Tag 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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Trump chooses not to play the liberals’ grovelling game

The latest phony outrage surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign is his refusal to “disavow” statements of support from some group or other.  Good for him.

The left loves to play the game of denounce, apologize, and grovel.  The MSM attempts to define the bounds of legitimate debate, and never passes up an opportunity to manufacture outrage to serve its own ends.  It is unbecoming of the right to fall into this trap.

Donald Trump plays the no-apology game well.  Even if he believes that the Ku Klux Klan, or David Duke, or whoever, does not bring to the table a point of view that is legitimate in our political discourse, it does not necessarily follow that he must jump on the bandwagon to condemn them.  He gains nothing from it.  He understands that to apologize for something that he didn’t do only weakens him.  He never avowed the KKK in the first place, so he has nothing to disavow.

His honesty is also refreshing.  He “doesn’t want to tick off anybody that might vote for him.”  People will vote for him based on all kinds of motivations, which are irrelevant to Trump.  No obligation is created by accepting someone’s vote.

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Trump didn’t build his career by negotiation from a position of weakness

National Review Online‘s Ramesh Ponnuru is out in front with some establishment wishful thinking:  Donald Trump can choose John Kasich as his running mate to “help Trump get the nomination, and be his running mate for the service?”

Help Donald Trump how?  With his 5% of the delegates?  With a stirring endorsement, referring to his mailman father?  Trump has not succeeded thus far in the election—nor in becoming a billionaire in business—by negotiating from a position of weakness (e.g., like Jeb Bush in choosing a spouse), which is what picking Kasich in a gambit to pick up his votes would amount to.

A Trump choice of the already-vanquished Chris Christie would be a stronger signal, because he would not be trading any delegates, bur rather choosing someone for his perceived fit on the issues or general-election electability.

We think it’s more likely that Trump will double-down on his advertised appeal by picking another outsider.  If we wins a wide victory in the primaries, why wouldn’t he stay the course?  (Alex Pappas at The Daily Caller has some good ideas.)  Ben Carson is conceivable (though we hope not, as, like Sarah Palin before him, a baffling lack of knowledge, and apparent lack of curiosity, about world affairs would not bode well for his fitness to be commander-in-chief).

We could see Trump choosing Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz in the event that he enters the convention with a plurality but not a majority of delegates, to prevent the two of them from teaming up to deny him the nomination, which would be likely.  We hope that he would find a way to make it Cruz to maintain credibility on immigration and anti-establishment positioning.

The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat raises a scenario that is somewhat more plausible on the surface:  that Marco Rubio could employ a similar tactic and pick Kasich.  Rush Limbaugh says that this possibility is the only reason why Kasich is staying in the face.  Of course, the same point about Kasich’s lack of electoral value in the primaries holds; it seems implausible that Kasich’s delegates could tip the balance in a race between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump, or that his endorsement at some point before all of the primaries are complete would sway voters significantly.

The big problem with a Rubio-Kasich ticket would be the massive “screw you” that it would convey to the anti-establishment voters who will have given Trump and Cruz a lot of votes.  It would be saying, “frustrated voters, we heard you loudly and clearly, just like we always do.”  A lot of them would stay home in November.

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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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Imagine if the races were reversed: Cleveland Cavaliers fire successful white coach, citing need for black former player to “refine the habits and culture”

The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, under first-year head coach Dave Blatt, won the Eastern Conference title last season (losing to the Golden State Warriors in the finals).  They entered the season as the betting favorites to win in all this year, and have hardly disappointed in amassing a 30-11 record halfway through the season, the best in the East.

None of this stopped Cleveland from firing Blatt yesterday, reports ESPN, and replacing him with former player and assistant coach Tyronn Lue.  No coach had ever been fired during the season with a better record.

