Category Archives: Media Bias

Clinton says on Israeli TV that ISIS is “rooting for Donald Trump”; MSM gets outraged that Trump appears with Larry King

We long for the quaint unspoken rule that politicians don’t engage in partisan attacks or criticize their political opponents from overseas.  President Obama has made a sport of eviscerating this decorum.

Similarly, Hillary Clinton declared in an interview on Israeli TV that ISIS is “rooting for Donald Trump’s victory.”  The terrorists, according to Clinton, are praying, “Please, Allah, make Trump president of America.”  The illogic of this claim aside, the mainstream media failed to take Clinton to task for fear-mongering and attacking from overseas the patriotism of an American politician—as they always do while attempting to criticize Republicans for such perceived affronts.

For example, the media came down hard on Trump for mild praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, especially that uttered in an interview with American media icon (and Trump friend) Larry King.  They piled on the he-said-this-on-Russian-media trope because King’s show happens to be syndicated on Russia Today, a government-controlled outlet.

This criticism of Trump for a non-offense compared to silence on Clinton shows a double standard outrageous even by MSM standards.

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What October Surprise can we expect for Trump?

The mainstream media, especially the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, has been getting more hysterical each day during Donald Trump’s campaign.  Their coverage has probably hurt Trump at the margins, though the returns to the manufactured outrage are diminishing.  The conservative “never-Trump” crowd is not much more credible or insightful.

There is no doubt that these outlets are investing heavily to dig up whatever they can, while the bar for outrage among persuadable voters grows higher and the MSM increasingly finds itself shouting inside an echo chamber inhabited by its already-virtuous anti-Trump readers.  What might they come up with?

We previously speculated that the media would pursue the tried-and-true strategy of linking Trump’s family to the Nazis, however dubious any connection might be.  No doubt they are soliciting any leaks they can find about Trump’s health and finances.

It’s astonishing that someone who has employed thousands of people over the years in the inherently rough-and-tumble realm of urban real estate development  hasn’t been tarred with claims of unlawful business practices.  (A few stories about the visa statuses of Melania Trump or models he’s engaged don’t amount to much.)  No alleged unpaid wages, illegal employees, discrimination, shady permits, safety code violations, or, the holy grail, sexual harassment by some Trump office manager?  At a minimum, no disgruntled former employees who will complain about what a horrible boss he is?   (The public seems to understand that a few lawsuits and bankruptcies among thousands of real-estate ventures are normal in America.)  In reality, all of the evidence suggests that Trump is an exemplary businessman and employer.

We are holding our breath awaiting whatever scurrilous charges the press comes up with.  Perhaps it will be the conservative media, which is less lazy and even more motivated to stop Trump than is the mainstream media, that strikes hardest.

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NR: Trump’s 29% plurality of college-educated NH voters is a “hard ceiling”; 28% non-plurality of non-college-educated voters in IA is beginning of a majority

We’re trying to reconcile these two statements in an otherwise informative piece summarizing exit poll results by Tim Alberta in National Review Online.

That adds up to 62 percent of college-educated GOP voters voting against Trump [in New Hampshire] — and the overall opposition is roughly two-thirds when factoring in smaller chunks also won by Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson.

He continues to excel with non-college-educated Republicans: He won 28 percent of them in Iowa . . . and 41 percent in New Hampshire. These numbers, on top of public polling, show Trump is best positioned to win pluralities (and eventually majorities) of that crucial demographic moving forward

Although Alberta presents these results in the context of a finding that Trump won every single significant demographic in New Hampshire, it betrays a bias, endemic of late in NR, that holds that the only possible supporters of Trump are “struggling, underemployed” “working-class whites,” “people who have struggled. . . decrying the grasping indifference of a cosseted elite.”

Under the subheading “College-Educated Republicans Know Who They’re Against. But Who Are They For?,” Alberta refers to the first-place 29% of the vote in this group that Trump received in Hew Hampshire (and a bit less in Iowa) as a “hard ceiling,” but yet the 28% of the non-college-educated vote that he received in New Hampshire (and a bit more in Iowa) is a floor:  Trump is “best positioned to win pluralities (and eventually majorities) of that crucial demographic moving forward.”

Huh?  Of course the non-college-educated vote is greater in absolute numbers (though not among New Hampshire Republican primary voters last week), and hence more important, than the college-educated vote, but treating Trump’s results among these groups so differently at this point reflects nothing more than the author’s own bias about who could possibly be a Trump supporter.

