Archive for Clay Waters

NYT Plays Trump Reign as Soap Opera Stranger Than Fiction

For at least one New York Times political reporter, the Trump presidency is literally a joke. Matt Flegenheimer’s Washington Memo on Thursday was headlined “Like a ‘Soap Opera,’ Only Not as Fun.” The text box longed for better, non-Trump days: “If only it were all just the figment of the imagination.” Exploring the studio space, Flegenheimer sounded like an improv comedian: "It’s 'The Godfather,' but this time there’s a silent son-in-law in charge of Middle East peace for some reason."

So it’s a few days before the election last November -- just a few more days, surely, before Donald J. Trump would return to his golden tower to start a niche TV venture and fill a sagging Twitter feed with exclamation-pointed despair -- and a book agent goes to his client with an idea: How about something on the Trump White House That Wasn’t?

He tapped the creative juices of a former Democratic congressman to describe the comedy and tragedy of the Trump administration.

The writer -- Steve Israel, then a Democratic congressman from New York, now at work on his third political satire -- whips up a proposal, “Trumplandia.” Plot lines include a furtive meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, overnight social media rockets fired from Mar-a-Lago and a top administration post for Ben Carson, now the secretary of housing and urban development, who once suggested through a surrogate that he was not qualified to run a federal agency.

“Highly implausible,” the agent said of the pitch then.

“My pen name could have been Nostradamus,” Mr. Israel says now.

Flegenheimer, who has a pattern of praising Democrats and trashing Trump, relished his foray into fiction.

At present, though, the elements for either genre are slotting into place -- an Allen Drury novel crossed with Shakespeare, with final touches entrusted to producers for the E! network.

Foreign intrigue. Strained alliances at the Capitol. A blundering son. Face-lift tweets.

....

Some have chafed at the pacing and repetitive story lines, like Republicans’ halting efforts to pass health care legislation.

Others wonder whether some elements are a bit on the nose, like the subject line on Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain about meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer last year: “Russia - Clinton - private and confidential.”

Chekhov’s gun is not supposed to be fired skyward like a flare.

....

It’s Iran-contra with a spray tan, Lewinsky with a grande covfefe.

It’s “The Godfather,” but this time there’s a silent son-in-law in charge of Middle East peace for some reason.

When Flegenheimer ran out of amusing anecdotes from politicians he quoted smug lefty talk show hosts.

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Late-night comedians have leaned most often on the Nixon age for comparison, with mixed success. In March, John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” described the Trump-Russia affair as “Stupid Watergate” -- a prospective scandal “with all the intrigue of Watergate, except everyone involved is really bad at everything.”

He has found that the framing device is aging distressingly well.

“Unfortunately, it was supposed to be a self-contained joke,” he told Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” last week, “but current events are making it more and more relevant. Which is not normally how jokes work.”

....

No question. But rarely has the ham-fistedness felt so all-consuming, infusing even the simplest of tasks from a president who, seeing little need for subtext, tends to read the bracketed stage directions aloud.

Flegenheimer got chummy with Democratic congressman-turned-novelist Israel:

Mr. Israel, the congressman-turned-novelist, saw another ending once upon a time -- liberal fantasy stacked upon liberal fantasy.

His book proposal concludes on Inauguration Day 2021. Mr. Trump, scandal-tarred and missing his real estate life, has decided against another run. Ground has already been broken on the Trump presidential library in Palm Beach, Fla.

And as a helicopter whirs off, hauling the former president away, the book’s protagonist, a Trump press secretary named Jared Gold, sees an email: “President Sanders wants to meet with you.”

Zombies Ate My Brain: NYT Film Critic Sees Prophecy of 'White Supremacy' in Fright Flick

New York Times film critics A.O. Scott and Jason Zinoman remember horror zombie master George Romero on the front of Tuesday Arts page, “Old Master of Horror -- In George Romero’s signature zombie films, the living make for their own fright show.”

Romero was said to have a political angle to his flicks, and Scott in particular found a bizarre relevance between the Romero classic “Night of the Living Dead" and the election of "a calm and competent African-American" in 2012 who "saves the white people from their own rashness and stupidity...and is destroyed." And then, the "white supremacy" that evidently came with Trump’s election in 2016.

Zinoman: George Romero will always be known for turning hordes of dead people into a new kind of mainstream monster, but what made him a revolutionary artist is that he didn’t let the living off the hook. Sometimes, he even seemed to like them less than his flesh-eating zombies. “Night of the Living Dead,” his 1968 debut that initiated the modern horror genre, has one of the movies’ great spooky opening scenes; the shadowy sequence when the girl chomps on her dad still gives me the chills. But what was and remains truly unsettling is the violence of the white law enforcement toward the black hero, played by Duane Jones. No horror movie seemed to take on racism with as much visceral force, until this year, with “Get Out.” And Mr. Romero’s movie is even bleaker.

Scott used that opening from Zinoman to squeeze all the current import he could out of the black hero of that half-century-old horror flick.

A. O. SCOTT I’m glad you mentioned “Get Out,” because that movie and some other very recent horror films -- like Trey Edward Shults’s lean, cheap and super-scary “It Comes at Night” -- highlight both the influence, and the prescience, of “Night of the Living Dead.” A few years ago, when I did a Critics’ Pick video on “Night,” I hinted that the Jones character’s death could be read as a prophecy of Barack Obama’s presidency: A calm and competent African-American saves the white people from their own rashness and stupidity (as well as from zombies) and is destroyed. Now, of course, the prophecy seems all the more chilling. The casual, unapologetic and ultimately self-destructive violence of white supremacy is the true and enduring horror of American life.

That video Scott mentions, from October 2008, on the eve of Obama’s victory over John McCain, insisted that the horror flick “sinks its teeth into a very real and very persistent social division. And it asks a question that was pertinent in 1968 and may still be today: Who can we trust? Who are we willing to trust?” It was at least more subtle than his newest screed

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Scott was obsessing over white supremacy in his rundown of 2016 movies as well:

For a lot of 2016, it seemed as if the dominant story was going to be about what, for want of a better word, is often called diversity, meaning the often frustrated, sometimes partly successful struggles of filmmakers who are not white men to work within a system that remains rigged against them....In politics, whiteness has reasserted itself with an insistence that has surprised many observers.

NYT's Fair and Balanced Sunday Review: Ban Conservative Speech, Mock GOP’s Trump ‘Hallucination’

The recent New York Times Sunday Review outdid itself in anti-conservative wackiness. Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, offered some kooky junk science in the name of banning “offensive” right-wingers like Milo Yiannopoulos from campus in “When Is Speech Violence?” In the same section, liberal journalist Joshua Green took on the “hallucinatory” right-wing media for the sin of not obsessing over Russia, in “The World Through Breitbart-Vision.”

Barrett began:

Imagine that a bully threatens to punch you in the face. A week later, he walks up to you and breaks your nose with his fist. Which is more harmful: the punch or the threat?

The answer might seem obvious: Physical violence is physically damaging; verbal statements aren’t. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

But scientifically speaking, it’s not that simple. Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain -- even kill neurons -- and shorten your life.

The junk science followed:

Your body also contains little packets of genetic material that sit on the ends of your chromosomes. They’re called telomeres. Each time your cells divide, their telomeres get a little shorter, and when they become too short, you die. This is normal aging. But guess what else shrinks your telomeres? Chronic stress.

If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech -- at least certain types of speech -- can be a form of violence. But which types?

This question has taken on some urgency in the past few years, as professed defenders of social justice have clashed with professed defenders of free speech on college campuses. Student advocates have protested vigorously, even violently, against invited speakers whose views they consider not just offensive but harmful -- hence the desire to silence, not debate, the speaker. “Trigger warnings” are based on a similar principle: that discussions of certain topics will trigger, or reproduce, past trauma -- as opposed to merely challenging or discomfiting the student. The same goes for “microaggressions.”

....

The scientific findings I described above provide empirical guidance for which kinds of controversial speech should and shouldn’t be acceptable on campus and in civil society. In short, the answer depends on whether the speech is abusive or merely offensive.

....

What’s bad for your nervous system, in contrast, are long stretches of simmering stress. If you spend a lot of time in a harsh environment worrying about your safety, that’s the kind of stress that brings on illness and remodels your brain. That’s also true of a political climate in which groups of people endlessly hurl hateful words at one another, and of rampant bullying in school or on social media. A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it.

That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.

Or....you could maybe just not go hear him speak, without violating the First Amendment as well

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In the same section, liberal journalist Joshua Green took on the “hallucinatory” right-wing media for the sin of not obsessing over Russia, in “The World Through Breitbart-Vision.” The text box: “The right’s reaction to news can feel like a mass hallucination.”

The revelation that Donald Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising information that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton was a true bombshell in an era when we have become almost inured to them. Here was proof that members of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign had, at the very least, been eager to collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

No one could gainsay the facts: Mr. Trump’s own son published them on Twitter.

As recently as five or 10 years ago, every major news outlet would have treated this set of facts as front-page news and a dire threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency. The conservative press and Republican voters might disagree on certain particulars or points of emphasis. But their view of reality -- of what happened and its significance -- would have largely comported with that of the mainstream. You’d have had to travel to the political fringe of right-wing talk radio, the Drudge Report and dissident publications like Breitbart News to find an alternative viewpoint that rejected this basic story line.

Not anymore. Look to the right now and you’re apt to find an alternative reality in which the same set of facts is rearranged to compose an entirely different narrative. On Fox News, host Lou Dobbs offered a representative example on Thursday night, when he described the Donald Trump Jr. email story, with wild-eyed fervor, like this: “This is about a full-on assault by the left, the Democratic Party, to absolutely carry out a coup d’état against President Trump aided by the left-wing media.”

Mr. Dobbs isn’t some wacky outlier, but rather an example of how over the last several years the conservative underworld has swallowed up and subsumed more established right-leaning outlets such as Fox News. The Breitbart mind-set -- pugnacious, besieged, paranoid and determined to impose its own framework on current events regardless of facts -- has moved from the right-wing fringe to the center of Republican politics.

Besides shifting the “fringe” right to encompass talk radio and the right-leaning news aggregator the Drudge Report, Green casually suggests Trump’s fans are mindless zombies:

Another argument holds that Mr. Trump’s efforts to discredit mainstream outlets, echoed by the right-wing media, have stripped his followers of their ability to distinguish what’s real from what isn’t.

Green forwarded these survey figures without suggesting why Republicans may not be fans of college culture at present (hint: see above article that supports the banning of some conservative speakers from campus):

One reason that an alternative view of reality has taken such deep root among Republicans is that they seem to be focusing more on the broader culture. Last week a new Pew Research Center poll showed that a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now believes that colleges and universities -- the flash point of our current culture wars -- have a negative effect on the country. This number is up sharply from the 45 percent who agreed with this same statement last year.

....

As American politics has become more polarized and tribal, it’s gotten harder to shake voters from their partisan loyalties. At least so far, the news that Donald Trump Jr. was prepared to accept Russian help to subvert a United States election doesn’t appear to have changed this state of affairs. If you’re not a Republican, watching Republicans react to the news can feel a bit like witnessing a mass hallucination. Even more so when some emissary from the alternate Republican universe like Kellyanne Conway teleports onto CNN or another mainstream outlet to state her case.

....

But of course the conservative ranks have always included principled NeverTrumpers, whose resistance to the Republican drift has been mostly ignored by the rank and file. Don Jr.’s travails will be a good test of the resiliency of the new Republican worldview. If special counsel Robert Mueller finds evidence of Russian collusion, it will be followed by a bigger test measuring just what it takes to snap out of a mass hallucination.

LAT’s Levey Spins GOP Health Plan as Skimpy and Slashing; Obama Protected Americans From Own Bad Choices

Los Angeles Times health reporter Noam Levey, in a report that appeared in various Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) newspapers, filed “Equal Access to Coverage at Risk” on Sunday, an aggressive attack on Trump and Congressional Republicans as dishonest Medicaid slashers who pine for a return to a "medical gulag," while portraying Obamacare as a savior.

