Discuss Among Yourselves

from Matthew Continetti at National Review, Pop Goes the Liberal Media Bubble

What passes for news today is speculation and advocacy, wishful thinking and self-fashioning, mindless jabber and affirmations of virtue, removed from objective reality and common sense. The content is intended not for the public but for other media. In a recent interview with Peter J. Boyer about her institution’s study of press coverage of Trump, Amy Mitchell said, “One of the things that was interesting to see was that, while the topic of the news media was not a huge percentage of overall coverage, journalists were both the second most common source type as well as the second most common ‘trigger’ of the stories.” The CNN anchors aren’t talking to you. They are talking to one another.

The conversations that journalists in New York and D.C. and L.A. trigger among themselves have very little to do with the conversations between most people, in most places, at most times. The conversations are self-referential, self-sustaining, self-validating, and selfishly concern one topic: the president of the United States. That may be why his critics in the press are so fixated on his tweets. Twitter is his way of talking back. It’s how he pops the liberal media bubble.


Media bias is partially how they cover, but largely what they choose to cover, and not choose.  The media lost credibility long before Trump.  Every lefty who has demonized Fox News has engaged in the same disrespect for the press that they accuse Trump of.

Blinded by Outrage

from Matthew Continetti at National Review, Pop Goes the Liberal Media Bubble

The other day, for example, Bob Schieffer observed on Face the Nation that one in five journalists live in New York, D.C., or Los Angeles. The news is manufactured by residents of the liberal bubble, where conservatives are few and far between (and certainly do not sound like Sarah Palin), jobs are plenty, education is high, and the benefits of globalization manifest in cheap prices, exotic restaurants, and a reserve labor force of cleaners, contractors, and home-care specialists. Can’t say I was shocked when Schieffer’s finding passed barely noticed, the consciences of the press untroubled by the fact that their experiences and backgrounds are so unlike the majority of the public whose interest they presume to uphold.

Trump does not change, but his critics in the media have. Their feelings of revulsion toward him have deepened. Their eagerness to oppose him has become more acute. The scope of their vision has constricted to include only Trump: what he says, tweets, and does. The context in which he operates is invisible to them. When he raises the question of what the ultimate outcome of the removal of Confederate statues might be, the critics slag him as a racist, but do not dwell for long on polling that shows him to be in the center of public opinion. When he voices what many have felt about the politicization of the NFL and the attack on the flag and national anthem, the critics say he is being divisive and insensitive. But why is it always Trump who is being divisive, and not those who say the flag and anthem are symbols of white supremacy, and who raise fists in the black-power salute?


Trump and the Press

Trump has been accused of racism and pandering to the Alt Right. However much his Charlottesville response may have failed to isolate its criticism of the white supremacists at the rally, he has little motivation to be loyal to this faction. Their voting power is vastly overrated by the left, and they remain toxic and isolated by most of the right.  Trump’s crime is more that he refused to humble himself to the politically correct that is addicted to identity politics.  With a Jewish daughter and influential son in law it strains any common sense that he seeks to placate racism or anti-Semitism.

“White supremacist” is hurled so commonly that it has become meaningless. Any speaker from the right on any campus venue is thus labeled.  It ignores great strides made by minorities since the Civil Rights era and insults every voter who tilted right. One does not recover from the humiliating loss of Hillary Clinton by insulting those who rejected her.

But the more challenging charge against Trump is the authoritarianism he espouses. In the short book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century the author Timothy Snyder illuminates several common authoritarian traits of Trump and Hitler.  Typically, Hitler comparisons end rational discussion and are used to end debates, but a few of these are worth addressing.

The willingness to make untrue statements is worrisome. More worrisome is the willingness to accept them, or to discount them when they are legitimately refuted.  But accepting false information that fits a narrative is certainly not limited to one man or one political tribe.  Perhaps the false information is not just an easily proven falsehood, but one that is intentionally misleading by reporting only a part of the story. We may be as mistaken from accepting that information deemed ‘partially true’ from the fact checking services than we would be by accepting a statement that is demonstrably false. Because part of the truth is more widely accepted, it may cause more harm.

Trump’s assault of the press also gets Snyder’s attention. Trump may threaten the press and he may refer to them as a monolithic evil, but there is a distinction to be made between a responsible and a free press.  Unverified stories that had to be retracted by CNN and others only give Trump’s accusations credibility.

Attacks on the press did not begin with Trump.   Obama disparaged and attacked Fox News as blatantly as anything Trump has advocated and took steps to investigate a journalist from Fox in 2013. To all those on the left who loved to call Fox News Faux News; how are you any different from Trump?  Is it only OK to attack the media that challenges your narrative?

From The New York Times in 2009.

Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.

The press has inserted themselves as a partisan into the political fray long before Trump.  Trump has refused to ignore their partisanship and has responded far more aggressively.  The war with the press is not a one-sided affair.

An objective press is critical, but Trump’s attacks are not Hitleresque. He has not threatened to shut down the press and this country would never stand for it.  Snyder ignores the substantial differences between the division of powers in the United States and Nazi Germany.  Trump should be a lesson in the genius of our government structure.

It is this kind of hyperbole that marginalizes the press more than any attack from Donald Trump.  Rage has trumped their professional standards as they rushed unverified stories that fit their narrative.

To draw a similarity between Trump and other authoritarian figures is seductive, but it clouds reality and averts the other side of the issue; the lapse in professional ethics from the media.

Snyder’s characterization of Trump’s comments about the press is way out of context.  Trump should be challenged and skepticism should reign, but we should also challenge the press to be the objective source of truth and verifiability that we used to expect of them.

Marginalized Knee Jerk Journalism

from Matthew Continetti at National Review, Pop Goes the Liberal Media Bubble

There is still excellent journalism. I would point, for starters, to the work on charter flights that led to the resignation of Tom Price. But the overall tone of coverage of this president and his administration is somewhere between the hysterical and the lunatic. Journalists are trapped in a condition of perpetual outrage, seizing on every rumor of discontent and disagreement, reflexively denouncing Trump’s every utterance and action, unable to distinguish between genuinely unusual behavior (the firing of Comey, the tenure of Anthony Scaramucci, the “fine people on both sides” quip after Charlottesville) and the elements of Trump’s personality and program that voters have already, so to speak, “priced in.” Supposedly authoritative news organizations have in one case taken up bizarre mottoes, like “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” and in another acted passive-aggressively by filing Trump stories under “entertainment,” only to re-categorize the material as news with the disclaimer (since dropped) that Trump is “a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, and birther.” The mode of knee-jerk disgust not only prevents the mainstream media from distinguishing between the genuinely interesting stories and the false, partisan, and hackwork ones. It also has had the effect of further marginalizing print and broadcast journalists from middle America.


Obama and his supporters demonized Foxnews.  How is that any different from the comments Trump is making. Rage has comprised much of what used to pass for standards in journalism. The distrust of the media began long before Trump.

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.