By Steve Cortes • Real Clear Politics
The treatment of recent news reveals an important chasm in 2018 America: the concerns of Mainstream Media vs. those of Main Street USA. In many ways, this divide represents a sort of tale of two cities. The first “city” of Washington-New York media elites explodes over every headline, including endless rumors regarding Russia and White House staff intrigue. In contrast, the second “city” of non-politically obsessed everyday Americans focuses on bread-and-butter issues that actually matter to their everyday lives.
For example, during the second week of August, according to a study from left-leaning Media Matters, MSNBC spent almost 16 hours of total airtime discussing disgruntled and discredited former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. For comparison, the channel spent a total of 45 minutes discussing immigration issues and 39 minutes on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Moreover, contrast that concentration on innuendo and scandal with the actual issues of concern to most Americans. In a recent Gallup survey about the 2018 midterm elections, the number one “problem facing the country today” is immigration/illegal aliens. The second most important issue is, unsurprisingly, the economy. Matters pertaining to Russia, incidentally, earned a literal asterisk in Continue reading
By Dennis Prager • Real Clear Politics
You and I are living through the greatest mass hysteria in American history. For many Americans, the McCarthy era held that dubious distinction, but what is happening now is incomparably worse.
For one thing, any hysteria that existed then was directed against the greatest evil in the world at the time: communism. Then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee notwithstanding, there really were Americans in important positions who supported communist regimes enslaving their populations and committing mass murder. McCarthy was on to something.
In contrast, the country is choking on hysteria over the extremely unlikely possibility — for which there is still no evidence — that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, and the absurdity that President Trump works for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For another, Continue reading
By Bill Zeiser • Real Clear Politics
We at RealClearPolitics’ Fact Check Review are making an earnest effort to better understand how fact checkers work — and to share our findings with the public. We are doing so because much is unknown about the fact-checking process. What is clear, however, is that fact checkers are becoming increasingly influential — even to the point of being able to censor what you read.
The core of our project is hosting a site where you can view and search the data we are collecting about fact checks and the organizations that publish them. But to provide context beyond the numbers, we have also been regularly writing about observations we make while assessing the fact checks.
Since our only agenda is to better understand, we do this with no partisan or institutional bias. That means we offer praise and criticism as appropriate. For the fact-checking site Snopes, one of the longest running in the business, we have done both.
By John Lott Jr • The Hill
President Trump’s half hour, impromptu interview on “Fox & Friends” last Friday sent the media’s fact checkers into overdrive this weekend. Everyone from PolitiFact to The New York Times to virtually all the Sunday morning national talk shows piled on, calling Trump a liar.
But the media can’t stop lying about what the president says. Sometimes it can’t distinguish a legitimate point of disagreement from a lie. It is no wonder that people have tuned out much of the constant attacks on Trump.
Just take the hyperbole on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Before playing a compilation of clips from Trump’s interview, moderator Chuck Todd exclaimed: “Let me put together this list of just outright misstatements, lies.” After showing the clips Continue reading
Anyone expecting President Trump supporters to soften up on their allegiance to the president heading into the November midterm elections is sadly mistaken.
This past week, Democrats, the FBI and the liberal elite media gave Team Trump strong reasons to remain solidly behind the Republican commander in chief and his “drain the swamp” cause.
One can also argue that women voters and independents are getting tired of the incessant Trump bashing — especially when the president and his supposedly short-staffed administration (excluding the “traitorous” leakers) are piling up significant Continue reading
With all due respect to contrary opinions apparently held at the New York Times, ABC News, Reuters, CNN, and some of our other media colleagues, this editorial page feels comfortable declaring that North Korea, inasmuch as it is a murderous dictatorship threatening nuclear war, is the bad guy in today’s geopolitical struggle.
“North Korea judged winner of diplomatic gold at Olympics,” Reuters reported. “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy,” the New York Times declared, in a news story that never mentioned that the sister, Kim Yo Jong, is literally the head of North Korea’s propaganda department. A supposed news story from CNN chastised Vice President Mike Pence for “a ‘missed opportunity’ for North Korea diplomacy.”
The argument: Pence “‘degraded the image of the United States as a superpower’ by meeting with North Korean defectors along with Otto Warmbier’s father, and by speaking strongly against North Korea on multiple occasions.”
