The Subtle Assumptions Of Bias

I won’t be watching the NFL this year. I will miss it. I really enjoy football and up until last year had an online subscription to The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Massachusetts so that I could play Beat Fearless with their sports reporter. Beat Fearless was a contest in which you matched your football picks against the sports reporter’s picks. I have t-shirts, coolers, and other items that I won by beating ‘fearless.’ I miss football, but I can’t deal with the lack of respect for the national anthem. I understand that the players have a right to protest, I just don’t think that is the place to do it. I understand that we sometimes have racial problems in this country, but disrespecting the flag does not solve those problems.

The New York Daily News posted an article today about Jim Brown. Jim Brown was a running back for the Cleveland Browns (He also showed up in the movie Mars Attacks! and did a wonderful job.) The title of the article is “Jim Brown, once a hero, maybe never should have been one.”

So what is responsible for Jim Brown’s fall from grace? Possibly the fact that he is a patriot with some common sense (and recognizes how hostile the press has been to President Trump).

The article reminds us that he is not a perfect person:

In 1965, Brown was arrested for assault and battery against an 18-year-old girl before being acquitted.

In 1968, he was charged with assault with intent to commit murder against a model – the charge was later dismissed.

In 1969, assault and battery charges were brought against him from a road rage incident, though he was found not guilty.

In 1985, he was charged with raping a woman, though the charges were dismissed.

In 1986, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, but charges were later dropped.

In 1999, Brown was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats toward his wife. He was found guilty of vandalism later that year for smashing up his wife’s car with a shovel.

I would like to remind The Daily News that we currently have players in football proven guilty of some of these same charges. Some of them are probably the ones kneeling, but they are not being called out because their kneeling is politically correct, their political views are in line with the mainstream media, and their football skills make a lot of money for a lot of people.

One paragraph in the article is particularly notable:

Earlier this month, Brown proved to us that he has no idea what the peaceful protests that are taking place in the NFL are actually about, and has fallen victim to the thinking that this is about disrespecting the flag and not about bringing awareness to racism, inequalities, and police brutality.

What authority has declared that is what the ‘peaceful protests that are taking place in the NFL are actually about’? Is this the same authority that criticized Tim Tebow for praying on the field? Is this the same NFL that would not allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear pro-police decals on their helmets?

Whatever the players believe they are protesting, they are dishonoring the flag, the national anthem, and the many soldiers who have given their lives for this country. They are also dishonoring the team unity they are supposed to represent.  I would be much more sympathetic to their protest if I saw them doing something to remedy some of the problems in areas where they believe people are being mistreated.

This paragraph is one of many examples of bias in the press. It is very subtle, and I suspect many people read the paragraph and simply took it as fact. It is not fact–it is propaganda.

Meanwhile, Jim Brown is still one of the greatest football players ever.


This Shouldn’t Be A Surprise

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about a lawsuit that the Department of Justice is seeking to have dismissed. The article describes the Department of Justice as the Trump Administration, but I am not sure that is accurate–right now I am not sure who is running the Department of Justice.

The article reports:

The Zionist Advocacy Center, which filed the recently unsealed suit in 2015, alleges the Carter Center received more than $30 million in taxpayer grants while violating federal statutes barring it from using the cash to provide material support to terror groups.

The plaintiffs maintain the Carter Center has violated the law by hosting designated terrorists at is facilities, as well as by providing various forms of assistance to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and other known terror entities, according to recently unsealed court documents.

The Department of Justice surprised pro-Israel insiders recently when it moved to have the case dismissed on the grounds it is too expensive to prosecute, according to court filings the administration had requested remain secret.

…Evidence presented in the case purports to show the Carter Center accepted millions in government grants while falsely certifying it was not violating prohibitions on providing material support to terror groups, which include a broad range of factors including lodgings, expert advice, and other types of support.

Former President Carter’s ongoing and well-documented interactions with Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are tantamount to material support for terror groups, the suit alleges citing evidence Carter hosted these officials at his Center’s offices.

This also includes providing services and advice to Hamas and other individuals and organizations designated as terrorists by the U.S. government.

In April 2008, The New York Daily News reported some of the sources for funding for the Carter Center:

For example, Saudi Arabia, the source of 15 of the 19 plane hijackers on 9/11 and whose royal family has funded terrorism outside the kingdom, has channeled tens of millions of dollars into the Carter Center over the years. In 1993 alone, the late King Fahd gifted $7.6 million, while more recently, the king’s nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, donated at least $5 million to the Carter Center. The Carter Center has a $36 million annual budget; these amounts are hardly insignificant to its ongoing operations.

Another million-dollar-plus backer is Sultan Qaboos sin Said, monarch of Oman. Considerable financial support comes from the United Arab Emirates as well.

There’s more. In 2001, Carter received the $500,000 Zayed International Prize for the Environment and, the following year, praised the efforts of the Abu Dhabi-based Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow Up.

The Zayed Center has repeatedly hosted anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers, supported terrorism and asserted that there is an international conspiracy of Jews and Zionists for world domination, and that a Jewish-American conspiracy perpetrated the atrocities of 9/11.

