Bob Woodward is the Moses of journalism.

Every few years, he comes down from the mountain with a list of “truths” that all must worship.

Unfortunately, Woodward has a lot of cracks in those tablets, which much of the media chooses to ignore.

After Watergate, Woodward was the supervisor of the writer of a story about “Little Jimmy,”an eight-year-old heroin addict who allegedly lived in Washington, D.C., who was profiled in The Washington Post. The story provoked a national outrage that the nation’s capital was doing nothing to stop the drug trade.

The 1980 article, written by Janet Cooke, won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. Woodward, then an assistant managing editor for DaPost, submitted the story for the Pulitzer Prize.

The problem was that Little Jimmy didn’t exist.

DaPost gave back the prize, Janet Cooke got fired, and Woodward went back to writing books. Nothing stuck to his Teflon reputation as the guy “who brought the Nixon administration down.” See https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/the-case-of-janet-cooke/

Over the years, Woodward’s “truthiness” problem surfaced again and again.

Wired, the 1984 biography of actor John Belushi, apparently got a lot of stuff wrong.

“There were certainly things that he just got patently wrong,” Belushi friend Dan Aykroyd said. “He painted a portrait of John that was really inaccurate — certain stories in there that just weren’t true and never happened.”

Author Tanner Colby, in the course of researching and writing his own Belushi biography, said he found many instances in which Woodward’s account was inaccurate.

“The simple truth of Wired is that Bob Woodward, deploying all of the talent and resources for which he is famous, produced something that is a failure as journalism,” Colby wrote in a 2013 Salon article. “And when you imagine Woodward using the same approach to cover secret meetings about drone strikes and the budget sequester and other issues of vital national importance, well, you have to stop and shudder.”

Veil, Woodward’s 1987 book on the CIA, has long been a source of controversy.

Woodward claimed in the book that he was the sole witness to a dramatic deathbed confession from former CIA Director William Casey. Casey, as he lay dying in Georgetown University hospital, jerked up in bed and confessed to Woodward that he knew about the Reagan-era Iran-Contra deal, Woodward wrote.

“People close to Casey at the time said he couldn’t even speak, much less jerk his head up. They said details of Woodward’s account, such as the positioning of Casey’s hospital bed, did not even remotely match Woodward’s description. Casey’s daughter said the encounter never happened,” Tod Robberson, now an editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatchwrote in a 2013 Dallas Morning News column.

The Casey dispute made a Politico list of six “Bob Woodward controversies” in 2012.

Here are some of the others on that list:

–Woodward’s description of President Ronald Reagan’s recovery from an assassination attempt in 1981. Reagan’s doctor later said Woodward’s description of a frail, fragile Reagan was entirely inconsistent with reality, Politico noted.

–A disputed Woodward bombshell about former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan made the list as well. Brennan voted what he thought was the wrong way on a case in order to ingratiate himself to fellow Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Woodward and co-author Scott Armstrong charged in The Brethren, their 1979 book on the Supreme Court. The late New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, the acknowledged dean of Supreme Court reporters, dismissed Woodward and Armstrong’s accusation.

“It makes a serious charge without serious evidence—almost offhandedly, in two pages. It gets facts wrong. It gives the impression of relying on a conversation between Brennan and a law clerk that the law clerks of that term say never took place. If the passage was not meant to rely on such, a conversation with a clerk, then it grossly and deliberately misleads the reader,” Lewis wrote.

But none of these errors make it into the mainstream media’s praise of Woodward’s anti-Trump book. Moses wasn’t allowed into the promised land. Maybe Woodward shouldn’t get a pass either, or he should at least be held to account for his sins of omission and commission.

As the fall semester starts, I face the somewhat vexing problem of convincing many students that what they have learned is mostly wrong.

Unlike some of my colleagues, I try to keep my political views out of the classroom.

What I do, however, is point the class toward divergent points of view, such as conservative ones that they probably have never heard before.

In my media law class, for example, we talked about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, starting with term, “Borked.” It is somewhat ironic that Anthony Kennedy replaced Robert Bork as a nominee, and Cavanaugh will replace Kennedy.

Fortunately, the sound and the fury the Democrats mustered won’t stop Cavanaugh from getting to the prestigious bench. But I tired to tamp down the nonsense that the Democrats have put forward.

