Gun Control Debate Turns Into Textbook Journalistic Elitism

Thanks to David Gregory and Jeffrey Goldberg, the debate over gun-control has turned into an embarrassing display of journalistic snobbery. David Gregory was reportedly told by the D.C. police he could not brandish a high-capacity magazine on Meet The (De)Press(ed), but he did it anyway, which is a crime. He was in possession of the magazine…doesn’t matter if he was using it in a gun or not. Calls for an investigation have naturally been shouted down by the utterly worthless Howard Kurtz and Jeffrey Goldberg:

So commit those crimes folks. When you get pinched, just tell the nice policemen you were practicing journalism. Fool proof.

Errol Morris and the Power of the Narrative

One of the greatest documentary film-makers since the Maysles Brothers is Errol Morris. Famous for films about oddball characters such as people who run pet cemeteries in Gates of Heaven and small town eccentrics in Vernon, FL., he’s also done political films such as a study of Robert S. McNamara in Fog of War and perhaps his most famous work The Thin Blue Line which led to the release of an alleged cop killer.

Morris, like most in the entertainment industry, is a political liberal. He supports President Obama and has directed a series of political ads for However, Morris recently has developed a new passion for journalism, looking at what it is and what it isn’t. Unable to secure funding for a documentary film on his latest idea, he instead has written a book about the convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald and the man he believes has denied MacDonald justice, journalist Joe McGinniss. Does that name ring a bell? Yes, he’s the guy that rented a house next door to Sarah Palin in Alaska while working on book about the conservative icon.

What’s interesting about Morris’s new project is the general theme as related in this review of the book by Dan Kennedy, an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University:

Morris seeks to knock down McGinniss’s narrative by offering not a counternarrative but, rather, an antinarrative. A Wilderness of Error is not so much a book as a scrapbook—transcripts of interviews, newspaper and magazine clippings, charts, diagrams, and the like. The technique is reminiscent of The Thin Blue Line. It makes for tedious reading, but it gives Morris’s story much of its power. Through the careful and overwhelming accumulation of detail, Morris attempts to show that the narrative you think you know—that MacDonald was driven to unspeakable crimes by amphetamines and a long-suppressed hatred of women—is false: a figment of McGinniss’s imagination, concocted to explain the unexplainable.

And this is highly relevant to our modern times. Journalism is no longer about running through a brick wall to get at the truth, it’s about sculpting the facts to fit the narrative, i.e. the story line that fits the world-view of the journalist. Look at the top story of the past weeks: the fiscal cliff. How much attention is being paid to facts like raising taxes on top earners won’t lead to increased government revenue? On the blogs and Glenn Beck’s network, sure, and maybe on Fox, but for the rest of the MSM, which let’s face it, is where most people get their information, this is not part of the narrative. The narrative with the MSM is that the rich (defined as earning $250,000+) pay very little in taxes, the middle class and the poor are paying the lion’s share and Obama is the Alpha and Omega. Simple. Easy. Narrative.

Says Morris:

“What gives journalism its authenticity and vitality is the pursuit of truth. This applies to the law, as well. The real story is in our attempt to separate fact from fiction. The real story is in our attempts to find out what really happened—no matter how difficult that might be.”

Dan Kennedy continues:

This is Morris’s purest statement of why journalism matters. Because if narrative has indeed imprisoned MacDonald, it is truth that may set him free. “There is an escape from narrative,” Morris said in an interview on NPR’s On the Media. “Any investigator believes that evidence can lead us out of a narrative prison to the world out there.” The purpose of journalism is not to craft a narrative. Rather, narrative is just one tool in a journalist’s kit, to be used—or not, as in the case of Morris’s book—in order to advance the truth. For a journalist, I can think of no higher calling.

Uh huh. The problem is many “journalists” don’t believe they are crafting narrative. They believe they are presenting the “truth.” Some journalists are devious and know exactly what they’re doing and some are so delusional that they’ve brainwashed themselves into believing what they’re presenting is journalism. Were I to sit down with Errol Morris and/or Dan Kennedy, I bet we’d disagree on who belongs in those categories.

