For the third straight year, I am headed to China, where I will teach students at the International School at Jinan University in Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton in South China.

The trip allows me an opportunity to travel throughout China, Thailand and Myanmar, where I continue my own “Asia pivot” after years of reporting on terrorism and the Middle East.

I will keep you up to date, with my travels and travails. I start in Xi’an, the one-time capital of China, where the Terra Cotta warriors were found in the 1970s. I visited Xi’an two years ago, but I wanted to travel to a nearby locale, where the only empress of China, Wu Zetian (624-705), is buried.

Wu was the concubine of Emperor Taizong. After his death, she married his successor—his ninth son, Emperor Gaozong, in 655. After Gaozong’s debilitating stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became administrator of the court, a position equal to an emperor, until 705.

She is buried in the Qianlong Mausoleum, which is something I’ve always wanted to see.

A mural in the Qianling Mausoleum

Hangzhou, the Venice of China, is my next stop. That’s where the G20 met last year. The city is known for its key role in the early canal system of the country.

Hangzhou

After that, I head out of China as it celebrates May Day, and millions of people throughout the Communist world launch some sort of remembrance for International Workers’ Day.

In Thailand, which has no May Day parties, I will head to the north, where I will stop in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the locale for the famed Golden Triangle.

After a few days, I head for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which is being ruled rather poorly by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ousted the longtime dictatorship.

But I’m not there for the politics; I am visiting for the famed Buddhist shrines in Bagan and Yangon.

Buddhist shrines in Myanmar

Then it’s back to southern China, where I will teach Journalism Research and In-Depth Reporting for sophomore students. Here is what my class produced last year: www.writingforjournalism.com. The stories include some about abortion, the elderly, urban policy and more.

The Chinese students are among the best and the brightest, and it’s an opportunity for me to see what the next generation from the Middle Kingdom will be like. For the most part, they resemble my students from the United States, but the work ethic is much stronger.

I’ll keep my head down as North Korea, the South China Sea and other issues swirl around me.

 

Kassem Eid survived the 2013 sarin massacre in Syria in which 1,400 people died, so it wasn’t surprising that CNN contacted him to talk about the most recent attack and the Trump administration’s response.

What happened next stunned CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin.

“For the very first time, we see Assad held accountable just for once, held accountable for his crimes against humanity. I was overwhelmed. I felt grateful for President Trump. I felt grateful for the United States. I felt grateful for each and every person who lobbied and kept on talking until someone actually listened,” Eid said.

In an apparent attempt to keep the Syrian survivor on the media talking points about refugees, Baldwin played a video of Hillary Clinton bashing Trump over his immigration plan.

Eid didn’t take the bait.

“Help us stay in our country, and if you just give me a few seconds just to tell President Trump once again, please, sir, what you did was amazing, what you did was powerful message of hope for a lot of people inside and outside of Syria,” he told a dumbstruck Baldwin.

He criticized those who demonstrated against the immigration policies but failed to protest against the sarin attacks in 2013 and now. “I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that led us refugees, that made us refugees get kicked out of Syria. If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please, help us STAY in our — in our country. We don’t want to come to [the] United States. We want to STAY in our country.”

It’s unlikely that Eid will be asked again for his comments on CNN anytime soon, but his message should be shared and shared again.

Here is his interview on CNN:

As a reporter, I covered Syria for many years. What has occurred over the past six years is one of the worst examples of genocide in history. Although Assad and the self-proclaimed Islamic State bear most of the responsibility for what has happened, the Obama administration’s lack of any coherent strategy except to make idle threats allowed these forces of evil to devastate the country. The Trump administration does not have to commit itself to full-scale involvement in Syria, but the decision to launch missiles gave aid and comfort to Eid and many like him.

Here are some of my most recent columns about Syria:

The media and Syria: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/11/harper-in-syria-war-debate-media-are-missing-in-ac/

The role Hezbollah in Syria: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/19/harper-media-overlook-key-player-in-middle-east-cr/

Bashar Assad and 60 Minutes’ dreadful interview: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/1/christopher-harper-60-minutes-bashar-assad-intervi/

It’s difficult to determine which one of the columnists for DaTimes writes the most absurd claptrap. Charlie Blowhard? Paul, Nick, Frank?

