Poke The Rat

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New York Times writes about Milo Yiannopoulos’ new bookFirst line of the story says Milo is “infamous” and a “Donald J. Trump” supporter. 

 Infamous – as in “a day that will live in infamy?”  He’s that bad?  Care to give us any examples, show us any bodies?  Guess not.

 And who the Hell is Donald J. Trump?  Is that the new President’s son?  Nephew?  Look, if you’re talking about the guy who just got elected President, why not call him that?  Identity would be certain and you could skip the middle initial, because there’d be no possibility any reader would confuse him with any other ‘President-elect Donald Trump.’

 Setting the tone of disapproval in the very first sentence is letting readers know we’re talking about a Bad Person that some publisher has unaccountably decided to publish.  Horrifying!  Other publishers didn’t want the book – might offend older and religious conservatives.  No wonder there’s controversy, as well there should be, from all right-thinking persons.  Oh, and one little detail that didn’t make the story . . . . it’s the #1 New Release on Amazon, presently ranking up there with Fahrenheit 451 in Censorship and Politics.  

 Hasn’t even been released yet, doesn’t come out until March, and it’s selling like hotcakes. Astonishing that a publisher might be willing to print a best seller.  What were they thinking?

 I’ve read some of Milo’s stuff.  He’s a gay British guy with a Greek last name so you might assume he’s a typical Liberal twit but no, he’s funny and completely unafraid to say what ordinary Joes like me are thinking.  I’ve never paid $13.99 for a Kindle book before.  This just might be the start, if for no other reason than to poke a stick in the eye of the New York Times.

 Joe Doakes

Remember when dissent was a virtue…

…well, some of it is, again.

Milo, and most of you, and me?  We’re not the right kind of dissent.

Journalism Without Limits!

Well, the title is a little misleading.  Where I wrote “without limits”, I guess I what I meant was “no bottom to the barrel”.

Because in the arc of downfall for the City Pages, from its heady days in the eighties publishing James Lileks, and its journalistic peak in the nineties, where they ran a lot of excellent reporting, the CP just keeps falling.

And every time I think “they can’t possibly get any worse as reporters?”   They somehow pull it off.

I didn’t think they could get any worse than Dan Haugen’s factual malaprops – but sure enough, Kevin Hoffman was right there with the onanistic panty-sniffing disguised as high-school-caliber schadefreud.  From thence, we’ve had a couple years of the ongoing gift of hilarity that is Corey Zurowski’s writing, which has been its own reward.

So given that the City Pages seems to have no lower limit, I’ll refrain from saying Pete Kotz’s piece about the GOP’s pushback on cities trying to jam down $15 minimum wage laws bespeaks any descent below any journalistic or factual pale.

Because there’s always more ground below the barrel.

But oh, lord – it’s getting worse.

Continue reading

Layers And Layers Of Gatekeepers, Part MMMLXVIII

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is leaving a downtown Saint Paul bar after happy hour with friends.  

As he fumbles for his keys by his car, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, steps out of an organic tax accountant office.  Dressed in a hemp power skirt, her brunette-but-slightly-prematurely-gray hair cut into the style known as “ELCA Hair”, she wrinkles her nose on encountering BERG.

SILBERMAN:  Er, hello, Merg.

BERG:  MyLyssa.  A pleasure (He finds his car key)

SILBERMAN:  You and your show and blog are “fake news”

BERG:  Huh.  You don’t say.  Why’s that?

SILBERMAN:  You don’t have a staff of fact-checkers.

BERG:  .Like the Washington Post.

SILBERMAN:  Exactly.  The Washington Post has layers and layers of gatekeepers and factcheckers, all trained at Ivy League journalism schools to the highest standard of the journalistic craft.

BERG:  The WaPo ran a story last week about Russian hackers trying to bring down the Vermont power grid.  Until it turned out it wasn’t; just some malware on a laptop that wasn’t connected to any grid other than an AC plug.  Then they revised the story, and tried to re-focus it under the radar while going “um, nothing to see here” about their earlier claim that Russians  were trying to bring down the US power supply.

SILBERMAN:  Right.  The fact-checking worked.

BERG:  The “fact-checking” was entirely external to the Washington Post.  They were “fact-checked” by their audience and the rest of the media.  No different than my blog.

SILBERMAN:  No, Merg.  That’s false.  And I’ll tell you why.

BERG:  OK.  You do that.

SILBERMAN:  The person who pushed “publish” on the online revision?

BERG:  Yes…?

SILBERMAN:  And the person who started the printing presses?

BERG:  Right?  Yes?