Nevertheless, half a loaf is better than none. If Morris can expose the evil that is the journalistic narrative, maybe a handful of people can see the light and reject it.

Howard Kurtz: A Useless Life

The great Ed Driscoll has a nice roundup of the pathetic response from Howard Kurtz on Glenn Beck’s recent artwork. Kurtz has been the go-to media critic for I don’t know how many years, yet he is so entrenched in the mainstream media you could never take him seriously. Now, he’s become not only ridiculous, but utterly worthless.

Yeah, that whole “Piss Christ” thing just passed you by, huh Howard?

The Romney Surge: A Theory

If I weren’t such a pessimist, I would be inclined to say that the signs are there that Mitt Romney is pulling away from Barack Obama. He’s picking up steam in the swing states and the crowds coming out to see him are huge.

The campaign started rolling after Romney’s debate with President Obama. It was watched by 67 million Americans…a spectacular number and his performance gave a sterling first impression to the many who had, for all intents and purposes, seen him for the first time.

We hear every presidential election that “most” voters don’t really start getting into the race until October unlike us wonks who are into it 24/7 and can’t figure out how no one has made up their minds yet. However, this old cliche may have proven out, but (spoiler alert!) the MSM is to blame.

Let’s look at these people that supposedly were seeing Romney for the first time. To be more precise these were people that had, of course, heard of Mitt Romney, but up until that point, they knew him as a caricature. And who, dear reader, creates said caricatures? You guessed it.

As with any major political event, we get an endless stream of stupid “Do ____ Matter?” articles from the MSM. In the case of the Obama/Romney debate we got plenty of “Do Debates Matter?” write-ups and pontifications after the debate since it was clear their guy Obama got his clock cleaned.

So to answer this question: Yes, debates do matter…for Republican candidates, thanks to you, MSM. If the American people had had a real, unbiased representation of Mitt Romney from the media since he secured the GOP nomination, they wouldn’t have gone into the debate knowing him only as some rich guy with great hair who had something to do with the Olympics and might have injected some woman with cancer. But despite the MSM buffoonery, the debate wouldn’t have mattered as much if Romney hadn’t done as well as he did. If he wins in November, we may have to stop talking about the first Kennedy-Nixon debate as the most significant presidential debate in history.

Romney has the momentum right now, let’s just hope it’s enough.

Jockeying For Position On Election Day

It’s anathema to a blogger to say “I have no idea.” Why blog then? Well, it’s about more than just being a soothsayer, but right now I, and many others, face the dilemma of having no idea how the election is going to shake out. We are literally (hat tip: Joe Biden) sinking in a flood of media misinformation with more polls coming out every day either showing Obama winning or the race a tie. This has led to arguments over whether these polls are skewed or not. Limbaugh says this is all for the sole purpose of dispiriting Romney voters while Erick Erickson says the polls are correct and Romney needs to up his game or it’s over. While I respect Erickson, I don’t think he has any idea but is playing the pessimists so as to have something to hang his hat on in an Obama second term. If he’s wrong, we’ll all be too excited/relieved to care.

I’d like to think the public is still as angry as they were in 2010. Yes, I said angry. The late Peter Jennings called the 1994 Congressional elections a national “hissy fit,” but that was to be expected from a journalist who used to date a PLO mouthpiece. But despite his snark, he was right. People were mad. They elected in 1992 a supposedly moderate Democrat who went full socialists for two years so they reacted accordingly. Now we look on the Clinton years as the good ol’ days when small businesses were at least allowed a chance to survive. America had it’s “Hissy Fit II” in 2010 but it wasn’t enough. We need to go full-blown conniption in 2012.

"Yes I Would, Kent."

About 100 years ago, when The Simpsons was still a funny show, there was a great scene with their pompous newsman Kent Brockman:

Kent Brockman: When cat burglaries start, can mass murders be far behind? This reporter isn’t saying that the burglar is an inhuman monster like the Wolfman, but he very well could be. So, professor: would you say it’s time for everyone to panic?

Professor: Yes I would, Kent.

We find ourselves in a similar state as the Obama Media continues to feed us a daily diet of skewed polls in order to convince us the election is over and there’s no point.

