Friday, April 10, 2015

Dear journalists

I know that there is intelligence in the military. But it is now clear there is no ethics in journalism.

Please update your hackish oxymoron jokes accordingly.

Ann Coulter

The big finale to the latest college rape fable, Rolling Stone's whimsical "A Rape on Campus," about a fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia that never happened, is the Columbia Journalism Review's "investigation" of the story, released Sunday night. It's more of a house of mirrors than a finale, inasmuch as CJR's report is so preposterous that it demands its own investigation.

The CJR treats "reporting" as if it is some sort of learned craft, requiring years of study, as opposed to basic common sense. For example, if someone has an incredible story that he's dying for you to publicize, but loses interest every time you try to confirm any of the facts, a normal person would say: Oh, that's because it's probably a lie.

Without even knowing that the rape accuser, "Jackie," had refused to let Rolling Stone check the most basic elements of her narrative, every human being who read Sabrina Rubin Erdely's piece knew it was nonsense by around the second paragraph. It was like a Lifetime TV version of a fraternity rape.

The Washington Post knew. Slate magazine knew. Much-maligned journalist Richard Bradley knew.

But the CJR diligently ticks off Rolling Stone's failures to follow the "essential practices of reporting," including "editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking." Rolling Stone's Reporter of the Year, Erdely told CJR, "I wish somebody had pushed me harder." Her managing editor, Will Dana, admitted that he should have "pull(ed) the strings a little harder ... question(ed) things a little more deeply."

Yes, maybe the editors were just not pushing hard enough.

It's as if a doctor attacked his patient with an ax, and the Columbia Medical Review responded with a forensic report concluding that the procedure failed to follow clinical protocols on hand hygiene, scrubs and restricted areas, while the doctor gallantly admitted that mistakes were made.
Confessions of a Vulture Journalist

All reporters stand around and bullshit at the scene of a tragedy. What else can we do? Constantly nod our heads somberly and repeat, “Man, really sad, isn’t it?” It’s the same kind of gallows humor employed by medical examiners standing over a dissected corpse. They don’t, we don’t, really give a shit about these dead people any more than we do for the other dead people we have written hundreds of stories about over the years. We’re numb to it; it’s how we do our jobs.

What we really care about are stories, especially exclusives that no one has ever seen or heard before and, we hope, will remember for years to come. We’re here for a powerful interview with the sobbing relative of a plane crash victim, or, better yet, a harrowing account from an eyewitness who saw the plane burst into the Alps. The reason Bill O’Reilly and Brian Williams embellished their experiences in journalism is because they wereand we all are, to some degreedesperate for exclusives like this, for the next viral clip, link or prestigious award that validates us, solidifying our brands and reputations. We are desperate to stand out in a journalism field that is crowded with cheap replacements. Until 2012, journalism school admissions had risen every year for two decades, while the number of actual jobs in the field has been sliced in half. In this jungle, there are simultaneously more hyenas and fewer wildebeest for us to eat….

Yet the noble pursuit of this story is often lost in the cynical quest for a “get.” When I’m trying to lure a grief-stricken widow into talking to me, I invariably try some version of the old “I want people to know what your husband meant to you” trick. I’m not lying when I say this; I really do want that, and I really do believe the world is well served by remembering someone’s life in a poignant way. But this line I deliver is still a trick, because what I really want is to pick apart your grieving soul for a good story, a story I can use to catapult my own career.
R S McCain

Rolling Stone was grossly negligent, but this has been true of the entire profession of mainstream journalism in dealing with the claims made by feminists about the “rape epidemic” on America’s college and university campuses. These claims are as fictional as Jackie’s imaginary boyfriend “Haven Monahan.”

