Archive for category Media Bias

Getting Your News From Facebook

There’s a reason I have a healthy Feedly portfolio.  Getting your news from Facebook can be hazardous to your knowledge.

Sunday morning, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared on Meet the Press, and was asked – predictably – about gay marriage.  Here are two FB posts from two of my friends, one libertarian, and one a social conservative:




Neither FB friend was happy with what Walker allegedly had to say.

In fact, the reporting on both is shoddy, short, and lazy.

Taken separately, the comments appear to have come from two completely different people, and the headlines aren’t even reflective of the articles that they accompany.  (Click here for the City Pages article, here for the Hill report.)

Taken together, they form a coherent, reasonable response to a trap question.  Walker says, in effect, that he doesn’t want to get distracted by the question, he doesn’t think it’s important to most people, but that for people who are worried about the Supreme Court’s decision, there are a couple of routes they could take – a Constitutional amendment, or having the states back out of the marriage license business altogether, acting as a recorder.  Neither of those courses requires any sort of presidential action – Constitutional amendments do not require presidential signatures, and state-level action on marriage is obviously not a federal issue.  And indeed, Walker doesn’t actually endorse either course of action.

On the whole, it seems an admirable response, especially after 6 1/2 long years of a president who not only has an opinion about everything, but a desire to incorporate that opinion into the Federal Register.

But reading the headlines alone, you’d never know that.  And with FB’s increasingly silo-friendly algorithms, you’d likely never even know that the other article existed.

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Sooner or later, the press will have to cover this story.  If you ask them, they’ll say that either it’s not an important story, or that it’s too complex and fluid a story to be responsibly reported this close to an election.  The breathtaking hypocrisy of this position aside, they refuse (with certain noted exceptions, Kyle Clark) to even ask the questions.

If there’s no story there, if the administration really does have satisfactory answers to who knew what when, then the story will go away upon being reported on.  And even if the administration refuses to answer those question, stonewalls, or dissembles, that would be valuable information in and of itself.

Benghazi is not just an election issue.  It’s certainly legitimate fodder for the campaign, as is just about anything that happens.  But it’s not Quemoy and Matsu, or Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets, the kind of thing that gets remainderd after the election, because it’s a policy decision to be decided, or a triviality to be forgotten.  It will be remembered, and it will be investigated.  It can cripple an administration, forcing it to spend time dealing with the investigation, and forcing out the president’s preferred advisers as they lose the confidence of Congress and the public.  And while real problems fester, the partisan nature of such an investigation will make it harder to cooperate on (assuming the Democrats are interested in such).

So they’ll have that to answer for, too.

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Polls You Won’t See On the MSM

The absurd over-sampling of Democrats has been one of the MSM’s favorite tools during the campaign, no doubt believing that they can resurrect the “inevitability” meme of other campaigns in the service of Obama’s re-election.  As Pat Caddell has pointed out, not only are they commissioning polls that seem to produce the desired result, they’re spending a lot of time and effort trumpeting the ones that support their favored narrative.  So in the interests of balance, here is some evidence that things are moving in Romney’s direction.

First, in Virginia, two new likely-voter polls have Obama up by 2, not by the larger margins earlier reported.

And in Pennsylvania, a new poll commissioned by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has Obama up by 2, not by the double-digits or high single-digits that we’ve seen recently.  If true, this would be a shocking result, and one that would call into question Pennsylvania’s status as a safe Obama state.

Now in the interests of fairness, we should point out that the internals of this one are more favorable to Republicans that voter registration numbers would suggest.  The poll has 50% Dems, and 43% Republicans, which, according to the latest voter registration numbers from the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, significantly over-sample Republicans.  Actual voters registration is 50% Dem, 37% Rep, 7% Independent, and 6% Other, so the poll essentially ends up assigning all the Other to the Republican category.  Since the “Other” contains Libertarians, Greens, Constitution Party, and others, it’s probably more reasonable to assign that 50-50 in a two-race, which would put Obama up by 5 rather than 2.

That said, assuming this isn’t the R-leaning outlier we’ve all been waiting for, a significant result.   If combined with the Virginia polls, suggests that either the campaign may be moving back to the status quo ante the conventions, and means that contrary to our doomsayers and their cheerleaders, this isn’t over yet by a long shot.

