Corporate Media And Leftist Corporations Are Living In Unreality

We’re in a new era of news media, a clown world where true things are decried as false and false things are heralded as true.

If you follow the news, you know that something has changed. I’m not talking about media bias. The media has always been biased, sometimes in obvious and childlike ways, sometimes more subtly. That’s not what’s different.

What’s different is that corporate news outlets, together with major corporations of all kinds, now routinely present what is false as true and what is true as false. They deceive on purpose and without apology, and they do so in service of a leftist ideological and political agenda. This is new, and it’s dangerous.

Amid a barrage of “reporting” and commentary on the law—including outlandish and false statements from President Biden, who said it amounted to “Jim Crow in the 21st century” and called the law “sick” and “un-American”—it has been nearly impossible to find any straight news articles that describe, in simple and dispassionate terms, what the Georgia law actually does.

It would not be hard to write such a story if any news organizations cared to do so. As it happens, the Heritage Foundation has posted one of the few articles that simply describes what the law does in an effort to correct the false corporate media narrative that this is a “voter suppression” law.

Contrary to what has been reported by The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and many other corporate outlets, the Georgia law doesn’t contain any onerous voter ID requirements. It simply replaces a shoddy signature match system with a voter ID system, and provides that any Georgia resident can get a state ID for free if he doesn’t already have one (97 percent of registered voters in Georgia already do).

The law also doesn’t ban drinking water while waiting in line at the polls, it simply prohibits political groups from distributing food and water at polling places to prevent efforts to influence voters.

And on and on. In reality, Georgia’s voting law is a ho-hum tweaking of state voting laws. But in the phantasmagoria of corporate media, it’s the new Jim Crow. Major corporations have committed to this fantasy, publicly denouncing the law, intentionally mischaracterizing what it does, and in the case of Major League Baseball, which pulled its All-Star Game out of the state, taking concrete actions.

Other corporations have settled for issuing intentionally misleading statements. Delta and Coca-Cola, two of the largest employers in Georgia, came out against the law last week. Coca-Cola’s chief executive James Quincey said the new law “makes it harder for people to vote, not easier.” Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said more or less the same thing.

But we don’t have a reality-based news media, so corporations feel no need to be reality-based. On Monday, United Airlines declared, “Legislation that infringes on the right to vote of fellow Americans is wrong.” Yet there is no such legislation, in Georgia or anywhere else. It is not real. Yet United—and Delta, and Coca-Cola, and many others—are asking us to believe that it is.

The ‘Insurrection’ Was a Largely Peaceful Protest

Other examples abound — indeed, we are deluged by them on a daily basis. A writeup of a new Reuters/Ipsos poll about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol opens with a line about how “former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have pushed false and misleading accounts to downplay the event that left five dead and scores of others wounded. His supporters appear to have listened.” The poll itself found about half of Republicans “believe the siege was largely a non-violent protest.”

If the words “largely non-violent protest” have any meaning at all, that’s what Jan. 6 was. Eyewitness accounts of the day, coupled with subsequent investigations by law enforcement, confirm that the vast majority of protesters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were peaceful. Given the size of the Capitol grounds and the number of people involved, many protesters were completely unaware of the breach of the Capitol and only learned about it later that day from news reports.

But corporate media outlets like to use misleading phrases like, “the insurrection that left five dead and scores of others wounded” to make the events of Jan. 6 seem like something they were not, like a violent mass riot — something more like the Black Lives Matter riots we saw across the country last summer, which the media downplayed or justified.

Yes, five people died that day. Two died from medical complications (a heart attack and a stroke), one was trampled to death in a crush of people, one was shot dead by Capitol police, and one, a U.S. Capitol Police officer named Brian Sicknick, died of still-unknown causes. (The New York Times and other major outlets initially spread false reports that pro-Trump rioters beat Sicknick to death with a fire extinguisher. There is no evidence that ever happened.)

It’s not even accurate to call it, as almost every media outlet does, an “insurrection.” How do we know? Because prosecutors have yet to charge even one rioter with treason or sedition. Instead, most of the rioters are being charged with misdemeanor trespassing and will likely not even face jail time.

I could go on. Tomorrow there will be a new crop of stories based on pure fantasy, lies presented as truth and truth denigrated as lies. This is a new era for the news media, and indeed for American society as a whole. We used to disagree on the importance of things; now we disagree on the things themselves, on what’s real and what isn’t, what happened and what didn’t. This is dangerous, because if we can’t agree about objective facts, about what really happened, then we can’t have debates or forge compromises or otherwise govern ourselves and maintain a free republic.

That’s why it’s so important right now to insist that our corporate media, and indeed corporations of all kinds, are honest about reality. If they refuse, if they persist in their deceptions and lies, then it’s up to ordinary Americans to stop reading, stop watching, stop subscribing, stop patronizing. Insist on a modicum of honesty — and if they can’t give that, don’t give them a cent.

*****

This article was published on April 7, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Liberal Dark Money Network Is Behind ‘Grassroots’ Support for Dem Climate Bill

The left’s biggest dark money network is behind a “grassroots” organization pushing Democrats’ $500 billion plan to fight “environmental racism.”

Rewiring America, one of many environmental groups that have endorsed the BUILD GREEN Act, is part of a massive dark money network run by the D.C.-based Arabella Advisors. The nation’s wealthiest liberal donors use Arabella’s $731 million activist networks to secretly fund a host of liberal causes.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y) cited Rewiring America’s support in a press release announcing the legislation. The bill’s cosponsors blame “corporate” interests for damaging the climate.

Rewiring America is powered by the Windward Fund, an Arabella subsidiary whose stated mission is to promote “community-based, grassroots grant making.” The Windward Fund and Rewiring America are not required to disclose their budgets, spending, or finances.

The legislation includes a call for the country to shift entirely to renewable energy and to replace all vehicles with electric cars. Rewiring America’s executive director Adam Zurofsky praised the legislation for “decarbonizing our economy and meeting the climate challenge.”

But many of the bill’s provisions are not related to the climate or the environment. The legislation would redistribute wealth to low-income and minority communities, as well as communities “facing environmental injustice.” It would also institute “strong labor provisions” for union workers and establish a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Liberals frequently use “environmental racism” to justify a host of radical policies. The bill’s sponsors claim that “environmental racism” justifies everything from reparations payments to single-payer health care. The left-wing Sunrise Movement, which endorsed the legislation, supports abolishing “police and prisons” in order to achieve “climate justice.”

President Joe Biden invoked “environmental justice” on the campaign trail, pledging to have the Justice Department prosecute fossil fuel companies “to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

The legislation has also been endorsed by left-wing groups like 350.org, Greenpeace, and Zero Hour, which claims the world has less than nine years left until it’s made uninhabitable by global warming.

While it remains unclear how much these dark money groups have spent lobbying for the legislation, in January the Windward Fund hired AJW Inc., which lobbies for environmental groups including the Clean Air Task Force and the Environmental Defense Action Fund.

The legislation is Democrats’ latest attempt to usher in radical policies using climate legislation. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal includes provisions to provide free health care and jobs to every American. In February 2021, Democrats introduced legislation that would declare a climate change emergency and give the federal government power to combat “environmental injustice” by promoting labor union membership.

*****

This article appeared April 1, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from Capital Research Center.

China Attempts to Silence Western Companies On Xinjiang

It’s been a long-established fact that China has been engaging in egregious human rights violations, particularly with the internment of what could be over a million Uyghur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang. AIER’s Richard Ebeling writes on the matter when he explains

“The Uyghurs, like the Tibetans, and other minority groups in China, have been the victims of Chinese political and ethnic imperialism. The Chinese government has attempted to assure the political unification and integration of, especially, Tibet and Xinjiang by a policy of ethnic and cultural “sterilization.” For decades, the Chinese authorities in Beijing have instigated Han Chinese population migrations to these two areas to “dilute” and reduce to a demographic minority the Uyghur and Tibetan peoples within their own lands.”

The context surrounding the subjugation of Xinjiang is that it is home to terrorist activity, most likely because the province itself is a recent conquest made by the Chinese and not a longstanding member of the Chinese nation. In an attempt to quell political unrest, the Chinese Communist Party has built a vast and oppressive surveillance state in the region while interning as well as torturing what could be over a million Uyghurs, the main ethnic group in the region. This is easily one of the greatest modern atrocities committed by a modernized country. China has repeatedly denied poor treatment of the Uyghur people much like it denies wrongdoing on every other human rights abuse.

Breaking News

This week numerous headlines such as this one from NBC News reports that a sudden and coordinated boycott effort against Western fashion brands has sprung up across China. Brands such as Burberry, Adidas, Nike, H&M, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, New Balance, Zara, and many others were targeted by Chinese state-controlled media for their statements on Xinjiang, some made years ago.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that these attacks are in response to a coordinated condemnation of human rights abuses in Xinjiang issued by 27 nations such as the United States, Canada, and the European Union. They write

“The ruling Communist Party criticized H&M for saying in March 2020 it would stop buying cotton from the northwestern Chinese region. The Swedish retailer joined other brands in expressing concern about reports of forced labor there.”

The CCP and its various state-sponsored groups have been issuing statements such as the following,

“Spreading lies to boycott Xinjiang while wanting to make money in China? Wishful thinking,” the Youth League said…

“How can H&M eat Chinese rice and then smash China’s pot?” state television said in a commentary Wednesday.”

It shouldn’t be too difficult to assume that from forced detainment and torture comes slave labor. According to the Business and Human Rights Center,

“In March 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published a report Uyghurs for sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang, which identified 83 foreign and Chinese companies as allegedly directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through potentially abusive labour transfer programs.

