Posted tagged ‘Media’

Ethnic Slaughter in Bangladesh

April 30, 2017

Ethnic Slaughter in Bangladesh, Gatestone InstituteArnab Goswami, April 30, 2017

(According to Wikipedia, ” Bangladeshis include people of different ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population.[2][3] The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world’s third largest Muslim-majority country.” — DM)

 

Last year, the police themselves set fire to about 3,000 houses of minority people.

Most recently, the Bangladesh Army killed Romel Chakma, an indigenous student leader. He was only 18 and had one eye. The government forced the media to bury the news.

What is most perplexing is the silence of the international media and so-called humanitarian organisations.

The Bangladesh government at present is carrying out atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities. Some foreign organisations helped me to flee to safety in Germany after nine of my colleagues were hacked to death by extremists.

Unfortunately, all the minorities of the country are not as fortunate. Last year, the police themselves set fire to about 3,000 houses of minority people. Most recently, the Bangladesh Army killed Romel Chakma, an indigenous student leader. He was only 18 and had one eye. The army decided to pour Kerosene over his dead body and set it on fire.

Romel Chakma. (Image source: Arnab Goswami’s Blog)

The government forced the media to bury the news. It is different in Bangladesh; nobody cares about minority people anyway.

What is most perplexing is the silence of the international media and so-called humanitarian organisations. Please let the world know about the realities in Bangladesh.

This is an article on the murder. It contains the links to the murder news covered.

I know this will not be a popular news, but it is important news. People need to know it.

Arnab Goswami is a Bangladeshi blogger in exile in Germany.

Where is the America in which I grew up?

March 20, 2017

Where is the America in which I grew up? Israel National News, Joe David, March 20, 2017

(I was born in America a bit more than seventy-five years ago and feel the same way. Will America recover? Can she?  Will the “Deep State” allow it? Please see also,
I Will Name Names’: Infighting At EPA Drives Top Official To Resign and To Truly Beat The Bureaucrats, Trump Needs To Shut Their Agencies Down. President Trump needs all of the help he can get, and even that may be insufficient.– DM)

Some believe that it may be too late to stop this cozy triumvirate from achieving their goal, because they are too rooted for one president alone to handle. But one thing is for sure, whether the president wins or loses, the deep state’s cover has been blown. Thanks to the messaging of one brave man the America has wised up to what is happening and what is at stake. Hopefully that means that there will never be any turning back for the country and it will always be looking forward toward achieving a freer and healthier tomorrow.

***********************************

The America I knew growing up is rapidly disappearing. Law and order is being replaced by mob rule. A madness has claimed the country, introduced in recent years by hate groups who are dedicated to using violent protests to cause political instability. In a frenzy of madness, often triggered by just an innuendo, these groups want to crush all opposition to their agenda. For astute observers of our culture, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Our great universities, which were once citadels of reason, a safe place for open discourse, have abandoned both – and they have become instead centers for cultivating insurrection, with minimal tolerance for truth and clear thinking.

As a result of the events in the last eight years, I have come to the conclusion that my beloved country – the land of liberty, once ruled by freedom of speech, law and order, and a constitutional government – is being irreparably compromised by rebellion. In just a matter of a few years, many Americans have tossed aside sense and have joyfully embraced mob violence (examples, Berkeley University, inauguration riotsMichael Savage attack, and much, much more). The lessons in history on the fall of great nations have all been ignored – for those lucky enough to have once learned these lessons in school.

Every scheme that man could conceive to break a nation is being used today by agitators (i.e., followers of Saul Alinsky) in their eagerness to wipe away our liberties and independence in their move toward complete political control.

The strong, proud country of yesteryear, which once produced wealthy entrepreneurs and productive workers, is rapidly vanishing. Its citizens are demanding entitlement programs over honest employment, and, to get their way, they are using divisive rhetoric and action. Progressive leaders have spawned a lazy generation of lazy parasites who expect everything to be given to them – from housing and food to university education and medical plans. (Several supporters: Bernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and other left-wingers.)

What few resources that haven’t been squandered on federal aid programs (international and domestic) are insufficient to sustain us for long. America has seriously been weakened by poor management, and today it faces the world, impoverished and vulnerable, a cripple on broken crutches about to collapse (from the load of a nearly 20-trillion-dollar National debt).

