It’s always interesting to see lawyers, judges and gun control advocates lobby for restrictions on gun ownership—a fundamental constitutional right—that they wouldn’t tolerate for a moment were it applied to speech.

I was pointed (via Twitter) to this article in the Hartford Courant from last week on a hearing before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on the Connecticut ban on AR-15-style rifles and “large” (read: “standard”) size magazines. The judge hearing the case, Christopher Droney, seems to have little respect or command of the second amendment.

U.S. Circuit Judge Christopher Droney on Tuesday seemed to acknowledge a potential government interest in banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines when he cited statistics that show “over 50 percent of recent mass shootings used a combination of the two.”

For the state to ban the guns and magazines, “they have to have substantial evidence” that in doing so, they would prevent criminals from having access to them, Thompson argued. That’s not the case, he said, because millions are produced nationwide and such bans do not exist in other states.

“You’re saying don’t bother to outlaw them because there are so many around that the criminals will have access to them, so let law-abiding citizens have access to them, too?” Judge Droney asked in response. “Is that what you’re saying?”

Judges are, of course, used to deference and respect (deserved or not) from those appearing before him. However, if I’m a lawyer (and I’m not) and I’m presented with this question, my retort would be something along the lines of:

You’re saying that a minuscule percentage of these guns will be used by criminals, so millions of law-abiding citizens can’t have them either?

Cars are used every day to aid thieves and robbers in fleeing from the scenes of their crimes. So, every car should be equipped with a governor to prevent it from travelling faster than average jogging speed?

Unless the American people elect another liberal president in 2016, then there’s a high likelihood that the 2nd Amendment will be ruled by judges to actually mean what it says.

That day can’t come too soon.

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Many years ago when I was a copy editor/page designer at the North County Times we had a reporter that had gotten an interview that everyone on the San Diego area news media was angling for. A local man had gotten into a serious car accident across the border in Mexico and, because he didn’t have Mexican car insurance, the local authorities wouldn’t allow him to be transferred to a U.S. hospital for treatment. The man died.

Our reporter was the first one to get an interview with the man’s newly widowed wife and turned in 40-some column inches of copy on the interview. It got past the line editor, but when it got to me, I turned to the reporter and said “Wait a minute Tim, this reads like a court transcript. It’s dry. Did she pause and break down crying at any point? Did have a hitch in her voice? Did a tear roll down her cheek?”

It’s those little details that make really compelling journalism. It’s the little stuff that makes the reader feel like they’re in the room with the reporter. I can remember writing a long feature on a little old lady who’d been volunteering for decades as a librarian/helper at a local elementary school. She didn’t know it, but they were going to name the library after her in a couple weeks, so I was writing our Sunday “People” feature on her and her life. As I interviewed her in her living room, she sat in a chair with her legs over the arm of the chair like a teenager. I made that mention up high in the story and inside was a picture of her seated like that. That little detail really made the story pop.

Which brings us to the University of Virgina gang rape hoax which began to unravel on Friday. The original Rolling Stone story was a case study in bad journalism, whether the original rape claim was true or not—and it appears that if something did happen to “Jackie,” it certainly wasn’t what Rolling Stone reported.

As the new media began to do what Rolling Stone’s fact-checkers should’ve done before the article ever went to press, it was the little inconsistencies, the details that make a compelling narrative, that make you feel like you were there, that raised the first alarm bells.

The fraternity also said it has reviewed the roster of employees at the university’s Aquatic and Fitness Center for 2012 and found that it does not include a member of the fraternity — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Post — and that no member of the house matches the description detailed in the Rolling Stone account. The statement also said that the house does not have pledges during the fall semester.

It’s that last sentence that really jumped out at me. There’s no fraternity rush in the fall. There are no pledges in the fall. Yet that’s when “Jackie” claims she was gang raped as part of some fraternity ritual. It’s something that would quickly become apparent if you were a reporter on the U Va. campus and you talked to fraternity members—any fraternity members—during fall term.

It reminded me of the movie “Shattered Glass” about New Republic writer Stephen Glass, a confessed fabulist.

Despite frantic attempts at spin from (Stephen) Glass, (Charles) Lane discovers that the convention room at the hotel was not open the day the convention supposedly took place and that the restaurant where they supposedly ate dinner closed in the early afternoon.

