Tag: media bias

Lies, Damned Lies and the Washington Post’s Omitted Statistics

 

shutterstock_27561673To its significant credit, the Washington Post has devoted much time and energy over the last year to assembling a database of fatal police shootings. By their tally, some 998 Americans were shot to death by police under all variety of circumstances in 2015. That is double the previous high total reported by the FBI, a fact that unveils an unquestionable gap in government statistics management. It is somewhat remarkable that no government entity accurately tracks this data. However, inasmuch as such statistics come partnered with Disraeli’s lies and damned lies, the reluctance of law enforcement to provide unethical activists with a tool chest of numbers to twist is not unsurprising.

And, as if on cue, the Post has proven that fear well founded. A tool that could have shed light on (arguably) the most crucial aspect of the relationship between government and governed was instead (though not unexpectedly) obfuscated and sullied the conversation with misleading spin and blatant omission.

When it comes to judging police use of force, the most important factor is it’s reasonableness: that is, the context of the use of force and the perceptions of all involved. Was the suspect armed or did he appear to be armed? How far away was he? Did the officer give the suspect a chance to comply? Was that even possible? Were there other options available? Even with nearly a thousand lethal police shootings last year, the number of shootings (lethal or otherwise) by officers is a miniscule fraction of all encounters police have with citizens. Thus, these factors are crucial to understanding what sets a given use-of-force encounter apart from all the others.

Taking the Risk out of Crime and Putting It on You

 

shutterstock_150668036Over the last two years, much of the national conversation has focused on problems in policing. The basic assumption is that use of force is grossly excessive and frequent. It’s not: Barely one percent of officers use deadly force annually – 80 percent never do.

But the substance of the positions of police “reformers” proves they are more interested in taking the risk out of criminal acts – pushing it onto cops and society – than addressing even the few incidents of truly unjustified police violence. “Reformers” really want to decriminalize crime.

In Pasadena, the case of Kendrec McDade has been front-and-center of this conversation and illustrates exactly this agenda.

Distortion in Service of Progressivism Is No Vice

 

640px-Antonin_Scalia_2010It’s as fascinating as it is frustrating to watch the media spin a story to suit its preferred narrative. For this week’s example, look no further than the controversy surrounding oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, the latest affirmative action case to reach the Supreme Court of the United States.

An MSNBC reporter named Irin Carmon — who also co-authored a laudatory biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg entitled The Notorious RBG — seized on a question raised by Justice Antonin Scalia during oral arguments. The question dealt with the assertion (raised by one of the briefs) that promising students from poor or minority schools would generally be better served by attending good-but-non-prestigious colleges than elite schools through affirmative action. In other words, these students face a more daunting adjustment than either they or the colleges realize, which unnecessarily dooms them to failure at prestigious schools when they would likely have prospered at other schools. There has been legitimate research into this idea that dates back over a decade.

That context was absent from a tweet Carmon sent out, and the response via social media has been sadly predictable:

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Jonathan Chait pulled off an impressive job of malicious partisan hackery in NY Mag: Marco Rubio appeared on This Week yesterday morning, where he took umbrage at Hillary Clinton’s statement that the United States is “at war with jihadists” but not “at war with Islam.” Rubio declared himself baffled by Clinton’s carefully parsed distinctions. “I […]

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By now you are aware that Canada just elected a Liberal. Claire Berlinski’s and Dan Hanson’s excellent posts cover the election and who Justin Trudeau is. Conservatives have always pointed to proof of left wing bias in mainstream media. In the United States there are probably no more than a handful of mainstream media outlets which tilt […]

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Media Narrative Chart

 

I created a chart to ensure that budding journalists understand how to properly frame a story involving any type of shooting, terror attack, or other violent crime. Remember that the job of the Objective Journalist™ is not to tell the audience what happened, but to expand the event into an indictment of Western culture.

Media-Narrative-Chart

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BrentB67 reminded me earlier of the hostility some Ricocheti have to Wikipedia. Admittedly, certain quarters of Wikipedia are populated by social justice warriors, but overall it’s a useful, convenient, and up-to-date source of information. Even back in 2005 (yes, kids, 10 years ago), a study published in Nature concluded that Wikipedia was comparable in accuracy […]

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Gawker’s Death Rattle

 

GawkerMediaThe only remaining question about the demise of Gawker Media is not whether it will die, but, rather, whether its inevitable death will come via a prolonged suicide, or, remarkably, at the hands of Hulk Hogan.

It’s looking more and more like the former scenario will win the race, and not just due to the potential defects in Hogan’s legal argument.

I won’t rehash the details of last week’s Gawker saga, except to say that the decision to remove the reprehensible article about David Geithner was not a popular one among Gawker Media’s newly-unionized editorial and writing workforce.

