13 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-17-23

  1. “How To Make Journalism Less Trustworthy”


    “Journalism is on a suicide mission. As America’s trust of media lies near all-time lows, my profession’s powers-that-be are doubling down on the partisan, activist reporting that has poisoned our business and the nation’s politics. In a sign of how out of touch these industry bigwigs are with objective reality, they are doing it all in the name of restoring trust!

    The latest sign of this dangerous trend is a new report, “Beyond Objectivity: Producing trustworthy news in today’s newsrooms.” Written by two prominent journalists now teaching at Arizona State University – former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward – it is drawn from more than 75 interviews with “a variety of news leaders, journalists, and other experts.”

    Those sources – including leaders at the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and ProPublica to name a few – are influential. There is, however, precious little “variety” among them. I counted only one interview subject from an identifiably conservative organization. At the end of the report, when the authors recommend that news organization embrace diversity, they mention many markers of identity – “not just ethnic and gender diversity, but people with different economic, educational, religious, geographic and social backgrounds.” They never mention different ideological viewpoints or political leanings.

    This is the first sign the game is rigged. “Beyond Objectivity” is not a fearless, open-ended inquiry into major problems ailing the news industry. Instead, it’s an apology for the agenda-driven, overly partisan reporting that has erupted in recent years. It fails to address any of the major controversies that have rocked journalism – e.g., the New York Times problematic rewriting of American history in the 1619 Project, the scandalously flawed coverage of the Trump/Russia conspiracy hoax, or the censoring of reporting about Hunter Biden’s problematic laptop. The report doesn’t afford so much as a footnote to Jim Rutenberg’s seminal 2016 piece in the New York Times, “Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism,” which argued:

    If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.

    You don’t have to be conservative to conclude that such episodes have strained reader trust. Just like the stacked list of sources, it is hard to believe the exclusion of these factors from the report is an oversight.

    Instead, the authors and the vast majority of their influential sources believe that a core problem journalism faces today is its fidelity to “objectivity.” Downie succinctly laid out this argument in a Washington Post op-ed about the report:

    But increasingly, reporters, editors and media critics argue that the concept of journalistic objectivity is a distortion of reality. They point out that the standard was dictated over decades by male editors in predominantly White newsrooms and reinforced their own view of the world. They believe that pursuing objectivity can lead to false balance or misleading “bothsidesism” in covering stories about race, the treatment of women, LGBTQ+ rights, income inequality, climate change and many other subjects.

    Despite these pointed concerns, Downie also writes in that piece that he “never understood what ‘objectivity’ meant” during his long career at the Post.

    Objectivity is a foundational concept of the Western tradition. As the late Yale historian Donald Kagan has observed, the rise of objectively based reason in ancient Greece helped humankind move beyond will and power as bases for action. It privileges shared knowledge – things we can agree on – over subjective (personal) experience.

    In journalism, objectivity has included the intentional effort to put aside one’s personal beliefs to report without fear or favor. It is, of course, impossible to be absolutely objective; we can’t think without reference to our values and assumptions. But the concept urges reporters to be aware of their biases and to try to transcend them. If there is a single quality that defines the essence of journalism – that defines reporters and editors as practitioners of a particular profession – it is the commitment to pursuing objectivity.

    I’ll take Downie’s word for it that this is not clear to him, though it is especially surprising given that he has co-authored a report critiquing the concept. One also wonders why he feels he has a firm grasp of more ambiguous concepts the report fails to define, such as “fairness” and “nonpartisanship.”

    Nevertheless, Downie and his sources claim enough knowledge of objectivity to declare that “the standard was dictated over decades by male editors in predominantly White newsrooms and reinforced their own view of the world.”

    At one level this was almost certainly true. Journalism was long dominated by white males serving a largely white audience. The shortcomings in their “objective” view are clear to us now. Done properly, bringing more diverse viewpoints into newsrooms will only help newsrooms fulfill that traditional role of providing some approximation of a verifiable reality.

    But Downie and his allies err when they conflate the tool for the people wielding it. Objectivity is not a thing, it is a concept, a highly adaptable, ever-evolving approach to knowledge we use to describe reality, not to arrive at predetermined (i.e. white male) truths. It does not skew toward any conclusion. It presents information that others must verify and accede to.”

    The report’s focus on objectivity is not surprising given the academic left’s insistent attacks on it in every discipline – famous examples include the assertions that mathematics is an expression of white supremacy and that sex, gender, and most every other long-accepted description of reality are just a social constructs. The report ignores all of this context.

    The report’s real problem with journalistic objectivity seems to be that it has long encompassed the idea of “balance,” or a commitment to telling “both sides” of an issue. This is a straw man because it suggests that news outlets are committed to publishing false information just to be fair. The report offers no examples of such egregious behavior, much less showing that it is rampant. Instead, the critique seems aimed at allowing journalists to simply ignore views they do not agree with.

