Views on the News

Views on the News*

 January 21, 2017


The best thing that happened to Donald Trump all week is that BuzzFeed published the raw Russia dossier about him, which was an incredible act of journalistic irresponsibility and also the press leading with its chin.  Trump thrives off media hostility, and the more hostile, the less defensible, the better.  He portrayed himself as the victim of a stilted establishment; it fires up his supporters; and it keeps the debate on terrain that is familiar and favorable to him, whether or not he is being treated “fairly.”  It also allows him to adopt his preferred posture as a “counterpuncher.”  By publishing the uncorroborated dossier, BuzzFeed has associated the Russia issue with fantastical rumors and hearsay.  Its decision to post the document has to be considered another chapter in the ongoing saga of the media and Democrats losing their collective minds.  If the election had gone the other way, BuzzFeed never would have published a 35-page document containing unverified, lurid allegations about President-elect Hillary Clinton that it didn’t consider credible.  This was an anti-Trump decision, pure and simple.  It created a media firestorm, even though everyone knows by now that media firestorms are Trump’s thing.  They suck the oxygen away from everything except the transfixing melodrama surrounding Donald Trump.  The Democrats have done themselves no favors by implicitly refusing to accept the election results after browbeating Trump for months to accept the results in advance.  For all the Trump complaints about negative press coverage, he wants to be locked in a relationship of mutual antagonism with the media.  It behooves those journalists who aren’t partisans and reflexive Trump haters to avoid getting caught up in this dynamic. If they genuinely want to be public-spirited checks on Trump, they shouldn’t be more bitterly adversarial, but more responsible and fair.  This means covering Trump more as a “normal” President rather than as a constant clear and present danger to the republic.  It means going out of the way to focus on substance rather than the controversy of the hour.  It means a dose of modesty about how the media have lost the public’s trust, because of their bias and self-importance.  The press and Trump will continue to be at war, but only one party to the hostilities truly knows what he is doing, and it shows. 

(“Why the Media Lose to Trump” by Rich Lowry dated January 14, 2017 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/01/13/why_the_media_lose_to_trump_132788.html )

There is something quite awry in the contemporary news media, but it is not merely a temporary condition that will soon pass away and that the problem cannot be simply repaired.  The news media, as we have known it in the three quarters of a century since World War II, is disappearing much faster than we realize, and it might soon be extinct.  I am being very specific in speaking about the "news" media.  Communications, in some form, will continue, but what we have understood to be "the news" will arrive in other ways, perhaps primarily as data and notifications.  Advertising, promotions, storytelling, gossip, editorial writing, etc., will still find their way to the citizenry in a variety of formats, many of which we know today and some of which are being now invented.  I am talking only about "hard" news: the communication of events, facts and other relatively objectifiable information.  The U.S. presidential campaign of 2016 was not a sudden news reporting phenomenon of excessive bias, but it was the apotheosis of the breakdown of journalistic fairness and credibility that had been gaining acceleration in recent years.  It was inevitable that the ideological polarity so evident today was a long time coming, not only in journalism, but in virtually every aspect of U.S. political life.   Ironically, in the run-up to Trump securing the nomination, the establishment media actually helped enable Trump to win, not because they knew what he was doing (and how he was adroitly using them), but because they knew he was a box office attraction and boosted ratings.  In order to eschew fair new coverage of Trump in the last four months of the 2016 campaign, the media had to abandon even the semblance of fairness.   The biased news coverage not only failed to change the minds of pro-Trump voters, but also backfired with most undecided voters, many of whom found the media language and bias offensive and transparent.  Confidence in media news reporting had long been in decline before Donald Trump appeared on the stage.  Years of incessant political correctness had been enforced in the establishment media generally, not just in news reporting, and many Americans simply did not buy this ideological product.  Self-communicating and self-congratulatory, the establishment media had little idea of how perilous their public standing was.  By overplaying their hand in the autumn of 2016, they brought the whole media credibility issue to its threshold.  The media establishment did have one major clue to their fundamental problem: falling ratings, falling circulation, falling advertising.  Their response has been to interpret these phenomena as simply a problem of technology, including the rise of the internet and social media.  The icons of the golden age of news reporting such as The New York Times; the Washington Post; and the major TV, cable, and radio networks are today often caricatures of news reporting.  They survive only because their primary audiences are in large urban centers, where their bias coincides with their readers, listeners, and viewers.  Outside these urban pockets, their national credibility is gone.  Thus, after Donald Trump was elected President, the media establishment has doubled down on its bias, including cooperating with the Democrat Party campaign to put down Trump's appointees and his stated initiatives even before he takes office.  A laudable number of those who were vehemently opposed to Trump are now adapting to the reality of his election.  That does not mean they now agree with him or support him, but they are willing to give him a chance to perform in office before criticizing him.  Those who are opinion journalists will continue to be critical and skeptical.  No politician or elected official of any party merits an uncritical free ride, and that includes Donald Trump.  Those in the establishment news media who continue to confuse the front page with the editorial page are only hastening the long-term process in which traditional news media institutions are disappearing and being replaced.