The class will analyze the role of a “free and responsible press”—something I hope they will take with them whether they go into journalism or not.

In my international reporting class, we discussed the role of immigration in American society—a topic the media and the Democrats have managed to muddle badly.

For example, I explained the various paths to temporary and permanent visas and the appropriate way to citizenship.

We analyzed the various immigrants who come to the United States and Philadelphia. I asked what is the largest group of immigrants coming to the city. The answer: China.

This week’s topic is terrorism. Unbeknownst to them will be what many conservatives know: the war on terrorism has been effective. Al-Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State are unable to mount any significant attacks against U.S. citizens and interests outside of the country.

I hope that the students will get some useful information from my years in the Middle East and China without the defeatist political slant they’ve heard elsewhere.

As always, it will be an interesting ride. It’s time to buckle up!

by baldilocks

From the Daily Wire:

Illegal immigrants are opting out of government welfare programs out of fear of Trump Administration crackdowns coming done the pike, reported POLITICO on Monday.

Due to a proposed Trump Administration rule to deny legal status to illegals on welfare, both legal and illegal immigrants have been inundating health care providers with calls demanding they be dropped from federal assistance programs like WIC. “Agencies in at least 18 states say they’ve seen drops of up to 20 percent in enrollment, and they attribute the change largely to fears about the immigration policy,” says the report. (…)

There were some 7.4 million women and children enrolled in WIC when President Donald Trump first took office; that number declined to roughly 6.8 million in May. The drop-off in WIC enrollment is also being attributed to a bolstered economy and a decline in immigrant birth rates.

Voluntary removal from these types of government programs suggests that the former recipients already had additional and alternative resources.

That further shows that there will always be a segment of people who will take advantage of any system if the system allows it. Here in California, a majority of voters agreed that illegal aliens should not have access to government services, but one of the courts nullified this outcome. In hindsight, that nullification was the beginning of California’s descent into Leftist Utopia that presents itself before us.

Some have suggested that the savings resulting from the voluntary removal might also help fund the building of the southern border wall — funded by Mexico, or, at least, by Mexicans.

Another promise in process of being kept?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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I’ve joined a growing number of conservatives who have been censored under Facebook’s community standards.

It is unclear what my crime was. My weekly column for DaTechGuy.com included an analysis that the Mueller investigation was not similar to Watergate—a constant refrain from the media. Here it is: http://datechguyblog.com/2018/08/28/it-aint-watergate/

“We have people in 11 offices around the world, including subject matter experts on issues such as hate speech, child safety, and terrorism. Many of us have worked on the issues of expression and safety long before coming to Facebook,” wrote Monika Bickert, vice president of Global Product Management wrote earlier this year in a post that accompanied the release of FB’s “27 pages of community standards. “I worked on everything from child safety to counter terrorism during my years as a criminal prosecutor, and other team members include a former rape crisis counselor, an academic who has spent her career studying hate organizations, a human rights lawyer, and a teacher.”

The standards are broken up into sections dealing with violence and criminal behavior, user safety, “objectionable content,” integrity and authenticity, copyright material, and content-related requests.

The only possible explanation for the censorship of my column was under the objectionable content standard. It apparently was objectionable because it was conservative. That’s awfully scary when you realize that FB is the largest provider of information in the world.

Facebook says it has censors working 24/7, including powerful algorithms, to make sure your feed is “safe.”

I’ve hardly the first one to note the chilling thought of these 1984 trolls pulling down material that people really should see.

But there’s more. A few days ago, a senior FB engineer posted a message on the company’s internal message board. Titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” it quickly took off inside the social network.

“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Brian Amerige, wrote in the post. “We claim to welcome all perspectives but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

Since the post went up, more than 100 Facebook employees have joined Amerige to form an online group called FB’ers for Political Diversity. The aim of the initiative, according to Amerige’s memo, is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.

For the moment that diversity doesn’t seem like it will come any time soon. I’m still waiting for a decision on my appeal of the censorship.

As a young reporter in 1973, I worked in Washington when the Watergate scandal started to unravel.

Despite numerous comparisons to the Watergate, the Mueller investigation isn’t anything like what happened to the Nixon White House.

Watergate centered on the illegal activities of Nixon and his aides while they were working for the government.

The Mueller investigation has focused on activities BEFORE Trump took office.

