The Strange Case of Julian Assange

Yesterday NewsbustersNewsbusters posted an article reminding us that the media once loved Julian Assange. Now, not so much.

The article reminds us:

Before the hacking of the DNC during the 2016 Campaign, WikiLeaks was responsible for many document dumps that harmed American national security, the most infamous case involving a U.S. Army private then known as Bradley Manning. WikiLeaks also put at risk the lives of informants working for U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during that time, when WikiLeaks endangered lives and undermined U.S. war efforts, that the press sang its praises as a truth-telling and information-gathering organization.

The article lists a number of examples of news stories praising Assange for revealing ‘behind the scenes’ information on military matters. They chose to ignore the fact that American lives were put at risk by what he did. Then came the hacking of the DNC. Somehow the story changed–then Assange became a villain in the eyes of the media.

The article concludes:

Even if it wasn’t known in 2010 that WikiLeaks was an arm of Russian intelligence, Jullian Assange was enemy of the United States before, during, and after the 2016 hack into the e-mails of John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, but the media only uniformaly came out against Assange when it appeared that his work would hurt Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, not when he was endangering lives by undermining U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a few things I want to remind people of as this story unfolds. Jullian Assange has repeatedly stated that the DNC leaks did not come from Russia. There is speculation that they may have come from a lost cell phone of John Podesta (with the password ‘password’) or from a leaker inside the DNC who was concerned that the primary election was being rigged for Hillary Clinton (Seth Rich?). I would also add that if you supported the leaking of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, then you should probably support Jullian Assange. Just for the record, Daniel Ellsberg was indicted for stealing and holding secret documents, but the judge in the case declared a mistrial and dismissed the charges.

I don’t support leaking military information, but when there are shenanigans going on in a political campaign, I am grateful when it is revealed.

 

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article about a recent ABC News panel that was absolutely hilarious (not intentionally of course).

The article reports:

With nearly the entire Democratic 2020 field sprinting to be the closest to socialism without using the label, folks in the liberal media were busy trying to spin their radical policy positions as something palatable. A great example of this occurred during ABC’s This Week on Sunday, when two panelists tried to suggest that it was Republicans who were the radical ones with Democrats supposedly as the centrists.

During the “powerhouse roundtable” discussion late in the show, Republican strategist Alice Stewart noted that the candidates could “run away from the socialism label” all they wanted “but you can’t deny the fact that the Democratic Party is moving very, very far to the left.”

“We’re talking about a lot of policies that are extremely left. The Cortezs of Washington and the younger generation of Democrats are really causing a divide in the Democratic Party,” she added before triggered faux-Republican Matthew Dowd couldn’t hold back anymore.

Talking over Stewart, Dowd emphatically insisted it was the Republicans who were the ones who were out of touch with Americans: “The Democratic Party — if you look at all the issues and where the public stands, the Democratic Party is actually closer to the center than the Republican Party is. The Democratic Party is much closer to the center.”

Meanwhile ideas such as socialism, free education, free healthcare, and generally free money are gaining acceptance in the Democrat Party.

Wow. So let’s look at some of the other issues.

President Trump supports strong borders (and a wall). In January a Rasmussen poll showed that 48 percent of Americans felt that the government was doing too little to stop illegal immigration. On March 13th, Rasmussen reported that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters say Democrats should allow Fox News, the most-watched cable news network, to host at least one of their intraparty debates. Just 28% disagree, while 15% are undecided. On January 18th, Real Clear Politics reported that more Americans may identify as pro-choice than pro-life, but more than six in 10 of those who say they are pro-choice (61 percent) join the three-quarters of all Americans in wanting abortion restricted to – again, at most – the first trimester. So do about six in 10 Democrats (59 percent), eight in 10 independents (78 percent) and nine in 10 Republicans (92 percent).

In January 2018, the Pew Research Center reported the following:

The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 10-15 among 1,503 adults, finds that 42% say Donald Trump is “striking the right balance” in the situation in the Middle East, while 30% say he favors Israel too much (just 3% say Trump sides too much with the Palestinians; 25% do not offer an opinion).

At a similar point in Barack Obama’s presidency, 47% of Americans said he had struck a proper balance in dealing with the Middle East; 21% said he sided too much with the Palestinians, while 7% said he favored Israel too much.

I’m not sure it’s the Republicans who are out of touch with the American people. They are probably out of touch with the people in New York, California, and Washington, D.C., but I am not sure how out of touch they are with most Americans.

