I saw this last night on “Special Report” with Bret Baier on Fox News. It features ABC’s White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, but ABC didn’t find it newsworthy enough to broadcast.

The White House has taken the position that Jordan should not do a deal with ISIS where they trade a convicted bomber participated in a terror attack the resulted in the deaths of 60 people for one of their pilots who was downed over Syria.

Karl asked the White House to explain how what Jordan was planning on doing (the deal hasn’t gone through yet) was different from what the U.S. did with the Taliban to ensure the release of alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

I took a certain delight in watching the White House flack squirm, but his assault on language and logic was infuriating.

Today, the White House’s senior flack tried to clean up the logical mess left by his underling—something that can’t really be explained because there’s no way to make the unlogical and hypocritical logical and consistent.

If you were wondering whether humans are heating the atmosphere, look no further than the hot air contained in that one answer and extrapolate it for every Obama administration flack, especially those at the White House and State Department, attempting to make the case that everything is awesome both at home and abroad.

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I realize that many will believe my casual dismissal of the big storm hitting the East Coast is a result of today’s the temperature here locally on the Central Coast of California where it reached a balmy 75 degrees today.

However, I want to assure our New England readers that I feel your pain. It’s supposed to rain a little tonight.


But seriously folks, it isn’t like there’s never been a blizzard hit New York and Boston before, right?

For Bill Nye, the Science Doofus, the blizzard is a sign of “climate change.”

Twitchy helpfully collected some responses to this. But you climate alarmists have got to be kidding me. Aren’t you the ones always pointing out there’s a difference between weather and climate. Then you act like a blizzard in New England in January is somehow out of the ordinary.

A blizzard. New England. January. As Shakespeare once said: “Givest thou me a break!”

Look on the bright side:

  • It turns out that 2014 probably wasn’t the hottest year on record. It turns out that there’s things in science called “statistically significant” and “margin of error” that “scientists” asking for a sexy headline so they can get more funding mistakenly left out of their press releases.
  • The world didn’t end in 2000, despite the best predictions of PBS’s “NOVA” back in 1986.

The conclusion, conveyed with great authority by several big-league climatologists from government and private research organizations, is terrible: by the year 2000, the atmosphere and weather will grow warmer by several degrees and life – animal, plant, human – will be threatened. The experts say that melting ice caps, flooded cities, droughts in the corn belt and famine in the third world could result if the earth’s mean temperature rises by a mere two or three degrees.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

What a relief! New England area children will know what snow is. Hopefully they’ll also quickly learn what “overreaction” and “fear-mongering” are too.


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With the notable exception of the small class of American war correspondents, the vast majority of American journalists are, to use the Texas phrase: “All hat and no cattle.” The assassination this morning of ten satirists at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo along with two police officers by adherents of the “Religion of Pieces” has once again illustrated that the American media are very brave when it comes to standing up for freedom of speech when the tyrant is a lowly city councilman. But when the attacks on freedom of speech come not from blowhard politicians but from people who have an affinity for beheadings and bombings … well, talk is cheap.

The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway has it largely right when he calls out the professional media.

But it also speaks volumes that so many of Charb’s fellow journalists have long been aware of these threats, and have said nothing. And of those who have spoken up about Muslim terror, far too many have said things that in light of today’s tragedy that are absolutely damning.

Here’s something you’re unlikely to see in any American newspaper tomorrow because those brave journalists really aren’t.

These are what got 10 journalists killed. And when it comes to American journalists, nothing has changed since the infamous Mohammed cartoons nearly 10 years ago. At the time, I criticized and highlighted the double-standard of the paper I worked for (which undoubtedly didn’t put me in good stead when layoffs loomed three years later). The paper wouldn’t publish even the tamest of the Mohammed cartoons, but had no problem posting a South Park screenshot of Jesus or a Rolling Stone cover depicting Kanye West as Christ.

At NBC, you won’t see any illustrative cartoons:

The Associated Press wouldn’t even let its member newspapers decide whether they wanted to publish uncensored Charlie Hebdo covers, sending out blurred versions over its wires claiming that they have a longstanding (since the 2006 Mohammed cartoons) policy of not transmitting “offensive” material. Quickly, the Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney went into the AP database and discovered they’d happily sell you a print of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ.” (They quickly removed the photo for sale when the exposure of their hypocrisy was imminent.)

Newspapers, news networks, news websites will decry this vicious terrorist attack, but their behavior from the time of the Danish cartoons controversy had the effect of putting the brave satirists of Charlie Hebdo out front in the defense of free speech. The terrorists, instead of having dozens or hundreds of targets, had just a handful. The rest could be cowed merely by the threat.

What you’re seeing now is mass journalistic self-censorship as they simultaneously pat themselves on the back for their false courage. Don’t fall for it.


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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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