The Watergate activities included bugging the offices of political opponents and people Nixon or his cronies thought were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides also ordered investigations of activist groups and political figures, using the FBI, the CIA, and the IRS as political weapons.

The White House recording system also gave investigators evidence of a conspiracy in the conspirators’ own voices.

The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were top Nixon officials. These included top aides John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, former Attorneys General John Mitchell and Robert Kleindienst, White House Counsel John Dean, and myriad other government officials.

So far, the Mueller investigation has indicted four former Trump advisers, 26 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer.

That includes one, repeat, one Trump administration official: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

So far, the only possible link to President Trump is whether he paid hush money to two hookers. Remember another president who actually had sex in the Oval Office?

With the guilt of two former allies of Trump, the media talked about impeachment on a continuing basis. By one count, CNN and MSNBC used the word more than 200 times in one day.

If impeachment happens, it will be purely political IF the Democrats take control of the House in the midterm elections.

The media have gotten so much wrong that MSNBC even gave an incorrect explanation of how impeachment works for two days in a row.

What most media magnates fail to mention is that it takes two-thirds of the U.S. Senate to convict. That means 67 senators must enforce the findings of the indictment. That’s never happened.

The constant drumbeat of comparing Watergate to the Mueller investigation is simply fake news.

UPDATE DTG: Just got an email from Christopher telling me that he put this post up on facebook and it was taken down. He put it back up there again so stay tuned.

If these guys are scared of something this mild then in my opinion it means they’ve decided to go all in on censorship


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The media want people to think that Donald Trump’s attacks on the press have been responsible for reporters being injured while covering news events.

Simply put, that’s just fake news.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which is frequently referenced in media reports, details attacks against media types. See https://pressfreedomtracker.us/physical-attack

The press apparently didn’t look very closely at the data.

In 2018, the data show that 31 incidents have occurred—nearly all of which had nothing to do with Trump. More important, leftists attacked journalists quite frequently, but that inconvenient truth goes unreported.

The worst incident occurred in Annapolis, Maryland, where a man armed with a shotgun killed five people at the Capital Gazette. The murders had to do with a longstanding complaint the killer had with the news organization.

Here are some examples of the left harming reporters:

–In an Antifa rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, two journalists were accosted by demonstrators on August 12.

–In March, a San Diego reporter and her photographer were attacked during an anti-Trump rally. Neither was seriously injured.

–A Texas reporter got smacked in the ear during a pro-immigration rally in Texas.

Several incidents occurred when journalists got too close to the action during demonstrations from the right and the left when cops pushed the reporters out of the way. One guy got hit with a water bottle and got a superficial head wound.

These journalists apparently hadn’t gotten much training into how to prepare to cover a demonstration. Note: You usually need to protect your head! It’s a bit more dangerous than riding your bike.

I found three incidents that could be loosely tied back to the president. That would be less than 10 percent of what I would consider a relatively small number of attacks on the press in the United States.

Here is the most serious incident:

–On May 22, 2018, security guards at the Environmental Protection Agency prevented a number of journalists from entering a building where EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was giving a speech. AP reporter Ellen Knickmeyer said that when she asked to speak with someone from the EPA’s press office about the denial of access, one of the security guards grabbed her shoulders and physically pushed her out of the building.

Seriously? That’s the most egregious example of Trump’s attacks on the press causing danger to reporters?

But there’s more.

On July 12, while sitting near the set of a pro-life movie filming in Washington, D.C., Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer had his notes stolen and then ripped apart.

“[A] man later identified by police as a member of the crew came over to where I was sitting in public space with a group of tourists and grabbed my notepad out of my hand by force,” Sommer wrote in an article about the incident.

Boo hoo!

I had to laugh at the third incident that could be loosely tied to the Trump administration.

Mediaite reporter Caleb Ecarma claimed he was shoved by former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka while attempting to interview him at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 22.

That would be a conservative shoving a representative from an even more conservative publication, Mediaite, which most journalists do not consider a news organization.

Nevertheless, nearly 300 “news” organizations recently published editorials condemning President Trump for creating a dangerous atmosphere for the media.

Let me say it one more time with feeling: Fake news!

As the Syrian civil war slouches toward its brutal end, it’s time to take stock of one of the most significant diplomatic and military failures in my lifetime.