SILBERMAN:  They were Washington Post employees.  Without them, the correction would have never gotten out.

BERG:  Huh .

SILBERMAN:  Also, you are a white male.  (Looks at bare wrist)  Oh, look at the time.  (Steps back into accountants office).

BERG:  (Rolls eyes, climbs into car)

And SCENE.

The Best Threat Money Can Fabricate

I’ll say it here and now:  “right wing terrorism” is a boogeyman that the left has been floating out there for decades to try to create a sense of urgency and alarm among their base.

There certainly has been some terror associated with the…well, not “the right”, per se; more like “the non-left”.  The “Klan” has nothing to do with mainstream American conservatism, much less the GOP, and never has.  Tim McVeigh was neither conservative nor Christian.  And by the time of the Murragh building bombing, even that wave of activity, whatever it was, was on the wane.

But with Donald Trump, a GOP Congress, 2/3 of America’s state legislative chambers in GOP hands, and a solid conservative Cabinet waiting to take office in less than three weeks, the left has been stepping up its efforts to create hysteria about “right wing” boogeymen under everyone’s couches – whatever the cost.

Cut to the “A and E Network’s recently-aborted documentary about The Klan.

Well, no.  Not about “the Klan”.  About a Venice, California-based documentary maker’s narrative about what “The Klan” was supposed to be like, whatever it took (emphasis added by me):

The KKK leaders who were interviewed by Variety detailed how they were wooed with promises the program would capture the truth about life in the organization; encouraged not to file taxes on cash payments for agreeing to participate in the filming; presented with pre-scripted fictional story scenarios; instructed what to say on camera; asked to misrepresent their actual identities, motivations and relationships with others, and re-enacted camera shoots repeatedly until the production team was satisfied.

The production team even paid for material and equipment to construct and burn wooden crosses and Nazi swastikas, according to multiple sources including Richard Nichols, who is one of the featured subjects of the documentary series as the Grand Dragon of a KKK cell known as the Tennessee White Knights of the Invisible Empire. He also said he was encouraged by a producer to use the epithet “nigger” in interviews.

“We were betrayed by the producers and A&E,” said Nichols. “It was all made up—pretty much everything we said and did was fake and because that is what the film people told us to do and say.

Rest assured, it’s not just a couple of hack producers for a hack cable network.  “Journo-list 2.0”, wherever and whatever and whoever it is, and the leadership of the American left itself are layout out this narrative from the top, and pushing it through the entire media.

What Is Best In Life?

In the TV series MASH, there was an episode featuring a statistician – an Army officer who predicted how many men would be killed or wounded given the parameters of an upcoming battle.    To the statistician character, it was all about numbers – “just business, nothing personal”, to invoke a line from a different seventies production.  To surgeon Hawkeye Pierce, the character who had to try to patch together the actual men behind the numbers, is was in fact personal.

At the end of the episode, losing his temper at the statistician, after showing the geek through the operating room, Pierce yells “the thing I hate about you isn’t that you’re good at your job.  I hate you for liking it so much”.

I have a similar reaction to people who try to boil all human behavior down into numbers, statistics and analytical models.

If blogs existed 50-60 years ago, a story like this would be accompanied by a photo like this. Good thing this is 2016, right?

Now, before you launch into some misguided jape about conservatives hating science, remember – part of my day job is, well, boiling down human behavior into numbers, stats and patterns.  A bigger part, at least for me, is finding the qualitative answer behind the numbers.

But I digress.  Among the many joys of this past election – the potential for a safe SCOTUS, a solid cabinet, no Hillary, no leasing of US foreign policy to the Saudis and Qataris – was the complete collapse of analytics in predicting (and, via our media, shaping) this past election.

The ana­lyt­ic­al mod­els for both sides poin­ted to a Clin­ton vic­tory, al­beit not a run­away. The Clin­ton cam­paign and su­per PACs had sev­er­al of the most highly re­garded polling firms in the Demo­crat­ic Party, yet in the places that ended up mat­ter­ing, very little if any polling was done. So while 2016 wasn’t a vic­tory for tra­di­tion­al polling, it cer­tainly took a lot of the luster from ana­lyt­ics. In the end, big data mattered very little.

While tinkering with stats can be fun, I’ve long loathed notion that all of human behavior can be boiled down into numbers.   And I’ll admit, the schadenfreud when the geeks fail to do so is glorious.

The Strib’s New Editorial Writer

Allison Sherry added this opinion column – essentially, a piece of delated-PR for the Angie Craig campaign – in Monday’s Strib:

Incoming Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis made his career as a provocative talk-radio personality who seemed to relish holding court on the fringes of the political mainstream.