ASPI estimates at least 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang and assigned to factories in a range of supply chains including electronics, textiles, and automotives under a central government policy known as ‘Xinjiang Aid’. The report identified 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that are using Uyghur labour transferred from Xinjiang since 2017.”

In particular, Xinjiang is one of the largest cotton exporters in the world and that cotton has been linked to slave labor by the US Government, which halted all imports in January of 2021.

This week Chinese state media has begun an aggressive campaign to mobilize its population to conduct what is essentially economic warfare against the West by boycotting its companies. CNN Style reports

“For enterprises that touch the bottom line of our country, the response is very clear: don’t buy!” China Central Television said on its social media account.

Many users also joined the calls for a boycott, urging local retailers to carry domestic stock instead.

The hashtag #ISupportXJCotton — created by the state-owned People’s Daily — generated more than 3 million ‘likes’ as of Friday on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

They also report that Chinese celebrities have also begun a coordinated effort to drop their sponsorships with Western brands, likely ordered by the CCP, when they write

However, in a striking move this week, more than 30 Chinese celebrities have ended their promotional partnerships or said they would cut ties with brands they accused of “smearing” cotton produced in Xinjiang, including H&M, Nike, Adidas, Puma and Calvin Klein…

The scale of the celebrity exodus is unprecedented — so much so that on Chinese social media, March 25 has been dubbed “contract termination day” among China’s entertainment circles.”

NBC News notes that this week a lawmaker in Hong Kong attacked Burberry on Twitter with the following tweet:

Of course, these “unfounded allegations” of human rights abuses are not only consistent with Communist China’s long history of terror, with an estimated 45 million people killed in just four years during the Great Leap Forward, but such allegations have been leveled from countries around the world for years now.

In fact, the internment camps that China claims do not exist, but at the same time say are necessary to prevent terrorism, can be spotted from space with satellites. In a particularly jarring analysis, Buzzfeed News shares a photo of what seems to be a prison in Xinjiang that has been blanked out on Baidu Maps, a Chinese internet service provider.

What This All Means

AIER has published a three-part series detailing nuanced issues pertaining to China. In part one I outlined the sophisticated foreign policy tools that China employs against the West. This is a classic move in the Chinese toolbox which is to employ economic and cultural warfare to defend its authoritarian practices against human rights scrutiny. The CCP has near-total control over its population, which is how it has managed to not only keep its people silent on Xinjiang but weaponize them against the West and its human rights principles.

China knows that its massive consumer economy is crucial for market-based Western societies to access and it knows that a massive boycott will pressure the West in allowing it to continue its human rights abuses. A recent roundtable on China organized by the Hoover Institution noted that as recently as President Biden’s election, Chinese officials have been urging US companies to lobby the Biden administration to be softer on China if they wish to do business in China. This is the game that the Chinese play, using the West’s greatest power, freedom and markets, against itself. This is actually a principle in the ancient Chinese warfare doctrine known as the 36 Stratagems. This particular strategy could be labeled 借刀殺人, Jiè dāo shā rén, or “Kill With a Borrowed Sword” which entails using your opponent’s strength against them.

The attacks against Western fashion brands this week are a deliberate and orchestrated effort by the Chinese Communist Party to protect their human rights abuses in Xinjiang in response to recent Western sanctions for slavery in the region. They understand full well that this attack is a brilliant leveraging of the West’s greatest strength, a free and market-based society, against itself by forcing companies to choose between profit and survival over the rights of people they may never be able to save. Now more than ever would be the time for the free world to find solidarity with itself and pursue greater strategic, economic, as well as cultural relations with one another in response to what is clearly an existential threat to the future of human liberty.

*****

This article was published on March 29, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

Will The Real Liberals Please Stand Up?

Dennis Prager, perhaps the most cerebral of talk show hosts, makes the distinction between being a “Liberal” and being a “Leftist.”

That distinction is important as we observe how far to the Left the Democrat Party has moved away from its ideological moorings.

As an illustration, let’s look at what most of us thought a Liberal once meant.

Generally, it meant a belief in a color-blind society, a social welfare state with a modest magnitude of income redistribution, a supporter of free speech and unconventional ideas, the advancement of women, a more casual view of sex, and the support of trade unions.

Liberals supported global institutions, but still believed in the nation-state, and many were quite anti-communist.

A case in point is the late Harvard historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

He came from a family of academic historians, was an adviser to President John Kennedy, an admirer, and historian of the New Deal, a winner of a National Humanities Medal, an author of sixteen books, and a Professor at Harvard.

He burst on the scene with a widely regarded book on Jacksonian Democracy.

Imagine how that would fly today?

He was an active Democrat, taking leave from Harvard to advise Democrat Presidential candidates in the 1950s and the 1960s.

With his bow tie and slightly slurred speech, he was a Liberal fixture for decades.

Where would he fit today? Not in the Democrat Party as it is today.

How would we know that? Well, one can’t know for sure as he died in the 1990s, but one of his last books was The Disuniting of America.

We can’t republish the book for you but here are some critical passages:

“The militants of ethnicity contend that the main objection of public education should be the protection, strengthening, celebration, and perpetuation of ethnic origins and identities. Separatism, however, nourishes prejudices, magnifies difference, and stirs antagonism. The consequent increase in ethnic and racial conflict lies behind the hullabaloo over “multiculturalism” and “political correctness,” over the notion that history and literature should be taught not and intellectual disciplines but as therapies whose function is to raise minority self-esteem.

Watching ethnic conflict tear one nation after another apart, one cannot look with complacency at proposals to divide the United States into distinct and immutable ethnic and racial communities, each taught to cherish its own apartness from the rest. One wonders: Will the center hold? Or will the melting pot give way to the Tower of Babel?

The impact of ethnic and racial pressure on our public schools is more troubling. The bonds of national cohesion are sufficiently fragile already. Public education should aim to strengthen those bonds, not to weaken them.  If separatist tendencies go on unchecked, the result can only be the fragmentation, resegregation, and tribalization of American life.” 

These words were written over thirty years ago and we now know the rest of the story.

Progressives and Democrats have adopted cultural Marxism.  This is a movement to divide America and destroy the American idea of ‘out of many one’, enshrined in the term on all American coins, E Pluribus Unum.

Cultural Marxism taught that socialism could not come to the United States with the standard workers divided against the capitalist arguments, but could only come by dividing the country up by sex, race, and ethnicity.

They have been quite successful at pushing this under various guises such as Critical Race Theory and Gender Theory and virtually took over the universities first, and now are down even to the elementary school level.

The good professor was correct. These tendencies have gone unchecked and are resulting in the tribalization of American life. He would no doubt be horrified. But it was Liberals such as he that stood by and abetted this corruption of American education.

Their own willingness to accept new ideas was used as an effective weapon against them and now has created a new intolerance far worse than any problems they may have had with Conservatives of their day.

To his credit, at least he warned about it:

“For history is to the nation rather as memory is to the individual. As an individual deprived of memory becomes disoriented and lost, not knowing where he has been or where he is going, so a nation denied a conception of its past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future. As the means of defining national identity, history becomes a means of shaping history. The writing of history then turns from meditation into a weapon…”

Our school curriculum is now being used as a weapon against this country and teachers are all too often, carrying the ideological ball for cultural Marxism, with likely little knowledge that they are actually carrying an explosive bomb into our society that will harm us all.

Both Liberals and Conservatives need to unite to stop cultural Marxism.

It will be a battle within these educational institutions and probably require the formation of our own institutions.

Will the real Liberals please stand up?

 

 

CDC Finds Masks, Indoor Dining Bans Don’t Stop Virus, Media Ignores

Masks and bans on indoor dining do little to stop the spread of  COVID-19, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection, and media outlets that covered the findings downplayed the results.

According to the CDC report, published March 12 in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, while mask mandates and indoor restaurant bans did decrease daily cases of COVID-19 and deaths, the results were a correlation and a tiny one at that.

Mask mandates reduced case growth between zero and 1.8 percent, and COVID death rates by .7 and 1.9 percent, with an increase in deaths 21-40 days after the mandate went into effect.  Indoor dining bans decreased case growth between .1 and .4 percent with an increase in cases in four time periods the bans were implemented. Restaurant bans were associated with a slight growth in COVID mortality.

Media outlets reported the findings but downplayed the numbers. “CDC study shows link between mask mandates, reduced COVID-19 spread as states lift restrictions,” reported ABC on March 5 (the day the result released to the public). “CDC study finds easing mask and restaurant rules led to more COVID cases and deaths, as some states move to lift restrictions,” stated CNBC.

Mississippi and Texas governors have announced a full re-opening of their states after months of mandates have crippled some industries and reduced education to tumultuous virtual learning. President Biden criticized reopening as “Neanderthal thinking.”

Low Impact, Nothing New

The CDC’s findings on masks are in line with a Danish study published in November and a study on quarantined Marine recruits published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December. Both studies found limited evidence that mask-wearing was effective in stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2.  On September 11, CDC reported in a group of 314 with and without COVID-19, there was no significant difference in vigilant mask use.

On March 8, CDC stated fully-vaccinated people do not have to wear masks while mingling with vaccinated people or unvaccinated individuals from a single household who are at low-risk for severe disease

“Masks do little to protect people from disease,” said Patrick Wood, director and founder of Citizens for Free Speech. “There are no scientific studies that show this. People will ask, then why have masks always been worn in medical settings? The answer is simple – to protect patients and providers from saliva, Wood told Health Care News. “There may be a reason for some people to wear face masks in public, but for the general population, masks can pose a health risk. Medical experts agree and a number of people are making this point.”

