Category Archive 'Journalistic Malpractice'
09 Apr 2016
Victor Sharpe and Robert Vincent marvel at how accustomed we have all become to the staggering level of mainstream media bias in favor of democrats.
t seems that most Americans operate on the assumption that the media is making a good-faith, if imperfect, effort at objectively informing its audience. That so few are genuinely aware of the outrageous manipulation of public opinion now taking place is the single greatest threat to the republic, to the extent that we can even say that our republic still exists. A glaring example of this would be the treatment of Nixon 42 years ago over Watergate compared with the treatment of Obama today over any one of several far worse scandals.
It was recently reported in the WSJ that Obama used the NSA to spy on Congress during the deliberations related to the Iran nuclear deal. It was reported on at one time, but this story has now disappeared completely from media coverage. Consider the implications.
In the former case, Nixon apparently directed or sat by and knowingly let his immediate subordinates direct a third-rate burglary of the campaign headquarters of an election opponent. In the latter case, Obama authorized one of the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering organizations in the world to spy on American legislators, en masse, in pursuit of the most important â€“ and egregiously flawed â€“ international agreement impacting American national security and world stability â€“ namely, with the chief sponsor of international terrorism: the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This is a thousand times worse than Watergate! Where is the media? Where are today’s equivalents of Woodward and Bernstein? The media doesn’t focus on this outrage at all, so to the overwhelming majority of the public, it is as though this never even happened. And this is only one of several comparable scandals we could name. …
[I]n 2012, during an unintentional “open mic” moment, we overheard Obama making assurances to Russian president Medvedev that once he was able to get past the election, he would have “more flexibility.”
Here we have a sitting U.S. president apparently ready to make some huge concession to America’s most important major power rival on the world stage, a concession so drastic that it apparently couldn’t even be revealed until after the election. And the media did not hound him over this.
Could one imagine a President Nixon, or a President Reagan, making such a statement during arms control negotiations with the USSR and the media simply giving it a pass?. …
How about the qualifications of Bernie Sanders, who did not so much as earn a regular paycheck until he was 40, who ran for Congress while collecting unemployment, who supported himself for a time writing about masturbation and rape fantasies for leftist publications, who has served in Congress for 25 years without having written even one piece of legislation that ever passed?
Read the whole thing.
06 Jun 2014
A former workhouse built in the 1840s, later the Mother/Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland
At the beginning of this month, a story based upon nothing but old news and unsupported allegations originating from an amateur local historian with an axe to grind rapidly became international news. Left-wing bloggers like Andrew Sullivan leapt aboard, taking the story as good evidence of the Roman Catholic Church’s crimes against humanity via that church’s disapproval of (what it considers the mortal sin of) extra-marital sex.
The story is, of course, simply an echoing of the popular culture meme created by the 2002 film The Magdalene Sisters, which depicted unwed mothers as innocent victims grossly abused by a greedy and sadistic nun and sexually exploited by a priest at the asylum to which unmarried pregnant women were consigned by an unsympathetic Irish society in the bad old days before the 1960s Revolution.
A vast number of news stories tell us that close to 800 bodies of babies were discovered consigned to a “septic tank” and infer, on the basis of pure speculation, a few anecdotes, and a single war-time health inspection report that children were mistreated and starved into early deaths.
What Was the Mother/Baby Home?
The Tuam Mother/Baby Home was a former workhouse converted by the Irish Free State in 1925 into a county-owned home for unwed mothers, obstetric facility, and orphanage operated by the Order of Bon Secours, a French Order of Nursing Sisters founded in 1799 to provide “good help to those in need,” and especially to furnish free nursing for the poor. The Bon Secours sisters first came to Ireland to provide medical assistance during the Great Potato Famine. The county supplied funding on a per capita basis for mothers and babies housed at the facility and also paid the salaries of doctors attending them.
The long abandoned site made headlines around the world this week when it was revealed that a nearby septic tank contained the bodies of up to eight hundred infants and children, secretly buried without coffins or headstones on unconsecrated ground between 1925 and 1961.
No Septic Tank ever Existed
When the Mother/Baby Home closed down in 1961, the property and all records of births and deaths were turned over by Bon Secours Sisters to the state. The buildings were demolished in the early 1970s and the seven acre property was developed into a housing estate. Two boys from the estate playing on the property in the mid-1970s discovered a mass grave in the area behind the former Home.
