the Obama administration, you and I are two minds with but a single thought. The media has turned on its head the Founders’ belief that a healthy democracy can survive only with a media that rigorously keeps politicians honest by accurately reporting what’s happening in the political world. Our media has utterly failed in its constitutional responsibility. When Obama ran for president, it covered for him, telling the world that no one had any right even to ask Obama about his personal history, political record, and peculiar group of friends. When Obama pushed for Obamacare, the media relayed his lies without comment and avoided covering anything negative. In Benghazi, the media carefully didn’t ask any questions that might have exposed Hillary’s and Obama’s lies. With the IRS scandal, the media simply buried the whole matter as quickly as possible.
The American media is Ukraine’s Inter. No, I take that back. The American media is worse than Inter. Ukraine doesn’t have a First Amendment. Its press has no constitutional right to be free nor does it have the moral mandate that flows from that extraordinary right to be the people’s watchdog. In most of the world, it’s always been a given that the press is the government’s mouthpiece — and, as Putin’s Russia shows, it can be deadly to try to break free from that relationship. In America, however, the media had something unique in world history: a signed, written contract granting it freedom from the government. The American media did something extraordinary, though: it shredded that contract, threw the pieces to the wind, and willingly put its neck in the government’s yoke — provided that the government was run by a Democrat.
In the past thirty years, the American media has managed to turn itself upside down. Instead of being a government watchdog and the people’s protector, it has become the government’s lapdog and the people’s persecutor. Moreover, it has done this to achieve blatant partisan outcomes: it uses its power to install and maintain Democrat Party governments and it deflects attention from its misbehavior by attacking a select few in order to divert and deceive the masses.
If you read Timothy Snyder’s wrenching Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin about life West of Russia and East of Berlin from 1933 through 1945, the first thing you’ll learn is that Hitler wasn’t an innovator when it came to mass murder. Instead, he learned about it from Stalin, who had been practicing mass murder for almost a decade before Hitler really caught on to its possibilities.
It was Stalin, after all, who killed tens of millions in the Ukraine by confiscating every single bit of grain they produced, including the grain that was needed to seed the next season’s harvest. He did this for two reasons: (1) to break the back of the independent farming class, which did not want to become cogs in the socialist machinery; and (2) to sell the grain overseas to create the false impression the Communism was economically self-sustaining. Hitler was inspired.
Hitler was also inspired by Stalin’s Gulags. Anne Applebaum’s Gulag: A History, explains what was going on in these labor and death camps. Jonah Goldberg introduces just two of the terrible stories Applebaum tells:
A slave who falls in the snow is not helped up by his comrades but is instantly stripped of his clothes and left to die. His last words: “It’s so cold.”
Hava Volovich, a once-obscure newspaper editor turned slave laborer, has a baby, Eleonora, in captivity. Eleonora spends her first months in a room where “bedbugs poured down like sand from the ceiling and walls.” A year later, Eleonora is wasting away, starving in a cold ward at slave “mothers’ camp.” She begs her mother to take her back “home” to that bedbug-infested hovel. Working all day in the forest to earn food rations, Hava manages to visit her child each night. Finally, Eleonora in her misery refuses even her mother’s embrace, wanting only to drift away in bed. Eleonora dies, hungry and cold, at 15 months. Her mother writes: “In giving birth to my only child, I committed the worst crime there is.”
Multiply these stories by a million. Ten million.
Goldberg wasn’t retelling these horrific narratives just to depress us. Instead, he’s challenging the anodyne, bloodless narratives in which the American media is engaging during its Sochi Olympic’s coverage:
What to say of the gormless press-agent twaddle conjured up to describe the Soviet Union? In its opening video for the Olympic Games, NBC’s producers drained the thesaurus of flattering terms devoid of moral content: “The empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint; the revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments. But if politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, it’s passion that endures.”
To parse this infomercial treacle is to miss the point, for the whole idea is to luge by the truth on the frictionless skids of euphemism.
Bad as the Olympic coverage is on NBC and other news channels, what happened on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show the other night is worse. Staff member Jason Jones went to Russia for the show and did a so-called “humorous” piece in which he looks longingly back on the good old days of the Cold War. He commits so many fact crimes along the way that it’s hard to keep track.
The one that irked me most was the way Jones created a significant lie by telling a half-truth. Thus, he gave deserved credit to Gorbachev for signing the paper that ended the Soviet Union, but forgets to show that Gorbachev did so, not just because he was courageous and principled (which he was), but also because the system was already collapsing. He could retreat elegantly or be buried under a pile of bullets and rubbish. Between the intense moral pressure from Pope John Paul II, Maggie Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Lech Walesla; and the economic pressure from Ronald Reagan, the Soviet system, which was always unsustainable, finally ended, not with a bang, but with a long, drawn-out whimper.
More subtly horrible is the way Jones, playing a Stephen Colbert-esque stupid American, deliberately allows Vyacheslav Nikonov, a Duma member, to run rings around him. Jones may be smart enough and informed enough to be in on the fact that Nikonov is whitewashing the Soviet Union’s past and Russia’s present, but I’m quite sure that the 18-35 demographic watching the Daily Show has no idea what the reality is and was.
When Nikonov brushes off the fact that the Soviet Union was an “Evil Empire,” Jones challenges him by teasing his accent. Jones next allows Nikonov to boast about the fact that the Soviets defeated the Nazis, and at great cost too.