Tommy Friedman just moved to the top of my list when he calls Donald Trump a “Chinese agent” in a recent column. Here’s Tommy’s “proof”:

No. 1: Trump ended U.S. support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP. That would be the same economic deal opposed by Hillary Clinton, the AFL-CIO, the Roosevelt Institute, and myriad groups from both the right and the left.

No. 2: Trump tossed out Obama’s plans to shrink the U.S. dependence on coal-fired power and changed mileage requirements on automobiles. Tommy cites China’s plan to build more clean-energy devices that will leave the United States behind.

Tommy lives in a mansion in Maryland of more than 11,000 square feet. That is quite a carbon footprint!

More important, China is a country that chokes its citizens nearly every day and doesn’t even recycle its trash.

No. 3: Trump wants to slash the State Department and foreign aid budgets and make it harder for people to immigrate to America, particularly Muslims.

China has one of the toughest immigration policies in the world and just issued new rules to tighten restrictions for foreign workers and banned wearing Islamic veils and long beards.

Tommy ends his silliness by writing: “So you tell me that Trump is not a Chinese agent. The only other explanation is that he’s ignorant and unread — that he’s never studied the issues or connected the dots between them.”

I have known Tommy since 1979 when we worked across the hall from one another in Beirut. He was at United Press International; I worked for Newsweek. Despite his Pulitzer Prizes and his books, I never thought much of his reporting. I have found out I am not alone.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, a longtime Tommy critic, writes: “This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s signs.”

The Huffington Post, not exactly a member of the alt-right, describes Friedman this way: “He’s not just a millionaire or a multimillionaire – he’s member of one of the wealthiest families in the world, and is one of the most influential media voices on the planet, who writes specifically about economic/class issues. If politicians are forced to disclose every last asset they own, you’d think at the very least, The New York Times – in the interest of basic disclosure – should have a tagline under Friedman’s economic columns that says “Tom Friedman is an heir to a multi-billion-dollar business empire.”

One of his many simplistic analyses is called the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention: No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.

He supported that observation, as a theory, by stating that when a country has reached an economic development where it has a middle class strong enough to support a McDonald’s network, it would become a “McDonald’s country,” and will not be interested in fighting wars anymore.

Not surprisingly, the theory has broken down repeatedly in Panama, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan and many more places.

Here is how Taibbi ranks Tommy’s batting average on other issues: “To review quickly, the ‘Long Bomb’ Iraq war plan Friedman supported as a means of transforming the Middle East blew up in his and everyone else’s face; the ‘Electronic Herd’ of highly volatile international capital markets he once touted as an economic cure-all not only didn’t pan out, but led the world into a terrifying chasm of seemingly irreversible economic catastrophe; his beloved ‘Golden Straitjacket’ of American-style global development (forced on the world by the ‘hidden fist’ of American military power) turned out to be the vehicle for the very energy/ecological crisis Friedman himself warns about.”

A New York writer has kept a record of all of Tommy’s missteps: http://jilliancyork.com/2011/12/14/the-definitive-collection-of-thomas-friedman-takedowns/

On the right, The New York Observer provides a parody of how to write a Tommy column with a step-by-step guide at http://observer.com/2004/05/write-your-own-thomas-friedman-column/

Tommy has fooled too many people too often. Trump, the alleged China agent, should consider a libel suit against The New York Times for recklessly disregarding the truth on too many occasions.

If you asked Republicans the most important reason they voted for Donald Trump, a significant number would answer the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch is more important that Obamacare, the wall or anything else. It is conceivable that Trump may appoint at least two other justices during his tenure as Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy are both in their 80s.

The Democrats have demonstrated their intolerance for an excellent candidate for the court by a threat to filibuster the nomination after making some of the most inane statements against Gorsuch’s record.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, the ideologue who took over from California ideologue Barbara Boxer, tweeted, “Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued legalisms over real lives. I won’t support his nomination.” That’s right! “Legalisms”–otherwise known as the law–should be set aside to “real lives.”

Arguably the dumbest question ever asked during a Supreme Court nomination hearing came from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as she “probed” Gorsuch’s attitude toward originalism.

The question: “So when the Constitution refers, like, 30-some times to ‘his’ or ‘he’ when describing the president of the United States, you would see that as, well back then, they thought a woman actually could be president of the United States even though women couldn’t vote?”