President Trump and congressional Republicans, despite repeated pledges to preserve sick Americans’ access to health coverage, are poised to scrap this core insurance protection in their campaign to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

Both the House GOP bill that passed in May and the revised Senate GOP bill unveiled last week effectively eliminate the coverage guarantee by allowing health insurers to once again sell skimpier plans and charge more to people with preexisting health conditions who need more-comprehensive coverage.

At the same time, the House and Senate bills dramatically scale back financial aid to low- and moderate-income consumers, and slash funding for Medicaid, the government safety-net plan that has helped millions of sick and poor Americans gain coverage.

(Once again: Medicaid is not being “slashed." Spending on the program will actually rise over a ten-year period.)

There was little or no attempt at balance:

That combination -- looser insurance requirements and less financial assistance for patients -- will once again put health plans out of reach for millions of sick Americans, according to numerous analyses.

(Fellow Tronc paper Orlando Sentinel ran the article and took the opportunity to print a charged photo of a protest alongside it. The largef photo “put attention on affordable health care” with mock tombstones showing reasons for death like “Pre-existing condition” and “Hit Lifetime Cap.”)

“The legislation ensures that every American with preexisting conditions has access to the coverage and care they need, no exceptions,” Vice President Mike Pence told a meeting of the National Governors Assn. in Rhode Island on Friday.

But that assurance has been contradicted by nearly every independent evaluation of the Republican healthcare bills, including two lengthy reports by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Pence’s claims are also at odds of with the assessment of health insurers themselves.

Levey went to insurance companies (which surely have no dog in the fight) to attack the GOP plan.

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On Friday, the heads of the industry’s two leading advocacy groups -- America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Assn. -- called the Senate bill “simply unworkable,” warning it “would undermine protections for those with preexisting medical conditions.”

Similarly, in a letter to Senate leaders this month, the American Academy of Actuaries warned that provisions of the Senate GOP bill “could erode preexisting condition protections” and “make it more difficult for high-cost individuals and groups to obtain coverage.”

Nearly every major patient advocacy organization has reached the same conclusion.

Health coverage has long been very far from perfect in America, but Levey’s tone is one of hell on earth, no less than a “medical gulag" before President Obama saved the day.

The kind of deregulated insurance markets envisioned by the House and Senate bills would mark a return to what health insurance looked like before the current healthcare law was enacted in 2010.

Before Obamacare, most insurance companies worked aggressively to exclude sick customers, either denying coverage altogether or charging unaffordable prices to people with preexisting conditions such as cancer, diabetes, even acne.

That left tens of millions of Americans with next to no options for coverage.

“It was a medical gulag,” said Richard Figueroa, former enrollment director of California’s plan, which had a long waiting list because demand always outstripped money available for coverage.

Obamacare fundamentally equalized how health insurance treats patients. Insurers were not only forbidden to deny coverage to sick consumers, they had to provide a basic set of benefits.

Obamacare protected Americans from their own stupidity:

That standardization ensured that sick Americans were not forced to pay more for health insurance than healthy Americans, who might be tempted to buy skimpier plans that did not offer some benefits, such as prescription drugs or mental health and substance-abuse therapy.

This meant higher costs for some consumers, particularly those who enjoyed lower premiums before the law, when insurers were allowed to exclude the sick.

But uniform standards are necessary to ensure equal access to coverage, said Manatt Health managing director Joel Ario, a former insurance commissioner in Oregon and Pennsylvania. “It doesn’t work unless everyone participates on the same terms.”

To date, more than 20 million Americans have gained coverage through the law and many more depend on its protections.

....

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) famously pledged that he wouldn’t vote for a bill that didn’t pass what he called the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” in a reference to the late-night host’s emotional explanation of how important it had been that his baby son was not shut out of insurance coverage after being born with congenital heart disease.

More loaded language and scare quotes.

Conservative Republicans led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who insists on the insurance deregulation, have said they will not support the Obamacare repeal bill without Cruz’s amendment.

But offering this kind of “choice” -- even with additional money to help sick consumers -- would effectively end the coverage guarantee, the two health insurance groups said.

No Chill: NYT Sets Off Front-Page Alarm on Antarctic Iceberg; Actual Scientists Playing It Cool

Downplaying its hallowed veneration of “science” for the sake of climate alarmism, the New York Times used the story of a huge iceberg which broke off this week from an ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula as an excuse to warm up the “climate change” machine, on the paper’s front page on Thursday.

Climate reporter Justin Gillis, who has a long record of alarmist, activist reporting on this issue, and Jugal Patel made the most of the opportunity under the tilted headline “Antarctica Sheds Huge Iceberg That Hints at Future Calamity.” That despite the scientific consensus that this particular collapse was not connected to global warming.

Julia Seymour of the MRC's Business and Media Institute pointed out that:

Scientists with Project MIDAS watched the rift in Larsen C ice shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula grow over time and although they expressed concerns about what it means about the stability of the overall ice shelf -- they specifically refused to connect it to manmade climate change. Swansea University glaciologist Dr. Martin O’Leary of MIDAS called it “a natural event” and admitted “we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change.”

Gillis and Patel wrote Thursday:

A chunk of floating ice that weighs more than a trillion metric tons broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart.

A crack more than 120 miles long had developed over several years in a floating ice shelf called Larsen C, and scientists who have been monitoring it confirmed on Wednesday that the huge iceberg had finally broken free.

There is no scientific consensus over whether global warming is to blame. But the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula has been fundamentally changed, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Britain that had been monitoring the rift since 2014.

....

Larsen C, like two smaller ice shelves that collapsed before it, was holding back relatively little land ice, and it is not expected to contribute much to the rise of the sea. But in other parts of Antarctica, similar shelves are holding back enormous amounts of ice, and scientists fear that their future collapse could dump enough ice into the ocean to raise the sea level by many feet. How fast this could happen is unclear.

The Times used the natural event as an excuse for alarmism despite facts suggesting they should just chill out.

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In the late 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out from the main body of Antarctica and points toward South America, was one of the fastest-warming places in the world. That warming had slowed or perhaps reversed slightly in the 21st century, but scientists believe the ice is still catching up to the higher temperatures.

Some climate scientists believe the warming in the region was at least in part a consequence of human-caused climate change, while others have disputed that, seeing a large role for natural variability -- and noting that icebergs have been breaking away from ice shelves for many millions of years. But the two camps agree that the breakup of ice shelves in the peninsula region may be a preview of what is in store for the main part of Antarctica as the world continues heating up as a result of human activity.

Gillis and Patel reached back a generation for confirmation of their concern, in a "classic paper" from a "renownwed geologist.".

The collapse of the peninsula’s ice shelves can be interpreted as fulfilling a prophecy made in 1978 by a renowned geologist named John H. Mercer of Ohio State University. In a classic paper, Dr. Mercer warned that the western part of Antarctica was so vulnerable to human-induced climate warming as to pose a “threat of disaster” from rising seas.

He said that humanity would know the calamity had begun when ice shelves started breaking up along the peninsula, with the breakups moving progressively southward.

The Larsen A ice shelf broke up over several years starting in 1995; the Larsen B underwent a dramatic collapse in 2002; and now, scientists fear, the calving of the giant iceberg could be the first stage in the breakup of Larsen C.

“As climate warming progresses farther south,” Dr. Rignot said, “it will affect larger and larger ice shelves, holding back bigger and bigger glaciers, so that their collapse will contribute more to sea-level rise.”

Entertainment Weekly Remains ‘Woke’ on Feminism During Sleepy Summer

Entertainment Weekly magazine, once known for its pop culture reviews, but now more for its feminist grandstanding, stuffed its summer double issue of July 21/28 with bits and bobs of chic liberal activism, particularly of the feminist variety.

The News & Notes section was particularly political: “Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is the hero we deserve and the hero we need -- a fearless female walking tall through a literal No Man’s Land, a symbol of resilience in an era of so many sexist talking heads and internet trolls.”

Another brief on Quavo the rapper took pains to mention that he had “faced a backlash for insensitive comments about the LGBTQ community and later apologized.” Other items on the list were reliably in line with feminist sensibilities -- the autobiography of “the beloved writer and culture critic” feminist Roxane Gay, and “the wrestling dramedy GLOW” on Netflix.

there was more hyper-enthusiasm on display for a reboot of a show about lesbians in Los Angeles that ran on Showtime some ten years ago: “The L Word Returns”: “Break out your bell sleeves and lesbian relationship charts: The L Word is getting the reboot treatment!”

In “Degrassi Done It Again,” Nivea Serrao gushed, “The long-running teen drama continues its legacy of breaking down barriers by introducing its first gender nonbinary character.”

The preview of the movie project A Wrinkle in Time directed by the race activist Ava DuVernay, shows it is no longer enough to fall in love with a classic story in itself, but also for its hidden liberal politics. “Director Ava DuVernay, fresh off heavy projects like the civil rights drama Selma and the criminal-justice expose 13th, was drawn to this sci-fi tale, in part, by the progressive ideas that author Madeleine L’Engle buried in her 1962 novel.”

A review of the British drama Lady Macbeth by Chris Nashawaty found the movie good while it remained more predictably feminist: “...this is an emotionally schizophrenic Victorian tragedy that starts out as a welcome feminist cri de coeur, only to spiral into violent nihilism....”

“Disney’s Next Teen Queen” by Marc Snetiker profiled actress Dove Cameron, and indirectly perhaps unwittingly highlighted the shallow nature of much celebrity left-wing activism: “Part of that comes from the modern duties of Cameron’s gig, which have evolved to include heightened expectations in social media and woke activism -- but Cameron was savvy long before her career demanded it...”

Another left-wing angle in a brief review of The Last Tycoon series on Amazon, based on an unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about Hollywood: “The text is about the movies, but the subtext is about TV and the issues -- of opportunity and representation, quality and equality -- troubling it.”

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Tina Jordan's lead story in the Books section featured Emma Watson talking to Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale.

Many celebrities have book clubs, but none share the clout of Emma Watson’s “Our Shared Shelf,” which has picked up nearly 200,000 members since it launched on Goodreads in 2016. As Watson wrote when she made The Handmaid’s Tale her May/June selection, “It is a book that has never stopped fascinating readers because it articulates so vividly what it feels like for a woman to lose power over her own body.” Thanks to the recent Hulu series, Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel has again soared to the top of the best-seller lists. Watson called up Atwood to discuss.

They briefly discussed Atwood’s visits behind the Iron Curtain when she lived in West Germany, with Atwood emphasizing “it was very interesting to be there, but it wasn’t the primary inspiration.” That was, of course, the success of the American right wing in 1980 (the year Reagan was elected in a landslide).

There were three inspirations. First, what right wing people were already saying in 1980. They were saying the kinds of things they’re now doing, but at that time they didn’t have the power to do them. I believe that people who say those kinds of things will do those things if and when they get power: They’re not just funning around. So that was one of the inspirations. If you’re going to make women go back into the home, how are you going to do that? If America were to become a totalitarian state, what would that state look like? What would its aims be? What sort of excuse would it use for its atrocities?....

Trump came up in the conversation, albeit indirectly, and it wasn’t long before a Hitler reference followed.

Watson: Yes, yes. So having written this book when you did and having realised that this might happen one day, did the election results and the new health bill in the US hit you hard? Was it a very depressing moment for you?

Atwood: I’m not easily depressed by these sorts of things. It’s happened before. If you were born in the ’90s, you were born into a world where quite a few rights for various groups had been established, at least in the West, and you thought that was normal. But if you’re older than that and you were born into a world in which this was not the case, you saw the fights that went into those rights being established, and you also saw how quickly -- in the case, for instance, of Hitler -- that you could take a democratically minded fairly open society and turn it on its head. So, it has happened before, but it’s also un-happened before, if you see what I mean. History is not a straight line. Also, America is not Germany; America is very diverse; it has a number of different states in it. I don’t think America is rolling over in acquiesce to all of this, as you’ve probably seen from reading the news. You’ve probably seen that women dressed as Handmaids have been turning up in state legislatures and just sitting there. You can’t kick them out because they’re not making a disturbance, but everybody knows what they mean.

The online version featured a photo from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio from a Handmaids-themed silent protest on abortion.

The website also reprinted a hostile People magazine article on actor James Woods for his “insensitivity” in his Twitter comments on the parents of a 10-year-old “gender creative” boy who wears dresses and make-up.

