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MEDIA

This is CNN . . . in 1945 By Victor Davis Hanson

What if something like CNN and modern communications were around in early 1945? What if the rules of presidential news coverage were then as they are now? And what if such a mythical CNN hated Franklin Delano Roosevelt as much as it despises Donald Trump, then as right-wing as it is now hard left? How would the daily news in a mythical 1945 treat a now-iconic FDR? What would the country have thought of its president?

In the manner that we’ve learned that Donald Trump supposedly eats double servings of fast food and gulps down a dozen diet sodas a day, we instead might hear similar CNN “exclusives” about presidential diet and health, either from “unknown” sources in the White House or “fake news” exaggerations of rumor and innuendo.

Wolf Blitzer might give us a news bulletin something like this: “CNN in an exclusive report has learned that President Roosevelt is a sick, maybe dying, man. But the true nature of his health has long been covered up, most notably in last year’s election and is even now more dishonesty hidden. CNN has learned that the conspiracy of silence among the president’s family, his staff, and his doctors is long-standing, scandalous—and, in this reporter’s view, dangerous.”

“Sources tell me that the president’s blood pressure routinely hits 240 over 140. He has lost 40 pounds. Some sources tell CNN that the president suffers from chronic sinus and urinary infections. He may be battling skin cancer. CNN is now learning that the president could never walk or even stand up on his own.”

“That image of a robust president was also inaccurate—the fiction of collusion that for years has hidden the true extent of the president’s paralysis from the American people. CNN has also learned that President Roosevelt has been absent from the White House for weeks at a time and has been too ill to work at his desk. Yet he continues to chain smoke and drink a series of stiff drinks each evening, a habit dating back to Prohibition before he was president.”

Facebook: Championing Blasphemy Laws by Judith Bergman

What is “harmful content” according to the new Facebook guide for Muslims? “Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hatred, far right extremism and terrorist inspired violent extremist content”.

The guide does not mention Islamic incitement to violence, which is rampant on social media and — unlike the other content mentioned — has deadly and tragic consequences in the real world. Most of those who perpetrate terrorist attacks in the real world are Muslims — not “Islamophobes,” anti-Muslims or right wing extremists.

Lakin v. Facebook is a lawsuit, representing 20,000 Israeli plaintiffs, which aims to stop Facebook from “continuing to facilitate terrorist activity directed at” Israelis.

Khan convened a special meeting of Muslim ambassadors to discuss how effectively to “raise the voice of the entire Muslim world against the madness unleashed against Islam and holy personalities in the name of freedom of expression”. — Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Facebook, in cooperation with a British Muslim group, Faith Associates, recently launched a new “guide” developed especially for Muslims: “Keeping Muslims Safe Online: Tackling Hate and Bigotry”.

The launch of the guide was hosted on November 29 at the British Parliament, where Karim Palant, Facebook’s UK Public Policy manager, acknowledged “the partnership of Facebook with Faith Associates and said this was a first step in a line of activities being planned to protect the Facebook family”. Simon Milner, Head of Policy UK at Facebook, stated:

“We’re proud to be supporting Faith Associates in the development of their online safety guide. Facebook welcomes all communities, and there is no place for hate on the platform”.

It is curious that of all the groups Facebook could have chosen to “protect” — if one is to believe that Facebook intends to “protect” other groups as well — it chose Muslims. Are Muslims the most targeted group in the world today? In Canada, according to fresh statistics, hate crimes against Muslims have fallen while hate crimes against Jews have risen. In the United States, according to Gatestone’s A. Z. Mohamed:

“Since 1992… anti-Semitic incidents have been higher than those perpetrated against other groups… To this day, the greatest number of reported religion-based hate crimes have been directed at Jews, and the second greatest against Muslims… in 2015… there was a sharp rise in religion-based hate crimes, particularly against Islam and Muslims. Yet even then, Jews were 2.38 times more likely than Muslims to become victims of a hate crime.”

Facebook Bans Bestselling Author over ‘The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama’ By Megan Fox

Bestselling conservative author Matt Margolis has a new book coming out that is already banned on Facebook. Margolis’s first book, The Worst President in History, which detailed the failures of the Obama administration, was an instant hit last fall. Margolis used social media to market his presidential biography to #1 on Amazon. When he tried to market his latest, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, he was banned from Facebook groups for six days with no explanation. This is the ad Margolis created and posted.Shockingly, Margolis paid for this ad to be “boosted” throughout Facebook using the advertiser program they offer. Facebook had no problem taking his money for this ad but banned him directly after he posted it to several groups. The groups he sent it to were all conservative-friendly groups that normally welcome such announcements and buy conservative books.

