Archive for the ‘Media and Donald Trump’ category

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media

May 19, 2017

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, Washington Times,

(America can survive, and probably prosper, under President Trump. The “mainstream media?” Maybe not. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Now anything goes. All restraints are loosened, all self-discipline trashed. There’s no cure or even treatment for Trump Derangement Syndrome, a disease as wild and as swiftly lethal as anything imported from the Ebola River valley of the dark continent. The rules and taboos that once guided even the sleaziest excuse for a newspaper no longer apply.

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, so called, and by any means necessary. Rarely have so many hysterics contributed so much of the national conversation.

A columnist in The New York Times, ground zero in the epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, suggests that a mutiny at the White House is the “more appropriate” way to rid the nation of the legitimate 46th duly elected president of the United States. Why waste time on impeachment? Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could organize the ambush. The columnist likens them to “stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Ross Douthat is regarded as a “conservative” at The New York Times, and he thinks impeachment would take too long, be too messy, and recommends invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which permits the president’s Cabinet to remove the president if a majority of the secretaries tells Congress that the president can no longer perform his duties.

Ultimately, he writes in the newspaper once known as “the old gray lady” and which has become “the old crazy lady,” he does not believe “our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase.”

A half-century ago a certain magazine thought a long-distance psychiatric examination of a presidential candidate was in order, and asked 12,000 psychiatrists (who knew there were so many headshrinkers on the fruited plain?) whether they thought Barry Goldwater was crazy, and 1,189 responded with a diagnosis: Mr. Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, was nothing less than nuts. The American Psychiatric Association, sensitive to the public outrage that followed, told their members never to do it again.

But since the psychiatrists wouldn’t do it, Ross Douthat was fitted out with degrees in medicine and psychiatry (honorary degrees, we must hope), and told to get to work. (He is expected to retire his shingle once President Trump has been dispatched to the nut house, but who knows? On the Upper East Side there’s never enough psychiatrists.) Dr. Douthat writes that the president has no aides, friends and confidantes who have any remaining regard for him. “They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Since impeachment would take so long, Dr. Douthat would “respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more calculated to invoke a Second Amendment answer to such a Twenty-fifth Amendment coup, and it would be nothing less than a coup by the Republican elites and the press that so many Americans believe have “rigged” the elections meant to express the nation’s will. You don’t have to be a Trump friend, supporter or voter to see where this would inevitably lead. The United States has never been a banana republic or a third world dump where elections are ultimately determined in the streets, but this would be the ultimate national indignity, wrought by just those who would go to civil war to depose an indignity.

The two stories that have dominated the news this week were the work of the very two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, that have become the not-so-loyal opposition, drivers of the coup with tales told in every edition. The Post accuses the president of dispensing national secrets to the Russians, based on the word of an anonymous source who concedes he wasn’t in the meeting, and denied by those who were. The New York Times says it heard a passage read from a memo written by James Comey, telling how the president asked him go easy on Mike Flynn, and denied by the White House.

All this to support tales of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, which Democrats and Republicans agree that no one has yet found any evidence of. There’s no fire and only a few wisps of something that might be smoke, or more likely, the passing of partisan gas.

Fake News: Media Reports That Muslim Olympian Was Detained Because of Trump’s Travel Ban

February 14, 2017

Fake News: Media Reports That Muslim Olympian Was Detained Because of Trump’s Travel Ban, PJ MediaDebra Heine, February 13, 2017

muslimatheleteIbtihaj Muhammad attends ESPN: The Party 2017 held on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)

Nothing triggers liberal mainstream media types more than being accused of being purveyors of “fake news.” But stunningly enough, that hasn’t stopped them from…well…being purveyors of fake news.

The latest example features Ibtihaj Muhammad, the New Jersey native who recently became the first female Muslim-American to win an Olympic medal for the United States. Muhammad, a vocal Trump critic, answered a journalist’s question with so much ambiguity it seemed designed to be deceptive. Regardless, several major media outlets jumped on her story without verifying it and now have egg all over their faces.

Via the Washington Examiner:

Muhammad, a lifelong American citizen, claimed in an interview Tuesday that she was detained “just a few weeks ago” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. She said she was held for a few hours without explanation.

It’s important to recognize from the get-go that Muhammad didn’t put a hard date on when the alleged detaining occurred (this will come up later). It’s also probably worth noting that she is an outspoken Trump critic, and that she is extremely displeased with his executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries.

Here’s a transcript of what Muhammad told Popsugar’s Lindsay Miller on Feb. 7 about the alleged incident with customs agents [emphases added]:

Popsugar: Do you know anyone who was directly impacted by Trump’s travel ban?

Ibtihaj Muhammad: Well, I personally was held at Customs for two hours just a few weeks ago. I don’t know why. I can’t tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I’m Muslim. I have an Arabic name. And even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn’t change how you look and how people perceive you.

