Archive for the ‘Conservatives’ category

The Intimidation Game, Cont’d

September 17, 2017

The Intimidation Game, Cont’d, Power Line,  Scott Johnson, September 17, 2017

Paul Mirengoff covered the Department of Justice’s September 8 reiteration of its decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner. Paul noted the absence of a rejoinder to the stated conclusion that the department lacked sufficient evidence to bring a case against Lerner. I hate cliches, but the more things change…

John Koskinen remains Commissioner of the IRS. Only last month Kim Strassel noted that the IRS is still toying with conservative nonprofits. Kim wrote that “Trump’s Justice Department has inexplicably continued to defend the IRS’s misdeeds under President Obama,” of which Kim herself covered many.

At the heart of Kim’s book The Intimidation Game lies a narrative account of the voluminous IRS wrongdoing during the Obama administration (chapters 7-11 and 21). It is chilling.

An unsigned editorial in the current issue of the Weekly Standard laments “The unaccountable IRS.” It does not cite evidence supporting the proposition that Lerner is guilty of criminal wrongdoing. However, it does restate the issues raised by the status quo while and take up themes that have occupied us over the years:

To understand the pragmatic realities of federal governance in the 21st century, one must recognize the existence of a fourth branch of government: the administrative state. We have some two million federal bureaucrats with extraconstitutional legislative powers. Not only do they write the reams of regulations that order our lives, they have the authority to enforce them capriciously. And thanks to absurd civil service protections, it is exceedingly difficult to hold them accountable for abuses of power, even when Congress demands it.

Of course, you can’t censure federal bureaucrats for their crimes if you don’t even try. On September 8, Donald Trump’s Justice Department announced it would not be reopening an investigation into the conduct of Lois Lerner, the IRS official responsible for targeting and harassing conservative groups in the 2010 and 2012 elections. That investigation had ended in 2015, when Barack Obama’s Justice Department stated it would not be charging Lerner or anyone else at the IRS because it “found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

Lerner herself admitted “absolutely inappropriate” targeting had taken place but blamed it on “front-line people.” Soon after, she pleaded the Fifth in testimony to a congressional committee and was placed on administrative leave by the IRS. Emails later confirmed Lerner had a strong personal bias against conservatives (she called them “crazies” and “a—holes”), and there was an extensive and credible series of accusations that she harassed conservative groups when she worked for the Federal Election Commission in the 1990s. If all this doesn’t suggest motive and criminality, it’s still an outrage that Lerner, whose leave was never revoked, eventually retired from the IRS with a full and generous pension.

President Obama declared on national television during the height of the scandal that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the agency. That’s laughable….

The intimidation game will be resumed unless something is done. The Standard editorial raises the question what is to be done. Concerned readers will want to check out the whole thing here.

Conservatives in America — Like Marranos in Medieval Spain

September 7, 2017

Conservatives in America — Like Marranos in Medieval Spain, Front Page MagazineDennis Prager, September 7, 2017

(It’s real. My wife and I have both experienced it. I have lost friends by vocalizing my support for President Trump and my wife generally remains silent when with friends and relatives in California. Talking with them would not change their views on President Trump or conservative principles in general. — DM)

Had anyone predicted that in America — the land more renowned than any other for liberty and free speech — the word “Marrano” would ever accurately characterize citizens, let alone close to half the voting population, that individual would have been regarded as a charlatan.

But given the intolerance and hatred on the left, and its dominance over almost every area of American life, that individual would have been a prophet.


For those unfamiliar with the term, Marranos was the name given to Jews in medieval Spain and Portugal who secretly maintained their Judaism while living as Catholics in public, especially in the 15th century during the Spanish Inquisition.

There is, of course, no Spanish Inquisition in America today — no one is being tortured into confessing what they really believe, and no one is being burned at the stake. But there are millions of Marrano-like Americans: Americans who hold conservative views — especially those who hold conservative positions on social issues and those who voted for Donald Trump for president.

Millions of Americans who hold conservative and/or pro-Trump views rationally fear ostracism by their peers, public humiliation, ruined reputations, broken families, job loss and the inability to work in their field. Under these circumstances, they have decided that coming out as conservative or pro-Trump is not worth the persecution they would endure.

In terms of the percentage of the population effected, there is no parallel in American history. Coming out as a homosexual prior to the 1960s and 70s, or publicly announcing oneself as a member of the Communist Party in the 1950s would have often led to similar dire consequences in one’s social, work and family life. But gays and Communist Party members comprised a tiny percentage of the American population. And Communists supported true evil.