Sports Illustrated answers the first question on everyone’s mind:  “Already there are credible reports insisting that James was not directly consulted in the decision to fire Blatt”—note the intriguing use of the word “directly,” also mentioned in the same verbiage in the ESPN article—in an article headlined “LeBron James’s imprint on Cavaliers evident in firing of David Blatt,” referring to the Cavs’ superstar and face of the league.

It seems that Cavaliers’ general manager David Griffin doth protest a lot:  “I didn’t talk to any of the players before this decision” and “LeBron doesn’t run this organization.”  And the media was also quick to pick up the spin.  “A team source told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that Blatt’s firing means ‘everyone is in the crosshairs right now.'”  ESPN published various sympathetic pieces about the firing.

Even with the absurd turnover in the NBA coaching ranks, this seems surprising on its face.  There were vague rumblings about Blatt’s cultural fit (this was his first NBA job after spending most of his playing and coaching career in Israel, though he was born in Boston and graduated from Princeton):

“What I see is that we need to build a collective spirit, a strength of spirit, a collective will,” Griffin said. “Elite teams always have that, and you see it everywhere. To be truly elite, we have to buy into a set of values and principles that we believe in. That becomes our identity.”

“I am more than confident that [Lue] has the pulse of our team and that he can generate the buy-in required to start to refine the habits and culture that we’ve yet to build,” Griffin told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.”

Perhaps the money quote:  “James fondness for Lue and his desire to be coached by a former player were well-known throughout Cleveland’s organization. . .”

We don’t pretend to be qualified to understand the dynamics involved in basketball coaching.  Like any business, leadership and the culture created by management are no doubt as important or more important than employees’ sheer talent.

But this episode strikes us as a bit ugly.  We have one question.  If a team of white players, say in Major League Baseball, were grumbling that their short-tenured, winning black coach was unable to relate to them, or unable to bring out their best “collective spirit” or “principles” or “identity” or “habits and culture” or “buy-in,” and they needed a white former player with no head-coaching experience to instill these values, wouldn’t the likes of ESPN and Sports Illustrated be screaming racism!?  The media is already saturated with complaints that black coaches don’t get a fair chance due to, of course, management’s racism that overrides their desire to win.  They would likely call the bit about needing a “former player” a dog whistle alluding to all of the racist narrative about black coaches’ inability to lead.

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Restricting Muslim immigration is impractical, harms freedom, and is legally dubious, and therefore not worthy of considering even if it improves our safety. Restricting gun ownership, on the other hand. . .

All right-thinking people seem to think that, even if it were practical, banning Muslims from visiting the United States would be at best an ineffective overreaction and at worst, a violation of human rights and abdication of America’s standing as a beacon of liberty in the world.

We—and Donald Trump—concede that banning all foreign Muslims would ensnare some innocent people who only want to visit the U.S. and have no terrorist sympathies at all.  But we are apparently not allowed to consider such trade-offs in debating how best to promote Americans’ safety when it comes to deciding which foreigners to allow the privilege of entering the country.

Meanwhile, President Obama has gone ahead in unveiling various actions to restrict Americans’ access to guns.  “We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people,” the President said, while claiming to support the Second Amendment.  “Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown.”

We understand there are some constraints on our [sic] freedom in order to protect innocent people.  Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — those rights were stripped from Americans serving their country at Fort Hood and in Chattanooga , police officers serving their communities in Philadelphia and New York, and innocent civilians attending a holiday party in San Bernardino, the president did not say.

Banning foreign Muslims from entering the U.S. would create unforeseen problems in our foreign policy, would be difficult to implement, and might entail some legal challenges—so we should not even think about how to overcome these barriers.

Obama’s executive actions on gun control would “present new and unforeseen enforcement problems,” “create untold logistical . . . difficulties,” and be “subject to legal challenge,” according to a White House staffer.  But it’s worth it.

Banning foreign Muslims from the U.S. enjoys majority support in polls, but that is not reason to consider it, according to mainstream media editorialists (most of whom supported the president’s proposals on guns).  According to the Washington Post, majority support is a good reason for Obama to act:  “Obama said gun owners would support his new restrictions. He was right.”