Unfortunately, I know that people talk about this having a lot to do with these seven countries in particular, but I think the net is cast a little bit wider than we know. And I’m included in that as a Muslim woman who wears a hijab.

A rule of thumb for responsible journalists is, “if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” So wouldn’t a responsible journalist want to be even more skeptical of an obvious partisan? You would think so, right? Well, you would be wrong. Journalists were so eager to virtue signal their outrage and despair over this supposed injustice that Time, the UK’s Independent, the Daily Mail, the New York Daily NewsThe Hill, and of course Sports Illustrated and ESPN all spread the story far and wide before verifying it. Specifically, they should have double-checked whether she was detained after Trump’s travel ban went into place, after Trump was inaugurated, or perhaps while Obama was still president.

As it happens, according to Muhammad herself, her purported “detention” took place in December while Obama was still president.

Muhammad clarified several days after her Feb. 7 interview that she meant December 2016 when she said, “just a few weeks ago.”

“Thanks to all who reached out regarding the December incident at customs. I will continue be a voice for all impacted by profiling & bigotry,” she said in a tweet on Feb. 11.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has not yet responded to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment, so it’s not certain that she was even detained.

As the Examiner notes, “Muhammad isn’t blameless in all of this.”

A less-than-charitable person would suspect her of being purposefully vague and imprecise. She was asked a simple “yes or no” question about the president’s immigration order. Instead of giving a simple answer, she provided an anecdote involving the very misleading use of “just a few weeks ago.”

A less-than-charitable person might also suspect that MSM types who share these kinds of fake stories don’t even care if they get it wrong at first because they know another ironclad rule of journalism: The initial, mistaken information will be retweeted much, much more than any subsequent correction.

And to a liberal, agenda-driven news media, the “narrative” is all that matters.

For the Media, the Only Jihad Is Against Trump

February 13, 2017

For the Media, the Only Jihad Is Against Trump, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, February 12, 2017

In their zeal to “Jump on Trump,” is our media — not to mention their 9th Circuit cohorts — doing an immense disservice to the American public by obfuscating, effectively censoring, serious discussion of Islamic immigration and what to do about it?

It’s a global problem, surely, and we have a lot to learn from the mistakes of the Europeans who — according to the latest polls — are expressing serious regrets about their open-border immigration policies.

Several countries are beginning to return their migrants, sometimes offering economic incentives.  And you can see why, reading last Friday’s report from the Gatestone Institute:

Several young  gang-rapists started laughing in a Belgian court while yelling:

“women should not complain, they should listen to men.”

The seven ‘men’ were seen in a video where they are standing around an unconscious girl who is lying on a bed, then seen pulling down her pants and raping her. Also in the video, they are dancing around the victim and singing songs in Arabic.

I imagine they’ll be getting some “extreme vetting.”  Let’s hope so anyway.  But does this “extreme vetting” go far enough? In America’s case, it’s complicated by the fact that Trump’s original seven countries in his travel ban are rather circumscribed and arbitrarily limited, despite having been the seven singled out by Obama. As we have seen on multiple occasions, second-generation jihadists come from all over Western Europe, like two of the above un-magnificent seven, not to mention North Africa and the obvious omissions of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.  They come from Russia and the Far East as well. Shouldn’t they all be on the list?  Yes, I realize the seven countries were chosen because at least some keep no verifiable records of who’s coming and going.  But I’m not sure that matters.  These days identities are more easily forged than ever.  The Daily Beast reports you can buy an undetectable UK passport from the Neapolitan Camorra.

So can “extreme vetting” finally do the job it’s supposed to do? What is the real extent of its capability?

Marine/contractor Steven Gern’s video from Iraq (before being asked to leave) is viral for a reason. Gern has an authenticity and seems to be telling the truth, two truths actually, and those truths are, to say the least, uncomfortable.  One is that many Iraqis (I would assume most Middle Easterners) hate Americans despite all we may have tried to do for them and would kill us if they had any opportunity. The second is that they are master dissemblers (remember taqiyya?) and are willing to wait years, all the while seeming perfectly pleasant, before acting on their hatred. This does not augur well for immigration, to put it mildly.

Given this dissembling/taqiyya that Gern speaks of, we do have some serious”extreme vetting” to do.  It’s almost impossible to see how it can be done without the most detailed attention. Obama, Hillary and Kerry did less than zero to improve the situation. They either exacerbated or ignored it, mostly the former.

Trump asked for a 120-day travel ban, a tiny length of time under the circumstances, to try, in his words, to figure out what’s happening.  But his rapacious opponents in the media (and the judiciary), slavering like a pack of morally narcissistic wolves, would have none of it. He was not to get one day.

Did they have another suggestion?  No, of course not.  Their suggestion comes down to this: anything but Trump.  Forget reason.  Forget what’s left of their own thoughtfulness.  Forget the safety of the American people and the world.  The Orange Man must pay.  He’s too vulgar… or something.  Maybe one of his daughter’s shoes gave someone a blister.  Or Stephen Miller was too rude to one of his high school teachers. Something significant like that.