    The dangers of this approach are manifest, starting with efforts to censor voices during COVID who questioned the efficacy of masks or lockdowns and those who have raised concerns, only now being aired in mainstream outlets, about “gender-affirming care.”

    Journalists must have some approach to their craft, so the report urges them to “strive not just for accuracy but the truth.” But if objectivity is hard to define, accuracy is almost impossible, for it permits the assemblage of facts into a narrative that can be wholly misleading. The report does not address this issue. Nor does it define how anybody – much less journalists, who tend to be generalists instead of specialists, are qualified to identify the truth toward which they should strive. The Greeks called this fatal flaw hubris.”


    So basically their response is yes, we suck, but it’s Trump and white people’s fault.

    Soooo original.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Incompetence is rampant in this administration.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Not rational arguments is what you get from not rational people.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Send in the clowns…..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Told you, medically and mentally unfit for office.

    Now Dems will pull the switcheroo and install someone else.

    And yes, it was obvious before he was elected that there were issues.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Baaaaaaa…..

    The media and their herd mentality are at it again.

    Sheep, parrots, the outcome is the same. The same talking points “coincidentally” used by most media members.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. These people are gross and should be in prison.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well you know if Biden can be president and Kamala vice why not Fedderman..right? Being of sound mind has nothing to do with qualifications in this country any longer🥴

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The Biden admin’s response to this man made disaster is unacceptable.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Seems reasonable…..

    In a clown world.

    “Report: A $400K Missile Might Have Taken Down a $12 Hobby Balloon Over Yukon Territory

    “The descriptions of all three unidentified objects shot down Feb. 10-12 match the shapes, altitudes and payloads of the small pico balloons, which can usually be purchased for $12-180 each, depending on the type.”


    “President Joe Biden revealed the last three objects shot down by the military were not spy balloons.

    He admitted: “The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three ones were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”

    Well, one of those $400,000 missiles might have taken down a $12 hobby balloon from a club in Illinois. From Aviation Week:

    The club—the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB)—is not pointing fingers yet.

    But the circumstantial evidence is at least intriguing. The club’s silver-coated, party-style, “pico balloon” reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and a popular forecasting tool—the HYSPLIT model provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—projected the cylindrically shaped object would be floating high over the central part of the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That is the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area.

    There are suspicions among other prominent members of the small, pico-ballooning enthusiasts’ community, which combines ham radio and high-altitude ballooning into a single, relatively affordable hobby.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The stupid…. it hurts….


    “The late Robert Conquest adumbrated three rules of politics. Perhaps the most famous (also known as O’Sullivan’s law) is that ‘Any organisation not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing’. I would like to add a fourth law: ‘Any programme set up by government will inevitably metastasise unless consciously cut back by observant officials.’

    Anyone in search of a textbook example need look no further than the government’s Prevent programme, into which the government’s official review was finally published last week. William Shawcross’s excellent comprehensive report contains many things worth lingering over. But one of the most interesting is what he uncovered about Prevent’s saunter into ‘right-wing extremism’. Because of course it was never going to be enough for a government programme set up to tackle one form of extremism to look only into that form of extremism. It is almost inevitable that the people taking part will come to feel that there are other forms of ‘extremism’ that they must also focus on and that there is something almost bigoted about pursuing the specific thing they were set up to address. Thus does the great boondoggle of government justify itself.

    In any case, it transpires that the programme’s attempts to address right-wing extremism were even more inept than some of its attempts to address Islamist extremism. In part this is because the Prevent programme was advised by left-wing activist groups like Hope not Hate. Such groups have long believed that the definition of far-right should encompass, for instance, many people who supported Brexit. From campaigning against the National Front and the BNP, such groups ended up campaigning against Ukip. In other words, they ended up trying to stigmatise opinions that were in many cases (such as on Brexit and immigration) shared by a majority of the British people. Quite the hustle, that.

    Last weekend the press reported on an analysis done by Prevent’s ‘Research Information and Communications Unit’ (RICU) in 2019. This analysis looked into social media users described as ‘actively patriotic and proud’. Oh no – anything but actively patriotic and proud! Anyhow, according to RICU there were warning signs if people absorbed information or opinions from ‘pro-Brexit and centre-right commentators’. These included Jacob Rees-Mogg, Melanie Phillips, Rod Liddle and yours truly. So everybody reading this column is at as much risk of being ‘radicalised’ as some young Muslim settling down with a tape recording of Ayman al-Zawahiri or Osama bin Laden, and Rees-Mogg becomes the equivalent of a finger–waving imam sending the young off to become martyrs in the cause of Allah. Which is strange because he never came across that way to me when we crossed paths at Conservative Philosophy Group meetings.