Entertainment Weekly Remains ‘Woke’ on Feminism During Sleepy Summer

Entertainment Weekly magazine, once known for its pop culture reviews, but now more for its feminist grandstanding, stuffed its summer double issue of July 21/28 with bits and bobs of chic liberal activism, particularly of the feminist variety.

The News & Notes section was particularly political: “Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is the hero we deserve and the hero we need -- a fearless female walking tall through a literal No Man’s Land, a symbol of resilience in an era of so many sexist talking heads and internet trolls.”

Another brief on Quavo the rapper took pains to mention that he had “faced a backlash for insensitive comments about the LGBTQ community and later apologized.” Other items on the list were reliably in line with feminist sensibilities -- the autobiography of “the beloved writer and culture critic” feminist Roxane Gay, and “the wrestling dramedy GLOW” on Netflix.

there was more hyper-enthusiasm on display for a reboot of a show about lesbians in Los Angeles that ran on Showtime some ten years ago: “The L Word Returns”: “Break out your bell sleeves and lesbian relationship charts: The L Word is getting the reboot treatment!”

In “Degrassi Done It Again,” Nivea Serrao gushed, “The long-running teen drama continues its legacy of breaking down barriers by introducing its first gender nonbinary character.”

The preview of the movie project A Wrinkle in Time directed by the race activist Ava DuVernay, shows it is no longer enough to fall in love with a classic story in itself, but also for its hidden liberal politics. “Director Ava DuVernay, fresh off heavy projects like the civil rights drama Selma and the criminal-justice expose 13th, was drawn to this sci-fi tale, in part, by the progressive ideas that author Madeleine L’Engle buried in her 1962 novel.”

A review of the British drama Lady Macbeth by Chris Nashawaty found the movie good while it remained more predictably feminist: “...this is an emotionally schizophrenic Victorian tragedy that starts out as a welcome feminist cri de coeur, only to spiral into violent nihilism....”

“Disney’s Next Teen Queen” by Marc Snetiker profiled actress Dove Cameron, and indirectly perhaps unwittingly highlighted the shallow nature of much celebrity left-wing activism: “Part of that comes from the modern duties of Cameron’s gig, which have evolved to include heightened expectations in social media and woke activism -- but Cameron was savvy long before her career demanded it...”

Another left-wing angle in a brief review of The Last Tycoon series on Amazon, based on an unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about Hollywood: “The text is about the movies, but the subtext is about TV and the issues -- of opportunity and representation, quality and equality -- troubling it.”

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Tina Jordan's lead story in the Books section featured Emma Watson talking to Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale.

Many celebrities have book clubs, but none share the clout of Emma Watson’s “Our Shared Shelf,” which has picked up nearly 200,000 members since it launched on Goodreads in 2016. As Watson wrote when she made The Handmaid’s Tale her May/June selection, “It is a book that has never stopped fascinating readers because it articulates so vividly what it feels like for a woman to lose power over her own body.” Thanks to the recent Hulu series, Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel has again soared to the top of the best-seller lists. Watson called up Atwood to discuss.

They briefly discussed Atwood’s visits behind the Iron Curtain when she lived in West Germany, with Atwood emphasizing “it was very interesting to be there, but it wasn’t the primary inspiration.” That was, of course, the success of the American right wing in 1980 (the year Reagan was elected in a landslide).

There were three inspirations. First, what right wing people were already saying in 1980. They were saying the kinds of things they’re now doing, but at that time they didn’t have the power to do them. I believe that people who say those kinds of things will do those things if and when they get power: They’re not just funning around. So that was one of the inspirations. If you’re going to make women go back into the home, how are you going to do that? If America were to become a totalitarian state, what would that state look like? What would its aims be? What sort of excuse would it use for its atrocities?....

Trump came up in the conversation, albeit indirectly, and it wasn’t long before a Hitler reference followed.

Watson: Yes, yes. So having written this book when you did and having realised that this might happen one day, did the election results and the new health bill in the US hit you hard? Was it a very depressing moment for you?

Atwood: I’m not easily depressed by these sorts of things. It’s happened before. If you were born in the ’90s, you were born into a world where quite a few rights for various groups had been established, at least in the West, and you thought that was normal. But if you’re older than that and you were born into a world in which this was not the case, you saw the fights that went into those rights being established, and you also saw how quickly -- in the case, for instance, of Hitler -- that you could take a democratically minded fairly open society and turn it on its head. So, it has happened before, but it’s also un-happened before, if you see what I mean. History is not a straight line. Also, America is not Germany; America is very diverse; it has a number of different states in it. I don’t think America is rolling over in acquiesce to all of this, as you’ve probably seen from reading the news. You’ve probably seen that women dressed as Handmaids have been turning up in state legislatures and just sitting there. You can’t kick them out because they’re not making a disturbance, but everybody knows what they mean.

The online version featured a photo from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio from a Handmaids-themed silent protest on abortion.

The website also reprinted a hostile People magazine article on actor James Woods for his “insensitivity” in his Twitter comments on the parents of a 10-year-old “gender creative” boy who wears dresses and make-up.

NYT’s Rappeport on GOP’s ‘Toxic Combo’ of ‘Deep’ Medicaid Cuts and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich’

New York Times economics reporter Alan Rappeport furthered the myth that Trump’s health bill would be “cutting deeply into Medicaid” spending in Thursday’s Times, “Risky Mix: Cutting Taxes For Rich and Aid for Poor.” He was harsher on Twitter: “Cutting taxes for the rich and aid for the poor is proving to be a politically toxic combo”:

The tough lessons are piling up for Republicans as they struggle to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but one stands out as a harbinger of things to come: Tax cuts for the rich, paired with reduced services for the poor, are a politically unpalatable combination.

Unable to get the first version of their health care bill off the ground, Senate Republicans are expected to release a revised bill on Thursday that would keep two of the taxes on the wealthy that were imposed by President Barack Obama’s health law: the 3.8 percent tax on investment income and the 0.9 percent surcharge on Medicare taxes, both imposed on high-income earners.

Republicans have long said that these taxes are killing jobs and strangling economic growth, but the juxtaposition of repealing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes for the wealthy and cutting deeply into Medicaid has become untenable.

But Nicholas Fondacaro at NewsBusters noted that the Congressional Budget Office, not a traditional friend of conservative tax and spending plans, shows that while the rate of increase in Medicaid spending will slow down, the actual amount will still increase over 10 years.

Rappeport carried on with loaded language on "hard-line conservative" groups and conventional liberal wisdom on "deep tax cuts" for the rich:

That Republicans may now preserve these taxes could bode poorly for their hopes of introducing deep tax cuts later this year that analysts say could disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans.

....

Conservative lawmakers have instead called for spending cuts on programs that benefit the poor so that they can avoid raising taxes on anyone. Last month members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus said that food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families should be restructured as part of the tax plan.

The experience with the health bill suggests this will be a tough sell in the Senate.

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Breaking that rule could be hard to avoid. A report released on Wednesday by the Tax Policy Center showed that Republicans might face a problem with overhauling taxes that is similar to the one they are facing with health care, with the policy benefiting those who are already the most prosperous. The tax research group analyzed the rough tax details that the Trump administration has released and found that 40 percent of the total $7.8 trillion tax cut would flow to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households.

....

Even though some Republicans are disappointed that any taxes introduced by Mr. Obama remain, they will probably get another chance to erase them. Jonathan Traub, a tax expert at the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte and a former staff director for the House Ways and Means Committee, said Republican tax writers in Congress would be under pressure to find a way to address those taxes when they move on to tax legislation. Doing so outside the context of health care, Mr. Traub said, could be easier.

“The argument is being made that the health care law is a tax cut for the wealthy being paid for by spending cuts for the poor,” Mr. Traub said.

For the most conservative Republicans and for anti-tax crusaders like Grover Norquist, the Affordable Care Act taxes should be killed because they never should have been enacted at all.

Rappeport turned the attack on Trump in a follow-up on Friday, “Congressional Budget Office Picks Apart Trump’s Economic Proposals”:

President Trump had promised that his mix of tax cuts, deregulation and reductions in wasteful spending would spur economic growth and cure America’s ailing fiscal health. On Thursday, an independent government analysis of those proposals effectively said, “Not so much.”

The Congressional Budget Office cast Mr. Trump’s inaugural budget as overly optimistic, expressing doubt about his promises to balance the federal budget. The budget projected that by 2027, the economy would achieve a small budget surplus. But according to the budget office, the deficit would remain at $720 billion, or 2.6 percent of gross domestic product.

Rappeport was last featured here in April trying to drive a wedge in the right on the issue the paper is most liberal on, immigration, via “widely respected conservative economist” Kevin Hassett (when the Times respects a conservative, watch out).

NYT’s Rappeport on GOP’s ‘Toxic Combo’ of ‘Deep’ Medicaid Cuts and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich’

New York Times economics reporter Alan Rappeport furthered the myth that Trump’s health bill would be “cutting deeply into Medicaid” spending in Thursday’s Times, “Risky Mix: Cutting Taxes For Rich and Aid for Poor.” He was harsher on Twitter: “Cutting taxes for the rich and aid for the poor is proving to be a politically toxic combo”:

The tough lessons are piling up for Republicans as they struggle to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but one stands out as a harbinger of things to come: Tax cuts for the rich, paired with reduced services for the poor, are a politically unpalatable combination.

Unable to get the first version of their health care bill off the ground, Senate Republicans are expected to release a revised bill on Thursday that would keep two of the taxes on the wealthy that were imposed by President Barack Obama’s health law: the 3.8 percent tax on investment income and the 0.9 percent surcharge on Medicare taxes, both imposed on high-income earners.

Republicans have long said that these taxes are killing jobs and strangling economic growth, but the juxtaposition of repealing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes for the wealthy and cutting deeply into Medicaid has become untenable.

But Nicholas Fondacaro at NewsBusters noted that the Congressional Budget Office, not a traditional friend of conservative tax and spending plans, shows that while the rate of increase in Medicaid spending will slow down, the actual amount will still increase over 10 years.

Rappeport carried on with loaded language on "hard-line conservative" groups and conventional liberal wisdom on "deep tax cuts" for the rich:

That Republicans may now preserve these taxes could bode poorly for their hopes of introducing deep tax cuts later this year that analysts say could disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans.

....

Conservative lawmakers have instead called for spending cuts on programs that benefit the poor so that they can avoid raising taxes on anyone. Last month members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus said that food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families should be restructured as part of the tax plan.

The experience with the health bill suggests this will be a tough sell in the Senate.

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Breaking that rule could be hard to avoid. A report released on Wednesday by the Tax Policy Center showed that Republicans might face a problem with overhauling taxes that is similar to the one they are facing with health care, with the policy benefiting those who are already the most prosperous. The tax research group analyzed the rough tax details that the Trump administration has released and found that 40 percent of the total $7.8 trillion tax cut would flow to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households.

....

Even though some Republicans are disappointed that any taxes introduced by Mr. Obama remain, they will probably get another chance to erase them. Jonathan Traub, a tax expert at the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte and a former staff director for the House Ways and Means Committee, said Republican tax writers in Congress would be under pressure to find a way to address those taxes when they move on to tax legislation. Doing so outside the context of health care, Mr. Traub said, could be easier.

“The argument is being made that the health care law is a tax cut for the wealthy being paid for by spending cuts for the poor,” Mr. Traub said.

For the most conservative Republicans and for anti-tax crusaders like Grover Norquist, the Affordable Care Act taxes should be killed because they never should have been enacted at all.

Rappeport turned the attack on Trump in a follow-up on Friday, “Congressional Budget Office Picks Apart Trump’s Economic Proposals”:

President Trump had promised that his mix of tax cuts, deregulation and reductions in wasteful spending would spur economic growth and cure America’s ailing fiscal health. On Thursday, an independent government analysis of those proposals effectively said, “Not so much.”

The Congressional Budget Office cast Mr. Trump’s inaugural budget as overly optimistic, expressing doubt about his promises to balance the federal budget. The budget projected that by 2027, the economy would achieve a small budget surplus. But according to the budget office, the deficit would remain at $720 billion, or 2.6 percent of gross domestic product.