Otto Warmbier is the American murdered Continue reading
by Mark Hemingway • Weekly Standard
Covering the Trump presidency has not always been the media’s finest hour, but even grading on that curve, the month of December has brought astonishing screwups. Professor and venerable political observer Walter Russell Mead tweeted on December 8, “I remember Watergate pretty well, and I don’t remember anything like this level of journalistic carelessness back then. The constant stream of ‘bombshells’ that turn into duds is doing much more to damage the media than anything Trump could manage.”
On December 1, ABC News correspondent Brian Ross went on air and made a remarkable claim. For months, the media have been furiously trying to prove collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Ross reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had just pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, was prepared to testify that President Trump had instructed him to contact Russian officials before the 2016 election, while Trump was still a candidate. If true, it would have been a gamechanger. But Ross’s claim was inaccurate. Flynn’s documented attempts to contact the Russians came after Trump was president-elect, allegedly trying to lay diplomatic groundwork for the new administration. Ross was suspended by ABC for four weeks without pay for the error.
Later that same weekend, the New York Times ran a story about Trump transition official K. T. McFarland, charging that she had lied to congressional investigators about knowledge of the Trump transition team’s contacts with Russia. The article went through four headline changes and extensive edits after it was first published, substantially softening and backing away from claims made in the original version. The first headline made a definitive claim: Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The question Democrats are now using to accuse Attorney General Jeff Sessions of lying under oath was based on a discredited news report published by CNN.
Democratic leaders in Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), are calling on Sessions to resign for saying he did not meet with Russian officials to discuss the 2016 presidential election during his confirmation hearing.
Democrats say Sessions lied under oath, even though Sessions has been consistent in saying he did not discuss the presidential election with the Russian ambassador but met with numerous ambassadors in his capacity as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. Continue reading
By Conrad Black • The New York Sun
What is utterly astonishing about the fierce contest between the national press and President Trump is that the press does not realize how despised it is by most Americans, and how richly, as a group (which contains many individual exceptions), it deserves to be despised.
For 18 months Donald Trump campaigned with great energy all over the country, swept most of the primaries, many by astounding margins against a large field of candidates, and made a point of denouncing the national media as biased, self-serving, and malicious myth-makers. He referred to them hundreds of times as “liars,” and directed the very large crowds that he drew to the press section, and his supporters shook their fists in unfeigned rage at the press gallery. Did the complacent, bemused national press think they were paid plants or that it was all a spoof? Continue reading
by David French • National Review
The rapture was supposed to happen on September 13, 1988. A few fringe pastors were screaming that the end was nigh, that the righteous would soon disappear into the air while the rest of humanity was doomed to suffer a quite literal hell on earth. Forget the biblical admonition that no man knows the day nor hour of Christ’s return, these men had figured it out. It was time to prepare yourself.
I was a sophomore at a Christian college in Nashville, and it was the talk of the campus. No one likes to make fun of crazy Christian preachers more than irreverent Christian college students, and we couldn’t stop dividing the student body between the saved and the damned.
When the alarm clock rang the morning after the scheduled rapture, I hit snooze, and said, triumphantly, to my roommate, “We’re still here!” There was no response. “Hello?” Still no response. I looked down at his bed, and no one was there. For about nine seconds I was gripped by sheer panic. I’d been left behind. The lake of fire awaits! Then my roommate walked in from the shower, and the crisis passed. Continue reading
by George F. Will • Washington Post
Donald Trump is just one symptom of today’s cultural pathology of self-validating vehemence with blustery certitudes substituting for evidence. Another is the fact that the book atop the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list is a tissue of unsubstantiated assertions. Because of its vast readership, “Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency” by Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and his collaborator, Martin Dugard, will distort public understanding of Ronald Reagan’s presidency more than hostile but conscientious scholars could.
Styling himself an “investigative historian,” O’Reilly purports to have discovered amazing facts that have escaped the notice of real historians. The book’s intimated hypothesis is that the trauma of the March 1981 assassination attempt somehow triggered in Reagan a mental decline, perhaps accelerating the Alzheimer’s disease that would not be diagnosed until 13 years later. The book says Reagan was often addled to the point of incompetence, causing senior advisers to contemplate using the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Well. Continue reading
by Ed Meese & John Heubusch • RealClearPolitics
There are over a thousand books on the subject of Ronald Reagan and his presidency. This is not surprising given that our 40th president is routinely cited in Gallup polls alongside George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt as one of America’s most admired presidents.
