Archive for Tom Blumer

LA Times Keeps Bill Clintons Out of Two Items on History of Sex Offenses

<p>As false news promoted by the establishment press has multiplied in the two years since Donald Trump declared his presidential candidacy, it's easy to forget that an equal if not greater media offense concerns genuine news and previous historical events that these outlets refuse to report or recognize. In two prime examples during the past several days, the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> deliberately omitted former President Bill Clinton's sexual offenses in articles relating to the explosive revelations of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's history of alleged serial harassment and assaults.</p>

AP and Others in Media Ignore Illegality of Now-Halted ObamaCare Subsidy Payments

<p>There's a lot of competition for this dubious distinction, but the media's treatment of President Donald Trump's decision to end certain Obamacare subsidy payments to insurance companies is perhaps the most blatant example of comprehensive bias on a single topic seen during the past week. Apparently, the press realizes that acknowledging how Trump's justification for ending the subsidies is airtight on a legal and constitutional basis would force them to admit that the Obama administration's payment of those subsidies for several years was illegal — and we can't have that. The worst offender in this regard was the Associated Press.</p>

AP and Others in Media Ignore Illegality of Now-Halted ObamaCare Subsidy Payments

<p>There's a lot of competition for this dubious distinction, but the media's treatment of President Donald Trump's decision to end certain Obamacare subsidy payments to insurance companies is perhaps the most blatant example of comprehensive bias on a single topic seen during the past week. Apparently, the press realizes that acknowledging how Trump's justification for ending the subsidies is airtight on a legal and constitutional basis would force them to admit that the Obama administration's payment of those subsidies for several years was illegal — and we can't have that. The worst offender in this regard was the Associated Press.</p>

Media Dishonestly Slam ‘Big Soda’ for Repeal of Chicago Tax on Soda — and Other Drinks

<p>On Wednesday, "the Cook County, Illinois Board of Commissioners repealed the penny-an-ounce levy on sweetened beverages it passed last November." The inflammatory "Big Soda" label appears frequently in press coverage of this reversal of what the government-always-knows-best crowd had thought was a major nanny-state victory, and reflects the fact that many in the media are quite unhappy with this turn of events.</p>

Michelle Malkin Goes After Hollywood’s ‘Nobody Knew’ Weinstein Narrative

<p>Conservative journalist Michelle Malkin took to Twitter on Tuesday to ask two tough questions of those who are pushing the "nobody knew about Harvey Weinstein the sexual predator" narrative really don't seem to want to answer. One wondered why it took so long for certain big-name stars to open up about their experiences with Weinstein. The other pointed to an actress who was telling her colleagues "Don't work with this guy" for nearly two decades to no apparent effect.</p>

The Federalist’s Bre Payton: Facebook Is Enabling ‘Troll Mobs’ to Censor Conservative Content

<p>A September 27 tweet by President Trump about how the establishment press and social media have worked to thwart his agenda and create a negative perception of him and those associated with him was the immediate trigger for Fox Business's Neil Cavuto to interview Bre Payton of the TheFederalist.com on his show the following day. But the interview topic went far beyond Trump's non-specific complaint about Facebook and other media outlets and platforms as: "... always anti-Trump," as Facebook is from all appearances breaking promises made to concerned conservatives late last year by continuing to marginalize the visibility and financial viability of conservative pages, sites, and content, allowing "troll mobs" to indiscriminately censor them by tarring their legitimate content as "fake news."</p>

Steven Crowder Exposes Media’s Refusal to Report Antifa Violence and Tactics

<p>The proactive, preemptive violence of so-called anti-fascists, aka "antifas," has gotten very light media exposure. It's fair to say that one big reason for this is the establishment press's reluctance to recognize or even report their violent and intricately planned attacks. A months-long undercover investigation by Steven Crowder and his producer found ample evidence of antifas' premeditated determination to commit violence against those who merely express views they don't like. He also showed that local and national journalists deliberately walked away from the evidence he presented and have refused to recognize his work, even when corroborated in the presence of law enforcement authorities.</p>

Steven Crowder Exposes Media’s Refusal to Report Antifa Violence and Tactics

<p>The proactive, preemptive violence of so-called anti-fascists, aka "antifas," has gotten very light media exposure. It's fair to say that one big reason for this is the establishment press's reluctance to recognize or even report their violent and intricately planned attacks. A months-long undercover investigation by Steven Crowder and his producer found ample evidence of antifas' premeditated determination to commit violence against those who merely express views they don't like. He also showed that local and national journalists deliberately walked away from the evidence he presented and have refused to recognize his work, even when corroborated in the presence of law enforcement authorities.</p>

Nick Kristof Channels Walter Duranty in Instagrams From North Korea

<p>On Wednesday, I criticized Helen Gao at the <em>New York Times</em> for praising the "emancipation of women" in China under communist tyrant Mao Ze Dong. I also noted that in 2005, <em>Times</em> columnist Nicholas Kristof had engaged in similar "Mao was not all that bad" argumentation while reviewing a book conclusively showing that the death toll under Mao was over 70 million.</p>

AP Initially Ignores Steelers Player, Former Army Ranger, Who Left Locker Room to Sing Anthem

<p>The Associated Press is virtually celebrating how, in reaction to "President Donald Trump’s criticism of players who protest during the national anthem," there was "a mass increase in such activism Sunday, with more than 100 NFL players sitting or kneeling, others raising their fists and whole teams standing with locked arms to display unity." The AP also reported that "One team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, stayed in the locker room during 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'" That's just plain false, and the wire service more than likely knew it at the time.</p>

All About Hillary: Carlson Asks Rob Reiner Why His ‘Investigate Russia’ Group Ignores Chinese Cyber Warfare

<p>An alliance of far-leftists and Never-Trumpers has formed a group called the "Committee to Investigate Russia." In a video posted on Monday, octogenarian actor Morgan Freeman contended that the United States is "at war" with Russia. On Thursday, Fox News's Tucker Carlson interviewed actor and director Rob Reiner, a member of that group's advisory board. Despite Reiner's outwardly cool demeanor, Carlson's lines of questioning seemed to catch the guy who is still perhaps best known for having played "Meathead" back in the 1970s on CBS's <em>All in the Family</em> utterly off-guard.</p>

DC Media Covered Up Sally Quinn’s Occultism, Hex-Casting For Decades

<p>The reception given to Sally Quinn's new book, <em>Finding Magic</em>, has been strangely quiet. Perhaps that's because the book shamelessly reveals that since 1973, if not earlier, Quinn, who was the nation's capital's de facto social gatekeeper for several decades, deceived the world about the true nature of her "religious" outlook, and did so with the help of the rest of the Washington press corps — that is, if one considers belief in the occult, practicing voodoo, and supposedly communicating with ghosts (sound familiar?) the foundations of a "religion."</p>

NY Times Editor Pans ‘Sloppy Conflation’ of Conservatism and ‘Alt-Right’ on Ben Shapiro

<p>On Tuesday, before Ben Shapiro's appearance at the University of California at Berkeley, Bari Weiss, a staff editor and writer in the opinion section at the <em>New York Times</em>, penned an op-ed accurately describing Shapiro's beliefs, defending his right to speak, and criticizing the "sloppy conflation" by leftist politicians and all too many in the press in trying to label all conservatives as "alt-right." Howls of leftist outrage ensued at the <em>Times</em> and on Twitter. Two days later, a longtime reporter in the Bay Area proved Weiss's point.</p> <p> </p>

At ESPN, Jemele Hill’s Racist Poison Slides, While Linda Cohn Was Suspended For Frankness

<p>Many readers here know that ESPN's Jemele Hill, co-host of <em>SC6</em>, went on a Twitter rant earlier this week calling Donald Trump and his administration a pack of white supremacists. (Many in the press simply will not allow the fact that Trump has disavowed white supremacists and their ilk 55 times get in the way of fueling this non-stop smear.) Hill appears to have suffered no visible consequences beyond the equivalent of a wrist slap for her unhinged outburst.</p>

Seattle’s Democratic Mayor Ed Murray Finally Resigns, Almost a Decade After Disgraceful Local Press Coverup

<p>The world finally got an answer today to this question: "How many serious allegations of sexual abuse of minors have to be brought forth against Democrat Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle before he'll do the right thing and resign?" Early Tuesday, Murray's fifth accuser came forward. Hours later, he resigned, effective Wednesday afternoon. Thus ends one of the most disgraceful sagas in the history of local media anywhere.</p>

AP, Media Show They Can Dish It Out But Can’t Take It in Harvey-EPA Spat

<p>As of late Sunday afternoon, the Associated Press's coverage of potential contamination resulting from Hurricane Irma in Florida, certainly a legitimate issue, was remarkably measured. That dispatch's tone starkly contrasted with how the AP, without genuine basis, went after the U.S. EPA after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and how childishly it reacted when the EPA pushed back hard against the wire service and reporter Michael Biesecker, who had not only filed a fake news story about Trump administration EPA head Scott Pruitt in late June, but who also appears to have a personal vendetta against Pruitt.</p>

AP, Media Show They Can Dish It Out But Can’t Take It in Harvey-EPA Spat

<p>As of late Sunday afternoon, the Associated Press's coverage of potential contamination resulting from Hurricane Irma in Florida, certainly a legitimate issue, was remarkably measured. That dispatch's tone starkly contrasted with how the AP, without genuine basis, went after the U.S. EPA after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and how childishly it reacted when the EPA pushed back hard against the wire service and reporter Michael Biesecker, who had not only filed a fake news story about Trump administration EPA head Scott Pruitt in late June, but who also appears to have a personal vendetta against Pruitt.</p>

Daily Beast Senior Politics Editor Sam Stein Thought DACA Participants Could Vote

<p>Perhaps no one illustrates how "Screw up, move up" works in the establishment press as it often works in government bureaucracies more than <em>The Daily Beast's</em> Sam Stein. With all of his alleged knowledge, an Ivy League undergraduate and masters education, and over a decade of experience, how is it even remotely possible that he believed (until he was humiliated into withdrawing his related tweet) that some of those who have benefited from the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) could legally vote?</p>

AP: Hurricane Katrina Was ‘A Prime Example of Urban Inequality and Environmental Injustice’

<p>The Associated Press couldn't keep race and income out of its coverage of Hurricane Harvey and Houston's recovery from it. Those angles were wholly predictable and tiresome, but the wire service's Juliet Linderman also decided she would tell readers what the establishment press has from all appearances unilaterally and falsely decided should be the conventional wisdom about the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, namely that it "stands as a prime example of urban inequality and environmental injustice." Horse manure.</p>

AP, NY Times Fail to Report Team Obama’s Hidden 2016 Antifa ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Designation

<p>Early on Friday, Politico's Josh Meyer reported that the Department of Homeland Security had formally classified the activities of the left-wing and anarchist-driven movement known as "antifa" as "domestic terrorist violence" — in April 2016. Yes, during the Obama administration, which chose to keep this assessment hidden. In other words, DHS privately acknowledged for well over a year that antifas are terrorists, while publicly obsessing ad nauseam for years about alleged "right-wing" terrorist threats and virtually pretending that Islamic-driven terrorism doesn't exist. As of late Friday evening, the Associated Press and the <em>New York Times</em> had not deemed this shocking news worthy of mention.</p>

People Claims Black KC Serial Killer Suspect Shot White Victims ‘At Random’

<p>Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the fact that the Fredrick Scott alleged multiple-murder story is not a major national news item yet is to a degree understandable. But there are already signs the the establishment press doesn't want to give this ugly saga the attention it deserves. Despite the fact that Scott is alleged to have made a threat to "kill all white people" in 2014 and that the known Kansas City trail murder victims (two on which murder charges have been filed, and three of which police believe may also be tied to Scott) were all white, the headline at People.com's coverage of the story is: "Suspect in 5 Kansas City Killings Allegedly Shot Men at Random While Walking Their Dogs." Yeah, "at random."</p>

Obama-Era's Operation Choke Point Ends; Press Virtually Ignored It for Four Years

Operation Choke Point, one of the more disgraceful episodes in U.S. law enforcement and regulatory history, officially ended last week. Naturally, since it was entirely a stultifying enterprise of the Obama administration, the establishment press, as it almost universally has since its inception in 2013, has ignored its demise.