Reaching this state didn’t occur overnight nor was it a result of one or two leaders. It was achieved over the years by the focused efforts of universities committed to turning students into social reformers obsessed with deconstructing a great nation To quote David Horowitz in his March 14, 2017, letter to his readers, we have reached this point “through silent planning, crafty messaging using pop culture as their vehicle, and the subtle brainwashing of the most impressionable group of people in our society – students.”

Our great universities aren’t completely to blame for what is happening in our country. If they were, their mistakes and deceits would have been exposed and corrected by a fair-minded media. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Instead, the universities have been protected by a mass media, stripped of objectivity and impartiality and bent on advancing their views with minimal respect for truth. As a result, educators have been free to do whatever they like, while journalists aggressively discredit anyone who challenges them. (Review almost any news spin on major school issues.)

Protecting these two deceivers from their questionable activities is a shadow government, made up of federal, state, and local workers who remain securely positioned, regardless of who is in the White House. This shadow government or deep state, as it is currently being called, has compiled over the years sufficient data on all us (by tapping into our emails, phone and medical records, and more) in order to silence us, when necessary.

Until recently, its existence was never obvious. The country moved along quietly, controlled by this shadow government, its citizens under the illusion that their freedom and independence was secure. From time to time there would be a news-breaking scandal when someone in position would question the decision of the deep state. But before the truth could be examined closely, the whistleblower would be compromised and the matter would come to a swift end.

Then, one man entered the political scene about a year ago who recently stepped into the Oval Office, a flawed but determined man, with one obsession, to turn America around and clean the swamp. Almost immediately, all hell broke loose across the country.

In an effort to discredit the man, everything positive that he was trying to do for the country was overshadowed by vicious innuendo and news stories. A sex tape, tax reports, an alleged Russian connection, and more were used against him to build a major scandal. In the establishment’s effort to bring him down, it exposed itself for what it really was attempting to do. That became obvious recently, when someone in position released highly classified CIA information. This information which was leaked to WikiLeaks by someone like an Edward Snowden, buried in the deep state, revealed the establishment’s true intent: not just to discredit a man, but to break a nation.

Some believe that it may be too late to stop this cozy triumvirate from achieving their goal, because they are too rooted for one president alone to handle. But one thing is for sure, whether the president wins or loses, the deep state’s cover has been blown. Thanks to the messaging of one brave man the America has wised up to what is happening and what is at stake. Hopefully that means that there will never be any turning back for the country and it will always be looking forward toward achieving a freer and healthier tomorrow.

Facebook and Twitter censor Jihad Watch, block thousands from reading it

March 3, 2017

Facebook and Twitter censor Jihad Watch, block thousands from reading it, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page. — DM)

The facts at hand presumably speak for themselves, but a trifle more vulgarly, I suspect, than facts even usually do.

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 2, 2017: 16,683
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 2, 2017: 1,051

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 6, 2017: 12,882
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 7, 2017: 1,880

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 7, 2017: 23,783
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 7, 2017: 1,718

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 8, 2017: 18,926
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 8, 2017: 1,091

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 9, 2017: 11,914
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 9, 2017: 974

And then the very next day:

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 10, 2017: 2,923
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 10, 2017: 295

The dropoff has continued:

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 20, 2017: 3,408
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 20, 2017: 416

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 27, 2017: 2,369
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 27, 2017: 329

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, March 2, 2017: 1,645
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, March 2, 2017: 206

mark-zuckerberg

Did thousands of people who used to click on Jihad Watch articles from Facebook and Twitter suddenly on February 10 lose interest? Of course not. This is what happened: Facebook and Twitter are censoring Jihad Watch as “hate speech.” Now, I do not accept and will never accept the idea that reporting on jihad activity and Sharia oppression constitutes “hate speech,” but that is, of course, the longstanding claim of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim groups in the West, and has been uncritically adopted by the Left, with which Facebook and Twitter are so firmly aligned.

In reality, what constitutes “hate speech” is a subjective judgment. The label itself is a tool in the hands of the powerful, enabling them to control the discourse and silence dissenters to their agenda. That is ultimately what this is about: the purveyors of the Big Lie always have to shut down those who tell the truth, because they are aware that their whole enterprise rests on a lie and is deeply threatened by the truth. They can only put their lie across by constant repetition and relentless persecution of those who tell the truth. The truth-tellers, in contrast, need not resort to censorship against the liars, for they are confident that the truth, if given a fair hearing, will be obvious and compelling.