The answer: “I’m not looking to take us back to quill pens and horses … Of course, women can be president of the United States. I’m the father of two daughters. And I hope one of them turns out to be president.”

But the other senator from up north, former comedian Al Franken, who has become a favorite of the Washington elite, got cited for two of the top five dumb questions at the same hearing. See http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/five-dumbest-questions-to-gorsuch.php

In the tortured logic of the left, Gorsuch, who most say is imminently qualified to serve on the court, must not be confirmed because the Republicans did not consider President Obama’s late-term nominee. As Newsweek puts it: “Gorsuch, unfortunately, must be sacrificed on the altar of obscene partisanship erected by the Republicans in recent years.”

As a result of this logic, Senate Majority Leader Charles “Chuckie” Schumer has threatened a filibuster.

Bring it on! That would force Republicans to disown the niceties of the Senate and would make it easier for future Trump nominees to the court get confirmed. It’s time for the GOP to recognize that it can be its own worst enemy. Republicans would control every branch of the federal government, making it possible to return the country to some sense of sanity.

The Wall Street Journal has provided an excellent analysis on how good Gorsuch would be and how pathetic his critics are: https://www.wsj.com/articles/neil-gorsuch-how-would-you-vote-1490052137

Let’s not muck this one up!


Christopher Harper teaches media law.

Sesame Street has broadcast brutal parodies of Donald Trump over the past 40 years.

NPR and PBS are the media outlets liberals love to love.

For example, a Pew research study in 2014 found that liberals rate both the news programs on these outlets as the best in the business. NPR and PBS don’t even make the lists for conservatives.

Why is there such a difference? The American Prospect had this to say about NPR and PBS: “They’re careful, reasoned, polite, cosmopolitan, serious with the occasional touch of whimsy—in short, everything liberals either are or imagine themselves to be. And everyone at NPR seems so nice—how could you not trust them? So liberals do, and most of them listen.”

Simply put, NPR and PBS are the safe zone media if you are a liberal. They also make liberals feel smart. That’s why the news media—staffed largely by liberals—are so opposed to the elimination of funding for NPR and PBS in the Trump budget.

The argument stresses that $600 million is such a small part of the overall budget. That’s more than half a billion dollars the two organizations’ output! As the old barb goes: a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Even a member of the board of CPB, which funds public broadcasting, says that the organizations have strayed from their initial goals.

In a column in The Washington Post, Howard Husock writes, “If public broadcasters continue to receive federal support, they must start appealing to more than just blue-state America. They should revisit and expand the meaning of diversity to include more ideological and geographic perspectives.”

It’s worth noting that the program referred to Trump as “Grump” over several decades in what even The Washington Post calls “surprisingly vicious takedowns of Donald Trump.” For more details, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/03/20/trump-wants-to-defund-pbs-sesame-street-brutally-parodied-him-for-decades/ It’s one thing to make fun of the president on Saturday Night Live! It’s entirely different for a publicly funded “kids” show.

Amazingly, Sesame Street apparently has no street smarts or business sense. It makes $150 million a year in selling stuff and licensing fees, but it usually operates at a loss.

Other content at PBS generally has reflected a liberal-to-left political slant ever since the network’s inception. As the Capital Research Center reports, “most PBS news programs are little more than left-wing agitprop”; PBS’s “flagship public affairs series, Frontline, typically focuses on “corporate malfeasance” and “political intrigue”; the “human-interest stories on Independent Lens and P.O.V. are politically correct lamentations on social oppression or celebrations of ‘diversity’”; the science program Nova “frequently bemoans man’s destructive interference with nature”; and the series NOW, hosted by David Brancaccio, “is dedicated to blaming corporate America for every crisis and targeting politicians and big media for every cover-up.

Bill Moyers, the former LBJ spokesman, was a prominent host and producer of various PBS programs from 1970 through his retirement in 2004. Toward the end of Moyers’ career, approximately 30 PBS affiliates stopped airing his partisan show NOW, which he hosted before David Brancaccio, during the network’s pledge drives, partly out of fear that the program’s bias would alienate potential donors. NOW had also become an ethical embarrassment because Moyers, without informing his audience, had used his taxpayer-subsidized show to promote guests from at least 16 leftist organizations that had received some $4.8 million in grants from the Schumann Center, which he heads.