Rappeport was last featured here in April trying to drive a wedge in the right on the issue the paper is most liberal on, immigration, via “widely respected conservative economist” Kevin Hassett (when the Times respects a conservative, watch out).

USA Today, NYT Golf Writers Hook to Feminist Left as Women’s Open Plays Trump Course

Not even the sports page offered respite from the political tussle, as two women golf writers for major newspapers got disturbed over the specter of Donald Trump hanging over the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament -- it’s being played at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. First, Karen Crouse on the front of Wednesday's New York Times Sports section followed Cristie Kerr, pro golfer and victim of “microaggressions,” in “Women on Trump’s Turf Tune Out Awkwardness.USA Today's Christine Brennan trumped that with her own vituperative piece.

Crouse opened with an anecdote from Kerr of some random Wisconsin man being condescending to Kerr and women golfers in general, then pivoted sharply to Trump the woman hater.

The championship is being held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., the property that Trump has turned into his summer retreat.

The juxtaposition of Trump, who has alienated women’s rights activists with his policies, cabinet picks and public posturing, and the premier women’s golf event in the country over which he presides has placed participants this week in an awkward position.

How do they reconcile their ambitions as strong, accomplished women with the expectations thrust upon them by strong, accomplished women whose experience with the president is very different from their own?

And how do the players reconcile the outside outrage over the sexist culture that Trump’s tweets and actions seem to reflect with their personal experience with him as a respectful supporter of women’s golf?
....

The United States Open historically features the most challenging setup in championship golf, but the terrain this week presents an especially tricky test for all the women competing for a piece of the $5 million purse, the largest in L.P.G.A. history. The golfers must also be wary of offending the sport’s elitist white male fan base and the women’s activist groups expected to make their presence felt.

No matter who wins, the victor is likely to be overshadowed by Trump, who is expected to be on the grounds at some point during the weekend rounds.

....

In his tweets, Trump has described a beauty queen as a pig and described Mika Brzezinski, co-host of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, as “a neurotic and not very bright mess.”

Kerr, 39, knows about cruel comments, having played on her high school’s boys’ golf team in Miami because there was no girls’ squad. In a 1994 article in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, she dismissed the hostility she encountered by saying: “You know the male ego. Nobody likes to be beaten by a girl.”

Twenty-three years later, Kerr is the highest-earning American female golfer, and yet she is still dealing with subtle sexism that demonstrates some men’s inability to recognize, much less respect, her talent and skill level.

During tournament weeks, she routinely encounters men in her groups at pro-am events who insist on hitting at least one club less than her into the green because they can’t accept that they might hit the same distance, or less, than one of the best female golfers in the world. She registers the surprised looks on her pro-am partners’ faces when they come up short of the green or when she outdrives them. She bites her tongue when they say, “You’re pretty good, you can play,” as if this were a revelation.

....

Politics, sports and gender have become hopelessly tangled this week because of Trump’s connection to golf. While waiting out a rain suspension during the second round at Thornberry Creek last week, Kerr said she wished people could “chill out” and not politicize everything.

She was about to say more, but was distracted by the man who had offered his home near the ninth hole to Kerr, her caddie, her husband, other players and caddies and me as a refuge from an electrical storm that suspended play.

Crouse told a dramatic (and incredibly helpful, from her feminist perspective) tale about a little verbal dust-up with the man, who didn’t appreciate some of what he overheard from the interview. Later, Crouse seemed shaken by her encounter with Trumpers.

Back at the clubhouse, Kerr expressed dismay at what she considered the latest instance of a man’s micro-aggression. “This is why women are so offended by Trump’s comments about women,” she said. “It empowers the bullies and makes women feel small.”

Kerr knows one way to stand tall -- to stand above it all. The winner on Sunday can accept the trophy and, through her example, represent strong, empowered women everywhere.

Crouse has hooked a few pieces to the left in her tenure as golf writer at the paper. In February she pestered male professional golfers to see if they would agree to golf with that horrid President Trump. It turned out nine out of 10 would, to her evident dismay:

The results were hardly surprising. The clubhouses at PGA Tour stops have long trended Republican, and the sport’s target demographic -- rich, mostly white men -- is far different from the women, minorities, immigrants and Muslims who have at times been the most offended by the president’s statements and positions.

Crouse also caused controversy in April 2012 when she told a golf magazine she did not want to cover the Augusta National Masters tournament until a woman was admitted to the club. Her editor Joe Sexton said her comments were "completely inappropriate.” (The paper has had a long history of antagonism toward Augusta National's all-male policies, with previous editor Howell Raines undertaking a crusade to get Tiger Woods to boycott the tournament, out of solidarity, or something.)

Even more in-your-face was USA Today sportswriter Christine Brennan's “USGA struggles to denounce sexual assault on eve of U.S. Women's Open,” published on Tuesday evening.

The question was a simple one. “Does the USGA have a position on sexual assault?”

Has an easier question ever been asked of a national governing body -- in this case, the U.S. Golf Association?

If you were one of the four officials of the USGA, two men and two women, assembled to speak at the opening news conference before the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National, you would have leaned into the microphone, said, “Yes, it’s awful, unacceptable and illegal,” or something of the sort, and moved on.

But when you’re in business with Donald Trump, the man who appeared on the infamous Access Hollywood videotape bragging that he could sexually assault women without having to worry about the ramifications, your values start to fade.

Your principles waver. Your admirable efforts to try to attract women and girls to a game with a long history of discriminatory and exclusionary practices run head-long into your need to prostrate yourself at Trump’s feet.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton attends many golf tournaments as participant and player without dark allegations about his sexual past being brought up.

The public moment, of course, was long gone. But the bewilderment that appeared in the eyes of the four poor souls sent to do the USGA’s Trumpian bidding was still fresh in the minds of everyone who witnessed it.

....

Why does any of this matter? Golf is a man’s game, right? It’s Trump’s game, isn’t it? You sell your soul to him and you’re in a good place, correct?
 

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NYT Hails Feminist Myth of 'Interrupted' Sen. Kamala Harris

New York Times reporter Matt Flegenheimer celebrated the Democratic Party’s latest 2020 hope with some newly minted feminist mythology included: “As Democrats Drift, The Expectations Rise for a Rookie Senator.” The online headline: “Senator, (Un)Interrupted: Kamala Harris’s Rise Among Democrats.”

The Times is prolonging the opportunist feminist myth that Harris was a victim of sexist interruptions by Republicans (never mind that Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is interrupted by Democratic congressmen at hearings without any handwringing from the feminist left).

The history of the story editing on Newsdiffs.org reveals how enamored the headline writers were of the feminist angle before deciding against it for the print version (though it’s retained online).

Senator, (Un)Interrupted: Kamala Harris’s Rise Among Democrats

Senator, Un(Interrupted): Kamala Harris’s Rise Among Democrats

Senator Kamala Harris’s Voice Is Amplified by Interruptions

Senator, Un(Interrupted): Kamala Harris’s Rise Among Democrats

Flegenheimer wrote:

The casting call came early -- the first of many unwelcome interruptions for Kamala Harris since November -- consuming the Los Angeles nightclub where she was supposed to be celebrating an uncomplicated Senate victory.

With the polls closed in nearly every other corner of the country, the giant TV above the dance floor left little doubt: Donald J. Trump was almost certainly going to be president. A vacancy-- standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, or at least one of them -- had come open four to eight years ahead of schedule.

And people had questions.

....

Less than eight months later, California’s very junior senator has emerged as the latest iteration of a bipartisan archetype: the Great Freshman Hope, a telegenic object of daydreaming projection -- justified or not -- for a party adrift and removed from executive power.

“Do we retreat or do we fight?” she thundered in Los Angeles that evening. “I say we fight.”

Like the Senate newcomers Barack Obama or Marco Rubio before her, Ms. Harris -- a 52-year-old former prosecutor with a profane streak, a lawyerly aversion to “false choices” and an affection for the rapper Too Short -- has insisted that national aspirations are far from her mind.

Like those men, she has not exactly ruled out the possibility, either.

Unlike those men, she is not a man, a fact that has figured prominently in her introduction to mass audiences in a recurring (and highly rated) television series: Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing Into Possible Trump Ties to Russia.

Twice recently, Ms. Harris’s pointed questions and interjections during long-winded witness testimony have prompted uncommon interruptions from Republican colleagues, John McCain of Arizona and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee chairman, urging her to let the officials answer.

In the outsize fallout, her supporters have questioned whether a white male senator would have been confronted the same way.

“There are times,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, “when men don’t like women who are smarter than them.”

Flegenheimer, who set up left-wing Sen. Elizabeth Warren for glory in a piece in February, managed to cultivate another Democratic heroine in Sen. Harris, even spinning his own snub by Harris to her advantage:

In one such nod to rookie humility, she declined to be interviewed for this article, in keeping with an apparent policy against participating in profiles with major publications at this point.

....

Ms. Harris’s brushes with national attention predate her Senate election, with a notable cameo from President Obama in 2013. After an event then, he was compelled to apologize after telling a group of Democrats that, in addition to being “brilliant,” “dedicated” and “tough,” Ms. Harris “also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country.”

....

Ms. Harris has taken particular care to make a foil of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in person or otherwise, and is eager to seize on immigration and criminal justice issues as her signatures.

....

But for all her airtime during such gatherings, Ms. Harris has worked behind the scenes to curb any temptation to be overzealous in the inquiry, according to the committee’s top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who said he had turned to her often for advice because he had never run a major investigation before.

Flegenheimer sold Harris as an ace fundraiser for Democrats.

A similar message signed by Ms. Harris for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was among the most lucrative email pitches of the year, according to the committee, where Ms. Harris is already approaching the top tier of sought-after fund-raisers.

Still, he noted, she’s not quite left enough for more ravenous left-wing Democrats.

And so far, at least, some of Mr. Sanders’s supporters are not sold on Ms. Harris, who at times disappointed liberals in her statewide roles with a reputation for excess caution. Others are simply wary of any politician promoted too heavily by the party establishment, especially after the campaign of Hillary Clinton, for whom Ms. Harris’s sister, Maya, worked as a top adviser.

Flegenheimer ended with this bit of nonsense, as if to shoehorn in yet another reference to the myth of Harris being constantly targeted with interruptions.

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Ms. Harris reunited with the “Pod Save America” hosts last week at the Capitol, where they introduced her at an outdoor rally to oppose the Senate health care bill.

For a few moments, she waited patiently for her turn, posing for cellphone pictures with well-wishers, smiling broadly at the side of the stage, making room after Senator Cory A. Booker of New Jersey sidled up to join in the photography, too.

When she reached the microphone, Ms. Harris moved quickly to familiar turf: “Remember, I’m a prosecutor,” she began.

She shifted for a moment in her heels. A stirring came from the edge of the crowd.

And in a flash, it had happened again -- another interruption at the Capitol, perhaps more welcome than usual.

“That’s what I’m saying,” a woman hollered back, parroting her this time. “I’m a prosecutor.”

 

NYT Plays ‘Nationalist’ Card on Trump Overseas, Whines He ‘Broke With Tradition’ by Attacking US

The New York Times Used Trump’s overseas trip to pick on “right-wing” Poland and falsely suggest he’s the first president to criticize his country while overseas.

The headline and first paragraph of the lead story in Friday’s Times by Glenn Thrush and Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “In Speech, Trump Asks If West has ‘Will To Survive’ – Hits Nationalist Tone – Friendly Polish Crowd Is Warm-Up for a G-20 Summit Meeting.”

President Trump said on Thursday that Western civilization was at risk of decline, bringing a message about “radical Islamic terrorism” and “the creep of government bureaucracy” to a European capital he views as hospitable to his nationalist message.

Mr. Trump, who broke with tradition by attacking American leaders and his country’s intelligence services while abroad, delivered his message in a speech to a friendly Polish crowd before a two-day summit meeting of Group of 20 leaders in Hamburg, Germany.

The paper has evidently forgotten Obama’s notorious “apology tour” and criticism of his country while overseas. In fact, the Times fiercely (yet pathetically) defended Obama from Republican charges that he had ever apologized for his country.