It happens over and over again. The little details, whether it’s when fraternities rush or if a restaurant isn’t open for dinner, are what make or break stories like this. They can provide a compelling narrative, or they can reveal where a reporter’s taken shortcuts, relied on a dishonest source, or fabricated incidents from whole cloth.

As of today, the Rolling Stone story is in some odd limbo state. The editor’s apologized for the story, but hasn’t retracted it.

It’s possible “Jackie” was raped that night back in 2012. But it’s also pretty apparent that, if she was, it didn’t happen as she described it to Rolling Stone.

But the worst offender in this whole situation is the reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdley.

Magazine writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely knew she wanted to write about sexual assaults at an elite university. What she didn’t know was which university.

So, for six weeks starting in June, Erdely interviewed students from across the country. She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right. But one did: the University of Virginia, a public school, Southern and genteel, brimming with what Erdely calls “super-smart kids” and steeped in the legacy of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

So, she had an idea: There’s a “rape culture” that permeates American Universities. And then she went from school to school to school until she found someone who’d tell her a truly shocking story that would get her piece on the cover of Rolling Stone. It couldn’t be just a “rape,” it had to be a “gang rape” as part of a fraternity initiation. Not something that happens to poor women in high crime areas on a daily basis, but something that could happen to someone like her. Someone like the readers of Rolling Stone.

I don’t know if Erdely consciously coached “Jackie,” or if her prodding and questions was akin to the child sex scandals so prevalent in the 1990s where poorly trained cops and psychologists encouraged children to spin wild tales of torture and sex abuse that to a sane observer obviously couldn’t be true. Whatever the case, Erdely obviously so wanted “Jackie’s” claims to be outrageous and true that any normal journalistic skepticism was quickly and effectively suppressed.

And like the child sex scandals of the ’90s, the media and ivory tower elites are telling us again that children and women don’t lie about these things—and if you question any specific rape claims, then you’re somehow questioning whether rape ever occurs.

Journalism. Wound. Self-inflicted.

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The Washington Post decided to triple-down on its war on women by naming former GOP staffer and nobody Elizabeth Lauten as having the “Worst Week in Washington.”

When I saw this on Twitter, I had a rather succinct response, that ended up leading the “Media” category on Twitchy for most of the afternoon.

Did she plead guilty to rape?

Did she plead guilty to rape?

I’ll tell you who really had the Worst Week in Washington: The Washington Post which has run 13 stories on Ms. Lauten in the past week. If Jeff Bezos is wondering whether there’s fat to be cut in the Post newsroom, he doesn’t need to look any further than the wall-to-wall coverage over an incredibly tame Facebook post compared to the non-coverage of Donny Ray Williams Jr., who is a serial rapist.

And a Democrat, which would explain why the Post wrote only two stories on his crimes, once in 2012 when he was charged, and another this week after the guilty plea.

If the news media wants to know why they’re held in such contempt. This is the answer. Chris Cillizza is a moral cripple. Someone whose values are so out of whack with the majority of Americans that he might as well be a space alien.

Their reputation is shot. For every Sharyl Atkisson or Bernard Goldberg, there’s 40, or 400, so-called journalists who will lie (either by omission or commission) to bolster their preferred political goals or party.

Cillizza’s a hack. When dealing with him, GOP operatives or politicians should go in clear-eyed. They’re not dealing with an honest journalist trying to fairly provide both sides of the story. They’re dealing with a Democratic operative. Think Bob Beckel, but less honest.

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Once upon a time, in journalism schools across the country, lip service was paid to the notion that it was a reporter’s job to report the news without fear or favor and to hold those in power accountable for their actions.

They’re not even trying anymore.

If you watched the Big 3 networks morning and evening news shows on Sunday and Monday, you’re probably familiar with Elizabeth Lauten. Up until a few days ago, she was a staffer for a GOP House member that you’ve never heard of. Now she’s out of a job because she wrote a Facebook post criticizing President Obama’s daughters in what could be the most “meh” controversy in the history of Washington politics.

Lauten’s post read:

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.

Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.

And for that, the NBC gave the “controversy” 6:13 of airtime; ABC gave it 2:37; and CBS gave 5:23. Over a Facebook post. Written by a nobody.