On any given day, he could offer up inflammatory comments about slavery or assert that unmarried women just want government to pay for their birth control.

Now Lewis faces the biggest test of his political career as he must rapidly transition from radio provocateur into a full-time member of Congress.

Sherry is a new member of the Strib’s ignominious “columnist’s row”, so it’s to be expected she’ll start her beat by reprising Angie Craig’s campaign chanting points – which the Strib considers “sources”, by the way.

Lewis seems to get it, though:

“I’m not an expert, though I played one on the radio for 20 years,” Lewis said in the basement of the Capitol complex, fidgeting with a bottle of water. “It is humbling and sobering when all of [a] sudden you see Rep. Jason Lewis on things.”

Ms. Sherry seems well fitted to follow in Nick Coleman’s steps.

In a more serious vein:  why would the Strib be running what is basically a hit piece on the new Congressman, before he’s even sworn in?

Easy.  Angie Craig is already fundraising for a rematch.  To the DFL and Strib, the 2018 race is already underway.

CORRECTION:  It seems Ms. Sherry is actually not a columnist, but one of the Strib’s reporters.

I regret the error.

Confirmation Bias

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It might be funny to write a letter to the editor.

 I’ll claim to be a left-handed Black Transgender Lesbian.  The story will be about my struggle, how I was oppressed by Conservative teachers in college, passed over in employment so they could hire Whites, afraid to speak my mind at work because everyone there was a Republican and they’re notorious for being petty and vindictive, how traumatized I felt when Trump won and I realized my life was in danger.

 I bet I could get it published to rave reviews.  “So Brave.” 

 Then I’ll use the “find and replace” function to change “Black” to “White” and “Republican” to “Democrat,” change the whole thing mirror image, send it to the people who raved about the first column to see what they think.  My guess is they’ll hate it.  “Racist.”

 Can one person be both brave and racist?  Apparently so, if the analyst relies on the most superficial sorting.

 I could be a success like this guy.  

 Joe Doakes

To paraphrase PT Barnum, nobody every got their Letter to the Editor scuppered for not playing to the media’s prejudices.

The Problem With Liberal Media Talking About “Fake News”

The left-leaning mainstream media – which has in the life of this blog:

…is wondering why people don’t trust it.

Perhaps because of paragraphs like this (emphasis added by me):

“What I think is so unsettling about the fake news cries now is that their audience has already sort of bought into this idea that journalism has no credibility or legitimacy,” said Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters, a liberal group that polices the news media for bias. “Therefore, by applying that term to credible outlets, it becomes much more believable.”

Media Matters is a Soros-funded propaganda mill.  It is a “media watchdog” only to the extent that an attack-PR firm is a watchdog of anything; relentlessly scouring media for congruence with liberal chanting points with all the grace of a German funk band.

Others see a larger effort to slander the basic journalistic function of fact-checking. Nonpartisan websites like Snopes and Factcheck.org have found themselves maligned when they have disproved stories that had been flattering to conservatives.

Neither is non-partisan.

While I think good reporting is essential to a representative Republic, I think our current mainstream media will not be the ones to perform any kind of “good reporting”.   The sooner it goes out of business, the better for democracy.

They Are So Close…

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is leaving Alary’s after a Bears game, when he runs into MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau.  Dressed in a hemp power skirt, her brunette-but-slightly-prematurely-gray hair cut into the style known as “ELCA Hair”, she is on her way from her Lowertown condo to the MPR building.  

SILBERMAN:  (In her “NPR” voice – a nasal brogue that bespeaks an Ivy League education, and sounds like it may have ironic clarinet music in the background) Mr.  Berg.

BERG:   Oh, hello, MyLyssa.

SILBERMAN:  So you’re still a Second Amendment activist?

BERG:  I am.

SILBERMAN:  And you oppose closing the “Gun Show Loophole” with mandatory registration?

BERG:  Yep.

SILBERMAN:  Why?  It’s clearly commonsense.

BERG:  I’m going to refute you with an NPR story.   Yesterday, NPR reported that the Obama Administration has done away with a 9/11-era program that allowed the creation of a registry of people from several countries linked to terrorist activities.   (BERG draws iPhone from pocket, shuffles through to find a recording).  I believe this the report, from NPR’s Tom Gjelten:

GJELTEN: Among those who would speak out – the American Civil Liberties Union. Hina Shamsi is the national security director there.

HINA SHAMSI: We would absolutely oppose this program. And as we have said, if this form of discriminatory registry is put in place, we stand ready to sue and to challenge it.

