Bash the Messenger

Jul 232010

In calling for internet censorship, CNN newsreader John Roberts said,

“Imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said.”

Imagine, he said. But it doesn’t take much imagination at all. There are any number of topics where the MSM have declined to take a close look and “plumb the depths.” That’s how President Obama can get by with some of his wild conspiracy theories, e.g. about how the economic crisis came about.

Think about what might happen if the MSM did investigate ObamaCare or the financial crisis, or the latest bank nationalization act. That’s something that requires a feat of imagination.

Jul 112010

An article at the WSJ by one Ana Campoy invokes tears of sorrow for those who have been left uncounted by the Census Bureau this year: “Census Countdown Brings Fear of Exclusion.” My comment:

It’s amazing that this article was written without a single reference to the census bureau scandals this year – overcounting the number of jobs created by census bureau hiring, and faking the data by filling out bogus questionnaires. With skills like that, the author is eligible to be a full-fledged journalist. Or she could get a job at the census bureau.

Jun 222010

Democrats have concerns and opinions about issues, but Republicans use issues. That asymmetry is common enough in news reporting, but it’s not often that one gets to see the contrast in such close juxtaposition. Here it is in two successive sentences:

Democrats say the documents, released over the weekend by the Department of Defense, strengthen support for Kagan by showing that she permitted military recruitment through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association, despite her opposition to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gay servicemen and women.

But Republicans are using the documents to blast Kagan’s “discriminatory treatment of the military” while she was at Harvard.

Fox news URL here.  The emphasis is mine.

Jun 152010

WSJ headline: “U.S. to Demand BP Fund

That is an inaccurate headline, of course. It’s the Obama administration that’s asking for it, not the U.S. The U.S. has laws against extortion. A better headline is a small blurb on the same page on which the misleading one appeared: “The White House plans to ask BP for a damage fund.”

If there is such an escrow account, though, who would keep the money for safekeeping and administer it? The Obama administration is not eligible, because its policy of nationalizing any industry within reach creates a conflict of interest.

The British government also has a conflict of interest.

The United Nations? The money would be gone in a day if deposited there.

Here are my three nominees:

  • The government of Ireland. The Irish have no great love for the Brits or for America, but get along reasonably well with both.
  • The government of the Czech Republic. Václav Klaus can be trusted not to be easily intimidated.
  • The government of Georgia. This would help focus more attention on a country that needs it. And Georgia would have great motivation not to mess up.
May 142010

Useful phrase of the day: “This all sounds about as reliable as shipping lettuce by rabbit.”

It’s in an article by Ezra Levant titled, “The CBC’s left-wing bias.” He says the CBC is going to investigate itself to see if it has any left-wing bias, but it isn’t going to reveal the methodology for its study.

We could hire these guys to investigate climategate.

(I’ve never doubted that the CBC was left-wing, but back in the late 80s and early 90s there was a program I used to like that did things differently than I ever heard on NPR. It would investigate topics by conducting intensive interviews on both sides of an issue. I heard a thorough investigation of gun control issues that one would never get on NPR, for example. Alas, I don’t remember the name of that program, and it has been quite a few years since I’ve listened to any CBC at all. Maybe it’s time for us to do some vacation travel in Canada again.)

May 122010

Amazing lead paragraph by Kara Scannell and Fawn Johnson at the WSJ. It’s in an article titled, “Schapiro: Web of Rules Aided Fall.”

Regulators haven’t found evidence of a single cause for the May 6 stock-market plunge, but the lack of unified rules among stock exchanges played a role, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said Tuesday.

There is not a single sentence in the entire article to explain how a “lack of unified rules among stock exchanges” could have played a role. I suppose mere reporters don’t get to ask questions at a congressional hearing, but surely they should have reported on how the congressional committee members let that comment go by without a word of explanation. Or perhaps there was an explanation, in which case Scannel and Johnson should have told us about it.

Why make a big deal out of this? Well, I am skeptical that a lack of unified rules could have caused a lack of stability. It’s just not the way large, complex systems usually work. Usually there is stability in diversity, not in uniformity.

I tend to think of the parallels between economic systems and biological ecosystems. Note how the headline used the word “web.” Webs are usually good for stability. If this is a rare exception, it would be worth knowing about it.

May 112010

Washington Post headline: Abortion could be sleeper issue in Supreme Court confirmation process.

Wow. I’ve been away on a bicycle outing and haven’t had time to learn anything about Elena Kagan yet. But she must be really bad if the Obama administration is trying to use the abortion issue to distract attention.

May 072010

From an AP article at the Battle Creek Enquirer titled, “Court official: Militia members can be traced 24/7”:

The militia members are charged with conspiring to overthrow the government. They remain in custody, although a judge wants to release them.

A comment I posted in response:

A judge wants to release them??? Do we know that? We know that a judge ruled that they should be released, but that doesn’t mean that the judge wants to release them.

Your AP writer demeans our judicial system when s/he ascribes judicial rulings to the personal preferences of judges.