Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Speed of Gossip


Rudyard Kipling worked for newspapers in his younger days, and he once wrote a poem called "The Press" in which he described the news media of his time as "king over all the children of pride".  He also described how "the old black art" worked in politics: "The bubble is blown and the bubble is burst by us and such as we."  I've worked on three magazines, two newspapers and a radio station, and I can tell you personally that the only major change between Kipling's day and ours is that electronics has made the bubble-blowing -- and sometimes the bubble-bursting -- a lot faster.  For example, I give you the case of the Covington Kids.

It started with a 10-second (at most!) video/sound-bite on MSNBC, on Saturday morning.  There was a three-second shot of some high school kids in sports-team clothes (except for one boy who had pulled off his shirt and was dancing like a cheerleader) standing in a line, giving sports-team chants.  This was followed by another three-second shot of a kid in a team shirt and a MAGA hat, smiling with almost-desperate politeness while an old man with an Indian (ooops, mea culpa -- "Native American") look chanted and pounded a drum less than a foot from his face.

By themselves, these two shots wouldn't have meant much -- sports team chanting, team-kid smiling at drummer -- but the ten-second-or-less voice-over from the reporter "put it in context", that is, explained it all for us in a quick headline-blurt: "Covington Catholic School Trump Supporters Harass Native Americans at the Lincoln Memorial!"  Never mind that we didn't see any "harassment";  the reporter said it, so it must be true.

Almost instantly, the word spread to Democrats everywhere, who responded -- on the media and the Internet -- with righteous indignation.  A thunder of Twitter-tweets called for beating the kids, expelling all of them, burning down the school, and Disney film producer Jack Morrissy posted a cute meme showing "MAGA kids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper".  SNL writer Sarah Beattie offered a blowjob to whoever would first punch the MAGA-capped boy in the face.  The Native American drum-beater, described as Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips, only called for expelling the kids.  He also claimed that the boy whose face he was drumming in, Nicholas Sandmann, mocked and taunted him for his race (though in the video we never saw the boy's mouth moving), and the other boys surrounded him, chanting "Build the Wall!!", and that he felt threatened and intimidated.

He forgot one thing;  there were other people there with cameras, cell-phones, and Internet connections.

By Sunday the counter-story came rolling in, backed up by other videos, witnesses' statements, and Internet research.  First, the kids had shown up early that morning for their annual anti-abortion protest (what do you expect?  It's a Catholic school), where they marched around with their signs for about an hour, then lined up at the bus-stop to go home.  They were approached by a bunch of Black protesters who called themselves the Israelite Hebrews(?) who started yelling "homosexual insults" at the boys.  The Covington kids responded by chanting their school sports-cheers so as to drown out the yells.  Then all of three Indians approached the boys, beating their drums.  Since the drums were in time with the chants, the kids thought the Natives were sympathizing with them -- until they got closer, and the kids could hear that the Indians were calling them "White beasts" and yelling at them to go back to "the caves of Europe".  Nathan Phillips pushed into the line of students until he was right in the middle of them, nose to nose with Nicholas Sandmann.  Sandmann stood his ground, put on a nervous smile, stopped another kid from getting in an argument with one of the Black protesters, and just waited while the Blacks and Indians threw insults at the kids.  Meanwhile the bus pulled up and stopped, and the schoolkids started climbing on it.  When the last of the students got on the bus, the Black and Native protesters turned away and started chatting with reporters.

Also, more information surfaced about Nathan Phillips.  He wasn't a Vietnam veteran after all.  He had pulled stunts like this before, to the point where police were obliged to escort him away, and... his story about the Lincoln Memorial incident kept changing, and his every claim was refuted by other videos of the incident.

