Monday, September 30, 2019

Where Is The Internet Headed and What Can We Expect In The Future




Every human put on this planet has a dark side. It is generally held in check for our own benefit and the benefit of those that we are interacting with. The internet has launched every generation across the globe onto a platform where they can remain anonymous. Part of the intrigue of anonymity is that we can say things that we would never say in public. Take Twitter (just one example), it is a great tool for gathering and distributing information but it can also be a cesspool for humanity. Some will use it in a way that will immensely benefit them while others will use it as a means to unleash toxic, angry threatening behaviour. As with all things, some will be disturbed by it and never join in, others will be entertained for a while and move on but there will be a certain element of society that will find it intoxicating and wallow in for as long as they can.

The dark side of humanity is beginning to spill into the light, we clearly see this in today's politics. These lethal flames are being fueled by the mainstream media finally coming to grips with the fact that people are willing to act and interact on stories that are negative. The media has been telling the public that they are victims, victims of racism, global warming, gender bias, greed, corruption, inequality, war, poverty, religion. Many, I would even wager to say most people now believe that they truly are victims.


This toxicity that has been spoon-fed to the public shows up on the internet every day. People unleash their anger in the most inhospitable ways possible, particularly when they can remain anonymous. Every single person put on this planet can find a reason to be angry or to be called a victim over some sort of moral, ethical, illegal or even legal injustice. These deadly flames that have been lit and fanned by the media are a last gasp of air before they succumb to the electronic age of the internet. 

Many in the media have already succumbed to the fate of the electronic bullet while the rest are fiercely trying to change or survive. The mainstream media will be no more in a matter of years. In 5-7 years you won't be able to find them and if you do you won't recognize them. The internet will greatly expand and it will start including a lot of voice and facial recognition features. This will not kill off anonymity but will be the beginning of the end. The internet will move to some sort of grading system for news and web pages that people will start to trust. When more and more people start trusting the internet we will eventually hit a tipping point that will start to eliminate so much negative news. People have been wound up so tightly by today's media that it will take several years to unwind it back to the point of moderate civility.

People across the world want the truth and they are looking hard for it. Not just in politics and current events but they are curious about life, our existence, God and the afterlife. The internet will launch an age of critical thinking. Instant access to information that people can start to trust. The anonymous flame throwers will move back into the dark and the internet will emerge as a positive force for humankind.


Footnote: government intervention could change the course of the internet or drastically slow down its development. I don't think governments can stop the eventual outcome but they can delay it for decades.

Monday, September 30, 2019 by Richard · 0

Friday, May 17, 2019

North Carolina Hockey Fans Are A Class Act

RALEIGH -  Last night the North Carolina Hurricanes lost 4-0 to the Boston Bruins eliminating the "Canes" from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  It was a home game filled to the rafters with fans wearing red and black. Saying the arena was loud would be a classic understatement. The Raleigh fans are a class act, showing love, respect and an above average hockey IQ for their beloved Hurricanes. 

In some cities when your team is eliminated from the playoffs they get booed. In many cities when your team is swept 4-0 in the third round of the playoffs they are castigated as villains with the fans looking for and assessing where to place the blame.

Not in Carolina, there was a rousing standing ovation for several minutes at the end of this losing struggle from all 19,772 Caniacs with the exception of a few Bruin fans. They were waving their trademark white towels telling the players and coaches that they were loved and appreciated. 

Outside of the arena on the way to the parking lot, fans were talking about tearing up at the end of the game and how they are already looking forward to next seasons opener.

The players, coaches and especially the Hurricane fans are all class acts. It is no wonder that James Taylor had Carolina on his mind every time he was away from the state.

