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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Over at HotAir.com, they’ve assembled their “Quotes of the Day” with a focus on the Houston pastor subpoena fiasco. Skimming the briefs, this one from Slate.com, caught my eye.

But I’m not particularly interested in defending the Houston lawyers’ actions, because, frankly, they were incredibly stupid, instantly regrettable, and utterly unnecessary. Yes, Houston’s anti-LGBT coalition started this mess by trying to repeal the ordinance…

Yes, the thing that “started this mess” is the effort to repeal the ordinance, not the imposition the ordinance itself.

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If there’s a culture war going on in America today, Christians aren’t the aggressors.

Last week, the openly lesbian mayor of Houston applauded (then backpedaled and threw her lawyers under the bus) a series of subpoenas issued to five area pastors demanding the contents of their sermons and any communications they may have had with any parishioners regarding homosexuality or the new ordinance passed by the city allowing men who identify as women to use women’s restrooms. In response to the city ordinance, more than 50,000 signatures had been gathered to put the measure on the ballot in a referendum, but some shenanigans on the part of the city attorney tossed many of the signatures out, prompting a lawsuit which spawned the subpoenas.

Over at The Federalist, Brian Lee encouraged the pastors to comply.

My response? So what? Sermons are public proclamation, aren’t they?

If a government entity comes to me and demands that I turn over my sermon manuscripts, well… I think I’d be inclined to send them along. And I’d be sure to send each one with a carefully written cover letter explaining exactly how the blood of Christ redeems sinners from death and the grave. (Although good luck deciphering my rough outline, and reading my marginal handwriting. I can send you a link to the audio.)

Well, if the mayor actually bothered listened to the sermons, I might be inclined to agree. But that wasn’t the purpose of the subpoenas. Nowadays most churches post audio of the pastor’s sermons online. A subpoena isn’t really required to get the information. The subpoena is an intimidation tactic and that’s what Christians—and all citizens really—need to fight. (A follow-up by Molly Hemingway made this point.)

The response reminded me of this video from Canadian Ezra Levant’s appearance before a “Human Rights” Commissioner in Canada several years ago after he had the gall to publish the so-called “Mohammed” cartoons.

Remember 8 months ago when the big debate was whether Jesus would bake a cake for a gay wedding? The likes of Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt argued that if you don’t follow their interpretation of Biblical standards on what marriage is, then you’re a hypocrite if you have any standards (read: Don’t wish to participate in gay “marriage”). At the time, many people who oppose gay “marriage” made the argument that the “public accommodation” position requiring participation in gay “marriages” was an imposition on religious conscience and the slippery slope would lead to lawsuits forcing pastors to solemnize gay “marriage.”

The only surprise was that it only took eight months to get there.

Just this weekend, a case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

A week of honoring their faith and declining to perform the ceremony could cost the couple three and a half years in jail and $7,000 in fines.

Gay “marriage” supporters don’t want to “live and let live.” They don’t want tolerance. They want acceptance, affirmation and agreement. If you refuse, they’ll ruin you financially and now, toss you in jail for 180 days. The First Amendment may yet stop them, but make no mistake about it, they want you to shut up and go away. Forever.

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Late last week a funny thing happened. The Denver Post, which had twice endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency came out and urged a vote for GOP candidate Cory Gardner in the Colorado Senate Race. This is the journalistic equivalent of the legal doctrine of an admission against interest. It carries more weight than a National Review or Weekly Standard endorsement because it isn’t what a regular reader of the Post‘s editorial pages would expect.

Predictably, it caused some on the political left to freak out. Salon.com’s deputy politics editor Luke Brinker (Note: Ostensibly not an opinion columnist, but one of those mythical unbiased editor types.) posted a piece calling the editorial “the most asinine endorsement of 2014″ based largely on the fact that Gardner has “hard right” positions like supporting sex-selective abortions and abortions in the 8th month of pregnancy (sorry, that’s the incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark “Uterus” Udall) climate change skepticism and “LGBT Equality” (whatever that is).

What most piqued my interest was a comment on the Salon piece by MikeKstar.

“the center-right paper” – except if you ask anyone in Colorado who used to take the Rocky Mountain News, the Post is that “liberal rag not good enough to line my birdcage”.

I worked for the Post for many years – still have many friends there.  The consolidation in the newspaper industry and the gobbling up of papers by hedge fund shell corporations (The Post is now owned by private equity firm DigitalFirst Media) means there are fewer true independent voices in media that don’t kowtow to business pressures.

The old myth of liberal journalism is a fantasy.  The editorial boards of most major papers are now made up of stuffy, white male, far right-wing conservatives who are told what to do by their corporate masters.

Cory Gardner is an idiot and I weep for the future of our beautiful state if we send him to the Senate.

Here’s the problem with everyone who says “liberal journalism is a fantasy.”

Liberal Media Bias Illustrated

 

MikeKStar is the “Typical Newspaper Reporter/Editor.” Note that there’s plenty of “liberal” to his right. But he’s of the opinion that he’s within spitting distance of the political center. In a candid moment, he’ll probably admit to being left of center, but when he was a reporter, his reportage was straight down the middle. That’s Bolshevik Storytelling. His reporting was a little more conservative than his own politics, because he’s old enough that journalists still tried (but too often failed) to play the news straight. Outlets like MSNBC and Salon.com don’t even try that anymore.

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