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Thursday’s news cycle blessed us with a prime illustration of a particularly tasty flavor of media bias: A left-leaning commentator spread misinformation without consequences, while, elsewhere, someone with an opposing view was being pilloried. The topic in question was the Redskins nickname, a subject about which I’ve written at length.  As most of you know, a […]

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A few days ago, I presented a round-up of online commentary with a decidedly anti-American bent, timed to coincide with Independence Day. Perhaps “anti-American” is too strong a word.  These were more like rhetorical wet blankets on your Fourth of July fireworks than anything remotely treasonous. Preview Open

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It’s a long-settled question that the Washington Post doesn’t care for the Washington Redskins. The editorial board has already formally announced that the paper will never use the team nickname, except in the sports section.  Over and above that, now-departed columnist Mike Wise spent much of the latter part of his tenure at the Post railing against […]

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Scalia’s Dissent in Lawrence vs Texas

 

Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas was prescient in its analysis of where we were headed in a post-Lawrence world. Likewise, the reaction to last Friday’s Obergefell decision has included warnings from both the dissenters and numerous commentators that the fallout from the case could mean serious legal challenges to religious institutions and/or the necessary discovery of a constitutional right to polygamy or prostitution.

Naturally, progressives scoff (at least on the record) at such suggestions, even as we begin to see a few commentaries pop-up that make those very arguments.

To most on the Left, these are the desperate ramblings of scare-mongers who are trying to cling to the most absurd arguments still available to them in this rapidly changing world. “Pay these claims no mind,” they say.  “This is just slippery-slope nonsense.” They usually then tack on a strawman about how conservatives think people will start marrying their dogs or some such thing.

When You Start Making Maureen Dowd Look Classy By Comparison…

 

BarnicleI’ve never much liked the “you won’t believe what the liberal media just said” game. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad other people are doing it. It’s just never been a big part of my portfolio. It seems a little too easy. If — like me and, I’d imagine, many of our readers — you find most of the Left’s more prominent talking heads these days to be intellectual flyweights, it rarely feels worth the candle.

That said, I do harbor a longstanding vendetta against pundits who feel no compunction about shoehorning their ideology into other people’s tragedies. Last year, for instance, I posted about Paul Krugman trying to score political points off of Tom Coburn’s cancer, as well as Maureen Dowd’s shameless attempt to get a column on Hillary Clinton out of Robin Williams’ suicide, both efforts I found utterly tasteless. Well, MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle — who, the few times I’ve seen him on TV, has struck me as crazy but not MSNBC crazy — rounded out the triumvirate this weekend. Barnicle’s newest Daily Beast column starts out as a seemingly thoughtful reflection on last week’s shooting in Charleston:

A week filled with terror and trauma carried out by a sociopath, a 21-year-old racist named Dylann Roof seemed to conclude with a prayer in the form of the simple, eloquent words of Nadine Collier, whose 70-year-old mother, Ethel Lance, was one of nine dead among the pews of the Emmanuel African Methodist Church Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C.: “You took something very precious away from me,” Ms. Collier said to the killer in a courtroom where a bond hearing was held for Roof. “I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

Walker Derangement Syndrome?

 

AnnoyMajor League Baseball’s spring training begins in earnest a week from now, with teams playing exhibitions. And that guarantees at least one thing: a player’s going to hit a 400-foot homer, prompting a sportswriter to assume that said player is destined for a 40-homer season because of the one dinger. Such are the perils of covering baseball in March, well before the actual pennant chase.

The same danger holds true when interpreting polls on the 2016 election, 11-plus months before Iowans caucus. Speaking of Iowa, a new Quinnipiac University Poll has Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pulling ahead of the Republican field in the state that kicks off the GOP’s selection process next February.

The numbers (and these are for likely caucus-goers):

You Always Hurt the One You Love

 

In my somewhat brief time upon this Earth, I have never seen a more obsequious D.C. press corps than the one covering President Barack Obama. There was bias during the early Clinton era, but reporters were still quick to joke about his love of fast food and faster women. They were said to fawn over JFK, but that was before my time and we were in a seemingly life-or-death struggle with the Red Menace.

But today’s press goes beyond simple bias or affection. “Obsequious” might not be the right word. I could have used “brown-nosing,” “unctuous” or “deferential.” Maybe “throne-sniffing.” Or “sycophantic.” “Obeisant,” “parasitical,” “compliant,” “worshipful,” “ingratiating,” “servile,” “prostrate,” or “toadying?” Look, the precise word isn’t the point. Let’s just say if any president should be pleased with the fourth estate, it’s Mr. Barack H. Obama of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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… no, not abortion.  The real problem, of course, is the recession: A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Princeton researchers Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt quantifies just how many fewer babies were born because of the Great Recession. Their answer: at least a half a million. Preview Open

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Jay Carney, CNN, and the role of the “Fourth Estate”

 

This week we learned that Jay Carney is starting a new job at CNN.* “Of course he is,” quipped Glenn Reynolds. And of course he is.

Jay Carney spent the last six years as a paid, professional liar in the service of another professional liar. A snide, sneering jerk of a human being, constantly and consistently behaving like the smug weasel** we recognize from any number of 1980s high school movies. The nerds got their revenge by moving to Washington.