Friday, May 17, 2019 by Richard · 0

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Donald Trump’s Biggest Crime Was Winning The 2016 Election

For the crime of winning the 2016 election, the elites have pinned all manner of crimes on Trump, hoping something will stick.
Donald Trump’s biggest crime was winning the 2016 election. For our political and media elite in the Beltway, that was the catastrophic, unforgivable crime, from which all the other (imaginary) crimes they now pursue him for originated.
How dare he win that election? Didn’t he know the election belonged to Hillary Clinton, who’d been building up to this very moment for three decades, courting every relevant constituency, remembering every useful politician’s birthday, and being as banal as possible to check everyone’s “lesser political evil” box?
How dare he win the election on his very first try?  If you scratch the surface, jealousy is one of the driving emotions among Washington’s elite against Trump and his electoral success. He achieved what many career politicians would die and sell their souls multiple times for. And Trump did it seemingly casually, almost effortlessly. How dare he? He must have stolen the election!
How dare he win that election with a shoestring budget and a ramshackle campaign apparatus? How dare he win without an army of consultants, strategists, advisers, pollsters, and fancy data interpreters? Didn’t he understand that our elections are an excellent jobs program for thousands of political operatives and media types?
How dare he win the old-fashioned way: you know, by having a simple, direct message; recognizing heartland voters’ economic woes; and campaigning in that retail-politics way of his? Didn’t he know that 21st-century elections are now won with Big Data, microtargeting of voters, and media-hyped candidates?
How dare he lie and exaggerate in that crude, undisciplined way of his? Doesn’t he know that Washington likes their liars to be polished prevaricators who know how to couch their fabrications in think-tankese?
To add insult to injury, how dare he win by just saying what he (and millions of ordinary voters) thinks? That’s just not done. Didn’t he appreciate that Presidential Campaign-Speak is an art unto itself—something that has been focus-grouped, poll-tested, script-driven, platitude-filled, that’ll give no offense whatsoever to any identity group in America, and bores listeners to tears. How dare Trump riff offhand and entertain voters? The gall of the man!
How dare he say obvious, common-sense things like spending blood and treasure on Middle Eastern quagmires isn’t okay anymore, that America can’t afford to be the world’s security underwriter anymore, that our global trade deals have shafted American workers for too long? Who does he think he is?
Doesn’t he know that on the issues of the day, he needs to consult our over-credentialed, corrupt, and inefficient elites before he says anything?  And doesn’t he know that the solution to every issue in our politics is counter-intuitive now: Up is down, war is peace, more illegal immigration is good, and having a wall on our southern border is bad.
How dare he care about ordinary American workers in the Rust Belt? Doesn’t he know that we live in a global economy now, and those Americans are toast? Dang Trump for forcing us to pretend we care about those white working-class voters Democrats had snookered for so long. Thanks to Orange Man, we now have to cater to the very people we despise and who cling bitterly to their God, guns, and religion.
And for God’s sake, doesn’t he know that caring about one’s nation and its citizens is passé? It’s all global now! Pretend-caring in a vague, generalized, feel-good way about global citizens while getting richer off their cheap labor is the fashion now.
For all his flaws, Trump is the best thing to have happened to our ossified, corrupt national politics. He ripped the mask off our political and media establishments. His election victory exposed the empty-souled hypocrites in the establishments of both parties and the national media who shill for them. He is the much-needed human defibrillator to the American political system.
What our ruling elites used to have (and lost) after the 2016 election was a powerful sense of control over our politics. Like millions of voters who are outside the hardcore Democratic base, I’ve been enjoying the primal scream emanating from the ruling and media elite. I may not like or agree with everything Trump does, but the spectacle of jittery, grasping-at-anything-and-everything elites has been enjoyable to watch.
With his unpredictable, heterodox ways of policy-making and communicating to the masses, Trump has, in some ways, neutered the media elite. What we have been seeing for the last two-and-a-half years is nothing but revenge on steroids: For the crime of winning the 2016 election, the elites have pinned all manner of crimes on Trump, hoping something will stick.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by Richard · 0