It took a year for the program to even gain an iota of the attention it deserved. A 2014 slideshow still available at the American Banker website explains how the government deceptively announced the operation's intention a year earlier:

OperationChokePointAnnouncement2013

Well, gosh, who can be against going after "online scammers" and accounts with "red flags indicative of fraud?"

Nobody, except that despite what Bresnick said, that isn't what Operation Choke Point was about.

Next, the Obama administration's Justice Department headed by Attorney General Eric Holder "sent more than 50 subpoenas to banks and payment processing firms."

Then the pile-on began. The State of New York "instructed 117 banks, including the nation's four largest, to develop safeguards aimed at preventing unlicensed online lenders from accessing the payments system." Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation also stepped up it's reviews of banks' relationships online lenders other businesses that might pose type risks for banks."

No matter what one thinks of the online lending business, the fact is that it's legal, and if State and federal legislators wanted to do something about it, they could. But they hadn't. So DOJ and bank regulators were attempting to short-circuit the democratic process by deciding who should and shouldn't be in business. DOJ and bank regulators pushed from major fines and settlements from certain banks, and got them in some instances.

But there was far more at stake here than the online lending industry. It turns out that Operation Choke Point, as explained at CryptocoinsNews.com, which still has working links to FDIC documents and a related contemporaneous article at The Hill, was interested in putting the financial system access squeeze on a total of 30 mostly legal types of businesses:

Ammunition Sales
Cable Box De-scramblers
Coin Dealers
Credit Card Schemes

Credit Repair Services
Dating Services
Debt Consolidation Scams
Drug Paraphernalia

Escort Services
Firearms Sales
Fireworks Sales
Get Rich Products

Government Grants
Home-Based Charities
Life-Time Guarantees
Life-Time Memberships

Lottery Sales
Mailing Lists/Personal Info
Money Transfer Networks
On-line Gambling

PayDay Loans
Pharmaceutical Sales
Ponzi Schemes
Pornography

Pyramid-Type Sales
Racist Materials
Surveillance Equipment
Telemarketing

Tobacco Sales
Travel Clubs

If DOJ and bank regulators had a problem with the existence of these businesses, they could have gone to Congress and had them legislated out of existence, or asked for more money to go after the businesses listed above which are truly illegal. But the Obama administration was really never interested in passing laws when it thought it could otherwise impose its will (see: Immigration, Iran nuclear "deal," unilateral changes to rules and deadlines contained in ObamaCare, etc., etc.).

So it thought it could intimidate the banking system into forcing these "objectionable" industries out of existence. Unsurprisingly, give the administration's attitude towards the Second Amendment, based on several experiences reported at the time, firearms dealers and sellers of ammunition received a disproportionate share of disruptions and terminations of their banking relationships.

On Friday, the federal government at the Washington Examiner (official correspondence is also at the link), the government put an end to this tyrannical nonsense. Sadly, reporter Joseph Lawler's partisan interpretation of who was and wasn't in support of the operation is from all appearances accurate:

Trump ends Obama's Operation Choke Point

The Trump administration has ended Operation Choke Point, the anti-fraud initiative started under the Obama administration that many Republicans argued was used to target gun retailers and other businesses that Democrats found objectionable.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told GOP representatives in a Wednesday letter that the long-running program had ended, bringing a conclusion to a chapter in the Obama years that long provoked and angered conservatives who saw Choke Point as an extra-legal crackdown on politically disfavored groups.

"All of the department's bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again," Boyd wrote in the letter.

The letter was addressed to Jeb Hensarling and Bob Goodlatte, the chairmen of the Financial Services and Judiciary Committees, respectively. Their staffs confirmed they received the letter.

The Republicans had written last week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for confirmation that the program was over so that businesses that might be targeted could breathe easy.

Obviously, those who say it doesn't matter who is charge of the Executive Branch in Washington are quite wrong in this instance.

As I wrote three years ago:

... the press has virtually ignored the ongoing ugliness of Operation Choke Point for over a year. Recent coverage at the Hill, a Washington Post blog, and the Wall Street Journal are all nice. But this is the type of operation which I believe the vast majority of Americans would find appalling — and I daresay that's why the establishment press's key gatekeepers are ignoring it.

They ignored it then, and they're ignoring its termination now. Heaven forbid the Obama administration be factually and accurately portrayed as the unilateral law enforcers willing to abuse the law enforcement and regulatory state to accomplish its goals.

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Searches at the Associated Press's main national site, its APnews.com site, and at the New York Times on "choke point" (not in quotes) returned no current stories on the program's official termination. Just to be sure, nothing relevant came back in searches eliminating the space between "choke" and "point."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

AP Coverage of Spain Attacks Avoids Saying Why Its Terror Respite Has Ended

In what has to be seen as a bit of a welcome change from the norm, Friday morning coverage at the Associated Press of the Thursday terror attacks in Spain which, as of the time this post was written, had killed a total 14 and injured 125, many seriously, hasn't gone wobbly or weaselly.

That said, there's one connection the AP and others in the press haven't made. Someone needs to.

As noted, the wire service report authored by three reporters with the help of two others has for the moment abandoned its reluctance to use the T-word (terrorism) and even the I-word (Islamic). One could argue that it's because the terrorist conspiracy is so obvious, but that hasn't stopped the AP and others from holding back in the past (bolds are mine throughout this post):

POLICE: ATTACKS IN SPAIN ARE LINKED, TOOK LONG TIME TO PLAN

The back-to-back vehicle attacks in Barcelona and a nearby resort had been planned for a long time by an Islamic terrorist cell - and could have been far deadlier had its base not been destroyed by an apparently accidental explosion this week, Spanish officials said Friday.

Police intensified their manhunt for an unknown number of suspects still on the loose Friday. They shot and killed five people early Friday who were wearing fake bomb belts as they attacked the seaside resort of Cambrils with a speeding car. Police also arrested four others believed linked to the Cambrils attack and the carnage Thursday on a famous Barcelona promenade.

The number of victims stood at 13 dead and 120 wounded in Barcelona, and one dead and five wounded in Cambrils. Sixty-one people wounded by the van in Barcelona remained hospitalized on Friday, with 17 of them in critical condition.

Authorities said the two attacks were related and the work of a large terrorist cell that had been plotting attacks for a long time from a house in Alcanar, 200 kilometers (124 miles) down the coast from Barcelona. The house was destroyed by an explosion of butane gas on Wednesday night that killed one person.

Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said police were working on the theory that the suspects were preparing a different type of attack, using explosives or gas, and that the apparently accidental explosion prevented them from carrying out a far more deadly rampage.

The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for Europe's latest bout of extremist violence ...

Well, using the word "extremist" was pretty weak. But we'll accept it, given the rest of the opening paragraphs' contents.

So the AP's reporting was fine, up to a point. But a very important omission came later. Perhaps the reporters involved are too young to remember, but the AP's senior editors, who surely watched over the wire service's story preparation in this instance, should have known better:

... the dual attacks unnerved a country that hasn't seen an Islamic extremist attack since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated assaults on Madrid's commuter trains. Unlike France, Britain, Sweden and Germany, Spain has largely been spared, thanks in part to a crackdown that has netted some 200 suspected jihadis in recent years.

Yes, Spain has indeed been largely spared until now. But why?

Here's why: The 2004 Madrid attacks intimidated the country's voters into bending to Al-Qaida's will in elections several days later, as James Phillips at the Heritage Foundation noted on March 16 of that year, five days after those March 11 attacks.

The attacks were designed to influence that election result — and they succeeded:

Spain's Retreat After The Madrid Bombings Rewards Terrorism

... it is clear that the bombings contributed greatly to the Socialist Party's surprise victory at the polls three days later and the election of a new Prime Minister, Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Already, Zapatero has promised to withdraw Spanish troops from duty in Iraq. This is, unfortunately, a political triumph for radical Islamic terrorism and may well embolden Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to strike similarly in the future.

... The Politics of Capitulation

The bombings have had a major political impact, propelling the opposition Socialist Party to an upset victory over the conservative government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a staunch U.S. ally, in the general elections held three days later. As a result of the bombings, Aznar's government, which initially sought to lay the blame on Basque separatists who have conducted a terrorist campaign against the Spanish government for more than 20 years, was swept out of office by a voter backlash.

The newly elected Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, already has pledged to withdraw Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq. Such a withdrawal would weaken the coalition's effort to build a stable democracy in Iraq and make Iraq a safer place for Al Qaeda terrorists to operate. This decision has made the Iraqi people the biggest losers in the Spanish elections and Osama bin Laden the biggest winner.

This Spanish retreat will be perceived as a huge political triumph for Al Qaeda and like-minded Islamic radicals -- probably their most important achievement since September 11, 2001. Zapatero's act of appeasement has handed Osama bin Laden a major victory. This will only encourage further attacks, from Al Qaeda or from other terrorist groups emboldened by the successful operation in Spain, targeting other members of the coalition involved in liberating Iraq from Saddam's brutal regime. Spain's cave-in on Iraq after the bombing will particularly heighten the threat of copycat attacks on other countries ...

Thus, after the Madrid attacks, Spanish voters bought temporary peace through appeasement, and hoped against hope that they'd be left alone.

Meanwhile, terrorist attacks and Islamist uprisings occurred elsewhere in Europe. For example, Spain managed to dodge the particularly ugly riots of late 2005 which occurred in France and other European countries. Rioters, predominantly Muslim immigrants, torched hundreds if not thousands of vehicles and caused widespread property damage.

Other European terror attacks followed during the next 13 years. The litany is too long to fully recite here, but among the major ones there was London 2005, Charlie Hebdo in France in early 2015, the Bataclan attacks in Paris later that year, the Brussels bombings in March 2016.

But, as the AP reporters noted, the reprieve didn't last forever. The terrorists are back with a vengeance, and they're clearly quite organized. Effective police work in "recent years" has prevented catastrophe — until now.

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So for all the welcome accuracy of the on the ground reporting AP provided, it missed the opportunity to demonstrate that appeasing terrorists doesn't buy indefinite peace. Spanish voters in 2004 and the government they elected were absolutely wrong to think that it would.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

NY Times Editorial Page Editor Testifying in Palin Libel Case Was The Atlantic's Managing Editor During Giffords Saga

On Thursday, a federal court judge in New York made what Eriq Gardner at the Hollywood Reporter called an "unusual move" in Sarah Palin's libel lawsuit against the New York Times.

It is indeed extraordinarily unusual, and would appear not to bode well for the Times — which likely explains why the paper's colleagues in the establishment press are, for the most part, either not reporting it at all or inadequately reporting it. Read more

AP Ignores Almost All Details of UAW-Fiat Chrysler Training Center Scandal

On Tuesday morning, the Associated Press left no doubt that it does not want to see detailed news of the outrageous United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler training scandal spread beyond Metro Detroit.

In an unbylined item which digested far longer reports seen at Detroit's major newspapers down to five paragraphs, the wire service kept the union out of its headline, failed to mention the union until the fourth paragraph, and omitted almost all of the details which caused a Chrysler financial analyst to plead guilty to his role in the conspiracy.

Let's start with that headline:

APheadlineOnUAWchryslerTrainingScandal080817

Anyone previously unfamiliar with the scandal who sees this headline in a list of stories and fails to click through, or sees it in print and decides not to read further, will believe that the scheme involves only the corporate finances of Fiat Chrysler.

Now here's the AP's five-paragraph item, found in identical form at its main national site and its APnews.com site:

APstoryOnUAWchryslerTrainingScandal080817

The first paragraph makes it appear as if the Fiat Chrysler "analyst" (more properly described, as will be seen later, as the training center's controller) illegally funneled company funds. That's incorrect. The funds involved belonged to the UAW-Fiat Chrysler Training Partnership. In these circumstances, UAW officials ordinarily approve vendor and other invoices, and the company, after cursory review, physically prints and mails checks payable from allocated funds. The union has similar arrangements with General Motors and Ford.