The good news in all this is that despite this choking-off of referrals from Facebook and Twitter, Jihad Watch’s overall readership is growing. Apparently many people who used to come here from Facebook and Twitter are finding different avenues. That is very important in general: free people must not accept this censorship, which is a desperate lashing-out of a discredited and weakening political and media elite against an inexorably growing populist revolution. If Facebook and Twitter shut out the truth, then we have to, in large numbers, shut out Facebook and Twitter. That is certainly what I am going to do: while each Jihad Watch post automatically goes up on Facebook and Twitter (for as long as that will last), I will never personally go to either one again.

And despite the ever-decreasing platform for those who dissent from the socialist, globalist, internationalist agenda of these sinister and authoritarian elites, there is every reason to be confident. They have all the money and all the power and all the platforms, and even so, Brexit was voted in, Trump was elected, and much, much more is to come. There is, after all, one weapon they do not have on their side, and that is why, for all their intermediate success, they are doomed to failure: that weapon is, of course, the truth.

“EU Reads Riot Act to Facebook, Twitter, Google Over Hate Speech (FB, GOOG),” by Rakesh Sharma, Investopedia, December 5, 2016:

The European Union has warned Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter Inc. (TWTR), Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google (GOOG), and Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) that they could face the prospect of hate speech laws, if they fail to clamp down on such speech on their platforms. The companies, which own or run social media platforms with member numbers that run into millions on the continent, had signed a code of conduct to take down instances of offensive and hate speech within 24 hours back in May. (See also: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft Agree To Report Hate Speech To The EU).

According to a new report that quantifies their efforts, the tech behemoths still have some way to go. The report, which will be discussed by EU ministers this week, stated that the companies reviewed 40 percent of reported cases within the first 24 hours and 80 percent within 48 hours. Germany and France saw the highest rates that were “in excess” of 50 percent while only 4 percent and 11 percent of reported posts were removed in Italy and Austria respectively.

“If Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft want to convince me and the ministers that the non-legislative approach can work, they will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months,” Vera Jourova, EU’s justice commissioner, told FT in an interview. (See also: Facebook May Allow Third-Party Groups To Censor Content In China)….

And:

“Google Launches AI Program to Detect ‘Hate Speech,’” by Lucas Nolan, Breitbart, February 23, 2017:

Google has launched a new AI program called Perspective to detect “abusive” comments online in an effort to crack down on hate speech.

Publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Economist are testing the new software as a way of policing comments sections, according to the Financial Times.

“News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labour and time,” said Jared Cohen, president of Jigsaw, the Google social incubator that built the tool. “As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether. But they tell us that isn’t the solution they want.”

Perspective is available to all publications that are currently part of Google’s Digital News Initiative, which includes The Guardian, the BBC and The Financial Times. In theory, the software could also be utilized by social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has recently attempted to impose stricter rules on users in an attempt to reduce supposed harassment on the platform.

CJ Adams, a product manager at Jigsaw, discussed the adaptability of their program, saying, “We are open to working with anyone from small developers to the biggest platforms on the internet. We all have a shared interest and benefit from healthy online discussions.”

Perspective is used to filter and compile comments on websites for human review. In order to learn what exactly counts as a “toxic” comment, the program studied hundreds of thousands of user comments that had been deemed unacceptable by reviewers on websites like The New York Times and Wikipedia. “All of us are familiar with increased toxicity around comments in online conversations,” said Cohen. “People are leaving conversations because of this, and we want to empower publications to get those people back.”…

Off Topic | Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press

February 23, 2017

Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press, Tablet MagazineLee Smith, February 23, 2017

(Please see also, Off Topic:  A Purblind Press, Unable To Admit Error, Boycotts the President. — DM)

How did we get from ‘Village Voice’ reporters digging up everything there is to know about a flashy New York real estate salesman to not knowing anything about the President of the United States and his ties to Russia?

So when does the other shoe drop? Who’s going to break the story proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president of the United States is so deeply connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House has become a Muscovite colony in all but name?

Time to use some common sense—it’s not going to happen, there is no story. The narrative that Donald Trump is effectively Putin’s prison wife is an information operation orchestrated by Democratic hands, many of whom served in the Obama administration, sectors of the intelligence community, and much of the American press. The purpose of the campaign is to delegitimize Trump’s presidency by continuing to hit on themes drawn from the narrative that Russia “hacked” the election and stole it away from Clinton.