While it’s true that the Soviets lost more people to the Nazis than did any other nation or nationality, those horrific losses were in large part due to the sheer inefficiency of the Soviet War machine. The Communists quickly turned their factories to war production, but the products were dreadful. More than that, it was always cheaper for Stalin to throw men at the Germans to absorb the German bullets, than for Stalin to waste his own bullets on the Germans. The sheer number of bodies Stalin had at his command was his greatest weapon — and Russia’s greatest tragedy.
Jones’ and Nikonov’s silly, staged argument about who won the war also obscures a much more important fact: until Hitler’s megalomania got the best of him, he and Stalin were allies during the first years of World War II. Right up until the maddened Nazi dog turned on him, Stalin was perfectly happy to make common cause with Hitler.
And so it goes, with Jones’ being the stupid American schooled by the polished Nikonov. None of it’s funny (as in, at a pure comedy level, it’s poorly done) and all of it is a huge steaming pile of pro-Communist misinformation, ending with Jones begging for a return to the Cold War and laughing at Americans who feared nuclear annihilation.
Here — see for yourself:
Goldberg opened his masterful slam against the media by talking about Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, “the banality of evil”:
The phrase “banality of evil” was instantly controversial, largely because it was misunderstood. Arendt was not trying to minimize Nazism’s evil but to capture its enormity. The staggering moral horror of the Holocaust was that it made complicity “normal.” Liquidating the Jews was not just the stuff of mobs and demagogues but of bureaucracies and bureaucrats.
Thanks to the Daily Show, we’ve seen that banality sink to new lows. It’s become the stuff of comedy. And worse, it’s not the devastating comedy that exposes evil for what it really is. Instead, through bad jokes and canned laughter, it gives moral stature to an evil system, all the while ridiculing the country that liberated tens of millions of people from endless slavery and brutal death.
I know this is a politically incorrect thing for me to say, but I couldn’t care less about Michael Sam’s sexuality. If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be news at all, or it would be at the bottom of page three in the sports section. I’m not homophobic; I’m homo-disinterested. Peculiarly enough (nowadays), I measure people by attributions other than their sexual orientation.
The New York Times, however, considers Sam’s announcement that he is gay to be major news, not non-news, and has given him lavish coverage (which I haven’t bothered to read, because I really don’t care). As far as the Times is concerned, a gay college football player is front page news:
Think about this: in the world of the New York Times, it’s minimally newsworthy that (a) the Secretary of State failed to provided necessary security for an Ambassador in a tremendously dangerous region, where he and three others subsequently died; (b) that the Secretary of State and the President both seem to have been AWOL while the Ambassador and three others were dying; (c) that the Secretary of State, the President, and the entire administration lied about events leading up to and including these four deaths; and (d) that the Secretary of State loudly proclaimed that none of this mattered. The New York Times also thinks this same Secretary of State would make a stellar president. (And maybe that’s true, if you like your presidents to be utterly unprincipled and un-accomplished.)
Considering that the New York Times styles itself the paper of record, wouldn’t you love to ask the petty, squabbling, arrogant staff there, “Just what record are you talking about there?”
I found myself in the unfortunate position last night of having to watch HBO’s hagiography . . . oh, sorry — documentary about Herbert Block, who was a political cartoonist for the Washington Post for several decades. Although the show’s ostensible premise was that Block (known professionally as Herblock) was a bipartisan scourge of all presidents, one wouldn’t have known that from watching the show.
Block himself admitted that he was a “liberal,” a statement that, when run through the HBO to English translator, comes out as pretty darn hard Left. To the extent Block criticized Democrat presidents, it was because they weren’t Left enough for him as is the case with the cartoon above, which came out under Carter’s presidency. Incidentally, Block admired Carter, which tells you everything you need to know about the man and his world view. It’s patently clear that Block emerged from the Roosevelt era (yes, he started working back then) as a solid-Left Progressive.
My problems with the show began instantly when I didn’t get his cartoons. (I didn’t get them when I was a youngster/Democrat either.) They were neither funny nor clever nor astute nor well-drafted. They were just illustrations consistent with the same points being made in that day’s Pravda. If you want witty, brilliant, clever cartoons, you need to check out Michael Ramirez (who’s also a better draftsman than Block ever was).
All that is bad enough — hard-core Leftist praised as “centrist,” pedestrian drawings with Leftist themes — but what made the whole thing nightmarish was the parade of talking heads who repeated over and over again that Block was incredibly brilliant and bipartisan. Yes siree, his views were middle of the road, you betcha.
These assurances that Block was as 1950s American as apple pie came from a laundry list of the Leftist media’s Who’s Who. The WaPo, in its rave review about this HBO hagiography . . . sorry, there I go again. Reset: The WaPo, in its rave review about the documentary (because Block’s “brilliant” humor was bipartisan), also provides a useful list of all the rapturous media Lefties agreeing that Block was brilliant and, yes, bipartisan:
There’s Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel, Jim Hoagland, Ken Auletta, Don Graham, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Clarence Page, Hendrik Hertzberg, David Brooks, Bob Schieffer, Eugene Robinson, Thomas Friedman, Michael Beschloss; from the cartooning world, there’s Jules Feiffer, New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff and former Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth; and from “The Daily Show,” there’s Jon Stewart and Lewis Black. To name a few.
Funnily enough, the show’s creators didn’t talk to Charles Krauthammer, or George Will, or even Michael Ramirez to learn more about Block’s brilliant bipartisanship.
Having watched the documentary last night, and then having spent today being bombarded with MSM hagiographies . . . er, obituaries about the “brilliant” Pete Seeger (the man who never met a communist madman/dictator he didn’t admire), I’m not sanguine about America’s future. As long as the media continues to act as intermediary and interpreter for Americans viewing the world around them, things are only going to get worse at home and abroad, not better.
It turns out that Lincoln misspoke when he said that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. If you’re America’s 21st century media machine, you actually can.
All of the predictable people are expressing predictable outrage about the revelation that Roger Ailes once proposed what he thought was a clever way to keep the new World Trade Center from being the target of another Islamist terrorist attack. What he allegedly said was, “We should fill the last ten floors with Muslims so they never do it again.”
I too am outraged.
Honestly! How can someone be so naive? No matter where you look in the Middle East and Africa, Muslims are busy killing each other. Syria is the hot spot now, but between racist Islamic killings (the Sudan), Sunni v. Shia Muslim killings (most of the Muslim world), politically inspired Muslim killings (Egypt), and Iran’s willingness to nuke Israel despite the Muslim holocaust that would result, it’s pretty darn clear that Muslims have no compunction about killing each other.
Indeed, one could credibly argue that filling the last ten floors with Muslims would make the new World Trade Center a more enticing target, depending on the terrorist. Any future attack could be a delightful twofer: killing Americans and killing the “wrong” kind of Muslims.
So, yes, I’m offended. Ailes said something stupid and, moreover, something stupid that had the added benefit of creating a sweet target for the Left’s perpetual outrage.
I haven’t been much of a Chris Christie supporter lately. In the beginning, I admired his ability to stand up to the teacher’s unions. Since then, I’ve decided that this was less a principled position and more a reflection of a highly aggressive personality. Outside of the unions, he’s too much of a RINO, and I’m suspicious about his Saudi ties. He’d be a better president than Obama, but that’s a low bar. If he ended up on top of the Republican ticket opposite Hillary, I’d vote for him, but primarily because Hillary would finish the job Obama’s done, and anything is (I think) better than that. So that’s my view about Chris Christie.
What I want to talk about here is the scandal. It seems that nothing has ever happened before that’s been as thrilling as the fact that a Republican governor’s employee had a nearly unspoken agreement with another of the governor’s employees that, if a Democrat mayor ticked them off, they’d use their power to create traffic havoc in his town. (For punsters, we finally have a “toll-gate” scandal.) A 91-year-old lady whose ambulance got stuck the traffic jam died later, and her death could be attributed to the delay. (Only God knows for sure.) The whole affair is nasty, unprincipled, and petty. The employees deserved to be fired, and Christie fired them. The media is having what Matt Drudge describes as a feeding frenzy. Fine. It’s their job to sell the news.
But what about a few other scandals that probably could have sold news too?
A Secretary of State, despite repeated pleas from an ambassador in one of the world’s most dangerous areas, refuses to heighten security. The ambassador and three others die. The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
A nation’s diplomatic mission in a foreign country is attacked. Four people die and unknown numbers of confidential documents vanish. The besieged nation’s President Secretary of State speak once and then both refuse to explain their whereabouts. Rumors are that the president went to bed early to prepare for a campaign event. The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
A president deputizes one of his employees to go on Sunday talk shows to explain that an attack on its diplomatic mission, which left four dead, including an ambassador, occurred because of a 10-minute YouTube video that was perceived as being uncomplimentary to Islam. To add an air of verisimilitude to this otherwise unconvincing narrative, the administration trumps up charges to arrest the video’s maker, in what many see as a blatant attack on free speech in the service of Islam. The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
An Attorney General arranges to have hundreds of guns smuggled into Mexico. There are two theories about this, neither good. The first is that the guns were supposed to be traceable, so as to track gun and drug crime coming out of Mexico, but that the AG’s incompetent employees forgot to add the necessary electronics. The second is that the AG deliberately released weapons into Mexico to support his anti-gun campaign. “See,” he would say. “We told you that our nation’s guns are despoiling the world.” In any event, the guns with the AG’s name on them killed one of his own border agent as well as hundreds of Mexican civilians. The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
A nation’s troops, most notably its Marines, sweat, and bleed, and die in a terrorist-ridden town in Iraq. Their success there helps turn a years’ long war around, paving the way for a simulacrum of democracy in a country whose people lived for decades at the mercy of a sadistic tyrant. It’s not true democracy, but it’s close enough; people are experiencing relative freedom for the first time in their lives; and the government is relatively friendly the liberating western nation. At the end of WWII, faced with this situation, the victorious nation stuck around for another 60+ years to hang onto that victory. This time, though, the president walked away without a second glance and without any effort to secure hard-won gains. Two years after the president declared, not victory, but “war over,” that same town has once again fallen to the terrorists. The president is silent. The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
A nation’s people learn that the government is spying on their every communication. It started before the current president, but has escalated madly during his administration. Even some media outlets learn that the government has been spying on their telephone calls. One would think that this outrage would encourage them to reconsider their blind faith in the current administration. It does not. After a few huffs and puffs, the media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
A nation’s tax-collecting agency, which is it’s most feared and powerful agency, turns out to have been engaged in a systematic effort to silence all conservative and pro-Israel speech. The timing shows that the effort was manifestly intended to disrupt the 2012 presidential election, and it may well have done so, giving a squeaker of an election to the candidate from the Democrat-party. All people of good will, regardless of party, should be horrified by this type of partisan overreach from a nation’s most powerful agency. The media, however, is unperturbed. It does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.
