Category Archive 'Media Bias'
28 May 2020

“It Ain’t Necessarily So”

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Amy Cooper calling the police. New York City, May 25 2020. (Screengrab via NPR)

We all saw the video of the annoying hysterical woman calling the cops on an apparently harmless African American birdwatcher who had merely remonstrated with her about her violating park rules by letting her dog run off-leash. What a racist!

But, as Kyle Smith informs us, the video, and the Media accounts, omit one rather significant detail: the African American birdwatcher actually did threaten her and her dog.

Once again, further evidence upended the narrative of a viral video — but not before someone’s life and reputation were destroyed.

Funny thing about viral videos: They don’t necessarily give the full and complete context for what happened, do they? They might, for instance, begin only after someone does something bizarre and provocative but record solely the reaction. Covington was only 16 months ago. Did we learn anything from it? Apparently not. A similar thing happened in Central Park this weekend, the world reacted in the same way, and once again a misleading video made it appear that a target of a deliberate provocation was a racist for reacting understandably to the provocateur.

New Yorker Amy Cooper was walking her dog in Central Park’s Ramble area, a little patch of semi-wilderness in an otherwise manicured park. She allowed her dog off the leash, which is against the rules. But on the other hand, the Ramble is the one little-frequented spot in the entire vast park where it kinda, sorta seems like rules don’t apply. For decades, the rules definitely didn’t apply: It was a popular gay pickup location for connoisseurs of anonymous al fresco sex.

On Memorial Day, Cooper, a middle-aged white woman, was allowing her dog to run off-leash, breaking a rule that is widely ignored, albeit crucial for bird-watchers. Nearby was Christian Cooper, a middle-aged black man of no relation to her. Mr. Cooper is an avid birder and doesn’t much like dogs interfering with his avian observations. So he issued what to her sounded like a threat to poison her dog. Ms. Cooper freaked out. Who wouldn’t?

As her freakout was underway, Mr. Cooper filmed her on his phone. And Covington 2 was off and running. The public viewed the conveniently edited video more than 30 million times, Ms. Cooper was denounced as a “Karen,” or self-appointed whistleblower, for her understandable reaction, and few noticed that the inciting Karen of the affair was not the middle-aged white lady but Mr. Cooper himself, for busting her over allowing her dog off-leash. Her employer not only fired her but — far worse — publicly branded her a racist.

News accounts have repeatedly characterized Ms. Cooper as having “threatened” Mr. Cooper. That is the opposite of what happened. We know this because of Mr. Cooper’s helpful Facebook post on the matter, from which I quote:

    ME: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

    HER: “What’s that?”

    ME [to the dog]: “Come here, puppy!”

    HER: “He won’t come to you.”

    ME: “We’ll see about that.” . . . I pull out the dog treats I carry for just such intransigence. I didn’t even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.

Possibly it was an overreaction for Ms. Cooper to call the police. Then again, when citizens feel threatened, calling the police and letting them sort it out is what is supposed to happen. What Mr. Cooper said to her was unmistakably a threat. It was reasonable for her to be scared. “I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it”? That’s a menacing thing to say. He then called the dog over while offering it a treat. He meant her to think he was going to poison her dog to motivate her to leash the animal. By his own admission, he said something calculated to frighten her. Apparently, he does this all the time; he carries dog treats while birding “for just such intransigence.” If there were no threat linked to his offering the dog a snack, he would not have prefaced this action by saying, “You’re not going to like it.” He didn’t say, “Look, let’s be reasonable here, I’ll even give your dog a nice snack to show I mean well.” Mr. Cooper intended to scare Ms. Cooper, he succeeded, and in her fear she called the cops.

Ms. Cooper would probably have been wise to leash her pet and walk briskly away, but when a stranger threatens to poison your dog in Central Park, that is bound to cause consternation. It’s not unreasonable for her to have felt herself (as well as the dog) personally threatened by Mr. Cooper’s saying, “I’m going to do what I want, and you’re not going to like it.”

RTWT

28 May 2020

Our Consistently Mendacious Media

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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 media’s “truth” is a good guide to what is abjectly false. Perhaps we can call the lesson of this valuable service, the media’s inadvertent ability to convey truth by disguising it with transparent bias and falsehood, the “Doctrine of Media Untruth.”