The narrative is contorted because it’s not journalism. It’s a story that could only make sense in a profoundly corrupted public sphere, one in which, for instance, Graydon Carter is celebrated for speaking truth to power with an editor’s letter critical of Trump in a magazine that has no other ontological ground in the universe except to celebrate power.

Oh, sure, there are regular hints that there’s still more to come on Trump and his staff’s ties to Russia—the big one is about to hit. But the steady sound of drip-drip-drip is the telltale sign of a political campaign, where items are leaked bit by bit to paralyze the target. Journalists, on the other hand, have to get their story out there as quickly, and as fully, as possible because they’re always worried the competition is going to beat them to it.

No, if Trump really was in bed with the Russians, the story would already be out there, and I’m pretty sure it would have had a Wayne Barrett byline.

When I worked at the Village Voice in the mid-1990s, my office was right around the corner from Barrett’s and his bullpen of interns, a team that kept the heat on local politicians like Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch, and others. Barrett was the first journalist who wrote at length about Trump, starting in the mid-1970s. His biography, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, was published in 1992, and reissued in 2016 as Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.

When Trump won the nomination and the pace of Trump stories picked up, Barrett became something of an official archivist, with reporters visiting his Brooklyn house to go through his files in the basement. Anyone who wanted to know what Trump’s deal with Russia was, for instance, would want to talk to Barrett because either he or his team of interns, 40 years’ worth, would have it. After all, New York City is the world capital for information on Russians, even better than Israel—because even though the city got a smaller number of post-Cold War immigrants, New York got a higher percentage of mobsters.

Let’s compare the institution of Wayne Barrett, a subset of the institution of journalism, to the so-called Russia dossier, the document placing Trump in a shady underworld governed by Putin and other Russian thugs. The former includes not only Barrett’s body of work over nearly half a century, but that of the hundreds of journalists he trained, and many thousands of sources whose information is, therefore, able to be cross-checked.

The latter, a congeries of preadolescent pornographic fantasy and spy tales, was authored by a British intelligence officer who has gone to ground since the dossier was made public. The dossier started as work made for hire, first paid for by Republican opponents of Trump and then the Clinton camp, and is sourced to Russian “contacts” who are clearly using the document as an opportunity to proliferate an information operation for perhaps various and as yet unknown purposes. The former is journalism. The latter, part oppo research and part intelligence dump, is garbage. Clearly, it is also the new standard in the field, which is why journalists on both sides of the political spectrum are boasting about their willingness to let their bylines be used as bulletin boards for spy services and call it a “scoop.”

Barrett had Trump on a whole variety of issues, but check the records yourself—up until the day of his death, the day before Trump’s inauguration, there’s nothing on Trump and Putin. Does this mean Trump is totally clean? Who knows? But the journalists now clamoring like maniacs about Trump’s ties sure aren’t going to find it. They’re thin-skinned hacks outraged that Trump dared violate the inherent dignity of that most important of American political institutions, the presidential press conference. And as we all know, this is the apex of real journalism, where esteemed members of the press sit side by side with other masters of the craft to see who gets their question televised.

Does Trump really believe the media are “an enemy of the people”? Please. Let’s remember how he rode his wave to fame on the back of the New York Post’s Page Six (and Graydon Carter’s Spy magazine). He still speaks regularly to the head of CNN (aka “Fake News”), Jeff Zucker, who put him on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice at NBC, where Trump sat atop the Nielsens for 13 years. Trump uses his Twitter feed to boost his replacement Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings because the president still has a credit as executive producer. No, Trump, doesn’t hate the media. Like Howard Stern, he sees himself as the king of all media. What he’s doing here is playing gladiator in front of an audience that wants to see the lions slain.

Maybe Trump deserves the heat with the fake Russia stories. He backed the Obama birth certificate story, and what goes around comes around. But the American public sure doesn’t deserve a press like this.

Trump adviser Steve Bannon calls the media the opposition party, but that’s misleading. Everyone knows that the press typically tilts left, and no one is surprised, for instance, that The New York Times has not endorsed a Republican candidate since 1956. But that’s not what we’re seeing now—rather, the media has become an instrument in a campaign of political warfare. What was once an American political institution and a central part of the public sphere became something more like state-owned media used to advance the ruling party’s agenda and bully the opposition into silence. Russia’s RT network, the emir of Qatar’s Al Jazeera network—indeed, all of the Arab press—and media typically furnished by Third World regimes became the American press’ new paradigm; not journalism, but information operation.