When Margolis attempted to appeal the ban, he was unable to. This is suspicious timing considering that James O’Keefe just released videos of Twitter executives admitting to “shadow banning” conservative content creators and even those who are associated with conservative sites.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media’s D.C. editor and terrorism expert has been banned from Twitter since November, and just the other day Facebook admitted they censored conservative author Jon Del Arroz by “mistake.” PJM reached out to Facebook and Twitter about the bannings in light of the scandalous undercover tapes of Big Tech admitting to censoring conservatives — or, as they call us, “sh**ty people.” Twitter did not respond.CONTINUE AT SITE

Google’s New ‘Fact-Checker’ Is Partisan Garbage The tech giant is dishonestly manipulating perceptions about conservative sites before people even read them.By David Harsanyi

In the midst of the “fake news” hysteria last year, Google launched a project to help curate reliable information for its readers by identifying articles and sites that need fact-checking. And this may come as a surprise to some of you, but it looks like the tech giant’s truth project is imbued with a tiny bit of ideological and political bias.

Eric Lieberman at The Daily Caller recently found that the fact checks displayed in Google’s search engine results are targeted almost exclusively at conservative publications. You can test it out yourself.

Now, you may believe that conservatives are hopeless liars in need of relentless correcting, so I’ll concede the point for argument’s sake. Even then, you’d have to admit it’s a small miracle that, according to Google’s search engine, not a single prominent liberal or mainstream site in the entire universe has ever uttered a dubious or questionable claim.

Luckily for us, there are methods available to analyze the veracity of Google’s project. One way, for example, is to take a “reviewed claim” made against The Federalist, the site I happen to know best, and contrast it to the coverage of other sites.

Consider the case of a woman named Eileen Wellstone. Out of many thousands of pieces published by The Federalist over the past four years, a single one mentions the name Eileen Wellstone. That article, detailing the sordid history of Bill Clinton, mentions her name exactly once: “Another woman, Eileen Wellstone, claimed Clinton raped her while he was at Oxford University in the late 1960s.”

For some reason, in this “reviewed claim” against The Federalist, Google sends the reader to a Snopes fact-check that argues that Clinton wasn’t expelled from Oxford over this alleged rape — a point I concede sounds completely accurate and is also an assertion that no one has ever made in this publication.

So the question is, does Google tag every article that relays accusations of sexual misconduct or rape as “unproven,” or just the ones against Bill Clinton? Or is the mention of Wellstone specifically worthy of a claim? The Wellstone case has not only been cited in all types of publications (and not in efforts to debunk it, either; 1,2,3,4,5, and so on) but by The Washington Post’s own fact-checker.

In a 2016 article detailing allegations against Bill Clinton that might be brought up by then-candidate Donald Trump, WaPo notes, “Eileen Wellstone says she was assaulted by Clinton when he was a student at Oxford University in 1969.” There is virtually no difference between that statement and the one published in The Federalist. Not that Google search engines users would know this when they search for the influential newspaper.

Why is Teen Vogue Sexualizing a 9-Year-Old Boy? by Sarah Rumpf

It’s hard to stay woke these days. The rules keep changing. And for the many conservatives like me who are supportive of gay rights, the activist left seems determined to make things as complicated and stressful as possible.

The latest eyebrow-raising story comes from Teen Vogue, in the form of a nine-year-old boy named Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden they describe as “impressive and magical.”

You might be asking yourself, what could a 9-year-old boy do that a magazine geared towards teens would call “magical”?

Well, Golden is a drag queen who has gone by the name “Queen Lactatia” since he was seven:

When he was seven, this pint-size boy — who had a habit of wearing his sister’s tutus and princess costumes when he was two — officially transformed into a queen called Lactatia. Now he’s a miniature fixture on the Montreal drag scene. “I was always a drag queen, but I never knew it until my sister showed me RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Nemis explains. Drag, the subversive art of deconstructing gender through over-the-top aesthetics and performances, has become Nemis’s main source of empowerment and pride.

“All hail Queen Lactatia!” the short article declares triumphantly as it invites the reader to peruse a slideshow of Golden in various outfits.

Hang on just a minute here.

“Lactatia”? As in “lactating”? Why is a child being publicly paraded with a nickname related to breastfeeding?

Why is a child being publicly paraded like this at all?

Specifically, why is this child wearing makeup and costumes that are designed to be sexually attractive when worn by adults?

When a little six-year-old girl named JonBenét Ramsey was found murdered in the basement of her family home in 1996, a significant portion of the media attention and public debate centered around her participation in child beauty pageants.

Were the makeup, costumes, and song-and-dance routines too sexualized to be proper for a child? Did they make her attractive to a pedophile, and is that why she was killed?

Haberman: Wolff Creates A Narrative That Is Notionally True, “The Details Are Often Wrong” Posted By Ian Schwartz (???????)