RTWT

28 Oct 2019

WaPo”Austere Religious Scholar” Headline Universally Mocked

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The Washington Post’s take on the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi inspired so much ridicule that they changed the header.

Sarcastic parodies were everywhere yesterday. One of the best collections I found is here.

14 Oct 2019

Left Freaking Out Over 2018 Parody Video

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The entire media Left is clutching its pearls and shrieking with outrage over this sill “Kingsman” parody video showing Trump slaughtering his media enemies. I thought it was kind of fun in a pleasantly transgressive way myself.

Hey, libs, isn’t “transgressive-ness” one of the absolutely best artistic values? If it is important that we fund putting the crucifix in a bottle of the artist’s urine and making a statue of the Virgin Mary out of elephant dung, doesn’t that mean the makers of this video deserve a huge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts?

10 Aug 2019

NYT Embarrassing Headline Scandale

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Chadwick Moore, in the Spectator, helps out the NYT by writing their apology to Times subscribers for them.

Dear Valued Subscriber,

For a mere $39.99 a month, about what you pay your Guatemalan nanny, you depend on us for thought-provoking personal reassurance, award-winning arrogance, hard-hitting sycophancy, and up-to-the-minute coverage of Orange Man – who is very, very bad.

The New York Times remains the world’s most prestigious Viewpoint Validation Service because we understand the crippling emptiness permeating the wealthy liberal soul – we are that emptiness – and you entrust us to make you feel good, smart and worthy every day.

While News and Opinion whisper watered-down postgrad nothings in your ear, Style and Dining guarantee you’ll be validated on the outside, as well as inside. Style and Dining remain committed to informing you on exactly what Brooklyn thought was cool three years ago. While the city that is our namesake – and the place you’ve built your entire identity around – might be a dead, stale cultural wasteland that no one cares about anymore, our Travel section reminds you that you’re a global citizen. Times subscribers don’t have homes, they have bases.

But even the pre-eminent VVS is vulnerable to mistakes.

As some of you are aware, we failed in our commitment to ferociously guard the sanctity of your echo chamber this week. A headline appeared on our front page suggesting Orange Man spoke against racism. While the headline was factual, it was a flagrant betrayal of the service you expect us to provide and we literally stopped the presses to fix it.

We listened to our readers on how to proceed from there. The headline writer was an elderly holdover from the days when we were a newspaper. But today’s lovepaper business is different. Inspired by the Texas revolutionary Joaquin Castro, our editorial board decided to take out a full page ad in our own paper to publish his home address and pictures of his family. Then we mobilized our 52,247 interns to brigade his employer, us, with phone calls to report that we have a racist in our ranks. The writer was immediately fired. Our interns, known as TimesHelpers, chucked milkshakes at him as he sadly strolled through the lobby with his little NPR tote bag full of desktop knick knacks. Just as he reached the door we unchained Sarah Jeong and watched gleefully as she dismembered and ate him alive.

Our customers’ pomposity and fragility are important to us. We don’t use words like ‘neurotic’ and ‘repellant’ to describe our readers the way shopkeepers, waiters, and dry-cleaners might. We think your quirkiness is the natural byproduct of the cosmopolitan, emotionally lavish life that you lead.

We know if we aren’t delivering our best, every hour of every day, somewhere a Yale grad might lose an argument if she can’t reference our content as the final authority. The Times subscriber understands that reading about something makes you a better person than doing something. You depend on us to be informed daily about the wretched lives of blacks and immigrants as a fair tradeoff for keeping them out of your own communities and schools.

Point of privilege, when tens of thousands of you threatened to cancel your subscription this week, we had a chuckle. You were never going to leave. Our authority is the only thing that gives you authority. And, besides, where else would you go, the Washington Post? That lovepaper is named after a slave owner. And it’s not like you’re going to subscribe to the Wall Street Nazi.

But we still listened to your grievances. Because of your diverse needs, on Monday we will launch the most intimate Viewpoint Validation Service on earth with TimesPersonal. Our new premium service will give platinum members the option to select how they’d like to see a story reported before they read it. Platinum members will be able to pick from options like, ‘Skip to the white nationalism,’ ‘What’s the real estate value,’ and ‘Trump’s fault.’ TimesPersonal comes with our new TimesTrauma feature that algorithmically eliminates potentially triggering content from your personal edition of the Times. Going forward, subscribers can log-in to our TimesRapeWhistle portal to flag content they feel may have been published without consent from the greater Times community.