The Never Ending Story

Newsbusters posted an article today about the upcoming end to the Mueller investigation. The investigation is beginning to resemble the story of the man searching for his car keys on the opposite side of the street from where he dropped them because the light is better there. But that hasn’t slowed the mainstream media down a bit.

The article reports:

After news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be delivering his final Russia investigation report to Attorney General William Barr in the coming days, on Thursday, NBC’s Today show and CBS This Morning promised viewers that the investigation would continue regardless of Mueller’s findings.

Touting how “Several government officials say Robert Mueller is close to wrapping up” during a report for the Today show, correspondent Peter Alexander finished the segment by assuring: “….many legal experts say just because Robert Mueller is winding down does not mean the investigating stops, with federal prosecutors in Manhattan and elsewhere expected to follow up on pieces of the investigation.”

The article details some of the dialog between the news reporters and then concludes:

Co-host Bianna Golodryga tried to salvage the segment by concluding: “But as we showed, six people who are close to the President have pleaded guilty throughout this investigation.”

Even before Mueller has completed his investigation, the media are already gearing up for other investigations into the President as they prepare for the possibility that Mueller may not find Trump guilty of anything.

It should be noted that the six people who have pleaded guilty have been charged with crimes that either have no connection to either President Trump or Russia or are process crimes charging people who did not remember accurately facts that were totally unrelated to any investigation of Trump-Russia collusion. Generally speaking this has been an investigation searching for a crime and charging people close to the President with anything that might cause them to invent a crime rather than go to jail. The past two years of the Mueller investigation have given us a lot of insight into how things work in a banana republic.

Bias Is As Much About What Isn’t Reported As How News Is Slanted

Newsbusters posted an article yesterday about the report that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. You might think that after two years and millions of dollars spent on an investigation, that might be news. You might think that, but evidently the major news media disagrees with you.

The article reports:

It’s been two days since NBC’s exclusive reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and as of yet none of the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have given it even a single second of coverage in their evening newscasts. Considering these networks have given the Russia probe a massive 2,202 minutes of airtime, their silence on this major development is deafening. 

MRC analysts examining all coverage on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News found that those 2,202 minutes spent on the Russia investigation accounted for nearly 19 percent of all Trump-related reporting between January 21, 2017 and February 10, 2019. However none of those three shows have even mentioned the investigation since NBC’s report came out on February 12.

The situation has been much the same on those networks’ flagship morning shows. Neither CBS This Morning nor NBC’s Today have even acknowledged this new information from Senate investigators since the news broke on February 12. ABC’s Good Morning America briefly touched on it in a news brief totaling less than one minute on February 13. 

In that segment, ABC’s Mary Bruce focused only on the public disagreement between Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Democratic Ranking Member Mark Warner. She failed to acknowledge NBC’s reporting that other Democrats on the Committee had agreed with Burr’s finding that thus far, they had found no direct evidence of collusion.

The article concludes:

Over the past two years, broadcast evening news shows have spent more than 36 hours haranguing viewers about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Given their keen interest in the subject, you might expect a bipartisan group of investigators finding “no material evidence” of collusion to be newsworthy. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

And there are still some people who wonder why most Americans do not trust the mainstream media.

One Standard For Me, Another Standard For Thee

During the hearings for Justice Kavanaugh, there were charges that he was too political or too biased in one direction. The implication was that Supreme Court Judges should not be political. That is a reasonable standard, but is it applied evenly?

On Thursday, Newsbusters posted an article that included the following:

Despite acknowledging that she should not do so, on her current book tour United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor nevertheless waded into politicking, bashing both the Federal Government’s response to Hurricane María in Puerto Rico and exhorting Latino voters to go to the polls “to change this life for us Latinos.”

In separate interviews with Telemundo and Univision, Sotomayor’s partisan edge was evident. On its October 16 national evening newscast, Telemundo featured Sotomayor’s message as part of that network’s Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaign, currently being deployed in partnership with an array of politically liberal-aligned voter mobilization organizations (including Voto Latino, UnidosUS, Hispanic Federation and Mi Familia Vota).

…That same evening on Univision’s national evening newscast, Sotomayor was featured bashing the Federal Government’s massive response to Hurricane María in Puerto Rico. She even prefaced her criticism that “help…is not being received” by acknowledging she was wading into political matters.

…Evidently for Sotomayor, the fact that following Hurricane María Puerto Rico was the object of the largest disaster commodity federal response and the largest generator installation mission in U.S. history was not enough, nor was the fact that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development alone has allocated to Puerto Rico $20 billion in Community Development Block Grants, a figure more than twice the size of the U.S. Caribbean territory’s annual budget for its entire government.