On the print side, the Washington Post, assigned a foreign affairs reporter to investigate Lauten’s juvenile record and college writings. Some TV stations sent trucks to Lauten’s parents home. I’d encourage you to read Mollie Hemingway’s piece over at The Federalist for a worthwhile rip into the media coverage of Lauten with comparisons to far more odious comments by Democratic elected officials. In addition to a slew of double standards when it comes to the appropriateness of saying anything about the children of public figures from the media.

At the same time that Lauten was the subject of the media’s “Two Minutes Hate” , another former congressional staffer was in court.

A former Democratic congressional aide pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting two women in 2010.

Donny Ray Williams Jr., 37, who served as a staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats.

At this point, you can play “what if…” Williams had been a GOP staffer. You’d probably also be shocked to find out that Williams didn’t warrant a mention on the network evening broadcasts either.

Williams had been indicted on 10 counts, but prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they would seek a suspended prison term and five years of supervised probation. Williams also would have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Democrat staffer rapes women, gets sweetheart deal involving no jail time and it gets 281 words on A5 of the Washington Post.

In Hemingway’s article, she includes this line:

There are many wonderful reporters. They work hard to get the story right and provide a valuable service to their readers and viewers. But we have a serious problem — and it’s a problem at the editor level at least as much as it’s a problem at the reporter level.

I’m not sure about the “many.” Not any more. Reporters and editors who truly cared about how their organizations are perceived by a substantial portion of the American public would be going ape over the excessive coverage of a nobody staffer who mildly criticized President Obama’s daughters. They’d see the confession by the “architect” of Obamacare that he lied and played on the ignorance of the American people to pass a bill that effectively nationalized 1/5th of the American economy as a serious story not because Republicans are screaming about it, but because it’s a serious story.

The “mainstream media” hasn’t been anywhere near the political middle for decades. They claim to be neutral, playing stories down the center, when they’re really nothing of the sort. They’re leftists by and large. Their goal is to advance their political preferences at the expense of any integrity they may ever have possessed. Try as she might, Hemingway can’t shame them into fairness, honesty or living up to those j-school ideals. They sold their souls long ago, willingly. There is no return.

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If you’re not familiar with the story, I commend to you this article by National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke.

If I were teaching a journalism class today (as if any j-school faculty would have someone with my views), we’d spend a week on this story. What you would do as an editor when presented with this story. What you would do as a reporter. Was the way the reporter went about getting the story ethical? How do you ensure the truth of this story? What can we learn from Stephen Glass, Janet Cooke and Jayson Blair?

I don’t know whether or not the U Va. rape story is a fabrication or not, but Charles Cooke’s got this right:

If the rape that Sabrina Rubin Erdely is reporting as true happened as she described it, nothing short of apoplectic rage and a series of extraordinarily harsh prison sentences will cut it. Heads will have to roll. Investigations will have to be ordered. And, yes, the alleged victim ought to forfeit her preferences and help the authorities find those responsible and bring them to justice. If it is untrue, however, an entirely different set of questions will need to be asked: Chief among them, what is it about the problem of rape that has led us to this place?

Which brings me to Rachel Sklar, a lawyer and writer who doesn’t appear to care about either the presumption of innocence or writing the truth.

So, if you question the veracity of a story anonymously told to a reporter that’s never been tested in a court of law, you’re a rape apologist.

Does that make the Medill Justice Project, a group with the laudable goal of ensuring that the wrongfully convicted are exonerated (even if they don’t live up to their goal) are murder apologist because they question the guilt of convicted murderers?

I doubt that Sklar would apply the same standard.

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So, Tuesday’s election was an ass-whupping of historic proportions. Of the “in-play” seats in the U.S. Senate, only New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen appears to have survived. In Virginia, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie came within a whisker of ousting Sen. John Warner in a race that appeared on absolutely no one’s radar. In Arkansas, not only did Tom Cotton oust Sen. Mark Pryor—the “close” race turned out to be a landslide—but the home state of Bill Clinton’s entire congressional delegation will be Republican. That’s right, Arkansas isn’t sending a single Democrat to Washington.

On last night’s “Special Report” on Fox News Channel, National Journal columnist and panel regular Ron Fournier said Tuesday’s election was an order from the American people for Congress and the President to work together to get the people’s business done. Fournier pointed to exit polls that showed voters didn’t like Democrats or Republicans. Note that these are the same exit polls that gave us President John Kerry for a few hours back in November 2004.