How did this happen? It’s not about a few journalists, many of whom still do honor to the profession, or a few papers or networks. It’s a structural issue. Much of it is because of the wounds the media inflicted on itself, but it was also partly due to something like a natural catastrophe that no one could have predicted, or controlled.

***

I was at the Voice when the meteor hit. Like many papers back then, dailies and weeklies, the Voice made its money on classified advertising. The New York Times, for instance, had three important classifieds sections—employment, automotive, and housing—but if New Yorkers really wanted to find a great apartment, they’d line up at the newsstand on 42nd Street to get a copy of the Voice hot off the press.

And then the internet came along, and it was all there in one place—for free. The press panicked. The Voice’s publisher at the time, David Schneiderman, announced to the staff that the paper was going free. It made no sense, he argued, to keep charging $1 for what consumers could get on the internet for nothing.

Here’s how the staff heard it: Who would want to pay $1 a week to read Nat Hentoff on civil liberties, Robert Christgau on music, Michael Musto on New York nightlife—or Wayne Barrett on the follies of real-estate mogul Donald Trump? That is, who would want to pay $1 a week to feel themselves a part of what the Village Voice had made them feel part of for decades? But at the time, devaluing content was in fashion—which meant, as few saw back then, the profession was digging its own grave.

The American press’ new paradigm: not journalism, but information operation.

In midtown, Tina Brown had taken The New Yorker, a notoriously sleepy rag that entry-level assistants stacked in a corner of their studio apartments to spend a rainy Saturday with a 10,000-word Ved Mehta article, and turned it into a hot book that everyone from Bill and Hillary Clinton to Harvey and Bob Weinstein was talking about. “Buzz” was Tina’s catchword, and she made her writers stars. But something else was happening on the business side that wasn’t good for the content providers.

Before Brown, The New Yorker made its money by selling the magazine to readers who wanted to feel like a part of the world only The New Yorker made available, a cozy world reflected by the modest, but very profitable, number of subscriptions, which hovered around 340,000. Advertising was an afterthought. It may have been the only magazine in history at which the business side held ads because there wasn’t space for them, or because, well, Mr. Shawn might not like them.

Condé Nast owner Si Newhouse, who bought The New Yorker in 1985, and publisher Steve Florio turned the business model on its head when Brown came on in 1992. Forget about making readers pay for content; instead, bill advertisers for access to your readers—charge them for eyeballs. They slashed the subscription price dramatically and readership swelled by many hundreds of thousands. This enabled the sales team to bump up ad rates to levels on par with other Condé Nast glossies, essentially fashion catalogs, that enjoyed much larger readerships, like Vogue, GQ, and Glamour.

The paradox was that The New Yorker lost money because each of the new subscriptions was costly. Paper, printing, and postage are expensive, and even the new ad rates couldn’t cover the costs now that circulation had grown to something like 800,000—not monthly like Vogue, but weekly.

Instead of paying for the cost of high-level reporting and editing, subscribers now cost The New Yorker money. In Brown’s last year at the magazine, The New Yorker lost $10 million—a giant black hole that her successor would endeavor mightily to fill while retaining the magazine’s new subscribers, who had little knowledge of or attachment to the magazine’s prior mix of literary reporting and sophisticated whimsy. If the subscribers didn’t feel interested and flattered, the magazine was sunk.

With a new media model that devalued content, no one had a very clear picture of the problems ahead. The future was further obscured by what seemed to be an astonishing reflorescence of the press, with tiny internet startups throwing lavish parties in Manhattan bistros and paying writers Condé Nast-level fees. The internet was the messiah, everything was great—until the IT bubble burst and media giants like TimeWarner stopped throwing money at a platform they didn’t understand. So now who was going to pay?

For the next decade, the media couldn’t decide which slogan of the moment carried more weight—“content is king” or “information wants to be free.” Sure, you can give away “information,” but someone has to find some way to cover expenses, and yet no one had figured out how to make internet advertising work. Maybe you really could charge for content. Of course you could—The New Yorker had done it for decades.

Even if you bring your own glass to a lemonade stand, there is no 8-year-old entrepreneur who is not going to charge you for his product. Why didn’t media grandees get it? When they saw their ad-based business model collapse, why didn’t they do the logical thing and raise the price on consumers? Sure, they’d lose some readers and have to cut some staff and departments, but they’d have established a fundamental defense of the product, the industry, and the institution itself—news is worth paying for.