At least Sotomayor was wise enough, during her interview with Univision, to remain diplomatic about fellow Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s recent arrival to the Court, saying that “Among colleagues there is always a welcome. He is a new member of our Court. We have to work with him and now we are beginning our new family. We work together, so let’s let this time pass.”

The problem in Puerto Rico was not the amount of aid–it was the corruption involved in distributing the aid.

On October 17th, USA Today reported:

FBI agents raided municipal offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, seizing documents and digital records as part of an investigation into fraud allegations related to the city government. 

Special agent in charge Douglas Leff said federal investigators are also looking into potential obstruction of the investigation. According to Leff, agents believe documents tied to the reported irregularities in the city’s purchasing procedures might have been taken from the building or falsified.

If Justice Sotomayor is going to get involved in politics, she should at least do us the courtesy of getting her facts right. The problem is not the Trump administration–it is the corruption in Puerto Rico.

Rewriting The Constitution As You Go Along

The mass hysteria over the idea that Judge Kavanaugh might be confirmed has gotten a little out of hand. On Thursday, Newsbusters posted an article about some comments by ABC’s Terry Moran.

The article reports:

While CBS was conceding that Brett Kavanaugh will probably make it onto the Supreme Court, ABC’s Terry Moran on Thursday fumed about how “millions of women” will feel “annihilated” if the Judge is confirmed. He also warned Kavanaugh not to rule against abortion or the high Court will lose “legitimacy.” 

Moran lamented, “I can’t imagine the feeling of the millions and millions of women, and others who found Dr. Ford very, very credible.” Conceding a Kavanaugh victory, the ABC journalist stooped to extreme hyperbole on female reaction: “If, as seems likely, Republicans are able to get… Judge Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court, they’re just going to feel annihilated inside.” 

But Moran wasn’t done. He lectured a potential future Supreme Court justice Kavanaugh: “Well, he had better take into that lifetime appointment a sense of the woundedness [sic] of so many people in the country.”

I mean, overturning Roe vs. Wade by an all-male majority, two of whom have had credible accusations of sexual misconduct lodged against them would not be a legitimate action. And that is the question of the court. Legitimacy. It has always had a high place in American, in the American popular opinion, and it could lose it if it loses legitimacy. 

Wow. Let’s just ignore the rule of law and do what I want.

There is nothing in Brett Kavanaugh’s professional history that confirms any of the allegations against him. It is possible that he drank too many beers in high school and college, but that should not disqualify him from the Supreme Court. He has obviously been an upstanding citizen during his adult life.

This is a quote from an article at Red State on September 26th:

In the early part of 1863, Major General Ulysses Grant was beset with difficulties and setbacks on his approach to the Vicksburg, MS. A group of his political foes visited President Abraham Lincoln and demanded Grant be superseded by one of the politician-generals that staggered about the military landscape of the Civil War. They topped the story by claiming Grant was a drunk (he actually was). Lincoln asked them what brand he drank because he wanted to send a barrel of it to his other generals.

If Brett Kavanaugh has accomplished more as a sloppy drunk than his critics have sober it tells us a lot more about the staff of the Washington Post and BuzzFeed “News” than it does about Brett Kavanaugh. Maybe they should take up drinking. Then maybe they could get their sh** together and act like adults.

I sincerely hope Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as a Supreme Court Judge.

The Double Standard Is Alive And Well In The Media

Newsbusters posted an article yesterday that illustrates that media bias is not anything new.

The article reports:

It’s always big news when a former associate of a President goes on trial, right? Well actually no.

When Bill Clinton’s Whitewater business partners Jim and Susan McDougal and the former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker were tried (and convicted) for conspiracy and fraud charges the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening news programs devoted (on average) just 36 seconds per night (March 3, 1996 – May 29, 1996) to the trial. This despite the fact that the then-sitting President offered video testimony during the court proceedings.   

In contrast, the trial of Donald Trump’s one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort – for charges in a tax fraud case that had nothing to do with President Trump or alleged Russian collusion –  averaged 2 minutes and 18 seconds per night (July 31 – August 21) on those same evening programs. This was at a rate almost 4x higher than network coverage of the 1996 trial. 

…In total ABC, CBS and NBC spent 51 minutes and 28 seconds in 87 days on the trial of Clinton’s business partners.

In contrast, ABC, CBS and NBC almost reached that total (50 minutes, 30 seconds) in just 22 days of coverage of the Manafort trial.

Let’s not forget the lack of reporting on President Obama’s close association with Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, and Bernadette Dorn.