Meanwhile, the media in its fact-finding mission does nothing to help us because it finds no facts, other than scurrilous gossip about Trump. That’s all they seem to look for. Their myriad liberal and progressive pundits make no suggestions either, contribute no fresh ideas (have you noticed?) to the fight, as if the status quo were just fine with them.  (This is true of many conservative pundits too — no thoughts on what to do about radical Islam.) It’s a mixture of selfishness and envy from which we all lose. Let our children or our children’s children deal with it.   (And they will.)  There may be a jihad in the big world, people being raped and having their throats cut, bombs going off, trucks driving into crowds of innocent tourists, but to our media, the only jihad worth fighting against is against Trump.

 

Anti-Trump “assassination porn” on magazine covers

February 6, 2017

Anti-Trump “assassination porn” on magazine covers, Rebel Media via YouTube, February 6, 2017

 

16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won

February 6, 2017

16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won, The Federalist, February 6, 2017

mediaandtrump

Since at least Donald Trump’s election, our media have been in the grip of an astonishing, self-inflicted crisis. Despite Trump’s constant railing against the American press, there is no greater enemy of the American media than the American media. They did this to themselves.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of fake news. There is no better word to describe it than “epidemic,” insofar as it fits the epidemiological model from the Centers for Disease Control: this phenomenon occurs when “an agent and susceptible hosts are present in adequate numbers, and the agent can be effectively conveyed from a source to the susceptible hosts.”

The “agent” in this case is hysteria over Trump’s presidency, and the “susceptible hosts” are a slipshod, reckless, and breathtakingly gullible media class that spread the hysteria around like—well, like a virus.

It is difficult to adequately sum up the breadth of this epidemic, chiefly because it keeps growing: day after day, even hour after hour, the media continue to broadcast, spread, promulgate, publicize, and promote fake news on an industrial scale. It has become a regular part of our news cycle, not distinct from or extraneous to it but a part of it, embedded within the news apparatus as a spoke is embedded in a bicycle wheel.

Whenever you turn on a news station, visit a news website, or check in on a journalist or media personality on Twitter or Facebook, there is an excellent chance you will be exposed to fake news. It is rapidly becoming an accepted part of the way the American media are run.

How we will get out of this is anyone’s guess. We might not get out of it, not so long as Trump is president of these United States. We may be up for four—maybe eight!—long years of authentic fake news media hysteria. It is worth cataloging at least a small sampling of the hysteria so far. Only when we fully assess the extent of the media’s collapse into ignominious ineptitude can we truly begin to reckon with it.

Since Trump’s election, here’s just a small sampling of fake news that our media and our journalist class have propagated.

Early November: Spike in Transgender Suicide Rates

After Trump’s electoral victory on November 8, rumors began circulating that multiple transgender teenagers had killed themselves in response to the election results. There was no basis to these rumors. Nobody was able to confirm them at the time, and nobody has been able to confirm in the three months since Trump was elected.

Nevertheless, the claim spread far and wide: Guardian writer and editor-at-large of Out Zach Stafford tweeted the rumor, which was retweeted more than 13,000 times before he deleted it. He later posted a tweet explaining why he deleted his original viral tweet; his explanatory tweet was shared a total of seven times. Meanwhile, PinkNews writer Dominic Preston wrote a report on the rumors, which garnered more than 12,000 shares on Facebook.

At Mic, Matthew Rodriguez wrote about the unsubstantiated allegations. His article was shared more than 55,000 times on Facebook. Urban legend debunker website Snopes wrote a report on the rumors and listed them as “unconfirmed” (rather than “false”). Snopes’s sources were two Facebook posts, since deleted, that offered no helpful information regarding the location, identity, or circumstances of any of the suicides. The Snopes report was shared 19,000 times.

At Reason, writer Elizabeth Nolan Brown searched multiple online databases to try to determine the identities or even the existence of the allegedly suicidal youth. She found nothing. As she put it: “[T]eenagers in 2016 don’t just die without anyone who knew them so much as mentioning their death online for days afterward.”

She is right. Just the same, the stories hyping this idea garnered at least nearly 100,000 shares on Facebook alone, contributing to the fear and hysteria surrounding Trump’s win.

November 22: The Tri-State Election Hacking Conspiracy Theory

On November 22, Gabriel Sherman posted a bombshell report at New YorkMagazine claiming that “a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers” were demanding a recount in three separate states because of “persuasive evidence that [the election] results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” The evidence? Apparently, “in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots.”

The story went stratospherically viral. It was shared more than 145,000 times on Facebook alone. Sherman shared it on his Twitter feed several times, and people retweeted his links to the story nearly 9,000 times. Politico’s Eric Geller shared the story on Twitter as well. His tweet was retweeted just under 8,000 times. Dustin Volz from Reuters shared the link; he was retweeted nearly 2,000 times. MSNBC’s Joy Reid shared the story and was retweeted more than 4,000 times. New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman also shared the story and was retweeted about 1,600 times.