As the old Chinese saying has it, the first generation builds the business, the second generation expands it, and the third spends it all on Italian shoes, houses in the Hamptons, and divorces. For the most part, the people inheriting these media properties didn’t know what they were doing. It took The New York Times more than a decade to settle on billing consumers for its product—after giving it away, charging for it, giving it away again, then billing for “premium content,” etc. By then, it was too late. Entire papers went under, and even at places that survived, the costliest enterprises, like foreign bureaus and investigative teams, were cut. An entire generation’s worth of expertise, experience, and journalistic ethics evaporated into thin air.

In January, Bannon told the Times that the press doesn’t “understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.” But the Times had already acknowledged its blunder in a letter to its readers after the election. However, neither Bannon nor the Times seemed to grasp the logistical reasons for the failure—it wasn’t because the paper of record slants left, or because it was too caught up in its own narrative. It’s in large part because it had long ago cut the regional bureaus in the South, the Midwest, etc., that would’ve forced reporters to speak to Americans outside the urban bubble and thereby explain to readers what the world looks like once you wander off the F train.

By the time two planes brought down the World Trade Center towers in September of 2001, everyone in the industry knew the media was in big trouble. The Iraq War partially hid and then later amplified that fact. The media spent millions it didn’t have for coverage it gave away free of a war that the press first supported and then turned against. If journalists prided themselves on their courageous about-faces, to much of their audience it further discredited a press whose main brief is not to advocate for or against, but to report facts.

This is the media environment that Barack Obama walked into—where Post columnist David Ignatius was no more important a media figure than Zach Galifianakis, on whose precious and often funny internet show Between Two Ferns the president marketed the Affordable Care Act. I suspect the Obama White House was a little sad that the press we’d all grown up with was basically dead. As Ben Rhodes, former national security adviser for strategic communications, told The New York Times Magazine, “I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote. But that’s impossible.”

He was right. What was once known as the prestige media became indistinguishable from the other stuff that Facebook gives away. Was it The New York Times or BuzzFeed that published that video about cats terrorized by cucumbers? Or was it Fake News because, in fact, cats aren’t scared of vegetables? It doesn’t matter where it came from, because there is no longer any hierarchy in the press. The media, as Thomas Friedman might say, is flat.

Obama didn’t kill journalism, but he took advantage of it in its weakness, because he knew the press would do anything to feel relevant again. All those 27-year-olds at the Times, the Washington Post and others hired as bloggers—“who literally know nothing,” as Rhodes told the Times Magazine—when the foreign and national bureaus were closed, they didn’t know it wasn’t OK to be a journalist and a political operative at the same time. They thought it made them more valuable, even patriotic, to put themselves in the service of a historic presidency. And they’d replaced for pennies on the dollar all the adults who could have taught them otherwise.

That’s the raw material out of which the Obama administration built its echo chamber, the purpose of which was to drown out the few remaining vestiges of journalism in order to sell the president’s policies. And there really were real journalists still putting in the hours, still doing the work, but the echo chamber, a relentless, frenzied chorus of incoherent and nearly illiterate prose, shouted them down.

Yes, it would have been nice if the American public had a chance to discuss a policy of vital importance to our national security, like the Iran nuclear deal, but the press congratulated itself for silencing those who dissented from Obama’s signature foreign-policy initiative. These weren’t simply critics or opponents of the White House, they weren’t just wrong; no, they were warmongers, beholden to donors and moneyed interests and lobbies, they were dual loyalists.

But it was all OK for the press to humiliate and threaten Obama’s opponents in accordance with the talking points provided by Obama administration officials—they were helping the president prevent another senseless war. That’s for history to decide. What everyone saw at the time was that the press had put itself in the service of executive power. This was no longer simply tilting left, rather, it was turning an American political institution against the American public.

Now with Trump in the White House, commentators on the right are critical of those angry with the press for calling out Trump on the same stuff that Obama got away with. Let’s be above it, they argue. Just because Obama did it doesn’t make it OK for Trump to do it. Fine, obviously, call out Trump—but this isn’t about playing gotcha. It’s about a self-aggrandizing press corps gaslighting the electorate. The public is astonished and appalled that the media has now returned after an eight-year absence to arrogate to itself the role of conscience of the nation.

It’s not working out very well.

Consider the Washington Post, whose new motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” which presumably was OK’d by owner Jeff Bezos, the man who closed virtually every independent bookstore in America. Here’s a recent story about riots in Sweden:

Just two days after President Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in the northern suburbs of the country’s capital, Stockholm.

