by baldilocks

I’m a prideful person. Because I recognize the insidious way that I’ve allowed pride to wreak havoc in my life, I talk about the effects of pride at lot.

It’s almost like the dry drunk who preaches against the evils of Demon Rum. I say almost because it’s easier for a recovering alcoholic to keep away from the booze than it is for pride junkies to keep pride out of our lives.

For everyone, pride is always lurking about, trying to disguise itself as something good and moral in order to have its way in a person’s life. Some people are more prone to it than others, as is so for every other sin/character flaw.

I noticed it flare up in me today—again. I try not to be arrogant about my intellectual abilities because I haven’t done that much with them and because they are gifts—talents—from God anyway. And what He gives, he can take away.

Cause of the flare up: people will treat me like I’m stupid, ignorant, and/or ill-informed until shown otherwise—and sometimes even afterward. I’d say that this has happened to me about twice a month since I first noticed it during my high school trigonometry class, where the teacher treated darker-skinned blacks as if we had just climbed down out of the trees. (Math has always been my favorite academic subject.)

Most of the time I ignore the “condescension.” (I hate that word.) But, occasionally, I’ll use it to make the person sorry that they underestimated me.

That last option is evidence of my pride.

It’s one of the beasts I wrestle down every day and, conversely, I try not to make others feel small either—especially when that stuff can come back and bite one on the butt.

Hill’s service is less useful that this.

Do you think that’s what will happen to CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill? I’ve been trying really hard not to wish it on him.

Lamont Hill said while he has “respect” for Harvey, he’s part of the “mediocre negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump’s exploitive campaign against black people.”

And about that phrasing—it’s an indicator of the same old thing I’ve been talking about for years: the patronage/serf mindset. Hill wants all observers to know that he is a better serf to his patron that the other serfs are to their patron—Hill is proud of his serfdom and of his service.

But the only way which he can think of to telegraph this notion is to demean the other serfs.

It’s just so much neuroses and lack of self-awareness. And it keeps happening over and over again with these leftish sorts.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 1, 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks


As I prepare to teach the history of journalism this semester, I’ve been thinking about whether reporters used to do a better job.

The notions of objectivity, fairness and balance are standards that occurred in the 1950s when leaders of the media sought a more favorable impression of journalists as professionals. The standards also aimed at a better business model by getting all sides to read a story. Many European journalists eschew such an approach, providing a set of facts and then arguing from a distinctly partisan point of view.

I like the European approach much better. That way I don’t have to parse the political leanings of a journalist who’s hiding behind the alleged standards of objectivity. I think journalists should admit their biases and their partisan beliefs. I like accuracy and transparency as better standards for good journalism.

For example, John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” which chronicles the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb, is generally considered the finest work in journalism during the 2oth century. The article and book are not balanced. The story describes the horror of what happened and how people lived and died in horrific conditions.

Paul Fussell, the late academic who might have been one of the estimated one million Allied casualties had the bomb not been used, offered a useful and not-so-objective look at the alternative in his 1981 essay in the New Republic, “Thank God for the Atom Bomb!”

In his excellent book, “Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism,” American University professor W. Joseph Campbell dispels a number of myths held strongly by reporters. For example, the evidence that Richard Nixon won the 1960 first debate with John Kennedy on radio and lost among television viewers has little basis in fact. The evidence simply does not exist.

Campbell argues successfully that Woodward and Bernstein did not bring down Nixon as a result of their Watergate reporting. The Washington Post’s efforts dovetailed with the work of Congress, the judicial system and other perhaps more important actors in the scandal.

I would add some other examples of getting it wrong. The Tet Offensive got widespread attention as an example of how the United States was losing the war in Vietnam. In fact, the Viet Cong suffered huge losses—a fact that did not get much play in the media.

Joe McCarthy may have used extreme tactics in his attack on Communism. But his underlying belief that Communists had infiltrated the U.S. government after World War II proved to be accurate once Soviet archives became available. Based on documents made available after the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. Library of Congress historian John Earl Haynes concluded that of the 159 people identified as subversives on lists cited by McCarthy, nine had almost definitely aided in Soviet espionage (and many others could be considered security risks for various reasons).

Nevertheless, I found some of the writing of leftists of bygone eras much more palatable than today’s screeds. For example, Martha Gellhorn’s account of the bombing of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War provides a great deal of insight into the “collateral damage” of that war.

Gellhorn, an avowed leftist, got it right in my view when she declared that objectivity was nonsense, particularly when she was reporting about the Nazi death camps.

Jimmy Breslin, another lefty writer, was able to talk with ordinary people—an ability lost by the current generation of reporters. “It’s An Honor” is Breslin’s account of the death and burial of Kennedy in which one of the key characters is the guy who dug the grave for the assassinated president. Here is the column: http://www.newsday.com/opinion/digging-jfk-grave-was-his-honor-jimmy-breslin-1.6481560

Richard Ben Cramer’s account of the 1988 election campaign, “What It Takes,” is a far more insightful analysis that anything we have seen since then, particularly his evisceration of Joe Biden, the plagiarist who became vice president. Cramer’s book is also far better than the acclaimed “Making of a President, 1960” by Theodore White about JFK’s campaign, which we now know had widow Jacqueline as the chief architect of the book’s meme.

You have to respect someone like the recently deceased Nat Hentoff, a lefty who also opposed abortion despite losing many friends and some writing gigs because of his pro-life stance.

All told, journalists did seem to be better once upon a time. At least my students and I will be able to delve into what once was to determine if we can use the lessons of the oldies but goodies to adapt to today’s environment.

Note for transparency purposes: W. Joseph Campbell is a friend. I knew Richard Ben Cramer.


Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist who teaches media law and history of journalism.

Yesterday we wrote about democrats continuing to duck the inaugural and continuing to call Donald Trump “illegitimate”

Well apparently James O’Keefe has discovered that leftist groups in DC are taking this to heart.

So given this very public stance by the Democrats on Trump’s legitimacy and the video of these leftists planning criminal violence I’ve sent the following letter to both of my senators via email:

Good Evening:
As you might be aware several members of congress from your party have said they were boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump, several from John Lewis to one of the candidates for DNC chair have stated that the president elect is not legitimate.
However you might not be aware that a group of people are apparently running with this planning on criminally disrupting the inauguration even to the point of deploying butyric acid to disrupt gatherings.
Therefore I have the following questions:
1.  Will you publicly declare that Donald Trump is the legitimately elected president of the United States?
2.  Will you publicly disavow any group or individual attempting to criminally disrupt the inauguration or events surrounding it based on Donald Trump being an “Illegitimate President” and condemn any such acts
3.  Will you publicly call upon other elected democrats, regardless of their opinion of President Elect Trump to do the same?
Be Aware that this email is being published and later this week I will be publishing your response if any to it.
Thank you
Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi
Datechguyblog.com
Featuring DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven
Have Fedora Will Travel
Incidentally to any of you objecting to me calling on these senators to disavow this, let me remind you of the Todd Akin rule that was applied to republicans namely that it is valid journalism to demand that republicans comment and condemn any statement by any republican anywhere that the press might find objectionable.
Well I find violence against the inauguration objectionable.
I think it would be a good idea for you to contact the offices of any Democrat senators and reps too and ask them the same questions I have, particularly John Lewis and his crowd.  Let’s get them on the record either supporting or denouncing this violence

I’ll let you know what they say, if anything later this week.


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