It wasn’t until the next day, November 23, that someone threw a little water on the fire. At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver explained that it was “demographics, not hacking” that explained the curious voting numbers. “Anyone making allegations of a possible massive electoral hack should provide proof,” he wrote, “and we can’t find any.” Additionally, Silver pointed out that the New York Magazine article had misrepresented the argument of one of the computer scientists in question.

At that point, however, the damage had already been done: Sherman, along with his credulous tweeters and retweeters, had done a great deal to delegitimize the election results. Nobody was even listening to Silver, anyway: his post was shared a mere 380 times on Facebook, or about one-quarter of 1 percent as much as Sherman’s. This is how fake news works: the fake story always goes viral, while nobody reads or even hears about the correction.

December 1: The 27-Cent Foreclosure

At Politico on December 1, Lorraine Wellert published a shocking essay claiming that Trump’s pick for secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, had overseen a company that “foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman after a 27-cent payment error.” According to Wellert: “After confusion over insurance coverage, a OneWest subsidiary sent [Ossie] Lofton a bill for $423.30. She sent a check for $423. The bank sent another bill, for 30 cents. Lofton, 90, sent a check for three cents. In November 2014, the bank foreclosed.”

The story received widespread coverage, being shared nearly 17,000 times on Facebook. The New York Times’s Steven Rattner shared it on Twitter (1,300 retweets), as did NBC News’s Brad Jaffy (1,200 retweets), the AP’s David Beard (1,900 retweets) and many others.

The problem? The central scandalous claims of Wellert’s article were simply untrue. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ted Frank pointed out, the woman in question was never foreclosed on, and never lost her home. Moreover, “It wasn’t Mnuchin’s bank that brought the suit.”

Politico eventually corrected these serious and glaring errors. But the damage was done: the story had been repeated by numerous media outlets including Huffington Post (shared 25,000 times on Facebook), the New York PostVanity Fair, and many others.

January 20: Nancy Sinatra’s Complaints about the Inaugural Ball

On the day of Trump’s inauguration, CNN claimed Nancy Sinatra was “not happy” with the fact that the president and first lady’s inaugural dance would be to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The problem? Nancy Sinatra had never said any such thing. CNN later updated the article without explaining the mistake they had made.

January 20: The Nonexistent Climate Change Website ‘Purge’

Also on the day of the inauguration, New York Times writer Coral Davenport published an article on the Times’s website whose headline claimed that the Trump administration had “purged” any “climate change references” from the White House website. Within the article, Davenport acknowledged that the “purge” (or what she also called “online deletions”) was “not unexpected” but rather part of a routine turnover of digital authority between administrations.

To call this action a “purge” was thus at the height of intellectual dishonesty: Davenport was styling the whole thing as a kind of digital book-burn rather than a routine part of American government. But of course that was almost surely the point. The inflammatory headline was probably the only thing that most people read of the article, doubtlessly leading many readers (the article was shared nearly 50,000 times on Facebook) to believe something that simply wasn’t true.

January 20: The Great MLK Jr. Bust Controversy

On January 20, Time reporter Zeke Miller wrote that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the White House. This caused a flurry of controversy on social media until Miller issued a correction. As Time put it, Miller had apparently not even asked anyone in the White House if the bust had been removed. He simply assumed it had been because “he had looked for it and had not seen it.”

January 20: Betsy DeVos, Grizzly Fighter

During her confirmation hearing, education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos was asked whether schools should be able to have guns on their campuses. As NBC News reported, DeVos felt it was “best left to locales and states to decide.” She pointed out that one school in Wyoming had a fence around it to protect the students from wildlife. “I would imagine,” she said, “that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.”

This was an utterly noncontroversial stance to take. DeVos was simply pointing out that different states and localities have different needs, and attempting to mandate a nationwide one-size-fits-all policy for every American school is imprudent.

How did the media run with it? By lying through their teeth. “Betsy DeVos Says Guns Should Be Allowed in Schools. They Might Be Needed to Shoot Grizzlies” (Slate). “Betsy DeVos: Schools May Need Guns to Fight Off Bears” (The Daily Beast). “Citing grizzlies, education nominee says states should determine school gun policies” (CNN). “Betsy DeVos says guns in schools may be necessary to protect students from grizzly bears” (ThinkProgress.) “Betsy DeVos says guns shouldn’t be banned in schools … because grizzly bears” (Vox). “Betsy DeVos tells Senate hearing she supports guns in schools because of grizzly bears” (The Week). “Trump’s Education Pick Cites ‘Potential Grizzlies’ As A Reason To Have Guns In Schools” (BuzzFeed).

The intellectual dishonesty at play here is hard to overstate. DeVos never said or even intimated that every American school or even very many of them might need to shoot bears. She merely used one school as an example of the necessity of federalism and as-local-as-possible control of the education system.