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Still catching up from the New England trip.  Today was the Ceremonial Marking of the Maps.  It’s something I enjoy doing tremendously, marking out the routes that we took.  I usually end up doing it twice – once on the large US map, and once on the individual AAA maps.  If you like driving, the roads you’ve driven are sort of an archive unto themselves.  2001: the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon coast.  1997, and then 1999 again: The Loneliest Road in America across Nevada.  2011: A helluva lot of Nebraska.  2012: The Grand Tour of New England.  You can’t really get to know a place by driving through it once, which it why great photographers often make a career out of one state.  But you can get a little sense of the lay of the land, see what you missed, and plan the next trip.

As for the photographs, I’m still working on those.  Posted a bunch of them to Facebook, but a two-week excursion into the Far Northeast deserves a section on The Site, not just a Facebook album.  Of course, you could say the same thing about Nebraska.

In the meantime, maybe someone needs to get the working press a map to what happened in Benghazi, and then perhaps they can politely ask for their manhood back from whatever jar Jay Carney is keeping it in.  I realize that what we used to affectionately call the MSM thinks that this time, they really show us who’s boss.  They thought they had done that during Katrina, when they finally got their revenge for being thwarted in the 2004 election.  (You remember 2004, don’t you?  The year that the Tiffany Network teamed up with 42nd Street to foist a false-document hoax on the public to unseat a sitting President?)  It must be tiring for them, having to do this over and over again.

I have a very old friend, a White House reporter for a newspaper you’ve probably heard of.  He wrote a piece a few days after the September 11 attacks this year, parroting the administration line about the whole thing being, as Mark Steyn put it, film criticism that got out of hand.  I wrote him a brief email, asking him how he could write this as fact, when it was clear, even then, that at a minimum, the attack in Libya didn’t have anything to do with the video, and that the video’s connection to the rest of what was going on was word-of-mouth and tenuous at best.  He replied that “the intel guys didn’t have indications of premeditation.”  Um, the intel guys were lying to you, my friend.  Now that is a story in its own right.  Count on it to be written sometime after January 21, 2017.

But just in case anyone in the briefing room wants to turn in their claim check on the family jewels, Bill Hobbs has helpfully put together a road map of the administration’s handling of this year’s September 11:

Fact: The Obama administration required our ambassador in Libya to be “protected” by “security” people who had no bullets in their guns.

Fact: The Obama administration was forewarned of the possibility of a terrorist attack against the U.S. in Libya days before 9/11/12. Fact: The Obama administration made zero changes to the security measures taken to protect our ambassador and defend our embassy and consulate.

Fact: the terrorist attack the Obama administration was warned was likely did in fact happen.

Fact: Our ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

Fact: For two weeks, the Obama administration continued to insist that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a spontaneous riot of a mob angry about a YouTube video – when it KNEW that American intelligence services had determined within 24 hours that the attack was clearly a pre-planned, sophisticated terrorist attack.

Fact: Obama went to sleep the night of the attack while the ambassador was missing – and a four-hour terrorist assault was underway.

Fact: The morning after the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11/01, attack, Obama went to Las Vegas to campaign.

Fact: There NEVER WAS an angry mob rioting outside the Benghazi consulate.

Fact: The Obama administration sent our UN Ambassador onto FIVE different news programs last Sunday to lie and claim the attack on the embassy was an out of control mob – when the administration already knew it was a terrorist attack.

Fact: While the Obama administration claims the attack is “under investigation,” 16 days after the attack, FBI agents have not even gone to Benghazi.

Fact: The most significant piece of information found at the scene of the attack – Ambassador Stevens’ diary – was found by a CNN news crew.

Fact: Entries in that diary strongly suggest that Stevens had been warned he was the target of an impending attack.

Fact: The Obama administration, confronted with the contents of Stevens’ diary, chose instead to talk about whether CNN violated journalistic ethics by reporting from the diary.

Fact: In his UN speech yesterday, Obama continued to pretend that outrage over a YouTube video is what caused the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans at the Benghazi consulate

As much as I would like to have the luxury of this just being about media bias, there’s an election coming up, and the primary victims of journalistic malfeasance are going to be the voters, who will be confronted at some point with the fact that their government is taking them for fools, who probably already know that, but will never actually have that knowledge confirmed by so much as an editorial in their newspapers.  Somewhere down the line, the official story will change from “riots over a video,” to “terrorist attack,” and by then it will already be old news, so the change will go unnoticed, and Oceania will always have been at war with East Asia.  Which is what happens when an administration can conduct neither defense nor diplomacy.

It can’t do it because its thinking is a muddle, and its moral compass always seems to be operating near Iron Mountain.