(BERG stops the recording)

SILBERMAN:  Right.  So?

BERG:  Listen to this next bit.  I’ll crank up the volume for a few parts”

GJELTEN: A new registry could bring out law-abiding Muslims. But human rights lawyer Banafsheh Akhlaghi says it would probably not reveal the would-be terrorists the government should be worried about.

AKHLAGHI: They aren’t going to voluntarily come into a federal building, give you their fingerprints, give you their name and their identity and allow you to take photographs of them. The good guys do that.

(BERG stops the recording again)

BERG:   So terrorists aren’t going to come in and register themselves…

SILBERMAN:   Right.  That’s absurd.

BERG:   Exactly.  But criminals – people who commit violence with guns?  They will come in and, in effect, register with a background check when they buy guns?

SILBERMAN:  You are clearly “fake news”.

BERG:  Clearly.

(And SCENE)

Desired Results

Thirty years ago, white supremacy groups were a real, legitimate, dangerous thing.

Various groups – “Christian Identity”, “Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord” , the “Posse Comitatus” and of course the Klan – had, if not “power”, at least an effect on the world around them.   I’ve run into it twice in my life; my interaction with the Gordon Kahl incident back in North Dakota in ’83, and the smattering of anti-semitic death threats I got when I was on the air at KSTP – simultaneously funny (I’m a Christian who is ethnically northern-european, with no Jewish ancestry whatsoever) and not so funny (it was about the time when neo-Nazis killed Denver talk show host Alan, er, Berg).

At the time, “skinheads” – remember them? – roamed the streets of the Twin Cities openly, attacking gays and people of color (I witnessed an attack by 3-4 skins on a rather dapper black man walking with a white woman in Uptown back in 1987, and briefly accelerated and swerved my car to try to run one of them down as he fled the scene before thinking better of it).

Remember when Geraldo Rivera came to Janesville Wisconsin to meet (and, eventually, “fight”) with Klansmen?  Ask yourself – do you think the Klan is openly having meetings in Janesville today?  (Actually, given that it was Geraldo Rivera, you might ask if it was even accurate back then – Rivera was doing “fake news” before it was cool).

Even twenty years ago, there was an active Neo-Nazi cell in Saint Cloud (where else?) and even a not-even-all-that-neo Nazi record label, Panzerfaust Records, operating openly in the Twin Cities.

When was the last time you saw an actual skinhead?  Heard of the Posse Comitatus?  Heard of anyone getting blown up or shot by neo-Nazis?    It’s been decades, right?

“White Supremacy” has become a tinier, more lunatic fringe than it was; a shadow of itse former self.  Which isn’t to say that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center aren’t going to say so – the more boogeymen in pointy sheets they claim they find, the more money they get (which is one of the reasons they go around declaring utterly civil thinks tanks like the Taxpayers League of Minnesota are “hate groups”)    There are bowling leagues with more members and clout than the Klan has these days.

One gets the impression that the mainstream, left-leaning media is dying to fix that.  They’re giving whatever’s left of the Klan a whoooole lot of free advertising:

To say that the series’ arrival is timely would be an understatement. The racial divide and white nationalism emerged among the bigger themes of the recent election. David Duke, a former Klan leader and perhaps one of the most outspoken racists in America, was a vocal Donald Trump supporter and has called his presidential victory a win for “his people.”

I suspect and suggest that all the free advertising is happening precisely to create more white supremacists.  Because narratives don’t further themselves.

 

The Newest Comedy Morning Radio Show

On “Morning Edition” this morning, in re Donald Trump cancelling the press conference he’d scheduled for today:

HOST:  “So, is this important, or is this just something that makes a difference to journalists?”

NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: “It’s important.  This is when journalists get to ask the tough questions of the president, and maybe tease out the details of some of the hard stories, as part of our mission to keep the public informed”

The last “tough question” asked in a White House press conference was eight years ago.  All of the “journalists” working at the White House then have moved on to other jobs.  The ones there now will have to ask the old-timers how it was done.

 

Chanting Points Memo: Fake Coverage Of Fake News

During the 2010 Minnesota gubernatorial race, the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” spread a story – Target was “anti-gay”.

They weren’t, of course; Target has always been socially progressive to a fault; by 2010, they spun themselves into a fair tizzy over every PC fad that came along.  They still do.

But they’d donated money to the Tom Emmer campaign.  And Tom Emmer opposed same sex marriage – exactly as the majority of the DFL did, on the record, at that point.