PBS’s political bias has been evident in many of its high-profile, special productions over the years. The 2001 documentary Enemies of War, for instance, recounts the 1980s civil war in El Salvador. While denigrating the elected anti-Communist Salvadoran government that was backed by the Reagan administration and was fighting against Marxist terrorists from neighboring Nicaragua, the film lauds the efforts of those who “halted U.S. involvement” in the region and thereby helped El Salvador “generat[e] peace instead of war.”

In 2005, PBS broadcast the three-hour documentary series Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. A PBS synopsis of this production described socialism as “the vision that life could be lived in peace and brotherhood if only property were shared by all and distributed equally, eliminating the source of greed, envy, poverty and strife.”

Other notable, politically charged programs which PBS has aired include:

Alcatraz Is Not an Island, about the 1969 takeover and occupation of Alcatraz by Native American activists

Affluenza, which explores “the high social and environmental costs of materialism and over-consumption”

The Good War and Those Who Refused To Fight It, about conscientious objectors who chose not to take part in combat during World War II

Islam: Empire of Faith, a production that whitewashes the more violent and intolerant aspects of the Muslim faith.

In April 2007, PBS shelved a documentary titled Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center, which examines how moderate American Muslims have struggled to resist Islamic militancy. Frank Gaffney, Jr., co-producer of the film and president of the Center for Security Policy, asserts that PBS suppressed the film because its bluntness did not advance the network’s multicultural agenda which called for programming that was “more flattering to the Islamists.”

In a recent speech, Ken Burns, one of the most prominent fixtures of PBS, gave this description of Donald Trump:

‘’…a person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter; who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment; who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, immigrants and all Muslims; a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan; an infantile, bullying man who, depending on his mood, is willing to discard old and established alliances, treaties and long-standing relationships. I feel genuine sorrow for the understandably scared and — they feel — powerless people who have flocked to his campaign in the mistaken belief that — as often happens on TV — a wand can be waved and every complicated problem can be solved with the simplest of solutions. They can’t. It is a political Ponzi scheme. And asking this man to assume the highest office in the land would be like asking a newly minted car driver to fly a 747.”

PBS also has a lot of leftist financial backers. The Park Foundation, for example, is a major funder of Burns and PBS. The foundation is headed by Adelaide Gomer, who has given money to a variety of leftist causes such an anti-fracking groups. She also got me ousted from my job as the Roy Park Distinguished Chair at Ithaca College—an honorary chair named for her late father—because of my conservative views.

I don’t listen to NPR. I don’t watch PBS. I don’t want to pay anything for either. I know a lot of people who think the same way I do. If the cost of public broadcasting is so relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things, according to its supporters, let those who use the networks pay for them.


Christopher Harper teaches media law.

China’s bid to influence the 1996 election for Bill Clinton stands as one of the most damning examples of foreign interference in the U.S. political process.

Unfortunately, the Chinese connection has largely been forgotten, including its continuation in Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.

Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign received millions of dollars in illegal contributions from Chinese donor that were channeled through the Democratic National Committee, according to a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Reform.

Johnny Chung, a businessman born in Taiwan, had a partner, Liu Chaoying, a high-ranking military leader and intelligence officer in China. Liu wired hundreds of thousands of dollars, which illegally went to the DNC. The duo also sent campaign funds to U.S. Sen. John Kerry for his reelection bid to the Senate. Liu’s father was one of Mao’s fellow travelers.

Chung visited the White House nearly 50 times—most of them authorized by Hillary Clinton. In one visit, Hillary met with Chung and his visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen from state-run companies. After another visit, Chung paid the DNC $50,000. In exchange, Chung was allowed to bring some of his investors to see the president deliver one of his radio addresses.

Another operative for the Clintons was John Huang, who raised millions of dollars for Dollar Bill in the Asian-American community. In 1996, Huang bundled $3.4 million for the DNC—much of which was returned after a Senate investigation found that the contributions were illegal.