Thursday, September 6, 2018

CNN Calls Democrat Behavior During SCOTUS Hearing A Clown Show

Democrats' clown show of outrage over Kavanaugh fools no one

(CNN)President Donald Trump's nomination of eminently qualified, mainstream conservative Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court -- combined with the predictable Democratic outrage machine -- has put red state Democratic US senators in a political box: side with their constituents or with the clown show that is the modern American left.
Scott Jennings
Trump's prime-time announcement of Kavanaugh's nomination on Monday was beautifully played by the White House. The name did not leak, leaving liberal picketers to make protest signs for multiple possible nominees. This made clear that protesters couldn't have cared less about the personnel, just that Donald Trump would be signing the nomination papers.
The protesters then ran Shannon Bream of Fox News off the street as she attempted to broadcast in front of the Supreme Court. The liberal group "Women's March" slammed Trump's nominee in a press release that left the actual name of the nominee with "xx," an embarrassing prewritten screed that would have gone out no matter who Trump picked.
    Shortly after the announcement, an editor for The Daily Beast tweeted an article with the message: "Forget abortion or same-sex marriage — contraception could be banned under Justice Kavanaugh." Within minutes of Trump's choice, the left-leaning media would have people running to the drugstore to hoard condoms and birth control pills like a Kentuckian stocking up on milk and bread at the first sign of snow flurries. The hysteria was in full bloom mere minutes after Trump's announcement.
    Not to be outdone, liberal actor Ron Perlman tweeted an implication that Kavanaugh would plunge the United States into either "Medieval Values" or "Shariah Law." Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe took it a step further, tweeting that Kavanaugh's nomination will "threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come." He did not address, however, how Americans who already died from tax cuts, (as one former Obama official threatened they would) or the United States pulling out of the Paris climate accords (a fatal mistake, as envisioned by a Vox writer), or the Obamacare repeal, (McAuliffe, once more) would perish again.
    I kid, but apparently these Democrats, in all their hyperbole, do not.
    You expect it from the more liberal corners of Hollywood and the Democratic Party, but NBC News joined the fray when reporters Leigh Ann Caldwell and Geoff Bennett tweeted Tuesday (and then Caldwell later deleted) an outrageous conspiracy theory that retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy and President Trump engaged "for months" in secret "negotiations" to rig the process for Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy clerk.
    Their "reporting" then set off a series of alarmist left-wing outrage tweets, which garnered thousands of retweets, as Charles C.W. Cooke of the National Review pointed out, before corrective tweets from Caldwell landed as quietly as a church mouse. The tinfoil hats were out in force, as they have been since Kennedy announced his retirement. It is a near weekly occurrence during the Trump presidency; everyone sees the falsehood while few see the correction.
    With the resistance in full meltdown, the people who really matter -- US senators -- are now charged with evaluating Kavanaugh and rendering a decision on confirmation. Because Democrats foolishly shattered longstanding Senate traditions by weakening the Senate's filibuster power for judicial nominations in 2013, and then trying to filibuster Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017, they are left to lie in a bed of irrelevance of their own making. As long as Republicans stick together, they can confirm Kavanaugh with a simple majority vote on the floor.
    The Democratic senators to watch hail from red states: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All are on the ballot this year, and all represent states Trump won easily in 2016. Their constituents, according to Republicans' internal polling, want Kavanaugh confirmed even as the left rages and demands resistance to all things -- and nominees -- born of Trump.
    These Democrats are in quite a pickle. Three of them voted for Gorsuch in 2017 and Kavanaugh is as (or more) qualified and similarly conservative. Voting against Kavanaugh would signal to the folks back home that their votes are now controlled by the left-wing partisans described above — not a good look during a re-election campaign in states where Trump remains popular.
    As long as Republican senators remain united, it is a safe bet Kavanaugh will get a handful of Democratic votes, making his lifetime appointment a bipartisan affair. For the red state Democrats, there's nothing to be gained from joining the loony left on this quixotic campaign, but there's much to lose by abandoning the desires of their center-right constituents who very much appreciate the President's qualified judicial appointments.

    Thursday, September 6, 2018 by Richard · 0

    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    Has CNN Descended into Madness?