In what may be a foretaste of the scene during the gathering, 12,000 protesters vowing to disrupt the G-20 summit meeting converged for a demonstration in Hamburg on Thursday night called “Welcome to Hell.” There were reports that dozens of police officers had sustained minor injuries as a small group of protesters attacked them with bottles, poles and iron bars in clashes that lasted until midnight. Up to 100,000 protesters were expected in the coming days.

Mr. Trump roused his Polish hosts by recounting the country’s history of resistance to invaders, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But he said nothing about the right-wing government’s crackdown on judges and journalists and its refusal to accept more migrants, policies that have upset European Union leaders. He instead praised Poland as a defender of liberty in the face of existential threats.

....

The president made his sharpest criticism of Moscow since taking office, urging Russia to “cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran,” and asserting that it must “instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.”

....

Mr. Trump’s speech in Krasinski Square, which memorializes the Polish people’s resistance to tyranny, was well received, as was his message likening the fight against the Islamic State to Poland’s resistance of German invasion and occupation during World War II.

“We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory, their funding, their networks and any form of ideological support,” Mr. Trump said. “While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism.”

The pro-Duda crowd at Krasinski Square, where many waved American and Polish flags, serenaded reporters from both countries with periodic chants of “fake news.”

That came about an hour after Mr. Trump tag-teamed with Mr. Duda in a transnational denunciation of journalists who write negative stories about them.

The American president criticized CNN and defended what he suggested was a lighthearted tweet of a video depicting him body-slamming a figurewhose head had been replaced by the CNN logo.

What made Mr. Trump’s sermon against the mainstream news media different this time was that Mr. Duda’s center-right party, Law and Justice, proposed restricting the news media’s access to Parliament last year. The government backed down after street protests.

....

After chastising CNN -- a go-to move on both sides of the Atlantic -- Mr. Trump went after NBC, his former employer. “NBC is nearly as bad, despite the fact that I made them a lot of money on ‘The Apprentice,’ ” he said.

Also in Friday’s edition, Megan Specia, reminded readers that right-wing Poland has problems: “Called Beacon of Freedom, Poland Has Its Detractors.” Interestingly, the Times ignores its usual European hobby horse of Muslim refugees. Poland has refused to take any, and officials there point to the lack of terror attacks in Poland as vindication.

Poland is also apparently weak on women’s rights, by which the Times seems to mean “abortion”:

The government has come under fire for legislation aimed at women, especially a 2016 bill to ban nearly all abortions in the country. The bill failed after thousands of people protested in 90 Polish cities.

Before Trump’s arrival, Rick Lyman filed for Wednesday’s edition “Europe Wary as Trump Plans Visit to a Right-Tilting Poland.” Apparently left-tilting Germany, France, Great Britain, etc. have solved all their economic, environmental and refugee problems, leaving Poland as Europe’s only problem child. Lyman fretted on behalf of left-wing Europeans: “Opponents worry that the visit will be seen as a tacit endorsement of a Polish government that has been criticized by its European Union partners for moves to co-opt the news media, its political opponents and, most recently, the courts.”

New York Mag Counsels Trump Haters in Cover Story: ‘Just Wait’ for Trump’s Watergate

New York magazine's June 26/July 9 cover story dreaming of a Trump impeachment, “How A Presidency Ends,” is by veteran liberal essayist Frank Rich, who worked at the New York Times for decades. The cover shows a “photo illustration” of Donald Trump in Richard Nixon’s outstretched-arms “V for Victory” pose. The inside headline counseled patience on the part of the magazine’s liberal readership: “Just Wait -- Watergate didn’t become Watergate overnight, either.”

“Let others wallow in Watergate, we are going to do our job,” said Richard Nixon with typical unearned self-righteousness in July 1973. By then, more than a year had passed since a slapstick posse of five had been caught in a bungled burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex. It had been nine months since Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reported in the Washington Post that the break-in was part of a “massive campaign of political spying and sabotage” conducted by all the president’s men against most of their political opponents. Now the nation was emerging from two solid months of Senate Watergate hearings, a riveting cavalcade of White House misfits and misdeeds viewed live by 71 percent of the public.

Even so, Nixon had some reason to hope that Americans would heed his admonition to change the channel. That summer, the Times reported that both Democratic and Republican congressmen back home for recess were finding “a certain numbness” about Watergate and no “public mandate for any action as bold as impeachment.”

....

In the decades since, Watergate has become perhaps the most abused term in the American political lexicon. Washington has played host to legions of “-gates,” most unworthy of the name, and the original has blurred in memory, including for those of us who lived through it. Now, of course, invocations of Watergate are our daily bread, as America contemplates the future of a president who not only openly admires Nixon -- he vowed to put a framed Nixon note on display in the Oval Office -- but seems intent on emulating his most impeachable behavior. And among those of us who want Donald Trump gone from Washington yesterday, there’s a fair amount of fear that he, too, could hang on until the end of a four-year term that stank of corruption from the start. Even if his White House scandals turn out to exceed his predecessor’s -- as the former director of national intelligence James Clapper posited in early June -- impeachment is a political, not a legal, matter, and his political lock on the presidency would seem secure. Unlike Nixon, who had to contend with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Trump has the shield of a Republican Congress led by craven enablers terrified of crossing their Dear Leader’s fiercely loyal base. That distinction alone is enough to make anti-Trumpers abandon all hope.

I’m here to say don’t do so just yet. There’s a handy antidote to despair: a thorough wallow in Watergate, the actual story as it unfolded, not the expedited highlight reel that most Americans know from a textbook précis or cultural artifacts like the film version of All the President’s Men. If you look through a sharp Nixonian lens at Trump’s trajectory in office to date, short as it has been, you will discover more of an overlap than you might expect. You will learn that Democratic control of Congress in 1973 was not a crucial factor in Nixon’s downfall and that Republican control of Congress in 2017 may not be a life preserver for Trump. You will find reason to hope that the 45th president’s path through scandal may wind up at the same destination as the 37th’s -- a premature exit from the White House in disgrace -- on a comparable timeline.

....

But as was also true with Nixon, some time and much patience will be required while waiting for the endgame. The span between Nixon’s Second Inaugural and his resignation was almost 19 months. Trump’s presidency already seems as if it’s lasted a lifetime, but it’s only five months old. Never forget that the Watergate auto-da-fé wasn’t built in a day.

Conveniently, Rich pointed to Trump’s war on the mainstream media as one of the traits that will doom his presidency to impeachment.

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Another counterproductive Watergate defense strategy that Trump emulates is Nixon’s obsessive effort to counteract the daily leaks by trying to discredit the press that reported on them. “Never forget, the press is the enemy,” Nixon told his aides, instructing them to “write that on the blackboard a hundred times.” His notorious communications strategy -- led by Ron Ziegler, a former tour guide on Disneyland’s “Jungle Cruise” ride -- is the template for the Trump White House’s denials: an ad hominem attack on the offending news organization coupled with false claims of exoneration and false charges that the press was ignoring the opposition’s wrongdoing....

Rich named the names of conservative stars as peddlers of “alternative facts”.

Nixon’s flunkies, like Trump’s, wielded intimidation along with bluster against the press. The White House tried to challenge the licenses of Florida television stations owned by the Washington Post and was successful in browbeating William Paley, the head of CBS, to truncate a Walter Cronkite special report on Watergate. At the same time that the Nixon administration was trying to hobble what was then derided by conservatives as “the eastern media conspiracy,” it basked in the alternative facts spread by the Limbaughs, Drudges, and Breitbarts of its day -- right-wing radio stars like Clarence Manion and Paul Harvey and their print adjuncts...

Rich, tongue-in-cheek, pondered the possibility Trump would get away.

It’s always possible that there’s only smoke, no fire, and Trump will yet save himself, his party, and his country. Perhaps he won’t fire Robert Mueller. Perhaps Mueller will determine that Trump is not guilty of collusion with the Russians (with Trump’s voluntarily released tax returns as confirming evidence) or of obstruction of justice....Perhaps Jared Kushner will bring peace to the Middle East and reinvent American government rather than follow his father to prison.

....

Between now and then, there will be lulls in the downward trajectory -- after Nixon hit a new low of a 27 percent approval rating in November 1973, he spiked to 37 in a Harris poll a month later -- and many shocks and surprises.

After a mini-history lesson of how Watergate unfolded, Rich assured his Trump-hating audience that Trump wasn’t (too) long for the presidency.

Looking back on it all, Elizabeth Drew would write, “In retrospect, the denouement appeared inevitable -- but it certainly didn’t feel like that at the time.” That’s how I remember it. Certainly such a denouement for Trump doesn’t feel inevitable now. But whatever the end proves to be, we cannot expect to have a real inkling until an impending election starts concentrating Republican politicians’ minds next summer. The best thing to do in the meantime is to keep calm, carry on with the resistance, and rest assured that the day is coming when we won’t have Trump to kick around anymore.

The story also carried a sidebar by Alex Carp, “13 Predictions on How Long Trump’s Presidency Will Last.”

NYT Locates the Real Tragedies in Charlie Gard Case: Trump, Pope, U.S. Individualism

In Wednesday’s New York Times, Dan Bilefsky and Sewell Chan reported from London on the tragic medical and legal controversy around the infant Charlie Gard: “Baby’s Illness Grows Tragic on Global Stage.” The text box declared the science settled, and the opinion of world leaders that the baby’s life should be fought for a mere nuisance that promises to make things worse: “Support from the pope and President Trump may give parents irrational hope.”

Katie Yoder set up the sad situation: “11-month-old Charlie could lose life support any day now due to the European Court of Human Rights’ decision “in Charlie’s best interests.” Shortly after his birth, Charlie was diagnosed with infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). The rare genetic condition and brain damage has left Charlie deaf and blind, subject to seizures and unable to move his limbs or breathe on his own. After his doctors suggested removing Charlie’s ventilator, parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates sought legal permission to bring their baby to the U.S. for experimental therapy. But court after court sided with Charlie’s doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. And, last week, the parents lost their final legal appeal, despite raising £1.3 million on a crowdfunding site to pay for Charlie’s treatment.”

The Times’ loaded language made its feelings clear: Pull the plug and get it over with:

The long journey for Connie Yates and Chris Gard, whose infant son, Charlie, cannot breathe or move on his own, appeared to have come to an end last week. The courts had ruled that the baby’s rare genetic condition was incurable and that the only humane option was to take him off life support. The couple announced that they were getting ready “to say the final goodbye.”

Then Pope Francis and President Trump weighed in, offering statements of support and thrusting a global spotlight onto a heart-rending case that has become a cause célèbre in Britain.

Their last-minute interventions drew attention to a profoundly difficult bioethical matter, but, experts said, they may have made a tragic situation even worse. Not only has the family exhausted its legal options, but numerous doctors have affirmed that no treatment is likely to reverse the child’s severe brain damage. Those doctors include a neurologist in the United States who had raised the couple’s hopes that an experimental therapy might save their son.

Trust the Times to give you the story straight, the reporters unconvincingly argue.

Nor is money the main issue, contrary to many of the confusing messages and news reports on the matter....

The couple’s lawyers declined to comment on Tuesday, and it was not clear if Ms. Yates or Mr. Gard, or the hospital treating their son, would take action in response to the pope or to Mr. Trump, who on Monday weighed in via Twitter. What is clear -- based on a review of the extensive legal record in the case, including statements from numerous medical experts -- is that the couple have been through extraordinary ups and downs, even by the standards of other families with terminally ill children....

Charlie Gard, born on Aug. 4, 2016, was a few weeks old when his parents noticed that he had trouble lifting his head. He was not growing and had to be put on a feeding tube. His breathing became shallow. On Oct. 11 he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he has lived ever since....

Great Ormond Street Hospital was initially open to the idea, but then Charlie began to experience severe seizures, leading to a diagnosis of epileptic encephalopathy, a severe brain disorder. With that, doctors concluded that nucleoside therapy would only prolong the child’s suffering.

The reporters buried an intriguing counter-case where the authorities were appallingly wrong about a supposedly hopeless case.

The parents appealed, citing the case of Ashya King, a boy with a brain tumor whose British parents took him to the Continent, spurring a widely publicized manhunt in 2014, after a British hospital declined to send him to Prague for an experimental radiotherapy. The parents were arrested and brought back to Britain. (In the end, the hospital agreed to allow him to go to Prague for treatment, and he survived.)