Beginning in 2009, a president tells his people a series of bald-faced lies. The documentary evidence shows that he knew that they were lies when he told them. That is, it wasn’t ignorance or wishful thinking on his part. Instead, he was running a scam. This giant fraud begins to unravel on October 1, 2013, and with every passing day, the public learns more about the administration’s lies, incompetence, and cronyism. This knowledge is made manifest in the most painful of ways, as millions of people lose the security of insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals, even as they are being forced to pay more money for fewer benefits. Although the media dutifully points out the problems in the first month, by the second month, it returns to lap dog status, crowing about thousands of sign-ups, with scant attention to the fact that it’s unknown whether those who signed up have actually paid for new policies. The same media downplays the certain fact that more people have lost beloved policies than gained lousy ones under the new system.
Yes, I tried to keep that nation’s identity anonymous, but you’ve figured it out. The nation in which a president and his administration, through a combination of fraud, lies, and incompetence, have caused people’s deaths, wasted military deaths, destroyed a functioning health care system, spied on its citizens, and possibly corrupted election outcomes, routinely gets a pass from the media. Our MSM does just enough reporting to lay claim to some credibility as a “news” outlet, and then ignores as hard as possible whatever issue could hurt a Democrat president. The whole thing is declared “over” after Jon Stewart, through selective clips, announces that Fox News is insane. The media heaves a sigh of relief, and goes back to guarding the administration. That system, of course, doesn’t apply when a vaguely Republican governor is tied to a traffic jam (admittedly, a malicious, unprincipled traffic jam). In that case, the 24-hour news cycle kicks into overtime.
Looking at today’s headlines, I’d have to say that the biggest scandal of them isn’t either Christie’s toll-gate or Obama’s just-about-everything-gate. Instead, it is the fact that we have a Democrat lap-dog media that still has the temerity to call itself a “free press.”
She’s a high school senior, but damn! if she doesn’t give a stunningly good talk about the way in which the New York Times, despite knowing about the Holocaust, not only downplayed it, but effectively kept American policy away from helping Europe’s besieged Jewish population:
There is no anti-Semite worse than a Jew. (See als0 Liberty Spirit’s J’Accuse!)
Hat tip: Richard Baehr
A friend sent me a very funny email. I don’t know if the numbers are precisely accurate, but I do know that they’re accurate enough to serve a larger truth, namely America’s overwhelming turn in 1942 from a peacetime nation into a fully armed, fully operational wartime nation. In this way, the facts stated distinguish themselves from the Progressive concept of “truthiness,” which means “fake, but [God alone knows how] accurate”:
During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.
We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.
It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.
To me, living in my head as I do, a head filled with news and political commentary, the above is both funny and devastating. It puts into perspective the pathetic disaster that was the Obamacare exchange launch and should remind everyone that a government this bad at one thing is almost certainly also a government incapable of performing the most basic functions . . . such as protecting us from our declared enemies.
Immediately after getting the above email, I read that the New York Times is working hard to re-write the Benghazi slaughter so as to clean up both Hillary’s and Barack’s reputations. And I know, and you know, that even though the New York Times is losing subscribers like mad, that fact is kind of irrelevant, because the Times still the news source for all sorts of other newspapers across America. Go ahead. Check out your morning local rag. You’ll see that at least one story comes direct from the Times or from the Washington Post or from the Associated Press. As Conan proved in a funny, fluffy video, no matter the outlet, the story’s always the same.
The Obama administration is now boasting that one million people signed up for Obamacare in December. Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s not. The two things we know with certainty are (1) that the media won’t press for the truth and (2) that the media will work as one in the coming months to shill for Obamacare. The glitches are over; the wonders are on their way.
Yes, we who have not drunk the Kool Aid know that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t matter. All that the media hustlers need to do is keep those plates spinning until the day after the November 2014 election. After that, they’re home free no matter what happens.
And please don’t look to the Republican Party for help. It’s so busy trying to take out the Tea Party (it’s bad for business, doncha’ know?) that it’s ignoring the most wondrous political opportunity handed to it since . . . well, since never before. Rick Moran sounds the warning, but don’t expect the money guys in the GOP to hear that tocsin:
Are Republicans smart enough to counter this propaganda with nightmare stories about sky-high premiums, the cancellation of perfectly good insurance policies, website errors, and other tragic experiences that ordinary people have had with Obamacare? Democrats couldn’t accuse them of cherry picking bad news when they’re cherry picking good news.
This is a long-term war to be played out over the coming years. What I don’t see yet is a commitment from the national Republican Party to engage the resources necessary to counter the Democrats move for move. There doesn’t appear to be a plan in place which means they’ll be improvising on the fly. That just won’t cut it.
With the Obamacare website now largely operational, the first phase of the battle is over. But unless the GOP stays on its toes, they are likely to be buried by the administration PR machine.
The Leftist PR machine is gearing up hard. Moreover, with this video as a graphic illustration, please remember that the agile Democrats are already on the move, while the Republicans are the ones sitting in the car:
1. A&E is not a government entity and is within its rights to make insanely stupid, bigoted decisions.
2. Phil Robertson doesn’t need A&E but, judging by his show’s popularity, A&E needs him.
3. GLAAD is a fascist organization. A friend of mine who was watching CNN caught a GLAAD advocate said that the world is changing and Robertson needs to “…get in line.” In other words, my friend accurately notes, GLAAD is saying that Robertson is guilty of thought crimes. How very Orwellian.
4. As others have noted, and contrary to the Drudge headline, Robertson did not go on a “rant,” nor did he compare homosexuality to bestiality. What he said was (1) that, physically and emotionally, the homosexual act makes no sense to him; (2) that the Bible characterizes homosexual acts as a sin, as it does several other sexual behaviors, including adultery; and (3) that, while he’s bewildered by homosexual acts, it’s God’s responsibility, not his, to decide whether and what consequences sinful acts deserve.
5. Nobody knows what the contract is with the other members of the Robertson clan, so it’s still up in the air whether they will be allowed to leave or to speak of Robertson’s beliefs when they start filming next year’s season. (This year’s episodes are already filmed.) It’s also unknown whether, contract or not, the other members will nevertheless stage a walk-out or something.
6. You can boycott A&E if you want, but they’ll never know unless you’re a Nielson household. The better thing to do is to boycott companies that advertise on A&E. Indeed, the best thing to do is to copy GLAAD and other “queer rights” organizations, and to make the advertisers completely miserable. Remember — always follow the money.
7. It amazes me that our “first gay president” hasn’t yet waded in this matter. It is, after all, the only issue that seems to stiffen his backbone.
8. One wonders if there are enough people left in America who care enough to push back against these attacks on speech and faith. I know there are people who care, of course. I’m just wondering whether there are still enough of them, and they are exercised enough, and powerful enough, to make a difference.
For more on this, I recommend Noisy Room’s take.
At the National Journal, disillusioned Obama supporter Ron Fournier had this to say about the WaPo’s report that the Obama administration slow-walked unpopular regulations in order to affect the outcome of the 2012 election: “Obama’s apologists will say that every president plays politics with policy in elections years. Two problems with that. First, Obama promised to be better than the status quo. Second, he’s worse.”
And at PJ Media, Bryan Preston has finally found the best description ever of MSNBC, something he reveals in the very first sentence of a post you’ll want to read: “Religious cable network MSNBC rallied the faithful with a pair of heartworming [sic -- done on purpose] messages.”
When I was at Cal, one of the great inconveniences was bomb threats against Sproul Hall, which was then (and I presume is now) Cal’s administrative building. From my point of view, the scenario was unchanging: I’d stand in an endless line in order to get or return some piece of paper that was essential to my academic career. Sometimes I’d be waiting an hour or more. And then, just as I got within spitting distance of the clerk’s window, the clerk would announce, “Sorry, there’s been a bomb threat. Everyone needs to evacuate the building.” Nobody panicked; everybody grumbled. These bomb threats all had a “been there, done that” feeling about them. As far as I know, no one has ever detonated a bomb at Berkeley, at least not since I first arrived there in 1979.
Not only was the bomb threat boring (although inconvenient) to me, it was to everyone else too, including the media. These things never made news.
Now, though, in our internet society, a bomb threat anywhere is big news everywhere. Today’s Drudge headline is that there was a bomb scare at Harvard, and there’s a story at the WSJ about it. While it used to take an actual explosion to make the media care, now all it takes is a phone call.
We all have the sense that we live in very scary times. Indeed, I think that 9/11 shows that we do live in dangerous times, with determined enemies. Islamists want to kill us, and they’ll do so with big attacks (9/11) or comparatively small ones (Fort Hood).
Having acknowledged that reality, though, it’s also necessary to acknowledge that a world-wide, 24-hour, instantly accessible media cycle means that things that we used to ignore or treat solely as local news are now presented to the public as immediate, imminent concerns in everybody’s back yard. For once, I don’t blame the media for this. They’re just doing their job in a reconfigured landscape. I do wish, though, that there was some countervailing force or belief system that would quell the fear and panic we feel when we view a headline that, in the past, the media would probably have ignored.
I trace back to Dennis Prager one of my favorite expressions: “I prefer clarity to agreement.” Too often, agreement can be like Tacitus’s definition of a Roman peace (“they make a desert and call it peace”). In the years since Obama’s election, I’ve frequently argued that, with a weak American president, the world might get some necessary clarity. (For example, in January 2011, I said apropos Obama’s retreat from the world stage, “The clarity that emerges when the strong man is gone might be helpful.”)
Looking at the headlines, it occurs to me that Americans are getting a lot of clarity about what today’s Democrats really stand for, while the world is getting a lot of clarity about what a post-American world looks like. The following links all tie into this post’s theme about the clarity that Obama has wrought.
Obamacare reveals Obama for what he is: not a glorious tyrant, in the mold of Louis XIV or Henry VIII, but a petty bureaucratic Leftist. You and I knew that early on, of course, but the rest of America is catching on to this reality . . . so there’s clarity for you.
The young and the poor just got a dose of clarity today: Even the wealth transfer that is Obama’s core (but don’t call it redistribution) was done incompetently, with low-income, especially young low-income people finding that they’re in the increasingly expensive Obamacare market without a subsidy net.
I hope John Fund is correct when he says it can still be repealed — but that will happen only if the American people have learned their lesson and vote Republican in 2014, and if the Republicans don’t prove that they’re as complicit in Big Government as we currently suspect. (And in that regard, the end of the filibuster may also bring some welcome clarity for conservative voters.)
Peter Wehner comes right out and says it: Obamacare is finally causing people to see the President and the Democrats for at least some of what they are — failed technocrats. But again, the question remains whether we’ll get intelligent action in clarity’s wake.
Angelo Codevilla thinks the same is true with Obama’s appalling agreement to allow Iran to continue building its nuclear program; namely, that it forces clarity (or, as he phrases it “reality’) on the world: “But let us look on the bright side: There is value in leaving no doubt about reality.”
And finally, even the media is getting a little tired of being pushed around. This tiny rebellion won’t stop the media’s slavish devotion because, even if media members have had it with the man, they still support the cause. However, to the extent the media consuming public watches this little tiff, it might produce enough clarity in some that they start backing away from the cognitive dissonance that enslaves them.
Clarity . . . it’s a good thing.
*Thanks to Earl for pointing out that I’d forgotten those three very important words.
I could have done this as myriad small posts, but I was in the mood for something big. I’ll separate the different ideas and issues with asterisks (after all, Obama’s promise with his unspoken asterisk has made asterisks the hot new thing in writing).
My friend (I like say that — my friend) Sally Zelikovsky has written rules for Republicans who want to win elections. They are very pragmatic rules which state that the time for internecine cherry-picking, purging, and warfare should wait until after the Democrats no longer control Washington. I’m just giving the rules. Please go to her post to see her intelligent support for many of the less obvious or more challenging rules:
(1) Duke it out in the primaries and whole-heartedly support your candidate of choice.
(2) Do not support your preferred candidate by stooping to Democrat levels.
(3) Never forfeit a “sure thing” candidate for a high risk one.
(4) Unless an incontrovertible liability, never abandon a viable candidate especially in an important race.
(5) In extreme cases, when a candidate is hurting other races, it’s okay to withdraw support.
(6) Do not use outliers to formulate strategies for the entire country.
(7) Make protest votes a thing of the past [snip]
(8) Think of the end game.
(9) Social conservatives and tea partiers should hold any elected Republican’s feet to the fire.
(10) Moderates should expect social conservatives and tea partiers to hold their feet to the fire.
(11) Do not air our collective dirty laundry.
(12) Always anticipate the leftwing response, think through your story, then stick to it.
(13) In politics, as in life, there are people in any group or organization who have varying degrees of commitment. [snip]
(14) Use the media to communicate with the PEOPLE. This is your chance to be a PR person for conservatism, even though the press is never on your side.
(15) Always promote the improved quality of life in Republican-run states andcontrast this with the diminished quality of life in true blue states.
(16) Speak with one voice on the issues where there is consensus.
(17) Where there is no consensus, speak to the fact that we are a diverse party that welcomes debate but, in the end, we are all guided by time-tested conservative principles that promote freedom.
Some of the suggestions are hard to swallow, because they continue to provide political cover for checkbook Republicans, meaning those who support a Democrat agenda, but who make loud noises about “we have to be able to pay for it.” Read Sally’s whole article and, if you feel like it, please get back to me.
Lee Smith has a brilliant analysis of what John Kerry and Barack Obama are doing in the Middle East:
So how did we reach a point where the United States is working with the Islamic Republic of Iran, while longtime U.S. allies are not only outside the circle but trying to block an American-Iranian condominium over the Middle East? A pretty good idea can be gleaned by taking the advice given by Politico in an article detailing Obama’s habit of meeting with prestigious reporters and columnists to test-drive his ideas: “If you want to know where the president stands on a foreign policy issue . . . read the latest column by David Ignatius” or Thomas Friedman, another frequent sounding-board for the president.
Read the whole thing and weep. What they’re doing is every bit as bad as it sounds, and there will be terrible repercussions.
Fouad Ajami says that Obama’s magic is gone. I like his article but I have to disagree with the core premise. Obama never had magic. What he had was a complicit media. It’s easy to win the game when the referees have determined in advance that you’ll win. At a certain point, though, the spectators begin to think that the fix is in.
Up until this past Wednesday, I tended to side slightly with the government regarding Edward Snowden — namely, that he was a traitor who stole America’s secrets. And indeed, he seems to have stolen lots and lots of secrets. What I learned on Wednesday, though, when I heard Mary Theroux, of the Independent Institute, speak, is that the government’s spying on American citizens is so enormous we literally cannot comprehend its scope. The data collection (which is in the multiple zetabytes) grossly violates our inherent Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. NSA employees before Snowden tried to blow the whistle on this beginning around the year 2000, and got ferociously persecuted by the government because of their efforts. Snowden’s spectacular leak broke that log jam.
But here’s the really important thing that Theroux said: The government gets so much data, it’s useless for the stated purpose of crime and terrorism prevention. As it comes in, it’s simply so much white noise. It certainly didn’t stop 9/11 or the Boston bombing. In this regard, think of England, which has more CCTVs per capita than any other country in the 1st world, and maybe in any world. Nevertheless, these cameras do nothing to prevent crime. As the number of cameras has increased, so has the crime rate. The data is useful only after the fact, to help (sometimes) apprehend the criminal.
Well, one can argue that ex post facto apprehension is a good thing — but it’s a good thing only if there’s been a clear violation of a pretty well known law (e.g., don’t beat people to death or don’t rob a jewelry store). We’re looking at something much more sinister here. Think of the volume of law in America and, worse, think of the staggering volumes of rules interpreting those laws.
