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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

This past Thursday, 350 newspapers joined in an editorial writing campaign lamenting President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press. And because it’s a social media age, it came with a hashtag, #FreePress. These editorials and the hashtag are designed to make people aware of the vital role a free press is to maintaining a healthy democracy.

Or at least that’s what they say.

Freedom of the press is a hot-button issue, partially because of President Trump’s seemingly endless attacks on the press, and partially because the press has earned quite a bit of scorn in recent years. (I’m looking right at you, Jim Acosta and April Ryan.) Whether you consider reporters to be brave warriors against an oppressive government (which begs the question of why they’re allowed to report if the government is so oppressive) or stenographers for the Left, it’s a good time to discuss freedom of the press again.

freedom of the press

What the Left thinks it means – the freedom for the press to publish what it wants without government interference

What it really means – the freedom for the press to publish facts and let the people decide without government interference

The Left loves to conflate what they think freedom of the press is with what it really is because, to them, a free press should be unfettered by editorial, social, or political norms. And for a long time, it was. Where the two concepts part company is that the former doesn’t take said norms into consideration anymore when deciding whether to run with a story or sit on it for a while. Remember, some of the same people who decry Trump’s attacks on the press were pretty silent during the Clinton and Obama years in spite of the egregious acts those two Presidents took against the press.

Or was it that the press allowed themselves to ignore?

There’s the rub. (Settle down, Mr. Clinton.) The media have immense power to create a perception of reality simply by deciding what deserves our attention and how it’s presented. The free press are gatekeepers of information and can either promote or kill a story with a single editorial decision. Such power needs to be used judiciously and impartially as possible. Unfortunately, the free press has decided to abuse that power to cater to an ideologically-driven audience. And it worked for a long time.

Then, talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet came into being. Although they too fall into the same trap the press has, they provide an alternative view to what is being presented by other sources. You know, like the 350 newspapers parroting the same editorial about how freedom of the press is important? The Left has always seen talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet as one-offs that can be ignored/discarded/mocked, but they miss one important element: these sources are also branches of the free press tree. Just because they’re ideologically different from you doesn’t make them any less factual or balanced.

And speaking of balanced, who do you think is the most balanced news network in reporting on President Trump? That would be…Fox News, with a smaller difference between positive and negative coverage than the rest of the free press. MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, and others have made it a personal vendetta to spew as much negative news about Trump as they can. Trump could walk on water and they would say it’s because he’s afraid to swim.

The #FreePress situation is a self-inflicted wound from people who keep turning the handle of the Gatling gun pointed at their feet in the hopes a bullet will ricochet and hit their target. Their main problem unless they change their tactics is they’ll either run out of bullets or run out of feet without even getting in a shot on their target. Say what you will about freedom of the press, but what we are seeing now from the press isn’t something that necessarily should be shrouded in the concept of a right. What the free press is doing currently is a disservice to the bedrock principles that made freedom of the press worth fighting for in the first place.

When I was just starting to learn about how to be a reporter, my journalism professor drove it into my head to leave my feelings out of what I saw and report on what happened using the best judgment available. The example he used was whether a newspaper would be okay to run the picture of a dead body next to a story about a gruesome murder. Would the picture be newsworthy? Absolutely. Should it be run? That’s a tough call. The editor making that decision would have to balance the benefits of running the photo against the negative implications that would arise from running it.

Today’s loudest defenders of freedom of the press have their thumbs on the scale of that decision, and it has created an environment where there are people who actually do want to limit the freedom of the press, including our President. And last time I checked, the President has access to nukes, so it might be a good idea to slow your roll a bit.

Having said that, freedom of the press isn’t under assault as much as those proclaiming it is are trying to make it out to be. Unless, of course, you consider being held to a level of accountability to be oppressive, which news flash…IT ISN’T! Journalism isn’t an occupation for the faint of heart, and those who take up that line of work deserve a level of respect until they try to take shortcuts, either out of laziness or out of allegiance to an ideology. And if it’s not one, it’s the other.