    The way Rush Limbaugh sees it, CNN has become so consumed by hatred of President Donald Trump that everyone at the network has full-on descended into madness.
    The conservative radio host began his Friday show by applauding Trump’s CPAC speech and saying once again that CNN’s town hall on the Parkland shooting was nothing but terrible, nasty, anti-gun mind control. After that, he turned his attention to a CNN piece published Thursday titled “Trump’s language on school shooter’s mental health could be harmful, experts say,” which asserts that Trump and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch are not helping discussions about mental health by calling the Parkland shooter names.
    “Are you kidding me?!” Limbaugh exclaimed. “So CNN in its literal, trashy, garbage existence has to tweet out last night – they are so poisoned and obsessed with hatred for Trump that they’re now coming to the defense of the shooter!”
    The way Rush Limbaugh sees it, CNN has become so consumed by hatred of President Donald Trump that everyone at the network has full-on descended into madness.
    The conservative radio host began his Friday show by applauding Trump’s CPAC speech and saying once again that CNN’s town hall on the Parkland shooting was nothing but terrible, nasty, anti-gun mind control. After that, he turned his attention to a CNN piece published Thursday titled “Trump’s language on school shooter’s mental health could be harmful, experts say,” which asserts that Trump and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch are not helping discussions about mental health by calling the Parkland shooter names.
    “Are you kidding me?!” Limbaugh exclaimed. “So CNN in its literal, trashy, garbage existence has to tweet out last night – they are so poisoned and obsessed with hatred for Trump that they’re now coming to the defense of the shooter!”
    As Limbaugh combed through the piece, he declared that “if anybody is mentally ill, it is the combined employment at CNN.”
    “We have a major news network which is on the verge of descending into its own mental illness, and it’s everybody that works there. It is an almost uncanny thing, and everybody that works there, there isn’t a single exception. I don’t care what time of day or night you watch CNN, you are being treated to entire, full-fledged, undiluted, raw delusionment. Unhinged mental illness is the only way to describe it.”
    Limbaugh concluded by accusing the network of not being angry with the shooter or the armed guard at Stoneman Douglas who failed to act during the massacre.

    CNN's coverage of President Trump for more than a year can best be described in this
    Mark Twain quote.




















    Source

    Saturday, February 24, 2018 by Richard · 0

    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Birdseye Look At Olympic Skeleton Sled Doing 90 MPH

    Remember the feelings of thrill and terror when you launched your sled down a steep snow-covered hill? American Skeleton racer John Daly has been doing that competitively for 15 years, but his sled, goes 90 miles an hour and his head is only one inch off the ice.

    Thursday, February 8, 2018 by Richard · 0

    Saturday, December 2, 2017

    The Flynn Guilty Plea is Not What Liberals Want To Believe It Is

    Former Trump-administration national-security adviser Michael Flynn is expected to plead guilty today to lying to the FBI regarding his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. 



    Flynn, who is reportedly cooperating with the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, is pleading guilty in federal district court in Washington, D.C., to a one-count criminal information (which is filed by a prosecutor in cases when a defendant waives his right to be indicted by a grand jury). 

    The false-statement charge, brought under Section 1001 of the federal penal code, stems from Flynn’s conversation on December 29, 2016, with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. At the time, Flynn was slated to become the national-security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. The conversation occurred on the same day that then-president Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. It is believed to have been recorded by the FBI because Kislyak, as an agent of a foreign power, was subject to monitoring under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). 

    Mueller has charged Flynn with falsely telling FBI agents that he did not ask the ambassador “to refrain from escalating the situation” in response to the sanctions. In being questioned by the agents on January 24, 2017, Flynn also lied when he claimed he could not recall a subsequent conversation with Kislyak, in which the ambassador told Flynn that the Putin regime had “chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of [Flynn’s] request.”

    Furthermore, a week before the sanctions were imposed, Flynn had also spoken to Kislyak, asking the ambassador to delay or defeat a vote on a pending United Nations resolution. The criminal information charges that Flynn lied to the FBI by denying both that he’d made this request and that he’d spoken afterward with Kislyak about Russia’s response to it. 

    Thus, in all, four lies are specified in the one count. The potential sentence is zero to five years’ imprisonment. Assuming Flynn cooperates fully with Mueller’s investigators, there will be little, if any, jail time. 