Even when the AP got around to mentioning the UAW in its story's fourth paragraph, it failed to identify the training fund's administration as the primary responsibility of the union. It also did not identify the amount of "funneled" money involved. Finally, it failed to describe how the money, which was supposed to be targeted towards worker training as part of a negotiated labor agreement, was misappropriated.

Excerpts from the Detroit News coverage of Durden's plea show how many sadly relevant details the AP chose to omit (bolds are mine):

Former FCA analyst pleads guilty in UAW probe

A former financial analyst with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV who is charged with helping to improperly channel more than $4.5 million in blue-collar training funds to union officials pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

Jerome Durden, 61, of Rochester Hills, faced charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and failure to file a tax return — all linked to an investigation into improper financial activities at the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. Durden was the center’s controller and pleaded guilty to both charges. He allegedly used some of the training funds for $4,300 in new carpeting at his home.

... Durden now faces up to 37 months in prison ...

... Durden is expected to cooperate with prosecutors ...

... He is one of three charged in the case which came to light in an unsealed indictment released in late July. Former top Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator, 57-year-old Alphons Iacobelli, also faces charges as does Monica Morgan-Holiefield, 54, of Harrison Township. She is the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield.

Durden is alleged to have helped transfer millions of dollars in training center funds to Holiefield, Morgan-Holiefield and Iacobelli who used the funds on personal luxuries.

... As part of the scheme from 2009 to 2015, Durden “agreed and conspired” with Iacobelli, Holiefield, Morgan-Holiefield, a senior UAW official called UAW-2, the training center and the Leave the Light on Foundation, other individuals and entities to defraud the U.S., according to court filings.

... Durden admitted to “preparing and filing numerous false tax returns” on behalf of the nonprofit training center and the Leave the Light on Foundation and acknowledged the false tax returns caused more than $1 million in tax losses to the U.S., prosecutors say.

... Iacobelli is accused of pocketing union worker training funds to buy a $350,000 Ferrari, two solid-gold Mont Blanc pens and to install a pool and outdoor kitchen at his upscale Rochester Hills home.

Morgan-Holiefield, the widow of Holiefield who died in 2015, is alleged to have received some $30,000 in airline tickets and had the $262,000 mortgage on her and Holiefield’s home paid off using the training center funds.

So the AP decided that it didn't need to tell readers that:

  • The "scheme," which it should have called a "conspiracy," occurred over a six-year period, the beginning of which happens to be the year the former Chrysler Corporation filed for bankruptcy and, with the help of the U.S. government, announced that it would become part of Italy-based Fiat. The bankruptcy reorganization also illegally shortchanged many creditors who should have had senior standing in the bankruptcy reorganization in favor of funding union benefits under a contract which was no longer legally enforceable. One of those salvaged benefits was the continued operation of the joint training center.
  • The misappropriated funds amounted to over $4.5 million.
  • Thanks to fraudulent and unfiled tax returns, U.S. taxpayers are out over $1 million.
  • The misappropriated funds were largely spent on "personal luxuries." Even choosing to omit some of the specifics in this area would have been forgivable, but note that the AP's brief item made no mention of how the money was spent.

This formerly alleged but now acknowledged conspiracy, though jointly hatched by criminal minds at both Fiat Chrysler and the UAW, was perpetrated with union money and the cooperation of union executives in whom UAW members at the company had placed their trust.

As I noted in a Saturday NewsBusters post, in a union organizing election last week at a Nissan plant in Mississippi, Nissan cited the UAW-Fiat Chrysler scandal as a reason why its workers should reject UAW representation. They did, by a 62 percent to 38 percent margin.

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The AP's bare-bones treatment of this metro Detroit-based corruption virtually guarantees that most people outside the Motor City and its suburbs won't hear a word about the latest news relating to this scandal. But why should we expect an organization whose reporters are represented by the News Media Guild to properly cover and distribute a story which makes organized labor look bad?

What was feared when the Supreme Court allowed AP workers (and eventually, other journalists) to organize in a 5-4 decision in 1937 — namely that the wire service and other entities would lose their ability to "preserve its news service free from color, bias, or distortion," especially in covering organized labor-related matters — has quite obviously come to pass.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Not National News: Philly's Once Heralded 'Soda Tax' Has Been a Spectacular Failure

The national press could barely hide its glee in June 2016 when Philadelphia passed a "soda tax" of 1.5 cents per ounce levied against non-alcoholic beverages containing "any form of artificial sugar substitute, including stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame."

Now that the predictions of opponents have virtually all come to pass, accompanied by unintended consequences even they didn't anticipate, the national press is barely interested.

Coverage at the New York Times when the soda tax passed 14 months ago carried a video where the head of Healthy Food America, whose self-admitted primary reason for being is to advocate for the passage of "taxes on sugary drinks" throughout the land, described the tax as "a historic moment for public health." Times reporter Margot Sanger-Katz virtually celebrated Mayor Jim Kenney's underhanded passage strategy, admiring how "he cast the soft drink industry as a tantalizing revenue source that could be tapped to fund popular city programs, including universal prekindergarten."

The tax, which in certain instances has topped 100 percent, went into effect on January 1. Here are the lowlights identified in a Tax Foundation report issued on August 3 concerning what has since transpired (bolds are mine throughout this post):

  1. Philadelphia’s beverage excise tax is ... 24 times the Pennsylvania excise tax rate on beer.
  2. The high tax rate on nonalcoholic beverages makes them more expensive than beer in some cases. Prior research on soda taxes suggests they are likely to drive consumers to more alcoholic beverage consumption.
  3. Philadelphia’s beverage tax applies to diet beverages, despite those beverages having no impact on caloric intake.
  4. Beverage tax collections were originally promoted as a vehicle to raise funds for prekindergarten education, but in practice Philadelphia awards just 49 percent of the soda tax revenues to local pre-K programs.
  5. Soda tax revenues are likely below expectations due to consumer mobility. Some soda consumers may drive out of town to buy groceries, rather than pay the higher taxes.
  6. Poor revenue performance of Philadelphia’s beverage tax threatens the sustainability of the programs it funds.

Concerning Point 4, "A June news release by the Office of the Controller noted that none of the monthly collections have met the $7.7 million per month target needed to meet the original 2017 estimate." The city projected that it would collect $46 million during the first six months of 2017. Instead it collected only $39.4 million.

Also concerning Point 4, the city deliberately lowballed its predicted collections for the month of January so it could brag about meeting expectations. Sadly, as was noted in a separate Philly.com op-ed, this profoundly dishonest strategy was politically astute:

While the tax is fresh on their constituents’ minds, officials can point to the success of the first month’s artificially low projections, as they did. City officials and politicians get to claim credit for the tax’s superficial success early on but do not have to defend it later when the cracks start to appear because the public largely has moved on to the next news cycle.

Additionally, the Tax Foundation reports, with linked support, that:

"Soda sales in Philadelphia have also declined since the tax went into effect at the beginning of 2017, threatening the long-run sustainability of the tax. According to some local distributors and retailers, sales have declined by nearly 50 percent. ... the decline in consumption is worse than predicted."

"... stories have emerged of harm to local manufacturing and convenience store workers and reductions in consumer choices."

"For example, local branches of Coca-Cola report a workforce downsizing of 40 positions and PepsiCo reports laying off 80-100 workers as a result of decreased soda sales from the tax. PepsiCo further announced that it would be pulling all 12-pack and 2-liter products of its brands from Philadelphia grocery and convenience stores and other vendors."

In one particularly poignant example just last week:

CC Orlando & Sons, which baked countless wedding and holy communion cakes and pastries since its founding ... in 1948, closed."

... business was off 60 percent since the soda tax went into effect Jan. 1 ... (as) customers simply crossed the nearby city line to avoid the higher prices for juices, milk and other sweetened drinks typically purchased with doughnuts and pastries.

... Sunday’s crowd at the store ... was in tears over the closing and the layoff of the five workers, who were like family.

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The Associated Press has no story on Philly soda tax developments at its main national site. At its APnews.com site, which is a mixture of AP-written stories and those produced by others, there are four listings which all link to the same story found at Philly.com about how Cook County in Illinois has just imposed a similar tax. The New York Times has nothing current. Results from a Google News search show very little interest in covering recent developments at the major national establishment press outlets.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

David Brooks Calls For Google's CEO to Resign Over Damore Firing

On Friday, in an op-ed which made the paper's print edition, David Brooks, the alleged conservative commentator at the New York Times, surprised more than a few people by calling for Google CEO Sundar Pichai to resign over his awful handling of now ex-employee James Damore's "Echo Chamber" document.

Brooks identified the five key players in the drama, and directed sharp criticism at three of them: Google's diversity officer, the press, and ultimately Pichai.

First, Damore (links are in originals and bolds are mine throughout this post):

Damore was tapping into the long and contentious debate about genes and behavior. On one side are those who believe that humans come out as blank slates and are formed by social structures. On the other are the evolutionary psychologists who argue that genes interact with environment and play a large role in shaping who we are. In general the evolutionary psychologists have been winning this debate.

You can almost hear the gasps of surprise throughout Times headquarters at Brooks's reliance on inconvenient science.

Next up, women in tech:

We should all have a lot of sympathy for the second group of actors in this drama, the women in tech who felt the memo made their lives harder. Picture yourself in a hostile male-dominated environment, getting interrupted at meetings, being ignored, having your abilities doubted, and along comes some guy arguing that women are on average less status hungry and more vulnerable to stress. Of course you’d object.

What we have is a legitimate tension. Damore is describing a truth on one level; his sensible critics are describing a different truth, one that exists on another level. He is championing scientific research; they are championing gender equality. It takes a little subtlety to harmonize these strands, but it’s doable.

Brooks's baseline assumption that tech in general is a hostile male-dominated environment across the board is shaky. But it exists in more places than it should, and as Brooks noted, people of good will should be able to work through and resolve these issues.

Brooks then moved on to people who have demonstrated an annoying tendency not to be of good will throughout Corporate America, namely diversity officers like the one at Google (one handy rule for job seekers is that if the prospective employer actually has someone in such a position, there must be better companies at which to hang one's hat):

The third player in the drama is Google’s diversity officer, Danielle Brown. She didn’t wrestle with any of the evidence behind Damore’s memo. She just wrote his views “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.” This is ideology obliterating reason.

At this point, the folks at the Times may have started wondering who took over Brooks's body when he wrote his column. But he's absolutely right. Brown's response was knee-jerk, entirely off-base, and, sadly, all too typical for someone whose job and status depend on fomenting employee discord while posing as a peacemaker.

Next, Brooks fired a broadside at the media, and tested the guardrails by broadening the topic to include college campus intolerance (link is in original):

... The fourth actor is the media. The coverage of the memo has been atrocious.

As Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic, “I cannot remember the last time so many outlets and observers mischaracterized so many aspects of a text everyone possessed.” Various reporters and critics apparently decided that Damore opposes all things Enlightened People believe and therefore they don’t have to afford him the basic standards of intellectual fairness.

The mob that hounded Damore was like the mobs we’ve seen on a lot of college campuses. We all have our theories about why these moral crazes are suddenly so common. I’d say that radical uncertainty about morality, meaning and life in general is producing intense anxiety.

The rest of the establishment press must now be wondering what got into Brooks. It's bad enough that he exposed how they deliberately botched the Damore-Google drama. But then he went a step further to decry how intolerant so many of the nation's college campuses have become in just the past several years. The press has given that trend undeserved breathing room by generally failing to expose the true depth of what has become routine intimidation of those with dissenting views in academia. You're not supposed to talk about that David, especially in moralistic terms which look (oh my goodness) almost religious in tone.

Finally, Brooks got to Pichai's role:

Which brings us to Pichai, the supposed grown-up in the room. He could have wrestled with the tension between population-level research and individual experience. He could have stood up for the free flow of information. Instead he joined the mob. He fired Damore and wrote, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K.”