And so the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” created a wave of “fake news” (and even more mangled advocacy reporting) to attack Target and Emmer.  Waves of paid and DFL-affiliated “protesters” descended on Target; after that, the media breathlessly proclaimed their campaign was having an effect on Target’s share price (it wasn’t) based on a report from a “progressive” fund that owned pennies on pennies on the Target dollar.    The media, played enthusiastically along, for the same reasons they did with Hillary.   In one cast, CBS news collaborated, willingly or not, with a local left-wing advocacy group to create an entirely fake news story.

The goal, of course, was to simultaneously attack Emmer and try to intimidate Minnesota businesses into not donating to Republicans; if they could cause problems for the mighty Target, what could they do to a machine shop in Owatonna?

So when Democrats whinge about “fake news” – they sowed the wind,

But did they reap the whirlwind?

Hillary is blaming “fake news” for her loss:

“The epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year — it’s now clear the so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” Clinton said during a speech on Capitol Hill.

Some Democrats have argued the spread of anti-Clinton fake news online contributed to her electoral loss to Donald Trump.

Several problems with this theory:

  • There was at least as much “fake news” supporting Hillary.  My social media feed was clogged with photomemes and phony stories from groups like “Occupy Democrats”.
  • Beyond the purportedly fake news and “propaganda” epidemic, the mainstream media wallowed in a Pauline Kael-like echo chamber of pro-HIllary bias, to the point of publishing, well, “fake news” against Trump, to the point where the publisher of the NYTimes felt the need to publicly rededicate his paper to not doing the things that the media’s apologists say it never did.
  • Not so much a “problem” but an observation; this is just another symptom of the cranky arrogance that helped Clinton lose the election in the first place; “If you deplorables weren’t so stupid, believing the wrong fake news, ‘d be in the White House again!”.

The mainstream media is less fake than “Occupy Democrats” – but it’s a matter of degree.

Berg’s Seventh Law is getting an epic workout this cycle.

NPR’s “On The Media”: Fake Analysis Of “Fake News”

There are a few things in the American media for which I have more contempt than the WNYC  program “On The Media”. I’ve written about it in the past – it’s an NPR show, hosted by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, that seems to be based around the premise the journalist is a noble order of high priest of information, having a salonic conversation about the rarefied heights of American journalism.

In point of fact, it’s a Democrat party propaganda mill, no different than “Occupy Democrats” or any of the left’s other “fake news” mills.

Prosecutors exhibit A? This past weekend’s broadcast, which focused on “not normalizing Trump”.

And as a Tfump non-supporter and someone who was taught journalism by old-school practitioners who actually valued telling the story, rather than achieving a political goal,, I get it.

Of course, when OTM talks about “not normalizing” someone like Donald Trump, not a word will be mentioned about the media having normalized bald-faced support for Hillary Clinton, at a level that we have once been considered a crime against journalism.

Bonus visit bit of nausea induction: as a guest, Bob Garfield interviewed George Lakoff, a noted linguist who pointed out the techniques that Trump has mastered in turning  peoples opinions on their heads, and the need to not normalize that sort of thing…

Of course, Garfield didn’t mention that Lakoff has been working, and as I recall been paid for quite some time now, to try to do exactly what the program complains about Trump doing; trying  to turn language to the service of Democrats.

Apparently they didn’t think we needed to know that.

Mark My Words

Someday, when there is a post-cold-war style reckoning with the past crimes of the American media – and I realize this may be more an “afterlife” kind of thing – the ongoing effort by the American media to slander people not like them, politically speaking, will be an entire wing in the museum.

Let’s allow up front that in a nation of 320 million people there will be loonies of every description afoot, and that not everyone deals with frustration, bigotry or hatred well or constructively.

With that out of the way?

There is no wave of Trump-inspired hatred in this country.  The media is, er, trumping up a series of:

…into a “story”, and spinning it into a largely fictional narrative.

Why?

To wag the dog.  To try to create the movement that they’re reporting on.  To try to do for hate what they did for Armenian valley girls and Flava Flav.

Will it work?

Well, their efforts didn’t give us an Empress President HIllary.  But that may have been a lucky break.

And “luck” isn’t a plan.

What’s The Matter With Paul Krugman?

I’m not a member of the “White Working Class”.  I worked pretty hard to not be part of it, earlier in my life.  For better or worse, I’m a service-economy guy.

Paul Krugman new yhork times.

Democrats have to figure out why the white working class just voted overwhelmingly against its own economic interests, not pretend that a bit more populism would solve the problem.

Here’s a word to the wise, Paul Krugman – but since it’s you, I’ll have to explain it.