    Obviously, it was wrong of Flynn to give the FBI false information; he could, after all, have simply refused to speak with the agents in the first place. That said, as I argued early this year, it remains unclear why the Obama Justice Department chose to investigate Flynn. There was nothing wrong with the incoming national-security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings. Plus, if the FBI had FISA recordings of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, there was no need to ask Flynn what the conversations entailed. 

    Flynn, an early backer of Donald Trump and a fierce critic of Obama’s national-security policies, was generally despised by Obama administration officials. Hence, there has always been cynical suspicion that the decision to interview him was driven by the expectation that he would provide the FBI with an account inconsistent with the recorded conversation — i.e., that Flynn was being set up for prosecution on a process crime.
    While initial reporting is portraying Flynn’s guilty plea as a major breakthrough in Mueller’s investigation of potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russian regime, I suspect the opposite is true.
    While initial reporting is portraying Flynn’s guilty plea as a major breakthrough in Mueller’s investigation of potential Trump-campaign collusion with the Russian regime, I suspect the opposite is true. 

    Speculation that Flynn is now cooperating in Mueller’s investigation stirred in recent days due to reports that Flynn had pulled out of a joint defense agreement (or “common interest” arrangement) to share information with other subjects of the investigation. As an ethical matter, it is inappropriate for an attorney whose client is cooperating with the government (or having negotiations toward that end) to continue strategizing with, and having quasi-privileged communications with, other subjects of the investigation and their counsel. 

    Nevertheless, as I explained in connection with George Papadopoulos (who also pled guilty in Mueller’s investigation for lying to the FBI), when a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation. 

    That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime. A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime — he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy. 

    Understand: If Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador had evinced the existence of a quid pro quo collusion arrangement — that the Trump administration would ease or eliminate sanctions on Russia as a payback for Russia’s cyber-espionage against the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic party — it would have been completely appropriate, even urgently necessary, for the Obama Justice Department to investigate Flynn. But if that had happened, Mueller would not be permitting Flynn to settle the case with a single count of lying to FBI agents. Instead, we would be looking at a major conspiracy indictment, and Flynn would be made to plead to far more serious offenses if he wanted a deal — cooperation in exchange for sentencing leniency. 

    To the contrary, for all the furor, we have a small-potatoes plea in Flynn’s case — just as we did in Papadopoulos’s case, despite extensive “collusion” evidence. Meanwhile, the only major case Mueller has brought, against former Trump-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate, has nothing to do with the 2016 election. It is becoming increasingly palpable that, whatever “collusion” means, there was no actionable, conspiratorial complicity by the Trump campaign in the Kremlin’s machinations.

    Source


    Saturday, December 2, 2017 by Richard · 0

    Friday, October 6, 2017

    Why The Demise of Mainstream Media and The Election of Donald Trump Happen Simultaneously

    The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards


    Michael Goodwin is the chief political columnist for The New York Post. He has a B.A. in English literature from Columbia College and has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining the Post in 2009, he was the political columnist for The New York Daily News, where he served as executive editor and editorial page editor and led its editorial board to a Pulitzer Prize. Prior to that, he worked for 16 years at The New York Times, beginning as a clerk and rising to City Hall Bureau Chief. He is the co-author of I, Koch and editor of New York Comes Back.
    The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 20, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar.
    I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close.
    It’s not exactly breaking news that most journalists lean left. I used to do that myself. I grew up at The New York Times, so I’m familiar with the species. For most of the media, bias grew out of the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Fueled by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the media jumped on the anti-authority bandwagon writ large. The deal was sealed with Watergate, when journalism was viewed as more trusted than government—and far more exciting and glamorous. Think Robert Redford in All the President’s Men. Ever since, young people became journalists because they wanted to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, find a Deep Throat, and bring down a president. Of course, most of them only wanted to bring down a Republican president. That’s because liberalism is baked into the journalism cake.
    During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.
    The rest of that journalistic ethos—“afflict the comfortable”—leads to the knee-jerk support of endless taxation. Somebody has to pay for that government intervention the media loves to demand. In the same vein, and for the same reason, the average reporter will support every conceivable regulation as a way to equalize conditions for the poor. He will also give sympathetic coverage to groups like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