We know that from the first day you picked up our product, you’ve seen us as not just a newspaper but a social status accelerant. We will never forget our commitment to selling our subscribers more than just words, but personal brand and identity. In these dark and divided times, where 63 million white supremacists use the internet to ridicule their moral superiors with things called ‘memes,’ we have an even more important calling: to protect your truth.

Sincerely,

Dean Baquet

Minister of Feels, The New York Times Viewpoint Validation Service

he/him

HT: Guy de la Boer.

12 Jan 2019

Trump Derangement Syndrome

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14 Sep 2018

“It’s Climate Change!”

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03 Sep 2018

The Media and McCain

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Dr. Bastiat:

Watching the media coverage of McCain’s presidential campaign against Barack Obama, I was surprised that he didn’t personally beat up black orphans on stage during campaign stops. Watching the media coverage of McCain’s funeral, I was surprised that he didn’t rise on the third day.

19 Aug 2018

Liberals and Free Speech

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Kevin D. Williamson puts the hundreds of newspaper editorials recently deploring Donald Trump’s criticisms of the establishment media into proper perspective.

If we want a culture of open and robust discourse, then we do not want a culture in which Brendan Eich is driven from his job for having an unpopular view on gay marriage. If we want a culture of open and robust discourse, then we do not want a culture in which there is an organized-campaign-style effort to have journalists dismissed from their positions for holding unpopular views, or a boycott every time the New York Times or the Washington Post (or, I suppose, The Atlantic) adds a columnist who is not likely to please the Bernie Sanders Campaign Historical Re-enactors Society at Reed College. It is true that none of these things is a formal violation of the First Amendment, because the First Amendment is a restriction on what kind of laws the federal government may enact. But calling CNN’s daily output “fake news” isn’t a violation of the First Amendment, either.

What’s actually at work here is a variation on “Heads I Win/Tails You Lose.” When the Left wants to stop an unpopular speaker from delivering remarks at Berkeley, then that’s just meeting speech with more speech and some firebombs. And, it’s true: There isn’t any First Amendment reason why you can’t have a riot at Berkeley every time Ann Coulter gets invited to speak there. But there are all sorts of other reasons.

If there is going to be more to freedom of speech than “Congress shall make no law” — which is what we should want — then that has to be true for everyone.

Freedom of the press is not some special license granted to organizations that incorporate as media companies. There is no intellectually defensible model of free expression that protects the editorial page of the New York Times but not Hillary: The Movie. Of course, it’s easy to think of a pretext for suppressing communication you don’t like: If you don’t like what Citizens United is saying, then you shut it down with “campaign finance reform,” which, we should remember, worked — until the Supreme Court stopped it. If you don’t like that oil companies fund organizations that criticize global-warming policies, then you claim that this amounts to “securities fraud.” If you don’t like that the NRA is an effective advocate for its positions, you use banking regulations to hamstring it financially. Don’t like somebody’s social or religious views? “Hate speech.” Easy as that.

We don’t need conjecture: We’ve seen how this goes. The Obama administration used the Espionage Act to punish whistleblowers, spy on journalists, and interfere with reporting it didn’t want done. Under Obama, the IRS targeted conservative nonprofits for harassment and more under the guise of enforcing the tax code — and it illegally disclosed private information about an advocacy group that irritated Democrats. The same people demand the power to set the terms for political debate, saying they want to “keep money out of politics,” a claim that it is impossible for any mentally functional adult to take very seriously.

Freedom of the press does not mean extending special privileges, legal or customary, to the New York Times and CNN. And freedom of speech means a lot more than the absence of formal censorship by the federal government. Formal protections for free speech are important and necessary, but they do not amount to very much without a free-speech culture to back them up.

A must read.

28 Oct 2017

Double Standards

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19 Oct 2017

Eye of the Beholder

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05 Sep 2017

CNN Covers Trump’s Visit to Houston

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HT: Bird Dog.

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