I wish I could share all the emails sent to me from professional musicians who play in some of the premier orchestras in America. They wrote to me following the nationally publicized attempts by left-wing members of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Monica city government to prevent me from conducting a Haydn symphony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall three weeks ago. These people publicly called on members of the orchestra to refuse to play and members of the public to refuse to attend.

These people wrote to encourage me and tell me how they are compelled to hide their conservative views — how, in effect, they live as Marranos.

A violist with one of the most prestigious orchestras in the country (I figured out which orchestra using the internet; she was even afraid to tell me ) wrote to me last week about how quiet she is about her conservatism. While she could not be fired for it, she said, she would be socially ostracized within the orchestra for which she has played for decades.

A middle-aged professional musician told me that he wears his hair very long in order to appear hippie-like and camouflage his conservative politics. He is no more likely to tell fellow musicians that he supports President Trump than a Marrano in medieval Spain would have been to go public with his Jewish beliefs.

One musician in Minnesota wrote to me: “I was a professional musician from the age of 17. I wanted you to know that I, too, lost my career because of my views. My choice, actually; I just could no longer take the abuse.”

I’m fortunate. As a radio talk-show host and columnist, I’m paid to express my opinions. As for my avocation of conducting orchestras, I’m lucky there, too. Because the permanent conductor of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra’s board remained principled, and because so many people support me and my values, the efforts to thwart me failed. The Disney hall, with 2,000-plus seats, was sold out — a first for a community orchestra in that venue.

Of course, American conservative Marranos don’t just live in the world of music. They are in every profession. We know about the high-profile cases, the conservatives whose careers have been ruined by saying the “wrong” thing, or supporting the “wrong” candidate or ballot proposition; we know about the conservative speakers who have been physically attacked and prevented from speaking on college campuses. But we don’t know about the millions who are just afraid to speak up, who remain silent in a business meeting or at a dinner party when someone casually expresses a view with which they strongly disagree. These Americans live in fear, legitimately so in many cases, that if they do speak out, there will be severe consequences — a job lost, a promotion not given or even a child who will no longer speak to them.

This is all new in our country.

Had anyone predicted that in America — the land more renowned than any other for liberty and free speech — the word “Marrano” would ever accurately characterize citizens, let alone close to half the voting population, that individual would have been regarded as a charlatan.

But given the intolerance and hatred on the left, and its dominance over almost every area of American life, that individual would have been a prophet.

Whose Side are You on?

May 31, 2017

Whose Side are You on? Front PageMagazine, Daniel Greenfield, May 31, 2017

(What would Bill Buckley say? — DM)

 “The only time Republicans show an appetite for blood is when they are fighting each other,” David Horowitz has said.

And that is exactly what is happening here. Republicans are more eager to investigate each other than Hillary Clinton’s crimes or Barack Obama’s shocking spying on his conservative political opponents.

But it’s safer to fight other Republicans. No one will call you a racist. The media might even praise you.


Here’s the good news.

It’s 2017 and Republicans control the White House, the Senate, the House and more statewide offices than you can shake a big bundle of fake news papers at. And, potentially soon, a Supreme Court that takes its guidelines from the Constitution not Das Kapital and the National Social Justice Party.

Here’s the bad news, Republicans are still Republicans.

Whether it’s Flynn, Bannon, Gorka, Kushner, Clarke, they are all too eager to fall for the latest left-wing scandal. The media throws some chum in the water and watches the bloody fun as Republicans go after Republicans. Scandals are manufactured and strategically aimed to divide and conquer Republicans.

But the real target is the conservative agenda.  Bogging down the White House in scandals keeps it from dismantling more of Obama’s regulations and orders. Every milligram of oxygen that foolish conservatives give the left’s narratives is a milligram taken from the lungs of the conservative agenda.

At the National Review, Jim Geraghty, who has loathed Trump since Day 1, seizes on the latest scandal targeting Jared Kushner. In recent days, the National Review has run four pieces on the fake scandal.

That’s an odd preoccupation for a conservative publication that ought to be more concerned with conservative policy priorities than parsing the shibboleths that the left is firing at President Trump.

But the National Review occupies a peculiar space between the Never Trumpers who have found cushy jobs on MSNBC and at the New York Times and mainstream conservative support for President Trump. It isn’t ready to leave the movement, but instead it insists on echoing media criticisms in a softer tone.