The mask guidance for vaccinated individuals is curious, says Marilyn Singleton, M.D., J.D., a former president of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons who has written widely on masks. “The vaccine guidance says that vaccinated folks while visiting with other fully vaccinated [people] can take off their masks and get close to one another in their own home as if most people were not already doing that,” said Singleton. “They can also go mask-less with unvaccinated low-risk individuals. Fully vaccinated folks are still told to wear masks outside the home. We are told to accept this unscientific recommendation as ‘the new normal’ as if that makes it reasonable or rational.”

Florida v. California

Now state lockdowns have been in place for one year, it is easier to measure the effectiveness of mitigation measures. AnneMarie Knott, a business professor with Washington University who has been examining COVID trends. Most recently Knott has compared weekly COVID-19 deaths between highly restrictive California and Florida, which limited restrictions, using CDC data.

“Florida’s population is much older, so it should have had a higher COVID death rate than California, but it took the hits early, and in the end has a lower total death rate of 1.22 per 1000 versus 1.32 per 1000,” Knott told Health Care News.

Death rates in highly restricted versus low-restriction states do not support mask efficacy. As for the slight decrease in cases, CDC noted for masks, Knott offers one explanation. “One thing the study may be picking up is that states impose masks when cases are rising. Cases naturally peak after that, then decline.  So the study may be giving masks credit for something that happens naturally.”

Common Sense

Indoor dining bans have devastated the dining industry with restaurants and bars losing more than 370,000 jobs in December, a record high,  according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On-premises dining was reopened in the majority (97.9 percent) of U.S. counties during the CDC’s study. According to the report, “Changes in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates were not statistically significant.”

The bottom line is the contagion control taught nothing not known earlier. “What we really have to rely on is common sense,” said Singleton. “If you are sick, stay home and isolate. If you are healthy, get some sunshine, cough into your elbow, and most important wash your hands.”

*****

This article appeared on March 15, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Heartland Institute.

 

President Psaki

I was taken aback by the positive reaction by many members of the Press who were excited when the Biden Administration announced they were going to resume daily press briefings. Why would they want to listen to a hand-picked flack disgorging half-baked answers about subjects on which they are barely enlightened?

Say what you will about President Trump he was ever accessible to the Press. He took on every question from the WH press corps and only left when he was being rushed off to do other presidential matters. Many in the Press asked him snarky questions because of their defined distaste for him, but at least they were getting answers directly from the elected President. It was hoped that Trump had redefined access to our elected officials and transparency from our government.

It seems like with this President who refuses to engage the Press unless in a highly scripted manner that we really have President Psaki. Except she spends most of her time obfuscating. Here is a hint on life: when a politician comes into the office and talks about how transparent their administration is going to be, bet the house that it will be the exact opposite.

President Psaki is always avoiding answers to questions. She has often used a phrase that should be stricken from the English language; “I will circle back to you on that.” If the question ever gets answered it certainly does not at the next press briefing. A recent innovation she had adopted is telling the members of the WH press corps to go get the answer from a department in the Executive branch. Someone finally asked her something akin to ‘does the WH not get information flowing up from the departments?’ The question regarding the crisis at the border is kicked to Homeland Security and the question never gets answered.

When we do get to see the other person who supposedly is President it is in a limited setting or with one extremely friendly reporter like when he sat with George Stephanopoulos. There the big news was a change in position on the filibuster rules in the Senate. It was stated we should go back to the rules when he came into the Senate when you actually had to stand at the podium and talk for hours on end – the Talking Filibuster.

That was an outright lie. In 1972 the Senate Majority leader, Mike Mansfield (D-MO) changed the rule to have Silent Filibusters. He did it because with the Talking Filibuster the only thing that went on in the Senate was Senators talking on end. The Silent Filibuster allowed for a separate track where nominations could be processed, treaties reviewed, etc. Since this person who supposedly is President did not come into the Senate until a year later, he never experienced the Talking Filibuster.  He may have recalled an actually change two years after his arrival – the lowering of the requirement to break a filibuster from 67 members to 60 members.

If we had a functioning press, that would have been broadly pointed out instead of the inaccurate position being repeated over and over again.

Follow this with the recent first press conference from the person we thought we elected President. When asked about the filibuster, he spoke of dismantling it and cited the fact it had recently been used in an excessive fashion. Yes, it was just last year by his own party with participation by his own V-P. You would think his handlers would give him less damaging talking points.

I recently experienced a functioning press via a wonderful movie that has now been nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film. Because it is widely known now my commentary will be limited so not to destroy the movie for anyone wanting to watch it.

Collective tells the story of a 2015 fire in a Romanian nightclub that caused the death of 64 people. The incident initially gained world attention, but what followed was the real story. A group of journalists lead by a sports publication came to discover rampant corruption in medical care throughout the Romanian hospital system. More people died from infections in the hospitals (37) than died from the fire. That does not include individuals who survived, but with lifelong disabilities.

Catalin Tolontin, who led the investigation, dug in asking question after question demanding answers. The story uncovers rampant corruption, a suicide to avoid guilt, and a fascinating story. The after story obscures the initial story of the fire in the club where there were no emergency exits which is caused by pyrotechnics. The film shows the fire in the club and how amazingly quickly it spreads. It is fascinating to watch. What were they thinking about setting off these pyrotechnics in this location?

Mr. Tolontin states at one point how the press is guilty of accepting at face value answers given by officials and they do not examine the answers. He admits he has been guilty of doing that himself. That is how the Romanians got to this point of dysfunction in their health care system.

We used to have a functioning press that rooted out corruption and questioned statements coming from authorities not just from government, but other institutions. They now seem to only question one side of the political aisle and abandon the investigation of statements from the other side.

That is how we ended up with President Psaki.

*****

This article was published on March 29, 2021 in Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

 

How to beat the woke: Never apologize, rally friends and punch back harder

Americans hate woke culture, as I noted in these pages not too long ago. Black, white, Republican and Democrat, a large majority of Americans oppose it. Even people like former President Barack Obama, Bill Maher and ultra-liberal comedienne Sarah Silverman hate it (Maher calls it “Stalinist”).

But it keeps going. Why is that? And what can you do about it — especially if you or someone you are close to comes under attack? In short, it keeps going because it’s easy and fun — and you have to make it less so.

Lesson one: Don’t panic — and don’t give in. Ian Prior, of Loudoun County, Va., publishes The Daily Malarkey, an Internet humor site that goes after what he calls the “Chardonnay Antifa.” As he recently recounted to Fox News, after he published an op-ed attacking political correctness, he found himself on the sharp end of woke attacks led by a group of teachers, administrators and woke citizens.

According to news reports, the Loudoun Stalinists put together a list of people opposing their policies and planned to “hack” them, “expose” them and “infiltrate” them. Did Prior chicken out?

No. He called them out, he mocked them, and he made sure the whole thing got as much attention as possible. Now there’s a criminal investigation into the group. The publicity not only generated blowback against the people who targeted him, it also brought in lots of new subscribers to The Daily Malarkey. Win-win.

Learn from this. Never apologize, don’t act afraid, and, to borrow a phrase from Obama, “punch back twice as hard.” Call the mob out for what it is: a bunch of bad people trying to pretend they stand for something moral. Going after people for their political views this way isn’t an act of morality. It’s an attempt at political terrorism, and it’s un-American.

The second lesson: Stick together. The woke mob tries to isolate its victims and to make others afraid to stand up for them. Instead, it’s important to ask for help from friends and potential supporters, if you’re a target, and to offer it to the targets if you’re on the sidelines. Solidarity……

Continue reading this article, published on March 25, 2021 at the New York Post.

Tucson Is the Authentic San Francisco

TUCSON – San Francisco and the larger Bay Area, including Silicon Valley, are collectively known as the nation’s center of progressivism, or left-liberalism. But metro Tucson deserves that reputation much more than the Bay Area.

Both Tucson and San Francisco have been controlled for decades by one party, the Democrat Party. Both have establishment leaders who follow the party line on economics, social justice, climate change, race, and immigration; both have large majorities of residents with expressed misgivings about markets and capitalism in general, and both have media and universities that are in tune with this ideology and use every opportunity to reinforce it. (In Tucson, the university is the University of Arizona; in the Bay Area, it’s the Berkeley campus of the University of California.)

There’s a big difference between the two metropolises, however: San Franciscans are not serious about all that, but Tucsonans are.

Stated differently, San Franciscans are inauthentic; Tucsonans are authentic.

Sure, San Franciscans vote in accord with their stated ideology, but beneath the surface, they are unabashed capitalists, as evidenced by the fact that the Bay Area has the highest concentration of billionaires of just about any place in the world—and some of the most brutal business competition imaginable.  (Of course, the more billionaires, the higher the income inequality. But even with its higher income inequality, San Francisco’s poverty rate is below the national average.)

Tucson has no billionaires. The founder of Carvana is a former Tucsonan and a current billionaire, but he relocated himself and his company to a more prosperous and dynamic Phoenix. At best, the Tucson business climate can be characterized as sleepy and the overall culture as mañana.

The median household income is three times higher in the Bay Area than in the City of Tucson and is even higher in such Silicon Valley suburbs as Mt. View. Materialism is also much more in evidence in the Bay Area, judging by the greater concentration of exotic cars, private jets, upscale eateries, and multi-million-dollar mansions.

Higher taxes are of little concern to the uber-wealthy in San Francisco, and higher prices for the energy to heat and cool homes are not onerous in the benign coastal climate. In other words, San Francisco elites are barely affected by the policies they endorse.

History explains part of the cultural difference between San Francisco and Tucson.