(“The ‘News’ Media as we Knew It is Finished” by Barry Casselman dated January 15, 2017 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/01/the_news_media_as_we_knew_it_is_finished.html )

There is no longer one America, because there are now two radically different Americas.  The Democrats led by the left represent both American coasts and urban cities, while the Republicans and their conservative base represent the rest of the country, sandwiched in between the leftist elites.  Our country used to be represented by two major political parties that had the same end, values, and vision but differed in methodology.  Conservatives do not share the same mission as the left and their missions are polar opposites, and the divide is unbridgeable.  While conservatives seek a return to the principles of less government, a free market, and sovereignty, the left seeks open borders, wealth redistribution, and statism.  For the last eight years, the left has made considerable progress under of Barack Obama.  Under his administration, businesses are overregulated and heavily taxed.  Health care was socialized, and our borders are wide open.  Sanctuary cities sprang up, and the resettlement of migrants from hostile third-world war-torn countries continue to be given a welcome mat.  No longer is there any distinction between a citizen and an illegal for many in the media, our universities, and our local institutions.  Schools and law enforcement are told to look the other way when confronted with those who have entered our country illegally.  Those of us who seek to preserve our culture, sovereignty, and language are labeled as racists, bigots, Islamophobes, and the usual litany of insults.  Language is key when it comes to winning a war of ideas, and the left has succeeded in shutting down debate by resorting to name-calling and ridicule of opponents.  Fear and shame work, and no one knows that better than those who have successfully used it to shut down free speech.  Currently, there is a move by the left to censor conservatives on the internet.  Censorship is commonly utilized in countries run by tyrants, and its use here threatens our liberty, while much of America remains clueless that censorship is even taking place.  It is imperative for conservatives to employ alternative strategies to get our message out to the public.  Even though we have talk radio and social media to advance our message, this now has limitations, with threats of censorship and regulations.  What can only be described as a nonviolent civil war between the left and the right has now infiltrated all walks of life.  The presidential campaign is still ongoing, even though the election is over and Trump and Republicans won.   The left hopes it can overturn the results of the election or impeach President-elect Trump.  Furthermore, Obama, unlike his predecessors, has stated he will remain in D.C. to obstruct the incoming president and the Trump agenda.  In effect, the left will try to stop Trump and the Republicans from being able to govern.  They and their cohorts in the media, Hollywood, and the universities will do everything they can to stop the will of the people.  Lawsuits will be filed and fake news stories will be planted to delegitimize President-Elect Trump and those who support him.  Each one of us must view himself as a foot soldier in this battle to retake the country back from the leftists.  The election may be over, but the war continues, so fight on! 

(“The unbridgeable divide” by Shari Goodman dated January 13, 2017 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/01/the_unbridgeable_divide.html )