The thing to remember in dealing with the 24/7 coverage of anything detrimental to President Trump is that the heyday of the power of the American press was Watergate–when they drove President Nixon from office. The would love to repeat that performance. For whatever reason, the mainstream press is unaware that attempting to drive a duly-elected President from power does not help the republic.

Surprising Sanity From The New York Times

The insanity of the political left has reached new heights in recent days, so it was a bit of a surprise when The New York Times posted a very rational article last night praising President Trump for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. Contrast this attitude with comments made by ABC’s Nightline before the nominee was named (from Newsbusters):

I suppose we should all be grateful that they at least corrected their initial statement.

At any rate, The New York Times article has a very rational suggestion about the hearings on Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment:

Fair questions would include inquiries not just about Judge Kavanaugh’s past writings and activities but also about how he believes various past notable judicial cases (such as Roe v. Wade) should have been decided — and even about what his current legal views are on any issue, general or specific.

Everyone would have to understand that in honestly answering, Judge Kavanaugh would not be making a pledge — a pledge would be a violation of judicial independence. In the future, he would of course be free to change his mind if confronted with new arguments or new facts, or even if he merely comes to see a matter differently with the weight of judgment on his shoulders. But honest discussions of one’s current legal views are entirely proper, and without them confirmation hearings are largely pointless.

The compromise I’m proposing would depart from recent confirmation practice. But the current confirmation process is badly broken, alternating between rubber stamps and witch hunts. My proposal would enable each constitutional actor to once again play its proper constitutional role: The Senate could become a venue for serious constitutional conversation, and the nominee could demonstrate his or her consummate legal skill. And equally important: Judge Kavanaugh could be confirmed with the ninetysomething Senate votes he deserves, rather than the fiftysomething votes he is likely to get.

A praiseworthy statement from The New York Times.

Ignoring The Obvious

It has been widely reported that the terrorist who ran over people with a truck yesterday afternoon shouted “Allahu Akbar!” I think that might be an indication of what his motives were.

Newsbusters posted a story today illustrating how some of the media chooses to overlook the obvious.

The article reports:

Just hours after news broke that a radical inspired by ISIS drove into a bikepath, killing eight people and injuring over a dozen others, MSNBC was already out deflecting blame from the radical religious ideology behind the attack. The network’s terrorism analyst, Malcolm Nance, defended Islam, saying it wasn’t responsible for Tuesday’s terror attack. He even brought Christianity into the mix, saying that sometimes Christians were responsible for terror.

 Hardball host Chris Matthews brought Nance into the conversation on Tuesday night’s program, asking him about the trend of terrorists using vehicles to go on their violent rampages. Nance responded that it was nothing new, and had been employed by terrorists in Israel dozens of times already.

I’m sorry, Mr. Nance, I don’t remember the last time Christians were responsible for terror. I know sometimes Christianity has been blamed for terror, but there is nothing in the Bible that condones terror. The Quran, on the other hand, has many verses that encourage the killing of infidels.

Mr. Nance then stated:

A few minutes later, the counter-terrorism expert again defended Islam and accused Christians of becoming radicalized terrorists as well:

I have been in the house of Osama Bin Laden in Jalalabad. I have seen the power of how he corrupted Islam and gotten an entire of multiple generations to follow what he believed. ISIS is just the fifth generation of that corrupt ideology. But then when you get down to the street level, you have these former petty criminals, these guys who were really sort of losers in their own society. Even Christians, we have seen Catholics in Canada who converted to quote on quote, Islam and carried out acts of terror. You see them do this and what you really see is a person who either has a mental defect or who has some loss or vacuum in their world, and they decide ISIS or Al-Qaeda ideology and those acts will validate them once and for all in their life.

It wasn’t their Catholic theology that encouraged them to become terrorists–it was the Islamic theology they converted to. Jihad, waging war on infidels, is part of Quranic Islam. We ignore that fact at our own risk.

The so-called counter-terrorism expect is lying. He is lulling Americans into a false sense of security by saying that Islam is not responsible for yesterday’s terrorist attack. It is time to begin to look at what is being taught in America’s mosques. Constitutionally we cannot interfere with anyone’s freedom of religion, but when that freedom becomes a vehicle to encourage terrorism, we need to know who is involved and what they are preaching.

 

 

Can This Be Fixed?