That is a blatantly dishonest characterization of the memo. Damore wrote nothing like that about his Google colleagues. Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a C.E.O.) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob.

Regardless which weakness applies, this episode suggests he should seek a nonleadership position. We are at a moment when mobs on the left and the right ignore evidence and destroy scapegoats. That’s when we need good leaders most.

Well, it was unrealistic to expect Brooks to turn in a perfect performance.

Of course, he had to throw in a bogus "but the right is just as bad" bone to his leftist readers, even though one struggles to identify a single instance where a leftist speaker has been shouted down by conservative dissenters.

But that flaw doesn't change the fact that for once, David Brooks made quite a few good points, especially about Pichai's apparent inability to be a leader when it really counted.

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Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

WashPost: Anarchists Are About 'More Than Just Smashing Windows'

The Washington Post published a 2,000-word story Thursday which attempted to portray DC-area anarchists who attempted to disrupt and ruin President Donald Trump's inauguration in January as being interested in "more than just smashing windows."

The best answer to what "more" is in Perry Stein's report is that it's about destroying as much property belonging to others as possible once it's clear that attempts to stop or seriously disrupt planned events have failed — oh, and getting away with it.

Stein's opening paragraph gave readers the idea that her treatment would be far too sympathetic, complete with a clickbait headline which promised what her story failed to deliver:

What draws Americans to anarchy? It’s more than just smashing windows.

By day, they are graphic designers, legal assistants, nonprofit workers and students. But outside their 9-to-5 jobs, they call themselves anarchists — bucking the system, shunning the government and sometimes even rioting and smashing windows to make a point.

And what's their point? This is the "best" answer Stein could formulate, in response to court documents describing their Inauguration Day actions as "malicious and "violent":

... the anarchists see (their actions) as a necessary way to draw attention to poverty, racism, educational inequality and other problems.

“Allowing inauguration to proceed as a peaceful unfolding does not reflect that this is not a peaceful country. There is no peace,” said (37 year-old Legha) Carrefour, who would not say which inauguration protests he participated in and whether he knew if the violence would occur. “We wanted to make it a clusterf---, and we made it a clusterf---.”

So it seems that if it weren't for these heroic anarchists, no one would have any idea that "poverty, racism, educational inequality and other problems" exist. Apparently these anarchists deserve our gratitude for "drawing attention" to problems no one else ever discusses.

This is journalism?

But these supposedly brave anarchists aren't willing to suffer consequences for their disruptive and violent actions:

For the Inauguration Day protest planning, representatives from affinity groups across the country formed a council. People also connected through websites and message boards, including CrimethInc.— a site that describes itself as a “decentralized network pledged to anonymous collective action.”

Some talked about trying to block bridges into the city, but many of the anarchists said they wanted to be closer to the inauguration action downtown. The group decided to use “black bloc” tactics, wearing dark clothes and masks so that authorities would have a harder time identifying — and convicting — participants.

“You can breathe easy at a black bloc. You know if one person gets demasked, they will have your back,” said one anarchist who participated in the inauguration black bloc but asked to remain anonymous because of possible legal implications.

Stein failed to mention that six police officers were injured during Inauguration Day protests. Those injuries were considered "minor and non-life threatening but three of those officers were injured in the head." In other words, those three officers were extraordinarily lucky to have avoided far more serious injuries.

The Post reporter did note that the property destruction went beyond "smashing windows":

Muhammad Ashraf, whose 2015 Lincoln super-stretch limousine was burned by rioters while parked downtown, wondered whether the protesters understood the effect the rioting had on him.

Ashraf, 52, owner of Virginia-based Nationwide Chauffeured Services, watched on television as his limo was engulfed in flames. The vehicle was a total loss. After insurance payments, it cost him $60,000 out of pocket to replace, he said.

“When that car becomes a source of your livelihood, it becomes a part of your life. I don’t know if the protesters understand that when they destroy something — the way I felt when I saw my car burning, it really hurt me deeply even though it’s just a car,” he said. “Six months later, I still want to know, did that accomplish anything?”

Having told the story, Stein appears not to have asked the anarchists the question Ashraf wants answered. Instead, we were told by Carrefour, the insolent punk disguised as a 37 year-old, that "it’s important to attack the symbols of capitalism. It’s just property at the end of the day.”

As Ashraf explained, his limo wasn't "just property," and certainly wasn't just a "symbol." It was the source of his livelihood. I doubt that Carrefour would feel the same way if someone smashed his smartphone into teeny tiny pieces.

John Sexton at Hot Air had this reaction to Stein's report:

... the article never does offer much of a justification for the violence which is the main distinctive of anarchist protests. As a reader, you’re left with the impression that participants feel there’s a certain outlaw romance to the whole thing, i.e. dressing in black, wearing a mask, breaking windows and breaking the law, running from police, etc. That kind of excitement tinged with the risk of being arrested must create a real adrenaline rush and some group solidarity among those who do it. You can imagine them sitting around later talking about all the chaos and replaying their role in it for friends.

Does any of that justify destroying Muhammad Ashraf’s limo or doing $100,000 worth of damage to buildings in the form of broken glass? I don’t think so but clearly, the anarchists must. So why not ask them to explain it. It’s the only question really worth asking these people: What appeals to you about breaking things? But the Post sidesteps the question by suggesting there are other reasons for being an anarchist and then doesn’t deliver much in the way of other reasons.

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Sexton also posted the following video reminding readers of the destruction these darlings inflicted on DC in January:

In the past, anarchists have mostly been able to count on a lenient court system to avoid suffering serious consequences for their actions. How they're being treated in the wake of what happened on Inauguration Day appears to have, at long last, shaken that confidence.

For example, in early July, anarchist Dane Powell was sentenced to 36 months in prison. While the judge involved "suspended all but four months of the sentence on the condition that he successfully complete two years of supervised probation," Powell's sentence, though still too lenient, is four months longer than what has been business as usual in many courts for over a decade. It's not a moment too soon in coming.

Come to think of it, maybe the whole point of Stein's report was to irresponsibly soften anarchists' image in advance of upcoming court proceedings involving others among the 234 who were arrested in January.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

NPR Pushes Unproven Claim That Female Google Employees Stayed Home

Monday evening, National Public Radio published a tweet about the Google-free speech controversy that raised eyebrows and brought on torrents of ridicule, namely that "some women at the company skipped work today, upset by the leaked memo" written by now-fired software engineer James Damore.

It turns out that the basis for the claim is so extraordinarily thin that it shouldn't have been reported.

Here is NPR's Monday evening tweet (HT Twitchy):

NPRonGoogleWomenNotWorking080717

On Twitter, the ridicule directed at female employees who allegedly stayed home in the tweet's 1,400 comments was fierce, especially in noting how the reported reactions essentially confirmed one of the premises in Damore's "Echo Chamber" document, namely that "Women, on average, have more Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance)" (link is in Damore's original).

But did what NPR reported really happen?

The network's underlying article containing the claim by Bill Chappell and Laura Sydell reported this "news" in its third paragraph.

It turns out that the sole source for the claim is a former Google employee:

Another software engineer who used to work for Google, Kelly Ellis, says some women who still work at the company stayed home Monday because the memo made them "uncomfortable going back to work."

Five paragraphs later, readers learn that Ellis hasn't been with the company for roughly three years, and that she has an axe to grind:

... Ellis said she left Google in 2014 after she was sexually harassed. When she read the leaked document, it didn't surprise her "because I saw similar language when I was at Google being shared on internal message boards and other different internal forums."

Ellis said although he isn't a manager, the "manifesto" author's opinions directly impact his female peers. "The main input to Google's performance review process, which is how they slot engineers, which determines pay — the main input to that is peer review," says Ellis. "It's your peers writing feedback on your work."

... In April, a Department of Labor official accused Google of practicing "systemic" discrimination against female employees.

There is no evidence that NPR spoke or communicated with any female Google employee who stayed home, or with any Google supervisor or manager who could have confirmed that any female employees stayed home.

A bit of research indicates that Ellis has been quite vocal about the reasons for her 2014 departure, and claims to somehow have deep knowledge of what's going on at the company, even three years after she left:

  • In March 2015, she issued a series of tweets, several of them naming names, about her treatment while she worked for Google, including specific instances of alleged sexual harassment. However, according to Business Insider, Ellis also tweeted that "I have no proof of any of this."
  • In February of this year, in connection with Uber's firing of former Google executive Amit Singhal, who had resigned in 2016 because of "credible" allegations of sexual harassment during his time at the search giant, Ellis "shared some of her own experiences with at the company in light of the news surrounding Singhal’s departure." Among other things, she claimed that male executives at the two companies "just get shuffled around, with zero regard for the women in our industry," and that "At the highest levels of leadership at most SV/SF (Silicon Valley/San Francisco) tech companies, execs are hiring their buddies outside of the usual hiring process."
  • On Saturday, she weighed in on Damore's document, claiming that "There are many people at Google who share this guy's views." Three years later, does she really know this?

Ellis may very well be telling the truth, but NPR's failure to interview, even anonymously, any actual women employees who skipped work on Monday means that the network should have considered her contention a rumor.

There appears to be another motivation to report this rumor.

In early January, the U.S. Department of Labor, in what it described "as part of routine audit of a federal contractor," sued to force the company "to provide requested compensation data and documents for the multinational company’s Mountain View headquarters." In April, DOL, as seen in the NPR excerpt above, further claimed that it had somehow determined that the company had "systemic compensation disparities." In late May, in a "you can't make this up" response, the company refused, claiming in a court filing that that the highest of high-tech companies would somehow need 500 hours and $100,000 to fulfill the agency’s request. (Even if true, which seems highly doubtful, the cost involved is minuscule compared to the $19.5 billion in 2016 profit reported by the company's Alphabet Inc. subsidiary.)

The point is that reporting what many have described as the "snowflake" reaction to Damore's document appears to anecdotally support the notion that Google has a workplace environment which is hostile to women. The NPR reporters surely know this.

But regardless of how it does or doesn't advance particular agendas, is NPR's sole reliance on someone who left the company in 2014 justified?

Longtime blogger Ann Althouse, who leans left, says "No."

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Althouse explained herself on Wednesday, while noting the intense irony of how Ellis's NPR-carried claim supports the un-PC contentions Damore made in his "Echo Chamber" document:

Did Google women stay home from work because they were upset over the Damore memo?

... I wonder how Kelly Ellis knows what women in her former workplace did and why they did it.

... Why did NPR speak with Kelly Ellis and why did NPR not talk to any of the women whose actions and emotions it is portraying? If I had to guess, I'd say it's because Ellis said something that NPR believed fit very nicely into the story it wanted to tell, and it either didn't bother to check more deeply or it tried and couldn't find these women but still thought the idea was too good not to use. Again, NPR is in a cocoon if it didn't see how this fact/"fact" would be used by those who want to say there's no real problem of gender discrimination in the tech industry.

... I'm going to answer my question in the post title: No. It's a myth, an urban legend.

... You need to be skeptical about things that fit your template. Those who are accepting this report at face value and using it to support the idea that women really are emotional and ill-suited to a high-pressure workplace are engaging in the same kind of cocoonish behavior that we're seeing from NPR.

My take is that Kelly Ellis may be telling the truth, but her claim is unproven. As such, regardless of who it helps or hurts, NPR should not have reported it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

CNN's Baldwin Twice Falsely Claims Google Engineer Wants Women Away From Computers

The establishment press's failure to properly describe James Damore's 10-page "Echo Chamber" critique at Google was entirely predictable and pervasive.

Brooke Baldwin took it to a new level Tuesday on CNN Newsroom, as she falsely claimed — twice — that the now-fired software engineer doesn't like women being around computers.

At TheFederalist.com yesterday, Bre Payton identified ten examples of "All The Media Outlets Blatantly Lying About The Google Memo."

CNN was on Payton's list for the item written up yesterday at NewsBusters, which involved CNN Money writer Jackie Wattles. Wattles wrote that Damore believes that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons," and refused to back down from that lie even when she couldn't find any specific evidence to back up her contention. At that point, she held on by falsely claiming that Damore's belief was "implicit."

Baldwin kept the smear going on CNN Newsroom  in the following clip. By making a comparison to the reportedly ugly situation at Uber, Liz Plank at Vox.com essentially claimed that a workplace environment hostile to women might have emboldened Damore to speak his mind, while Mary Katharine Ham took deep umbrage after Baldwin's second false statement characterizing Damore's thoughts about women and computers:

Transcript:

BROOKE BALDWIN: So do you agree — like Mary Katharine, I think, was essentially saying, y'know, America is great for all these various opinions, diversification of thought. You know, that was maybe wrong for Google (to fire him), despite the fact that maybe we don’t all agree with what this guy said, he's allowed to say it. Do you think he was allowed to say that — where he’s essentially saying, "Well I don't really like women anywhere near a computer" — and should he have been fired for it. Liz?

LIZ PLANK: I find it interesting that he felt comfortable sharing this with people at the company, in the way that I felt that it was interesting, y'know, when stuff came out of the culture at Uber that was, enabled systemic sexual harassment, and the sort of things that I think a lot of men felt like they could say and do were not appropriate. I do wonder what kind of culture exists at Google that made a white man, who is in a senior position, an engineer at one of the most, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, feel threatened by a few diversity programs — and then want to share that with and write 10 pages about it, and then fear, have it leaked in the way that it had, and think that there would be no consequences.

BALDWIN: But isn’t a piece of this, isn’t a piece of this, Mary Katharine, this is directed to you, where this software engineer, you know, he had hiring power. I mean he could impact the empowerment of women. And again, I go back to paraphrasing, this is a guy who's basically saying, "I don’t like women around computers" —

MARY KATHARINE HAM: See I totally, I actually, Brooke, I often disagree with you in like a very jovial way, and I just totally disagree with the characterization that that's what he's saying.

BALDWIN: Yeah.

HAM: He wasn't saying that, and that’s why I disagree with the reaction to this. If it were what you were saying, I would be more on board with Liz’s point of view. But look, I think, we’re saying, look, this is a valuable conversation to have, and I agree. One of the things this person was bringing to the table was that perhaps part of diversity is ideological diversity as well. And ironically, and no one seems to recognize the blinding irony of this, he was saying one of the problems with Google is that we are perhaps in this ideologically insular bubble that is so insular that people like me feel silenced and don’t want to bring our opinions to the forefront. And then wait a second — in response to that, his dissenting opinion, it was leaked to punish him, and then he was fired for it having been leaked.

Liz Plank's take that Damore feels "threatened" is valid, but it has nothing to do with her condescending reference to "a few diversity programs," and everything to do, as noted in his introductory "Reply to public response and misrepresentation," with how Google's "culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber."

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Further, Damore contends, as would any classical economist, that "discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business." Expanding on that thought, and essentially speaking for Google shareholders whose obvious goal is to maximize their returns on investment:

Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principled reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google—with Google's diversity being a component of that. For example, currently those willing to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google's funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The company appears to have placed "diversity" above "maximizing profits" or "maximizing shareholder value." If that is indeed the case, it's a fundamental betrayal of shareholders.

As to Brooke Baldwin, like Jackie Wattles in the NewsBusters post seen yesterday, she apparently won't concede how wrong she was to smear Damore as she did, and twice. And why not? Apparently, there are no consequences for serial lying at CNN — which is why it so richly deserves to be called "fake news."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

CNN Reporter Lies About and Smears Now-Fired Google Engineer's 'Echo Chamber' Critique

Given the fundamental dishonesty of almost any discussion of workplace "diversity" and "inclusion" in the leftist media, it was inevitable that someone would grossly mischaracterize the critique written by now ex-Google employee James Damore as an ode to male chauvinism.

CNN has done just that, hysterically and falsely claiming that Damore argued that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons." He did no such thing — and on Twitter, CNNMoney.com writer Jackie Wattles essentially admitted it.

As if to prove that this was Damore's argument, Wattles put one word — "biological" — in quotes. Here are the headline and larger-font opening sentence from her dispatch (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Storm at Google over engineer's anti-diversity manifesto

Google executives have responded to a 3,300-word manifesto written by one of its male engineers that argues women aren't suited for tech jobs for "biological" reasons.

Here's the related tweet promoting the story (HT Twitchy):

CNNfalseTweetOnFiredGoogleEng080717

This is a deliberate, irresponsible, and cowardly smear.

Here is every example of Damore's use of any form of the word "biology" in his "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" document:

GoogleManifesto1from0817

GoogleManifesto2from0817

GoogleManifesto3from0817

There is nothing in the manifesto which supports CNN's claim that Damore believes that "(all) women aren't suited for tech jobs."

Damore's claim is about how "the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women ... may explain" why women and men aren't represented equally "in tech and leadership," and that "biological causes" play a role. Damore specifically refuted CNN's after-the-fact characterization when he wrote that "Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions." Heaven forbid that we start treating people as individuals instead of as member of supposedly aggrieved groups.

Damore could hardly have stated matters more plainly (or correctly, as will be seen later in this post).

When confronted on Twitter to back up her contention that Damore wrote that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons," Wattles had no credible response.

When called out for her lack of evidence, Wattles couldn't find any. Instead of admitting to that failure and apologizing, she took the despicable, cowardly route and claimed to be able to read Damore's supposedly evil mind:

CNNwriterFalselyDefendsGoogEngCrit080617

So it's "not a direct quote" after all. Her reported contention, as if it's an undisputable fact, that Damore believes that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons," is really only "implicit."

Then why did the CNN reporter put "biological" in quotes in her opening sentence?

The default answer would appear to be: To deliberately and irresponsibly smear Damore.

One Twitter user summed things up perfectly: "You're writing front and center front page blurbs based on what you *think* this person is saying? Let me tell you directly: You are wrong."

Wattles is indeed wrong. In separate opinions, four authorities in the related sciences predominantly weighed in on Damore's side at Quillette.com (HT Instapundit; internal links are to their respective faculty pages or bios):

Lee Jussim, professor of social psychology at Rutgers University —

"I cannot speak to the atmosphere at Google, but ... Give(n) that the author gets everything else right, I am pretty confident he is right about that too."

David P. Schmitt, founder and director of the International Sexuality Description Project (ISDP) —

"... should Google use various practices (affirmative action is not just one thing) to especially encourage capable women of joining (and enjoying) the Google workplace? I vote yes. At the same time, should we be able to openly discuss and be informed by some of the real psychological sex differences that might account for variation in men’s and women’s workplace performance? In the right context, I vote yes to that, too." Damore was attempting to "openly discuss ... real psychological sex differences," in a civil tone, and got fired for it.

Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychology professor at University of New Mexico —

"For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history."

Deborah W. Soh, a Toronto based science writer who has a PhD in sexual neuroscience from the University of York —

"As a woman who’s worked in academia and within STEM, I didn’t find the memo offensive or sexist in the least. I found it to be a well thought out document, asking for greater tolerance for differences in opinion, and treating people as individuals instead of based on group membership. Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at."

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Unfortunately, laughing at Jackie Wattles and CNN doesn't suffice in the circumstances. Her article, and the outrageous "How dare he?" CNN video seen at her story's link, demand apologies accompanied by retractions, neither of which we'll likely see in this century.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

CBS Inadvertently Admits Gun Restrictions on the Law-Abiding Haven't Worked in Chicago

On Friday's This Morning show, CBS News reporter Adriana Diaz reported on her seven days on the streets of Chicago's South Side, one of the most dangerous and crime-ridden areas in the U.S.

While her report gamely tried to focus on how guns were to blame for the violence, astute observers who know how difficult it is for law-abiding citizens to get guns in the Windy City will notice that, despite those state- and city-imposed barriers, it's still very "easy" for criminals to get guns. Read more

Fake Analysis: WashPost's Milbank Claims 'There's No Such Thing As a Trump Democrat'

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank's vicious, mean-spirited attacks on Donald Trump, Republicans, and conservatives have become so predictable and trite that they're barely worthy of attention, no matter how shrill his rhetoric.

The unhinged Milbank is of course entitled to his opinions, but in his latest column on Friday, he tried to promote an obvious falsehood as an indisputable fact, claiming in his column's headline that "There’s no such thing as a Trump Democrat."

As will be seen, there is no genuine basis for Milbank's claim.

Here is his column's opening:

There’s no such thing as a Trump Democrat

Do you believe in mermaids, unicorns and fairies?

If so, you may have taken interest in a new mythical creature that appeared during the 2016 election: the Trump Democrat.

It has become an article of faith that an unusually large number of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 switched sides and voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. It follows that Democrats, to win in the future, need to get these lost partisans to come home.

But new data, and an analysis by AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer that he shared with me, puts all this into question. The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with. The aberration wasn’t their votes for Trump but their votes for Obama.

Stop right there. Podhorzer shared his data and analysis with Milbank, but Milbank wouldn't share it with his readers, or even link to it. Milbank only provided a link to Podhorzer's bio at the AFL-CIO web site. There is no data or analysis available there, nor is there any hint of it at the group's press release page.

Let's look at the incredibly flimsy foundation on which Milbank's claim is built. Its based on the core findings seen in the second paragraph below:

A poll released in June by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a nonpartisan collaboration of analysts and scholars ... re-interviewed the same respondents queried in 2012; they were asked who they voted for in real time.

(George Washington University political scientist John) Sides found that 86 percent of Obama 2012 voters voted for Clinton while nearly 89 percent of Romney voters supported Trump. Nine percent of Obama voters voted for Trump while 5 percent voted for a third-party candidate or a write-in, while 5 percent of Romney voters supported Clinton and 6 percent voted for a third-party candidate or write-in.

Sides tried to pretend that Clinton's loss of one-seventh of Obama 2012 supporters compared to Trump only losing one of nine Romney 2012 supporters was no big deal — and further, that Trump picking up almost two-thirds of Obama defectors (9 points out of 14) compared to Clinton picking up less than half of Romney defectors (5 points out of 11) was also unimportant and, as described earlier in the study, "typical."

That's ridiculous. Those findings, with a slight offset for new 2016 voters who likely favored Clinton, almost completely explain the change between Obama's 3.9 percent and Clinton's 2.1 percent popular vote margins. In terms of state-by-state Electoral College results, these net switches explain why Trump could fight for and win Florida and the three "blue wall" states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) which gave him his electoral vote victory margin.

Then this supposedly nonpartisan organization proceeded to completely, and I would argue deliberately, mischaracterize the views of whites who switched from Obama to Trump:

White Party Switchers’ Votes Correlated with Views on Immigration, Muslims, and Black People

Sorry, Mr. Sides, your bias is showing. The three correlations are correctly explained as follows:

  • It wasn't "immigration." White party switchers' views on illegal immigration are what mattered, especially in light of the Obama administration's clear, in-your-face attempt to flood the nation with unvetted "refugees" and unaccompanied minor children.
  • It wasn't "Muslims" per se. White party switchers' views on the Obama administration's coddling of violent, radical Islamists and the clear growth of radical Islam's worldwide threat are what mattered.
  • Finally, it wasn't "Black People." It was Black Lives Matter, specifically that group's wholesale embrace of violence, its hatred of law enforcement, and racial exclusion.

So what do you do when the data doesn't tell you what you want to hear? If you're Milbank, as seen in an earlier except, you claim that "Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with."

Again, that's rubbish. All one has to do is look at results in three of Northeastern Ohio's formerly bluest presidential-vote counties see how absurd that claim is.

Northeastern Ohio has voted solid-blue Democrat in presidential elections since the days of Bill Clinton. Here are the result from the past five presidential elections for Ashtabula, Trumbull, and Mahoning Counties in the Buckeye State's northeastern corner (links: 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000):

NEOcountyPresElections2000to2016

It's large-scale shifts such as these which explain why Ohio, thought to be a swing state in 2016, went for Trump by the largest Buckeye State presidential victory margin since George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis in 1988. Similar shifts occurred in many other formerly blue presidential-vote counties in other parts of the nation.

To believe Milbank's mush, one would have to believe that those who supported Gore, Kerry, and Obama  by mostly very large margins in the four presidential elections from 2000 to 2012 in these three counties as well as other Northeastern Ohio counties were really Republicans pretending to be Democrats. Further, one would have to believe that they voted in mostly overwhelming majorities as Democrats during all those years just to pull one over on Milbank, the AFL-CIO's Podhorzer, and GW University's John Sides.

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What we really saw in these three counties is a massive shift of Democrats from acceptable presidential candidates within their own party to Donald Trump. Though there certainly were changes in party registration leading up to the 2016 primaries and general election, it is very fair to describe many Democrats who voted for Trump in 2016 as "Trump Democrats."

It should be quite obvious that Dana Milbank and his supposedly learned sources engaged in embarrassingly fake analysis.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Fake Analysis: WashPost's Milbank Claims 'There's No Such Thing As a Trump Democrat'

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank's vicious, mean-spirited attacks on Donald Trump, Republicans, and conservatives have become so predictable and trite that they're barely worthy of attention, no matter how shrill his rhetoric.

The unhinged Milbank is of course entitled to his opinions, but in his latest column on Friday, he tried to promote an obvious falsehood as an indisputable fact, claiming in his column's headline that "There’s no such thing as a Trump Democrat."

As will be seen, there is no genuine basis for Milbank's claim.

Here is his column's opening:

There’s no such thing as a Trump Democrat

Do you believe in mermaids, unicorns and fairies?

If so, you may have taken interest in a new mythical creature that appeared during the 2016 election: the Trump Democrat.

It has become an article of faith that an unusually large number of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 switched sides and voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. It follows that Democrats, to win in the future, need to get these lost partisans to come home.

But new data, and an analysis by AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer that he shared with me, puts all this into question. The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with. The aberration wasn’t their votes for Trump but their votes for Obama.

Stop right there. Podhorzer shared his data and analysis with Milbank, but Milbank wouldn't share it with his readers, or even link to it. Milbank only provided a link to Podhorzer's bio at the AFL-CIO web site. There is no data or analysis available there, nor is there any hint of it at the group's press release page.

Let's look at the incredibly flimsy foundation on which Milbank's claim is built. Its based on the core findings seen in the second paragraph below:

A poll released in June by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a nonpartisan collaboration of analysts and scholars ... re-interviewed the same respondents queried in 2012; they were asked who they voted for in real time.

(George Washington University political scientist John) Sides found that 86 percent of Obama 2012 voters voted for Clinton while nearly 89 percent of Romney voters supported Trump. Nine percent of Obama voters voted for Trump while 5 percent voted for a third-party candidate or a write-in, while 5 percent of Romney voters supported Clinton and 6 percent voted for a third-party candidate or write-in.

Sides tried to pretend that Clinton's loss of one-seventh of Obama 2012 supporters compared to Trump only losing one of nine Romney 2012 supporters was no big deal — and further, that Trump picking up almost two-thirds of Obama defectors (9 points out of 14) compared to Clinton picking up less than half of Romney defectors (5 points out of 11) was also unimportant and, as described earlier in the study, "typical."

That's ridiculous. Those findings, with a slight offset for new 2016 voters who likely favored Clinton, almost completely explain the change between Obama's 3.9 percent and Clinton's 2.1 percent popular vote margins. In terms of state-by-state Electoral College results, these net switches explain why Trump could fight for and win Florida and the three "blue wall" states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) which gave him his electoral vote victory margin.

Then this supposedly nonpartisan organization proceeded to completely, and I would argue deliberately, mischaracterize the views of whites who switched from Obama to Trump:

White Party Switchers’ Votes Correlated with Views on Immigration, Muslims, and Black People

Sorry, Mr. Sides, your bias is showing. The three correlations are correctly explained as follows:

  • It wasn't "immigration." White party switchers' views on illegal immigration are what mattered, especially in light of the Obama administration's clear, in-your-face attempt to flood the nation with unvetted "refugees" and unaccompanied minor children.
  • It wasn't "Muslims" per se. White party switchers' views on the Obama administration's coddling of violent, radical Islamists and the clear growth of radical Islam's worldwide threat are what mattered.
  • Finally, it wasn't "Black People." It was Black Lives Matter, specifically that group's wholesale embrace of violence, its hatred of law enforcement, and racial exclusion.

So what do you do when the data doesn't tell you what you want to hear? If you're Milbank, as seen in an earlier except, you claim that "Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with."

Again, that's rubbish. All one has to do is look at results in three of Northeastern Ohio's formerly bluest presidential-vote counties see how absurd that claim is.

Northeastern Ohio has voted solid-blue Democrat in presidential elections since the days of Bill Clinton. Here are the result from the past five presidential elections for Ashtabula, Trumbull, and Mahoning Counties in the Buckeye State's northeastern corner (links: 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000):

NEOcountyPresElections2000to2016

It's large-scale shifts such as these which explain why Ohio, thought to be a swing state in 2016, went for Trump by the largest Buckeye State presidential victory margin since George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis in 1988. Similar shifts occurred in many other formerly blue presidential-vote counties in other parts of the nation.

To believe Milbank's mush, one would have to believe that those who supported Gore, Kerry, and Obama  by mostly very large margins in the four presidential elections from 2000 to 2012 in these three counties as well as other Northeastern Ohio counties were really Republicans pretending to be Democrats. Further, one would have to believe that they voted in mostly overwhelming majorities as Democrats during all those years just to pull one over on Milbank, the AFL-CIO's Podhorzer, and GW University's John Sides.

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What we really saw in these three counties is a massive shift of Democrats from acceptable presidential candidates within their own party to Donald Trump. Though there certainly were changes in party registration leading up to the 2016 primaries and general election, it is very fair to describe many Democrats who voted for Trump in 2016 as "Trump Democrats."

It should be quite obvious that Dana Milbank and his supposedly learned sources engaged in embarrassingly fake analysis.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

NY Times Editor Criticizes Women's March's 'Embrace of Hate' in Op-Ed

Bari Weiss is a staff editor in the opinion section at the New York Times. Like many women, she was initially enthused by the Women's March movement which began after President Donald Trump's inauguration. Since then she has, for many good reasons, become disillusioned.

She detailed that disillusionment in a Tuesday op-ed which clearly runs against the grain at the Times, and received predictable, name-calling blowback from a Women's March leader who pretended that they and their movement are non-violent. It isn't, and they aren't.

Though Weiss's column really should be read in its entirety, here are the key paragraphs which direct personal criticism at three of the movement's four primary leaders (bolds are mine):

When Progressives Embrace Hate

... The image of this fearsome foursome, echoed in more than a few flattering profiles, was as seductive as a Benetton ad. There was Tamika Mallory, a young black activist who was crowned the “Sojourner Truth of our time” by Jet magazine and “a leader of tomorrow” by Valerie Jarrett. Carmen Perez, a Mexican-American and a veteran political organizer, was named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders. Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing Palestinian-American and the former head of the Arab-American Association of New York, had been recognized as a “champion of change” by the Obama White House. And Bob Bland, the fashion designer behind the “Nasty Women” T-shirts, was the white mother who came up with the idea of the march in the first place.

... What wasn’t to like?

A lot, as it turns out. The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations. Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke.

... Start with Ms. Sarsour ...

There are comments on her Twitter feed of the anti-Zionist sort: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” she wrote in 2012. And, oddly, given her status as a major feminist organizer, there are more than a few that seem to make common cause with anti-feminists ... She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.

... just last month, Ms. Sarsour proved that her past is prologue. On July 16, the official Twitter feed of the Women’s March offered warm wishes to Assata Shakur. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor” — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.

... Ms. Mallory, in addition to applauding Assata Shakur as a feminist emblem, also admires Fidel Castro, who sheltered Ms. Shakur in Cuba. She put up a flurry of posts when Mr. Castro died last year. “R.I.P. Comandante! Your legacy lives on!” she wrote in one. She does not have similar respect for American police officers. “When you throw a brick in a pile of hogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit,” she posted on Nov. 20.

Ms. Perez also expressed her admiration for a Black Panther convicted of trying to kill six police officers: “Love learning from and sharing space with Baba Sekou Odinga.”

But the public figure both women regularly fawn over is Louis Farrakhan.

... (Farrakhan's) views, which this editorial page has called “twisted,” remain as appalling as ever.

Weiss went on to assert that "what I stand against is embracing terrorists, disdaining independent feminist voices, hating on democracies and celebrating dictatorships."

She predicted that she would soon be smeared as "alt-right." She was correct. It only took a couple of days.

Exhibiting all too typical cowardice, the three women whom Weiss specifically criticized delegated the task to Bland, whose letter to the editor was published on Thursday:

From a Women’s March Leader: ‘We Need to Stand United’

... Ms. Weiss is endorsing a sensational alt-right attack that aims to discredit the Women’s March movement and its leaders and to derail the progress we have made since January.

Her article is a distraction at a critical moment when rights are being stripped from vulnerable communities every day.

... I stand in solidarity with my fellow organizers Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory.

We are a movement grounded in love for all people, but especially for the vulnerable, the oppressed and the marginalized.

For now, critics like Ms. Weiss are just critics from their seats. Until they get up, listen and do the work to understand those whose feelings have been shaped by injustices, they will remain apologists for the status quo, racist ideology and the white nationalist patriarchy.

Bland's letter would melt any hypocrisy meter applied to it. It message: Shut up, show up, and do what you're told.

Anyone who dares to criticize the despicable resumés, horrid actions, and outrageous statements of Women's March leaders is "alt-right" and one of many "apologists for the status quo, racist ideology and the white nationalist patriarchy." So much for "love of all people."

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Women's March leaders apparently still believe it's the 1960s, which the national establishment press's tight control of what was allowed to become news prevented most Americans from learning just how violent and ugly the anti-Vietnam War protest movement and the Black Power movement, to name just two, really were.

It's 2017, and though the reporters at Weiss's paper and at other establishment press outlets regularly whitewash the truth about the Women's March and other leftist movements, the truth is out there. Enough Americans who also happen to be voters are learning it.

Women who might otherwise have marched in naive lockstep with the Women's March are reaching the same conclusion Bari Weiss did at the end of her column, namely that if her discomfort with the movement and its leaders "puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

AP Only Vaguely Refers to UAW-Chrysler Scandal in Covering Union's Nissan-Mississippi Loss

On Friday, the United Auto Workers failed in yet another attempt to organize an auto plant in the South. This time it was a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi. Unlike in the 2014, when workers at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen plant narrowly rejected the union, Friday's result was a 62 percent to 38 percent shellacking.

Coverage of the UAW's defeat at the Associated Press overnight was reasonably measured, with one exception: a barely mentioned and completely unexplained Fiat Chrysler-UAW corruption scandal in Metro Detroit which influenced the voting.

Reporter Jeff Amy's dispatch shortly after midnight Saturday morning (also saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) first mentioned it, though quite cryptically and quite late in his report (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Nissan workers reject United Auto Workers in Mississippi

Workers at a Nissan assembly plant in Mississippi have voted against forming a union, adding to decades of futility by United Auto Workers organizers at foreign-owned auto plants in the American South.

Representatives of Nissan Motor Co. and the UAW said late Friday that 2,244 workers, or 62 percent, voted against the UAW, while 1,307, or 38 percent, favored the union.

... The UAW has never fully organized an international automaker in the traditionally anti-union South, although it did persuade some maintenance workers to join at a Volkswagen AG plant in Tennessee. The UAW's lack of influence among southern auto workers has reduced its bargaining power when Detroit automakers lose market share and close plants.

Let's stop there for a moment. Amy's observation is spot-on, and is rarely mentioned by those covering the industry.

Year-to-date figures released earlier this week through July show that the combined market share of the "Detroit automakers" — General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler — has been only 43.9 percent, down from 47.1 percent during the first seven months of 2011. The three companies' market share in July alone, at 41.9 percent, was even worse, meaning that the the combined downward slide during the past several years continues. Given the union's track record at companies whose workers it represents, it seems quite reasonable that Canton, Mississippi's workers would resist the UAW's organizing efforts.

The union isn't handling the loss well, and appears to be willing to engage in scorched-earth tactics to punish Nissan. The AP's Amy, whose journalists are represented by the News Media Guild union, almost appeared to be egging them on:

... UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel had telegraphed the move (complaining to the National Labor Relations Board) Monday, when he alleged illegal activity by the company.

"Despite claiming for years to be neutral on the question of a union, Nissan waged one of the most illegal and unethical anti-union campaigns that I've seen in my lifetime," Casteel said in a statement Friday.

... The union also could try to encourage a backlash against Nissan outside the United States, where it has tried to build pressure on the company through unions at other plants and supporters in the French government, which owns nearly 20 percent of the Renault Group, Nissan's business partner. The union said it would "educate" the French government about Nissan's anti-union campaign.

Amy eventually inserted the following cryptic sentence relating to the corruption scandal into the 25th of his 27 paragraphs:

Kristen Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research said that although the UAW was the underdog, odds were unlikely to improve soon, as President Donald Trump's appointees take over the National Labor Relations Board. A corruption scandal involving union employees allegedly taking bribes from a former Fiat Chrysler executive also threatened to spread.

That final bolded sentence also appears in the eighth paragraph of a story at APnews.com: "UAW defiant in Mississippi loss as union opponents celebrate."

The scandal involved is a real doozy. It received initial wire service coverage when it first broke on July 26. Here are the first five paragraphs of the AP's report that day:

EX-FIAT CHRYSLER EXECUTIVE CHARGED IN UNION OFFICIAL PAYOFF

A former Fiat Chrysler executive was charged Wednesday with looting a training center for blue-collar workers by giving $1.2 million through a variety of ways to a UAW leader, his wife and other senior union officials.

Al Iacobelli was indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving United Auto Workers vice president General Holiefield and Holiefield's wife, Monica Morgan. Holiefield died in 2015.

The indictment describes a multiyear scheme to reward Holiefield and Morgan with first-class travel, designer clothing and jewelry. A $262,000 mortgage on their home in suburban Detroit was paid off, according to the grand jury.

Iacobelli treated himself to more than $350,000 for a Ferrari, the government alleged.

The "indictment exposes a disturbing criminal collaboration that was ongoing for years between high ranking officials of FCA and the UAW," said David Gelios, head of the FBI in Detroit. FCA is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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Since then, the scandal has received almost no other press attention outside of Metro Detroit. Its tentacles appear to be spreading, though they still seem to relate only to Fiat Chrysler, as seen in the following story update at the Detroit Free Press on July 31:

FCA-UAW scandal nears new potential target

A former United Auto Workers official is under investigation and a potential target of the FBI probe into a multimillion-dollar conspiracy within the top ranks of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the union, The Detroit News has learned.

Retired UAW Associate Director Virdell King has hired a criminal defense lawyer amid questions about personal purchases made through a UAW-Chrysler National Training Center credit-card account, according to two sources familiar with the investigation. The training center funds are supposed to benefit blue-collar workers.

The focus on King provides a partial roadmap of additional people who could be charged in a high-profile criminal case that alleges FCA and union leaders spent more than $1.2 million on luxury items instead of using the money to benefit training of Fiat Chrysler hourly workers. The indictment references, but does not identify, a handful of other union and automaker officials accused of participating in a scheme to pay off UAW officials.

Though AP didn't directly note it, Nissan leveraged this scandal in making its case to Canton, Mississippi plant workers, essentially arguing that a UAW with corrupt leaders and poor internal controls can't be trusted to represent their best interests. That's a reasonable argument to make, but it leaves open what Amy and the AP mean in by "threatened to spread."

Do they mean that the scandal may spread beyond Fiat Chrysler to include executives and UAW representatives at other companies, or even UAW leaders at the very top?

On the one hand, it's a wonder that Amy and the AP mentioned the scandal at all. But since they did, they owed readers a lot more than a cryptic, vague, and completely uninformative sentence.

Their treatment makes one question what they know that they won't tell us.

Cross-posted at <<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

</p>">BizzyBlog.com.

AP Reporter Smears Stephen Miller As in League With 'Far-Right' 'White Supremacists'

Stephen Miller's trouncing of CNN reporter Jim Acosta over immigration policy at Wednesday's White House press briefing apparently angered the Associated Press's Hillel Italie beyond measure.

Thursday, while barely covering any of the substance of the confrontation, the AP reporter irresponsibly launched into a smearing, sneering tirade equating Miller's viewpoints with "members of the far-right community, including such white supremacists as David Duke and Richard Spencer."

Here are excerpts from Italies's idiocy:

When senior White House aide Stephen Miller disputed the significance of Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty, he wasn’t stating a new opinion.

Members of the far-right community, including such white supremacists as David Duke and Richard Spencer, have harshly criticized the poem and even used anti-Semitic language.

“It’s offensive that such a beautiful, inspiring statue was ever associated with ugliness, weakness, and deformity,” Spencer tweeted in January, referring to such words by Lazarus as “wretched refuse.”

This is miles beneath contempt.

Miller merely pointed out that "The poem that you’re referring to, that was added later, is not actually a part of the original Statue of Liberty." He did not criticize the poem, but instead correctly recounted the history while adding that a poem, no matter how noble its sentiments, doesn't drive national policy.

But Hillel Italie apparently considers any people who believe that current immigration policies should be less generous in any way to be "alt-right" and "white supremacists." The left and the press, but I repeat myself, have clearly never gotten past believing that half of President Donald Trump's supporters belong in Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it."

The press, now obviously including the AP, has been using Richard Spencer as some kind of threatening alt-right monster for almost two years now. The fact of the matter is that Spencer can't even fill a mid-sized hotel meeting room with his followers (275 appears to have been his high-water mark in late November). Just about wherever he goes, the number of journalists present outnumber his supporters.

Trump has disavowed the alt-right on numerous occasions. Spencer turned against Trump in April. Thus, there's no valid association between them whatsoever. The Trump administration believes that the immigration system needs to be reformed to put all American families, all legal U.S. workers, and national sovereignty first — sentiments held by most Americans. Spencer does not.

Perhaps because he knew how weak his associations of Miller were with Richard Spencer and David Duke, Italie decided to artificially broaden the definition of alt-right:

Among those praising Miller was Breitbart News, the alt-right publication once headed by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist. “Trump Adviser Miller Schools Acosta: Statue of Liberty Poem on Huddled Masses Added Later” reads a headline on breitbart.com. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Breitbart "alt-right" smear, with "alt-right" narrowly defined, as Italie effectively did, as "including ... white supremacists" and "anti-Semitic language," doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

In its November attempt to explain the alt-right, USA Today said that "It is a loose movement, mostly online, that includes people who are dedicated to "white identity." Breitbart is most assuredly not dedicated to white identity, and it's a smear to claim that it is; one look at the paper's staff during the website's 2015 breakout year will refute that claim. The closest Breitbart ever came to being alt-right in the white nationalist, white supremacist sense was an attempt to explain the alt-right to readers in March of last year. By that bogus yardstick, every news organization in America which has tried to explain the alt-right ... is alt-right.

The suspicion here is that there's more than a little professional jealousy at work. In April, Breitbart was in the top 30 U.S. news sites for web traffic, i.e., it's a mainstream center-right site whose traffic exceeded, among many others, NPR, ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.

The AP's websites didn't crack the top 100. Though the wire service's content is obviously pervasive because of its vast number of subscribing outlets, the fact remains that the AP's two primary websites — AP.org and APnews.com — had no more than one-third of Breitbart's traffic, and likely quite a bit less than one-third. As of Thursday evening, Breitbart's U.S. Alexa rank was 69. AP.org was at 1,223, with a steep decline since September of last year; and APnews.com was at 1,355.

Miller blasted Acosta on at least four other fronts besides Acosta's attempt to directly associate the poem added later with the Statue of Liberty itself (falsely describing Miller's statement as "some National Park revisionism"):

  • Costa began by falsely assuming that some level of English proficiency isn't required to emigrate legally to the U.S. He's wrong, as Miller observed: "Right now it’s a requirement that to be naturalized you have to speak English."
  • Acosta was just getting started demonstrating how utterly ignorant he is, claiming that "we're in a low period of immigration right now." Miller correctly pointed out that the level of legal immigration remains high — arguably too high, given the hordes of tech-savvy American workers currently holding jobs which are far beneath their skill levels. In trying to claim that immigration is currently low, Acosta referred to recent reductions in illegal border crossings. One struggles and fails to find a kinder word than "stupid" to describe Acosta's attempt to change the subject. As Miller asked, "Do you really at CNN not know the difference between Green Card policy and illegal immigration?" Apparently not.
  • Costa went deeper into idiocy when he asked if Trump's immigration policy will end up meaning that the U.S. is "just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia." Miller couldn't believe what he was hearing (who can blame him?): "That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world."
  • Most fundamentally, Acosta clearly considered any reduction in legal immigration levels below the 1 million seen annually in recent years as some form of betrayal of American ideals. Miller correctly characterized that as nonsense, and further as a smear of previous American presidential administrations which had far lower annual legal immigration numbers: "Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land. So you’re saying a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number? 900,000 violates it? 800,000 violates it?"

Almost none of this made it into Hillel Italie's dispatch. Instead, the reporter chose to quote a 1986 speech by President Ronald Reagan:

... During a 1986 ceremony marking the statue’s centennial, President Ronald Reagan noted Lazarus’ “very special dedication” and emphasized the statue’s importance not just to “immigrants who stand out” but to “those whose names are remembered by only a few.”

“Many of them passed through this harbor, went by this lady, looked up at her torch, which we light tonight in their honor,” Reagan said. “They were the men and women who labored all their lives so that their children would be well fed, clothed, and educated, the families that went through great hardship yet kept their honor, their dignity, and their faith in God. They passed on to their children those values, values that define civilization and are the prerequisites of human progress. They worked in our factories, on ships and railroads, in stores, and on road construction crews. They were teachers, lumberjacks, seamstresses, and journalists. They came from every land.”

This Reagan speech has absolutely nothing to do with yesterday's Miller-Acosta confrontation. The immigrants to whom Reagan referred came here legally. Once upon a time were heavily vetted, and only a relatively limited number of them were allowed to enter the U.S. in any given year.

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As John Hinderaker at Powerline observed:

I wish I could say that Hillel’s smear is unworthy of the Associated Press, but the unfortunate reality is that smearing President Trump and members of his administration is the AP’s main project these days. Actual news reporting falls far down the priority list.

We're long past the point where news organizations which subscribe to AP content should get a pass for doing so — unless they're also comfortable with the AP's smears. In that case, they too should be avoided to the extent the AP's websites currently are.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Liberal Pollster Smears West Virginians As 'Close-Minded,' 'Easily Misled'

Longtime liberal pollster Stuart Rothenberg apparently had a hard time handling President Donald Trump's visit to West Virginia on Thursday. During that visit, Mountain State Governor Jim Justice officially announced his switch to the Republican Party, thereby consolidating full GOP control over the executive and legislative branches in that state, and bringing the total number of Republican U.S. governors to 35.

Reacting to Trump's visit and this stunning news, which further confirms how the Democratic Party has lost touch with working people and Middle America in general, Rothenberg published two of the most condescending and insulting tweets one will ever see directed at an entire state's population.

Here they are (direct links are here and here; at the time this post was drafted, they were still present, almost a full day after they were published; H/T Twitchy via Instapundit):

RothenbergWVtweets080317

Well now.

Many West Virginians are indeed having a harder time supporting themselves. That's not a character flaw. Instead, it is a direct and deliberate result of the Obama administration's war on coal.

The Media Research Center produced Collateral Damage: Forgotten Casualties of the Left’s War on Coal, a moving documentary film on that very topic in November 2016 (trailer here; complete film here). How are you supposed to support yourself when federal government rules and regulations, based entirely on a hoax, take your livelihood away from you while offering nothing to replace it?