As usual, it is left to Benjamin Netanyahu to provide both a conscience and clarity.  That bomb chart with the red line was simply brilliant, mostly because it was brilliant in its simplicity.  Naturally, the wags have been all over it, using the bomb’s blank interior as a canvas.  Here’s my favorite:

Anything that simplifies can be mocked. But it will mostly be mocked in Israel, where an open society can always make fun of its leaders, and nobody actually can afford to take the threat lightly. Netanyahu’s a big boy with a thick skin, and can take such lampooning easily, knowing he reached his target audience with clarity, two things Obama seems incapable of.

When we were kids, we used to try to make up different planets, and then game out world conquest.  But at one point, a friend of mine, I think the same one who’s the White House correspondent, said that they new maps were superfluous, because earth already had so many strategic choke points and such interesting terrain.  Right now, we’re worried about Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz.  But consider what happens when the Suez Canal is no longer a sure thing, and the Mediterranean coast of Africa starts bristling with anti-ship missiles with the names of our carriers on them.

These are deeply serious times, and we have a deeply unserious administration governing, and a deeply unserious press not covering them, but covering for them.


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About That Battleground States Poll

The MSM is making much of this morning’s Quinnipiac/NY Times/CBS poll allegedly showing President Obama moving ahead in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  This poll should carry more weight, since it is a poll of likely voters, probably identified by whether or not they voted last time, and whether or not they voted in the primary.  But as is often the case with MSM polls, the internals belie the conclusions.

The poll shows President Obama leading Governor Romney 50-44 in Ohio, 53-42 in Pennsylvania, and 51-45 in Florida.

Obama actually won these states 51-47, 54-44, and 51-48, respectively.  That in itself should raise some suspicion.  I don’t know of any other significant polls that show Obama running ahead of where he did in 2008.  Nationally, he won by 7 points, and Rasmussen’s daily likely-voter poll has shown only occasional movement from a 47-44 Romney advantage.  I suppose it’s possible that concentrated saturation-bombing could move polls in individual states, but I’ve seen such tactical strategies in the past, and they almost always come from losing campaigns.

The other odd number is how people claim to have voted in 2008.  These are, respectively, 53-38, 54-40, and 53-40, or +11, +4, and +10 vs. how those states actually went.  Even assuming people moved around, the numbers for Ohio and Florida are huge, and the number for Pennsylvania is still significant.  While people are more likely to remember themselves as having voted either for a winner, or for their current preference, even if they voted the other way, it’s hard to believe these are representative of the people likely to vote in this election.

Lord knows, I’ve been wrong about polls before.  Tomorrow morning at Denver’s First Thursday Breakfast, pollster Floyd Ciruli – a Democrat, but you’d never know his party affiliation from his commentaries – will be speaking.  I’ll ask him about these conjectures then, and report what he has to say.

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Obama Wins, 9% – 42%

The last jobs report was about as bad as it could have been without actually putting us back in recession.  A downward revision of April’s job creation, coupled with a May net of 69,000 wasn’t even enough to keep the unemployment rate flat.  The last 27 months of anemic growth have let the rate drift down only because massive numbers of Americans are giving up looking.

Almost everyone who was paying attention knows this was a bad report.  A Gallup poll had 9% of people calling it positive – probably people who think anything not negative is good, or people who found jobs – while 42% called it negative to some degree.  Ten percent had no opinion, and 40% called it “mixed,” which is pretty much the “no opinion” for people who don’t want to admit they weren’t paying attention.

Naturally, Postblogger Ezra Klein runs a piece headlined: “Most Americans didn’t think the last jobs report was bad news.”  It’s true that the number of people who think things are getting worse hasn’t gotten worse, and the additional 3% who think rate it “poor” is pretty much statistical noise.

But people can go a long time before realizing that changes are permanent.  In the mid-90s, I worked for a while in Johnston, Pennsylvania, and many people talked about how they were waiting “for the Mill to come back.”  The Mill had been closed for many years, and wasn’t coming back, that, or any other century.

The economy can tread water for a long time, not getting better or worse, slogging along an a Euro-stupor, or a sushi-style lost decade.  People won’t necessarily rate things as getting worse, even though they know they’re not getting any better.

But that doesn’t make losing 9-42 any less of a loss.


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Incuriousness From The Washington Post

In a generally upbeat assessment of how Muslims feel about America, and about their place in it, the Washington Post drops this bit about how American Muslims feel about the job their own clergy is doing in fighting radicalism:

The Pew study found that six in 10 U.S.-born Muslims faulted Islamic leaders for not speaking out against extremism, as did 43 percent of Muslim immigrants.

