Category Archive 'Mainstream Media'
06 Apr 2021
Matt Taibbi is still a man of the Left, but he wasn’t Woke enough for Rolling Stone, so being a victim of Cancel Culture himself, he’s basically on the right side on Free Speech and Censorship at the hands of Establishment Media and Big Tech. Here’s his latest:
For blue-leaning audiences, news that companies like Facebook and Google had begun shutting down or de-ranking accounts in ways we’d never seen before was, to my initial shock, mostly perceived as a good thing. In the wake of Trump’s election, many Democrats believed something had to be done about “fake news,” Russian trolls, and, especially, inflammatory right-wing speech.
Polls showed 40% of millennials believed the government should be allowed to limit speech offensive to minorities, a number significantly higher than the one for either Baby Boomers (23%) or GenXers (27%). If those levels of support among younger voters existed for outright government censorship, how would that audience ever be convinced to care about private companies zapping political accounts?
The issue was such a non-starter with younger, blue-leaning audiences that when I did a feature about Facebook’s 2018 purges of so-called “inauthentic” accounts, Rolling Stone headlined the piece, “Who Will Fix Facebook?”, as if to disguise what the story was actually about. (I got letters from disappointed readers who’d been drawn in by the headline, hoping to read a story demanding that Facebook wipe out more right-wing/conspiratorial content). After the expulsion of Alex Jones and Infowars from Apple, Facebook, Google, and Spotify, it seemed many younger readers didn’t see a problem with increased content moderation. If anything, Silicon Valley didn’t remove enough obnoxious content.
Conservative readers from the start have been significantly more unnerved by the content moderation movement, for the obvious reason that most higher-profile targets of tech crackdowns have been right-wing figures. After years of decisions like kicking Donald Trump off Twitter, suspending or banning figures like James Woods and Milo Yiannopoulis, and intervening to block access to the New York Post’s expose on Hunter Biden, the censorship issue in conservative media has usually been pitched as being a problem exclusive to them.
After the Hunter Biden story was blocked, Republican politicians like Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker and Colorado’s Cory Gardner hauled tech CEOs to Washington to face accusations of “bias.” At the much-covered hearing in October, Wicker railed at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “Mr. Dorsey, your platform allows foreign dictators to post propaganda, typically without restriction,” he said, “yet you typically restrict the president of the United States.” Read the rest of this entry »
21 Mar 2021
Ed Driscoll calls it precisely: WE’VE DESCENDED INTO SOME SORT OF BIZARRE HELL-WORLD IN WHICH ANDREW SULLIVAN IS A VOICE OF SANITY.
[The Atlanta massage parlor shootings] story has… been deeply instructive about our national discourse and the state of the American mainstream and elite media. This story’s coverage is proof, it seems to me, that American journalists have officially abandoned the habit of attempting any kind of “objectivity” in reporting these stories. We are now in the enlightened social justice world of “moral clarity” and “narrative-shaping.”
Here’s the truth: We don’t yet know why this man did these horrible things. It’s probably complicated, or, as my therapist used to say, “multi-determined.” That’s why we have thorough investigations and trials in America. We only have one solid piece of information as to motive, which is the confession by the mass killer to law enforcement: that he was a religious fundamentalist who was determined to live up to chastity and repeatedly failed, as is often the case. Like the 9/11 bombers or the mass murderer at the Pulse nightclub, he took out his angst on the source of what he saw as his temptation, and committed mass murder. This is evil in the classic fundamentalist sense: a perversion of religion and sexual repression into violence.
We should not take the killer’s confession as definitive, of course. But we can probe it — and indeed, his story is backed up by acquaintances and friends and family. The New York Times originally ran one piece reporting this out. The Washington Post also followed up, with one piece citing contemporaneous evidence of the man’s “religious mania” and sexual compulsion. It appears that the man frequented at least two of the spas he attacked. He chose the spas, his ex roommates said, because he thought they were safer than other ways to get easy sex. Just this morning, the NYT ran a second piece which confirms that the killer had indeed been in rehab for sexual impulses, was a religious fanatic, and his next target was going to be “a business tied to the pornography industry.”