Charlie Trie owned a restaurant in Little Rock that was frequented by his friend then-Governor Clinton. After Clinton won the presidency, Trie went to Washington to cash in on their friendship. He thought his association could help him develop more business contacts in Asia. One of them was Hong Kong businessman Ng Lap Seng. Seng would wire a million dollars to Trie. From 1994 to 1996, Trie directly sent $200,000 to the DNC. Trie provided the rest of the money to other people who later sent that money to the DNC. Trie also helped raised another $640,000 for Bill Clinton’s Legal Defense Fund.

According to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, 94 people were called to testify about the illegal campaign contributions to the 1996 Clinton campaign and the DNC. Of nearly 100 people called before the committee, 57 invoked the Fifth Amendment, 18 fled the country and 19 foreign witnesses refused to testify.

But the China connection to the Clintons didn’t end there. A Chinese billionaire gave the Clinton Foundation $2 million in 2013. The Justice Department investigated the payment from Wang Wenliang, a former delegate to the Chinese parliament. No charges were filed.

Fast forward to Hillary’s 2016 campaign and the Wikileaks emails from the DNC.

The Chinese ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, requested a meeting with Hillary Clinton’s top aides in January 2016, according to an internal email circulated among the former Secretary of State’s senior presidential campaign officials.

“Chinese Ambassador Cui invited me over to the residence Tuesday for a coffee and to make a request. He wants to have an informal, private, off the record get together with a few of us to discuss the next year and the current state of US-China affairs,” wrote Clinton campaign aide Kurt Campbell in the Jan. 7, 2016, email to campaign head John Podesta.

“He asked me to host a social meal at my house in the next month. He was fairly insistent and indicated that he wanted to pass along some perspectives. I told him I’d reach out to you all to see about your judgement [sic] on this and possible availability. I’m happy to make some chili and cornbread by the fire but let’s first decide whether this makes sense. Please let me know your thinking,” Campbell wrote.

Somehow these deep connections between the Clintons and the Chinese have gone mostly unnoticed in the current kerfuffle about foreign involvement in presidential elections.

Christopher Harper is a visiting Scholar in China

President Obama’s dreadful policies toward Russia allowed Vladimir Putin to regard the United States as an impotent power.

The misguided approach started at the beginning of Obama’s regime. For example, he surreptitiously sent a letter to the Russians just after taking office, offering to cancel plans to install a missile defense site in Poland and corresponding radar in the Czech Republic.

According to The National Review, these systems would have provided a layer of protection for the United States and its allies from Iranian long-range missiles. All Russia had to do for Obama to cancel the plans was to agree to help pressure Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program.

This exchange started the road down the ill-advised treaty with Iran and showed Russia the weakness of Obama because he couldn’t force the Islamic Republic to do his will.

The Obama administration ended up canceling the missile-defense system, and the United States to this day remains ill-equipped to combat Iranian ballistic missiles.

Obama also negotiated a new arms control treaty with the Russians even though Putin and the gang were violating the previous one. It took constant congressional pressure to get Obama to admit that Russia had been disregarding the previous agreement since he took office.

Fast forward to Obama’s statement on an open microphone telling then–Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to pass along a message to then–Prime Minister Putin. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space…. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility,” Obama said.

In other words, Obama promised to do a lot more than anyone in the current administration has.

Obama’s response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in March 2014 and Moscow’s subsequent support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine was economic sanctions. Although the measures had an impact on the Russian economy, they were seen as woefully inadequate.

Finally, the United States has become so irrelevant in Syria and Russia so important that the Obama administration didn’t even get an invitation to the last conference to discuss the civil war.

Only after all these signs of weakness did Russian hacking occur. But it wasn’t just the DNC. Russian entities hacked private companies, Nasdaq and banks, as well as government agencies, including the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon. The Obama administration apparently was incapable of mounting any significant defense against the hacking.

An investigation into Obama’s dreadful record of dealing with Russia might be useful before looking at anything else.

 

Christopher Harper teaches media law.
Donald Trump listened to an attack on him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is one of the most immoral events in journalism.

Every spring, celebrities, journalists and politicians have engaged in a romance that undermines a pivotal reason for the press: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Although President Trump may have his own reasons for not attending the dinner in April, I applaud anyone who avoids this breach of journalistic ethics.

The event, which is meant to raise money for scholarships and to recognize journalistic accomplishments, has drifted from its original mission when the association was founded in 1914. According to the association’s website, the organization held its first dinner in 1920. Calvin Coolidge became the first of 14 presidents to attend the affair.