The fact of the matter is that not a single Senate Republican up for reelection this week lost his or her seat. In the House, the GOP gained more than a dozen seats, and if an incumbent Republican lost in the House, the media hasn’t made a big brouhaha about it.

If you’re an electorate that’s mad about all the bastards in Washington, D.C., and their failure to work together, wouldn’t you expect there to be an anti-incumbent wave rather than an anti-Democrat wave?

In fact, Fournier is really just parroting this statement by soon-to-be-minority-leader Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Really no surprise there, but the question for Fournier and Reid would be this: If Tuesday night’s results represent a mandate for Democrats and Republicans to work together. Exactly how would Tuesday night have looked different if the election was a restraining order against President Obama?

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The last few days leading up to what is widely expected to be a Democrat massacre in the midterm elections tomorrow has highlighted much of the worst in the mainstream media. The New York Times last week published an article decrying the “Bumpkinification of the Midterm Elections”  because the GOP looks likely to take over control of the Senate. Today they published an op-ed piece calling for the cancellation of midterm elections all together. Of course, this type of government reform wasn’t on their radar in 2006 when Democrats swept into power in Congress against an unpopular president.

As is always the case with the mainstream media, it’s politics above principle—journalistic principles included.

If you’re ticked off about the mainstream media’s coverage (and sometimes non-coverage) of this election cycle, and you’re wondering where they learned it, they learned it from guys like Dan Gillmor. Gillmor is an instructor at Arizona State University and author of “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, for the People.” Believe it or not, this book sits on my bookshelf. I believe I picked it up for $1 many years ago at the Union-Tribune’s regular book sale for charity where they sell books sent to the paper to be reviewed. I don’t believe Gillmor’s book was reviewed, which is how I came into possession of it. (For the record, I haven’t actually got around to reading it.)

Now that Gillmor is a J-school instructor, he’s free to be himself and cast off the pretension at objectivity that was a long-ago staple of journalists. Over the past few days, some of his tweets were ironically retweeted by some people I follow on Twitter, and I started periodically taking a look at what he was saying.

The tweet that first caught my eye was this one:

For the record, I don’t approve of the mailer in the linked story. However, the only person likely swayed or intimidated by such a mailer is a low-information voter that probably should stay home anyway. And, if the person is interested enough to actually read the dang thing, they wouldn’t be worried anyway. The first sentence is:

This document serves as a notification to you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth, of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area. [emphasis in original]

Frankly, I find this far more intimidating, but I didn’t bother searching back to see if Gillmor was equally concerned about this type of behavior.

    

Late yesterday, Gillmor posted another tweet defending Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s take on her constituents as a bunch of racist, sexist bigots: 

Yep, those Louisiana Republicans are so racist the governor of the state is an Indian-American. I suspect they may be doing it wrong.

So, I responded.

Note the capitalized letters at the beginning of my response. But before I get into that, let’s get Gillmor’s retort.

Guilty. Guilty as charged. Yes, I fundamentally changed his words. But you’d think someone whose “primary gig is teaching digital media literacy” would be twitter-literate.

And:

The MT indicates that I modified the original tweet. Combine the two together and I was sarcastically disagreeing with him and indicated that I’d changed his words. And it’s not like this is uncommon.

I thought my responses merited some response from Gillmor, but none was forthcoming. Causing me to wonder why.

Well, that would explain it. A j-school professor teaching digital media to the next generation of journalists who is deficient in his craft and so intellectually insecure that he can’t and won’t engage someone who disagrees with his politics.

There’s a term for this: Hack.

And the final irony, from the precis of Gillmor’s book:

Journalism in the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the Big Media that prevails today. We the Media casts light on the future of journalism, and invites us all to be a part of it.

Everyone except me, I guess.

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Sally Kohn is a lesbian, CNN contributor and has a law degree (allegedly). She’s also a militant gay fascist who would like to force Bible-believing Christians out of the public sphere and probably into camps if she had her way. As The Federalist’s Robert Tracinski wrote, she’s a decidedly illiberal “liberal.”

What is interesting about Kohn’s piece is that it reveals the mechanism by which “liberals” have become systematically illiberal. I’m old enough to remember a time when they supposedly just wanted to regulate the economy but wanted the government to stay out of our personal lives, particularly our sex lives. All of that now seems hopelessly antique, and Kohn’s column reveals why: the power to control our economic lives contains within it the power to control everything else.