    A New Dimension

    I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. As with grief, there were several stages. In the beginning, Donald Trump’s candidacy was treated as an outlandish publicity stunt, as though he wasn’t a serious candidate and should be treated as a circus act. But television executives quickly made a surprising discovery: the more they put Trump on the air, the higher their ratings climbed. Ratings are money. So news shows started devoting hours and hours simply to pointing the cameras at Trump and letting them run.
    As his rallies grew, the coverage grew, which made for an odd dynamic. The candidate nobody in the media took seriously was attracting the most people to his events and getting the most news coverage. Newspapers got in on the game too. Trump, unlike most of his opponents, was always available to the press, and could be counted on to say something outrageous or controversial that made a headline. He made news by being a spectacle.
    Despite the mockery of journalists and late-night comics, something extraordinary was happening. Trump was dominating a campaign none of the smart money thought he could win. And then, suddenly, he was winning. Only when the crowded Republican field began to thin and Trump kept racking up primary and caucus victories did the media’s tone grow more serious.
    One study estimated that Trump had received so much free airtime that if he had had to buy it, the price would have been $2 billion. The realization that they had helped Trump’s rise seemed to make many executives, producers, and journalists furious. By the time he secured the nomination and the general election rolled around, they were gunning for him. Only two people now had a chance to be president, and the overwhelming media consensus was that it could not be Donald Trump. They would make sure of that. The coverage of him grew so vicious and one-sided that last August I wrote a column on the unprecedented bias. Under the headline “American Journalism Is Collapsing Before Our Eyes,” I wrote that the so-called cream of the media crop was “engaged in a naked display of partisanship” designed to bury Trump and elect Hillary Clinton.
    The evidence was on the front page, the back page, the culture pages, even the sports pages. It was at the top of the broadcast and at the bottom of the broadcast. Day in, day out, in every media market in America, Trump was savaged like no other candidate in memory. We were watching the total collapse of standards, with fairness and balance tossed overboard. Every story was an opinion masquerading as news, and every opinion ran in the same direction—toward Clinton and away from Trump.
    For the most part, I blame The New York Times and The Washington Post for causing this breakdown. The two leading liberal newspapers were trying to top each other in their demonization of Trump and his supporters. They set the tone, and most of the rest of the media followed like lemmings.
    On one level, tougher scrutiny of Trump was clearly defensible. He had a controversial career and lifestyle, and he was seeking the presidency as his first job in government. He also provided lots of fuel with some of his outrageous words and deeds during the campaign. But from the beginning there was also a second element to the lopsided coverage. The New York Times has not endorsed a Republican for president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, meaning it would back a dead raccoon if it had a “D” after its name. Think of it—George McGovern over Richard Nixon? Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan? Walter Mondale over Reagan? Any Democrat would do. And The Washington Post, which only started making editorial endorsements in the 1970s, has never once endorsed a Republican for president.
    But again, I want to emphasize that 2016 had those predictable elements plus a whole new dimension. This time, the papers dropped the pretense of fairness and jumped headlong into the tank for one candidate over the other. The Times media reporter began a story this way:
    If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalist tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?
    I read that paragraph and I thought to myself, well, that’s actually an easy question. If you feel that way about Trump, normal journalistic ethics would dictate that you shouldn’t cover him. You cannot be fair. And you shouldn’t be covering Hillary Clinton either, because you’ve already decided who should be president. Go cover sports or entertainment. Yet the Times media reporter rationalized the obvious bias he had just acknowledged, citing the view that Clinton was “normal” and Trump was not.
    I found the whole concept appalling. What happened to fairness? What happened to standards? I’ll tell you what happened to them. The Times top editor, Dean Baquet, eliminated them. In an interview last October with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Baquet admitted that the piece by his media reporter had nailed his own thinking. Trump “challenged our language,” he said, and Trump “will have changed journalism.” Of the daily struggle for fairness, Baquet had this to say: “I think that Trump has ended that struggle. . . . We now say stuff. We fact check him. We write it more powerfully that [what he says is] false.”