Rather than report accurately on her stance, these media outlets created a fake news event to smear a reasonable woman’s perfectly reasonable opinion.

January 26: The ‘Resignations’ At the State Department

On January 26, the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin published what seemed to be a bombshell report declaring that “the State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned.” This resignation, according to Rogin, was “part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.” These resignations happened “suddenly” and “unexpectedly.” He styled it as a shocking shake-up of administrative protocol in the State Department, a kind of ad-hoc protest of the Trump administration.

The story immediately went sky-high viral. It was shared nearly 60,000 times on Facebook. Rogin himself tweeted the story out and was retweeted a staggering 11,000 times. Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum had it retweeted nearly 2,000 times; journalists and writers from Wired, The Guardian, the Washington Post, BloombergABC, Foreign Policy, and other publications tweeted the story out in shock.

There was just one problem: the story was more a load of bunk. As Vox pointed out, the headline of the piece was highly misleading: “the word ‘management’ strongly implied that all of America’s top diplomats were resigning, which was not the case.” (The Post later changed the word “management” to “administrative” without noting the change, although it left the “management” language intact in the article itself).

More importantly, Mark Toner, the acting spokesman for the State Department, put out a press release noting that “As is standard with every transition, the outgoing administration, in coordination with the incoming one, requested all politically appointed officers submit letters of resignation.” According to CNN, the officials were actually asked to leave by the Trump administration rather than stay on for the customary transitional few months. The entire premise of Rogin’s article was essentially nonexistent.

As always, the correction received far less attention than the fake news itself: Vox’s article, for instance, was shared around 9,500 times on Facebook, less than one-sixth the rate of Rogin’s piece. To this day, Rogin’s piece remains uncorrected regarding its faulty presumptions.

January 27: The Photoshopped Hands Affair

On January 27, Observer writer Dana Schwartz tweeted out a screenshot of Trump that, in her eyes, proved President Trump had “photoshopped his hands bigger” for a White House photograph. Her tweet immediately went viral, being shared upwards of 25,000 times. A similar tweet by Disney animator Joaquin Baldwin was shared nearly 9,000 times as well.

The conspiracy theory was eventually debunked, but not before it had been shared thousands upon thousands of times. Meanwhile, Schwartz tweeted that she did “not know for sure whether or not the hands were shopped.” Her correction tweet was shared a grand total of…11 times.

January 29: The Reuters Account Hoax

Following the Quebec City mosque massacre, the Daily Beast published a story that purported to identify the two shooters who had perpetrated the crime. The problem? The story’s source was a Reuters parody account on Twitter. Incredibly, nobody at the Daily Beast thought to check the source to any appreciable degree.

January 31: The White House-SCOTUS Twitter Mistake

Leading up to Trump announcing his first Supreme Court nomination, CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny announced that the White House was “setting up [the] Supreme Court announcement as a prime-time contest.” He pointed to a pair of recently created “identical Twitter pages” for a theoretical justices Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, the two likeliest nominees for the court vacancy.

Zeleny’s sneering tweet—clearly meant to cast the Trump administration in an unflattering, circus-like light—was shared more than 1,100 times on Twitter. About 30 minutes later, however, he tweeted: “The Twitter accounts…were not set up by the White House, I’ve been told.” As always, the admission of mistake was shared far less than the original fake news: Zeleny’s correction was retweeted a paltry 159 times.

January 31: The Big Travel Ban Lie

On January 31, a Fox affiliate station out of Detroit reported that “A local business owner who flew to Iraq to bring his mother back home to the US for medical treatment said she was blocked from returning home under President Trump’s ban on immigration and travel from seven predominately Muslim nations. He said that while she was waiting for approval to fly home, she died from an illness.”

Like most other sensational news incidents, this one took off, big-time: it was shared countless times on Facebook, not just from the original article itself (123,000 shares) but via secondary reporting outlets such as the Huffington Post (nearly 9,000 shares). Credulous reporters and media personalities shared the story on Twitter to the tune of thousands and thousands of retweets, including: Christopher Hooks, Gideon Resnick, Daniel Dale, Sarah Silverman, Blake Hounshell, Brian Beutler, Garance Franke-Ruta, Keith Olbermann (he got 3,600 retweets on that one!), Matthew Yglesias, and Farhad Manjoo.

The story spread so far because it gratified all the biases of the liberal media elite: it proved that Trump’s “Muslim ban” was an evil, racist Hitler-esque mother-killer of an executive order.

There was just one problem: it was a lie. The man had lied about when his mother died. The Fox affiliate hadn’t bothered to do the necessary research to confirm or disprove the man’s account. The news station quietly corrected the story after giving rise to such wild, industrial-scale hysteria.

February 1: POTUS Threatens to Invade Mexico

On February 1, Yahoo News published an Associated Press report about a phone call President Trump shared with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. The report strongly implied that President Trump was considering “send[ing] U.S. troops” to curb Mexico’s “bad hombre” problem, although it acknowledged that the Mexican government disagreed with that interpretation. The White House later re-affirmed that Trump did not have any plan to “invade Mexico.”