    I have since been able to look over some of this pathetic material provided at public expense and can confirm that it gets worse. In one RICU document a number of books are singled out, the possession or reading of which could point to severe wrongthink and therefore potential radicalisation. These include a book on the Rotherham rape gangs, books by Peter Hitchens, Melanie Phillips and – once again – me. Without wanting to beat my own drum, the book of mine that is singled out for this sinister treatment is my 2017 work The Strange Death of Europe. This book spent almost 20 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller lists, has been translated into dozens of languages and was for some time the bestselling non-fiction book in the UK. So that is an awful lot of potential radicals just there.

    Like the attempt to delegitimise a book on the ‘grooming’ scandals in the north of England, it seems that RICU is so far off-track that it believes that books identifying the problem that it was itself set up to tackle are in fact a part of the problem. As I say, if you want a job for life, join a government programme that can end up forming a perfect circle of self-justification in such a fashion.

    When I first saw these documents I felt a sort of white-hot anger. But then I read on and saw that these same taxpayer-funded fools provide lists of other books shared by people who have sympathies with the ‘far-right and Brexit’. Key signs that people have fallen into this abyss include watching the Kenneth Clark TV series Civilisation, The Thick of It and Great British Railway Journeys. I need to stress again that I am not making this up. This has all been done on your dime and mine in order to stop ‘extremism’ in these islands.”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. When the shortages come for diabetes patients, take heart, sure you can’t get this life saving drug, but at least the rich and famous have a lost some weight.

    “The Booming Market for Backdoor Ozempic

    It’s not just celebrities. Women around the country are going to great lengths to procure ‘liquid gold’ in our bottomless appetite to be thin.”


    “It’s noon on a Wednesday, when most people would be eating lunch. But not Kate Barone, an Atlanta-based salon owner who is 5 feet 1 with blonde hair down to her waist. She recently got down to 90 pounds from a high of around 120 on semaglutide, the active ingredient in the blockbuster diabetes drug Ozempic.

    She said she’s off the injections for now while she undergoes fertility treatment to freeze her eggs. But she can’t wait to get back on the drug, which, she says, still has the lingering effect of suppressing her appetite.

    “I feel like I’m a drug addict—I want to, like, relapse,” she told me, laughing.

    Barone, 37, represents a new kind of Ozempic user, who gets the drug off-label from a medical spa that also provides Botox, fillers, and hair loss treatments—taking the drug far away from its medical roots and deep into the cosmetic sphere.

    Ozempic, taken once a week as a shot in the arm, stomach, or thigh, was first approved by the FDA in 2017 to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. But the drug came with an incredible side effect: rapid weight loss. In 2021, the FDA greenlit a higher dose semaglutide product, Wegovy—made by the same Danish manufacturer, Novo Nordisk—as an obesity treatment.

    Meanwhile, over the past year, the world has watched as some of our most famous celebrities started to shrink. Khloé Kardashian, who once called herself the “fat sister,” now has abs. Rebel Wilson and Mindy Kaling, who for years have admitted to struggles with their weight, are suddenly the smallest they’ve ever been. While all credited their new shape to exercise and foods like grilled salmon, unfounded rumors on social media alleged that the real cause was Ozempic. TikTokers even claimed, with no proof, that semaglutide helped Kim Kardashian shed 16 pounds to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” dress for the Met Gala (although she told Vogue it was a “sauna suit” and “strict” eating regime).

    As the rumors kept growing, Ozempic quickly became headline news as the magic bullet for getting skinny. Hollywood elites were outed for using it. So were rich people in the Hamptons and the tech world, including Elon Musk. Its use became so prevalent that, last January, The New York Times heralded the rise of “Ozempic face,” experienced by those who’ve lost so much weight on the drug they’re now injecting filler to correct their “facial aging and sagging.”

    Ozempic and Wegovy, which come in the form of preloaded injection pens, both require a prescription. They’re also not cheap. One Ozempic pen, which lasts about a month, costs around $1,000 before insurance. Wegovy is even more expensive, with prices starting at $1,300, and it isn’t covered by most insurance plans.

    Neither is a problem for rich, connected people, who can cajole a prescription out of doctors willing to figure out how to put the tab on their insurance—or can just pay the price. So many in these circles are now on the drug that one New York socialite told me Ozempic is “old news.”

    But that’s not the case for Barone, who feels as though she’s just discovered “liquid gold.” She and untold numbers of women, who work nine to five jobs but want to look like they spend all day at the gym, are going a different route for their fix.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Our local report said that missile was a practice missile. The jets were from the base where I have several relatives working. One of my uncles was a commander there. If a practice missile costs this much, imagine an actual missile.

    I thank God everyday for his faithful reporters, teachers, government workers etc. They are on the front lines.

    God tells us to love our enemies. Loving only our friends is what even sinners do. We do that with both words and actions. Telling the truth in love is not easy. Jesus did it. I pray for those on the front lines and all of us to be able to also do it.

    Liked by 3 people

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