It is naïve to think that political correctness is simply a matter of being scolded for saying something unacceptable to liberals, because it has become much more than that.  Political correctness is a deliberate tool used by the Left to intimidate conservatives and people of faith into silence, with the goal of making our classic and time-tested opinions illegitimate.  Political Correctness is a strategy, a weapon of social warfare, a bullying against those unwilling to reshape and renounce their traditional belief system and bow to the dictates of the leftocracy dead-set on total domination of our lives and culture.  It enforces censorship and activates demonization, threatening those unwilling to submit and apologize with loss of job, livelihood, social acceptability, company sales, friends, reputation, and status.  In many ways it is worse than the McCarthyism practiced in the early 50s.  Whereas McCarthy was generally correct regarding the communist leanings and activities of his targets, liberal political-correctness czars are off-the-wall incorrect when accusing regular and patriotic Americans of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, or whatever is the latest “ism”.  Today’s  New McCarthyites exist and labor on the Left and are engaged in the thoroughly un-American activity of censoring speech, curtailing and ostracizing religious freedom, and doing whatever they can to deconstruct traditional family life and taint the values of our parents, our Founders, and our grandparents as evil.  The good news is that we are not helpless!  Even enunciating, as we do, that marriage is defined by the union of man and woman only, as has been understood throughout history and until recently the law of our country, brings an indictment of being a “bigot and extremist” by those using political correctness to forever stigmatize and outcast those who disagree with their ever expanding parameter of disallowable opinion.  What is normal belief today will become tomorrow’s politically incorrect and forbidden opinion and be used by future inquisitors to defame and destroy those they want out of the way.  What is radical and detestable today will be sanctified and normalized tomorrow, and you better subscribe if you want society’s opportunities or an ability to make a living.  When thinking of the modus operandi of political correctness, one is reminded of the Spanish Inquisition against non-believers.  Today’s liberals have replaced the clerics of old with their own Inquisitors of right and wrong and have substituted the concept of sin with their own set of rigid “sinful” dictates.  Anything that does not sanctify every form of public sexual (mis)conduct, or strives for wholesomeness, or even patriotism, is punishable.  By virtue of being a conservative, a person of faith, a Southerner, a heartland American, or a white Evangelical Christian you are automatically assumed to be a racist, etc., and the politically-correct vultures are ready to pick your bones before you say anything, so that once you do, they can twist your words negatively to mean something you never intended or even envisioned.  We hear from liberals that when President Trump and his followers speak of making America Great Again we mean Make America White Again.   What he means is that America should once again be prosperous; that the middle class be revived and that good, manufacturing jobs be available so families can live with dignity; that family life and wholesomeness be once again exalted; that America be crime-free; that Americans be protected from terrorism and inhere a sense of confidence; and that our elected leaders, a President, love America instead of constantly castigating her.  When liberals make these accusations it exposes the bigotry they carry, and have long carried, inside their bosom.  Too many of the coastal elites have been taught to believe the worst about regular white Americans.  They see racism in us because they have been raised and schooled on a diet of bigotry against fellow Americans as somehow uneducated, or religious and intolerant “rednecks”.  They persist in these misguided beliefs about their countrymen because they don’t know their countrymen, they don’t live around them; they attend different schools and colleges; and because there’s no draft, do not serve with them in the military.  They assume the worst, but, that’s their sin, their prejudice.  We need not prove ourselves to them; they need to get off their pedestal and strip their hearts of the false narratives around which they chatter.  Precisely because they’ve been on their perch these last 50 years indicting heartland Americans and Evangelical Christians they’ve not undergone the introspection they should regarding their attitude towards the people they continue to criticize.  They are unaware and do not give credit to the millions of across-the-board acts of charity and kindness routinely performed by religious, heartland America.  We’ve undergone 50 years of introspection; now it’s their turn.  There is no doubt that the enforcers of political correctness continue to do so as a way of constantly bragging about their moral superiority, that they are better than the rest of us, and get a thrill out of making others bend to their will. It gives them a sense of power and self-righteousness.  As long as we jump to their demands, we reinforce that power.  We have to stop capitulating to their bullying and we have a new president who will give us the confidence to finally do so.

(“Political Correctness as a Tool of the Liberal Inquisition” by Aryeh Spero dated January 18, 2017 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/01/political_correctness_as_a_tool_of_the_liberal_inquisition.html )

My image of the government has become increasingly tarnished with every passing year as the image degenerated into one of a government run in large part by kleptocrats, liars, and outright hucksters.  I believe that Hillary Clinton was among the worst of them, and had she won, I am convinced that the republic would soon have ceased to exist.  For example, Lou Dobbs, in a televised interview, opined that Trump’s election had rescued the nation from disaster.  The saga continues, however, as we find the inhabitants of “the swamp” are in what one commentator referred to as an existential struggle.  Their jobs are at risk.  In some cases, the very agencies which employ them may soon be drastically reduced in size, or even abolished entirely.  When their jobs are threatened, bureaucrats go nuclear, explaining a lot of the anti-Trump fanaticism we are seeing now.  This is what Donald J. Trump is up against, a bureaucratic machine that fully intends to catch him in its cogs and grind him to political death.  Its denizens will stop at nothing, because for them, to lose this battle is worse than death; it is to be exposed as the irrelevant, purposeless creatures they have become.  One prime exemplar is Walter Shaub Jr., Office of Government Ethics.  Throughout the first four years of his five-year tenure, Shaub never found any reason to investigate the vast array of scandals involving Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, and Barbara Boxer, among many others.  Now that Trump is preparing to be inaugurated, however, Shaub has suddenly developed a keen and penetrating interest in a non-issue, that of Trump’s conflicts of interest, which according to law, never apply to a sitting president. He is exempt from them, but Shaub is unimpressed with such laws.  In a government of unaccountable officials, the CIA (along with its sister intelligence agencies) is likely the least accountable of all, for the very essence of its existence is secrecy.  It has been called a “shadow government,” with its own agenda and its own carefully concealed budget.  Trump has crossed them, and their knives will be out to protect both their agendas and budgets.  For Trump, his greatest challenge will be not merely to govern a nation, but to conquer a massive bureaucracy that is in full and open rebellion against him, and against the American people. 