If the #FreePress crowd is really concerned about the negative image they’ve cultivated (admitted with President Trump’s help), they need to take a step back and do an honest accounting of what they’ve done and continue to do. Take the emotions and politics out of it and deal with the facts. If you can’t do that, you are part of the problem and you need to relearn Reporting 101. If you can and you feel you did nothing wrong, see the previous point. If you can and you can’t take pride in what you’ve done and do, then fix it and encourage others to do the same. To borrow a different hashtag with a similar sentiment, #WalkAway.

And to the reporters, editors, and media types jumping on the #FreePress bandwagon under the guise of protecting freedom of press, remember one thing. Freedom is a constant fight. You don’t get it by virtue of your occupation or ideology; you earn it by working to preserve it. A hashtag and a constant stream of negativity towards a President you don’t like in defiance of the truth, or conversely a constant stream of positivity towards a President you do like in defiance of the truth, doesn’t cut it. Earn the respect you seek.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Last weekend was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which some people call “Nerd Prom” and I call a waste of time. Among the usual back patting, chest puffing, and smugness, there was a… well, I guess you could call it a performance by a…well, I guess you could call her a comedian, Michelle Wolf, who delivered…well, I guess you could call it jokes, mostly directed at President Donald Trump and members of the Trump Administration. In the audience were White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, who sat there and took the lines with a straight face. (Then again, judging from the YouTube video of Wolf’s comments, most of the people in the audience took the lines with a straight face, too.)

But the Left thought Wolf’s comments were brave, hysterical, and…get this…speaking truth to power. What is that, you ask? Well, good thing I decided to write about it this week!

speaking truth to power

What the Left thinks it means – bravely telling uncomfortable truths to people in power in the hopes it will change their minds and behaviors

What it really means – Leftists being assholes

I sat through Wolf’s remarks for two reasons. First, I wanted to make sure to get the full context of what she said. Second, so you wouldn’t have to. I came up with a drinking game where I took a shot for every time I laughed during her comments. After the full 19:17, I was…stone sober. Well, except for the shot I took when I realized Wolf is what you would get if Joanie Cunningham and Rachel Dolezal had a baby.

As far as speaking truth to power, I didn’t see much truth, and the media have lost a lot of their power through their incompetence. There were occasional facts thrown in for good measure, but much of what I endured was more talking point than truth. And I will admit Wolf made a couple of good points about what the media cover and what they overlook in lieu of continuing coverage of Stormy Daniels because God knows we need more of that.

The idea of speaking truth to power is funny to me because the Left isn’t always on speaking terms with the truth. In fact, some Leftist intellectuals (an oxymoron if ever there was one) argue truth is subjective based on personal experiences. This, of course, makes as much sense as putting Bill Cosby in charge of the refreshments at a sorority party. Truth doesn’t change because your background is different than mine. I’m pretty sure gravity affects us all the same regardless of whether you’re dirt poor or filthy rich, as do death, taxes, and the inevitability of the Rolling Stones going back on tour.

What the Left means when they say someone is speaking truth to power is that person is speaking a truth the Left agrees with, and anything that doesn’t conform is dismissed as false. Take gun control, for example. The Left squeed like I did at “Avengers: Infinity War” when David Hogg and his Parkland Pals “stood up” to the NRA by pushing for stricter gun control laws. They and their ideological allies point to the number of people being killed every year by guns, usually around 30,000 (all while ignoring inconvenient details like the number of suicides and gang-related killings that make up a decent chunk of that larger number), and by itself it’s pretty persuasive.

But it’s not the truth, or at least not all of it.

Research from the FBI to the CDC show there are more defensive gun uses than there are gun deaths. The term “defensive gun uses” refers to the number of times a gun is used in the defense of one’s person or property, and by sheer volume, it’s not even close. Last time I checked, the low end of this spectrum is in the neighborhood of 800,000 defensive gun uses per year. And, regardless of how you feel about the issue, regardless of your experiences, 800,000 is a bigger number than 30,000. To put it another way, you are over 26 times more likely to use a gun to defend yourself than you are to be killed by a gun. And when you take out suicides and gang violence, that number goes even higher.

I wouldn’t call that speaking truth to power, though, because to me the truth is power. And with that power comes a level of fearlessness that steels your resolve and calms you as you wait for the slings and arrows of outrageous outrage at dismantling a poorly-reasoned talking point. When you boil it right down, the Left loves thinking they speak truth to power because they think it shuts down all arguments. It doesn’t. One person armed with the truth can take down an army of liars. All it takes is the courage to unapologetically stand with the truth in the face of criticism.