Math is hard:  in a race with more than half a dozen candidates, in which one gets a solid plurality of all demographic groups, it is pretty illogical that those pluralities would fail to increase to majorities if the number of candidates were to get down to two.

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Media tropes on immigration obscure legitimate debate about trade-offs

We know, you could substitute virtually any issue for “immigration” in the title and the story would be valid.  But the mainstream media’s (and Republican establishment media’s) desperation in trying to stop Donald Trump have brought out the worst in our discourse.

The Washington Post cites a couple of legal scholars in the first few paragraphs of an article headlined “Experts: Trump’s Muslim entry ban idea ‘ridiculous,’ ‘unconstitutional,'” but then—in a juxtaposition certainly worthy of James Taranto’s “Two papers in one!” meme—adds, well, actually, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional:

Barring Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the country may not violate U.S. law in the same way, the experts said, because the Constitution’s protections generally do not apply to people outside the nation’s borders.

Duh.

The Post article then cites a partial precedent, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was not found unconstitutional.  The article also repeatedly refers to “principles of international law and agreements the U.S. has signed with other nations” without specifying any of them.  One critic asserts, “I’m sure it would violate innumerable treaties if we suddenly started banning citizens of NATO countries, of Southeast Asian countries.”  Tell that to a Turk or Thai who has been denied a visa despite their countries’ close alliances with the U.S.

A point that the article, and most like it, fail to make is that the U.S., like any sovereign nation, has the right to grant or deny a visa to any individual, for any reason at all, and also to deny entry to anyone attempting to travel to the U.S., including those from countries whose nationals do not require a visa.

Meanwhile, Ben Shapiro, writing in The Daily Wire, brings out various straw-man arguments about American military members (which he rightly corrects in a later update clarifying that Trump was not referring to barring citizens) in characterizing Trump’s stance as “desperate.”  Um, Mr. Shapiro, Trump is leading in the polls, and his support has only increased since he called for more scrutiny of Muslims attempting to immigrate to the U.S.  The idea of trying to ban all Muslim immigration has wide support in polls.  Trump has made a policy proposal from a position of strength, not desperation.

Donald Trump did not call all Muslims terrorists.  He did not call for a database of Muslims living in the U.S., as the media was quick to accuse him after he didn’t forcefully reject a reporter’s suggestion to that effect.  Banning Muslim visitors is not at all like the internment of American citizens of Japanese and other origins in Axis countries during World War II, a comparison that the media has been quick to breathlessly make.

Attempting to ban all Muslim immigrants may or may not be a good idea.  It may or may not violate various treaties.  It would likely harm America’s standing in the world, victimize innocent people, and, above all, not be practical to implement.

However, none of these is reason to dismiss the merit of the proposal out of hand.  It wouldn’t be that difficult to bar foreigners who are obviously Muslim (Muslims often have names identifying them as such, as many countries list religion on their passports), who come from predominantly Muslim countries, and/or whose passports show visits to Syria, or Iraq, or Turkey (the gateway to ISIS-controlled territory).  Obviously such a ban would not catch everyone who is a threat.  We are not necessarily endorsing any such restrictions.

The real problem with the discussion about Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from visiting the U.S. is that very few commentators acknowledge (1) we are at war and (2) there are always trade-offs in policy decisions.

Almost no one—including, we would venture to guess, Donald Trump—would like the idea of banning people of a certain religion from entering the U.S. in principle.  Plenty of Muslims contribute to American society; want to visit as tourists, students, or businesspeople; and wish no harm on the country.  However, since there is a significant population of Muslims who consider themselves at war with the U.S., we are right to consider trade-offs.  President Obama or the pontificators calling Trump’s idea “ridiculous” have not addressed the question of how many innocent Muslims can reasonably be barred the privilege of traveling to the country in exchange for keeping the country safe from terrorists.

 

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We’re going to see a lot of this. . . but usually with at least some attempt at logic

Eugene Robinson’s apparently phoned-in column in the Washington Post yesterday raises what will be a common trope leading up to the 2016 presidential primaries and then the general election:  Is [insert issue here] good for [insert presidential candidate here]?  The answer, of course, no matter the issue, will be “yes” in the case of Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee is and “no” in the case of the Republican nominee, with an extra vociferous “no” in the case of Donald Trump.  Media bias is always more prevalent when it comes to which issues even appear in  the first place than in how pieces are written.