We have yet to find any credible evidence of anti-Asian hatred or bigotry in this man’s history. Maybe we will. We can’t rule it out. But we do know that his roommates say they once asked him if he picked the spas for sex because the women were Asian. And they say he denied it, saying he thought those spas were just the safest way to have quick sex. That needs to be checked out more. But the only piece of evidence about possible anti-Asian bias points away, not toward it.
And yet. Well, you know what’s coming. Accompanying one original piece on the known facts, the NYT ran nine — nine! — separate stories about the incident as part of the narrative that this was an anti-Asian hate crime, fueled by white supremacy and/or misogyny. Not to be outdone, the WaPo ran sixteen separate stories on the incident as an anti-Asian white supremacist hate crime. Sixteen! One story for the facts; sixteen stories on how critical race theory would interpret the event regardless of the facts. For good measure, one of their columnists denounced reporting of law enforcement’s version of events in the newspaper, because it distracted attention from the “real” motives. Today, the NYT ran yet another full-on critical theory piece disguised as news on how these murders are proof of structural racism and sexism — because some activists say they are.
16 Oct 2020
My classmate, Chicago Law Professor Charles Lipson, is justifiably indignant at the shameless partisan behavior of the Establishment Media and the Social Media giants.
[T]he Biden familyâ€™s corruption as part of th[e] entrenched system is why the social-media censorship of that story should not be seen as a separate, stand-alone scandal. It is integral to understanding how the Swampâ€™s ecosystem operations, how it defines our politics.
The operation is visible in the New York Post exposÃ© of Biden family corruption. The FBI has had those documents for months, so they should be either verified or discredited by now. Those findings, if they exist, have not leaked. If the emails are legitimate, they are bombshells. If they are false, they are worse than duds. They are a major disinformation campaign â€” an assault on our election â€” and we need to know who is behind it so we can hold them accountable.
Twitter and Facebook have prevented dissemination of the Post story on their platforms. The reason, they say, is that they have not substantiated it themselves. They decided to block all users, including members of Congress and the Presidentâ€™s press secretary, from sharing links to these published stories. Big Tech Knows Best.
Remember, this story was published by a major newspaper, a reputable one with a large circulation, subject to libel and defamation laws. Notice that the Biden presidential campaign has not denied the documents are authentic. They did deny, sort of, one item in one email, namely that VP Biden met with a Burisma executive, despite years of denying any involvement with Hunterâ€™s business dealings. The campaign issued a carefully worded statement, saying only that the vice president had not listed on his official schedule any meeting with a senior Burisma official for the day in question. Later, they acknowledged that there were long gaps in the schedule and that a meeting could have taken place. Maybe it did; maybe it didnâ€™t. We just donâ€™t know as yet. We do know, quite apart from these emails, that VP Biden met with his sonâ€™s Chinese business contacts without listing them on his â€˜official scheduleâ€™.
The New York Post has disclosed a great deal about its sourcing for these Biden stories, far more than other newspapers did when they published anonymously-sourced attacks on Trump. The social media giants didnâ€™t block those. It didnâ€™t even block discredited stories, like one from BuzzFeed that was demolished with an unprecedented public statement from Robert Muellerâ€™s Office of Special Counsel. Today, you can post links to that discredited story on Facebook or Twitter. If you are an Iranian or Chinese propaganda ministry, you can post your stories, too.
To put it bluntly: the â€˜verification standardâ€™ isnâ€™t standard and doesnâ€™t require verification unless the social-media czars say it does. It should be called the Alice in Wonderland Standard. â€˜â€œWhen I use a word,â€ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, â€œit means just what I choose it to mean â€” neither more nor less.â€ â€œThe question is,â€ said Alice, â€œwhether you can make words mean so many different things.â€â€™ And so it is with Facebook and Twitterâ€™s â€˜verification standardâ€™.
Why did Twitter and Facebook blackout news about Hunter Biden? The obvious answer is that those companies have a dog in the fight, and they are walking behind him with a giant pooper-scooper. Itâ€™s impossible to say if they picked that dog for ideological or financial reasons. Perhaps both. Most employees favor Biden, while higher-level executives want to preserve their networks of political power and influence. Both motives point in the same direction.