More, the same media pundits who puffed up Phillips and his cronies in the first place were suspiciously silent on real attacks against Native protesters at Standing Rock, and when Jordan Stevens was beaten to death -- on video -- by ten cops in Yuma, and when Native women were kidnapped and sold into sex-slavery in North Dakota.  Other media outlets have begun wondering why the big news companies ignored these real abuses, but raised a nationwide howl about a smiling schoolboy in a MAGA hat.  Likewise, lesser pundits have apologized for jumping the gun on their assumptions about the schoolboys, while the major media -- CNN, MSNBC and ABC -- only backpedaled, claiming that the boys' chanting and Sandmann's stoic smiling were "insensitive".

What this reveals is not only the blatant anti-Trump bias of the major media, but their unwillingness to learn the whole story, or check the facts -- as shown in last week's scandal about "Buzzfeed".  They're willing to toss out the basic rules of journalism for any chance to attack Trump, or his followers, or even a kid in a MAGA hat.

How can any sensible person trust them, really?

--Leslie <;)))>< 

                

Sunday, January 6, 2019

In Victo Veritas


The media turned the swearing-in of the new Congress into a frenetic victory-party for the Democrats -- including an hour-long puff-piece on MSNBC adoring Nancy Pelosi.  Apparently, it's possible to get as drunk on political victory as on booze -- drunk enough to lose common sense and admit to truths that do not automatically please the voters. 

There's no other explanation for Rep. Rashida Tlaib's happily obscene anti-Trump rant, at a victory party thrown by MoveOn.org last Thursday, in which she promised: "We're gonna impeach the motherf*cker", among other things.  It didn't occur to her that along with all the supporters who cheered and clapped for her there were other witnesses with cell-phones, who made video-clips of her and put them up on YouTube, so that she had to do some quick and fancy explaining the next day.  She couldn't have been drunk on booze;  she's a loudly proclaimed Muslim. 

Likewise, Ilhan Omar -- another well-advertised Muslim who has made several borderline anti-semitic comments in public -- whose first day's work in Congress was to sponsor a bill allowing Reps to wear head-coverings, such as her hijab, in the House.  She also denounced the "PayGo" rule -- originally proposed by Nancy Pelosi -- which requires that the federal govt. must come up with a spending cut for every spending increase.  This did not look like a good first day's work to many of the voters, and a lot of them were watching.

And then there are the amazingly ignorant statements by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which have impelled the DNC to tell her outright to please stop making speeches in public lest she embarrass them further.  None of this is concealed from the public.  It's clear that the flush of victory is encouraging the shiny-new cluster of socialist-Democrat-young-minority-women Reps to reveal too much of themselves, and too soon.  If they keep talking, they'll make Trump look good -- even on CNN and MSNBC. 

The gods know, we've seen over-eager politicians hang themselves with their own mouths before this.

The Democrats mounted a truly epic campaign to elect lots of socialist-young-minority-women to the House of Reps in the midterms election, thereby giving themselves a more-than-slightly stereotyped public image.  Now they have to live up to the stereotyping, and cracks are already appearing in the image -- and the supposed unity. 

Now this is the age of the ubiquitous camera, the all-seeing public eye, where everybody has a camera and a phone to transmit what they've seen.  This universal public eye is not controlled by any central authority -- and public manipulations, even very good ones, can't last long against the attrition of a steady rain of publicly-displayed facts.  The steady storm of daily revelations that the media has been using on Trump can be -- is already being -- used on the Democrat favorites too.  Any political weapon is a two-edged sword.

In fact, the average American is not anti-semitic nor Islamophiliac, not misogynist nor snowflake-feminist, not racist nor globalist, does not automatically hate Latinos and does not believe in open borders either -- and therefore neither falls into the Liberal stereotype nor falls for it.  Those shiny-new Reps have already revealed their real attitudes, which are not as popular as they -- and the DNC -- like to think. They won't be able to conceal their intentions constantly, and they'll be revealed, repeatedly, soon enough. Then the public disillusion will set in.  The only question is, how fast?  How long before the voters say "A plague on both your houses"?

2020 just might be a great election year for the Libertarian Party.

--Leslie <;)))><