You’ve probably never seen the phrase “seeming to imply” in the lede of a story in a major American newspaper before—a news story. So did Trump imply, or seem to imply? How are readers supposed to parse “incorrectly” if the story is about the reality of riots in a place where Trump “seemingly” “implied” there was violence? So what’s the point—that Trump is a racist? Or that Trump can see the future?

The press at present is incapable of reconstituting itself because it lacks the muscle memory to do so. Look at the poor New Yorker. During the eight years of the Obama administration, it was best known not for reported stories, but for providing a rostrum for a man to address the class that revered him as a Caesar. Now that the magazine is cut off from the power that made it relevant, is it any wonder that when it surveys the post-Obama landscape it looks like Rome is burning—or is that the Reichstag in flames?

The Russia story is evidence that top reporters are are still feeding from the same trough—political operatives, intelligence agencies, etc.—because they don’t know how to do anything else, and their editors don’t dare let the competition get out ahead. Why would the Post, for instance, let the Times carve out a bigger market share of the anti-Trump resistance? And what’s the alternative? Report the story honestly? Don’t publish questionably sourced innuendo as news?

And still, you ask, how could the Russia story be nonsense? All the major media outlets are on it. Better to cover yourself—maybe it’s true, because the press can’t really be this inept and corrupt, so there’s got to be something to it.

I say this not only out of respect for a late colleague, but in the hope that journalism may once again merit the trust of the American public. Wayne Barrett had this file for 40 years, and if neither he nor the reporters he trained got this story, it’s not a story.

RIGHT ANGLE: I Don’t Trust You

February 14, 2017

RIGHT ANGLE: I Don’t Trust You,  Bill Whittle Channel via YouTube, February 13, 2017

 

National Security Council leakers worried Trump might arrest them

February 13, 2017

National Security Council leakers worried Trump might arrest them, American ThinkerEd Straker, February 13, 2017

If you’re a left-leaning member of the National Security Council and you’re unhappy with the duly elected president, what do you do?  Why, leak details of classified discussions and pending operations to the media, of course!

In a N.Y. Times article, which itself is based on NSC leaks, leakers try to portray the NSC in chaos, but in the process of attempting to do so, they reveal the scope of their disloyalty.

These are chaotic and anxious days inside the National Security Council, the traditional center of management for a president’s dealings with an uncertain world. Some staff members have turned to encrypted communications to talk with their colleagues, after hearing that Mr. Trump’s top advisers are considering an “insider threat” program that could result in monitoring cellphones and emails for leaks.

Now, why would NSC staffers talking with their colleagues, presumably about affairs of state, feel the need to encrypt their conversations from the man they work for?  I think the implication is clear – that these conversations are about undermining and leaking information to harm the Trump administration.

Nervous staff members recently met late at night at a bar a few blocks from the White House and talked about purging their social media accounts of any suggestion of anti-Trump sentiments.

Why would they need to do that?  Past anti-Trump sentiments are not against the law.  But leaking classified information is.  I think these leakers are trying to keep a lower profile to avoid being caught.

Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was exploring whether the Navy could intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen.

White House officials said that [the operation was cancelled]… because news of the impending operation leaked, a threat to security that has helped fuel the move for the insider threat program.

This is leakers in action.  But instead of writing an article about their illegality, this is only mentioned in passing, as part of the Times’ main interest in portraying the NSC as being in chaos.  What amazes me is how the Times doesn’t seem to think revealing bureaucrats leaking classified information is even a problem; the paper is are so disconnected from reality that its writers think anything, including disregarding national security laws, is justified, all in the pursuit of Trump.

[Some NSC staffers have left but] Many of those who remain, who see themselves as apolitical civil servants, have been disturbed by displays of overt partisanship. At an all-hands meeting about two weeks into the new administration, Ms. McFarland told the group it needed to “make America great again,” numerous staff members who were there said. New Trump appointees are carrying coffee mugs with that Trump campaign slogan into meetings with foreign counterparts, one staff member said.

Why is it partisan to have a mug featuring the slogan of the president…in his own White House?  When Obama was president, do you think staff avoided pro-Obama slogans?  I’m sure they didn’t.  These people are just appalled to be confronted with direct evidence that Trump is their president.  It shows that they don’t have either the temperament or the loyalty to do their jobs.