According to the Department of Justice, the incidence of sexual assault in the United States has declined significantly in the past two decades, down 64 percent from 1995 to 2010 and remaining stable at that lower rate. Feminists and their political allies, including both President Obama and Vice President Biden, have repeatedly claimed that 1-in-5 female college students are victims of sexual assault. However, according to DOJ statistics, “the actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or 0.61 percent (instead of 1-in-5, the real number is 0.03-in-5).” And, in fact, female college students are less likely to be raped than are females of the same age who don’t attend college. Feminists have fomented a fictitious crisis because, as Wendy McElroy has explained, “Political careers, administrative jobs, government grants, book and lecture contracts are just some of vast financial benefits that rest upon continuing the ‘rape culture’ crusade on campus.”

We therefore know that (a) Jackie is a liar, (b) feminist claims of a campus “rape epidemic” are false, and (c) Rolling Stone was willing to publish a libelous article based on Jackie’s lies in order to “prove” that there is what the Associated Press called “a hidden culture of sexual violence” at one of our nation’s leading public universities.

Lies, lies, all lies, a baseless fiction from start to finish.

What has actually been exposed is an “epidemic” that few members of the media are willing to acknowledge, namely the pervasive liberal bias that has crippled and discredited the profession of journalism in America, turning reporters and editors into political hacks who are willing to publish fiction if this is what is necessary to advance the agenda of the Democratic Party. It is certainly no secret that claims of a Republican “war on women” helped Barack Obama win re-election in 2012, nor is it a secret that Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.

What better way to exploit the political “gender gap” than to claim that college girls are being raped en masse, and then to suggest that the solution to this problem could be summarized in two words: “VOTE DEMOCRAT!”

This is clearly the narrative the Rolling Stone article was intended to confirm: “Rich frat boys are raping your daughters and those evil sexist Republicans are part of the problem, so let’s elect Hillary Clinton and finally put a stop to this Republican Rape Machine!”

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Rejoice! He is Risen!!

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

And they remembered his words,

And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

Luke 24: 1-12

Friday, April 03, 2015

“Wood and nails and colored eggs”

First Posted 22 March 2005

This passage from Martin Bell's remarkable little book The Way of the Wolf: The Gospel in New Images seems especially timely this Easter season.

God raised Jesus from the dead to the end that we should be clear-once and for all-that there is nothing more important than being human. Our lives have eternal significance. And no one-absolutely no one-is expendable.

Colored Eggs

Some human beings are fortunate enough to be able to color eggs on Easter. If you have a pair of hands to hold the eggs, or if you are fortunate enough to be able to see the brilliant colors, then you are twice blessed.

This Easter some of us cannot hold the eggs, others of us cannot see the colors, many of us are unable to move at all-and so it will be necessary to color the eggs in our hearts.

This Easter there is a hydrocephalic child lying very still in a hospital bed nearby with a head the size of his pillow and vacant, unmoving eyes, and he will not be able to color Easter eggs, and he will not be able to color Easter eggs in his heart, and so God will have to color eggs for him.

And God will color eggs for him. You can bet your life and the life of the created universe on that.

At the cross of Calvary God reconsecrated and sanctified wood and nails and absurdity and helplessness to be continuing vehicles of his love. And then he simply raised Jesus from the dead. And they both went home and colored eggs

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Clintons continue to cover-up for something that the media promises us is nothing

But Jon Stewart assures his sycophants in the MSM that there in no Benghazi scandal

AP: Hillary used more than one device for e-mail while SecState
I wish that the MSM would remember Ben Bradlee's lodestar when the WaPo was the only paper pushing the Watergate investigation:

If they’re [the Nixon campaign]clean why don’t they show it? Why are there so many lies? I’ll tell you why. Because you’ve got them.
I also wish the press would stop acting surprised when they discover that the Clintons tell lies. Jonah Golberg from two years ago:

Hillary, Benghazi, and the continuing cover-up
A lot of people in Washington apparently forgot how good Hillary Clinton is at not telling the truth.