An appellate judge, Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane, found that the King case was exceptional because that boy’s parents had put forward a “viable alternative treatment option,” which he said Charlie’s parents had not done. He praised their “composure, focus and dignity,” but upheld Justice Francis’s ruling. Britain’s highest court agreed, as did the European Court of Human Rights, in a judgment on June 27.

At this point, medical and ethical experts say, the few avenues to treatment for Charlie appear to be closed, and it seems to be just a matter of time before his parents accept that there is nothing more to be done.

Quite easy for them to say, isn’t it?

“The case has gone through the courts, and it is over,” said Claire Fenton-Glynn, a legal scholar at the University of Cambridge who has studied the case. “This is prolonging the agony of a devastating situation.”

Freedom of movement and Individual initiative, like parents trying desperately to save the life of a child, is treated with suspicion at Times HQ, especially when it threatens to cost money, even other people’s money -- one of the few instances of the New York Times supporting fiscal conservatism:

Professor Truog, of Harvard Medical School, noted that the United States was generally more individualistic than Britain. As a result, people tend to be more open to the idea of taking heroic -- and frequently quite expensive -- long-shot measures, making these sorts of “end of life” ethical disputes a familiar aspect of medicine in the United States.

“Quite expensive” is the key phrase. The New York Times has previously run callous, cynical stories cynically trying to nudge people into self-rationing for the sake of saving money for the state. For example: Criticizing life-enhancing heart valves for the old and “frail” as a waste of money, and coming out against "wasteful" medicines and "expensive" new medical procedures that are only worth "a few months" of extra life in the name of universal health care coverage, as if softening up the citizenry into accepting future limits on care to keep down costs.

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NY Times' Jeremy Peters Relishes Downfall of GOP Idol: 'Blind Faith' in Power of Tax Cuts

Monday’s New York Times featured reporter Jeremy Peters sounding awfully pleased about the apparent failure and unpopularity of Republican tax cuts in “Cut Taxes? In States, G.O.P. Goes Other Way.” Peters’ long hostility to the Republican Party is well documented, and he seemed to relish knocking down a GOP idol, a "dogmatic belief" based in "blind faith."

Something strange has been happening to taxes in Republican-dominated states: They are going up.

Conservative lawmakers in Kansas, South Carolina and Tennessee have agreed to significant tax increases in recent weeks to meet demands for more revenue. They are challenging what has become an almost dogmatic belief for their party, and sharply diverging from President Trump as he pushes for what his administration has billed as the largest tax cut in at least a generation.

Peters really pushed the idea that the Republican Party should back away from tax cuts:

And now some Republicans say that what has played out in these states should serve as a cautionary tale in Washington, where their party’s leaders are confronting a set of circumstances that looks strikingly similar.

Republicans, with control of Congress and the White House and a base that is growing impatient for tax reform, are trying to solve a difficult math problem: paying for critical programs like infrastructure, health care and education while honoring their promise to deliver lower taxes without exploding the deficit.

The debate promises to test the enduring relevance of one of the most fundamental principles of modern conservatism -- supply side economics, the idea that if you cut taxes far enough, the economy will expand to the point that it generates new tax revenue.

With the federal deficit growing and economic growth sputtering along in the low single digits, the Republican Party is facing questions from within over what many see as a blind faith in the theory that deep tax cuts are the shot of economic adrenaline a languid economy needs.

....

Outside Washington, Republicans are discovering there are limits.

In South Carolina, Republicans overrode their governor’s veto and a blocked a filibuster to increase the gas tax. They also rejected a series of broader tax cuts on the grounds that they were too expensive and voted instead to create a smaller tax incentive for low-income families.

....

And in the most striking rebuke of conservative tax policy in recent memory, Republicans in Kansas have undone much of the tax overhaul that Gov. Sam Brownback held up as a model for other states and the federal government to emulate.

....

Much of the devotion to tax cuts as an inviolable Republican principle stems from the success that President Ronald Reagan and Congress had in 1981 when they agreed to an economic recovery package that included a rate cut of about 25 percent for individuals.

Peters located an extremely ex-Reaganite official to “chastise” the party.

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Bruce Bartlett, who advised Reagan on the 1981 tax cuts, chastised Republicans for what he described as their reflexive desire to drive rates lower.

The media would never suggest that liberal ideas like throwing money at every problem can be “too blunt an economic instrument.”

The situation in Kansas was, for at least some conservatives, a jolting realization that tax cuts can be too blunt an economic instrument.

After Mr. Brownback took office in 2011, he pursued a plan that included cuts and, in some cases, an outright elimination of taxes for businesses and individuals to help invigorate the state’s underperforming economy. He described it as “an experiment” in conservative governance that could demonstrate what Republicans were capable of if they controlled legislative and executive branches across the country. (He is Kansas’ first Republican governor since 2003.)

The conservative movement got behind him. The plan was approved with the lobbying muscle of the billionaire Koch brothers’ political network, which is overseen from Wichita, where one of the brothers, Charles G. Koch lives. It had the blessing of prominent conservative economists like Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer, the Republican Party’s foremost supply-side evangelist.

In urging the Kansas Legislature to act, Mr. Laffer and Mr. Moore said the cuts would have a “near immediate” positive impact on the economy. Mr. Brownback said the plan would pay for itself.

Peters reduced the philosophy of individual freedom via tax cuts as an adolescent anarchist phase.

“If there were three words I could say to Congress right now,” said Stephanie Clayton, a Republican state representative from a district in the Kansas City area, “they would be, ‘Don’t do it.’”

She criticized what she said was a desire by her party to be more faithful to the principle than to the people Republicans were elected to help. Mr. Brownback and many conservatives, she said, overpromised on the tax cuts as a “sort-of Ayn Rand utopia, a red-state model,” citing the author whose works have influenced the American libertarian movement.

“And I loved Ayn Rand when I was 18 -- before I had children and figured out how the world really works,” Ms. Clayton added. “That’s not how it works, as it turns out.”

New York Times’ Odd Ambivalence to Free Expression: A ‘Canard’ Abused by 'Far Right' Racists

That journalistic organ the New York Times often shows deep ambivalence on free speech and free expression when done by opponents of speech-squelching leftists, as shown in two recent articles. The lead story in the Times Sunday magazine by John Herrman, who writes about media for the paper, carried the online headline: “Why the Far Right Wants to be the New ‘Alternative ‘Culture.

In Herrman’s conventional wisdom, to say the conservative movement is alternative or in any way persecuted -- or to actually have a point in any way about liberal hypocrisy -- is a perversion of the truth and nothing but “rhetorical appropriation” of the honorable positions of the left. This paragraph carries no mention of the liberal hypocrisy of criticizing conservative Christians but giving Muslims a pass on social issues like gay rights and feminism. Only conservatism is criticized, for having the audacity to make the argument:

An essential feature of the rise of Trumpism has been the brazen inversion, that trusty maneuver in which you wield your critics’ own values against them -- say, borrowing the language of social justice to argue that the “oppressor” is actually oppressed or suddenly embracing progressive social causes in the service of criticizing Islam. It’s a blunt but effective rhetorical confiscation, in which a battle-ready right relishes its ability to seize, inhabit and neutralize the arguments and vocabularies of its opponents, reveling in their continued inability to formulate any sort of answer to the trusty old ‘‘I know you are, but what am I?’’

Hermann alternated between sensible explanatory paragraphs and foaming hostility toward the right.

....Expressing racist ideas in offensive language, for example, or provoking audiences with winking fascist imagery, is, on some level, transgressive. (Both behaviors do have some precedent in the history of actual punk music.)....

Hermann cited a “seminal essay” by old lefty Thomas Frank to explain things to his readers before wrapping up.

The new reactionary ‘‘alternative’’ movement is also keenly aware of power, but it craves it, worships it, is constantly devising plans to acquire it. It has traded a siege mentality for a war bearing; its platforms are less gathering places for expressions of dissent than staging grounds against the venues to which they’re opposed and against which they expect to win. Their rhetoric and style want to evoke, in some ghoulish upside-down way, heroic rebellion, regardless of how well their aims align with the powers that be...

Apparently only one political faction craves power and it’s not the left wing, although it’s the left that seemingly wants control of every aspect of people’s lives, from what they say online to who they bake wedding cakes for.

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....This self-described underdog sees nothing problematic in its affinity for power....

Page one of the Times Sunday Review featured a similar article, downplaying the necessity of untrammeled expression in the name of sensitivity and defending the far-left: “Save the First Amendment,” by contributor Lindy West. “Don’t let internet trolls destroy free speech.” Online subhed: “Criticism is not censorship no matter how insistent Twitter’s free speech brigade might be.”

The first thousand times I was accused of being a politically correct, anti-free-speech censor, it seemed silly. The charge was always in response to some relatively innocuous bit of cultural criticism -- like, say, that racism is bad and artists should try not to make racist art if they don’t want to be called racists. Or that if comedians want to joke about rape, they should write their jokes very carefully because rape is very horrible....

Comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, not exactly rock-ribbed conservatives, have noted the intolerance of college campus audiences regarding “problematic” jokes. But there’s nothing to see here but a “canard” on free speech (in quotes, no less):

Criticism is not censorship, and no matter how insistent Twitter’s free speech brigade might be, I felt safe knowing that we could always go back to the text. The Constitution was on my side.

But that was when I thought facts had power, when what we think of as the truth was based more on observable reality and less on the incantations of paranoid uncles who would rather die of preventable diseases than let America’s first black president leave an intact legacy. When the “free speech” canard started nibbling away at me, around 2012 or so, it seemed as goofy as the idea of Donald Trump becoming president. Oops.

Since then, the anti-free-speech charge, applied broadly to cultural criticism and especially to feminist discourse, has proliferated. It is nurtured largely by men on the internet who used to nurse their grievances alone, in disparate, insular communities around the web -- men’s rights forums, video game blogs. Gradually, these communities have drifted together into one great aggrieved, misogynist gyre and bonded over a common interest: pretending to care about freedom of speech so they can feel self-righteous while harassing marginalized people for having opinions.

....

You can find disingenuous rhetoric about protecting free speech in the engine room of pretty much every digital-age culture war....

It sure sounds like the left is willing to ditch the whole First Amendment thing if it turns out to be a hurdle.

It’s been a surprisingly effective rhetorical strategy nonetheless. Americans are fiercely proud of our culture of (nearly) unfettered expression, though often not so clear on the actual parameters of the First Amendment. To defend speech is to plant a flag on the right side of history; to defend unpopular speech is to be a real rogue, a sophisticate, the kind of guy who gets it.

“Freedom of speech is such a buzzword that people can rally around,” [Feminist Anita] Sarkeesian said, “and that works really well in their favor. They’re weaponizing free speech to maintain their cultural dominance.”

West insisted the right defend celebs like Kathy Griffin who attack President Trump, then went soggily leftist.

They were nowhere, of course (except, perhaps, on the other end of some of those emails), because their true goal has always been to ensure that if anyone is determining the ways that we collectively choose to restrict our own speech in the name of values, they are the ones setting the limits. They want to perform a factory reset to a time when people of color and women didn’t tell white men what to do. And only one 2016 presidential candidate promised such a reset.

West tried to sneak in a long liberal wish list of issues supposedly threatened by the right’s free speech “misappropriation.”

It’s not hard to draw a straight line from internet culture warriors’ misappropriation of free speech to our current mass delusions over climate change, the Hyde Amendment, abstinence-only education, health care as a luxury and class as a meritocracy. “Free speech” rhetoric begot “fake news,” which begot “alternative facts.”

After Odd Lapse Last Week, NYT Again All for Free Speech: Its Own Speech, Anyway

The New York Times has been quite dismissive of the right to free speech when the right wing is involved, calling it a “canard” abused by racists. Yet the Times can be quite protective when it comes to (imaginary) threats to its own free speech, as shown by two stories on Monday

Both stories reacted to a provocative tweet by Donald Trump -- a video repurposing an old clip of Trump doing a bit at WrestleMania, showing him clothes-lining another man, but with a CNN icon projected over the face of the “victim” of the “assault,” Vince McMahon (quotation marks provided, since the media doesn’t seem to realize that wrestling is fake).