Being told what “one’s best interests” are is a good enough reason by itself.

Would Paul Krugman tell black people, or Native Americans, or women, what’s “in their best interests?”  That would be racist, sexist and mansplaining.

It’s no different when you Bluesplain to people you don’t know, have never met, will never meet, and whose lives would kill you dead in half an hour what “their best interests” are.  There’s no cutesy PC social-justice-academy term for it – but it’s the same thing.

And that’s when the Bluesplaining comes from someone who’s actually got a point – which Paul Krugman does not.  How do we know this?

Because he wrote this…:

Any claim that changed policy positions will win elections assumes that the public will hear about those positions. How is that supposed to happen, when most of the news media simply refuse to cover policy substance? Remember, over the course of the 2016 campaign, the three network news shows devoted a total of 35 minutes combined to policy issues — all policy issues. Meanwhile, they devoted 125 minutes to Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Right.  The press was hard on Hillary.

Oh, yeah.  And…:

Beyond this, the fact is that Democrats have already been pursuing policies that are much better for the white working class than anything the other party has to offer. Yet this has brought no political reward.

No, they do not – and yes, the reward has been bestowed.

Krugman is just too much of a clown to know it.

At least one professor got the message and got some useful takeaways from the complete failure of the “academic-industrial complex” for which Krugman is a poster child:

First, we must stop being insufferable know-it-alls. As scribes and scholars, we have expertise in a particular beat or field, but that doesn’t make us qualified to determine which candidate is best to lead 320 million Americans, each of whom has many and varied needs. Nor is it our job.

God knows it’ll never be Krugman.

Holiday Season Open Letter To Minnesota / National Public Radio

To:  National Public Radio (cc: Minnesota Public Radio)
From:  Mitch Berg; not really a pollyanna
Re:  The Season For The Wheezin’

Dear various PRs,

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving.  And like every week after every Thanksgiving, I know what that means, especially vis-a-vis Public Radio programming.

To listen to your broadcasts, we are on the precipice of a national mental health plague, something Americans only survive with the aid of therapy, drinking or an endless slathering on of (wry, fashionable-understated) cynicism.   A time of year where all ceremony is onerous, all family members are insane or intolerable, all travel is wearing, all human interaction is a layer of plastic fakery over a rotten, frothing core of anxiety and desperation.

That’s right – the Holiday season.

Public radio programming will be clogged with with newscasters droning on about seasonal mental health afflictions; with “entertainers” jabbering about the only kind of get-togethers any of them seem to have – ugly, dysfunctional ones; with obscure writers and artists elevated (?) to radio commentators, testifying to the ordeal we’re all about to go through.

Point taken, Public Radio – the upper-middle-class, over-miseducated, secular (wildly-disproportionally secular-jewish) crowd is exquisitely bored with the whole thing.

But might I suggest you poke your collective (heh) nose outside your Subaru-driving, Oberlin/Bard/Saint Olaf-educated, Whole-Foods-shopping, free-range-alpaca-wearing, urban-liberal-privilege-wallowing, Israel-divesting, coffee-shop-music-loving, prematurely gray, bumper-sticker-clad Obama-shilling bubble and take note that for a whole lot of people, perhaps the majority, the holidays aren’t about mindless personal drama, and bring us some measure of joy?

I mean, fine – you’ll joke about how pathetic you find it.  That’s fine – and nothing new!

Just saying – perhaps you can put down the bottle and take your head out of the oven and look around a bit?

That is all.

False Equivalence

I was listening to some archival coverage from NPR over the weekend, from May of 1945, about the death of Adolf Hitler.  I was kind of surprised:

“On the one hand, he directly ordered the death of 11 million Jewish, gay, Roma, Sinti and Slavic civilians in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, and launched a war that led to the deaths of between 50 and 70 million people.

On the other hand, he was a committed vegetarian and dedicated to animal rights, and his death by gun suicide highlights attention on the epidemic of gun violence, in which guns killed millions of Europeans.

So the truth is somewhere in between.”

Well, no.  I made the whole thing up.  Well, not the whole thing; Hitler could in fact not bear the though of animals coming to harm.  He was a very forthright vegetarian, and had no tolerance for any sort of cruelty to animals.  But nobody in history has suggested that those facts even nudge the scale in comparison to his crimes against humanity and morality.

That would be just stupid.

I thought about this as I was listening to NPR talking about the death of Fidel Castro.

