PC Journalism and the Massacre in Orlando

The story was still developing, but there were already indications that the shooter at the gay dance club in Orlando was an American-born Muslim who somehow, directly or indirectly, was connected to radical Islam.

The panelist on “Meet the Press” knew at least some of this. So Chuck Todd, after acknowledging to his panel that the actual motive for the murders wasn’t known with certainty yet, asked Tom Brokaw, “Should it matter,” what the motive was.

This is a remarkable question – one drenched in liberal PC. Chuck Todd, who is a serious journalist (and in my limited contact with him, a good guy) would never have asked if motive mattered if the gunman was a white supremacist skinhead who had just gunned down innocent African Americans in a church.

In fact, when a white bigot shot up a black church in South Carolina, everyone knew that motive mattered. But when it comes to radical Islamic terrorism, liberals get queasy. Tom Brokaw did. He didn’t think the motive mattered either. “It shouldn’t matter,” he told Chuck Todd. Take a guess what should matter to Mr. Brokaw. If you said guns …

You got a problem,” Brokaw said, “get a gun. That’s what goes on now. It’s got to come to an end. It’s a terrible commentary.”

Joy-Ann Reid, a host on MSNBC, also saw guns as the main problem. ‘We have mass casualty shootings that are affecting children, teachers, people in church, whether it’s a hate crime or whether it’s related to international terrorism, we’re not getting to the core issue.” And what exactly is that core issue? “How easy it is to get a gun,” she said.

“How do we prevent terrorists from arming themselves,” Chuck Todd wanted to know. It’s a fair question, as far as it goes. But there’s another question that liberal journalists won’t ask: What is it about Islam that makes some of its faithful want to slaughter innocent people?

Hugh Hewett, the conservative radio talk show host, introduced reality to the discussion. The problem he said … was ISIS.

“This looks like the Paris concert hall attack,” he said. “ISIS wants to do this here. They want to do it they want to do it here a lot. … Every dead person is a tragic murder. But if ISIS gets their people here, or inspires [others], it will be a long series of years.”

When Joy-Ann Reid reminded Hewett that Muslim terrorists weren’t the only ones who want to kill Americans, that white nationalists like the gunman at the South Carolina church also want to kill large numbers of innocent people, Hewett calmly responded that ISIS – unlike skinheads — has the means to actually do it.

Brokaw got in the last word, again choosing to emphasize guns over terrorists. “We’re having this debate about [international] terrorism, or domestic; it doesn’t make any difference. There are a lot of dead people, dead people at the point of a gun. Guns are really easy to get their hands on.”

Except it does make a difference.  Why people do what they do always makes a difference.

Still, this is not an argument about whether assault rifles are too easy to obtain – or even whether Americans should be allowed to purchase them. I’ll leave that for others at some other point in time. But in the wake of mass murder, no serious journalist should ever ask if motive matters. It does. Even when the motive makes liberal journalists uncomfortable.

Chuck Todd and the Rosetta Stone of Liberal Bias

CHUCK TODDChuck Todd, who hosts Meet the Press on NBC, opened his show the way he often does, by introducing his panel of journalists. There was Luke Russert of NBC News, and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, and there was “Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post … and Ken Blackwell, conservative columnist and former Ohio Secretary of State.”

Did you catch it? Eugene Robinson isn’t the liberal columnist of the Washington Post. He’s simply Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. But Ken Blackwell is identified as a “conservative columnist.”

This may strike members of the so-called mainstream media as one of those “what’s the big deal?” issues — even though it happens all the time both on TV and in print. But if  they’re feeling generous and concede that maybe it is somehow, some way, some kind of offense, it’s a misdemeanor of the lowest order. Journalistic jaywalking — at worst.

Sorry, but it is a big deal. A very big deal. One that goes straight to the heart of bias in the media.

Liberals, you see, don’t have to be identified. Liberals, as far as liberal journalists like Chuck Todd are concerned, aren’t controversial. They’re middle of the road. Moderate. Mainstream. Not so with conservatives. They need a warning label.

They put warning labels on packs of cigarettes and pesticides because they can be dangerous to your health. And, as far as many liberals – both in and out of the media — are concerned, conservatives need warning labels because their ideas can be dangerous to your health. I mean, if liberal views are middle of the road, moderate and mainstream, conservative views, being the opposite, must be fringe. And fringe ideas, in the liberal worldview, are most likely racist, homophobic and misogynist ideas, which are … well … dangerous!

So this little tidbit that Chuck Todd unknowingly offered up at the beginning of his program is the Rosetta Stone. It tells us not only how liberal journalists view conservatives, but it also tells us a lot about how liberal journalists see just about everything from politics to all the hot button social issues of the day.

It may be asking too much for Chuck to understand any of this. After all, he’s a bias denier. (I use that word “denier” because that’s the word liberals like to throw at anyone who doesn’t see global warming the same way Al Gore sees it. Liberals don’t own the word, right? )

Chuck has acknowledged a “cultural bias” in the news, but says it’s not because journalists slant the news left to coincide with their liberal politics. Rather, he says, it stems from “the fact that the news media is headquartered in New York City.”