Maggie Haberman, New York Times columnist and White House reporter, appeared on CNN’s New Day Friday to talk about author Michael Wolff, his non-journalistic methods, and how he misreported events and quotes in his new book Fire and Fury.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN: All right, so President Trump is slamming this new behind- the-scenes book as phony and full of lies. And the accuracy of some of the author, Michael Wolff’s, reporting is in question. So let’s talk about that.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for “The New York Times,” Maggie Haberman. Maggie has interviewed the president numerous times and her reporting is mentioned in the book.

Maggie, we also want to mention, you contributed to a new report about the Trump administration and the Russia inquiry, but we will get to all of that obstruction of justice talk at the top of the hour if you’ll stick around. If we don’t scare you away.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I’ll wait. I’ll just do this one.

CUOMO: One drama at a time, if you please.

CAMEROTA: One drama, yes.

HABERMAN: Yes. OK.

CAMEROTA: Don’t rush us.

HABERMAN: OK. It’s very early. We’ve got time.

CAMEROTA: Listen, you are a reporter with great sources in the White House and great access. So when you read Michael Wolff’s book, do you believe it?

HABERMAN: I believe parts of it. And then there are other parts that are factually wrong. I mean the thing about Michael Wolff and his style, which apparently nobody in the White House appears to have done a cursory Google search on him and sort of what his M.O. is, but he believes in larger truths and narratives. So he creates a narrative that is notionally true, that’s conceptually true. The details are often wrong. And I can — I can see several places in the book that are wrong.

Egypt: State-Run Media vs. President el-Sisi by A. Z. Mohamed

Egypt’s state-run press persists in the practice of condemning the United States and Israel — an attitude that contradicts President el-Sisi’s positions and vision for reforming Islam.

This is one of the conflicts that still beleaguer Egyptian society — or perhaps signs of a growing power struggle.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with cautious pessimism. He warned his ally in the White House not to take measures that would undermine prospects for peace in the Middle East. The delicate balancing act he has been performing, to avoid jeopardizing his relationship with Washington, and at the same time not antagonize the Palestinians and much of the Egyptian public, was probably to be expected.

Not expected was the depth of extremist anti-American and anti-Israel sentiment spread by Egypt’s state-run media. Two particularly jarring examples illustrate this disturbing trend.

The first was from television host Ahmed Moussa, on the Sada Elbalad network, who proceeded to denounce the United States as the world’s bully, an international thug that supposedly both manages terrorism and manipulates it to justify its policies. He claimed that it was Egypt that led the world against Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and that the U.S. was trying to control Egypt by lodging false accusations of human rights violations and discrimination against Christians. He actually said this in spite of “what have now become regular assaults by Islamic militants on the country’s Coptic community.”

The second, and even more disturbing, example was a broadcast by Al Nahar TV’s Gaber Al-Armouti. First, Al-Armouti celebrated a prayer delivered during the Friday sermon at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Grand Mosque, by its imam, Mohammed Zaki: “May Allah doom Trump with defeat.” Then he said he wished that the imam had cursed Israel, its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and all of its people. He subsequently praised the female teenage Palestinian provocateur, Ahed Tamimi, who slapped an Israeli soldier and called him a “moron and son of moron.” When her father, during a phone interview with Al-Armouti, said that his daughter’s attorney is Israeli and trustworthy, the host ignored the comment, and repeatedly yelled, “Zionist occupation,” and “Zionist enemy,” referring to Israelis as kelab (the derogatory Arabic word for “dog.”)

Abandoning the NeverTrump Ship By Mike Sabo

With 2017 safely behind us and a new year beginning, the NeverTrump faction continues to offer opinions on President Trump that range from thoughtful and surprisingly honest to ill-considered and seething with resentment.

Among the more thoughtful examples was an end-of-the-year column by Tim Carney, the more-or-less NeverTrump commentary editor at The Washington Examiner. Every year, Carney owns up to his biggest political miscalculation over the previous 365 days.

For 2017, his most glaring mistake was predicting Trump “wouldn’t appoint a restrained, conservative judge to the Supreme Court.” Contrary to Carney’s grave doubts, Trump “gave us a superbly qualified, brilliant, conservative justice in Neil Gorsuch.” Although it’s early yet, Gorsuch already looks like a very able successor to former Justice Antonin Scalia, a man he greatly admired for his judicial mind, character, and integrity.

Carney harbors major reservations on what he considers the president’s many character flaws (he argues these helped lose “winnable” races in Virginia and Alabama and risks the GOP alienating young voters). Nevertheless, he thinks it’s “possible that Trump will prove himself obviously better than Clinton. And that’s not what I expected.”

