Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom.
The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.
And, the worst thing about this state of affairs is that much of the public cannot tell the difference between reporting and opinion/speculation. That’s no accident.
Millenials seem to leak like a cheap diaper. Manning, Winner, Snowden are only the latest in a line of people that think it’s OK to send whatever information they want to the press. I recently received a personal-for message (sometimes called a P4) expressing dismay at people who were leaking information about the investigation into the USS FITZGERALD collision. While looking for answers as to why someone would do this, I stumbled on this quote:
“In 2016, Gallup found adults under 29 least likely to say they were “extremely proud” to be American, with just over a third agreeing. If managers in the national security industry think they can count on patriotism to dissuade potential leakers, they are mistaken.” Continue reading “Stopping the leakers with mandatory service?”→
Yesterday I was at the airport in Kansas City with DaWife and Da youngest son as we prepared to head home after a short trip that involved no political reporting. I’ll still have some posts on the Missouri Star Quilt company some of the things to see and bits of the trip over the course of the next week or so, but I promised DaWife and DaSon that other than my normal daily post I wouldn’t be doing political stuff on my trip no chasing pols nor interviews along those lines in the land of Claire McCaskill.
I bring up Senator McCaskill because you might recall that her re-election in 2012 came about because of some intemperate words by her hand picked opponent Todd Akin which networks like CNN not only promoted via newscasts, print and online stories and every form of social media in sight to the nth degree, but were a subject upon which their reporters demanded that every republican from Mitt Romney on down with an “R” next to their name comment on and/or denounce even though they had as much of a connection to Mr. Akin as I do to a Sicilian pulled at random from the Island by lottery because they thought it would help reelect her and harm every republican running for office that year immediately recognized it as newsworthy according to their standards
Meanwhile yesterday on the net this story was exploding
That headline is from the local ABC affiliate and is referring to congressman Steve Scalise the GOP deputy whip that a Democrat who volunteered for Bernie Sanders Campaign shot while attempting to murder a bunch of GOP members of congress last week which oddly enough seems not to have generated the sustained coverage that the shooting of congresswoman Gabby Gifford did a few years ago but I digress. Here are some details from the Omaha World Herald.
In the recording, Montag, referring to Scalise, says “this (obscenity), his whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to (obscenity) kick people off of (obscenity) health care. … I’m glad he got shot. I’m not gonna (obscenity) say that publicly.”
“Well then what are you saying it to us for?” Gentry-Tipton’s friend asks in the recording.
“I wish he was (obscenity) dead,” Montag says as the recording continues.
Now you might think that a party official cheering the attempted murder of a sitting congressman while he was still in the hospital recovering from multiple surgeries to save his life might be considered “newsworthy” particularly to outlets that operate on a national scale. As a person who has run this site for nearly a decade now and has reported on events as a credentialed journalist I certainly thought it was.
But apparently the professionals at CNN didn’t agree because in my four hours sitting in that airport waiting to board my delayed flight with CNN on every TV in sight I saw plenty of stories on President Trump and Russia and every possible permutation of the same and plenty of promos about how important CNN and the media is, yet I didn’t see any hint that this story, let alone Phil Montag even existed.
shows that none of the broadcast networks found the story worth their trouble and the one MSM outlet that touched it, the NY Times that picked up an AP story on the subject did not find it necessary to ask democrats on Capital hill or elsewhere to comment on Mr. Montag’s remarks.
Does anyone doubt for one moment that if Mr. Montag had been a republican and had made such a remark about any sitting Democrat Congressman even if such congressman had not been shot, that during my wait for the my connecting flight to Baltimore there would have been an endless supply of commentary and stories on the subject and republicans high and low would have been made to own or condemn his remarks?
But what a difference the letter “D” makes.
The irony, this same media that doesn’t find this story newsworthy actually feels insulted that they are no longer trusted by the people.
Exit question if President Trump tweeted out this story how much do you want to bet the MSM headline would be “President tweets out divisive story after Scalise story” vs “Democrat official wishes Scalise dead”
Update: Perhaps the reason they don’t find this story newsworthy is explained by this Roger Simon piece at PJMedia
The most recent of the seemingly endless incidents/outbreaks range from the ridiculous (hapless movie star Johnny Depp making a joke about assassinating the president and then recanting it…his agent must have called) to the genuinely creepy (a Democratic Party official declaring he was glad Steve Scalise was shot).
Yes, this last one was about a congressman, not the president. But we know the atmosphere that condoned it — the same atmosphere that enabled thirty GOP congressmen either to have been violently attacked or to have had their lives threatened since the beginning of May. (Such things did not happen BT/Before Trump.)
In the case of Depp, it was not so much his pathetic remarks that horrified — the actor is in the midst of a public nervous breakdown — but the raucous approval of his comments by the Glastonbury Festival audience, as if he had just given a shout-out to the local football team.
This automatic reaction by the rabble is just another example of the reach of Trump Derangement Syndrome, where assassination talk is de rigueur and Trump is regarded as a combination of Daddy Warbucks and Caligula with a little of The Joker thrown in. (Just the other day, author Michael Chabon told an Israel Radio interviewer that he wakes up every morning with the hope that Trump “is going to have a massive stroke, and, you know, be carted out of the White House on a gurney.” The surprised Israeli interviewer told Breitbart he naturally thought Chabon was just joking, but then realized he wasn’t. )
Perhaps my exit question should have been: How many people at CNNNBCABCCBSPBSMSNBC et/all hold the very same opinions as Montag, Depp and the audiance cheering the idea of the murder of Trump and wish they could say so aloud?
Update 2: Newsbusters reports that ABC did cover this story that had been reported by its affiliate, but not without paring it with a previous statement by a member of the GOP from NH from last year