Some books such as Lou Cannon’s “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime,” or Martin and Annelise Anderson and Kiron Skinner’s “Reagan in His Own Hand,” and most recently, “Last Act” by Craig Shirley offer keen insight into the man and benefit those seeking an accurate picture of the Reagan years. Unfortunately, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s latest offering, “Killing Reagan,” is not among them.
We have watched numerous television interviews of Mr. O’Reilly since the release of “Killing Reagan” to assess the reasons he wrote the book. O’Reilly calls himself an “investigative historian” and claims such an approach “offers something new.” But there is “new” and there is “accurate”—and it’s unwise to confuse the two. O’Reilly says what he’s discovered is that for some of the time Reagan was in office, he was incapacitated to the point that it was questionable whether he could capably serve in the role of president of the United States. Continue reading
BILL O’REILLY: Obamacare. Now you heard the MIT guy [Jonathan] Gruber saying, you know what? We conned everybody. They weren’t paying attention. They don’t really care. And it’s not what it was sold as. And you say?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This is exactly what conservatives have been saying for four years, what we’re hearing now is the true voice of liberal arrogance. They believe this. They believe that the voters are stupid, as he said. And they believe that they know the right way, they have to lead the masses to the promised land and they can only do it by deception. And that’s what he said openly. We wanted to get the bill. We didn’t care about how we did it so we lied about everything. We lied about if you can keep the plan knowing that you can’t keep your plan. We lied about the fact that this would be a transfer of wealth, a massive transfer of wealth because, as Gruber said, had they known that, it would never have passed. They lied about every aspect of this. And I think that is what has been charged all along and it is a scandal of the media that this has to be discovered in the sixth year of the presidency rather than talked about at the time when it was obvious they were lying about all this. The idea of it being a transfer of wealth was known from the beginning, but they got away with it.
O’REILLY: But really they didn’t get away with it because the new Congress is going to gut the bill, and if there’s a new president who is a Republican — and I even think if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they’ll have to redo Obamacare because they’re going to tie it around her neck, particularly in a debate situation, around Mrs. Clinton’s neck. Are you supporting this? Would you change it? Tell us how. So I don’t thing Obamacare is going to last a long time in this country, Charles.
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I don’t either. I do think probably the fatal blow will come from the Supreme Court. That’s the key thing. In June we will get a ruling on whether the government is allowed to offer subsidies from the federal Obamacare exchange. Without that, it collapses.
by Kyle Smith • New York Post
When the longtime CBS reporter asked for details about reinforcements sent to the Benghazi compound during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor replied, “I give up, Sharyl . . . I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”
Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”
Two of her former bosses, CBS Evening News executive producers Jim Murphy and Rick Kaplan, called her a “pit bull.”
That was when Sharyl was being nice.
Now that she’s no longer on the CBS payroll, this pit bull is off the leash and tearing flesh off the behinds of senior media and government officials. In her new memoir/exposé “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper), Attkisson unloads on her colleagues in big-time TV news for their cowardice and cheerleading for the Obama administration while unmasking the corruption, misdirection and outright lying of today’s Washington political machine. Continue reading
by Paul Farhi • Washington Post
White House journalists are creating an alternative system for distributing their media “pool” reports in response to the Obama administration’s involvement in approving and disapproving certain content in official reports.
A small group of reporters initiated an online forum this month in which they shared “pool” information among themselves, without White House involvement. The forum was set up by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), which negotiates with the White House’s press staff over access for journalists.
Pool reports — those summaries of the president’s public appearances that go to the news media at large and are used in countless news stories — are filed by a rotating group of journalists whose work is intended to be free of content changes by the White House.
The pool journalists, however, must submit their reports to the White House press office, which distributes them via e-mail to hundreds of news organizations and others. The White House maintains the list of recipients.
Reporters have complained that the Obama White House exploits its role as distributor to demand changes in pool reports and that the press office has delayed or refused to distribute some reports until they are amended to officials’ satisfaction. Continue reading