(“Trump vs. the Bureaucracy” by Robert Arvay dated January 16, 2017 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/01/trump_vs_the_bureaucracy.html )

Climate change alarmists are not just upset about Trump’s victory, they have completely lost their sanity.  After the election, there were reports of EPA employees breaking down in tears and Energy Department staffers needing counseling.  Last month at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, climate celebrity Michael Mann urged about 26,000 scientists to “step forward and make our voices heard, not just for the sake of scientific research but for the sake of the entire planet.”  The Union of Concerned Scientists penned a letter to Trump, signed by thousands of scientists, demanding more resources for scientific agencies, without which “the consequences are real….we will be less prepared to limit the impacts of increasing extreme weather and rising seas.”  Climate alarmists may actually be less fearful about the fate of the planet and more afraid that climate science will finally get a hard look at the federal level that is way overdue.  For eight years, activist-led agencies in the Obama administration have had their way, passing harsh rules and regulations all in the name of climate change.  Agencies like the EPA and NOAA have rejected and ignored congressional oversight, particularly inquiries from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, led by Congressman Lamar Smith.  He has accused the EPA of being driven by a political agenda rather than sound science; the agency has often refused to cooperate with Congress. That kind of stonewalling will end next week, and it’ll be interesting to see what Trump officials find at these agencies (assuming all data, emails, and research are left intact).  There appear to be some cracks emerging from the fierce grip the scientific-political class has on climate change. A few brave scientists are finally speaking out about the cult-like environment of climate science where anyone who challenges current dogma will be attacked, vilified, and even have their careers destroyed.  Judith Curry posted a jaw-dropping article about why she’s retiring as professor of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.  Curry, who has written books, articles, and testified before Congress on climate change, cites her “growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.” She says scientists must go along with the political groupthink at universities on climate change that is a “battle of scientific integrity vs. career suicide.”  Curry says the private sector is a better place for scientists to work rather than the “politicized field” at universities and in government.  To climate change activists, the science is settled and there is nothing to discuss.  Not only is this not how science is done, it is a political statement rather than a scientific one.  It actually might be the climate changers who are in denial, that there is a real possibility they’ve been dead, flat wrong, and this, not Trump, is what scares them the most. 

(“Reaction To Trump’s Team Proves Climate Alarmists Are The Real Deniers” by Julie Kelly dated January 16, 2017 published by The Federalist at http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/09/reaction-trumps-team-proves-climate-alarmists-real-deniers/ )

Barack Obama the commander in chief ended two costly wars, ordered the mission that killed the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, but otherwise left the United States strategically weaker in an increasingly dangerous world.  Attribute this failure to the President’s persistent penchant to overthink, to the point of paralysis, the use of American power, and his unhealthy habit of alienating a key ally in the world’s most volatile region.  The Obama who stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009 had grandiose designs. He promised to withdraw American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Sharpen the nation’s focus in the war on terrorism, and nurture U.S. alliances that had been terribly tested, working far more cooperatively with likeminded nations to tackle common challenges.  Aside from his drone strikes and special forces attacks, it is hard to identify an unalloyed success.  The Arab Spring in 2010 caught him on his heels, and America’s halting response to that upheaval failed to safeguard the nation’s interests.  In Libya, an air-powered intervention designed to save innocent lives deposed Moammar Khadafy but egregiously failed to plan for the aftermath, leaving chaos in its midst, an outcome he himself calls his “worst mistake.”  Poorly planned withdrawal from Iraq allowed Al Qaeda remnants and Saddam loyalists to reconstitute into a more virulent terrorist offshoot, the Islamic State that took over large swaths of territory, raping, enslaving and killing as it went.  In Syria, where Obama threatened military action in response to the use of chemical weapons, then backed down , then seemed paralyzed, the President must reckon with a humanitarian catastrophe of historic proportions .  ISIS has metastasized, inspiring terrorists around the world to target moderate Muslims and innocents in Western nations.  With timely, intelligent American intervention. not boots on the ground, but targeted action at the right time, it might have turned out differently.  Not far away, Obama has made a hash of one of the only constants in the U.S. foreign policy firmament: the relationship with Israel.  Obama found repeated cause to destabilize the no-daylight friendship with the Jewish state, culminating in the terrible choice to abstain from a United Nations vote condemning settlements.  Outside the Middle East, the legacy is a little more hopeful.  Obama was right to thaw relations with Communist Cuba, which had been frozen in place decades after the end of the Cold War.  He was right to reorient America toward the Far East, where he pushed for a free-trade agreement, patiently building its framework, until the political winds blew hard in the opposite direction and killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  It’s a big world. That’s a very partial list.  Obama’s mark on the globe, guided by the not-especially coherent mantra “Don’t do stupid s--t,” left a trail of not-very-smart you-know-what nearly everywhere he seemed to go.

(“Obama’s world: The President's not-very-smart foreign policy legacy” dated January 14, 2017 published by New York Daily News at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-world-president-foreign-policy-legacy-article-1.2946188 )


There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·  Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY