7 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-18-21

  1. Welcome to the party!

    Glad you could join us.

    “Former NY Times science reporter: The lab leak theory is a lot more credible than I once believed”


    “Even if you weren’t a regular reader of Donald McNeil’s writing about scientific topics at the NY Times you probably know who he is because of the way he was pushed out of his job earlier this year. McNeil was asked to leave in February after staffers learned that he’d once used the n-word during a student trip in 2019. That incident had been investigated and dealt with at the time by Executive Editor Dean Baquet (who is black), but the woke members of the newsroom staff weren’t satisfied with that and 150 of them wrote a letter demanding a new investigation which led to Baquet reversing himself and famously declaring, “We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.”

    In any case, McNeil published a piece today on Medium in which he admits the lab-leak theory is a lot more credible than he initially thought. He says that a year ago (when he still had a job at the Times covering the pandemic) it was the general consensus that the lab leak theory arose from conservative cranks and conspiracy theorists and should be dismissed.

    For about a year, that was the general wisdom among science writers. The “lab-leak theory” migrated back to the far right where it had started — championed by the folks who brought us Pizzagate, the Plandemic, Kung Flu, Q-Anon, Stop the Steal, and the January 6 Capitol invasion. It was tarred by the fact that everyone backing it seemed to hate not just Democrats and the Chinese Communist Party, but even the Chinese themselves. It spawned racist rumors like “Chinese labs sell their dead experimental animals in food markets.”

    China retorting to Trump administration nonsense with nonsense of its own — such as suggesting that U.S. military officers planted the virus during a visit to Wuhan in October 2019 — did not help.

    I think McNeil is overstating things quite a bit here. The first person to really raise this issue was Tucker Carlson. Carlson has been hit or miss but at the time he was also one of the first people on the right to argue that the coronavirus was much worse than the flu and one of the first to argue for wearing masks at a time when official government sources were telling people not to bother. In any case, McNeil is now admitting that the lab leak looks a lot more credible to him now than it did back then. He credits science writer Nicholas Wade whose argument for taking the lab leak seriously I wrote about here. After a list of caveats about Wade’s piece, McNeil writes:

    The deeper I read into the papers and articles Nick cited, the clearer it became how much new information had trickled out in the last year. Not new to the most intense and well-educated followers of this topic, but new to the greater public debate. I include articles like this, this, this, this and this by Yuri Deigin, Rossana Segretto, Milton Leitenberg, Josh Rogin, Nicholson Baker and others…

    I now agree with Nick’s central conclusion: We still do not know the source of this awful pandemic. We may never know. But the argument that it could have leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology or a sister lab in Wuhan has become considerably stronger than it was a year ago, when the screaming was so loud that it drowned out serious discussion.

    Again, I think McNeil’s belated admission is more important than his explanation for his own failure to take this seriously, which sounds a bit too much like “Republicans were seizing!” to me. What he now sees is that there are some troubling omissions in the denials by people like Dr. Shi.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course they are, look at the garbage they fall for every day. They’re the most misinformed on any topic.

    “Liberal Media Viewers Are Misinformed About Crime in America”


    “Fewer than 50 unarmed black suspects were killed by police last year and more people were killed with knives than with so-called “assault weapons,” but viewers of MSNBC and CNN are far more likely than Fox News viewers to get those facts wrong.

    A new Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters who say MSNBC or CNN is their favorite cable news outlet believe more than 100 unarmed African Americans were fatally shot by police in 2020. By contrast, only 22% of Fox News viewers believe police shot more than 100 unarmed black people last year. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    Nearly a quarter of CNN viewers (24%) and almost one-in-five MSNBC viewers (19%) think cops fatally shot more than 500 unarmed black suspects last year, but only nine percent (9%) of Fox News viewers think so. Fox News viewers (60%) were about three times more likely than viewers of MSNBC (19%) or CNN (23%) to correctly estimate the number of unarmed black people shot and killed by police in 2020 as less than 50. Sixty percent (60%) of talk radio listeners also estimated the number correctly.