Nevertheless, Jon Passantino, the deputy news director of BuzzFeed, shared this story on Twitter with the exclamation “WOW.” He was retweeted 2,700 times. Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for Barack Obama, also shared the story, declaring: “I’m sorry, did our president just threaten to invade Mexico today??” Favreau was retweeted more than 8,000 times.

Meanwhile, the Yahoo News AP post was shared more than 17,000 times on Facebook; Time’s post of the misleading report was shared more than 66,000 times; ABC News posted the story and it was shared more than 20,000 times. On Twitter, the report—with the false implication that Trump’s comment was serious—was shared by media types such as ThinkProgress’s Judd Legum, the BBC’s Anthony Lurcher, Vox’s Matt Yglesias, Politico’s Shane Goldmacher, comedian Michael Ian Black, and many others.

February 2: Easing the Russian Sanctions

Last week, NBC News national correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted out the following: “BREAKING: US Treasury Dept easing Obama admin sanctions to allow companies to do transactions with Russia’s FSB, successor org to KGB.” His tweet immediately went viral, as it implied that the Trump administration was cozying up to Russia.

A short while later, Alexander posted another tweet: “Source familiar [with] sanctions says it’s a technical fix, planned under Obama, to avoid unintended consequences of cybersanctions.” As of this writing, Alexander’s fake news tweet has approximately 6,500 retweets; his clarifying tweet has fewer than 250.

At CNBC, Jacob Pramuk styled the change this way: “Trump administration modifies sanctions against Russian intelligence service.” The article makes it clear that, per Alexander’s source, “the change was a technical fix that was planned under Obama.” Nonetheless, the impetus was placed on the Trump adminsitration. CBS News wrote the story up in the same way. So did the New York Daily News.

In the end, unable to pin this (rather unremarkable) policy tweak on the Trump administration, the media have mostly moved on. As the Chicago Tribune put it, the whole affair was yet again an example of how “in the hyperactive Age of Trump, something that initially appeared to be a major change in policy turned into a nothing-burger.”

February 2: Renaming Black History Month

At the start of February, which is Black History Month in the United States, Trump proclaimed the month “National African American History Month.” Many outlets tried to spin the story in a bizarre way: TMZ claimed that a “senior administration official” said that Trump believed the term “black” to be outdated. “Every U.S. president since 1976 has designated February as Black History Month,” wrote TMZ. BET wrote the same thing.

The problem? It’s just not true. President Obama, for example, declared February “National African American History Month” as well. TMZ quickly updated their piece to fix their embarrassing error.

February 2: The House of Representatives’ Gun Control Measures

On February 2, the Associated Press touched off a political and media firestorm by tweeting: “BREAKING: House votes to roll back Obama rule on background checks for gun ownership.” The AP was retweeted a staggering 12,000 times.

The headlines that followed were legion: “House votes to rescind Obama gun background check rule” (Kyle Cheney, Politico); “House GOP aims to scrap Obama rule on gun background checks” (CNBC); “House scraps background check regulation” (Yahoo News); “House rolls back Obama gun background check rule” (CNN); “House votes to roll back Obama rule on background checks for gun ownership” (Washington Post).

Some headlines were more specific about the actual House vote but no less misleading; “House votes to end rule that prevents people with mental illness from buying guns” (the Independent); “Congress ends background checks for some gun buyers with mental illness” (the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette); “House Votes to Overturn Obama Rule Restricting Gun Sales to the Severely Mentally Ill” (NPR).

The hysteria was far-reaching and frenetic. As you might have guessed, all of it was baseless. The House was actually voting to repeal a narrowly tailored rule from the Obama era. This rule mandated that the names of certain individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income and who use a representative to help manage these benefits due to a mental impairment be forwarded to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

If that sounds confusing, it essentially means that if someone who receives SSDI or SSI needs a third party to manage these benefits due to some sort of mental handicap, then—under the Obama rule—they may have been barred from purchasing a firearm. (It is thus incredibly misleading to suggest that the rule applied in some specific way to the “severely mentally ill.”)

As National Review’s Charlie Cooke pointed out, the Obama rule was opposed by the American Association of People With Disabilities; the ACLU; the Arc of the United States; the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network; the Consortium of Citizens With Disabilities; the National Coalition of Mental Health Recovery; and many, many other disability advocacy organizations and networks.

The media hysteria surrounding the repeal of this rule—the wildly misleading and deceitful headlines, the confused outrage over a vote that nobody understood—was a public disservice.

As Cooke wrote: “It is a rare day indeed on which the NRA, the GOP, the ACLU, and America’s mental health groups find themselves in agreement on a question of public policy, but when it happens it should at the very least prompt Americans to ask, ‘Why?’ That so many mainstream outlets tried to cheat them of the opportunity does not bode well for the future.”