Officials with Muslim advocacy groups say that they have spoken out repeatedly against extremists but that the American public, including Muslims, often doesn’t hear about it.

“Our reach in terms of community awareness of our programs promoting moderation is not where we’d like it to be,” said Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, the nation’s largest Muslim group.

I do think it’s heartening that the American-born Muslims are more likely to expect more out of their leaders in this regard.  (It’s hard to know what goes on in any individual mosque, and it’s unclear what leaders the survey is referring to, so I can’t really comment on the absolute numbers.)  And we’re not just talking about public statements.  Muslims leaders should also be in a position to do due diligence on overseas charities and their representatives that go on fundraising swings here in the States.

But that line about the ISNA is rich in irony.  The Islamic Society of North America – it goes unmentioned by the Post remains an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case, which involved coordination among a number of high-profile American Muslim organization to funnel money to Hamas, in violation of American law and fundamental civilizational principles.  That coordination was organized and facilitated by the Muslim Brotherhood, that well-known, largely secular group.

So the ISNA, which aided and abetted the murder of Jews overseas, just can’t understand why people don’t think they’re moderate enough

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The 49th Parallel

How many states can be 49th?  Let us count the ways.

A few years ago, my friend Ben DeGrow noticed that whenever the subject of budget restraint touched on public education, the state teachers union would immediately make one of two claims: either the state was 49th in school spending, or would be after the change was made.

You’ll notice that I declined to name the state in question just now.  That’s because this claim was being made, simultaneously, all over the country by various Education Associations.  Apparently, we are all 49th now.

Nebraska, welcome to the club:

Two of the state’s largest public employee unions gave a hearty thumbs down Monday to a new proposal generated by state business groups to reform the state’s much criticized labor court, the Commission of Industrial Relations.

Officials who represent state K-12 teachers and state employees said the new plan would “eviscerate” collective bargaining and force down public employees’ wages as much as 15 percent.

Karen Kilgarin, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska State Education Association, said the plan would put Nebraska at 49th in the nation in teachers’ salaries.

First of all, there’s the obvious question of who’s 50th.  I mean, if you’re the least bit skeptical about this claim, you’d think that would be the first thing you’d ask, if only so that you could have a good laugh at their expense when you were filing your story.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Wisconsin – A Retrospective

While it remains to be seen if the public sector unions in Wisconsin can (re)build a political movement based on coercion and extortion, it’s worth remembering that they’d have no chance of doing so without help from their friend in the working press.  Let’s a take a little trip down memory lane, so close it almost seems like yesterday:

Walker = Hitler + Mubarak

Walker = Nazism

Another Party Crushed the Unions

Attack FreedomWorks’ Tabitha Hale

Door Panel Smashed In

Damage to Door Handles

Protesters re-take the Wisconsin Capitol

Wisconsin GOP Senator Glenn Grothman chased, trapped by hecklers, saved by Dem. Rep. Brett Hulsey

Wisconsin Union Wisconsin Republican senators leave through secret tunnel after march 9th vote

Chances are, unless you were reading Ann Alhouse’s blog or Instapundit you didn’t know about much of this. That, combined with the national media blackout on the death threats against Wisconsin Republicans, and the protestors who’ve taken to taking down license plate numbers of their political opponents, constitutes the sort of propaganda that money literally can’t buy.

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Kudos to Shawn Mitchell and Ted Harvey for voting against Ellen Golombek to head the State Department of Labor and Employment.  After all, it’s what she advocated when opposing Bill Owens’s appointment of Vicki Armstrong in 1999.

But the Denver Post story more or less missed the point.  Again.  Not all unions are created equal.  She headed up the state AFL-CIO, sure.  But that’s an organization that’s been declining in membership and importance for pretty my entire lifetime.  It did damage in its day, but can do far less now, given than less than 7% of the private workforce is unionized.  There’s a case to be made against unions in general, but that case has been already been won.

Golombek is far more dangerous because of her political strategizing as the SEIU’s director of government affairs, which goes completely unmentioned in the Post report.  Public employees can do valuable work, but their unions are designed to use your tax dollars to pick negotiating partners willing to make you work until 70 so they can retire at 55.

Colorado WINS’s efforts to unionize state employees have thus far been a bust.  Expect them to get a boost from political advocates with their hands on the levers.

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