Trump has framed this New York Post story and its suppression on social media by saying â€˜Biden is corruptâ€™ and â€˜Big Tech is biasedâ€™. Heâ€™s right, of course, but he should go further. Oddly, he is overlooking the very idea he has campaigned on since 2015. Biden, Burisma, Chinese banks, Twitter and Facebook are all faces of the Washington Swamp. Next week, the faces may be different, but the Swamp itself will be the same. The buyers and sellers who populate this fetid ecosystem have powerful reasons to sustain it. For some, that means taking payments from foreign oligarchs and then opening doors for them. For others, that means suppressing news about who opened the doors and why. That is exactly what Big Tech is doing now. They, like the politicians they are protecting, want to retain their power and line their pockets. In Washington, thatâ€™s the Circle of Life.
08 Oct 2020
Ernest Hemingway posing with two trophy kudu | Africa, 1934 |
Contemporary British & American newspapers regularly get hold of a photo of a Big Game hunter posing happily with a trophy, and write up him or her as a malevolent monster who sadistically murdered the beautiful, noble, and happy wild critter, who is invariably personalized with a cutsey personal name like “Cecil the Lion.”
Their gullible urban-based readership, who characteristically think that meat grows on supermarket shelves, and that wild animals normally die peaceful deaths in retirement homes, eat up this nonsense and invariably enthusiastically participate in two-minutes of hate. Too many of these people then write checks to phony-baloney Animal Protection Societies (whose officers draw princely salaries and which devote 90% of their budgets to fund-raising) as well as to Anti-Hunting Extremist Organizations.
Hunters are not actually sadists. The hunter appreciates, understands, and cares far more for the hunted animal than the sentimental television watcher or the Animal Rights crackpot. The hunter understands how Nature actually works, and finds powerful emotional and spiritual reward in personal participation in its basic and fundamental process, the contest between the hunter and the game.
“The true trophy hunter is a self-disciplined perfectionist seeking a single animal, the ancient patriarch well past his prime that is often an outcast from his own kind. If successful, he will enshrine the trophy in a place of honor. This is a more noble and fitting end than dying on some lost and lonely edge where the scavengers will pick his bones and his magnificent horns will weather away and be lost forever.”
â€“ Elgin Gates, Trophy Hunter in Asia, 1988.
06 Aug 2020
The usage of the terms â€œracist(s)â€ and â€œracismâ€ as a percentage of all words in four of the nationâ€™s largest newspapers from (depending on the publication) 1970 through 2019.
Zach Goldberg, in Tablet Magazine, documents the sudden rise to mainstream acceptance of the radical Marxist viewpoint on American History and society.
In the wake of the protests, riots, and general upheaval sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the United States is experiencing a racial reckoning. The response from Americaâ€™s elite liberal institutions suggests that many have embraced the ideology of the protesters. Here, for instance, is a sampling of the titles of opinion pieces and news stories published over the past month by the countryâ€™s two most influential newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times:
â€œWhen black people are in pain, white people just join book clubsâ€
â€œBlack Activists Wonder: Is Protesting Just Trendy for White People?â€
â€œTo White People Who Want to Be â€˜One of the Good Onesâ€™â€
â€œAmericaâ€™s Enduring Caste System: Our founding ideals promise liberty and equality for all. Our reality is an enduring racial hierarchy that has persisted for centuries.â€
The last entry on the list, a lengthy feature on Americaâ€™s â€œcaste systemâ€ in The New York Times Magazine, explicitly compares the United States to Nazi Germany.
Countless articles have been published in recent weeks, often under the guise of straight news reporting, in which journalists take for granted the legitimacy of novel theories about race and identity. Such articles illustrate a prevailing new political morality on questions of race and justice that has taken power at the Times and Postâ€”a worldview sometimes abbreviated as â€œwokenessâ€ that combines the sensibilities of highly educated and hyperliberal white professionals with elements of Black nationalism and academic critical race theory. But the mediaâ€™s embrace of â€œwokenessâ€ did not begin in response to the death of George Floyd. This racial ideology first began to take hold at leading liberal media institutions years before the arrival of Donald Trump and, in fact, heavily influenced the journalistic response to the protest movements of recent years and their critique of American society.