The grave was discovered in the 1970s by 12-year-old friends, Barry Sweeney and Francis Hopkins.
Mr Sweeney said: ‘It was a concrete slab and we used to play there but there was always something hollow underneath it so we decided to bust it open and it was full to the brim of skeletons.
‘The priest came over and blessed it. I don’t know what they did with it after that. You could see all the skulls.’
Exactly what they found remains unclear. Some local people apparently suggested that the boys had discovered a mass grave of famine victims from the 19th century.
No bodies have actually been recently found.
No one exhumed nearly 800 bodies of babies. What actually happened is that Catherine Corless, a local amateur historian (with the conventional modernist animus against the Roman Catholic Church) became interested and investigated the history of the Home.
When I started my research into the Home, I spoke to some of the residents who had moved into this housing estate on the Dublin/Athenry road, and they indicated that there was an unmarked graveyard in an area at the rear of where the Home once stood. It was believed that it was an angels plot for unbaptised babies, but further in my research I discovered that in fact, many children and young babies were also buried here. I was astonished to find that there was no formal marking or plaque to indicate that these children were buried there. I decided to contact the Registration Office in Galway to check for deaths in the Home. I was dismayed to find that in fact the number of children who died in the Home during its existence 1925-1961 numbered nearly 800. I now have all those childrenâ€™s names, date of death, and age at death, which will be recorded into a special book.
It just did not seem right that all those children lay there unnamed and forgotten. Hence, I made contact with the Western Traveller and Intercultural Development (WTID) and a committee of interested people emerged, all with the view that some sort of Memorial should be erected in this childrenâ€™s graveyard in dedication to their memory. Our committee is named: â€˜The Childrenâ€™s Home Graveyard Committeeâ€™.
We introduced our Project to erect a Memorial to the children, to the Tuam Town Council at one of their meetings, and got a unanimous decision that they would help us with some funding when they get their 2014 Grant Allowance. The Heritage Council have also promised to help but have cautioned us that Heritage Grants have been cut for 2014. Our fundraising is ongoing as it will take a large sum to complete the whole Project, i.e. to erect a proper Monument, clear the pathways into the graveyard, and to maintain the area with flowers and shrubs etc.
There was never any septic tank. Daily Mail:
The babies were usually buried in a plain shroud without a coffin in a plot that had housed a water tank attached to the workhouse that preceded the mother and child home.
No memorial was erected to the dead children and the grave was left unmarked.
The real substance of all the hoo-hah is that apparently baptized babies and small children who died at the Home may possibly have been buried in the same “Angels’ Plot” as premature unbaptized infants, and without markers.
The generality of readers have been led by irresponsible journalism to believe on the basis of garbled information and a few anecdotes that the Sisters of Bon Secours starved hundreds of children to death, abused and neglected babies and their mothers, and then tossed the bodies of their victims contemptuously into a septic tank.
Andrew Sullivan was typical of left-wing bloggers, though possibly even a bit keener than most:
These children were treated as sub-human because their births violated a Catholic doctrine that there can be no sex outside of marriage. The young women â€“ denied contraception, of course â€“ were equally subject to horrifying stigmatization, hatred, and inhumane rules that took their children away from them.
Providing support and education for, and arranging the adoption of the children of unwed mothers who have no ability to support them does necessarily involve taking those unwed mothers’ children away from them. This sort of thing used to be looked upon as a good deed, not as a crime against humanity. But people used to have a lesser sense of self-entitlement.
Reading anecdotes testifying that a stone institutional building in early 20th century Ireland was cold fails to surprise. I could collect even larger numbers of first-hand accounts testifying to harsh treatment and bad food from the young men consigned to such secular institutions as Eton and Harrow during precisely the same period. Where I differ from Andrew Sullivan and other champions of the Press would be in my declining to have any part in attempting to adjudicate alleged pre-1961 complaints on the basis of a few anecdotes from disgruntled people.
The Health Report quoted by Ms. Corless is unflattering undoubtedly, but it was written in 1944 we must recognize. WWII was going on in 1944. Food supplies, even in neutral Ireland, were disrupted, and people all over Europe were living on short rations. The records indicate that the Tuam unwed mothers’ asylum and orphanage was filled well over-capacity. Just like increased promiscuity, food shortages and over-crowding are inevitable results of war-time conditions. I don’t know that you can blame the nuns. Why not blame the County? If there were shortages of food or heat in 1944, the monies to pay for them were not being provided by the government. The nuns were doubtless living on the same rations and shivering in the same cold.