The Review takes the tone that it’s just asking questions. Those questions just happen to be the same ones that the media keeps on asking. If the mainstream media reads like an angry partisan blog, then the National Review sounds the way that the media used to when it was just biased instead of fake.

It just so happens that the Review is full of innumerable stories and posts about every media scandal. And its preferred pose is innocence. Like the rest of the media, it’s just asking questions.

What’s the big deal?

“What I don’t get is any reflexive defense of . . . Jared Kushner. Trump earned your vote, and presumably, some amount of trust. What did Kushner ever do for you?” Geraghty protests.

Presumably. In Geraghty’s world, winning the votes of conservatives, shouldn’t necessarily earn trust.

Conservatives though understand it’s not about “loyalty” to Kushner, Flynn, Gorka, Flynn, Clarke or even Trump. Instead it’s about loyalty to a conservative agenda. All politicians and political appointees are flawed. The left wins by using Alinsky’s Rule 4. Conservatives lose by falling into the trap of Rule 4.

“Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

The left doesn’t care about any supposed back channel to Russia. This is the radical movement whose great leader was caught on the microphone assuring Putin’s bag man that he would have more “flexibility” after the election. Obama didn’t just have back channels to Russia, he had back channels to Iran and Hamas.

It’s about destroying the conservative agenda.

Anyone who thinks that the left has problems with them because of anything they did or said has forgotten that NKVD boss Beria’s “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” is the premise of his fellow leftists’ “resistance” to democracy.

And that, as no less a lawyer than Alan Dershowitz has said, is the kind of case we’re dealing with here.

It’s a swamp of innuendo based on anonymous sources, investigations fed by illegal eavesdropping, scandals in which the outrage comes before the evidence whose purpose is to overturn an election.

Passing the conservative agenda requires that most elusive of qualities, conservative solidarity. That means realizing that it’s not about loyalty to Kushner or even Trump. It’s about not letting the left drag the conservative agenda off the road and into its putrid swamp of lies and manufactured scandals.

Lately the National Review seems far more interested in conservative scandals than left-wing ones. There are few mentions of what Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Tom Perez and the likely 2020 contenders are up to. There has been nothing this month at the Review on Cory Booker, nothing direct on Biden and glancing passes at Elizabeth Warren. But Republicans are more fun to attack.

“The only time Republicans show an appetite for blood is when they are fighting each other,” David Horowitz has said.

And that is exactly what is happening here. Republicans are more eager to investigate each other than Hillary Clinton’s crimes or Barack Obama’s shocking spying on his conservative political opponents.

But it’s safer to fight other Republicans. No one will call you a racist. The media might even praise you.

Never Trump Republicans think that the media hates Trump. It doesn’t hate Trump. It hates them. Republicans have varied reactions to Trump. Leftists have only one reaction to anyone to the right of them. It’s the same reaction you get if you send an ISIS member into Temple Beth Shalom.

The leftist faction lecturing Republicans about decency, national security and the rule of laws punches political opponents in the face, creates back channels to Islamic terrorists in Iran, smuggles billions to fund their terror, and sends the IRS after political opponents. Is their moral authority worth anything?

No conservative agenda will ever be passed without conservative solidarity. Until the left gets the message that it will never overturn the results of this last election, it will keep trying. Conservatives can squash this fascist fantasy only by making it clear that there will never be an impeachment and that they will respond to investigations the way that Rep. Elijah Cummings did to the investigation of Benghazi.

The left can’t stop a conservative agenda. Only the lack of conservative solidarity can do that.

As David Horowitz pointed out in Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America, Republicans lack the will to fight the left on its own terms, because they fail to understand what drives the left.

The media drives the left’s narratives in the name of fulfilling its agenda. A conservative media ought to drive conservative narratives instead of regurgitating the agendas and ambitions of the mainstream media.

When the National Review echoes the left’s political narratives, it achieves the left’s political agendas.

Ingraham to Hannity: Let’s tour liberal college campuses

April 28, 2017

Ingraham to Hannity: Let’s tour liberal college campuses, Fox News via YouTube, April 27, 2017


United We Fall

January 18, 2017

United We Fall, American ThinkerDavid Solway, January 18, 2017

(How does one “unify” oil and water? An emulsion is possible but needs to be agitated constantly. The time, effort and funds wasted doing that would have to be diverted from achievable conservative objectives. — DM)

Striving to unite eternal incompatibles is a disaster in the making, and the president-elect must take this fact into consideration. Politics may be the art of compromise, but it also the art of determined action and resolute principle. For the incoming administration, this is the time for the head to predominate, the time for determination and scruple. You cannot make peace with those who hate the country, whose values are diametrically opposed to yours, or whose agenda “pivots” toward cultural and political disintegration.