By the mid-nineteenth century, San Francisco had left behind its Spanish/Catholic missionary beginnings and replaced them with an Anglo-Saxon, or Yankee, pursuit of money. It became the staging area for the Gold Rush, the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad, a financial center, and the home of such tycoons (and scoundrels) as Leland Stanford, who would establish Stanford University.

San Francisco also became a magnet for adventurers, bohemians, revolutionaries, and, later, hippies, flower children, libertines, the homeless, and the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and other billionaire nerds—all drawn to its climate, scenery, easy living, and money sloshing about.

At the same time, Stanford University became an intellectual and ideological counterbalance to Berkeley, especially its Hoover Institution. There is no intellectual or ideological counterbalance in Tucson to the University of Arizona.

Nor is there much of a business counterbalance to the University of Arizona. Until recently, the university was the largest employer in Tucson, and when Tucson had much less population than its current 1.05 million residents, the city was like a small college town, in that it was dominated politically and economically by faculty and staff on the government payroll and with government sinecure. 

There may not have been an outright hostility toward industry in Tucson, but there sure was an aversion for big business, an aversion that lingers today.

Tucson also suffers from not shedding the cultural legacy of the Spanish Empire, which had extended just north of Tucson to the Gila River in present-day Arizona. The Spanish Empire in the Americas was built on an economy of extraction, primarily silver, and governed by a one-party state and a two-class society, with a small number of aristocrats at the top and everyone else below. The culture didn’t change much under Mexico. And in many ways, the dominant Catholic Church maintained the status quo, as this Catholic reluctantly admits.

The net result is that Tucson is a very poor city, with a poverty rate twice the national average and all that comes with poverty: crime, blight, and lousy test scores. It is largely shunned by rich companies as a location for their headquarters or major operations—and by hip techies and other knowledge workers, who pretend to be woke and to care about the poor but gravitate to more prosperous cities.

This is the price that Tucson pays for being like San Francisco politically but not economically. Tucsonans have been true to their progressive values and their distrust of markets and big business but their authenticity comes at a great cost.    

 

 

Sweden Saw Lower Mortality Rate Than Most of Europe in 2020, Despite No Lockdown

New data from Europe suggest Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to the pandemic was far from catastrophic.

Few people in 2020 came under more heat than Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s top epidemiologist.

But the man who forged Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to COVID-19 early in the pandemic says new international data reveal a hard truth about government lockdowns.

“I think people will probably think very carefully about these total shutdowns, how good they really were,” Tegnell told Reuters in a recent interview. “They may have had an effect in the short term, but when you look at it throughout the pandemic, you become more and more doubtful.”

Tegnell was referring to data published by Reuters that show Sweden, which shunned the strict lockdowns embraced by most nations around the world, experienced a smaller increase in its mortality rate than most European countries in 2020.

Preliminary data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively.

Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden. However, Sweden did much worse than its Nordic neighbours, with Denmark registering just 1.5% excess mortality and Finland 1.0%. Norway had no excess mortality at all in 2020.

For nearly a year, Sweden was at the forefront of the debate over how governments should respond to the coronavirus.

Reports last April showed that despite widespread criticism for not embracing a full government lockdown, COVID-19 had reached what Tegnell described as a “plateau” in Sweden.

“If Tegnell’s characterization turns out to be true, it will be quite a vindication for Sweden, which has been widely denounced for bucking the trend among governments of imposing draconian ‘shelter-at-home’ decrees that have crippled the world economy and thrown millions out of work,” Bloomberg reported.

Months later, data showed that Sweden had successfully “flattened the curve” in contrast to many other global hot spots.

Many critics countered by comparing Sweden’s death rate to its Nordic counterparts Norway and Finland, which had some of the lowest mortality rates in Europe. Norway and Finland, however, embraced policies even less restrictive than Sweden’s for most of the pandemic.

Public health experts in Sweden say the latest data are further evidence that Sweden was one of the few nations to get the virus right. “Some believed that it was possible to eliminate disease transmission by shutting down society,” said Johan Carlson, Director, Public Health Agency of Sweden. “We did not believe that and we have been proven right.”

Pandemics are awful and COVID-19 is a nasty virus. (I had it recently myself, and it was no picnic. I was severely sick for days.) But lawmakers around the world made two severe miscalculations when they decided to discard fundamental liberties and embrace lockdowns.

First, they concluded that they could contain a virus through central planning. They failed—as numerous academic studies show.

Second, policymakers forgot the basic reality of tradeoffs, something economist and political scientist James Harrigan recognized early in the pandemic.

In times of crisis, people want someone to do something, and don’t want to hear about tradeoffs. This is the breeding ground for grand policies driven by the mantra, “if it saves just one life.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invoked the mantra to defend his closure policies. The mantra has echoed across the country from county councils to mayors to school boards to police to clergy as justification for closures, curfews, and enforced social distancing.

Rational people understand this isn’t how the world works. Regardless of whether we acknowledge them, tradeoffs exist.

What Harrigan and Davies were getting at is that policies don’t always work as planned. They often come with a host of unintended consequences, which can be adverse or even destructive.

“Every human action has both intended and unintended consequences,” Antony Davies and James Harrigan explained. “Human beings react to every rule, regulation, and order governments impose, and their reactions result in outcomes that can be quite different than the outcomes lawmakers intended.”

One reason Sweden saw a lower mortality rate than most of its European counterparts is because its leaders recognized this. As a result, Sweden avoided much of the collateral damage associated with lockdowns, which includes economic distress, increased suicide, depression from social isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, and other adverse public health consequences.

America did not. For example, the US saw mental health hit a 20-year low last year. The CDC reports surging depression in young people. There have been spikes in suicidedrug overdoses,

Globally, we’ve seen similar trends. Child suicide is surging around the world, physicians recently told the Associated Press.

“This is an international epidemic, and we are not recognizing it,” said Dr. David Greenhorn, who works in the emergency unit at England’s Bradford Royal Infirmary. “In an 8-year-old’s life, a year is a really, really, really long time. They are fed up. They can’t see an end to it.”

This is heart-wrenching. It’s also maddening because top US public health acknowledged early in the pandemic that extended lockdowns could cause “irreparable damage.”

“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNBC last year.

Fauci was right. Unfortunately, unlike Tegnell, he didn’t have the courage of his convictions. And Americans paid the price.

*****

This article was published on March 26, 2021, and is reprinted with permission from The Foundation for Economic Education

Federal Judge: ‘One-Party Control Of The Press And Media Is A Threat To A Viable Democracy’

In a blistering dissent, Judge Laurence Silberman said The New York Times and Washington Post are ‘Democratic Party broadsheets.’

The control of major media by one political party is a dangerous threat to the country, a federal judge warned in a blistering dissent that called for courts to revisit libel laws that generally protect the press from being held liable for their reporting.

“It should be borne in mind that the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, particularly the delivery of news,” wrote Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit for the Court of Appeals. “It is fair to conclude, therefore, that one-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy.”

He said that orientation also controls the Associated Press and most large papers in the country, including the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe. “Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet,” Judge Silberman added.

Silicon Valley also has “enormous influence” over the distribution of news and it “similarly filters news delivery in ways favorable to the Democratic Party,” wrote Judge Silberman, highlighting the shocking suppression of stories about Joe Biden and his family when he was running for president.

In that case, Twitter and Facebook censored media outlets that reported accurately about the Biden family’s dealing with foreign entities. Twitter suspended users, including sitting White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, for merely sharing accurate information, and prevented people from sharing the information privately on its platform. Facebook said it would censor coverage of the Biden family corruption pending a “fact-check,” an unprecedented privilege given to Biden in the closing days of one of the closest presidential elections in history.

“Admittedly, a number of Fox’s commentators lean as far to the right as the commentators and reporters of the mainstream outlets lean to the left,” Silberman wrote in a footnote, in a dig at reporters inserting their extreme partisan views into news stories.

A New York Supreme Court judge last week ruled against The New York Times’ effort to get a defamation suit against it dismissed. The Times had said that its reporters were inserting opinion into news stories, and that opinions are not actionable for defamation. The argument didn’t hold sway with the judge, who critiqued the blending of news and opinion in purported news stories.

Another footnote critiqued the tepid response of some to “big tech’s behavior” censoring conservative speech. Silberman called repression of political speech in large institutions with market power “fundamentally un-American.”

He then cited Tim Groseclose’s book, “Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind,” which empirically argued that media bias even a decade ago gave Democrat candidates an 8-10 point advantage. “And now, a decade after this book’s publication, the press and media do not even pretend to be neutral news services.” Silberman noted.

“The First Amendment guarantees a free press to foster a vibrant trade in ideas. But a biased press can distort the marketplace. And when the media has proven its willingness—if not eagerness—to so distort, it is a profound mistake to stand by unjustified legal rules that serve only to enhance the press’ power,” Silberman concluded.

*****

This article was published March 22, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Tucson Adopts Bars-on-Windows Policing

Will Tucsonans finally be shaken out of their apathy?

TUCSON – With its new policing policy, the City of Tucson might become the dystopia that New York City was in the 1980s.

As background, I moved from Phoenix to metro New York in 1981, when the Big Apple was rotting.

Back then, New York was marked by crime, seediness, garbage in the streets, the homeless camped out in public places, code violations galore, subways that resembled the sewer scenes in “Les Misérables,” and the infamous squeegee men, who would spit on the windshields of cars and demand money from drivers to clean the goo.

After acquiring a modicum of fame and fortune, I moved back to Phoenix ten years later for a better quality of life.  Now, for family reasons, I’m living in metro Tucson.