Wednesday, in her testimony before both the Senate and, later, the House, Clinton brilliantly fudged, dodged and filibustered. Of course, she's a pro. Clinton was slow-walking depositions, lawyering up and shifting blame when many of her questioners were still civilians down on the farm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Seeing Time

The early Greek imagination envisaged the past and present as in front of us-- we can see them. The future, invisible, is behind us.... Paradoxical though it may sound to the modern ear, this image of our journey through time may be truer to realty than the medieval and modern feeling that we face the future as we make our way forward into it.
Bernard Knox:
Backing into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal (1994)

Monday, March 16, 2015

I wish this viewpoint would receive a hearing

David Warsh:

In fact, many sophisticated Europeans and Americans share the basic Russian view of the situation. They see the campaign to expand NATO to Russia’s southern borders as the fundamental cause of Ukrainian civil war.

Very true

Alan Weiss:

There is no reward for wrestling ideas to the ground and stomping the life out of them. There is a consequence, however, for a closed mind.


But, tell me, why do Democrats assume a hard-drinking 68-year-old who suffered brain damage in a domestic fall two years ago that took her six months to get over will be more on top of her game in 2016 than she was at age 60 in 2008?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lena Dunham

RS McCain:

Lena Dunham is a selfish brat who has been protected all her life from the consequences of her own irresponsibility. Never once in her life has she done anything decent or generous, and instead has made a career of corrupting our culture. She has earned a reputation for dishonest cruelty. Like all such monsters, she cannot stand it when people tell the truth about her. And now she seeks pity as a victim?
I thought of Dunhan when i read Jerome Tuccille's discussion of Martha Gellhorn and her first novel What Mad Pursuit

The book was met with tepid reviews, with most critics unimpressed by her story of three college girls searching for something to believe in as they drank too much and exposed themselves to veneral disease and unwanted pregnancies. The Buffalo Evening News called the novel 'hectic,' and the New York Times said it was crude....It would be more likable if Miss Gelhorn were not so enamored of her own heroine, and if she did not dabble so ineffectually with questions of social justice."
Sounds a lot like Girls

Gellhorn took the criticism to heart

Martha herself was late embarrassed by her novel and refused o bring it back into print after it disappeared from view shortly after it was published.
She moved past solipsistic fiction and became one of out most famous war correspondents.

In contrast,, the critics have lauded everything Lena Dunham does, has done, or might do. A sort of mass hysteria has taken hold.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What do Don Imus and SAE have in common?

Each were at the center of a media firestorm which came at a suspiciously convenient time for the MSM

Emmanuel Goldstein is always a red herring

Remember that the Imus scandal happened right after the Duke hoax fell completely apart. But the Imus story was SO IMPORTANT that the MSM did not have time to discuss the mistakes they made in Durham or the lies they told about the lacrosse players. As i wrote at the time:

One story allows talking heads parade their noble moral sensibility in front of the cameras. The other one highlights their intellectual shortcomings and moral corruption. Which one is filling the airwaves?
See also here.

And it is worth noting, that hateful speech by media figures (both before and after the Imus imbroglio) did not elicit the same around the clock talking head outrage:

Some one owes Don Imus and Nancy Reagan an apology
So now, the most important story in the world is the crude antics of some frat boys on a bus.

Awfully convenient that the SAE story "broke" just after the media-generated hoax in Ferguson, Misouri came crashing down around their heads.

The problem with iconoclasts

Allan Millett:

To some degree, JFC Fuller and Basil H. Liddell Hart provided the public forum for such discussion, but their thirst for celebrity status, book royalties, and international influence as well as their vitrtiolic attacks on the army leadership made their writings suspect with the political and military establishment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Forgotten chapters in the story of the “Bonus Army”

Every history of the New Deal tells the story of the Bonus Army and Herbert Hoover’s response to it. (Wikipedia) It’s a melodramatic story of a heartless Republican who is swayed by the paranoid fantasies of J. Edgar Hoover and orders his power-crazed Army commander drive the poor huddled masses out of the capital of the country they fought for. People were gassed and beaten; several died.