Trump should put the party subversives in their place and, using every constitutional measure at his disposal, render the left in all its manifestations irrelevant and seek to neutralize its poison. And he must do so decisively if his presidency is to succeed. For counterfeit unity goeth before a fall.


Donald Trump has gone on record as wishing to unite the nation. In fact, he has declared it one of his urgent priorities in numerous post-election comments.  I hope this is mere presidential rhetoric, for America has long passed the point when unity would be possible. The nation is now hopelessly divided and will remain so. Unless Trump recognizes this unpalatable reality, much of his decision-making and hard work will go for nought.

The left, which includes the majority of national institutions — the legacy media, the academy, television, Hollywood, the social media providers, the judiciary, online and print groups, government departments, the Democratic Party and much of the Republican Party, the political class as a whole and the army of liberal voters — will never be pacified. The left will never cease in its efforts to scheme against a Trump — or any conservative-leaning — administration.

Trump must take seriously Newt Gingrich’s warning against the temptation to “give in” to the left when opposition starts to mount from every quarter — the Greens, government employees, the teachers’ unions, indeed the entire progressivist Category 5 hurricane of demands and vilification. Not only should Trump resist that temptation, he must not waste his time and energy seeking to heal what cannot be repaired, but needs to engage in a kind of domestic cold war, using every legislative means in his purview to contain a dangerous and implacable internal enemy. This is realpolitik applied locally.

Robert Oscar Lopez pillories the academic left and the education industry at all levels, he writes: “Try to build bridges to them, and they punish you for it…[they take] kind gestures from conservatives as a sign that conservatives are weak.” The arts of conciliation tend to be perceived as “an invitation to shame you publicly, using anything you say against you.” He continues: “Higher education is not a swamp to be drained. It is a diabolical machine, and it is time to pull the plug.” What he says of the education consortium is true of the left across the entire cultural, social and political spectrum.

It is naïve to assume that the political fissure between left and right, collectivism and individuality, Socialism and classical liberalism, fantasy and reality, can ever be bridged. In essence, this is a perennial conflict, one which the great satirist Jonathan Swift in The Battle of the Books, drawing from the classics, described as the enmity between the predatory spider, who purls illusions out of his own entrails, and the foraging bee who produces sweetness and light and convulses the spider’s self-spun “citadel.” It is a conflict between opposed epistemological frames of reference — in Swiftian terms, that of the fanatic parvenu and that of the companionable humanist. Today it is a war between progressivists and conservatives, between utopian experimentalism and traditional values. The rupture cannot be parged. One should not invest in a fruitless and destructive effort to create unity where none is possible.

Where the effort to achieve unity has real meaning is in the attempt to mend the surmountable divisions of opinion within the conservative family in order to form a strong front against the forces that would subvert the political coherence and even the survival of the nation. Unity only makes sense if it is accomplished within the often disparate group of genuine patriots who may disagree on many points, yet who are basically at one in struggling to establish the rule of law and a functioning democratic — or rather, republican — polity. But to work for the unification of oil and water is not only an egregious error but a recipe for social and political disunity.

E.M. Cadwaladr argues America now comprises “two separate peoples…where any notion of compromise…is painfully naïve and utterly futile.” Conservatism is about the “freedom from government interference,” the freedom for citizens “to do with their property as they see fit [and to] prosper or fail in accordance with [their own] choices and abilities.” Conservatives believe that “charity is an individual virtue, [the purpose of which] is to raise the unfortunate to a state of self-sufficiency.” Freedom includes the right “to make one’s own judgments about other people” (so much for political correctness). And “equality” means equality before the law.

Progressivists believe in identity politics, in big government rather than scaled-down efficient government, in the collective over the individual, in compensating the aggrieved often at the expense of the deserving, in cultural and ethnic equivalency, and in building a new global utopia. For progressivists, freedom means “freedom from want (entitlements), sexual freedom (and the right to an abortion), and…a self-defined and flexible identity (including being addressed by whatever pronoun suits you.)” Equality before the law is an antiquated concept. Equality means equality of outcome, regardless of input.