This Daniel Foster column is a few weeks old, but I think everyone should read it to get a better perspective on what we’re up against. Here’s a taste:

The sum total revealed a bizarre truth about swing voters. It’s not that they’re divided on any given issue, with half taking one side and half the other. Rather, everybody seemed to agree with everybody else about everything — and to disagree with them, too. Transitory coalitions formed and dissolved in what seemed a matter of milliseconds, like exotic particles in a supercollider. One minute, Latino Nose Spectacles was in complete agreement with Senior in Blazer. The next, they were at each other’s throats, and Young Yellow Dress had to team with Hair Gel to step in as the voice of reason. Working majorities seemingly assented to some premise, only to split a thousand ways on the most straightforward logical conclusion from said premise.

Everybody hates Congress, but most of these people either voted for their current congressmen or can’t name them. Everybody blames both parties for gridlock, but everyone also wants politicians brave enough to stand for their principles and against business as usual. Most call themselves moderates. One — one — describes himself as a liberal, and he voted for McCain and plans to vote for Romney. There were even those among them, reader, who liked Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan equally. Such people aren’t so much swing voters as they are schizophrenic. It’s Schrödinger’s electorate.

The bad news is that these people are going to determine the election.


Offshore Investments And The New Media

The recent dust-up over Mitt Romney’s Swiss Bank Accounts provides an important lesson on the evolution of journalism in America. This week the Obama campaign went with the “Mitt Romney is an outsourcer” meme but this game plan was short-lived as the New Media in the form of the Weekly Standard, revealed the hypocrisy: (Hat tip: Hot Air)

Disclosure forms reveal that Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida, previously held funds with investments in Swiss banks, foreign drug companies, and the state bank of India. This revelation comes mere days after the Democratic chair attacked presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for holding money in Swiss bank accounts in the past.

This pushed the hand of the Old Media as ABC News, which still has a few true journalists left in their arsenal, revealed Valerie “Obama’s Brain” Jarrett’s own foreign exploits:

A lot of attention has been focused lately on Mitt Romney’s offshore finances in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

But the word Bermuda pops up on the financial disclosure forms of  one of President Obama’s top advisers too.

Valerie Jarrett’s financial disclosure form filed May 4 lists a line of credit from a Bermuda insurance company valued between $100,000 and $250,000.

Now, what can we surmise from this?  Two possibilities: 1) The Democrat Party machine is still stuck in the past when there was only the Old Media and they could make any statement they wanted and not have to worry about it being challenged or investigated; or 2) The Democrat Party machine is relying on the fact that attention spans are short and many people will only hear the first charge and not hear the rebuttal. It’s likely a combination of both which leads to the behind-the-scenes in-fighting you sometimes hear about on political campaigns or in the halls of Congress or the White House. Some, I’m sure, are furious that this meme collapsed because no one checked to see if the walls were made of glass.

Factor into this a recent Gallup Poll that shows consumer confidence in Television News at an all time low:

Americans’ confidence in television news is at a new low by one percentage point, with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993.

I quipped on Twitter that we need to get this number down to zero, but that’s no joke. I’m inclined to say since Watergate, but it’s really since the Kennedy Administration that the MSM has made it their priority to not report the news but make the news. To quote Charles Foster Kane, “People will think what I tell them to think.” I’ve seen Dan Rather use false documents to try and take down a President. I’ve seen “Fast and Furious,” a scandal bigger than Watergate, ignored by NBC. This is no longer just a simple matter of bias; the MSM is now slouching toward Fifth Column territory. Any Republican presidential candidate starts with an immediate handicap created by the MSM. If you control information, you control the future. Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon, Andrew Breitbart and many more have been storming the gates for years and making significant progress, but with progress comes a wounded enemy that becomes more rabid, more desperate in its desire to keep its grip on the power and ability to “change the world.”

In short, the MSM must be defeated. It’s the only chance we have to get our country back. The ratings for the national evening newscast must hit rock-bottom; circulations of newspapers and magazines need to dwindle to near oblivion leaving the statists with no allies to carry their messages of misdirection and confusion.