As I wrote four years ago in The Washington Times, if the event were a government program, most Washington reporters would have been howling to shut it down. Here is the rest of that column:
http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/24/harper-correspondents-dinner-comforts-the-comforta/

Two years ago, the dinner occurred in during the Baltimore riots. Here’s what I wrote for The Washington Times then: The juxtaposition of the riots in Baltimore this weekend as “all-news” television networks delivered extensive coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Association’s soiree underlined the disconnect between the press and the rest of the country. For the rest of the rant, it’s here:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/29/christopher-harper-baltimore-riots-forgotten-as-ne/

Somehow the dinner has achieved the “moral high ground” as some news organizations have pulled out in an apparent protest of Trump’s presidency, while an actor is giving an “alt” dinner.

The dinner will never have any moral basis.

It’s thought that the attacks at the 2011 dinner on Trump, who looked on stoically,  may have played a role in his decision to run for the presidency.

Here is a report on that dinner:

“Donald Trump is here tonight!” President Obama began amiably. “I know that he’s taken some flak lately. But no one is happier, no one is prouder, to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald.” Trump could be seen smiling. “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter—like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”

Trump’s smile was beginning to stiffen.

“All kidding aside,” Obama went on in a sober deadpan, “obviously we know about your credentials and breadth of experience.” At this, ripples of laughter coursed through the crowd of 3,000. The ripples built into waves, lapping at Trump’s table. “For example—seriously—in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks,” the president continued. “And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately you didn’t blame Little John or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.”

The waves of laughter built into a tsunami. And then into a deafening roar. And then cheers! There was a sickly grin plastered on Trump’s face, as it dawned on even him that the president of the United States had made a fool of him, and the whole world was laughing.

“Well-handled, sir! Well-handled!” Obama added, driving in the blade.

“Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House,” Obama noted. On the four jumbotrons hanging from the ceiling, there flashed a cartoon depicting the executive mansion and its grounds transformed into a hotel/casino/golf course complex with bikinied babes hoisting cocktails on the lawn and a huge garish neon sign advertising “Trump. The White House. Presidential Suite.”

Well, President Trump got the last laugh. And, his decision not to attend this year’s event may finally bring about the end of this abhorrent media event.


Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump.

Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’”

The story above appeared in The New York Times. Like a broken clock, the “newspaper of record” can be right twice a day. Well, twice a day may be a bit over the top.

But here is some more of the article:

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right.

“The name calling from the left is crazy,” said Bryce Youngquist, 34, who works in sales for a tech start-up in Mountain View, Calif., a liberal enclave where admitting you voted for Trump. “They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people.”

Youngquist did not put a bumper sticker on his car, for fear it would be keyed. The only place he felt comfortable wearing his Make America Great Again hat was on vacation in China.

He came out a few days before the election. On election night, a friend posted on Facebook, “You are a disgusting human being.”

“They were making me want to support him more with how irrational they were being,” Youngquist said.

Like many Trump supporters, I have been shamed by some of the same people who display yard signs that say: “Hate Has No Home Here.”

In academia, I have to sit through meetings, which have nothing to do with politics, that include numerous jabs at Trump supporters. I have come up with a few responses to Trump bashers:

–Statement: Hillary won the popular vote!
–My response: Then start a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College.
–Statement: The right wing is taking over!
–My response: It’s not about right or left; it’s about failed policies.
–Statement: It’s Bush’s fault!
–My response: He left office almost a decade ago. Move on!
–Statement: Trump supporters are stupid racists!
–My response: Trump beat Clinton in these demographics: white, college-educated and 65 and over. That’s me! Do you really think I’m a stupid racist?

Nevertheless, I would like to thank liberals and leftists for pushing people firmly into the Trump camp!

Here is the complete story in The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/opinion/sunday/are-liberals-helping-trump.html


Christopher Harper teaches media law.

The New York Times asked me for my opinion about their news coverage, so I gave it to them with both barrels.

As a subscriber to the digital edition of The Times, I became one of the “lucky” candidates to spend more than an hour answering dozens of questions about the newspaper and myriad other issues.

Although the survey is not intended to serve as a scientifically based poll, the bias oozed from the questions.

