Time Guilty of Journalistic Malfeasance Against Charles Koch

from Reason Magazine online,  Time Smears Charles Koch in Headline; Changes Headline, Still Misses His Point by Brian Doherty

What Charles Koch said:

“I think we can have growth rates in excess of 4%. When I’m talking about growth rates, I’m not talking about that GDP, which counts poison gas the same as it counts penicillin,” the 79-year-old industrialist said, veering off his prepared remarks. “What a monstrous measure this is. If we make more bombs, the GDP goes up — particularly if we explode them.”

Charles Koch is clearly talking about a better way to measure GDP.

The story read,  ”Charles Koch says U.S. can bomb its way to $100,000 salaries: Building bombs and using them is one way to growth, the billionaire suggests to allies.”

Time tried to correct their malfeasance with “Koch was making the broader point that economic growth compounds from year to year. A modest gain early pays greater dividends later. To that end, Koch is trying to make 4% a target for growth.” Clearly they still missed the point being made about the way GDP is measured.


This is journalistic malfeasance of the highest order. Out of blind bias or blatant ignorance Time takes words out of context to make Charles Koch into the textbook villain that the left maintains.

You may expect this from a a third rate blogger, but a professional outlet like Time should be ashamed.  The writer and an editor should be fired. At the least a formal apology should be made.  All we get is a notice at the end of the article: Note: The headline on this story has been updated to more accurately reflect the content of the article. 

This is shoddy journalism unworthy of a magazine of Time’s reputation.  It is becoming more common of media institutions with no intellectual diversity; another way of saying they work in a bubble. It is the reason that so much of the media has lost so much respect.

The original headline was, ”Charles Koch says U.S. can bomb its way to $100,000 salaries: Building bombs and using them is one way to growth, the billionaire suggests to allies.”

This headline makes a side comment out of context the subject of the article. A much better headline would read, “ Charles Koch believes a true 4% growth is attainable.” This is really the central theme of his address. But Time clearly prefers to demonize and play to the sinister narrative of Koch than accurately report what he said.

If you go to the story now, it has the less blatantly maligning head: “Charles Koch Mocks Common Measure of Prosperity.”

Even that is misleading. Why not “ Military spending distorts GDP according to Koch.”  It is far more accurate but less demonizing of Koch, which seems to be their greater purpose. But as a headline even that is an inaccurate portrayal of Koch’s address.


Validating Trump

from Townhall Kurt Schlicter, We Should Cheer CNN’s Ritual Suicide

The media babbles about “principles,” but as soon as they become inconvenient then out the window go those precious “principles.” A silly wrestling gif supporting the president “promotes violence against the media,” but a week before that funding a play where President Trump is stabbed to death was artful political commentary? That’s my objection to all this recent “principles” talk. They are never actually promoting “principles.” It is always a scam and a pose designed to stop other people from acting in, or defending, their own interests. These “principles” never, ever require the people allegedly holding them to not act in, or defend, their interests.

CNN has all sorts of “principles” it uses to bludgeon its opponents, none of which ever seem to limit CNN’s own actions. How convenient.

Normal Americans are receptive to Trump’s attacks on the media because they hate the mainstream media too. They are now woke to the unarguable fact that the mainstream media is almost entirely composed of liberal activists who hate normal people and who see absolutely nothing wrong with using their platform to aggressively promote a leftist agenda, all while presenting themselves as non-partisan public servants.

It’s all a lie, and we know it, and beyond the hate directed at us, having the hypocrisy of it rubbed in our faces is even more galling. You know, if you want the prestige and honor due a nonpartisan, objective truth teller, you need to actually be a nonpartisan, objective truth teller. If you won’t do the hard work of doing that, then you don’t get the benefit. You want respect? Try earning it.

Perhaps the best part of all of this is the indisputable fact that CNN’s own actions have validated every bad thing Trump has ever said about the lying media.

When the media takes a side, it makes the other side its enemy. That’s a conscious choice. And CNN seems happy to help feed the fire by embracing its liberal fascist id.


You cannot accuse Kurt of excess restraint.