Due to underfunding and below-average pay, the Tucson Police Department is losing police officers to other Arizona cities.  Accordingly, the police chief has announced that the department no longer has the resources to address vagrancy, noise complaints, code violations, public defecation and urination, homeless encampments on public and private property, and outbursts by deranged people in hospitals.

A leading industry in Tucson is the installation of security bars on doors and windows of residences and businesses, due to the city ranking near the top nationally in property crimes.  With the new policing policy, the industry will boom even more.

At the same time, high-paying companies will continue to shun Tucson as a locale for their headquarters or major operations, not only because of the high crime but also the lousy public schools, the rundown condition of roads and public places, the widespread seediness, and the plethora of code and zoning violations.   

Worse, the city’s tragic and self-inflicted poverty rate of twice the national average will remain unabated.

Local conditions are the result of decades of shortsighted government, which in turn is the result of pathological levels of hubris, denial, and provincialism among the city’s establishment.

Tucson needs a Rudy Guiliani. 

A surefire way of being mislabeled as a right-wing nut job is to compliment the former New York mayor, who has since sullied his reputation and become weird.  But the fact is that he took the rot out of the Big Apple.

One of his many measures was the adoption of broken-window policing, a law enforcement strategy that has been vilified in some quarters but was instrumental in making New York one of the safest cities in the nation and in saving countless lives among the poor and disadvantaged.

Broken-window policing is based on the idea that if smaller infractions are left unaddressed, more serious crime will follow, along with a deterioration in the quality of life.

New York and other cities have recently cut police funding and/or rolled back broken-window policing. Violent crime has skyrocketed.  Of 34 cities studied by the Council on Criminal Justice, a think tank, 29 have seen annual increases in homicides, including a 43% increase in New York.

It would be a shame if Tucson has the same experience. But maybe increased crime is necessary to shake Tucsonans out of their apathy and finally reform city government.

The NIH China Emails

From day one of the coronavirus crisis, Judicial Watch has been working around the clock to get information about how the Federal Government has handled COVID-19. Representing the Daily Caller News Foundation, Fitton discussed the lawsuit “filed for communications between Dr. Fauci and Deputy [NIH] Director Lane, and the World Health Organization officials concerning the novel coronavirus. 

The subset of documents… show that there was this accommodation given to China on confidentiality and other communication control,” Fitton noted Friday. Recently released emails between the NIH and the WHO show that there was an agreement to grant China some sort of veto power … over communications concerning covid.” As Fitton stated, a “WHO briefing package was sent to NIH officials traveling to China as part of the COVID-19 response, and it asks that officials not share information until they have agreement with China.” 

Now we know “why President Trump pulled the United States of America from WHO,” Fitton stated. The WHO, Fitton contends, “was acting as a front for China as opposed to an independent agency that would independently pursue public health measures.” This emerging political scandal was “not exposed by Congress, we had to sue for the basic information about what was going on with China… and WHO on a public health issue that shut down the entire world.” 

*****

This Press Release was published March 24, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from Judicial Watch.

You can find a complete summary of Judicial Watch’s findings here. If you’re concerned about the handling of the coronavirus crisis and want answers on the government’s response, support Judicial Watch’s work today.

Even Some of Biden’s Media Allies Find It Hard to Ignore Border Crisis

Whatever you do, don’t call the surge of attempted illegal immigrant crossings at the southern border a crisis.

That’s the message Americans and the media have been getting from the Biden administration.

Given how swiftly we’ve seen border enforcement become overwhelmed since the presidential transition in late January, there’s a good reason for Americans to consider the consequences of the rhetoric and policies of the new administration.

For as much as the Trump administration was attacked for supposedly putting “children in cages,” it certainly doesn’t look as though the Biden administration has figured out what to do now that Border Patrol is being overwhelmed.

Some of President Joe Biden’s media allies, most notably The Washington Post, have tried to bolster the line that what’s happening at the border isn’t particularly concerning or unusual. That seems dubious, even to some others at the Post.

“For the past three weeks, federal agents have apprehended on average more than 550 unaccompanied minors every day, and are on pace to bring in more than 17,000 children and teens in March, the most ever in a single month,” wrote John Daniel Davidson in The Federalist. “The numbers for April and May, when border crossings usually peak, will undoubtedly bring far higher numbers.”

It’s getting harder to ignore the burgeoning problem.

Not only are the total number of illegal attempted border crossings well beyond what even the Obama administration called a crisis, the numbers are unlike anything we’ve seen in decades. And the situation is likely only to get worse.

The explosion of illegal crossings at the border is a serious matter of national security and public health, but the Biden administration has been limiting media access to the current border operations.

Some journalists are starting to express frustration with the situation.

“There’s no modern precedent for a full physical ban on media access to [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] border operations,” wrote photojournalist John Moore, according to the New York Post. “To those who might say, ‘Cut them some slack, they are dealing with a situation,’ I’d say that showing the U.S. response to the current immigrant surge is exactly the media’s role.”

The Biden administration has said that it’s clamping down on the press as a COVID-19 safety precaution, but that seems like a weak defense, given that there are plenty of ways to work around that.

“Pandemic restrictions are not a valid excuse to block physical media access, especially to operations that are outside,” Moore wrote on Twitter. “There are easy alternative options to media ride-alongs.”

It’s become so bad that Border Patrol agents are being ordered to prevent journalists from taking video and pictures of what’s happening at the border. The photos that have emerged haven’t looked good.

The detention centers, or what CNN described as “jail-like facilities,” appear to be overflowing.

It hardly seems like the “transparency” that the Biden administration promised.

Moore isn’t alone, as a number of other journalists have also noted frustration with the lack of access.

Suppression of media coverage has even drawn the attention of some lawmakers.

“Denying the press the ability to observe, film, and report on the conditions at the border is not openness or transparency—it is hiding the truth from the American people,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wrote in a letter to the White House.

Cruz on Friday will lead a delegation of senators to the Texas-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley to see for themselves what’s happening there.

Restricting media access to the developing border crisis, one would think, would be a much bigger deal to the news media than when CNN’s Jim Acosta had his White House press pass pulled briefly after tussling with an intern over a microphone.

Biden—and those on the left in general—don’t want to confront the trade-off that comes with what they see as the  “compassion” of reducing border enforcement. Just as it did with the border crisis that ended with “children in cages” under President Barack Obama in 2014, the signal that U.S. immigration law essentially will go unenforced has led to many bad outcomes.

We’ve created a humanitarian crisis, further empowered criminal drug- and human-smuggling cartels, made our country less secure by letting in tens of thousands of people of unknown origin, and may be exacerbating a public health crisis to boot.

The same administration that has aggressively pushed the idea that Americans need to take maximum precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until it’s wiped out is now allowing potentially thousands of unknown new health risks into our population.

I’m no public health official, but that seems problematic. At the very least, the American people deserve to be informed about what exactly is happening at our southern border.

Allowing press access to cover the border crisis would be a good start.

Evenhanded coverage of what’s happening there would be even better.

Yes, I know, cue the laugh track.

*****

This article was published March 24, 2021 and is reprinted with permission from The Daily Signal.

Arizona Needs to Fight Biden’s Unconstitutional Executive Orders

With just over two months under his belt since taking office, President Biden’s hand has to be getting tired. So far, he has signed 37 executive orders, 13 presidential memoranda, 24 proclamations, and seven notices. In his first two weeks alone, Biden had already signed more than double the number of executive orders signed by President Trump in his first month.

And isn’t it funny? After four years of lambasting Trump’s executive orders as authoritarian or an abuse of power, the left and the mainstream media have been silent about Biden’s.

There’s no saying how far our current president will go with these actions, but if the first two months are any indicator, it will only get worse. Despite Biden’s pandering calls for unity, his executive orders have been divisive and partisan.

On his first day as president, Biden signed an executive order to disband the 1776 Commission, an advisory committee established by Trump to support patriotic education. This more than likely signifies Biden’s support for the 1619 Project, a “history” curriculum that has already drawn some ire here in Arizonafor its claims that the United States was actually founded on slavery in the year 1619.

But Biden didn’t stop there.

A couple days later, he signed another executive order that strengthens the power of federal labor unions. He paused new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters to help tackle the “existential threat” of so-called climate change. And he instituted several policies supporting illegal immigrants. The list goes on and on…

Thankfully, a bill that passed through the Arizona House is seeking to combat these executive orders. HB2310 allows a member of the legislature to request that the Legislative Council review a Presidential executive order and recommend that the Attorney General further investigate the order. If the Attorney General determines that the executive order is illegal, HB2310 requires him to file action in federal district court.

And Arizona is not the only state taking such actions. Recently, HB1236 passed through the House in Oklahoma, where state legislators plan to review executive orders regarding the pandemic and the halting of the Keystone XL Pipeline, to name a few. In fact, just yesterday, Oklahoma joined 13 other states to sue the Biden administration for the executive order in January that paused new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.

Arizona should stand with states like Oklahoma to help lead the way in fighting the overreach of the Biden administration. Now, it’s up to the Arizona Senate to do its part by passing HB2310 and sending it over to Governor Ducey’s desk. Our state should never enforce any unconstitutional executive orders. And President Biden must be held accountable if and when he signs them.

By passing HB2310, our lawmakers can make it clear that in four years Biden’s hand may not be tired, but his feet will be worn out from standing in court.

*****

This article first appeared on March 25, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

The 6-Foot Mandate Was Bad Science

On March 19th the Centers for Disease Control issued a press release detailing changes to its operational strategy for K-12 students. It stated that among other things, students may now reduce their social distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet. The release begins as follows,

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating K12 school guidance to reflect the latest science on physical distance between students in classrooms. CDC now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings. CDC has updated its operational strategy to say:

  • In elementary schools, CDC recommends all students remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high.
  • In middle and high schools, CDC also recommends students should be at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal and in communities where transmission is low, moderate, or substantial.