In sum, “Nationalist conservatives cannot tolerate the destruction of their national identity. Globalist progressives cannot tolerate the very idea of nation states…They are not different merely in having differing views about the size and scope of government,” Cadwaladr concludes, they are “different in kind.” It is a divide that has never been healed throughout the course of recorded history and that cannot be healed under any conceivable American administration. Obama widened and exacerbated the divide; Trump cannot repair it, but if he is wise, he may be able to prevent a relentless internal enemy from using the divide to create a Marxist dystopia.

Cadwaladr uses the term “conservative” in a broad preferential sense, which is perfectly legitimate as such, but as we will see, a critical distinction has to be made.  In the current political climate, what I’ve called the “internal enemy” is twofold. Apart from the rhapsodic left that haunts the nation with its malignant dream, a true reformer must confront the schismatic dissension of his nominal allies, in this case the Republican aristocracy that works to undermine the restorative project. This too is a swamp that must be drained (or a diabolical machine whose plug must be pulled). False conservatives are no less and perhaps even more insidious than an avowed and definable antagonist. Major figures in the Republican Party — John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, Mitt Romney et al. — and in the mainstream conservative movement — George Will, Bill Kristol, Kevin Williamson, Glenn Beck, David Frum et al. — have effectively acted in concert with the acknowledged foe, espousing many of its programs and laboring to discredit their own presidential candidate.

Such people have come to be known by the New Right as “cuckservatives,” an epithet circulating on the Internet and given prominence in John Red Eagle and Vox Day’s Cuckservative: How “Conservatives” Betrayed America. Cuckservatives, according to the two Native American authors, are like cuckolded husbands who “raise the children of another man instead of one’s own sons and daughters,” those who welcome the cuckoo bird to populate their nests. In the words of Mike Cernovich, who provided the Foreword to the book, “cuckservatives are false conservatives who are thrilled to see real Americans get screwed over by immigration!” And not only by immigration, but in almost every other respect as well: wretched education, rampant entitlements, false scandals (the patriarchy, college rape culture), anti-Constitutionalism, gender fluidity, feminism, economic strangulation, in short, an outright attack on what was once known as the American way of life.

In his own recent book MAGA MINDSET, Cernovich claims, with considerable evidence, that a cuckservitive is one who “will never have the back of his nominal friends and allies,” who wants “to be part of the establishment,” and who “cares more about attacking Donald Trump than putting any effort into understanding why Trump has grown a huge audience.” He uses the term, he goes on to say, “to describe prominent writers and talking heads on the political Right who are more concerned with being liked by SJWs than standing up for their actual allies.” There can be little common understanding between a conservative and a cuckservative. Conservative unity means marginalizing such collaborators who secretly fly the enemy’s flag. The conservative media and punditry are, for the most part, more interested in virtue-signaling to the left, in showing how reasonable and pro-“social justice” they are, than in defending conservative principles or supporting genuine conservatives who have come under attack.

The presumably noble endeavor to achieve unity with perpetual dissidents and adversaries — that is, between two contending frames of reference, whether in the nation or in the Party — is demonstrably counter-productive. Beware of unity with those who are wedded to sowing discord and for whom the invitation to make common cause is a weapon to create disunity in the body politic. We should not attempt to cultivate unity where unity cannot exist. We need, rather, to be unsparingly realistic.

Striving to unite eternal incompatibles is a disaster in the making, and the president-elect must take this fact into consideration. Politics may be the art of compromise, but it also the art of determined action and resolute principle. For the incoming administration, this is the time for the head to predominate, the time for determination and scruple. You cannot make peace with those who hate the country, whose values are diametrically opposed to yours, or whose agenda “pivots” toward cultural and political disintegration.

Trump should put the party subversives in their place and, using every constitutional measure at his disposal, render the left in all its manifestations irrelevant and seek to neutralize its poison. And he must do so decisively if his presidency is to succeed. For counterfeit unity goeth before a fall.

Professor Watching

December 1, 2016

Professor Watching, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, December 1, 2016

(In a USA Today article titled The right’s turn to censor? Glen Reynolds argues — unpersuasively in my opinion — that Turning Point is censoring articles and being punitive. — DM)

Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a conservative organization made up of high school and college students, has compiled a website database of more than 200 professors at universities across the nation who, in the view of the organization, “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The website is called Professor Watchlist.