Banning Muslims from entering the U.S. would affect some innocent people, who just want to enjoy their vague “right” to visit the U.S. and are no threat to our safety.  Making it harder to purchase a firearm would affect mostly innocent people, who just want to enjoy their constitutionally-protected right to own a gun and are no threat to our safety.

So are we to conclude that personal freedom, implementation challenges, and public opinion are relevant factors in considering measures to improve public safety only when it comes to some issues?

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UPDATE: “Mental health” will be a screen for gun ownership

President Obama’s executive action on gun control includes one of the provisions about which we fretted a couple of years ago.

Bureaucrat:  Why do you want to acquire a gun?

Citizen:  I like to camp in the woods and hunt animals.

Bureaucrat:  [Marks “mentally ill” in his notebook.]

. . .

Bureaucrat:  Why do you want to acquire a gun?

Citizen:  I want to be able to defend my business in case of Ferguson-style rioting.

Bureaucrat:  [Marks “mentally ill” in his notebook.]

. . .

Bureaucrat:  Why do you want to acquire a gun?

Citizen:  I want to defend myself in case of an Islamic terrorist attack.

Bureaucrat:  [Marks “mentally ill” in his notebook.]

. . .

Bureaucrat:  Why do you want to acquire a gun?

Citizen:  I fear government tyranny.

Bureaucrat:  [Marks “mentally ill” in his notebook.  Adds Citizen to the FBI watch list.]

The framework starts, according to Politico, with “enabl[ing] health care providers to report the names of mentally ill patients to an FBI firearms background check system.”  Even if this is all that will be in place, what could possibly go wrong?  Let’s see:  delays in background checks; false positives and name mix-ups, followed by a bureaucratic maze akin to the “no-fly” list; data sharing that will find someone’s supposed mental illness being recorded elsewhere; data breaches, either intentional (government bureaucrats spying on their neighbors or their daughter’s boyfriends) or negligent (e.g., OPM); new liability risks for doctors who are found to have treated patients who later commit gun crimes but did not report them.

An even bigger risk is when this program expands, to become compulsory, eventually resulting in an affirmative mental health check being a prerequisite to gun ownership.  “The administration has taken great pain to try to clarify that there is very limited information that would be reported only within a very limited group,” quotes the credulous Politico article, which naturally only cites “mental health” and gun control advocates and does not raise any of these potential pitfalls.

Luckily, we needn’t worry about a government program that begins with “very limited information that would be reported only within a very limited group” and greatly expands, often surreptitiously, thereafter.

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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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Media desperately attempts to search for the root of “radicalization”

It was surreal to see CNN the other night (12/07/15 EST) alternating headlines between revelations about how the couple behind the Islamic terror attack in San Bernardino were “radicalized for ‘quite some time'” and bashing Donald Trump for trying to address the problem of Muslim terrorist infiltration in the U.S.

MSM navel-gazing about how a Muslim could be mysteriously “radicalized”—as if entering a black box then emerging from it—is nothing more than a red herring, just another mechanism to obscure the linkage between Islam and terrorism.  It’s also consistent with the victimization narrative that so dominates our society:  the passive construction of the word “radicalized” implies that it creates victims who have had some vague action done upon them as opposed to having made their own decisions for which they are accountable.

To hear the media tell it (with due credit to South Park), some sequence of events like this occurs:

  1. Islam
  2. ??
  3. Radicalization
  4. Terrorism

While it’s trivial to observe that not all Muslims are “radical” in the sense that they wish to terrorize and kill non-Muslim populations or are sympathetic to those who do, it is also equally obvious that something inherent in Islam promotes “radicalization.”  Anyone who attended an Islamic school (i.e., almost everyone) in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, or the Palestinian territories—or any number of madrassas in many countries in the world—has been “radicalized.”

A better heuristic to understand the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism might be to explore how so many Muslims have become de-radicalized in light of the societies from which they have emerged.

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