I have watched Fox News since it arrived on my cable system many years ago. I appreciated Brit Hume, Tony Snow, and watch Bret Baier. The discussion panels up until the past year have been informative and smart. There was also a reasonable balance of liberal and conservative points of view. Starting somewhere last year, there was a change. I am not a Trump supporter, but even I winced at some of the things said about Donald Trump during the week and on the weekend shows. The clips I heard from the other networks were no better. Well, today NewsBusters confirmed my suspicions.

An article posted at NewsBusters today contained the following graph:

SundayShowRoundtableThe article reports:

The difference between liberals and conservatives is still significant when you include anti-Trump GOP guests. While Fox and CNN had equal numbers of Republican and Democratic guests, ABC, CBS and NBC had nearly three times the number of liberal guests (36) compared to either pro or anti-Trump Republicans (13).

The purpose of having four participants is to encourage a wide variety of views in the discussion. By stacking these discussions with liberal journalists in addition to outright Hillary and Sanders surrogates, the networks are steering the narrative in a particular direction.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Face the Nation each only had one Trump supporter during that entire time period, meaning that they each had three out of four roundtable discussions with no representative of the presumptive GOP nominee. NBC’s Meet the Press only had two during that time period. This lack of Trump supporters remained unchanged during the Sunday shows on May 29, after Trump had clinched the 1,237 delegates needed to earn the GOP nomination. 

In contrast, CNN’s State of the Union hosted by Jake Tapper featured a Clinton Supporter, Sanders supporter, anti-Trump GOP guest and a Trump supporter consistently on all three of his shows which included panels (his show on May 29 consisted of an hour-long interview with Florida Senator Marco Rubio).

Each Sunday show broadcast had a roundtable discussion with four pundits or journalists, adding up to a total of 73 roundtable participants over a four week period between the five shows. The only exceptions were ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on May 8 which had five guests, CBS’s Face the Nation on May 8 which had eight guests, and CNN’s State of the Union on May 29 which did not have a roundtable discussion.

Over the course of four Sundays, there were 20 anti-Trump GOP roundtable participants: Alex Castellanos (twice), Rich Lowry, Bill Kristol, Ben Domenech, Jennifer Rubin, Russell Moore, Michael Gerson, Ramesh Ponnuru, Brit Hume (four times), Kimberley Strassel, George Will (twice), Ron Fournier, Amanda Carpenter and S.E. Cupp

During the same four weeks, there were nine pro-Trump participants: Tom Cole, Bill Bennett, Matt Schlapp, Kellyanne Conway (twice), Michael Needham, Jan Brewer, Andre Bauer and Marsha Blackburn.

So where do you go to become an informed voter? If you have an internet connection, you can go to alternative news sources. NewsBusters is a very good example of one. But that is not really the point. The media should not be cheerleaders–they should report the news as it is. If they have a bias, they should be open about it from the beginning. People who listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin understand that they are hearing the conservative point of view–first because they represent an informed audience, and second because the point of view of the show’s host is stated. I would love to see that sort of honesty from the mainstream media. The American voter is not informed, particularly the younger generation. They are not taught history in school, and they learn about current events through unreliable sources.

Thomas Jefferson understood the value of education. He stated, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Neither our schools nor our press is keeping the voting public informed. Unless that changes, the America we all love will be no more.

Quote Of The Week

From a Brent Bozell column at NewsBusters on September 22:

“One satirist put this hyperbole in perspective. Fouad Ajami recounted a mock Twitter statement by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, presently butchering his Muslim subjects.“Wow, it’s good that I’ve been killing women and children. It’s good I’ve been shelling mosques,” said the fake tweet. “Imagine what would have happened had I made an anti-Muslim video. They would have really come after me.””

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Unfortunate, But Necessary

Newsbusters is reporting tonight that the producer who created the altered recording of George Zimmerman’s 911 call has been fired. The network is refusing to name the producer, but has fired him.

The article reports:

The editing of the segment was initially noticed by NewsBusters, an arm of the Media Research Center, a conservative media monitoring group. On March 31, NBC told The Washington Post that it would investigate. […]

The people with direct knowledge of the firing characterized the misleading edit as a mistake, not a purposeful act.

I have no way of knowing whether the editing was done on purpose or whether it was accidental. I do know that it painted Mr. Zimmerman as a racist when there was no actual evidence to support that charge. Because of the way the tape was edited, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other professional racial complainers got involved in something that was totally the result of editing a tape in a way that was thoroughly misleading. Thank God for the fact that NewsBusters caught on to what was done and spoke up.

This story is another example of why we need the Internet. All media needs to be held accountable (even the Internet). Generally it is the Internet that holds the mainstream media accountable, but I am sure there are examples of the reverse.

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