Although this updated guideline is still ridiculous, it’s at least more in line with the established science on the transmission of airborne diseases, not whatever we have been working with for the current pandemic.

In an essay published in 2006, Dr. Donald Henderson, most famous for leading the eradication of smallpox, noted that the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended that social distancing measures of at least 3 feet be used. The World Health Organization has maintained since the beginning of the pandemic that 1 meter or roughly 3 feet would be the optimal minimum social distancing protocol. Reuters notes that,

“The further you stand away from someone, the fewer droplets you will be exposed to. One meter only prevents you from being exposed to the largest of droplets; two meters reduces your exposure – but doesn’t make it zero risk.”

A study in The Lancet this month found that physical distancing of at least 1m lowers risk of COVID-19 transmission, but that 2m could be more effective.”

It is of course necessary to note that not seeing anyone at all is the most effective way to prevent transmission but that isn’t realistic, just like staying six feet away from everybody. The point is that the scientific consensus says that 3 feet of social distancing is effective at reducing transmission. It will always be more effective to be as far as possible but to say that 6 feet is the minimum is not only unrealistic but unscientific. 

In fact, the United States has some of the strictest social distancing measures in the world. Reuters notes,

“China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong and Singapore recommend social distancing of 1 meter, and many people also choose to, or are required to, wear face masks in public spaces.

Australia, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal advise people to keep 1.5m apart. Switzerland this week also reduced the required distance to 1.5m from 2m.

The guidance in the United States is six feet, or 1.8m.”

Although K-12 students may begin to observe a 3-foot rule rather than a 6-foot rule, the CDC still maintains the rest of the population abide by the latter. However, it is worth noting that any official recommendation at all is futile and ignorant because it is virtually impossible to observe any social distancing policy consistently. Although it is certainly good information to keep in mind that maintaining distance from others may help reduce the spread of infectious diseases, social distancing should not be hailed as the key to stopping a virus as it has with Covid-19.

Dr. Henderson explained this common sense critique of social distancing mandates when he wrote,

“It has been recommended that individuals maintain a distance of 3 feet or more during a pandemic so as to diminish the number of contacts with people who may be infected. The efficacy of this measure is unknown. It is typically assumed that transmission of droplet-spread diseases, such as influenza, is limited to “close contacts”—that is, being within 3–6 feet of an infected person. Keeping a space of 3 feet between individuals might be possible in some work environments, but it is difficult to imagine how bus, rail, or air travelers could stay 3 feet apart from each other throughout an epidemic. And such a recommendation would greatly complicate normal daily tasks like grocery shopping, banking, and the like.”

Although Dr. Henderson noted this in 2006, it seems like we have had to rediscover this truth in 2020.

Why Is This Important

Although it is good to see the CDC slowly relaxing its policies and embracing established science, there is something far more important at play. That is recognizing how overly risk-averse the CDC has always been and how damaging this has been for the perception of public health. Robby Soave from Reason notes,

“It’s important to keep in mind that the CDC has always urged people to follow impractically cautious health guidelines. For instance, the CDC currently recommends that men consume no more than two alcoholic drinks and that women consume no more than one drink, each day. The agency’s clear preference is for people not to consume alcohol at all. It recommends that all women who possess the capacity to be pregnant abstain from drinking entirely. It would be very funny, then, if the CDC suddenly published guidance that it was once again safe to flock to bars and restaurants. That’s not something the CDC believed, even in normal times. If COVID-19 vanished from the earth overnight, government health officials would still urge you to never eat raw cookie dough.”

There will likely never be a time when the recommendations of public health completely intersect with normal societal functions, which is why they should remain recommendations, not law if they are to be broadcasted at all. There will be a concerted effort in the next few years to rewrite the narrative to suggest that because of the leadership of the CDC and the lockdown governors, America was spared from further devastation. However, all they did was crush society under the boot of authoritarianism while doing little to protect the vulnerable from the virus.

The change from 6 feet to 3 feet is a welcome trickle of common sense and established science. However, we should understand that this otherwise trivial reduction of distance is representative of the long and problematic relationship between public health bureaucrats and the normal functioning of society.

The CDC along with overprotective public health experts have always had a long list of absurd and unrealistic recommendations for society. In the age of Covid-19, we finally gave them the keys to control and now we have seen firsthand the dystopia they would create. It is important that we establish this fact and learn this lesson, because those who intend to write history may see things differently.

*****

This article was published on March 23, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the American Institute of Economic Research.

Profs Help Push Program That Claims Math Is ‘Racist’ Because It Requires A ‘Right Answer’

An Oregon Department of Education newsletter from February promoted an online course designed to “dismantle” instances of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom.”  One example of “white supremacy” highlighted by the course was “the concept of mathematics being purely objective,” an idea which the resource stated is “is unequivocally false.”

The program, known as “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” describes itself as “an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students” that provides “opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice.”

The “feedback advisors” for a portion of the program include William Zahner, who is an associate professor at San Diego State University; Melissa Navarro Martell, who is an assistant professor at San Diego State University, and Elvira Armas, who is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University in California.

White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the guide states. “Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics.”

The newsletter pitched the program to educators “looking for a deeper dive into equity work,” offering to teach “key tools for engagement, develop strategies to improve equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, and join communities of practice.”

The Oregon Department of Communications Director of Communications, Marc Siegel, told Campus Reform that math instruction should be built on an “equitable foundation.”

“Building math instruction on an equitable foundation can better ensure all our students have a pathway to success in math,” Siegel said.

[RELATED: Math education prof: 2+2 = 4 ‘trope’ ‘reeks of white supremacy patriarchy’]

Examples of “white supremacy culture” cited by the document include a focus on “getting the ‘right’ answer” and requiring students to show their work.

Glenn Ricketts, Public Affairs Director for the National Association of Scholars, told Campus Reform that the course illustrates that “no aspect of the educational process at any level is off-limits for the social justice indoctrination.”

“Mathematics was once considered immune: after all, doesn’t 2 + 2 = 4?” Ricketts said. “But as I have read recently, the problem that math and arithmetic insist on correct answers is actually a hidden form of ‘white supremacy,’ as everything else is as well.”

The authors of the program state that “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

The materials also instruct teachers to “Choose problems that have complex, competing, or multiple answers” so that students can come up with “at least two answers” in order to “challenge standardized test questions…”

[RELATED: Ivy League schools drop ‘culturally biased’ standardized test requirement]

“Often the emphasis is placed on learning math in the ‘real world,’” the toolkit asserts, “as if our classrooms are not a part of the real world. This reinforces notions of either/or thinking because math is only seen as useful when it is in a particular context. However, this can result in using mathematics to uphold capitalist and imperialist ways of being and understandings of the world.”

The course challenges teachers to “center ethnomathematics,” which includes recognizing how communities of color engage in mathematics and exposing students to “examples of people who have used math as resistance.”

“ODE stands behind the value that high-quality, rigorous mathematics instruction must be prioritized for every student in Oregon,” Siegal said. “These goals are shared by many of our professional education partners across the state. The training opportunity shared in the Math Educator Update reminds teachers what we know is true in teaching all students: that high expectations, high-quality content, and strong relationships with students and families lead to substantive increases in student achievement.”

According to the project glossary, the authors cite critical race theorists like Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo for definitions of terms like “Antiracist” and “Whiteness.” Throughout the document, teachers are encouraged to incorporate “antiracist” math education into their classrooms.

[RELATED: US colleges are telling students to read this book, so we found out why]

National Association of Scholars Director of Research David Randall also condemned the program, saying that “the teaching of such ideologies as Critical Race Theory or so-called Anti-Racism” is an intrusion of “totalitarian ideology into the classroom” and a “crippling waste of classroom time that will leave all students less knowledgeable.”

[RELATED: 2+2=5? Bill Gates funnels $1 MILLION to push ‘math is racist’ narrative]

None of these should be in any aspect of education, as they will produce a generation indoctrinated and ignorant,” Randall said. “The most dangerous aspects are requirements to teach such materials–K-12 requirements imposed by state education departments, departmental and university course requirements, and education school graduation requirements. But the voluntary choice of teachers to use such materials is nearly as damaging.”

Randall argued that the Oregon curriculum is only the most recent expression of a long-term trend.

“When NAS was founded back in 1987, the problem of politicized curricula was largely confined to college courses, and we thought that it was a serious problem then,” Randall explained. “But things have worsened considerably since those distant beginnings and, as a result of the relentless emphasis on ‘social justice’ many students now come to college already indoctrinated, with all of the ‘right’ answers.”

“As for preparation in the professions,” Randall added, “I think the only thing the kinds of courses we’ve been discussing here qualify one for is social activism and an inflated sense of his own importance. It certainly won’t prepare anyone for engineering, foreign language competence or systematic thinking.”

Siegel told Campus Reform that the materials are “an optional professional learning tool for educators looking to better engage students and improve outcomes for students of color and multilingual learners.”

“Cultural context is helpful for all of our students in learning. Not all tools provided by A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction may make sense for each individual school; the content is simply to generate new ideas for engagement and strategies for educators,” Siegel said.

*****

This article was published March 25, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from Campus Reform.

The Real Purpose of ‘Cancel Culture’

A culture is far deeper than politics. It’s a national identity encompassing history, education, arts and entertainment, science, health, relationships … everything constituting the core values of any country.

Individualism has traditionally been the common denominator anchoring all other aspects of America’s cultural distinctiveness. Valuing sovereignty of the individual makes American culture exceptional; therefore, “Cancel Culture” warrants attention.

