Archive for the ‘Media jihad’ category

News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer

February 27, 2017

News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer, PJ MediaRoger Kimball, February 27, 2017

spiceynewsconfWhite House Press secretary Sean Spicer takes questions from the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The motor of fake news is not inaccuracy. It’s malice.

I had an insight into this important truth a couple weeks back when I was at a swank New York club for an evening event. The establishment in question is overwhelmingly conventional, i.e., leftish in that smug “We’re-all-beautiful-people-who-are-you?” sort of way that publications like The New Yorker and the New York Times, along with such media outlets as CNN and MSNBC, exude like the cloying aroma of paperwhites.

I ran into an acquaintance, a female journalist I hadn’t seen in years. I knew that her politics were echt conventional in the above sense, but I had also found her an amusing and lively person. We were chatting with a couple of other people about this and that when someone she knew from the Times joined in. I then overheard him explain to her that she had to be careful about what she posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc., because anything too explicitly anti-Trump could be used against her when that glorious day came and “they” — the conventional fraternity of groupthink scribblers — finally took down that horrible, despicable man.

“We’ve got dozens of people working on it all the time,” he explained, adding that it was only a matter of time before they got the goods on Trump and destroyed him.

There in a nutshell, I thought, is the existential imperative that has been so gloriously productive of fake news and its exacerbated allotrope, first delineated by Donald Trump in his famous media-bashing presser on February 16, “very fake news.”

News is the reporting of facts. Someone says “this happened on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a way,” and independent, publicly available sources confirm that, yes, what was alleged happened at just that time and in just that fashion.

Fake news insinuates a skein of innuendo and a boatload of shared presumption floating on an ocean of fantastic desire into the mix. Repetition, like Rumor in the Iliad, whips this unstable congeries into an intoxicating frenzy:

Trump’s transition is in chaos, pass it on.”

Trump is a puppet of Putin, pass it on.”

Trump is Steve Bannon’s puppet, pass it on.”

Trump, like Steve Bannon, is a white supremacist/racist/homophobic/woman-hating xenophobe, really pass that one along.”

Every one of these fantasies is not only untrue, but ostentatiously, extravagantly untrue. Liberals of sound mind understand this.

Thus the British journalist Piers Morgan, than whom a more reliably left-liberal figure is hard to imagine, noted to Tucker Carlson that the Left’s hatred of Donald Trump has blinded them to reality. Godwin’s law, which states that the longer an online exchange proceeds, the more likely it is that Adolf Hitler will be dragged into the conversation, has been exacerbated in the case of Trump. It is true that every Republican since at least Ronald Reagan has been compared to Hitler, but in the case of Trump the comparisons have taken on an especially surreal tone. This, too, is something that Piers Morgan, in another interview with Tucker Carlson, noted with a sense of exasperated amazement.

In fact, Donald Trump’s first 30-odd days have been extraordinarily successful. That’s the news.

As Charlotte Allen noted in a column for USA Today, to date Trump has been even more successful than was Reagan in beginning to fulfill his campaign promises. All of his cabinet nominees have been confirmed (Trump withdrew his nominee for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, after it became clear that the two differed on immigration). He has moved quickly to get the ball rolling on tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, strengthening the military, enforcing the country’s immigration laws, and cutting the jungle of business-sapping regulation down to size. He has, as Allen observes, “already taken steps … to fulfill at least a dozen of his campaign promises.”

But listen to the New York Times or any of the other conventional (see above) “news” sources, and you would think Trump is a malevolent and incompetent monster who, despite his supreme incompetence, is somehow tipping the country into moral Armageddon.

Harken, for example, to Andrew Sullivan, who in a column for New York called “The Madness of King Donald,” tells his readers:

This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional.

Sullivan’s evidence?

There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.

Hmm. The dogs are barking, but the caravan keeps moving along, Andrew.

So there’s news (well, there was news) and then there is fake news. Here’s one bit of news: the stock market has risen by nearly 3000 points since Trump’s election.

Here’s another bit of news: while Trump’s personal popularity remains low for a new president, the mood of the country as a whole has exploded with optimism, whereas towards the end of Barack Obama’s reign, 70% of those polled said that the country was moving in the wrong direction.

But what about “Very Fake News”? One could investigate the Left’s truly bizarre Russian fantasy to get a glimpse of the phantasmagoric nature of very fake news. Memo to CNN: Donald Trump was correct when he said the whole Russian gambit was “a ruse.” One of my favorite lines from the English essayist William Hazlitt is: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” It is ironical, to say the least, to find the very same people who decried Republicans for “red scare” tactics and the like now turn around and pretend that a man who is actively rebuilding America’s military, encouraging native energy production, and taking steps to unleash economic growth is somehow playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

That whole Russia narrative is deserving of the epithets served up by Andrew Sullivan: “deranged,” “delusional,” and smack dab in the middle of an alternate universe.

But Very Fake News is really more an attitude, an exfoliation of a moral atmosphere, than a putatively factual account. An exquisite specimen of the genre was vouchsafed us by the New York Times back in July, when the anti-George W. Bush historian Bruce Bartlett revealed that the Republican Party had become … the “party of hate.”