First off, Trump and his mean tweet have already ruined sensitive media columnist Jim Rutenberg’s (and America's) Fourth of July holiday, according to his Monday piece for the front of Business Day, “Celebrating Independence As Free Press Is Besieged.”

Happy Birthday, America, I guess.

You’re old enough to know that you can’t always have a feel-good birthday. And let’s face it: This Fourth of July just isn’t going to be one of them.

How could it be when one of the pillars of our 241-year-old republic -- the First Amendment -- is under near-daily assault from the highest levels of the government?

When the president of the United States makes viciously personal attacks against journalists -- and then doubles down over the weekend by posting a video on Twitter showing himself tackling and beating a figure with a CNN logo superimposed on his head? (Every time you think he’s reached the limit …)

How could it be when the president lashes out at The Washington Post by making a veiled threat against the business interests of its owner, Jeff Bezos, suggesting that his other company, Amazon, is a tax avoider?

(Where have we seen that sort of thing before -- Russia maybe?)

For those who cherish a robust free press, it’s hard to feel much like partying after witnessing how some cheered Representative Greg Gianforte, Republican of Montana, for body slamming a reporter for The Guardian, Ben Jacobs. His sin: asking unwelcome questions.

....

Then again, it wasn’t out of step with President Trump, whose weekend tweet appeared to promote violence against CNN -- which, some argued, violated Twitter’s harassment policies -- certainly undercut Mr. Gianforte’s message of contrition.

A text box: “Near-daily assaults on the First Amendment by the White House.” Never mind that Rutenberg's own media colleague James Risen has called Barack Obama a threat to press freedom.

Rutenberg found another over-hyped conservative “threat,” a toughly worded ad by the National Rifle Association:

Look no further than the new National Rifle Association advertisement. In it, the conservative radio and television star Dana Loesch angrily describes how “they” -- whoever they are -- “use their media to assassinate real news,” contributing to a “violence of lies” that needs to be combated with “the clenched fist of truth.”

Rutenberg found a far-left opiner to smear the NRA:

Given that the ad was for a pro-gun group, this sort of thing “tends toward incitement,” Charles P. Pierce wrote in Esquire. (Added context: The N.R.A. chief Wayne LaPierre recently called “academic elites, political elites and media elites” America’s “greatest domestic threats.”)

Rutenberg then slammed a couple of Trump-supporting conservative personalities.

The Fox News host Sean Hannity has urged the Trump administration to force reporters to submit written requests in advance of the daily White House press briefing, which, he said, should be narrowly tailored to specific topics the administration wants to talk about.

Mr. Hannity’s good buddy Newt Gingrich went one better, suggesting that administration officials fully close the briefing room to the news media, which he has called “a danger to the country right now.”

What’s most extraordinary in all of this is how many people calling for curtailments on the free press are such professed “constitutionalists” and admirers of the founders.

....

So this, our 241st birthday, seems just the time to invite some of our forebears to remind us -- including those at the top of the government -- why a free press is so important.

There followed a solemn list of quotes by honored American leaders of the past defending free speech (never mind the paper’s own calls for restrictions on political speech in the case of Citizens United, and its current ambivalent attitude toward right-wing expression).

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Also taking Trump’s latest provocation all too solemnly, and protective of his own patch of career turf, media reporter Michael Grynbaum Monday A10, “Trump, in Latest Bout With Media, Conjures Physical Fight With a Foe.”

President Trump posted a short video to his Twitter account on Sunday in which he is portrayed wrestling and punching a figure whose head has been replaced by the logo for CNN.

The video, about 28 seconds long, appears to be an edited clip from a years-old appearance by Mr. Trump in WrestleMania, an annual professional wrestling event. The clip ends with an onscreen restyling of the CNN logo as “FNN: Fraud News Network.”

Cartoonish in quality, the video is an unorthodox way for a sitting president to express himself. But Mr. Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on the news media in recent days -- assailing CNN and crudely insulting the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” -- while defending his use of social media as “modern day presidential.”

Reporters predictably wrung their hands in fake fright.

The wrestling video, which was also posted to the official @POTUS Twitter account, stirred criticism, disbelief and dumbfoundedness. Some journalists denounced its portrayal of violence as dangerous, saying it could incite attacks or threats against news media employees.

“I think it is unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media,” said Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times.

....

The president’s allies say that his attacks on the news media are justified, arguing that the president is merely defending himself from coverage that his supporters view as biased. Mr. Trump’s war of words with CNN is especially popular with his voter base.

News media advocates, however, have raised alarms about a recent spate of arrests and assaults on working journalists, including a high-profile episode in which a Montana congressional candidate, Greg Gianforte, assaulted a reporter for The Guardian, breaking his glasses. (Mr. Gianforte, a Republican, went on to win a House seat the next day. He later apologized to the reporter.)

Groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists, which usually focuses on countries where reporters’ freedoms are curtailed, say they are concerned that Mr. Trump’s campaign-trail rebukes of news organizations are now being issued from the pulpit of the White House.

“Targeting individual journalists or media outlets, on- or off-line, creates a chilling effect and fosters an environment where further harassment, or even physical attack, is deemed acceptable,” Courtney Radsch, the advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote in a statement on Sunday, adding that Mr. Trump’s comments may embolden “autocratic leaders around the world.”

Grynbaum at least got around to the conservative media bias argument near the end.

Some White House aides said privately on Sunday that the president was being held to a double standard. They argued that Mr. Trump’s video was akin to a recent exchange on MSNBC, in which the host, Chris Matthews, was discussing Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and jokingly praised the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini for ordering the execution of his son-in-law.

Ari Fleischer, who was a press secretary to President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter that he found Mr. Trump’s video to be “in poor taste.” But he added: “The reason POTUS does it is because the press has made themselves so unpopular. It’s a fight POTUS actually wins w much of the country.”

NY Times Runs Father and Son's Risible McCarthyite Projections on Trump and His Dumb Supporters

It was Father-and-Son Left-Wing Paranoia Day in the New York Times Sunday Review, as James Risen and Tom Risen penned “Donald Trump Does His Best Joe McCarthy.” James is an grizzled investigative reporter for the paper who has had his shares of legal scrapes with the Obama Justice Department for refusing to reveal his sources for his 2006 book State of War. His son Tom is a reporter for an aerospace magazine.

Under the assuredly ominous date-line of Wheeling, West Virginia, the Risens ranted:

On Feb. 9, 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy disembarked from his Capital Airlines plane at Stifel Field here, where he planned to speak at a Lincoln Day event hosted by the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club.

At the McLure Hotel downtown that night, Joe McCarthy, a 41-year-old junior Republican senator from Wisconsin, gave one of the most infamous speeches in American history, mixing right-wing demagogy and outright lies as he claimed that there were hundreds of Communists burrowed deep in the State Department and accused President Harry Truman’s Democratic administration of refusing to weed them out.

It’s a bit rich to call Trump a McCarthyite, given that the only weapon in his opponents’ bag these days seems to be making unsubstantiated and increasingly dubious links between his successful presidential campaign and the Russians.

But within days, Mr. McCarthy’s accusation that there was a hidden Communist cabal at the heart of the American government blew up into a bitter national controversy. And before long, Joe McCarthy’s Wheeling speech had triggered a wave of paranoia and fear mongering that would forever bear his name: McCarthyism.

Wait for it….

On June 28, 2016, another Republican politician landed at Stifel, now named Wheeling Ohio County Airport, to campaign here: Donald Trump.

….

There, the Republican nominee for president spoke to a crowd of roughly 4,000. “There’s something going on that’s really, really bad,” he said. “And we better get smart, and we better get tough, or we’re not going to have much of a country left, O.K.?”

It was a dark speech that harkened back to the most fearful tones of Joe McCarthy. Drumming up fears about the Islamic State, which he said was “spreading like wildfire,” Mr. Trump said that if he was elected, he would bring back the use of torture techniques like waterboarding in the interrogations of terrorism suspects…..

One year after he walked in Joe McCarthy’s footsteps in Wheeling, Mr. Trump now practices Mr. McCarthy’s version of the politics of fear from the White House. The two figures, who bear striking similarities -- and who shared an adviser, Roy Cohn -- both mastered the art of fear politics.

Not hiding their animus, the Risens tapped into the smug ideas idea that Trump voters are uneducated ignorami:

He keeps doing it because it works for him, just like it worked for Joe McCarthy. Mr. Trump knows what people want to hear — how terrifying the world can be and how he can protect them. Fearmongering resonates with his political base, particularly white voters without college degrees.

And racist too:

Underlying it all is a broad and unspoken fear of the looming loss of white dominance in American society. Increased diversity, notably the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the United States, is leading to a broader fear of all minority groups and foreigners, analysts believe.

The Risens ate up the whole credential gap among Trump voters:

“Clearly there is an audience for speeches that rally nationalist causes and against amorphous perceived threats,” [Professor Scott] Crichlow said. “What I think may be driving some of the appeal of the politics of fear is the state’s low education and demographics.”

They got a condescending soundbite from Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott:

“When you have 40 years of economic stagnation, that leads to frustration with the status quo and to zero-sum thinking,” the mayor said. “And I also think part of his appeal was that he said, I’m going to protect you from the Muslims, or Hispanics. There is a fear of that.”

The Risens really stretched to link Trump to Joe McCarthy: He was from the 1950s, which is the same era Trump supporters (at least the ones in our heads) want to go back to!

Trump supporters want to make America great again, to go back to what they believe were the halcyon days of the 1950s, which, ironically, was the decade of the fearmongering of Joe McCarthy.

 

NYT’s Ross Douthat Lays a Soft-Spoken Smackdown Upon His Liberal Media Colleagues

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, one of now two slightly right-leaning voices on the paper’s resolutely smugly liberal opinion page, penned “Notes on a Politcal Shooting” in the Sunday Review on the assassination attempt on House Republican Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va.

In his own diplomatic way -- his gentle tone a protective necessity to avoid riling the liberal comment section and Twitter mobs with his vile right-wingery -- Douthat got in some jabs at the liberal media. He also, sub rosa, chided the fake facts that appeared on the paper’s own editorial page regarding the shooting of Arizona Democrat Gabby Giffords. A June 15 editorial falsely claimed that a map of congressional districts posted by Sarah Palin, the sort used by Democrats and Republicans alike, was “incitement” for Giffords’ shooting by a paranoid schizophrenic, Jared Lougher. The paper was rightly savaged by conservatives until pressed to make a correction and tweet out a brief apology.

Douthat provided a brief history of political assassinations to demonstrate that “Where modern assassinations are concerned, such normal partisan motivations are more unusual than you might think.” Then he jabbed the liberal media:

And most recently -- if a little less famously, because the media spent a long time assuming that he was Tea Party-inspired -- Jared Lee Loughner shot Gabby Giffords because he was a lunatic obsessed with (among other things) the government’s control of grammar, and she had failed to answer his town hall question: “What is government if words have no meaning?”

That certainly applied to the NYT’s disgraceful take (then and recently) on the Giffords shooting, including the lie that conventional “target” graphics on a map of congressional districts posted by Sarah Palin -- the sort used by Democrats and Republicans alike -- was harmful political rhetoric that somehow inspired the shooting. This despite the facts that Loughner was a schizophrenic whose web pages were filled with crazed syllogisms and dominated by thoughts of mind control. As NewsBusters previously pointed out, there was no indication Loughner was aware of Palin's electoral map, and he had been obsessed with Giffords before Palin’s map even existed.

Douthat (again, politely) showed up the media’s protective instincts toward Democrats (though “involuntary” may be overly generous):

The second thing to say is that a murderous attack on Republicans by an angry liberal should be an important reminder for our media-cultural establishment that societies can be pulled apart from the left as easily as from the right. Of course, network anchors and magazine editors and editorial boards know this on an intellectual level. But because our centrist elites are actually center-left there is a constant, involuntary tug toward emphasizing what’s wrong on the right-wing side of the spectrum and excusing what’s wrong on the other.