Maybe It’s Time to Stop Reading Fake News

Surely more incidents have happened since Trump was elected; doubtlessly there are many more to come. To be sure, some of these incidents are larger and more shameful than others, and some are smaller and more mundane.

But all of them, taken as a group, raise a pressing and important question: why is this happening? Why are our media so regularly and so profoundly debasing and beclowning themselves, lying to the public and sullying our national discourse—sometimes on a daily basis? How has it come to this point?

Perhaps the answer is: “We’ve let it.” The media will not stop behaving in so reckless a manner unless and until we demand they stop.

That being said, there are two possible outcomes to this fake news crisis: our media can get better, or they can get worse. If they get better, we might actually see our press begin to hold the Trump administration (and government in general) genuinely accountable for its many admitted faults. If they refuse to fix these serial problems of gullibility, credulity, outrage, and outright lying, then we will be in for a rough four years, if not more.

No one single person can fix this problem. It has to be a cultural change, a kind of shifting of priorities industry-wide. Journalists, media types, reporters, you have two choices: you can fix these problems, or you can watch your profession go down in flames.

Most of us are hoping devoutly for the former. But not even a month into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the outlook is dim.

European Conservative Parties Are Not ‘Far Right’

February 6, 2017

European Conservative Parties Are Not ‘Far Right’, American ThinkerJames Lewis, February 6, 2017

I keep reading in the European fakestream  media that the new upsurge in conservative democratic parties in Europe all comes down to fascists and paleo-Nazis. They are not – any more than Republicans are fascists and Nazis.

Euro-conservatives sound just like you, me, and Donald Trump.  They talk about freedom and democracy.  They talk about tolerance for democratic parties but not for totalitarian killers.  They talk about taking control of their borders again.  Their college campuses have been subverted and turned upside-down, just as ours have.  Their police forces often turn against normal people on behalf of murderous barbarians, just as ours are being pushed to do.

But normal people in Europe have finally gathered the courage to call the enemy by name.

Europe’s media constantly smear democratic conservatives as “extreme right” or “fascist.”  That is a vicious lie, as you can hear for yourself by listening to video speeches on the web by European conservatives.

If you don’t happen to understand their languages, you can listen to Nigel Farage, who sounds just like Trump.

But notice that the Fakestream in Europe can never allow conservatives to speak, not without smearing them in the same sentence.  Trump is a madman according to the media elites in Europe.  But then their own democratic populists are also ready to go for a new Hitler, if you listen to the establishment media.

I’ve just listened to one of the heroic figures of the resistance, Geert Wilders, who has twice been arrested and convicted of “hate speech” by the neo-fascist establishment in the Netherlands.  Over there, the “mainstream media” have lost all credibility, just like the Washington Post and the New York Times.  Over there, normal people are sick and tired – and scared – of the pile of lies they have to listen to every day.  They no longer believe a word of it.

Before Trump was elected, European conservatives were forbidden to speak out, accused of Nazism or racism.  Today, they are finding their true voices.

Democratic conservatism has gone international – not as a centralized ideology, but as a commonsense revolt by ordinary people for their ordinary freedoms.  Patriotism is coming back over there as well, and no, that doesn’t mean a return to the Kaiser’s militarism in Germany, or Napoleonic grandeur in France.  It means a return to normalcy.

When Euro-conservatives give speeches, Donald Trump gets tremendous applause.  Trump’s victory in the U.S. has given courage to tens of millions of Europeans, who have been afraid to speak out.  Some have been jailed, and all have been smeared in the public media.  But they are not going to take it anymore.

You’ll never, ever read this in the New York Times.  Or in the WaPo.  Or in the highly concentrated “news” cartel that controls what most Americans hear.

Marxo-jihadist globalism is always the same, here and there.  And just like here, ordinary people are outraged and ready to take to the streets.  They are not fascists, and they are certainly not Nazis.  They are not totalitarians of any kind at all.  They are true democrats with a small d.

Ordinary, healthy patriotism is in.  Sensible talk is in.  Crazy fascism can be heard coming only from the totalitarian left, just as in our country.

The treacherous establishments in Europe are closely allied to the corrupting forces of jihad and the Soros left.  Young, empty-headed kids are being indoctrinated there, just as they are here.  Trained ruckus-makers in black masks are taking the side of jihad over there, just as here.

Everyday Europeans are very scared, because their governments no longer protect them from thugs and rapists.  Women are afraid to show their blond hair (or any other color hair, for that matter).

The same fascist smear tactics we see in Berkeley today are being used in Europe.  And no wonder: The sources of political poison are the same left-jihadist Axis of Evil we see in this country.  These are people who have been told by Alinsky types like Obama and Hillary that the American middle class is “the enemy.”  And today, when they run the Organs of Propaganda, they are persuading airheads on colleges around the country that their parents and grandparents, normal Americans, are indeed their enemy.