Journalistic Malpractice on Russia

“Read the declassified report by the intelligence community that came out in early January,” said (Hillary) Clinton. “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement – which I know from my experience as a senator and secretary of state is hard to get – they concluded with ‘high confidence’ that the Russians ran an extensive information war against my campaign to influence voters in the election.”[1]

Senator Al Franken and Joe Biden repeated the 17 Agency consensus myth even though Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper  corrected it. Only three agencies” were directly involved in the assessment, “plus my office,” Clapper told Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).[2]

From the Washington Examiner, A rather large New York Times correction:

To be fair to the paper, however, it’s important to note the Department of Homeland Security, the ODNI and the FBI issued a joint statement on Oct. 7, 2016, announcing Russia was responsible for the hacking of email accounts belonging to Democratic National Committee staffers and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. However, unlike the Jan. 6 assessment, which the Times referenced specifically, the U.S. intelligence community did not at that time conclude that the hacks were done for the benefit of Trump.

Lastly, even before Clapper testified in May, the claim that all 17 intelligence agencieswere in agreement should have raised red flags for the Times and others. The U.S. intelligence community is comprised of 17 separate groups, including the Department of the Treasury, the CIA, the FBI, Army Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence, the DNI, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA and the Department of State. Also included are the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Energy and the Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy Intelligence groups.

What role would the Coast Guard have played in drafting an assessment stating the Russians interfered in the election to help Trump?

The partisan noise has combined three Russian scenarios into one weak accusation.  Hacking into Hillary’s and John Podesta’s e-mails is one act. Whatever the political purpose of this is questionable. It is ironic that while excuses were made by her supporters for her reckless handling of her e-mail server,  it was the same recklessness that led to her being hacked. The revelations that sunk Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile may have invaded their privacy, but the truth from these revelations was never doubted.

The second accusation was Russia’s attempt to influence the election process itself. This could mean tampering with voting machines or the voter registration list. Apparently there were signs of attempts to hack the process, but they were unsuccessful. There was no consensus or indication that they had any impact on the voting tabulation.

The third accusation which gets the most attention and also seems to have the least credibility is that Trump was intentionally colluding with the Russians to influence the election.

Perhaps the Russians just wanted to created havoc and discord. Perhaps they succeeded. We have also tried to influence elections. Obama threatened Britain with trade restrictions if they voted for Brexit and he blatantly tried to influence the Israeli elections.

Alan Dershowitz has criticized the Russia investigation because it is presuming a crime before it has enough facts. It should be conducted as a hearing to gather information, not gathering evidence in a closed format with a presumption of guilt.

The CNN retraction and the James O’Keefe sting show that when rage trumps (pun intended) judgment, the truth is the first victim.  The partisan bubble that infects major new outlets provides an environment for political advocacy rather than objective journalism.

This reckless disregard for quality journalism only empowers and enables Trump.


The Age of Unreason

from Daniel Henninger at the WSJ Political Disorder Syndrome:

Social media—a permanent marinade for the human brain—is causing a vast, mysterious transformation of how people process experience, and maybe someday a future B.F. Skinner will explain what it has done to us.

Impossible to miss, though, is how jacked up emotional intensity has become in American politics. The campaign rallies of both Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders often sat on the edge of violence. Reporters describe political town hall meetings as full of “angry” voters. Shouting down the opposition in these forums or on campus has been virtually internalized as standard behavior. Refusal to reason is the new normal. And then the unreason is euphemized as free speech.

We negotiate much of daily life now in tense, parallel universes: One is overflowing with individual political and social behavior that is deviant—flights from the norm—at a time when broader norms of political and social behavior are enforced with a vengeance. Today you can get shamed, sued or fired for almost any conceivable offense.

Why Social Media is a Sucker for Bad Reporting

By Henry Oliner

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Winston Churchill

While attributed to Churchill this quote has a history before his time, but imagine how today’s social media magnifies this axiom.

The New York Times published Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants.  The message is clear, but the data is so selective and misleading.

The complete data reported that “39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.”  The net result is that there is no meaningful change.  Reporting the first number without the other two is grossly misleading.

And this is the New York Times, the bastion of responsible journalism.

It is no great revelation that we filter the news to match our narrative of the world, but the social media is such a viral tool that it makes fools of many. The more outlandish the claim that supports our view, the quicker we are to ‘share’ and ‘retweet’.

Recently the Washington Post (another bastion of responsible journalism) published a story about the lack of affordable housing for the poor in Here’s how much you would need to afford rent in your state by Tracy Jan.  Fortunately, Kevin Williamson at National Review points out the statistical fallacy in using the median price of housing and comparing it to the lowest end of the income scale.  By the same logic the middle class cannot afford housing in the Hamptons.