 

The World Turned Upside Down

January 26, 2017

The World Turned Upside Down, Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, January 26, 2017

bighands

“If summer were spring and the other way ’round,

Then all the world would be upside down.”

— Old English ballad

Legend has it that the British played “The World Turned Upside Down” after their unforeseen and disastrous defeat at the Battle of Yorktown.

Such topsy-turvy upheaval characterizes the start of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Everything is in flux in a way not seen since the election of 1932, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover. Mainstream Democrats are infuriated. Even Republicans are vexed over the outsider Trump.

Polls, political pundits and “wise” people, guilty of past partisan-driven false prognostications, remain discredited. Their new creased-brow prophesies of doom for President Trump are about as credible as their past insistence that a “blue wall” would keep him out of the White House.

The media collusion with the Clinton campaign was endemic in the WikiLeaks email trove. The complicity blew up any lingering notion that establishment journalists are disinterested and principled, as they now turn from eight years of obsequiousness to frenzied hostility toward the White House.

In the media’s now radically amended progressive dictionary, Senate filibusters are no longer subversive, but quite vital.

Executive orders are no longer inspired, but dangerous. Bypassing Congress on treaties and overseas interventions, or refusal to enforce existing laws, is no longer presidential leadership. If Trump follows Obama’s example of presidential fiats, he will be recalibrated as seditious.

Protests against a sitting president are no longer near treasonous, but patriotic. Media collusion with the president is no longer natural, but unprofessional and dishonest. Cruel invective against the president and his family is no longer racist, but inspired.

The successful Obama electoral matrix of ginning up political support through identity politics may have been an atypical event, not a wave of the future. His two victories were certainly non-transferrable to most other liberal but non-minority candidates.

Obama’s legacy is the near-destruction of the Democrats as a national party, leaving them in a virtual civil war while most of his own initiatives will be rendered null and void — and perhaps soon forgotten.

Where do Democrats go now? Do they double down by going further leftward with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Or do they reluctantly pivot to win back the clingers, deplorables and irredeemables whose defections cost them the big Rust Belt states?

On Nov. 7, “experts” were forecasting a Republican civil war: a disgraced presidential candidate, a lost Senate and a liberal Supreme Court for the next 30 years.

Two days and an election later, the world flipped. Republicans — with majorities in both houses of Congress, overwhelming majorities in the state legislatures and with governorships, and a likely slew of Supreme Court vacancies — haven’t been in a better position since the 1920s.

Just as importantly, former Sen. Harry Reid and President Emeritus Barack Obama weaponized Trump by respectively eroding the Senate filibuster and green-lighting presidential fiats by “pen-and-phone” executive orders.

For his Cabinet picks, Trump ignored Washington-establishment grandees, think-tank Ph.D.s, and academics in general. He owes no allegiance to the Republican pundits who despised him or to the big-name donors who chose not to invest in what they saw as a losing candidacy.

His style is not Washingtonian, but is born out of the dog-eat-dog world of Manhattan real estate. Trump’s blustering way of doing business is as brutal as it is nontraditional: Do not initiate attacks, but hit back twice as hard — and low — once targeted. Go off topic and embrace obstreperousness to unsettle an opponent. And initially demand triple of what is eventually acceptable to settle a deal.

Trump’s inaugural address was short, tough and nationalistic, reflecting his don’t-tread-on-me pledges to his supporters to fight both Washington and the world abroad to restore the primacy of the middle classes.

Trump aims through economic growth — hoping for 4 percent GDP growth rates through deregulation, tax reform, energy production and old-fashioned Main Street economic boosterism — to win a sizable chunk of the minority vote and thus chip away at the Democrats’ base. He counts on a good-paying jobs and higher family income mattering more to the inner-city than the Rev. Al Sharpton’s rhetoric or the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter.

The world has been flipped upside down abroad as well.

Weeks ago, analysts were offering Dr. Strangelove doomsday warnings of a no-fly zone in Syria imposed by a likely President Hilary Clinton on another nuclear power’s air force. But now, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is talking about joining American planes to destroy ISIS.

Who is friend, foe or neutral?

Could Trump coax Putin away from his Iranian and Syrian support, or will Trump appease his newfound friend’s aggressions? No one quite knows.

An American president now talks to Taiwan, doubles down on support for Israel, questions the reason to remain loyal to both the United Nations and European Union, and forces changes in NATO.

Not just policy, but the way policy is made, remains uncertain.

Up is down; down up. The future is blank.