    Baquet was being too modest. Trump was challenging, sure, but it was Baquet who changed journalism. He’s the one who decided that the standards of fairness and nonpartisanship could be abandoned without consequence.
    With that decision, Baquet also changed the basic news story formula. To the age-old elements of who, what, when, where, and why, he added the reporter’s opinion. Now the floodgates were open, and virtually every so-called news article reflected a clear bias against Trump. Stories, photos, headlines, placement in the paper—all the tools that writers and editors have—were summoned to the battle. The goal was to pick the next president.
    Thus began the spate of stories, which continues today, in which the Timesroutinely calls Trump a liar in its news pages and headlines. Again, the contrast with the past is striking. The Times never called Barack Obama a liar, despite such obvious opportunities as “you can keep your doctor” and “the Benghazi attack was caused by an internet video.” Indeed, the Times and The Washington Post, along with most of the White House press corps, spent eight years cheerleading the Obama administration, seeing not a smidgen of corruption or dishonesty. They have been tougher on Hillary Clinton during her long career. But they still never called her a liar, despite such doozies as “I set up my own computer server so I would only need one device,” “I turned over all the government emails,” and “I never sent or received classified emails.” All those were lies, but not to the national media. Only statements by Trump were fair game.
    As we know now, most of the media totally missed Trump’s appeal to millions upon millions of Americans. The prejudice against him blinded those news organizations to what was happening in the country. Even more incredibly, I believe the bias and hostility directed at Trump backfired. The feeling that the election was, in part, a referendum on the media, gave some voters an extra incentive to vote for Trump. A vote for him was a vote against the media and against Washington. Not incidentally, Trump used that sentiment to his advantage, often revving up his crowds with attacks on reporters. He still does.
    If I haven’t made it clear, let me do so now. The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered.
    The Times’ previous reputation for having the highest standards was legitimate. Those standards were developed over decades to force reporters and editors to be fair and to gain public trust. The commitment to fairness made The New York Times the flagship of American journalism. But standards are like laws in the sense that they are designed to guide your behavior in good times and in bad. Consistent adherence to them was the source of the Times’ credibility. And eliminating them has made the paper less than ordinary. Its only standards now are double standards.
    I say this with great sadness. I was blessed to grow up at the Times, getting a clerical job right out of college and working my way onto the reporting staff, where I worked for a decade. It was the formative experience of my career where I learned most of what I know about reporting and writing. Alas, it was a different newspaper then. Abe Rosenthal was the editor in those days, and long before we’d ever heard the phrase “zero tolerance,” that’s what Abe practiced toward conflicts of interest and reporters’ opinions. He set the rules and everybody knew it.
    Here is a true story about how Abe Rosenthal resolved a conflict of interest. A young woman was hired by the Times from one of the Philadelphia newspapers. But soon after she arrived in New York, a story broke in Philly that she had had a romantic affair with a political figure she had covered, and that she had accepted a fur coat and other expensive gifts from him. When he saw the story, Abe called the woman into his office and asked her if it were true. When she said yes, he told her to clean out her desk—that she was finished at the Times and would never work there again. As word spread through the newsroom, some reporters took the woman’s side and rushed in to tell Abe that firing her was too harsh. He listened for about 30 seconds, raised his hand for silence, and said (this is slightly bowdlerized): “I don’t care if you have a romantic affair with an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.” Case closed. The conflict of interest policy was clear, absolute, and unforgettable.
    As for reporters’ opinions, Abe had a similar approach. He didn’t want them in the news pages. And if you put them in, he took them out. They belonged in the opinion pages only, which were managed separately. Abe said he knew reporters tended to lean left and would find ways to sneak their views into the stories. So he saw his job as steering the paper slightly to the right. “That way,” he said, “the paper would end up in the middle.” He was well known for this attitude, which he summed up as “keeping the paper straight.” He even said he wanted his epitaph to read, “He kept the paper straight.” Like most people, I thought this was a joke. But after I related all this in a column last year, his widow contacted me and said it wasn’t a joke—that, in fact, Abe’s tombstone reads, “He kept the paper straight.” She sent me a picture to prove it. I published that picture of his tombstone alongside a column where I excoriated the Times for its election coverage. Sadly, the Times’ high standards were buried with Abe Rosenthal.