As Theroux noted, Stalin’s chief of police famously said (and I’m paraphrasing) give me the man and I can find the crime. We Americans have a government that’s sitting on data that can be used to criminalize us after the fact the current government (Republican or Democrat or Third Party) doesn’t like us. It’s like a landmine under every American.
Since Obama is quite possibly the most inept national security president in the world, it’s arguable that Snowden’s revealing secrets along those lines (e.g., that we’ve been eavesdropping on allies) leaves us in no worse shape than we were before. After all, as Lee Smith notes above, Obama has already turned our allies into enemies. What Snowden did do with his escapade was to remind us that, when government begins collecting every bit of information simply because it can, every citizen becomes a potential criminal. We’re not at the Stasi stage yet, but our government is laying the groundwork for a Stasi society. That’s an utterly terrifying thought. We still can stop it now. Once it’s in play, stopping it gets much, much harder to stop that fascist juggernaut.
Given the debacle that Obamacare is proving to be for Obama, the Democrats, and Progressivism generally, a reader sent me an email saying that we should be grateful for Chief Justice Roberts for allowing this disaster to unfold. That email reminded me that, back in June 2012, when Chief Justice Roberts managed to salvage Obamacare, I wrote a post looking for lemonade in Roberts’ opinion and, once again, I was a bit prescient. (And yes, I am mining many of my old posts as real-time events are showing that I predicted with a fair degree of accuracy everything from Obamacare, to the shifting alliances in the Middle East, to Obama’s meltdown when the real world intruded on his little narcissistic dream.) It’s a long, wandering (and, of course, fascinating and insightful) post, but here’s the Chief Justice nub of it:
Roberts wrote the decision at the end of a 90 year continuum holding that Government fixes problems and the Supreme Court fixes Government. This approach makes “We, the people” unnecessary. Rather than elections being the corrective, the Court is the corrective — except that the Court’s make-up is controlled by the Government. (Remember the Bork debacle?)
Roberts refused to play this game. He slapped back the Democrats’ hands when it came to the Commerce Clause, telling them that the federal government cannot legislate inactivity. And he held — quite correctly — that if there’s any possible way for the Court to salvage a law, it must do so. His salvaging was to say that, this particular law, written in this particular way, with these particular controls over the people, can be salvaged by calling it a tax. It’s an ugly decision, but probably a correct one. And then he tossed the whole thing back to the American people.
I can just see Roberts’ thought-process (although he might have thought in more polite terms): You idiots elected a Congress and president that used every kind of political chicanery known to man in order to pass the biggest tax in American history and one that, moreover, completely corrupts the free market system. It’s not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to correct that kind of thing, provided that the judges can, as I did, find a smidgen of constitutionality in it. There’s an election coming up in November. Let’s hope you’ve wised up enough to figure out that my Supreme Court is returning power to “We, the people.” We will not pull your chestnuts out of the fire. We will not legislate from the bench. We will construe things as narrowly as possible. If you, the people, don’t like it, you, the people, elect different representatives.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, Ace wonders if Obama just gave the Supreme Court another bite at this rotten apple.
Power Line brought this AP headline to my attention: “In Reversal, Obama to Allow Canceled Health Plans.” Who knew that a constitutionally appointed executive had the power to “allow” canceled health plans?
It was an especially interesting headline to read because, last night, I attended a panel discussion with AP reporters, photographers, and the editor in chief of the AP photograph department. The purpose was to promote a new book of photographs that AP employees and stringers took during the Vietnam War: Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press. It was an interesting event, although I’m sorry to say that they were boring speakers. (It seems like an oxymoron, but they were boring speakers who offered some interesting content.)
One of the things the panelists kept saying is that they have so much integrity and are devoted to even-handedness in their subject matter and presentation. We know that’s a joke when it comes to written coverage about domestic politics. AP has been a Democrat shill since at least George W.’s administration. But it’s also been a shill when it comes to photographs. Given their record, I have to admit that it was a bit difficult to listen to the panelists’ smug satisfaction about their higher calling, integrity, and even-handedness.
I like Deroy Murdock’s writing, so I liked his analysis of the Obamacare debacle. It’s fun to read. It doesn’t have the soaring schadenfreude of Jonah Goldberg’s instant classic, but it’s still darn good.
Speaking of good writing, Megan McArdle is at it again, this time pointing out in very polite, analytical language that Obama has taken on the behavior of a tyrant (not a word she uses, but it’s the gist): The law is what Obama says the law is. It’s probably worth thinking about the Snowden revelations as you read McArdle describe the way in which Obama usurps power. The media is clucking, but not with any force; the Democrats are running or enabling; and the Republicans are in-fighting. We’re seeing a weird, passive (even Weimar-ian) anarchy that creates room for a tyrant to breathe and grow.
I’m pleased to say that I never liked Oprah, so I’m not surprised to learn that she’s a race-baiting phony. Incidentally, to those who have mentioned in the comments that liberals are like beaten wives who keep coming back for more, Oprah is Exhibit A. She destroyed her TV show by endorsing Obama, and he rewarded her by freezing her out of the White House. So what does Oprah do? She keeps crawling back, defending the man who used her and abused her. I’m not sorry for her though. Her racist venom makes pity impossible.