There’s a great deal wrong on the right in the age of Donald Trump, and the scrutiny directed rightward is not at all misplaced. But as Trump proves more hapless than dangerous -- or only dangerous because he’s hapless -- the derangement that he inspires or amplifies among his critics also matters. And if America slides toward a rendezvous with 1968, the tendency of the establishment to only see one side’s dangers -- to treat Marine Le Pen as uniquely terrifying but Jeremy Corbyn as merely dotty, to “remember” that Loughner was a Palin fan or that right-wing hate killed J.F.K. -- will make things more dangerous overall.

Part of what went wrong in America in the later ’60s was that the liberal establishment carried water for, protected or excused its far-left children’s rage. Part of what could go wrong today is evident in the way that violence in the left-wing core, the university campus, gets met with excuse-making, appeasement and halfhearted punishment from liberal authorities. The House whip bleeding on a baseball field is a reminder that brighter lines against lesser acts of violence serve the entire culture well.

NY Times Now Giving Out Tips for ‘Undocumented’ to Stay in ‘Draconian’ U.S. Illegally

The New York Times will never stop pushing amnesty for illegal immigrants. In last Sunday’s Magazine, contributing writer and Latino activist Marcela Valdes devoted 6,000 words on the evil of Arizona's crackdown on "undocumented" (illegal) immigrants, and how to resist U.S. immigration law: “Is It Possible To Resist Deportations In The Age of Trump?” The text box: “Living under draconian state laws, Arizona activists honed an effective strategy for keeping undocumented immigrants in the country. Can the same tools still work today?”

Zero Class: New York Times Bashes Sen. Jim Bunning as ‘Cantankerous’ in Obituary Headline

If you can’t say something nice....by tradition, newspaper obituaries hold back criticism in the name of respect for the deceased and their grieving admirers, with even political figures granted reverence. But often conservatives are the exception, with outlets like the New York Times granting themselves free reign to criticize. Sunday obit of Hall of Fame pitcher and conservative Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, written by Richard Goldstein, shows the differing standards by which liberal and conservative politicians are held, even in death. It started with the headline: “Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame Pitcher Turned Cantankerous Senator, Dies at 85.”

NY Times Poses Muslim ‘Feminist’ Sarsour as Target of Right-Wing Hate, But Skips Her Own Hate

Muslim “feminist” Linda Sarsour has gotten criticism from conservatives for her vulgar, sexist, intolerant remarks about Muslim apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali (still the target of death threats), as well as her blandished descriptions of Sharia law and public appearances with convicted terrorists. Eli Rosenberg profiled her before her controversial commencement address at the City University of New York, slated for June 1. The Times went all out to make her a martyr: “A Graduation Speaker Raises Ire Before Taking the Podium -- Threats and Messages of Hatred Flow As Sarsour Plans to Speak at CUNY." The caption under a flattering photo of Sarsour: “Linda Sarsour said she became a target of far-right conservatives after the Women’s March. ‘I’m everything they stand against,’ she said.”

Stark Contrast: Europe Still Swoons for ‘Rock Star’ Obama vs. Trump, the ‘Danger for the World’

Berlin-beat reporter Alison Smale reported in Friday’s New York Times her version of the media’s latest favorite anti-Trump take: The cold reception of President Trump compared to the embrace of the cool Barack Obama, in “Europeans’ Welcomes for Trump and Obama Are a Study in Contrasts.” While Trump was quoted as being a “danger for the world,” “rock-star” Obama was happily sprinkling “political stardust” over the prospects of left-wing European politicians.

NY Times Chooses ‘Euphemism’ Over Reality on Illegals, Laments Trump’s ‘Steep Cuts’

More euphemistic, politically correct terminology about illegal immigrants from the New York Times, as Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Ron Nixon reported in Friday’s paper. The soft-pedaling even made the headline: “Proposed Budget Takes Broad Aim at Undocumented Immigrants -- Money for Jails, Not for Benefits.” The phrase “undocumented immigrants” (which the Times itself has admitted is a euphemism) was used six times in the story, while the accurate phrase “illegal immigrants” was avoided completely. Illegal immigration is an issue where the paper’s bias comes through quite clearly, combined with a deep aversion to any slowdown in federal spending  ofwhat it calls the “social safety net.”

Newsweek Quickly Brushes Aside Terror Victims to Highlight Hypothetical Islamophobia Threat

The horrific terrorist attack against young concert-goers in Manchester, England. Newsweek magazine chose to highlight Conor Gaffey’s report from the city in its daily email. But in all-too-common pattern among the liberal press after an Islamic terrorist attack, Gaffey quickly changed the subject, skipping ahead of concern for the victims of Islamic terrorism straight to left-wing handwringing about hypothetical Islamophobia, even bringing Brexit into the discussion. “Muslims in Manchester Fear Reprisals as ISIS Claims Responsibility for Concert Attack."

NYT Features Classless Front-Page Insults of Roger Ailes, ‘Rage’-Filled Fox News Audience

The front page of Friday’s New York Times featured a graceless goodbye to former Fox News chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes (and an insult to Fox News viewers): “A Fighter Who Turned Rage Into a News Empire” by Clyde Haberman. Even upon his passing, the Times maintained its hostility toward a man who found a wide and instantly receptive audience who latched on to a point of view clearly absent from the mainstream media’s liberal universe.

MTV’s Cox Attacks ‘Stooge’ Trump, ‘Media Welfare Queen’ Paul Ryan

Liberal journalist Ana Marie Cox, senior political correspondent for MTV News, who also has a regular interview feature in the back of the New York Times magazine, dusted off some attacks on that undignified “stooge” and “media welfare queen” House Speaker Paul Ryan, in a piece posted Wednesday: “Don’t Pity Paul Ryan --Ryan has never been a thoughtful conservative.”

NYT’s Obsessive Itzkoff Proves Critics Can’t Forgive Jimmy Fallon for Humanizing Donald Trump

The liberal media will never forgive Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for momentarily treating Donald Trump like a normal guest when the then-presidential candidate appeared on the show last September. New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff returned to the subject in a long profile of Fallon, with particular focus on the crime of Fallon playfully mussing Trump’s hair as a harmful humanization of the man, and implying that fateful incident caused Fallon’s show to be overtaken in the ratings by more left-wing ideological competition like the vulgar Stephen Colbert. The online headline: “Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump.”

NYT’s Obsessive Itzkoff Proves Critics Can’t Forgive Jimmy Fallon for Humanizing Donald Trump

The liberal media will never forgive Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for momentarily treating Donald Trump like a normal guest when the then-presidential candidate appeared on the show last September. New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff returned to the subject in a long profile of Fallon, with particular focus on the crime of Fallon playfully mussing Trump’s hair as a harmful humanization of the man, and implying that fateful incident caused Fallon’s show to be overtaken in the ratings by more left-wing ideological competition like the vulgar Stephen Colbert. The online headline: “Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump.”

NY Times Returns to ‘Passionate’ Attacks on Kris Kobach, Scourge of Illegals and Vote Fraud

Monday’s New York Times used a new White House office to go after a conservative who represents two of the things it most loathes: limits on immigration and crackdowns on vote fraud. Both trends are encapsulated in the person of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Reporters Michael Wines and Julie Bosman penned: “A ‘Passionate’ Seeker of Voter Fraud in Kansas Gets a National Soapbox.”

Irony Alert: NYT Sounds Page One Alarm on Concerns of Conservative Bias

Irony alert: Fear of conservative media bias made the front page of the New York Times. The front-page story in Saturday’s edition. featured media reporter Sydney Ember taking another bite out of Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns local television stations in many markets: “TV Titan’s Tilt On the News Roils Its Staff.” The Times, you see, is worried about political bias – not the obvious liberal tile of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc., but the alleged right-tilt of Sinclair! The text box is particularly rich, coming in a time when all the broadcast networks and all but one cable outlet are weighted heavily against the sitting Republican president: “Sinclair Requires TV Stations to Air Segments That Tilt to the Right.”

NY Times Uses Obscure Story from Harvard to Show Inspirational JFK Some Love

Friday’s New York Times featured an obscure bit of history of interest to liberal Kennedy devotees, including perhaps Times reporter Matthew Haag, who used the hook to hang up some seriously starry-eyed hagiography in his news story, “Sounds of a Young Kennedy In a Harvard Classroom."

NYT Initially Skips Convicted Corrine Brown’s Dem Party ID, But GOP’ers Labeled Instantly

Name that party, New York Times edition. On Friday, reporter Matt Stevens covered the verdict in the trial former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown: “Ex-Congresswoman Is Guilty Of Operating a Fake Charity.” It would seem a juicy story of liberal hypocrisy and greed. Yet the Times initially failed to even mention that Brown is a Democrat, though it had every chance in the 571-word story to cite her Democratic party affiliation.

The New York Times Is Suddenly Concerned About Media Bias: Conservative Bias

The front of the New York Times "Business Day" section on Tuesday featured media reporters Sydney Ember and Michael J. de la Merced's story “Sinclair Will Pay $3.9 Billion For Tribune.” With the imminent sale of Tribune Media to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Times has rediscovered a convenient concern for media bias -- conservative bias, that is. The online headline was more opinionated: “Sinclair Unveils Tribune Deal, Raising Worries It Will Be Too Powerful."

NY Times Assures Readers That Trump Win on Health Care Perilous for ‘Far-Right’ GOP

Gloom and doom greeted gave the president’s surprise victory on health care on the front of the New York Times. The paper gave the hard-fought legislative victory the same partisan treatment it gave to Trump’s tax cut proposals. The health care bill that would reverse parts of Obamacare, which squeaked through the House of Representatives, was a legislative victory fraught with “peril” from the paper’s perspective, with baleful predictions that echoed the Times’ treatment of the (shockingly successful) Trump presidential campaign.

The NY Times Again Pushes Phony Trend of Hate Crimes in Trump’s America

The New York Times is rather desperately still trying to make the idea of a recent, election-related surge in hate crimes stick, even after so many infamous “hate crimes” have been exposed as hoaxes in the Trump era. The latest, from reporter Audra D.S. Burch, made the front of the National section of Monday’s Times, covering three-fourths of the page: “Lawmakers Seek Harsher Hate Crime Penalties.”

99 Problems: NY TImes Unwittingly Reveals Own Bias With Collection of Trump Headlines

Saturday’s New York Times featured the paper unwittingly showing its anti-Trump tilt, with a full page "story' featuring the first 99 days of headlines from its coverage of the Trump Administration, in “(Almost) 100 Days Of Front Page Headlines About No. 45.” While the Times obviously thinks its headlines stand by themselves as some objective and reliable historical recording of the ebb and flow of the Trump Administration, in fact the word, subject, and tonal choices reveal a political double standard.

NY Times Fronts Tired Dem Talking Points to Attacks Trump’s Tax Plan

For two days running, the front page of the New York Times has delivered Democratic talking points about President Trump’s new tax cut plans. The banner over Thursday’s front page said it all, in big bold letters: “Tax Overhaul Would Aid Wealthiest.” The coverage lacked the vital context, pointed out by James Piereson in the Weekly Standard this week, that taxes have already been slashed for the poor and middle class, and it’s hard to structure a tax cut that doesn’t “favor the wealthy” in raw monetary terms. 

Ignoring French Terror Concerns, NY Times Makes Election ‘Us vs Them’

Amanda Taub’s “Interpreter” piece on the upcoming election in France, in Friday’s New York Times was snottily headlined “A Small French Town Infused With Us-vs.-Them Politics.” That town, Frejus, was no doubt also infused with current events, as suggested by the Times’ own lead story on Friday: “Gunman In Paris Shoots Officer; Terrorism Seen.” Taub managed to completely ignore that issue in favor of condescending theories about France’s “us and them” ethnocentrism, making Taub’s think piece chiding the town’s punitive politics (doubtless written before the attack) look both out of date and sanctimoniously naïve.

NYT: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ of ‘Repressive Patriarchy’ Has ‘Resonance in Trump’s America’

Is there any more the media can do to promote a new Hulu show, The Handmaid’s Tale, as an ominous parallel to the Donald Trump administration? Yes, apparently: A feature on the front of next Sunday’s New York Times Arts section, yet again promoting the show, based on the dystopian feminist novel by Margaret Atwood, which drops on Hulu April 26. Katrina Onstad, a Canadian journalist and movie critic, filed from the fraught set in Toronto earlier this year, after the trauma and travesty of Trump’s victory. 

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