19 Feb 2014
Oppressed peasant and champion of the laboring man (despite being himself a highly paid journalist and graduate of Brown) Kevin Roose gate-crashed a financial industry’s private club party at the St. Regis, and was shocked, shocked to find joking about the financial crisis (and cross dressing) going on.
Roose indiscreetly waved his cell phone around, recording songs and monologues, and taking snapshots, until they finally recognized him as an interloper and threw him out.
As I walked through the streets of midtown in my ill-fitting tuxedo, I thought about the implications of what Iâ€™d just seen.
The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sectorâ€™s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.
The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.
The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers.
Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When youâ€™re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.
Traditional WASP culture, any Ivy League graduate should know perfectly well, is not utterly and completely built around hard work, steady habits, and the Protestant Ethic. It occasionally lapses into self-mockery and carnival.
WASP culture has a recognizable penchant for creating extremely socially exclusive, but purely farcical, tongue-in-cheek “secret” societies devoted to holding occasional banquets featuring abundant alcohol, comedy sketches, and cross dressing.
The Financial Industry’s Kappa Beta Phi is clearly an institution created on the basis of the same impulses, and operating the same way, as San Francisco’s Bohemian Club. Membership in this sort of club is a rare honor, awarded only to persons famous and eminent, but it is also entirely a joke.
You clearly couldn’t have a mock secret society of progressive journalists with its own annual comedy dinner. They take themselves too seriously, and are too poorly informed to be capable of accurately identifying the causes of current events like the great recession. Kevin Roose thinks it was the financial industry’s “foibles,” rather than federal meddling in real estate finance followed by Obamacare, which produced “real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.” He would never get the point of a comedy routine, mocking the failure of the News Industry to properly vet a radical democrat candidate for the presidency.
Hat tip to Tyler Carlisle.
21 Jun 2010
We have a much larger journalism pollution problem than the current oil spill represents. Government responses, costs to government and private industry, and public interest in the matter have all been massively inflated by orders of magnitude beyond anything rational or appropriate, all for the self interest of journalists and news organizations. The American public is simply led around by the nose by people with the resources and ability to exploit and exaggerate the significance of certain kinds of unfortunate events.
Who cares about those oh-so-terribly-fragile, fishy-smelling, mosquito-infested marshes? What about the impact of all the journalism pollution on energy costs, people’s jobs, American due process, the rule of law, our political decision-making processes, and the ever-expanding role and power of government and the immense regulatory burden we all have to pay for?
Take sensationalist reporting out of the equation, and we have an unfortunate industrial accident with some serious economic costs and a few seasons of regional environmental impact. Add in the media and we have a circus of emotional Sturm und Drang fueling stupid policy choices and lawless governmental behavior, with devastating long-term costs to every consumer in the country, the entire economy, and the trajectory of American government.
My understanding is that there are something like 4000 oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The last major accident was in 1979. One oil spill every 30 years, one serious problem in a generation, strikes me as a pretty decent record.
Exactly how many gazillion dollars of extra energy cost would it be worth to reduce by some undefinable percentage the itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, remote possibility that every so many decades there could be an accident, fouling so many miles of beaches and inconveniencing the fishing industry (and a certain number of pelicans) for several seasons?
Perfection, of course, is unobtainable, even if regulations and costs are piled to the sky, there is always going to be
happenstance, human error, and acts of God.
What happens in America when something goes wrong is that the press sees an opportunity to run with the story and to play heroic watchdog of the public interest. A scapegoat is always required for our civic religious ritual. The press gets to identify some business entity as heartless, irresponsible, and greedy, and one or more public officials as incompetent or corrupt. The press can do whatever it pleases with the data. Words are easy. Capping leaking wells is hard. There is always the same moral. We need bigger and more active government. We need to spend more in taxes and regulatory costs. Then, once we have punished the scapegoat(s) and made due sacrifice to Leviathan, all will be well. The Great Big Nobodaddy Government will see to it that life will be perfect and nothing will ever go wrong again.
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