Obama is an expert Alinsky ruckus-maker.  The term “community organizer” used to be called “Communist agitator,” when Communists were not afraid to be labeled accurately, and agitation-propaganda is exactly what they do.  The anti-Trump riots are organized by neo-Stalinists, who have never given up their quest for total power.  They are not subtle about it.

The U.S. media are now completely corrupt, united in their goal of destroying Donald Trump.  The Euro-media are exactly the same.  But normal people don’t speak in a single voice.  They speak in many voices.  Democracy is unpredictable, and power cults around the world are starting to finally see it.

The Associated Press Goes To War With Trump

January 24, 2017

The Associated Press Goes To War With Trump, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, January 24, 2017

[A]s we saw during the campaign, Trump can be accused of exaggeration. But the liberal press is far more guilty of outright falsity, and its accusations vastly overstate Trump’s purported sins.

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As of January 20, the liberal press has a new mantra: no more mister nice guy! We’re going to call a lie a lie, damn it! That would have been a nice practice during the last eight years, but better late than never, I suppose.

The Associated Press manifests its new attitude–all-out war on the president–with today’s “news” story: “Trump bridge-building overshadowed by false voter fraud line.”

Even as President Donald Trump starts reaching out to lawmakers and business and union leaders to sell his policies, he’s still making false claims about election fraud.

That’s a bold lead sentence. It would be interesting to try to find an instance in the last eight years when the AP attributed “false claims,” without qualification, to Barack Obama.

During a bipartisan reception with lawmakers at the White House Monday evening, Trump claimed the reason he’d lost the popular vote to his Democratic rival was that 3 million to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally had voted. That’s according to a Democratic aide familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

The assertion appeared to be part of a developing pattern for Trump and his new administration in which falsehoods overshadow outreach efforts.

Extraordinarily harsh words. Note, however, that the AP takes at face value the report of a “Democratic aide…who spoke on condition of anonymity.” That is a very thin reed on which to base the assertion that Trump lied.

What about the AP’s flat assurance that “[t]here is no evidence to support Trump’s claim”? If Trump said that three million illegal immigrants voted in the election, the AP is simply wrong. There is evidence to support that claim. This study by professors from Old Dominion and James Mason Universities concluded that as many as 2.8 million illegals voted in the 2008 and 2010 elections, and the illegal immigrant population has continued to grow. The study also found that:

this [illegal] participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

The Associated Press is free to disagree with the conclusions reached by Professors Richman, Chattha and Earnest, and to offer its own estimates of the extent of illegal voting. But it hasn’t done so, and the AP’s claim that there is “no evidence” to support Trump’s claim is false. The AP also describes Trump’s assertion as “debunked,” with no reference to what evidence supposedly debunked it.

The AP goes on to accuse Trump’s of further lies:

The start of Trump’s first full week in office had begun as a reset after a tumultuous weekend dominated by his and his spokesman’s false statements about inauguration crowds and their vigorous complaints about media coverage of the celebrations.

Again, the Associated Press casually accuses both Trump and Sean Spicer of making “false statements” about the crowd at the inauguration. This flap duplicates a pattern that we saw repeatedly during the campaign. It starts with a lie about Trump by the press. Trump responds with what probably is an exaggeration, which the press hysterically denounces as a lie, without acknowledging its own role in the controversy.

Here, the press started the conflict by putting out a lowball estimate that only 250,000 attended Trump’s inauguration. The New York Times deceptively tried to further that narrative by circulating a photo of the crowd that was taken before the inauguration began, and before the crowd was fully assembled. That deception, which we wrote about here, was repeated by pretty much the entire press corps.

So what was Trump’s alleged falsehood?

“I made a speech. I looked out. The field was — it looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

The president went on to say that one network “said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad. But it’s a lie.” He then claimed that were 250,000 right by the stage and the “rest of the, you know, 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

Trump didn’t say there were a million people there, he said it looked like a million when he looked out from the podium. And there were people extending back to the Washington Monument, although it probably wasn’t “packed” there. So Trump exaggerated, but there is only one flat-out falsehood in the picture: the original press report that only 250,000 people attended.

What was Sean Spicer’s alleged falsehood?

Spicer has taken heat for his main claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” while offering other inaccurate statements including that Trump’s was the first inauguration in which white floor coverings were used on the mall. White floor coverings were used during Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

I assume the press isn’t going to try to create a credibility gap out of the white floor coverings. Spicer’s sin is saying that the largest ever international audience witnessed Trump’s inauguration. But whether that statement is true or not is unknown. While television ratings were higher for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, online viewership around the world could indeed have been enough to make the Trump inauguration the most-watched.

Here, as we saw during the campaign, Trump can be accused of exaggeration. But the liberal press is far more guilty of outright falsity, and its accusations vastly overstate Trump’s purported sins.

It is hard to say how the all-out war on Trump by the Associated Press and other liberal outlets will end. But so far, Trump has done pretty well by running against the media.