What about Evan McMullin, the candidate Carney voted for in 2016? He writes:

These days, I find myself regularly wishing I could make McMullin go away. Like almost every McMullin voter I know, I’m embarrassed by his post-election behavior. Most conservatives who voted for McMullin maintain a critical and skeptical stance towards Trump. McMullin, though, has joined the performative #Resistance, blasting as counterrevolutionaries anyone who doesn’t go far enough in castigating every action of the president, even the harmless and salutary ones.

Ouch.

This tracks with the results of an unscientific Twitter poll Sean Davis of The Federalist recently conducted, in which 90 percent of more than 2,300 participants said they regret voting for McMullin.

NeverTrump Pretzel Logic
Other commentators weren’t as thoughtful as Carney. Jonah Goldberg twisted himself into a logical pretzel in his final National Review column of 2017.

Trying to get around the problem that has plagued the likes of Jennifer Rubin and David Frum—rejecting policy positions they formerly held simply because Trump holds them—Goldberg adopts another noxious form of post hoc rationalization.

He admits Trump has had a bevy of policy successes—from “a record number of judicial appointments, including a Supreme Court justice” to “the defeat of [the] Islamic State”—but argues the president had little or nothing to do with these victories.

“Tax reform was carried across the finish line by the GOP congressional leadership,” he writes. “Net neutrality was repealed by independent Republicans at the Federal Communications Commission.”

While technically correct, Goldberg’s statements are literal to the point of absurdity. It’s akin to saying since Ulysses S. Grant didn’t personally fight in every battle as commander of the Union armies in the waning days of the Civil War, he didn’t deserve credit for those final victories. The only reason for tax reform and Net Neutrality repeal—to say nothing of a host of other regulatory reforms—is that Trump rather than Hillary Clinton won the election.

How Trump Really Beat the Media By letting the media beat itself. Daniel Greenfield

President Trump’s end year remarks to the New York Times acerbically summed up his relationship with the media. “I’m going to win another four years… because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there.” The answering outburst of rage and contempt from the media burned all the hotter because the statement was not only intentionally provocative; it was also true.

The media has never been able to quit Trump. Its conviction that it can destroy him through coverage has repeatedly proven false. But that hasn’t stopped the media from throwing more coverage at him. And its motive for the non-stop coverage has always been the selfish pursuit of ratings, clicks and sales.

The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN are all busy playing Trump-slayers when what they really want is four more years of rising subscriptions, ad sales and profits. Few politicians understand that conflict of interest better than Trump who has spent most of his adult life playing the media.

These days the media needs Trump more than ever. Its old purpose, reporting the news, is as dead as the telegraph. Reporting is expensive. It requires infrastructure and personnel. And it isn’t very profitable. In the age of the internet, few people will sit around and watch the pointless reporting from the scene of an event that was once the staple of local news and cable news.

And repurposing viral videos and stories can only fill so much of that hole. But the media doesn’t really report news either. Mostly it repurposes it to create narratives that it can then milk for days or months. Whether it’s a missing airliner, #MeToo or Russian collusion, the best narratives are part mystery, scandal and thriller. The news isn’t just fake: It’s metafictional. It turns real life into fodder for fiction.

The media has crossed the mirror’s edge where reality television, recreations of crimes and movies based on true stories once lived. It lives and dies by turning the news into a fictional narrative. And narratives are cheap. Every news network can run video of Mueller slowly walking down a hallway while a panel of experts discusses what the latest leak really means for President Trump. For the cost of a green room, a limo and a little promotion, CNN can have its very own House of Cards drama.

The View of the Blinkered By Victor Davis Hanson

When a director of the FBI admits he deliberately leaked to the press the contents of his own private notes, written on government time, of a confidential conversation with the President of the United States—a possible criminal offense—for the sole purpose of eliciting the appointment of a special counsel (a gambit which resulted in the selection of his friend Robert Mueller), then most Americans have no compunction about seeing FBI leadership as ethically compromised and something gone terribly wrong at the highest echelons of the once hallowed agency.

That is not “bashing the FBI,” but admitting that the current generation of leaders at the FBI and the Justice Department by their very behavior have bashed their own agencies and loyal and professional subordinates.

All the brilliantly degreed economists of the past decade could not craft policies to achieve even 3 percent growth. All the wittiest and “in the know” advisors had little clue about how to radically reduce illegal immigration. All the supposedly empathetic and moral crusaders more or less wrote off a broad swath of America as clingers, deplorables, and irredeemables—losers in a preordained global world—whose lack of the right stuff earned them deserved oblivion.

The result is that the deities of Washington and New York still do not quite know how and why Trump was elected, or why he well might be reelected—the result of half the country’s profound lack of confidence in the morality and competence of the coastal and gentry managerial classes. And to the degree our elite think they know why many Americans believe that their reputations are undeserved, it is a revelation so disturbing that they are not by background, education, and experience capable of understanding, appreciating, or responding to it.

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