Starting well before Donald Trumpâ€™s rise to power, while President Obama was still in office, terms like â€œmicroaggressionâ€ and â€œwhite privilegeâ€ were picked up by liberal journalists. These terms went from being obscure fragments of academic jargon to commonplace journalistic language in only a few yearsâ€”a process that I document here in detail. During this same period, while exotic new phrases were entering the discourse, universally recognizable words like â€œracismâ€ were being radically redefined. Along with the new language came ideas and beliefs animating a new moral-political framework to apply to public life and American society.
17 Jul 2020
Andrew is bending over backwards acrobatically to be nice about it, but he clearly didn’t fall. He was pushed.
What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, Iâ€™m a luxury item they donâ€™t want to afford. And thatâ€™s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theoryâ€™s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why Iâ€™m out of here.
Two years ago, I wrote that we all live on campus now. That is an understatement. In academia, a tiny fraction of professors and administrators have not yet bent the knee to the woke program â€” and those few left are being purged. The latest study of Harvard University faculty, for example, finds that only 1.46 percent call themselves conservative. But thatâ€™s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine. And maybe itâ€™s worth pointing out that â€œconservativeâ€ in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.
It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated. And thatâ€™s fine. We have freedom of association in this country, and if the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives, because they wonâ€™t bend the knee to critical theoryâ€™s version of reality, thatâ€™s their prerogative. It may even win them more readers, at least temporarily. But this is less of a systemic problem than in the past, because the web has massively eroded the power of gatekeepers to suppress and control speech. I was among the first to recognize this potential for individual freedom of speech, and helped pioneer individual online media, specifically blogging, 20 years ago.
And this is where Iâ€™m now headed.
And he’s right: if an anti-Trump, anti-Bush Quizling ersatz conservative, who additionally plays for the wrong team, is not an acceptable token in Establishment journalism today, things have reached one helluva pass. Andrew, of course, needs to sit back and reflect on his own part, in the role of sell-out, in letting matters proceed so far.
Andrew finds himself rather in the position of the late German pastor Martin NiemÃ¶ller:
“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
28 May 2020
Victor Davis Hanson:
As a general rule, when the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN begin to parrot a narrative, the truth often is found in simply believing just the opposite.
Put another way, the mediaâ€™s â€œtruthâ€ is a good guide to what is abjectly false. Perhaps we can call the lesson of this valuable service, the mediaâ€™s inadvertent ability to convey truth by disguising it with transparent bias and falsehood, the â€œDoctrine of Media Untruth.â€
02 Apr 2020
Kurt Schlichter finds the pandemic bringing out the best in the media spokespersons of the elite coastal community of fashion.
Another hitherto unknown skill that the media believes it possesses is logistics. â€œWhy hasnâ€™t Trump commanded a million ventilators to appear?!â€ the reporters demand. Itâ€™s pretty easy to see where they might have gotten the idea that the moment one articulates a desire to possess something that it magically appears. Capitalism has pretty much made that a reality. If you want something, you can go to a store and get it 24/7, or you can go on Amazon and itâ€™ll be at your Manhattan apartment in 48 hours. Since they have never built anything or transported anything or distributed anything, only benefited from the labor of the unhip people who do those things, itâ€™s only natural that the delayed adolescents who make up our media class imagine that material goods can be simply wished into being. After all, for all practical purposes during normal times, because of the efforts of Americans they look down upon, material goods pretty much can be simply wished into being. But prosperity takes work, not that the media would know.
Rhodes scholar Racheal Maddow mocked our Navy over the idea it could sail a floating hospital up to New York, leveraging her nautical knowledge to insist it was weeks away. It took all those water army people a week. Oh, and the ground army simultaneously built a full hospital in a few days. And, amazingly, almost none of the folks doing it attended Haaaaaarvard. But hey, our media elite has contributed â€“ itâ€™s accomplishedâ€¦uhâ€¦umâ€¦shut up, racists!
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