How did that terrible thing happen? Apparently, by a process akin to alchemical transformation.

Bartlett knows that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery in the 19th century, the party of segregation and Jim Crow in the early 20th century, and the party of identity politics, i.e., neo-segregation, now. He also knows, though he doesn’t come right out and say, that the Civil Rights Act was orchestrated overwhelmingly by Republicans over concerted Democratic opposition.

But then afterwards, somehow, Republicans became Democrats, or at least they became Southerners, i.e. the epitome of all that is racist, intolerant, homophobic, etc.

Note the logic: the GOP ushered in the Civil Rights and and the Voting Rights Act, but — pay attention now:

… in the process, Republicans absorbed the traditions of racism, bigotry, populism and rule by plutocrats called “Bourbons” that defined the politics of the South after the Civil War. They also inherited an obsession with self-defense, allegiance to evangelical Christianity, chauvinism, xenophobia and other cultural characteristics long cultivated in the South.

What do you think of that?

You should, I submit, think badly of it, on logical, moral, and historical grounds. Whence this alleged “process” of “absorption”? Is there any justification, any, for the deployment of those negative epithets racism, bigotry, populism? (And how did that last one sneak in?)

Bartlett’s dog’s breakfast of accusation is nothing more than a bagful of insults, utterly without content. He continues the disreputable campaign in the next paragraph:

The Southern states have long followed what are now doctrinaire Republican policies: minuscule taxes, no unions, aggressive pro-business policies, privatized public services and strong police forces that kept minorities in their place. Yet the South is and always has been our poorest region and shows no sign of converging with the Northeast, which has long followed progressive policies opposite those in the South and been the wealthiest region as well.

Personally, I am in favor of “minuscule taxes,” but, alas, the Republicans don’t favor them, at least not the ones writing the laws. Unions? There’s a place for unions in the private sector. But public sector unions, as even FDR understood, are a prescription for corruption. Privatized public services?  Why not? What’s better: FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service? Then there’s “pro-business policies.” I like them, the more  “aggressive” the better. Successful businesses make money, ergo they employ people and add to the country’s material well-being. It is true that Democrats favor the opposite strategy, but is that something to brag about?

As for the police, “strong police forces,” as Heather Mac Donald has shown (and Donald Trump has echoed) are valuable not only because they keep crime low but because they protect minorities, especially those in inner cities.

As for the relative prosperity of North and South, Bartlett is stuck in the 1850s. For more than a decade now, the South has outpaced the North in economic growth if not, thank God, in “progressive,” i.e., leftwing, anti-prosperity attitudes.

Bartlett’s scurrilous essay is one of those productions that, merely contemptible in itself, is nonetheless worth noting as a symptom. It exemplifies, even as it contributes to, that surreal atmosphere of groundless accusation and intimidation that has made the conventional (again, see above) reception of Donald Trump such a carnival of malignancy and groundless apocalyptic self-dramatization.

Steve Bannon was right to brand the media the “opposition party.”

To an extent marvelous to behold, it has become a factory for the production of fake and very fake news: not just the dissemination of lies, half-truths, and unsubstantiated fantasies, but also the perpetuation of that echo-chamber in which political paranoia feeds upon the bitter lees of its impotent irrelevance. As I say, that old adage about the barking dogs and the moving caravan is deeply pertinent to our situation. If Donald Trump is at all successful in his efforts to help the country, we will look back on the behavior of the media and its enablers circa 2017 with a mixture of horror and contempt.

Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration

February 13, 2017

Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration, Gatestone InstituteUzay Bulut, February 13, 2017

It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep his country safe — as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.

To many people, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. That way, critics of the president can also pose as “heroes” while ignoring the real threats to all of humanity.

Critics of Muslim extremists get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose the grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.

Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices “courageous”? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not.

On the contrary, the temporary ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.

In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.

“This attack,” stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), “showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors.”

“NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root.”

Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target “kafirs” (infidels) in the West.

In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK:

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be.

“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop.

FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. “At some point there’s going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris,” said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on “an order of magnitude greater.”

How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as “heroes” while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.

It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies.

The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries — including those of Muslim origin — have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.

Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His “crime” was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim.

2055In 2004, Moroccan-Dutch terrorist Mohammed Bouyeri (left), shot the filmmaker Theo van Gogh (right) to death, then stabbed him and slit his throat.

Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported.

Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the “religion of peace”.

Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology?

They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.

Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices “courageous”? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security.

In the meantime, “an Islamic State follower posted a message on the Telegram app that said President Trump was wasting his time by blocking refugees from Syria,” reported the journalist Rowan Scarborough.

“‘Trump is preventing the entrance of the citizens of [seven] countries to protect America from terrorism,’ said the message captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “Your decision will not do anything to prevent the attacks; They will come from inside America, from Americans born in America, whose fathers were born in America and whose grandparents were born in America.”

President Trump’s executive order is not a ban on Muslims. Individuals of all religious backgrounds of these seven countries have been affected. Nor is it a ban on refugees. On the contrary, the ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino.

It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep it safe — as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.

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.