Barricaded inside the White House, lacking the political instincts to deal with the Bonus Army in a firm but conciliatory fashion, misunderstanding popular attitudes toward it, Hoover had committed and enormous public relations blunder.
A. L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy
But the Good and True had their revenge. His action against the protesting veterans helped seal his fate. He loses the 1932 election to FDR and sunlight and happiness return to America.

But what of the Bonus Marchers?

Until I read Jerome Tuccille’s Hemingway and Gellhorn I did not know THE REST OF THE STORY.

This was a problem because I was a history major and covered the New Deal in at least a half-dozen undergraduate and graduate classes. Took a look at the books in my shelves to see what they said about FDR and the Bonus Marchers. From the oldest idolatry-laden volumes to new histories by historians I respect, the story is incomplete.

So here it is.

FDR was no more willing to have the Bonus Army camp out in Washington than was Herbert Hoover. When some veterans came to Washington for his inauguration, he made sure their encampment was in far away Virgina.

In 1935, FDR actually vetoed a bill to pay the Bonus early.

But FDR did play the PR game better than Hoover. He placated the veterans, sent his wife to their encampment for a photo op, and got them out of DC area as quickly as possible.

Some of the veterans were given work by Harry Hopkins’s FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) and sent to worker camps in remote areas.

Hundreds of them ended up in the Florida Keys building and repairing roads.

The camps were primitive, even ramshackle.

In April 1935 an administrator in Florida wrote to Washington and asked that they build several large strong buildings at the camps. “This area is subject to hurricanes and it is our duty… to furnish a safe refuge during a storm.”

Washington ignored him and did nothing.

In September the Keys were hit with a Category Five hurricane. It killed 423 people; 259 of them were veterans who were left to die on small islands with no strong shelter.

Eleanor Roosevelt had no comment.

Ernest Hemingway was at Key West when the storm went through. He saw the devastation and the death. He had plenty of comments.

To his editor Max Perkins:

Harry Hopkins and Roosevelt who sent those poor bonus march guys down here to get rid of them got rid of them all right.
In an article titled “Who Murdered the Vets”:

Whom did they annoy and to whom was their possible presence a political danger? Who sent them down to the Florida Keys and left them there in hurricane months? Who is responsible for their deaths
So there you have the rest of the story. FDR, political expediency, and bureaucratic inertia killed many times more Bonus Marchers than did Hoover, PR ineptitude, and a heavy-handed military response.

But that rarely makes it into the history books or journalist’s hagiographies.

The 'founding fathers' of serious New Deal historiography in the 1950s and early 1960s-- James MacGregor Burns, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and William E. Leuchtenburg-- established a tone that still dominates the study of American politics in the 1930s: a near adulatory perspective, occasionally nagged by a sense that FDR was too 'conservative' to lead us entirely into the promised land of egalitarian social democracy….By and large, most professional historians, up through David Kennedy's recent spendid narrative, still work from within the viewpoint of the founding fathers, or somewhere to the left of it.
A. L. Hamby

Worth a read

The Generation of ’91
It providers further evidence that Victoria Nuland, like Jamie Gorelick, is a true Mistress of Disaster.

Whatever the case, there is ample evidence that the US was in the midst of things, in the form of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to the American ambassador to Ukraine, conveniently taped and made public by the Russians. ....

Strobe Talbott, Clinton’s Rhodes scholarship classmate at Oxford, was at the center of US policy towards Russia throughout the ’90s. A one-time Time magazine journalist, Talbott served as Ambassador-at-Large to the New Independent States before becoming Deputy Secretary of State in 1994.Today he is president of the Brooking Institution....

Talbott’s State Department chief of staff, Nuland, is at the helm of the State Department’s Eurasian affairs today. During the Bush administration she advised Vice President Dick Cheney on the eve of the Iraq invasion and served as US ambassador to NATO.
And remember, Nuland helped push the Benghazi lies and cover-up.