It is understood that “cancelling” individuals, books, monuments, etc. is a form of banishment because they express something objectionable or offensive. Objectionable or offensive to whom follows, but let’s now focus on the “culture” part. In essence, cancelling someone or something means erasing behavior or beliefs which really means erasing ideas.

Remember Barack Obama’s 2008 Obama-Biden-ticket presidential campaign statement, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming [basically changing] the United States of America.”

Now, President Biden’s continuation of “transforming” America also includes “cancelling” ideas. So: America is “basically changing” into what, and who’s doing the transforming and cancelling? What seems to be a “re-imagination” of an idyllic Utopia, and the transforming-cancelling is effectuated by the socially agitated and politically aggressive “Woke.” *

Utopia has meant different idyllic “places” for different purposes. Sir Thomas Moore first coined the term (as a pun) by taking the Greek ou-topos — “no place” — and combining it with eu-topos — “a good place.” So, ironically, Utopia means that in reality a good place is nowhere.

Marx sold communism as a workers’ Utopia. Hitler sold fascism as Aryan Utopia. Today’s power-players are selling socialism as nondiscriminatory, non-merit-oriented, equity-for-all Utopia.

Of course, we know from the Bible’s Garden of Eden story that even Adam and Eve’s idyllic Utopia vanished once their real human nature (free will) was activated by exercising choice (eating the apple) and gaining knowledge (carnal sex and the existential world).

Communism, fascism, and socialism differ in name only. In practice they are identical because they all are collectivist social systems powered by an “elite” who control the economy, the means of production, and the cultural zeitgeist.

But since outright communism (Russia) and fascism (Germany) failed, the largest socialist organization in the United States — the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) — has to be more inventive in selling their brand of collectivism. The organization is a member of Socialists International which reveals global aspirations, but its name cleverly obscures the presently active but hidden agenda for America.

From the DSA’s official website (operative words in bold):

We [Democratic Socialists] are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.

Translation: voters put us in power (democratic), but we share a vision to control globalized planning, execution of production, and distribution of goods; we define “meaningful”; we decide what is healthy and sustainable; we demand preferences for those we decide need “equality” (we define equality); and we decide who is oppressing whom.

Who now paves the way and keeps the socialists in power? The “Woke” and the implementation of “cancelling” America’s culture of individualism. Woke activists find or create what can be sold to an ignorant/apathetic/indoctrinated public as racial-social discrimination or injustices while encouraging certain fabricated-into-group-members to become victims and assuring that others of different fabricated-into-group-members are made to feel guilty about the victimization…..

Continue reading this article, published on March 22, 2021 at Newsmax.

*****

* Must-read companion books: George Orwell’s “1984” is a brilliant (and chilling) fictional tale of the future endgame for tyrants everywhere. Evan Sayet’s “The Woke Supremacy” is a brilliant (and chilling) examination of America’s current real-life fast-step march to reach the endgame of tyranny here and now.

A Qualifying Test for Experts on Race and Diversity

Judging by what they say and write, reporters, commentators, academics, and directors of diversity and inclusion see themselves as experts on race and diversity.

Many of them see racism and inequalities everywhere, based on the official but contrived racial categories of African American, Hispanic, White, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American.

The following test will determine if they are indeed experts on race and qualified to be the arbiters of which groups should be beneficiaries of diversity initiatives.

The five-question test is based on the make-up of my and my wife’s extended families.

Question One: A relative of ours is a mix of Swedish and Scots-Irish descent. She has two children by an East Indian. What race are the children?

Question Two: Two other relatives, a husband, and wife, adopted an orphaned girl from China. The working-class parents, who are a mix of Swedish and Scots-Irish, already had an African American as a son-in-law. When their adopted daughter applies for college, should she get extra admission points for her race?

Before answering, you should know that the couple is Mormon—you know, the religion that sophisticates and intellectuals make fun of and see as white and racist.

Question Three: A close family member is engaged to a delightful woman who is part Filipino and part Italian. He’s a mix of Italian, Swedish, and Scots-Irish. When they have children, will the children be considered minorities?

Question Four: What race and color are Italians? Hint: The Italian peninsula has been crisscrossed over millennia by North Africans, Persians, Syrians, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Lombards, Berbers, Normans, Franks, Gauls, and, over a hundred thousand years ago, by Neanderthals. Each group that tromped through mixed its chromosomes with the existing population.

Question Five: Since all Homo sapiens have a common African ancestor, doesn’t that mean that all humans are African?

My family, like most American families, doesn’t give a damn about the race of family members, or anyone else for that matter. After all, race is a social construct with no basis in genetics. We just care that children are raised to be moral and to be good neighbors and citizens.

But since reporters, commentators, academics, government apparatchiks, and directors of diversity and inclusion are fixated on the aforementioned six racial categories and see themselves as experts in history, sociology, anthropology, economics, ethnographies, and demographics, they no doubt know the answers to the test. Therefore, I respectfully ask them to please submit the answers so their expertise can be confirmed.

While they’re at it, maybe they can answer two bonus questions.

Bonus Question One: There are thousands of unique ethnic groups in the world, encompassing various nationalities, religions, socioeconomic classes, ideologies, skin shades, and histories of being victims and victimizers. All of the diverse ethnic groups in America are numerical minorities because none of them makes up more than 50% of the population.

Can you identify all of the distinct ethnocultural groups that fall under each of the official racial categories of African American, Hispanic, White, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American? If not, then just list one hundred of the ones that fall under the White category.

Bonus Question Two: Below is a list of the nationalities that rank in the top ten of household income in America. Explain how this proves that America is a racist, exclusionary society of white privilege.

1. East Indian Americans
2. Taiwanese Americans
3. Australian Americans
4. South African American
5. Filipino Americans
6. Austrian Americans
7. Chinese Americans
8. Japanese Americans
9. Nepalese Americans
10. Singaporean Americans

Thank you in advance for your answers. My apologies if your circuits have blown from being asked to think too deeply.

Why We Hate the Press

Until I was 15 and moved to Southern California, I delivered newspapers for five years. Every day I came home with hands stained from printer’s ink. It is in my blood. I wore it with pride. I still receive the Wall Street Journal in print form and will until I die, or it dies. Most of my other news is delivered to my inbox every day. While reading something the other day, I looked at it and said to myself “I don’t believe a word you are saying.” Pseudo-journalists have greatly harmed our news sources. Let’s review why so many people think as I do.

Newspeople have enlisted many practices that have destroyed their credibility:

Experts – If they dislike the position taken by someone, be it a political or business leader, they bring out the “experts.” “Experts say that blah, blah, blah.” When did we get to this point? Nameless, faceless experts. When you read a column like that sourcing nameless people — people that are unwilling to go on the record — you know the writer is either lazy or lying. If the “expert” is worthy but unwilling to go on record to establish the virtue of their positions, then they are not credible. If you are reading a column and the writer asserts “Experts say,” stop and move on because the remainder is a waste of your time.

Akin to that is unnamed sources. The anonymous source is used regularly now with the justification that the source must be protected. Why? The perfect example is the story that broke recently that multiple news operations misquoted President Trump regarding a call he had with a Georgia election official. A recording of the call surfaced two months later and proved the inflammatory language was never used. Yet no one at any of these operations was demoted or fired. There was no declaration of a change of operational practice to avoid this ever happening again. In fact, after their correction the Washington Post unleashed their media critic, Eric Wemple, to acknowledge the correction, but viciously attack Trump.

Inflammatory language – “He blasted.” “She attacked.” Journalists extensively use these kinds of terms. Not so long ago, they refrained from using such incendiary language. You would just read “she stated.” They use words or phrases that just are meant to inflame – “sharp critic,” “lashed out,” “staunchly conservative.” You may notice they almost never state someone is a “radical Leftist.” A few other gems are “slams,” “GOP barrels toward,” Why Barrett “Dodged” or “he demands.” These are descriptive words and phrases better left to novels, not news articles. Which leads to the next area.

Inserting opinions in news articles You read some of these colored words and then look to confirm you are on the front page. The column is not labeled anything other than a “news” piece. You read something on the internet, and you think (or are misled) it is a news feature until the writer starts injecting words that make it an opinion column. News should be news and opinion should be an opinion. News should just report the facts and let us form our own opinion. That seems to have died in journalism schools.

Non–partisan – If a publication has a bent, they should not deceive us by stating they are non-partisan. A perfect example is Politico. I went on their website and they state they are non-partisan. Who are they kidding other than themselves? I like the publication and get many of their newsletters, but unless I missed the ones that are non-partisan everything I read is clearly to the left. Other publications label someone or a think tank non-partisan when they are clearly not. If you want a truly non-partisan operation, the only one I know is Real Clear Politics. They have managed to keep themselves clearly in the journalism lane.

Use of inappropriate language – Is it necessary for CNN’s Dana Bash to say (on-air) “We are on cable so I can say this, it is a Sh—Show.” Just because you can therefore you must? Anyone who knows me knows my favorite word begins with F. I am not being puritanical. There is public speech and there is private speech. We do not need public figures or journalists lowering our standards even more. Stick to appropriate language and you will garner greater respect.

Poor interviewers – Questions should be in the form of a question. One of the great sinners is Chris Wallace. “Don’t you think?” “Isn’t it so?” Ask a real question such as “What do think of President Biden’s border policy?” Then be quiet and wait for an answer. Another sin of which Mr. Wallace is guilty (which are many) is interrupting the interviewee to pose another question or insert a statement. This is extremely prevalent among TV journalists. Whether you like him or not, Tucker Carlson asks real questions and then lets the person answer while rarely interjecting with another question or comment. So often other people have someone on as a guest to just pontificate about their own thoughts instead of us learning from their guest.