More than 200,000 civilians have died, including more than 25,000 children, and many more have been critically injured.

Six million refugees have created havoc in Europe and the Middle East.

For the first time in more than two decades, Russia has a significant stronghold in the Middle East.

Shias have cut a swath of religious intolerance through Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Much of the blame can be placed at the foot of the Obama administration, which ignored the potential impact of the war that began during the Arab uprising of 2011.

In 2014, President Obama invited over a dozen  leaders from both parties to the White House to talk about foreign policy. Obama became visibly agitated when confronted by bipartisan criticism of the White House’s policy of delaying Syrian rebels’ repeated requests for arms to fight the Assad regime.

The president defended his administration’s actions on Syria, saying that the notion that many have put forth regarding arming the rebels earlier would have led to better outcomes in Syria was “horse shit.”

During the civil war, the self-proclaimed Islamic State gained a significant foothold in Syria. Obama once referred to ISIS as the “junior varsity.” It’s a comment he probably would prefer to take back, but he did little to root out ISIS, too.

Note: ISIS, which is Sunni, also fought the Assad regime, which is related to the Shia sect, for its own vicious reasons, including the importance of a piece of real estate to train terrorists.

It took President Trump to defeat ISIS in Syria because Obama couldn’t figure out what to do about Assad and/or ISIS.

As a reporter for ABC News and Newsweek, I spent a lot of time in Syria. Although a brutal dictatorship ruled the country, I traveled to many historic spots, such as Palmyra, which ISIS tried to destroy. The market in Damascus, Al-Hamidiyah Suq, was one of my favorite haunts as were the road where St. Paul found God and the Umayyad Mosque, which then-Pope John Paul II visited during a Middle Eastern trip.

I remember a visit to Lebanon in 2011, where I spoke on a panel with prominent reporters from The Washington Post and NPR.

I argued that the United States faced an important decision in Syria. I said that the U.S. needed to provide significant aid, including American boots on the ground. The other reporters, voicing the conventional wisdom of the swamp, said my position was over the top, although the mainly Lebanese audience agreed with me.

At a time when the media seem preoccupied with myriad issues, Syria, unfortunately, has dropped off their radar when we should look critically at what went wrong and what lies ahead.

“Carthago delenda est”, or “Delenda est Carthago” (English: “Carthage must be destroyed”), is a Latin oratorical phrase. Originating in the Roman Republic in the 2nd century BC prior to the Third Punic War against Carthage, by the party advocating destruction of Rome’s ancient rival Carthage, which was thought to be rebuilding its capacity for further warfare. The phrase is associated with the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches.  WikiPedia

Socialism has again begun to attract followers here in the United States of America.  Less than three decades after the Red Hammer & Sickle flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was lowered for the last time, a Socialist that honeymooned their received 13.2 million votes in the (D) presidential primary.  While the citizens of the nation with the largest reserves of oil are reduced to slaughtering race horses for food by their Socialist masters.  A Socialist is the new hotness in a New York congress race.  Indeed Socialism has again begun to attract followers here even if they have to lie about how many.

This is a discouraging development as a nation political party embraces a political philosophy that is antithetical to the founding principles of our Republic.  At the same time it is an opportunity for us recommit to the principles of our founding and to discredit that hoary ideology once again.  We can do this by imitating Cato the Elder, we must patiently and politely, but persistently ask our politicians what they have the done to refute the arguments of Socialism.

It should be a given that the arguments of  Socialism should be repudiated.  “What have you done to refute the arguments of Socialism?”  It should be a given that it is the job of our political leaders to stand up for our Constitution and argue against Socialism.  “What have you done to refute the arguments of Socialism?”   At any event, on social media, in letters to the editor of the local paper;  “What have you done to refute the arguments of Socialism?”  Focus on their actions, ask them to live up to their oath.

If they want to have a debate about Socialism, let us be certain that we are ready for it.  We have all that is required to win.  My only concern is that too many of us think the evils of Socialism are too obvious to justify our concerted effort.  If we don’t show Socialism for the hateful violent failure it is, who will?  Every generation must work to protect Liberty from Tyranny. This is thew work we must do.  Now is the time we must do it.

 Popularis Socialismi delenda est !!