The article at The Washington Free Beacon concludes:

Yifa Segal, director of the International Legal Forum, a group involved in the case, told the Free Beacon that DOJ’s legal arguments do not hold water.

“According to U.S. law, the provision of expert advice or assistance otherwise known as material support, even if meant to promote peaceful and lawful conduct, can facilitate terrorism,” Segal said.

“The logic is simple. Any service provided to a terror group can help free up other resources within the organization,” Segal explained. “Taking into account that a terror organization, ultimately, aims at executing acts of terror, by freeing resources from other needs, you are very likely to contribute to the organization’s illegal acts of violence, whether you intended to do so or not.”

Services like those provided by the Carter Center can in fact “contribute to the terrorist organization’s own legitimacy,” according to Segal, who said arguments revolving around the Carter Center’s intentions in providing such services are irrelevant to the legality of the case.

“It seems that the DOJ is attempting to bury this case by making technical arguments as to this procedure,” Segal said. “Beyond our professional disagreement regarding these particular claims, the question is this: Even if their arguments are correct, why isn’t the government taking different measures to put a stop to this illegal activity?”

Jimmy Carter’s behavior as a former President has been less than exemplary. Although he has done wonderful work with Habitat for Humanity, his anti-Semitism and statements on foreign policy have generally been far off the mark. I would like to see this lawsuit move forward–it is time to end foreign money coming to American political figures and influencing our policies. That has not happened with the Trump administration–but it is becoming very evident that it has happened in other recent administrations.

In What Universe Is This Logical?

The New York Daily News is reporting today that ESPN is changing its announcer for the VirginiaWilliam & Mary football game this season. The announcer originally scheduled to cover the game was an Asian man named Robert Lee.

This is one explanation of the decision:

Are we so immature that allowing this man to announce a football game is a problem? Obviously he is not related to Robert E. Lee, nor should it matter if he were. Robert E. Lee lived more than a hundred years ago. He’s been dead a long time. How is he relevant to a football game?

I would have believed this story if it had been posted by The Onion, but it is hard to believe that it is true. What has happened to the maturity level of the average American?

Sad News For Those Of Us Who Remember New York City In The 1960’s

The New York Daily News is reporting today that columnist Jimmy Breslin has died. During the 1960’s, Jimmy Breslin was a columnist for the New York Herald Tribune. His columns were insightful and often hilarious. They were the subject of many conversations in my house when I was growing up. He wrote many books, but my two favorites are Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game, a book about the 1962 New York Mets (who were an adventure in themselves) and The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight based on the life of Joey Gallo (later made into a movie).

Jimmy Breslin was definitely a product of New York. Born in Jamaica, New York, he attended Long Island University.

The Daily News article describes the article that got him noticed:

In 1963, Breslin was hired as a news columnist for the New York Herald Tribune and quickly made his mark.

He was sent to cover the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and found an angle that eluded other reporters. Breslin’s story about Clifton Pollard, the man who dug the President’s grave is still one of the most talked about stories in journalism history, even used in J-school courses as a prime example of enterprise reporting.

“One of the last to serve John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was the thirty-fifth President of this country, was a working man who earns $3.01 an hour and said it was an honor to dig the grave,” Breslin wrote.

Over the next quarter century Breslin was a scoop machine, scoring exclusives on government corruption and Mafia malfeasance.

His unique views on the events of the day and the humor he added to reporting those events will be missed.

Sad News From A Former NFL Star

I have always been a fan of Mark Gastineau. One of my favorite memories is sitting at home on a Monday night watching the Jets play Denver with my middle daughter and seeing Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko sitting on the sidelines while the offense played. Their uniforms were grass-stained and disheveled, but they looked as if they were having the time of their lives. They were an amazing duo.

The New York Daily News is reporting today that Mark Gastineau has been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

The article reports:

Gastineau said he received the diagnoses roughly a year ago and traced his illnesses back to football.

“You know, my first reaction was that I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it,” Gastineau told the Daily News in a phone interview Thursday night. “My second reaction was how can I help other people coming in to the NFL? That’s what it’s all about.”

The former defensive lineman believes football can now be played safely and aims to educate young football players.

“I know that there’s techniques out there that if I would have had ‘em, if I would have had the techniques out there that I’m teaching now to these kids, I know I would not be probably…I know I wouldn’t have the results that I have now,” he said on the radio.

Mark Gastineau is an ambassador for USA Football. He is an advocate for the Heads Up Football program–a joint program of the NFL and USA Football to improve the safety of the game.

The article further reports:

The former defensive lineman was enshrined in the Jets’ Ring of Honor in 2012. He gave an eclectic speech during halftime of the Jets’ Monday night loss to the Texans in October of that year when he was inducted alongside former wideout Wesley Walker.

“I think that the Lord put me on this Earth to show that you can be a great player, have all the sacks in the world…and at the end of your life you get news like this and you can turn it into bad, or you can turn it into good,” Gastineau told the News. 

I love football, but am concerned about the toll the game takes on its players. Hopefully the Heads Up Football program can help in this area. Meanwhile, I wish Mr. Gastineau well.