That’s what Michelle Wolf (and much of the audience at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner) failed to do. They spoke and believed their own truths and overlooked the power they wield on a daily basis. I mean, it’s not like these folks have to take on a second job to make ends meet; they willingly take on second jobs as DNC spokespeople.

In closing, let me leave you with a joke.

Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Michelle Wolf
Michelle Wolf who?
Precisely

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Trust, But Don’t Verify

Another day, another “bombshell news story that will bring down Donald Trump.” Yesterday, the Washington Post published a story stating the President shared top secret information with Russian spies (which, granted, is pretty much any Russian citizen at this point). This got the Left salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at a kettle bell concert. And how did WaPo get this information? Anonymous sources.

Of course, the story fell flat when someone who was actually in the room when this “top secret” information was shared came out and said it didn’t happen. Further news reports have suggested the “top secret” information was something the Russians already knew about laptop security risks on airplanes. I’ve seen cheap rugs unravel slower than this latest “bombshell.”

Now, if this was an isolated incident, I might be willing to laugh it off. (Oh, and laugh at WaPo.) The problem is it isn’t. Since Trump was elected, the media have spent column inches and airtime doing whatever they could to undercut the President. Often, these attempts involve trying to find people deep within the Trump Administration willing to speak to the press. And with so many holdovers from Barack Obama’s Presidency, it shouldn’t be hard to find someone willing to squeal like a pig doing a Ned Beatty impression.

And when that doesn’t work, they lie.

Okay, that last statement may be a little harsh, but it might not be too far off from the truth. Today’s news cycle is such that media outlets will rush with a story to be first and then issue corrections after the fact. As you might guess, this can be problematic on so many levels, not the least of which being legally. A badly-sourced story that is first out of the gate will grab attention, but it may also grab the attention of libel lawyers looking for a quick settlement. Without getting too far into the weeds here, libel requires the accused to have malicious intent for spreading false information about another person and have no knowledge of the truth. The former is pretty much a given, and the latter would be hard to believe, given the people committing libel are news outlets.

Kinda makes you wonder how smart reporters really are, doesn’t it?

The problem with anonymous sources is they could be anyone. You may get some inside information from a disgruntled government employee (which is pretty much any government employee), or it may be Earl, the custodial worker with more conspiracy theories than he has teeth. We have no way of knowing whether the anonymous source is Deep Throat or merely watched the movie by the same name. In either case, relying heavily on sources you can’t verify is like playing Russian Roulette with someone who always gets the rules backwards. You may get by with it for a while, but eventually you’re going to get hurt.

And it’s for this very reason we shouldn’t accept anonymous sources as gospel until their information can be verified. If this can’t be done, the story shouldn’t be released to the public because once you open that Pandora’s Box of information, you can’t undo it. It’s permanent.

What these media outlets can and should do is verify the information before going public with it. You know, what news folks are supposed to do? Until then, we as news consumers should take anonymously sourced stories with a pretty big grain of salt.

Like the size of Mt. Everest.

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I Don’t Mean to Scare You, But PANIC!!!!!

Sometimes people ask me why I stopped being a Leftist, and I usually point to me not wanting to be angry all the time. Lately, I’m seeing another very good reason not to be a Leftist. They have become total drama queens. Yes, even the men, and in some cases, especially the men. I’m looking right at you, Shep Smith.

Since Donald Trump won the 2016 Election, I figured the Left would have a hard time adjusting to life where they had less power than a burnt out Lite Brite set. Little did I know the Left would go hardcore cray-cray on us. Every incident that even remotely could be turned into a sinister act has been or will be.

Take Attorney General Jeff Sessons’ request for 46 Obama-era US Attorneys to resign. To hear the Left speak of it, it was a massive purge designed to derail any investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, business dealings, putting ketchup on his well-done steak, and other presumed atrocities. (To be fair, though, I kinda agree with the ketchup on the well-done steak. That’s just offensive on two levels.) And the Left’s mouthpieces in the media amplify the freak-outs by repeating and embellishing the outrage. And don’t you dare try to reason with them! These brave warriors are standing firm against a Trump Tyranny and are our last best hope for America!