    Looking to the Future

    Which brings us to the crucial questions. Can the American media be fixed? And is there anything that we as individuals can do to make a difference? The short answer to the first question is, “No, it can’t be fixed.” The 2016 election was the media’s Humpty Dumpty moment. It fell off the wall, shattered into a million pieces, and can’t be put back together again. In case there is any doubt, 2017 is confirming that the standards are still dead. The orgy of visceral Trump-bashing continues unabated.
    But the future of journalism isn’t all gloom and doom. In fact, if we accept the new reality of widespread bias and seize the potential it offers, there is room for optimism. Consider this—the election showed the country is roughly divided 50-50 between people who will vote for a Democrat and people who will vote for a Republican. But our national media is more like 80-20 in favor of Democrats. While the media should, in theory, broadly reflect the public, it doesn’t. Too much of the media acts like a special interest group. Detached from the greater good, it exists to promote its own interest and the political party with which it is aligned.
    onald Reagan’s optimism is often expressed in a story that is surely apocryphal, but irresistible. He is said to have come across a barn full of horse manure and remarked cheerfully that there must be a pony in it somewhere. I suggest we look at the media landscape in a similar fashion. The mismatch between the mainstream media and the public’s sensibilities means there is a vast untapped market for news and views that are not now represented. To realize that potential, we only need three ingredients, and we already have them: first, free speech; second, capitalism and free markets; and the third ingredient is you, the consumers of news.
    Free speech is under assault, most obviously on many college campuses, but also in the news media, which presents a conformist view to its audience and gets a politically segregated audience in return. Look at the letters section in The New York Times—virtually every reader who writes in agrees with the opinions of the paper. This isn’t a miracle; it’s a bubble. Liberals used to love to say, “I don’t agree with your opinion, but I would fight to the death for your right to express it.” You don’t hear that anymore from the Left. Now they want to shut you up if you don’t agree. And they are having some success.
    But there is a countervailing force. Look at what happened this winter when the Left organized boycotts of department stores that carried Ivanka Trump’s clothing and jewelry. Nordstrom folded like a cheap suit, but Trump’s supporters rallied on social media and Ivanka’s company had its best month ever. This is the model I have in mind for the media. It is similar to how FOX News got started. Rupert Murdoch thought there was an untapped market for a more fair and balanced news channel, and he recruited Roger Ailes to start it more than 20 years ago. Ailes found a niche market alright—half the country!
    Incredible advances in technology are also on the side of free speech. The explosion of choices makes it almost impossible to silence all dissent and gain a monopoly, though certainly Facebook and Google are trying.
    As for the necessity of preserving capitalism, look around the world. Nations without economic liberty usually have little or no dissent. That’s not a coincidence. In this, I’m reminded of an enduring image from the Occupy Wall Street movement. That movement was a pestilence, egged on by President Obama and others who view other people’s wealth as a crime against the common good. This attitude was on vivid display as the protesters held up their iPhones to demand the end of capitalism. As I wrote at the time, did they believe Steve Jobs made each and every Apple product one at a time in his garage? Did they not have a clue about how capital markets make life better for more people than any other system known to man? They had no clue. And neither do many government officials, who think they can kill the golden goose and still get golden eggs.
    Which brings me to the third necessary ingredient in determining where we go from here. It’s you. I urge you to support the media you like. As the great writer and thinker Midge Decter once put it, “You have to join the side you’re on.” It’s no secret that newspapers and magazines are losing readers and money and shedding staff. Some of them are good newspapers. Some of them are good magazines. There are also many wonderful, thoughtful, small publications and websites that exist on a shoestring. Don’t let them die. Subscribe or contribute to those you enjoy. Give subscriptions to friends. Put your money where your heart and mind are. An expanded media landscape that better reflects the diversity of public preferences would, in time, help create a more level political and cultural arena. That would be a great thing. So again I urge you: join the side you’re on.

    Friday, October 6, 2017 by Richard · 0

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