It was a series of “Journalists” bending over backwards to ensure the world knows that there were two sides to Fidel Castro; the one who “stood up for the little guy” (using funds taken from Russian and Eastern-European “little guys”, but that’s getting too detailed, right?), who was a huge patron of Cuban arts and sports, and public health on the one hand…

…and who may have been a bit of a totalitarian tyrant on the other. The truth, an NPR reporter sonorously reminded us, was “somewhere between the two”.

And it made me wonder – how many people WOULD he have had to murder to push the needle?

A visitor to this planet might wonder who’s being more satirical, NPR or me.

 However, one can forgive NPR for being at least a little less detached from reality than five notable world leaders in their statements about Castro’s expiry.   If you happen to be a citizen Canada, have a word with Prime Minister McDreamy, eh?   Likewise, if you’re from Ireland or the EU, you need to see about changing leaders.  (If you are an Iranian citizen, you don’t have much more choice than the Cubans did; if you are a member of Britian’s Labour Party, you probably don’t know any better.
Fortunately, the WSJ has some moral sense, and has written about the effort to count Castro’s victims (from a conservative 9,000 to an all-too-plausible 90,000).

 

Stardom

Speaking for myself, I’m not going to participate in the left’s jabbering about “the Alt-Right” – which is to this cycle what “Vast Rightwing Conspiracy” was to 1996, and “War on Women” was to 2012; a mass smear attempting to tie the entire American “right” to the most noxious people who can possibly be linked to it.

In this case, some “Klan” leaders who nobody has heard of (there are bowling leagues with more members and political clout than the KKK has these days) who were thrust into instant, utterly temporary, undeserved prominence by dint of “endorsing” or “heiling” Trump.

However, Trump has refudiated his ‘supporters’ on the “alt-right”.

Suppose that’ll get any headlines?

Justifiable

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Mainstream media is alarmed that internet sites provide fake news, leading innocent voters astray from The Truth which they ought to be getting from the mainstream media.  And since nobody is reading their content, the mainstream outlets are going to lay off staff and close offices which will exacerbate the problem as professional journalists are replaced by internet trolls blogging in their pajamas in the basement.

Missing the point.  The reason people read internet sites is because the mainstream media news sites are, themselves, fake news.  They only cover the stories they think are important.  The stories they do deign to cover are consistently slanted.  Millions of Americans know it and are desperate enough for full, honest news that they are willing to risk slogging through the gutter of internet sites to find the few gems.  And the reason they’re justified in doing so is that respectable internet sites have scooped mainstream media on noteworthy stories such as Powerline and Little Green Footballs exposing Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate” reporting on President Bush’s National Guard service.  

 If pajamas media has become a more reliable source of truthful news than mainstream media, extinction is what we should expect.  File this in the “Obsolete” file right next to “buggy whips.” 

 Joe Doakes

If the mainstream media doesn’t get its mission, as well as its business model, squared away sooner than later, that train will leave the station very soon.

The Strib: Lowering Their Own Bar?

The Strib “reported”, after a fashion, about attitudes about Obamacare after an election where it was primarily responsible for ejecting the DFL from power in the Minnesota Senate.

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

And it’s either a masterpiece of selective fact, or some fairly incurious reporting:

Anxiety is greatest among Minnesotans with preexisting medical conditions. Before the ACA, insurance companies could simply deny them coverage.

Which is technically true.

After which, in Minnesota at least, they would get insurance from one of the state-subsizied high risk plans.

Before MNSure, 92% of Minnesotans were insured, via the private market, a public plan, or some combination.   It was the highest share in the nation.   Of the 8% who didn’t have insurance, the vast majority were people who didn’t want insurance – mostly young, mostly healthy.  There were exceptions – but they were few, rare, and mostly the product of poor information and a pre-Obama media who were actively pitching the “47 million uninsured Americans…” narrative.

Today, the state says half as many Minnesotans are uninsured – but networks have shrunk (in vast swathes of Minnesota, only one plan is available), premiums have skyrocketed for individual members (like me!),  people could not keep their doctor (The Lightworker’s promises notwithstanding…)

So why is the Strib story – a “Team Report” by Jeremy Olson, Christopher Snowbeck and Glenn Howatt, no less – either so slanted or uninformed?

To borrow a Glenn Reynolds phrase – if you treat them as DFL operatives with bylines, it all makes sense.

The Other Winners Last Tuesday

Other than the Trump campaign, and the people (should a conservative spring take hold)?

Us.  The alternative media.

We pounded the mainstream media in this election like a piece of WalMart veal.

After more than a decade of storming online to expose the national media as the serial-lying, double dealing, leftwing anarchists and activists they truly are, we have finally beaten them.