It is hard to be sympathetic to the media who are so offended at the charge of ‘fake news’ when they engage is such misleading media malpractice, almost always in a single political direction. I find patience difficult for the fools on social media who so quickly parrot such poorly vetted news.  “Wow! This proves my incredibly self-righteous, virtue signaling, morally superior, intellectually valid views: Quick! Share! Repost! “

It is endless. One post blamed inequality on Reagan’s tax cut.  Did they consider that because of the personal tax RATE cut that many C-Corporations converted to Subchapter S corporations? This shifted income from the corporate reporting to the personal tax returns showing a jump in personally reported income, but not a real net change. Likewise, the inflationary 70’s led to many investments in inflation hedges not reflected in reportable financial statements (gold coins).  When Volcker succeeded in conquering inflation these assets flowed into reportable 1099s.

Inequality is also a by-product of women’s rise in income. In the old days a wealthy executive married a women with less income. Now that women make up half of accountants, lawyers, doctors, PhD candidates, MBAs, they are more likely to seek marriage to a high paid male.  Guess what that does to household income? In “The Inequality Trap: Fighting Capitalism Instead of Poverty” author William Watson calculates that this trend alone may account for 26% of the rise of inequality.

Inequality measurements are distorted by several other factors: measuring households instead of individuals (a lot of high household income has two wage earners) , measuring income before taxes and transfer payments, picking selective time periods to exaggerate changes, the impact of a small number of super wealthy, and the inability to track changes in quality of life.  A better measure may be to track consumption which bypasses these distortions.

Before you quickly abide the fans of Thomas Piketty and his Capital in The Twenty First Century or The Economics of Inequality you may want to digest his critics, which are numerous and illuminating.

It may also be that inequality may be less important outside of academic and pundit circles than mobility and absolute levels of poverty. Some of the poorest countries have low levels of measurable inequality.

The point is that the subject is much more complicated than most are willing to accept. Even the most respected journalist are seduced more by the political angle than accuracy and open mindedness.  This travesty is multiplied thousands of times on the social media by the lazy who read for confirmation rather than information.

These are just a sample of such misleading news items. The health insurance debate constantly used a figure of 46 million uninsured; a number inflated by including foreign visitors, prisoners, people who qualified for existing programs who failed to register, and the relative wealthy young who chose to pay as needed.  When Obama signed the ACA he spoke of the thirty million who would now have coverage. I always wondered what happened to the other 16 million?

Rarely is the 97% consensus on AGW ever subjected to minimal statistical scrutiny; precisely what is the precise agreement on the consensus and what group or subgroup of scientists is included ro not included  in the consensus?  Maybe there is a man caused climate problem, but a 97% consensus on a topic of such scientific complexity and political controversy is subject to contain a substantial self-confirming bias.

My advice, which I am certain few will head:

  • Drastic changes are rare.  Life tends to regress to the mean.
  • The more outrageous the claim, the likelier it is that a relevant piece of the story is missing.
  • Professional political pundits are likely to be wrong. (I remain an amateur, and I am still usually wrong.)
  • The more hostile to dissent, the greater the moral outrage, the weaker the argument.
  • The most respected media sources are far from immune to bias.
  • The very character of social media making the quick proliferation of bad information so easy and accessible, renders it more of liability than a value. It is best to ignore.
  • Remember these words of wisdom : ‘Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions’. (GWB)


another case of misleading stats; How Much Did Poverty Rise Under Reagan:

This is from a Jeff Madrick article on poverty in America, in the New York Review of Books:

The poverty rate has been as low as 11.1 percent, in the 1970s; it rose under Ronald Reagan to approximately 15 percent and then fell to about 13 percent before rising again, then fell again under Bill Clinton to 11.3 percent before rising in the 2000s.I see this all the time, and I find it really annoying. In a very technical sense this is true, but I’m going to present more complete data, and you tell me whether it’s misleading.

The poverty rate was 11.6% when Carter took office in 1977. The poverty rate rose to 14% in 1981, when Reagan took office. The poverty rate fell to 12.8% in 1989, when Reagan left office.

So how can the NYR of Books say “it rose under Reagan to approximately 15 percent”? That’s because in Reagan’s second year there was a very serious recession, and the poverty rate reached 15%. But the NYR of Books creates the impression that it rose during the 8 years that Reagan was in office, which is simply not true. Poverty fell under Reagan. it was Jimmy Carter who presided over a surge in poverty.