Still, Robinson’s column is especially spurious and lazy, even by the standards of the Post editorial page.  His question is, “What could stumbling stocks mean for presidential politics?” and somehow his answer is that they would help Hillary Clinton.

If he presented a theory to explain why he thought this was the case, then we could just roll our eyes and conclude that it was a typical column.  (And then await a column next month, titled, “What could skyrocketing stocks mean for presidential politics?” which has the same conclusion.)  However, he doesn’t even offer any reason, other than the fact that Hillary Clinton has a resume that includes elected office and Donald Trump does not.

Robinson uses an anecdote to poke fun at the reactions of both John McCain and President Obama to financial turmoil in fall 2008, reporting the accounts of others that McCain “had nothing of substance to say” and Obama “gave an academic lecture on finance to a room littered with MBAs.”  Although his summary of Obama’s performance is not a compliment, Robinson concludes, “In the end, voters decided that sang-froid, perhaps with a touch of arrogance, was better than cluelessness.”

If we find ourselves in similar straits leading up to the 2016 election, Robinson avers, “I’m guessing it could make voters pay more attention to the candidates’ records on economic and financial management—and might give a boost to those with experience, as opposed to promise.”

If you were to think that this is an endorsement of Donald Trump, who has navigated all types of business environments very successfully, compared to career figurehead and politician Hillary Clinton (who does, in fairness, have a good track record in cattle futures), you would be wrong.  See, “Polls consistently say that voters see her as the most experienced candidate in either party.”  As a commentary on how one particular change in circumstances—a falling stock market—might impact different candidates, all else equal, this seems like a non sequitur.  He then spouts the brief talking-point attacks on most of the Republican candidates, including Trump, all of which are either irrelevant to his question or contrary to his conclusion:  he gives no credit to the “records on economic and financial management” of Govs. Walker or Christie, and doesn’t mention the other governors in the race.

His next non sequitur is the conclusion, which again does not follow from anything stated in the column:  “Logically, it seems to me that market craziness ought to be bad for Trump. But while his candidacy is about many things, logic isn’t one of them.”  So, if Trump’s candidacy is not about logic, then can we infer the converse of the first of these sentences—i.e., that “market craziness” is good for Trump?  We’re scratching our heads.

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Today’s version of “Spot the missing party label”!

The mainstream media is notorious for failing to mention the party of a politician implicated in a scandal if said politician is a Democrat.*

Today’s Los Angeles Times puts a new twist on the practice in an article entitled “Mississippi in limbo over high-court’s same-sex marriage ruling”:  “Mississippi’s attorney general, Jim Hood, declared that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right would not be observed in the Magnolia State” until the Fifth Circuit “gives gay weddings the go-ahead.”

It’s unclear in what form, or whether, this legal housekeeping will take place, and the article doesn’t hesitate to cite the state’s religious leanings, shameful historical record on everything, etc.

But it never mentions that Attorney General Hood is . . . a Democrat.

The phrasing “in limbo” suggests a sympathy to the legal conundrum.  On the other hand, we don’t need much of an imagination to speculate that if Hood were a Republican, the headline would read something like “Republican A.G. defies Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.”  We have plenty of examples in MSM outlets, including the Los Angeles Times itself, that prominently identify such rogue state and local officials as Republicans, usually in the first sentence.

*We can actually defend this practice to some extent.  When a Democrat politician is corrupt, it’s sort of a “dog bites man” story, so perhaps the party of the crook can go without saying.  On the other hand, we see the identity of a dirty pol as Republican as legitimately newsworthy.  Tu quoque, MSM?

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CNN: Ashley Judd is “left-leaning”; Santorum, Thatcher, Hannity, O’Reilly, King, Broun, etc. are “right-wing”

CNN.com’s report on the bugging of Sen. McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office characterizes his erstwhile future opponent Ashley Judd as “left-leaning.” Meanwhile, recent news or opinion articles have referred to Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, Margaret Thatcher, and Republican Reps. Paul Brown (Ga.) and Steve King (Ia.), among others, as “right-wing.”

In fact, a search of recent CNN.com articles finds no individual in American politics identified as the parallel “left-wing” or “leftist” (the last seems to be in 2003, “Lieberman lashes left-wing Democrats“). Donald Trump seems to be the only “right-leaning” figure that has warranted a recent mention.

CNN gives more insight into its perspective on the political spectrum in an article about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s visit to Cuba, mentioning multiple times “right-wing” American critics of the regime but only mustering the language “cautious program of reform” to refer to Raul Castro’s regime.

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