Obama is tanking in the polls, but NPR says not to worry. While Bush’s tanking in the polls was a sign that he was a lame duck, Obama’s tanking in the polls is meaningless. The reasons given are insanely stupid: He’s never been effective with Congress; bad poll numbers are irrelevant (when it’s a Dem polling badly, of course); the map isn’t really that purple; his 15 point drop is a drop in the bucket; and he’s not running for office anymore anyway. So if I get this right, it doesn’t matter that people are starting to figure Obama out, because he’s always been a useless, ineffective git, and that’s never mattered before to his ability to “fundamentally transform” America, so why worry now.
Here’s the AP, an unofficial arm of the Democrat party, telling us that Obama had to simplify his Obamacare promises to the point of fraud because the American people are too unintelligent and uninformed to deal with the Act’s complexities:
President Barack Obama’s early efforts to boil down an intricate health care law so Americans could understand it are coming back to haunt him, leaving a trail of caveats and provisos in place of the pithy claims he once used to sell the law.
Think about the message implicit in that well-crafted sentence: How do you sell an “intricate” law to morons (i.e., Americans)? You lie!
Where have I heard that before? Oh, I know:
UPDATE: Rich Lowry imagines what Obama would have said if he thought well enough of the American people to tell them the truth.
This is a just a beautiful moment, as MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer exposes the ignorance underlying her Leftist condescension during an argumentative interview she conducted with a GOP Congressman:
The WaPo’s Richard Cohen wants you to know that 12 Years A Slave is an extremely important movie because it gives Americans a surprising new message that they need to hear: Slavery is bad.
I don’t know under what rock Cohen has been living, but the last major American movie to suggest that slaves didn’t have it all bad was Gone With The Wind, which came out in 1939. Cohen was born in 1948, nine years after Gone With The Wind hit movie theaters. He presumably graduated from high school in about 1965, by which time the Civil Rights movement had changed America’s racial paradigm. His education, moreover, didn’t take place in Ole Miss, or some other bastion of Southern-ness. Instead, he was educated in New York all the way.
Since leaving college (Hunter College, New York University, and Columbia, none of which are known for their KKK sensibilities), Cohen has lived enveloped in a liberal bubble. He first worked for UPI and has, for a long time, been affiliated with the Washington Post.
Somehow, though, up until he recently saw 12 Years A Slave, Cohen always believed that slavery was a good thing for American blacks. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, that’s what he really said:
I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life. For instance, it was not George A. Custer who was attacked at the Little Bighorn. It was Custer — in a bad career move — who attacked the Indians.
Much more importantly, slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks. Slavery was a lifetime’s condemnation to an often violent hell in which people were deprived of life, liberty and, too often, their own children. Happiness could not be pursued after that.
Steve McQueen’s stunning movie “12 Years a Slave” is one of those unlearning experiences. I had to wonder why I could not recall another time when I was so shockingly confronted by the sheer barbarity of American slavery.
Instead, beginning with school, I got a gauzy version. I learned that slavery was wrong, yes, that it was evil, no doubt, but really, that many blacks were sort of content.
Slave owners were mostly nice people — fellow Americans, after all — and the sadistic Simon Legree was the concoction of that demented propagandist, Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Her “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a lie and she never — and this I remember clearly being told — had ventured south to see slavery for herself. I felt some relief at that because it meant that Tom had not been flogged to death. But in the novel, he had.
I have no idea whether 12 Years A Slave is a good movie or a bad movie. Aside from the fact that I almost never set foot in movie theaters, going only when I need to chaperone children or when friends want a Mom’s night out, I have sworn off most movies, especially Hollywood history movies.
Sure Hollywood occasionally gets history right. Mostly, though, Hollywood gets it wrong, with the wrongness ranging from Oliver Stone’s delusional JFK, to the old-time biopics that had Cole Porter as a nice straight guy (Night and Day), to the saccharine anti-war stuff of Tom Hank’s war movie Band of Brothers. Hollywood is never interested in truth and never has been. It’s selling entertainment with an undercurrent of propaganda. In the old days, it sold entertainment with a wholesome, moralistic twist. Since the 1960s, Hollywood’s entertaining versions of history simply hate America, and that’s true whether Hollywood expresses that hatred in booming Technicolor or small nuances in Indy pictures.
Without having seen 12 Years A Slave, I willingly concede that slavery is a bad thing. It was a bad thing when Pharaoh enslaved the Jews and it was a bad thing when the British and, later, the Americans enslaved the blacks. It’s still a bad thing throughout the Muslim world where devout Qu’ran followers enslave Filipinos, Christians, blacks, and anyone else unlucky enough to end up in their clutches.
But unlike Cohen, I’ve actually paid attention, not just in school, but in subsequent years, so I don’t need to have Hollywood preach the obvious to me.
The other day, I wrote that David Denby, a soggy leftist film reviewer at The New Yorker was trying his hands at political commentary with a hate piece against Ted Cruz — one based entirely on the fact that Denby, no beauty himself, finds Cruz physically unattractive.
I’m not the only one noticing the hate raining down on Cruz, a hatred unanchored to what he actually is, does or says. Bryan Preston calls it “The Emanuel Goldstein-ing of Ted Cruz.” Because you’re all ridiculously erudite (much more so than I am), you remember Emanuel Goldstein as the object of the daily “two minutes of hatred” in 1984. It was a useful way to keep both party members and proles from turning their hatred and discontent onto Big Brother.