For example, here’s one question: What three words best describe your initial reaction to Donald Trump winning the election? I doubt that elated sprung to others’ minds like it did for me!

Another one: Which of the following best describes Donald Trump when it comes to “sticking to the facts?”

–Sticks to the facts better than most politicians
–Sticks to the facts about as well as any politician
–Plays it more “fast and loose” when it comes to facts
–There has never been a major politician as devoid (or empty) of facts as him

When the survey asked for my opinion about The New York Times, I was asked to compare it with Fox News, the Drudge Report and Bloomberg News. That seemed like an extremely odd combination. I understand that the news organization thinks it competes with the world, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post seem like better comparable news organizations.

But then I got some red meat!

Question: How often do you come across news stories about politics and government online that you think are not fully accurate?

–Never
–Hardly ever
–Sometimes
–Often [My obvious choice].

Question: And how often do you come across news stories about politics and government online that you think are almost completely made up? Check. Often.

Question: What three words best describes your feelings about the news media and news organizations right now?

My answer: unreliable, biased, partisan

Question: In general, what is your overall impression of the news media and news organizations?

Very unfavorable [check].
–Somewhat unfavorable
–Neither unfavorable nor favorable
–Somewhat favorable
–Very favorable impression of the news media and news organizations

In general, how satisfied are you with the news coverage you are currently getting about President-Elect Donald Trump?

Not at all satisfied
–Not very satisfied
–Somewhat satisfied
–Very satisfied
–Extremely satisfied

Um, not at all satisfied seemed appropriate.

Here are some weird choices—many of which lean toward a favorable review of the media. I was supposed to pick the ones I agreed with.

–There are not enough positive/uplifting stories in the news
–Most news stories are generally accurate
— Most news stories get the facts straight
— In presenting news about social issues, most news deals fairly with all sides
— I’m taking a break from news for awhile
— It is easy for me to tell the difference between hard news and opinion
— I’m seeking more “soft news” these days
— I find sensational news headlines irresistible
— In presenting news about political issues, most news deals fairly with all sides
— News is no longer relevant to me
— I think the freedom of the press is part of a healthy democracy
–Most news is generally trustworthy
— These days it seems like news cannot be objectively reported
–All news is pretty much the same regardless of where you get it
–Most news is reported without bias

I really needed a selection here for “other.”

Here is an example of confirmation bias: Now thinking about news organizations in general, which of the following applies?

–Practice high journalistic standards [Seriously?].
–Objectively report the news [You betcha].
–Provide a service to the public [C’mon!]
–Has reporters with strong expertise in the topics they cover [Paul Krugman and Charles Blow?]
–Are trustworthy [About the same as car salesmen, with no offense meant to auto dealerships].
–Lie or mislead [Finally, I can agree with something!]

Here was one in my wheelhouse: Now, thinking about The New York Times, which of the following applies?

Practice high journalistic standards [Nope].
–Objectively report the news [Nope]
–Provide a service to the public [Ditto]
–Has reporters with strong expertise in the topics they cover [Are you kidding?]
–Are trustworthy [Sorry, car salesmen].
–Lie or mislead [YES, YES and YES!]

Which, if any, of the following applies to The New York Times? I dispatched the complimentary ones and chose the following:

–Does not deal fairly with all sides on political issues
–Arrogant
–Too focused on New York
–Makes it difficult for me to tell the difference between hard news and opinion
–It’s politically biased
–Does not get the facts straight
–Unreliable; I don’t trust their reporting
–Too liberal
–Does not deal fairly with all sides on social issues

I will allow that I was a bit disingenuous on some questions. I said I voted for Hillary Clinton. I wanted to see what happened. Later, I was asked again if I really voted for her.

I said I was a moderate who supported equal rights for everyone. I was tempted to choose one of the many religious options, including Shinto, Muslim, Taoist, Hindu or Buddhist. I settled for Christian since Catholic was not an option.

I accurately described myself as an educator who lived in a large metropolitan area and had a good income. Alas, deplorable was not an option here.

I doubt that my answers will affect the way The Times operates, but it sure was fun to take the survey. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had since the day after the election!

Here is a podcast about this column:

http://datechguyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/harperdatechguypodcast.mp3


Christopher Harper teaches media law.