This has outraged the left which, inevitably, complains of “McCarthyism” by TPUSA. Annabel Scott at the Daily Caller reports on some of the outcry here. Rod Dreher offers his take here.

Like Dreher, my instinct is to become uneasy at the notion of a professor watch list. But on reflection, and considering the particulars of what TPUSA is doing, I don’t see a problem.

The list turns out to be an aggregation of already published news stories. TPUSA only points out incidents that have already been reported by a source it considers credible. My casual review of the website suggests that its sources are, in fact, credible.

TPUSA also maintains that it is not attempting to silence the professors on the list. It’s CEO, Charlie Kirk, says:

We’re not trying to prevent teachers from saying anything. All we want here is to shine a light on what’s going on in our universities.

What’s wrong with that? From the perspective of college students and their parents, information that a professor teaches from a far-left perspective and/or discriminates against students who don’t share that perspective is valuable. There is no requirement that students subject themselves to such teaching. TPUSA’s compilation helps them avoid it if they wish to, whether by not taking certain courses or not attending a particular institution.

From the professor’s perspective, I’m not sure what legitimate beef they have. Colleges aren’t secret societies. A professor should be willing to stand publicly behind anything he says or does in a class room.

Some have complained that TPUSA is “shaming” professors. But I doubt that the professors are ashamed of the things TPUSA is reporting. (If they are, the remedy is to stop doing them). In fact, at least on professor has demanded to be put on the list. That seems like a more appropriate response.

It’s possible that the information compiled by TPUSA might cause those with responsibility for state schools (trustees and ultimately governors) to discipline or fire a professor. Given the way the world works, this seems unlikely except in egregious cases, but the possibility can’t be dismissed.

In my view, a professor who discriminates against a student based on his or her political position ought to be disciplined, if not fired. Melissa (“Where’s the Muscle”) Click, who appears on the TPUSA list, deserved discipline, at a minimum. Same with Nell Boeschenstein who publicly harangued some of her creative writing students into admitting that they voted for Donald Trump and then berated them in class for their vote.

Firing a professor for advancing a far-left position presents a different case, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t occur in extreme cases. There is some far-left advocacy that a board of regents or a governor might reasonably consider beyond the pale. It certainly seems that some conservative positions are deemed by many in academia to be unworthy of being presented in the classroom.

If we start to see leftist professors fired for the views they express in class, we can consider whether those doing the firing are engaging in what has come to be called “McCarthyism.” TPUSA is not engaging in it. The organization is simply providing the public with information many students and parents may find helpful.

The New War on Conservative Media

November 22, 2016

The New War on Conservative Media, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, November 22, 2016


Remember when Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory? The fake news media which predicted it in order to depress pro-Trump voter turnout certainly does. And so they’re out to fight “fake news.”

By fake news, they don’t mean their own raging torrent of misinformation and lies.

The media has gone to war against Facebook. While various supporters have blamed Hillary’s loss on everything from the FBI to internalized misogyny, the media has decided that Facebook is to blame.

Why Facebook?

Cable news is dying. Newspapers struggle online and offline. The mainstream media’s profitability lives and dies by social media. But the essence of social media is that it allows communities to shape what they see. That’s a terrifying idea if you’re a media conglomerate that depends on its megaphone.

But it’s also scary if you’re a leftist running for office in a country that doesn’t agree with your views.

Obama blamed “messaging” for the election results. But messaging requires being able to reach people. And that means clearing competitive voices out of the social media space by banning conservatives.

The war on conservative media is being conducted under the guise of banishing “fake news” from Facebook. But the fake news devil is in the details. Fake news can mean satire sites like the Onion or the Daily Currant. It can mean foreign clickbait sites that invent fake news. But it can also mean sites from outside the mainstream media whose stories are contested by the left for partisan reason.

The war on fake news is a smoke screen for a campaign against conservative media. And it’s easy to see that it’s conservative sites that are the real target of the Facebook book burners.

Buzzfeed, which depends heavily on Facebook traffic , has fed the “fake news” hysteria. Its list of “fake news” sites includes “hyperpartisan” sites. Its story contrasting “legitimate” mainstream media outlets, a category that somehow includes the Huffington Post, with a variety of right-leaning sites is a major piece of supporting evidence used in the fake news crusade.

Considering BuzzFeed’s history of fake news stories that fit its political narrative, it has no credibility fact checking anyone else. Examinations of BuzzFeed’s own methodology for its fake news article tore it into tiny little shreds. Its claim that fake news outperformed real news turned out to be… fake.