Why does Kohn presume that the government has the right to force the Hitching Post in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, to perform gay weddings? Because it is a business rather than a non-profit organization. In the worldview of the so-called liberal, to engage in commerce is to deliver yourself bound hand-and-foot to the state.

On Twitter, user TheRightWingM posted this question on whether or not a business had a legal duty to do business with someone whose views, beliefs and behaviors that they found objectionable.

SallyKohn_Westboro

Kohn’s response:

SallyKohn_Response

I realize it’s Twitter, but WTF? “Political views are not protected under Const(titutional) interpretation….” Kohn’s correct that newspapers are not legally obligated (allowed isn’t the right word) to print ads they don’t want to (I’m not sure what a “positional ad” is, but it’s irrelevant). That’s because they’re a private business and they can refuse to take your money to print an ad. Just like a photographer can refuse to take your picture, a baker can refuse to bake you a cake or a minister can refuse to marry gays.

Oops, that’s the point, right? Kohn wants the government to force private businesses to do her bidding when it comes to the photographer, the baker and the minister. Most newspapers will probably fall into line rather than having to be forced by Kohn and her ilk.

Later in the day, Aaron Worthing (aka Walker), schooled Kohn on the Constitution, and it really is an epic beatdown. Read it all here.

What is clear from all of this is that there’s no more “live and let live” when it comes to homosexuality in American society. Christians failed to articulate the case for “traditional” one man-one woman marriage and American culture will suffer for it. When it comes to the Constitution and the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion, it must be made secondary to the whims of gay fascists like Kohn. As I put it succinctly on Twitter:

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Too many million Americans still get their news from the Big 3 major network newscasts, and with the midterm elections just one week away those millions have been ill served by those news organizations. Last week a Media Research Center study of the evening newscasts for ABC, CBS and NBC found a precipitous dropoff in the coverage of midterm elections in the sixth year of a presidency. Obama, like Bush 43, is decidedly unpopular in his sixth year in office (though you wouldn’t know that either from the way the media reports the polls—but that’s a different blog post), and that means a likely sea change in the political landscape in Washington, D.C. come next Tuesday. In 2006, in the two months leading up to what was to become a Democratic takeover of Congress, the Big 3 networks had a total of 159 stories about election races. In 2014, when it looks likely that the GOP will easily hold the House and take over the Senate, those same networks had done a total of 25 stories—and ABC had done none.

MRC_Midterm_2006_2014

 

It wasn’t until last night, just eight days before the election, that ABC finally ran an election story. The lead-in from anchor David Muir: “The countdown is on, this evening, to the midterm elections tonight. Your voice, your vote. Just eight days to go before this election. The stakes? Enormous.”

Really?

If they’re enormous and it’s important, why is your first reporting of it when it’s eight days out?

Would election reporting be more plentiful on these networks if Obama was riding a wave of popularity and Democrats were likely to take back the House and extend their grip on the Senate? Certainly. The major networks are extensions of the Democratic Party (with few exceptions).

Want more evidence?

Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who won Emmys for investigating the Bush administration, highlighted another bit of journalistic malfeasance that took place at CBS shortly before the 2012 presidential election.

Perhaps the most eye-opening tale involves CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Benghazi and the president. During the second presidential debate in 2012, Obama challenged Mitt Romney by insisting he had labeled the assault in Libya a terrorist attack the very next day. This became a huge controversy, especially since CNN’s Candy Crowley had sided with the president.
Turns out that Steve Kroft had conducted a “60 Minutes” interview with Obama the day after the attack, portions of which had never aired. When Attkisson did a story on the flap, her CBS bosses instructed her to use a particular script and a particular sound bite that seemed to back up the president’s version.

She was stunned when a CBS colleague later read her another exchange from the interview:

KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya attack.

OBAMA: Right.

The correspondent then asked point-blank:

KROFT: Do you believe that this was a terrorist attack?

OBAMA: Well, it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans.

Attkisson writes, “I couldn’t get past the fact that upper-level journalists at CBS had been a party to misleading the public.”

Under pressure from Attkisson and others, the network posted the exchange on its website the Sunday night before the election, but it got lost in the final hours of the campaign. She says CBS News President David Rhodes promised her there would be an internal investigation, but she never heard another word about it.

CBS News President David Rhodes has a brother doesn’t he?

The longer I’ve been out of journalism, the more disgusted I’ve become at the people still in the field.

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