    About 1,500 homicides in the U.S. annually are committed with knives, while fewer than 500 are committed with rifles. However, 30% of Likely Voters think the annual number of homicides committed with rifles is more than 500, including 18% who believe more than 1,000 homicides a year are committed with rifles.

    Thirty percent (30%) of MSNBC viewers correctly estimated the number of homicides committed with rifles as between 100 and 500, as did 22% of CNN viewers and 19% of Fox News viewers. However, while 63% of Fox viewers underestimated the number of killings with rifles as less than 100, viewers of CNN and MSNBC were more likely to overestimate the number of homicides committed with rifles. Forty-three percent (43%) of CNN viewers and 40% of MSNBC viewers believe rifles are used in more than 500 homicides annually, compared to just 19% of Fox News viewers. Only 26% of talk radio listeners overestimated the number of homicides committed with rifles.

    The survey of 2,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on April 29-May 3, 2021 by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

    The Heartland/Rasmussen survey also asked voters about their viewing preferences for major network news and other media outlets, including online streaming services.

    “There is a strong correlation between a likely voter’s favorite television news outlet and his or her understanding of basic facts about police shootings and homicides involving rifles,” Justin Haskins of the Heartland Institute observed in an analysis. “Compared to viewers of Fox News, ‘another’ cable news outlet (such as The Blaze TV or Newsmax), and those who do not watch television news, viewers of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC were substantially more likely to overestimate the number of fatal police shootings of unarmed African Americans.”


  3. FBI quietly admits the obvious after being brow beaten by House R’s over the matter.


    “FBI Quietly Admits 2017 GOP Ballgame Attack By Leftist Was ‘Domestic Terrorism’

    “An individual with a personalized violent ideology targeted and shot Republican members of Congress at a baseball field and wounded five people.”

    “Last month, it was revealed that the shooting of Steve Scalise and the targeting of other Republicans at a baseball field in 2017 had been classified by the FBI as a case of suicide by cop.

    The shooter was a Bernie Sanders supporter and Rachel Maddow ‘superfan’ who went to the baseball field with a list of Republicans, meaning this was most certainly a politically motivated shooting.

    The fact that AG Merrick Garland is calling the Trump supporters who rioted at the Capitol white supremacists, and the greatest threat to our democracy while the FBI glosses over the politics of a shooter who clearly intended to kill Republicans, shows just how unbalanced our justice system has become.

    This week, Scalise and other members of Congress sent a letter to the FBI demanding this issue be addressed:”

    “This week, while the media obsessed about Liz Cheney every day, the FBI quietly reclassified the shooting.

    Jerry Dunleavy reports at the Washington Examiner:

    FBI quietly admits 2017 GOP baseball shooting was domestic terrorism after all”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yet another cowardly judge. Why are all these cases decided on technicalities, rather than the actual evidence? Where is the rule of law? Where is the independent audit? So much for honesty, integrity, and transparency in elections.

    Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, contends that “truth and democracy will prevail,” yet she is doing whatever is necessary to keep both hidden.



  5. In general, most surveys indicate FOX news viewers are less informed than NPR or CNN. Actually those watching Sunday morning network shows or listen to NPR are better informed than any cable news station. Cable news generally leads to misinformation. I’ve seen surveys that show the opposite results when it came to election results, voting machines, antifa, etc Pick the right topic, write the question in a certain way and get the expected results.

    The knife vs rifle homicide question is misleading. Hand guns and firearms (not other wise stated) far outnumber knife homicide; the use of a rifle is below knives. However, the distinction between rifle and handgun is not stressed in the question and those who favour gun control would probably not care which gun was used and would answer the question in terms of firearms overall. Sure you could say, they should know better but they obviously don’t and the survey question may have been designed with this ignorance in mind.



  6. Suicide by cop does not exclude terrorism or politics as a motivation. However, this isolated incident is an outlier in domestic terrorism in which the vast majority is right wing white supremacists. Even the DOJ and FBI during the Trump presidency agreed and the numbers in Washington on January the 6th indicate this was correct.


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