Use of definitive terms – He “always” does that. She “never,” says that. There are many words like that, and the truth is people almost never always do something. When my columns are edited and a word like that is used, I react in horror to how that got through. I used the word never in a recent column and it was appropriate, but it was still a rare exception. People know what you just said is not true because it cannot be.

Wild speculation “He potentially exposed countless people at the WH, in Ohio, Minnesota, and New Jersey to the virus.” Really? You are supposed to be an educated person and you write that garbage. During our endless election period, how many times did you read “If this person (fill in the name) gets elected, this (fill in the travesty) will happen.” How about all the wild speculation during the Amy Coney Barrett hearings? We were told this mild-mannered mother of seven who adopted two black, foreign orphans were going to bring America to the edge of Armageddon. People read this and most are too smart to think anything other than the author and their editor are heretics.

The worst part is they are just bad, lazy journalists. They do not analyze; they just regurgitate. There are many examples, and it has been going on for so long it is impossible to track all of it. A recent case was a report from the revered IMHE (Institute for Metrics and Evaluation) which stated if Americans wear masks at an increased rate, 130,000 lives will be saved by the end of February 2021. The study was in the supposedly respected scientific journal Nature Medicine. It was then picked up by over 100 publications and just reiterated by them without questioning the findings. The study was based on an outdated analysis of how many people are wearing masks. They used a figure of 49% versus the current number at the time of around 80%.

The press did not scrutinize the findings because the findings fit the narrative of the publications. They wanted that to be the story. In this case, the publication would have not even had to analyze the study. All they would have needed to do is leave their protected havens and walk the communities they ignore. They would have noticed that 49% was a ridiculously low figure as almost everyone was wearing masks at the time – everywhere that people congregate. A little common sense would go a long way. Unfortunately, they appear to have little of such.

No wonder that 86% of Americans (according to Gallup) think the press has a built-in bias. Only 24% have faith in newspapers and 18% in TV news and even less in the internet news. The press has a special place in our country and needs to be fair, responsible, and unbiased except on the editorial page. They are sloppy, lazy, and poor guardians of our free press rights in their current version. It is an accepted truth that if you don’t protect your First Amendment rights they will diminish.

That the current crop of members of the press are such poor guardians of our rights is reason enough to hate them.

*****

This article first appeared in Flash Report on Sunday, March 21st, 2021 and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

 

Washington Post Accuses Trump Of A Crime Based On Fabricated Quotes

The Washington Post anonymously printed fabricated quotes, attributed them to a sitting president, and used those quotes as a basis to speculate the president committed a crime.

On Jan. 9, The Washington Post published a bombshell report about what President Trump reportedly said on a phone call to the Georgia elections investigator. The headline was “‘Find the fraud’: Trump pressured a Georgia elections investigator in a separate call legal experts say could amount to obstruction.”

A few days ago, on March 11, the Post quietly changed the headline and added this correction to the top of the story:

Correction: Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find ‘dishonesty’ there. He also told her that she had ‘the most important job in the country right now.’ A story about the recording can be found here. The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.

Suffice to say, the original story was impactful. “The president’s attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations, legal experts said, though they cautioned a case could be difficult to prove,” reported the Post story.

The conclusion a sitting president may have committed a crime is still in the corrected story, even though that conclusion was initially at least partly based on fabricated quotes. While they didn’t directly cite this Post story, Trump’s alleged pressuring of Georgia officials was eventually cited by House Democrats in the impeachment articles against Trump. A few weeks later, House Democrats would cite the article and its fabricated quotes on page 10 of their impeachment brief, as well as highlight the article and its fake quotes in oral arguments during the televised impeachment trial.

Even accurately reported, the story may have been newsworthy or unflattering to Trump, but there’s a huge difference in criminal intent between a frustrated and addled Trump asking an investigator to look into fraud he genuinely believes is real versus pressuring the investigator to invent it. For what it’s worth, now that the investigator on the phone call has been identified, she has told local news “she did not perceive any pressure from the president’s call.”

A correction two months after the fact, when the story has already played a significant role in shaping perceptions of political events, seems wholly inadequate. The headline on the Post’s follow-up story is given an anodyne headline: “Recording reveals details of Trump call to Georgia’s chief elections investigator.”

Originally, the fabricated quotes were sourced to “an individual familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation.” What has been revealed about how the story was reported makes the Post’s reporting look worse, not better:

The Washington Post reported on the substance of Trump’s Dec. 23 call in January, describing him saying that Watson should ‘find the fraud’ and that she would be a ‘national hero,’ based on an account from Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, whom Watson briefed on his comments. In fact, he did not use those precise words. Rather, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize Fulton County, where she would find ‘dishonesty,’ he said. He also said, ‘whatever you can do, Frances, it would be — it’s a great thing. It’s an important thing for the country. So important. You’ve no idea. So important. And I very much appreciate it.’

While both men are nominally Republicans, Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — Fuchs’ boss — were publicly at each others’ throats. In fact, the Post story acknowledged as much saying, “The president is furious with both Raffensperger and [Georgia Governor] Kemp, who have refused to echo his claims that the election was rigged.”

Revealing the source of the quotes shows the Post had cause for more scrutiny, not less. According to the chairman of the Georgia Republican party, “The Secretary of State’s office secretly recorded the conversation, mischaracterized its contents to The Washington Post and then attempted to delete the recording. It was recently discovered in a laptop ‘trash’ folder as part of an open records search.”

In fairness to Post reporter Amy Gardner, “The White House did not respond to requests for comment,” and if they had responded, perhaps they could have swatted down the story. The Post also took the inexplicably rare step of burning their anonymous source here so she could be held accountable. But in the end, neither of these things makes this Post story any less of a journalistic travesty.

In sum: The Washington Post anonymously printed fabricated quotes they knew were from a second-hand source in the office of a political enemy, couldn’t confirm the quotes with additional sourcing, still attributed them to the sitting president of the United States, used those quotes as a basis to speculate the president committed a crime, and the Democratic party would later repeatedly cite the bogus article when attempting to impeach Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But wait! It gets much worse. Several other major media outlets — including NBC, ABC, USA Today, PBS, and CNN — “confirmed” the fabricated quotes from the Post’s anonymous source by, get this, citing their own anonymous sources.

Granted, I got a journalism degree more than 20 years ago, when it was merely a suspect profession rather than total Calvinball. But had I floated this sequence of events as a hypothetical to one of my professors in an ethics class, this would have been considered the media screw-up of the century.

Alas, not only is this going to pass without any consequences, we are inured to this behavior from the media. The Post did this at the tail end of a Trump presidency defined by years of the media repeatedly being debased by sources who used credulously granted anonymity as a cloak to pass off dodgy information, enrich themselves, or, ironically enough, sow doubt about the results of the 2016 election. It’s not exactly puzzling why the Trump White House may have stopped returning reporters’ calls.

Whether or not the mistakes above were intentional, this kind of thing has become so commonplace and reckless that intent is almost functionally irrelevant. With near universality, all these damning media screw-ups run in one political direction. It’s a shame New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t try and kiss any of those grandmothers he killed, otherwise the media may have been obligated to cover his deadly policies.

Even setting aside the overwhelming partisanship of the media, just as a matter of power dynamics, this all prompts a disturbing question for readers: If these are the journalistic standards used to cover the president or, say, a Supreme Court justice — do you know what happens when ordinary citizens get unfairly accused of wrongdoing by the media and don’t have the resources to fight back? You end up unemployed and washing dishes to eke out a living.

Increasingly, elements of the right are arguing the media’s incentives are now aligned with information warfare, not mere “bias.” The media is too arrogant to understand what increasing hostility means for them and the country, never mind that the growing levels of misinformation breaking into the mainstream are a direct consequence of diminished trust in the corporate media. When you can’t trust the dominant media, people start looking for information elsewhere.

A whole school of liberals and Never Trump adherents think media criticism is some kind of cop-out or distraction from the problems of Trump or the right more generally. But for the left, the media itself is their “cop-out.” In the end, the key difference between the right’s conspiracies and the left’s conspiracies is that the latter get a lot more air time and column inches. “Q will install Trump as emperor” rightly gets mocked and pitied, but “Trump treasonously colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election” gets mythologized at worst, rationalized at best.

Trump’s shortcomings may be monumental, but the idea he is somehow responsible for the abandoning of basic ethical standards in the institutions that opposed him is absurd at this point, never mind that political opposition is not the media’s vocational responsibility. In that respect, it’s too awkward for the press to confront the truth that Trump’s rise was symptomatic of extant distrust in media; he was not the father of that distrust.

Regardless, Trump’s not president anymore. Thanks to a surfeit of gobsmacking media behavior these last four years, many on the right are still arguing about the role media dishonesty played in his defeat. (Or in the case of one Politico editor, taking credit for censoring accurate news of his opponent’s corruption.)

With Trump gone, we are still stuck with a media that regularly reports things that aren’t true, let alone wholly fabricated as part of some political operation, and this misinformation plays a major role in shaping political and world events. They will then claim they are accountable because two months after the fact, and long after perceptions were hardened, they ran a correction on an anonymously sourced report they never should have run in the first place.

As alarming as all this is, in a disinformation climate such as the one we are currently living in, what happened with the Post’s correction is a rarity. Think for a second about all of the anonymously sourced stories you’ve read in recent years. Now realize it’s the dishonesty and manipulation that doesn’t get exposed that should scare you.

*****

The article was published March 15, 2015 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.