Of course, they’re full of shit, but as the line from “Animal House” goes, “Forget it, he’s rolling.”

This is a good time to remind the readers out there to question what you see, hear, and read from any and all news sources, even the ones you agree with. For years, conservative media turned just about everything President Obama did into a scandal worthy of a -gate designation. Over time, this kind of reporting gets some people riled, but it turns off more and more people because they get tired of hearing the reporter who cries “scandal” in lieu of “wolf.” Plus, it diverted attention away from real
scandals and made it easier for opponents to dismiss it as another wild goose chase. I firmly believe oneof the reasons Hillary Clinton’s private email server wasn’t a bigger deal to people is the fact the Right
spent a lot of political capital on meaningless scandalmongering that resulted in less than my bank account after a trip to ComiCon.

Now, the Left is doing exactly what the Right did under Obama, and it’s not working. All it’s doing at this point is giving red meat to their supporters (or tofu to their vegan supporters) while making others look at them like most of us look when Alec Baldwin does a Donald Trump impression so bad, Frank Caliendo is rolling over in his grave and he’s not even dead yet. A bit of a long-winded way to get to a joke, but I think it’s worth it.

What isn’t worth it is paying attention to every little freak-out the Left has these days. Listen. Donald Trump as President isn’t a sign of the apocalypse. That distinction belongs to Justin Bieber continuing to make
music. While you try to make every perceived discretion into the next Watergate, you’re making yourselves look foolish and not credible. When Alex Jones is seen as more credible than you, you have a serious problem.

And guess what, kids. Alex Jones is Edward R. Murrow compared to you nozzleheads right now.

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The Death of Journalism

There has been a lot of talk in media circles lately about President Donald Trump’s comments about the mainstream media. To put it mildly, he ripped them a new asshole. As a result, the media have responded by saying journalism is being threatened.

Yeah. As someone who has studied journalism for decades, I call bullshit. Donald Trump isn’t a threat to journalism; so-called journalists have been.

At one time, journalists could be counted on to report the facts without personal biases. Now, the journalism profession is filled with political hacks advocating for a cause or an ideology with little regard for facts. They may not know or want to admit it, but there is a reason Trump called out “fake news” so many times during the campaign. And I’ll give you media types a hint.

It’s because you’ve engaged in pushing false narratives, knowingly or unknowingly.

For the past 8 years, you were more concerned about kissing up to Barack Obama than you were pursuing a litany of stories that could have and should have been reported. And I’m not just talking about high profile ones like Benghazi or Fast and Furious, either. I’m talking about the little deeds that deserved attention, like the illegal firing of an Inspector General without Congressional consultation, let alone approval. Don’t remember that? Let me tell you who does: former Inspector General Gerald Walpin, the guy Obama fired.

The IRS targeting conservative groups? Another story that you guys missed and/or misreported.

The targeting of James Rosen and Sharyl Attiksson, two people in your profession? Ignored.

The sexual assault of Lara Logan, another colleague of yours, by radical Muslim males? Little to no reporting done.

But you’ll devote column inches and airtime to investigating Sarah Palin’s daughter’s ex-fiance’s cousin’s uncle’s college roommate’s pet groomer’s neighbor’s lawn care guy just to dig up a little dirt?

With journalistic standards based solely on ideological grounds, the heart and soul of the profession have been ripped out, stomped on, pissed on, burnt, pissed on again, and used for compost. And that’s if the profession is into organic farming.

Journalists have the power to shape opinion with how stories are presented. A turn of a phrase, the use of a particular descriptor, how people are presented, all of these and other tricks of the trade can turn a renowned professor of history into a woman-hating monster who would rape a woman at the drop of a hat. And believe me, it’s happened.

But to blame Donald Trump for the well-deserved assault on journalists is disingenuous at best, delusional at worst. The journalism profession is dying the death of a thousand paper cuts, and the journalists worrying about the way Trump is treating them still aren’t getting how they are responsible. Trump may be an easy target for their ire, but a little self-reflection is long overdue for them to see why they’re less trusted than a used car salesman working straight commission.

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