Lots of West Virginians "can't speak English"? Two points:

  • The state's immigrant population as a percentage of total population is one of the lowest in the nation, meaning that there is no doubt that Rothenberg is taking a direct shot at the literacy of its citizens.
  • The state's high school graduation rate of 85 percent is 42nd in the nation. Blue state California is 50th. Imagine that. The rate in the blue state of New York, at 85.6 percent, is barely higher than West Virginia's. Would Rothenberg ever dare to claim that Californians or New Yorkers "can't speak English," even though almost anyone who has been to either state knows that many people there can't, or won't?

With that first tweet, the snide Rothenberg was just getting started.

"Close-minded, provincial, angry, easily misled"? His reference to his wife's dad in Pennsylvania, who one would think he considers absolutely despicable (or, I should say, deplorable), was a pathetic attempt to soften the blow.

As might be expected, outraged responses poured into Twitter, accompanied by little if any support:

"The snide, nasty, dripping condescension is why we have Trump."

"... as someone who comes from the region that is incredibly bigoted -- people from West Virginia are incredible hard-working folks." (This comment caused Rothenberg to publish the his second tweet.)

"... this is exactly how folks from WV think the cosmopolitan class views them & then they prove it."

"All of my college classmates from WVA went home after school and supported themselves. Funny most from DC and suburbs went back and couldn't."

"'Close-minded, provincial, angry, and easily misled.' So I guess they're qualified to be D.C. political reporters?"

"This is why we snort in derision when liberals say they are compassionate and the right is full of hate. Proven over and over to be a lie."

"This tweet says more about you than them."

One would think that Rothenberg might have acquired some humility during the past eight years, given two firm predictions he has made during that time which turned out to be totally and horribly wrong. Nope.

The first was this claim in April 2009 (bolds are mine throughout this post):

April Madness: Can GOP Win Back the House in 2010?

... the chance of Republicans winning control of either chamber in the 2010 midterm elections is zero. Not “close to zero.” Not “slight” or “small.” Zero.

Rothenberg doesn't get a pass because he wrote this 19 months before the midterms. He knows that 19 months is a lifetime in politics, but wrote what he did anyway in hopes of demoralizing the opposition. Republicans picked up 63 House seats in the 2010 midterms, taking a decisive 242-193 majority. The GOP also picked up six Senate seats (Democrats maintained a 51-47 majority), and increased their cadre of state governors by six.

The second prediction which was totally wrong occurred three weeks before Election Day 2016, when he unconditionally declared in the Washington Post that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, Rothenberg clearly relished the idea that Trump would surely lose:

Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s nonexistent.

The trajectory of the 2016 presidential race — which will result in a Hillary Clinton victory — remains largely unchanged from May, when Donald Trump and Clinton were in the process of wrapping up their nominations.

... Trump’s supporters have not turned on him. But he trails badly with only a few weeks to go until Nov. 8, and he must broaden his appeal to have any chance of winning. That is now impossible.

... Trump is and has been a disaster as a presidential nominee, and that will not change in the campaign’s final days.

... It would be a mistake to call Trump’s current path to an electoral-college victory narrow. It is nonexistent. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, once part of the Trump scenario, have never been “in play” ...

... Clinton is headed for solid popular-vote and electoral-vote victories that are larger than Obama’s were over Romney. ...

... the most important question is no longer whether Trump or Clinton will win but how large Clinton’s margin will be and whether she will have coattails.

Oops.

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Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Headline at Deceptive NY Times Story Ties Trump(!) to Dems' IT Scandal

The first news reports of House IT staffer Imran Awan's Monday arrest "for attempting to flee the country and charged with bank fraud" came out on Fox on Monday night. The New York Times did not file a related story until Friday afternoon, roughly 72 hours later, for Saturday's print edition.

Reporter Nicholas Fandos's Page A18 item is one of the most obvious and disgraceful attempts at misdirection and reality avoidance one will ever see, starting with its headline, which, incredibly, makes it appear as if this scandal, which the Democratic Party entirely owns, involves President Donald Trump.

Here is that headline:

NYTheadlineOnAwanArrest072817

Any reader who was previously unaware of this scandal would surely believe, based on this headline, that it's Republicans who have a problem, and that the I.T. person formerly worked for the Trump administration.

That the Times deliberately composed this headline to deceive isn't arguable. The paper knows that this story is about Democrats, and the story's URL, which reflects a headline used earlier Friday — "imran-awan-debbie-wasserman-shultz-pakistan.html" (nice touch there, misspelling the congresswoman's name) — proves that a previous genuinely informative headline was suppressed.

The Times gave Trump headlined treatment only because he retweeted a Thursday morning Townhall.com tweet about the press's failure to cover Awan's arrest: "ABC, NBC, And CBS Pretty Much Bury IT Scandal Engulfing Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Office." Townhall's Thursday morning report referenced Curtis Houck's Wednesday evening post at NewsBusters, which noted that only CBS mentioned the scandal at all, giving it 37 seconds of coverage.

In a largely substance-free report which was all about casting doubt on previous reporting on the scandal by center-right outlets, particularly the Daily Caller, Times reporter Fando exposed the establishment press's double standard relating to when stories are deemed newsworthy.

The Daily Caller alone has now published two dozen stories on the Dems' IT scandal, producing mountains of damning evidence concerning potential compromises of sensitive information and obstruction of authorities' investigations.

But as Holmes Lybrand at the Daily Caller noted Friday evening, the Times, which has spent month after month publishing anonymously sourced and frequently rebutted stories on alleged election-related and other collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has raised the evidentiary bar in covering the Awan story, despite the existence of court and other records supporting the DC's work.

Just a few of Fando's most self-damning paragraphs include the following (links are in originals and bolds are mine throughout this post):

The Daily Caller, with almost two dozen articles on the family, has led the pack in reporting the story, packaging new details that have dribbled out of the investigation into a growing web of material, even as few in the mainstream news media paid attention.

That is until Monday, when Mr. Awan was arrested by the F.B.I. and United States Capitol Police on seemingly unrelated charges as he tried to board a flight to Pakistan. In the days since, the story has raced down an increasingly familiar track at warp speed, from the fringes of the internet to Fox News and other established publications.

Since the Daily Caller, as noted, has been on this story for six months, Fando is clearly attempting to marginalize it as a part of the "fringes of the internet." This is a characterization the Times would never apply to the Miami Herald, the Seattle Times, the Boston Globe, or Philly.com, all of whose sites as of Sunday morning had lower traffic ratings than the Daily Caller at Alexa.com.

Continuing the Fandos fantasy:

But for all the publicity, few if any of the fundamental facts of the case have come into focus. The criminal complaint against Mr. Awan filed on Monday alleges that he and his wife conspired to secure a fraudulent loan, not to commit espionage or political high jinks. And Mr. Awan’s lawyer, Christopher Gowen, says the more explosive accusations are the product of an anti-Muslim, right-wing smear job targeting his client and his client’s family.

So is the family’s story the stuff of a spy novel, ripe for sleuthing and criminal prosecution, or simply an overblown Washington story, typical of midsummer? Many here are finding it hard to say.

The tale more or less began six months ago, when investigators for the United States Capitol Police started looking into allegations by unnamed House lawmakers that the Pakistani-Americans had executed some sort of scam. What, exactly, has not been clear. News outlets have alluded variously to a procurement scheme, outright theft of computers or unauthorized access to computer networks — in addition to more extreme crimes like espionage.

The Times has only needed one or more anonymous source to publish stories about Trump and Russia, but it won't dignify the possibility that stories with much stronger evidentiary support concerning the crimes just identified have validity.

Lybrand's response at the Daily Caller called out the refusal by the Times and two other online sites to provide or refer to a slew of relevant details:

Media Ditches Substance Of Wasserman Schultz FBI Boondoggle To Focus On Conspiracy Theories

... The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group reporter Luke Rosiak, who has covered this story extensively since it first appeared in February, broke the news Sunday that “FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.”

The NYT and BuzzFeed fail to mention this and many other key facts in recent articles, and Snopes obfuscates the story by rating a claim from a no-name blog as false, requiring the reader to dig through the fact check to find the truth.

... A NYT article Friday dedicates the vast majority of its space to casting doubt on stories surrounding Awan by using his lawyer, Christopher Gowen, as a reputable defense for Awan. Not only does the NYT ignore Gowen’s deep ties to Clinton, which TheDCNF has reported in detail, but the article also attempts to cast doubt by citing theories from a no-name conspiracy theorist who supports Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (though NYT calls him a “right winger”).

The NYT complains that “for all the publicity, few if any of the fundamental facts of the case have come into focus,” but fails to mention some of those fundamental facts within the article. The article makes no mention of the official Fairfax court documents that Rosiak has repeatedly linked to in his multiple stories on the Awans ...

Regardless of external noise, theories and blogs, the NYT, BuzzFeed and Snopes have made a perhaps unwitting effort to obfuscate information surrounding the Awan story.

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One could go on and on chronicling the obfuscations, distortions, outright falsehoods in the Times writeup which clearly show how overly generous Lybrand's description of Fando's work as an "unwitting effort" is. Here are just a few:

  • Though Awan and several of his relatives who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers worked for House Democrats and were relieved of those duties almost six months ago, Congresswoman and former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz kept Awan on her payroll until she fired him Tuesday evening. The Times described that firing as a choice by Schultz to "terminate a longstanding work arrangement."
  • Fando wrote that Awan and his family "contracted to work part time for more than a dozen Democratic members of Congress, including Ms. Wasserman Schultz." He did not mention the House Intelligence Committee, and the known affected Democratic congresspersons, including Schultz, number 30, i.e., 2-1/2 dozen, not just one.
  • Fando wrote that "Ms. Wasserman Schultz has been a favorite target of conspiracy theorists on both the left and the right since last July," when WikiLeaks documents "showed party officials had conspired to harm the presidential candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders." Fando somehow forgot to report that Schultz resigned as Democratic National Committee chairman as a result of those revelations — and the DNC's determination to have the party nominate Hillary Clinton over Sanders "from the start" is reality, not a conspiracy theory.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Media, Celebs Outraged After Edited Video Shows Trump Snubbing Disabled Boy

In a since-deleted tweet, an aide to Washington State Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal claimed that President Donald Trump had ignored a "child in (a) wheelchair" who reached up "twice to shake the president's hand" after a Friday speech. It turns out that the aide, Ansel Herz, clearly engaged in the kind of "selective editing" critics claim conservative undercover journalists commit (but almost never do). By the time Herz deleted the tweet, the damage had spread around the world, as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, unhinged GQ critic Keith Olbermann, and others ignorantly pounced on the deceptive tweet as proof that Trump is a heartless monster.

The complete video of the event shows that Trump specifically greeted and spoke with the wheelchair-bound boy before the speech.

Here is the video snip Herz used:

Here is a snip from earlier in the official White House full video, with Trump greeting the boy at the 2:19 mark:

Given what happened earlier, the idea that Trump engaged in some kind of carelessly negligent and hurtful behavior towards the wheelchair-bound boy as he departed is absurd.

Herz's tweet led Rowling to launch into a six-tweet rant seen at Twitchy.com. Among other things, she accused him of pretending "not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he might catch his condition," and of being a "monster of narcissism (who) values only himself and his pale reflections." As of when this post was drafted mid-morning on Saturday, the opening tweet in her series had been retweeted over 73,000 times and had garnered over 148,000 likes. The complete series of tweets was also still present at Rowling's Twitter account.

Meanwhile in a now-deleted tweet (HT Washington Free Beacon), Olbermann wrote that "this is mortifying, revelatory. OTOH, I'm somebody who shook his damnable hand. The child is fortunate he didn't touch the evil."

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Some left-wing bloggers also took the bait. Over at the Daily Kos, the related post's headline still reads, "This video of Trump ignoring a disabled child repeatedly trying to shake his hand is heartbreaking," even though the post's author has admitted that "Another video surfaced of him greeting the child on the way in." Actually, as we have seen, Trump's greeting is in an earlier portion of the same video.

Once again, the left's constant insinuation that the center-right is the source of fake news is proven spectacularly wrong.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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