So it’s geographical bias, according to Chuck Todd – not political bias. It’s a New York City bias. And what kind of bias would we find in New York City? Yes, exactly!

If the national news media were headquartered, say, in Tupelo, Mississippi – and almost all the journalists were conservatives instead of liberal as they are now – do you think Chuck would write off bias simply as a geographical issue? Me neither. He’d be yelling conservative bias from the roof of the NBC Building in Rockefeller Center.

No, Chuck Todd’s decision to put a warning label on the conservative columnist but not on the liberal was not an offense worthy of waterboarding. But it wasn’t journalistic jay walking either. It told us a lot about why liberal journalists put warning labels on conservatives. It told us that conservative views, which are held by millions and millions and millions of Americans, are subversive views, because they are not reasonable or mainstream or moderate. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Chuck.

Panetta Confirms Again That Waterboarding Helped Get Bid Laden; Media Still Confused

panettaOn Sunday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed what many have believed since the death of Osama Bin Laden: Our waterboarding of top Al Qaeda operatives in the wake of 9/11 ultimately led to the whereabouts and killing of the terrorist mastermind.

Speaking to Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press, Panetta revealed the information when asked about the accuracy of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film, Zero Dark Thirty, which depicts the hunt for Bin Laden.

“The real story was that in order to put the puzzle of intelligence together that led us to Bin Laden, there were a lot of pieces out there that were a part of that puzzle,” said Panetta. “Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at the time, interrogation tactics that were used.

Panetta went on to remark that other intelligence factors outside of the harsh interrogations were instrumental as well, and expressed that he thinks we would have eventually got Bin Laden anyway.

Panetta’s admission has received a lot of media attention since Sunday morning, but it’s difficult to understand exactly why. After all, this wasn’t the first time Panetta credited enhanced interrogation techniques (including waterboarding) as having contributed to the successful raid on the Bin Laden compound. He also did so back in May of 2011, when speaking with NBC’s Brian Williams.

Panetta certainly isn’t the only one who has declared that the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri provided our intelligence agencies with invaluable information in our efforts against Al Qaeda. A host of other distinguished intelligence professionals have stated the same thing, including John Kirakou, Michael Hayden, Jose Rodriguez, and Michael Scheuer, whose insistence has been that some of that intel even prevented planned terrorist attacks both here and abroad. In addition, director Kathryn Bigelow’s presentation of the information gathered as a result of waterboarding came directly from unprecedented civilian access to U.S. intelligence reports granted to her by President Obama himself.

Yet, when inquiring if waterboarding contributed to the Bin Laden operation, Chuck Todd seemed as if he was asking a question he didn’t already know the answer to, or perhaps one that he was half-expecting to be answered with a “no”.

I think that’s revealing.

It suggests that when it comes to passionate, controversial subjects like waterboarding, there is a certain willful ignorance from the media (and certainly from people outside of the media as well) that accompanies a desperate need to be right on an issue, even when the facts tell them they’re wrong.

Case in point, there are still many people in this country who insist that the waterboarding didn’t work, and that we received no useful information as a result of it. For some reason, it has never been enough for opponents of the practice to stick with just a moral or legal argument for why we shouldn’t have subjected three high-ranking terrorists to waterboarding (which is a legitimate debate). Instead, these people have felt compelled to deny the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation, and they are so immersed and invested in that narrative that no amount of proof will ever convince them that they’re wrong.

As a wise man once said, “Lying is what we do in order to live with our delusions.”

One has to only perform a Google News search on the Panetta interview to find more media examples of what I’m saying:

Tom McKay of PolicyMic.com wrote a column entitled: “Leon Panetta On ‘Meet the Press’: Torture is Not What led to Bin Laden’s Capture.”

How does McKay explain his intriguing interpretation that waterboarding did not lead to Bin Laden? He writes that because Panetta described the interrogation intel as only being one piece of many pieces in a puzzle, it alone did not lead “directly” to Bin Laden.

With all due respect to Mr. McKay… OF COURSE it didn’t lead directly to Bin Laden! If it had, we would have found him years ago! The interrogation intel made up the initial (arguably the most important) pieces of the puzzle that Panetta described, so it was clearly significant.

Mackenzie Weinger from The Politico made a similar observation to McKay’s, as did Jake Miller from CBS News. None of the three are willing to concede any credit to waterboarding, simply because all credit can’t be applied.

Adalia Woodbury of PoliticusUSA.com went a step further, running with the headline: “Panetta Obliterates The Myth That Torture Led to Bin Laden”.

Obliterates? Really? Woodbury explains that because Panetta thinks that we could have eventually found Bin Laden without enhanced interrogation techniques, the fact that those techniques did indeed place our intelligence agencies on the right path is somehow worthy of being categorized as a “myth”.

Are you confused as I am?

One has to wonder if such hardened denials don’t just stem from instinctive ideological beliefs, but also from the fear of having to concede that the controversial policies of George W. Bush might actually deserve a decent amount of credit for finding Bin Laden.