Respectfully,
Matt O’Brien
President: Worcester Tea Party

On FaceBook

P.S.
The WTP is enjoying the privilege of posting here weekly because Pete knows the importance of asking tough questions, and is a Hero of our Republic.
Please Support the work of the Worcester Tea Party.

A.G. Sulzberger
Publisher
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, New York 10018

Dear Mr. Sulzberger:

I have been a subscriber to your newspaper for much of the past 30 years.

During that time, I have stood by you when Jason Blair made stuff up.

I stood by you when Judith Miller made stuff up.

I must stand by you when Sarah Jeong made stuff up.

As an old, white guy, I understand that I deserve to be treated with cruelty.

For years I have been a groveling goblin and been miserable to others.

I have marked up the internet like a dog pissing on a fire hydrant.

I didn’t realize that I burn more easily in the sun than people of color.

I thought living underground was what everyone did.

I find comfort that my fellow academics and my former colleagues in the mainstream media stand by Jeong’s side.

As Nolan L. Cabrera, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, put it so clearly:

“The term ‘racism’ is not the equivalence of prejudice or bigotry. It’s an analysis of social inequality along the color lines and an analysis of power dynamics and social oppression. None of which has ever been in the hands of people of color or communities of color: There’s never been the social structure to be able to oppress white people.”

I do realize the error of my ways, failing to see that I have subjugated all races to second-class citizenship and understanding that a social structure must be put in place to oppress white people.

As a Trump supporter, I understand why Jeong feels that “nothing but an unending cascade of vomit” comes out of her mouth when she tries to “politely greet a Republican.”

I do realize that I am a “garbage” person with bad teeth as your and Jeong’s colleague at POLITICO so rightly put it.

I also endorse the harassment of many administration officials for their looks and the ban on some of them eating in restaurants because of their beliefs.

My re-education is almost complete. I will continue to read your excellent columnists like Charles Blow and Jeong to make certain that my wayward ways are corrected.

I praise you and your media colleagues for raising the bar so high on journalistic standards.

Oh, I am sorry for being, as Joeng puts it, “satirical.”

Cordially,

Christopher Harper

 

by baldilocks

And now for something completely different.

Monika Glennon has lived in Huntsville, Alabama, for the last 12 years. Other than a strong Polish accent, she fits a certain stereotype of the All-American life. She’s blonde. Her husband is a veteran Marine. Her two children, a boy and a girl, joined the military as adults. She sells houses—she’s a real estate agent at Re/Max—helping others realize their own American dream.

But in September 2015, she was suddenly plunged into an American nightmare. She got a call at 6 a.m. one morning from a colleague at Re/Max telling her something terrible had been posted about her on the Re/Max Facebook page. Glennon thought at first she meant that a client had left her a bad review, but it turned out to be much worse than that.

It was a link to a story about Glennon on She’s A Homewrecker, a site that exists for the sole purpose of shaming the alleged “other woman.” The author of the Homewrecker post claimed that she and her husband had used Glennon as their realtor and that everything was going great until one evening when she walked in on Glennon having sex with her husband on the floor of a home the couple had been scheduled to see. The unnamed woman went into graphic detail about the sex act and claimed she’d taken photos that she used to get everything from her husband in a divorce. The only photo she posted though was Glennon’s professional headshot, taken from her bio page on Re/Max’s site.

Glennon’s clients and, most importantly, her husband were contacted about this through Facebook’s messaging system.

The allegations were totally false. The perpetrators did it because they didn’t like something that Glennon wrote in a random comment section. The comment was innocuous, but the perpetrator decided that Glennon was anti-Semitic. That line of justification is important.

I’ve been thinking about this story all morning — not with fear that something like this might happen to me, but pondering the notion that anyone with fairly decent story-telling skills could plot a similar type vengeance on anyone.

What, other than a conscience, is there to stop an individual — or an organization — from doing this?

About justification: once someone “reasons” it out in what passes for his mind that the target is “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” or any of the other categories of Untouchable, conscience is no longer a factor.

The perp decides that you deserve to have stories made up about you and to have your reputation/livelihood/marriage ruined.

That’s what was so riveting to me about this story.

95,000 persons shared the story before Gannon was able to uncover the person who tried to ruin her.

And the perp did this over a misunderstood comment and the hurt feelings engendered from that misunderstanding.

How evil.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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