At long last our efforts to use truth to expose the media for what they truly are has resulted in these insulated, lying, cultural supremacists finding themselves so de-legitimized, so marginalized, so distrusted, disliked, and resented, that they could not do it … Summoning all of their mighty and evil powers, firing everything they had, leaving nothing on the field … they could not do it.

And the beauty of it is that the media’s targets were so precise. Everything they had was geared towards a fear-mongering hate campaign specifically designed to convince women, blacks, and Hispanics not to vote for Trump.

Moreover, the campaign was so dishonest that for 18 months we were told over and over again that the Precious Data proved poetic justice was on the way … that Trump would lose these groups by spectacular numbers.

All of those lies, all of that propaganda, and … they failed.

The “elite” media’s efforts in this past election indicates that they read the work of Dr. Albert Mehrabian – dealing with the role of media and “polling” to create a “bandwagon effect”, discouraging ones’ opponents from coming to the polls – just like I did.

Time To Ring In Some Changes

Back when conservative blogging was a large, signfiicant force in the 2004 elections, many of us pointed out consistently and clearly that the mainstream media’s consistent, overwhelming bias was going to render it irrelevant.

It didn’t happen right away – although the 2007 recession gutted ad revenues, which certainly accelerated the process – but this past election proved us right; even some parts of what we used to call the “MSM” are finally starting to figure it out:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’s be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doingwhen he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

Read the whole thing.

The PR Agency Of Record:  And Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the NYTimes, sent out a memo last week.  After an entire cycle carrying water for Hillary Clinton and getting pretty much absolutely everything wrong, they are “rededicating” themselves to…

accurate and honest reporting.

Is it “journalistic ethics”, or is it watching non-liberals turning off and unsubscribing in droves?

You be the judge.

BONUS QUESTION : Think you’ll see a similar memo from the Star/Tribune’s publishers?

Hah.  I made myself laugh.

The Eternal Genius Of Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman on election night: “The sky is falling and we’re all gonna die.”

A day later: “It’s not and we’re not, and anyone who takes Paul Krugman seriously had better hope they have a fat government pension to rely on”.

Paul Krugman; the most useful of idiots.

Note:  back during the Obama administration, when the poorly trained chimps in Minnesota’s leftyblogosphere panted “The Dow!  The Dow!” as evidence that the Obama economy was humming along, I pointed out – correctly – that that was a result of companies sitting on lots of cash in a zero-interest environment.  It was a bubble. They were creating few jobs, investing in little new plant; the Dow was a reflection of cash.

And it still is.

But I’m just trying to keep them consistent.  Which could keep an army of researchers busy, although not very interested.

Lost In Translation; Found, Suddenly And Conveniently, By The Media

As a German speaker, I was surprised and delighted to see that the American English word “shitstorm” has been adapted to German.    The new German word shitstorm is a vernacular for, well, a shitstorm.

Of course, while the word is an FCC violation in the US, the English word “shit” itself has no meaning in German (the word Scheißgewitter would be both vulgar and a little meaningless in German).    So, unlike in English, the term “shitstorm” can be used in polite company…

…because the loaded, offensive term loses its meaning outside its native language.

The moral of the story:  words that are adopted into foreign languages don’t necessarily bring with them their native baggage.

Or to put it more concisely?  Context matters.

After a decade and a half of illiterately hinting, tittering and referring to conservatives of all stripes as one variety of “Nazi” or another, the left and its PR flaks in the mainstream media are shocked, shocked I tell you, that someone is…pre-literately invoking a Nazi reference:

When a video of two Donald Trump supporters shouting “Lügenpresse” (lying press) started to circulate Sunday, viewers from Germany soon noted its explosive nature. The defamatory word was most frequently used in Nazi Germany. Today, it is a common slogan among those branded as representing the “ugly Germany”: members of xenophobic, right-wing groups.

Its use across the Atlantic Ocean at a Trump rally has worried Germans who know about its origins all too well. Both the Nazi regime and the East German government made use of it, turning it into an anti-democracy slogan.

And if you’re German, commenting about German politics, that’s certainly rife with portent.

And if you think that the bobbleheads who used the term at the rally knew all that history, and knowingly thought that was the subtext, by all means, provide some evidence of it.

Because what the term literaly means is “Lying Press”.  Stripped of any historical context, that is all it means.

And while the Washington Post in the article above calls the term “defamatory”, truth negates a charge of defamation.  Our press does have bias, does lie about it, and is in the tank for Hillary Clinton.

What sort of Scheißgewitter is it going to take for our lapdog media to confront this?