Regardless, this kind of mindset has sadly become commonplace not only in the media, but also in how everyday people engage in political discourse. We’re losing our ability to begin an argument with a mutually accepted set of facts. These days, when one side feels their position may not be as strong as they’d like it to be, they deem it acceptable to simply spin reality into a false premise that better favors their argument. Then, they fool themselves into believing that false premise is true. The result is a perpetuation of falsehoods that, in some cases, were long ago disproved.

It’s tiresome, and emblematic of why we can’t deal with serious problems in this country.

The good news is that regardless of some people’s inability to admit it, waterboarding saved many American lives and helped bring the man responsible for the deaths of nearly three thousand people on 9/11 to justice.

No amount of denials can overturn those results, and thank goodness for that.

A Dark Vein of Chris Matthews In Some Parts of Colin Powell

How do you react when you turn on a Sunday morning news show and find the highly respected, retired four-star general, Colin Powell, irresponsibly throwing out claims of racism at the Republican party that sound as if they’re being read directly from an MSNBC teleprompter?

If you’re a liberal, you probably feel a thrill up your leg. If you’re a conservative like me, however, you slap your hand to your forehead and finally accept the reality that the man you once deeply admired has not only retired from public service, but also from his own personal reputability.

For those who missed it, Powell made the following provocative comments to NBC’s David Gregory on Meet the Press:

“There’s also a dark– a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is shuckin’ and jivin’, that’s a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.”

 Just to clarify again, this was Colin Powell… not Al Sharpton.

A couple of things have been apparent regarding Powell over the last few years. It’s clear he feels animosity toward the Bush administration (and by extension the Republican party) for what he has referred to as a blot on his record over faulty intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s also apparent that he feels a sense of pride in having Barack Obama as our president, and has become a vocal defender of him.

What wasn’t apparent until Sunday was Powell’s willingness to sink down into the depths of  a typical left-wing bomb-thrower by playing the race card. It was an incredibly disappointing thing to watch, even for those of us who had already questioned Powell’s political judgement when he endorsed Barack Obama’s presidency… twice. No matter how you paint it, race-baiting isn’t any less despicable coming from a man of Powell’s stature than it is coming from Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSNBC looney-bin. In reducing himself to their level, he has, in my eyes, sacrificed the strong reputation he’s long had of being a thoughtful, independent voice in our political discourse. My sense is that I’m far from alone in that sentiment. I hope, for Powell, that the rhetoric was worth it.

In a general sense, it absolutely boggles my mind that after four years of routine accusations of racism levied at Republicans by Obama supporters, the accusers still can’t seem to offer up any coherent evidence to support their claims. Instead of any rational case, all we keep hearing about is this obsessive concept of racist dog-whistles, the modern-day definition of which seems to be: Mundane words or phrases that magically transform into subliminal racism when uttered by someone with an “R” next to their name.

During last year’s presidential campaign we learned from the mainstream media that the official racist dog-whistle list includes, but is certainly not limited to: “Chicago”, “food stamps”, “monkeying”, “golf”, and as Colin Powell reminded us on Sunday, “shuck and jive”, and “lazy.”

How anyone can take such nonsense seriously is beyond me, but if it’s the basis for Powell’s argument, how about using a single standard?  If “shuck and jive” and “lazy” are enough evidence to proclaim that Republicans are intolerant and “look down on minorities”, where does that leave someone like Vice President Joe Biden who has become well known for his racially insensitive remarks?

In case some have forgotten, Biden’s the guy who talked about black people being put “back in chains” just a few months ago. He’s the guy who, in 2007 before joining the presidential ticket, marveled at how Obama was the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” He’s the guy who, in 2006, told a supporter, “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” He’s the guy who, in a speech in 2012, dawned an Indian accent and said, “How many times you get the call, ‘I like to talk to you about your … credit card?”

Is that behavior not concerning to Powell? Is there no “dark vein” of “looking down on minorities” in “some parts” of the Democratic Party? By Powell’s own criteria, the evidence seems to be there.

How about a high-ranking Democrat who sat in his proclaimed spiritual adviser’s church for 20 years, listening to him routinely preach hate, racism, an anti-Americanism? Granted it’s no highly deplorable example of intolerance like saying “shuck and jive” or “lazy” (yes, that’s sarcasm), but it sure seems like the kind of thing that would concern Powell, given his comments on Sunday. Oddly, however, it doesn’t.

The mainstream media will, of course, continue to examine Powell’s comments aggressively. After all, there are few stories they like more than a Republican attacking his own party (even though I’m not sure exactly what makes Powell a Republican anymore). However, it will be difficult for any rational thinker to find logic in such a selective proclamation of racism, especially when the rhetoric was nothing more than the same, tired, nonsensical charges that conservatives have had to endure for the past four years.

Then again, logic matters little in today’s politics, and the only insight we can derive from Powell’s Sunday performance is that conservatives can look forward to another four years of routinely being called racists in the promised post-racial era of Obama.