But what’s more important is how quickly the goal posts have been moved from fake news to conservative news, from fraudulent sites to fighting “clickbait” or “hyperpartisan” sites. And it’s clear that these are largely a euphemism for sites on the right that are outperforming the media.

USA Today and the Los Angeles Times promoted a list of “fake news” sites that included a variety of mainstream conservative sites including RedState, IJR and the Blaze. BuzzFeed targeted RightWingNews.

Fake news, like fact checking, has very obviously become a euphemism for attacking the politics that the left disagrees with by dressing up partisan agendas in fake concerns about journalism and civic virtue.

This goes far beyond namecalling. The goal is to ban conservative sites from social media. Or at least to penalize them in ways that will make it difficult for them to compete with the mainstream media.

There are obvious ideological and financial motives behind this war on “fake news”. The financial motives are grossly blatant. The loudest media voices in this war, BuzzFeed, HuffPo and Vox, depend heavily on social media traffic for their own hyperpartisan factually challenged clickbait.

If anyone is in the business of purveying fake news, it’s this bunch of hoax clickbait sites.

Vox claimed that everyone in Boulder, Colorado had 102 toilets and that there was a giant bridge connecting Gaza and the West Bank. But somehow that doesn’t qualify as fake news.

Then in a further demonstration of how the war on “fake news” was itself fake news, media outlets ran stories headlined, “Fake news threatens democracy, Obama says” from USA Today, “Obama, With Angela Merkel in Berlin, Assails Spread of Fake News “ from the New York Times and “Barack Obama: Fake News On Facebook Hurts Democracy” from the Huffington Post.

But Obama hadn’t said anything about the media’s fake news crusade. He had specifically complained aboutthe way that the United States and Russia were being equated and objected to “misinformation” on television and Facebook that made both countries seem just as bad. The German context of his remarks strongly suggests that he was talking about the old NSA controversy. But the “fake news” crusaders briefly quoted him before recapping the same old attacks on “fake news”.

The irony was that their “fake news” war was being waged with very fake news.

This isn’t about the integrity of information. No one can look at the fake polls promising a Hillary win and believe that the media is concerned about “fake news”. Instead it’s trying to clear out competitors by bullying Facebook into banning or marginalizing news stories from the right that compete with theirs.

The outrage over Hillary’s loss is being monetized by left-wing clickbait outlets into a pressure campaign against Facebook. Google News has already partly folded by rolling in the media’s fake fact checks. Twitter went full social justice a while back. But Facebook is the biggest prize. Nearly half of Americans get their news through Facebook. Shape its feed and the narrative gets more power than ever.

Social media allows people to form their own communities and become their own gatekeepers. That’s a potent power. The crusade against fake news is about putting the media gatekeepers back in charge.

There’s no question that there is a lot of garbage circulating on social media, but just as much of it comes from Vox, Slate, the Huffington Post or even more mainstream media outlets, as from “fake news” sites. The mainstream media is hyperpartisan, its headlines are clickbait and while it’s eager to fact check political opponents, it doesn’t make much effort to fact check its own narratives.

The whole “fake news” crusade managed to show how true that was all over again.

The internet can be empowering when it liberates users to find their own answers. The media’s fake news outrage insists that it should be the only ones empowered to supply those answers. But, in the old hacker credo, information wants to be free. The media has been struggling and failing to dam the flow.

Banning conservative news from Facebook won’t create a safe space for media lies. Instead it will lead to an exodus of conservatives from Facebook. Just as conservatives left behind the media for the web.

The evolution of clickbait and hyperpartisan journalism was a media response to the collapse of its central authority. But the media is panicking because its tactics can be copied and imitated by anyone. If it’s become hard to tell fake news from real news, it’s because the media dived headfirst into the fake news business. It chooses narratives, shapes stories around them and lies constantly.

That’s not just a conservative critique. Take it from Obama’s own people.

“We created an echo chamber,” Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, boasted. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” he said. “They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes was talking about the Iran Deal and how easy it was to convince the media to repeat back White House lies. The media lied to Americans. Its fake news outlets continue to cheerfully talk up the disaster while demanding that dissenters be purged from Facebook. That’s where fake news really comes from.

If the media really wants to fight fake news, it can start in its own studios and offices. Its crusade to clear space for its fake news by banning conservative sites cannot and will not succeed.