URLs du Jour

2021-03-20

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  • Lying Journalists. But I Repeat Myself. So yesterday I linked to a WaPo article headlined Georgia shootings could test state’s new hate-crimes law as debate rages over suspect’s motive. I concentrated on the dumbness of Daniel Dae Kim's remarks to a Congressional panel. But I noticed this bit:

    A sheriff’s office spokesman had said that the suspect was having “a bad day” and indicated that “sex addiction,” not race, was probably the driving factor.

    … and I said, whoa, that was pretty dumb too. Not as dumb as Daniel Dae Kim, but still.

    But, as Robby Soave notes at Reason The Media Got It Wrong: Police Captain Didn’t Say the Atlanta Spa Killer Was Having a ‘Bad Day’.

    The comment [by Jay Baker, sheriff's office spokesman] struck many people as overly sympathetic toward ["suspect" Robert Aaron] Long, as if Baker was making excuses for someone who stands accused of killing eight Asian-American women in cold blood. A 20-second video clip of Baker's statement was shared on Twitter by Vox journalist Aaron Rupar and swiftly went viral, earning widespread condemnation. Many saw it as evidence that cops are desperate to discount the culpability of white male criminals. For instance, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor and inventor of the term "intersectionality," described Baker's comments as "bone-chilling," and castigated him for refusing to acknowledge "the misogynistic dimensions of anti-Asian racism."

    A police officer excusing Long's actions as merely the result of him having a "bad day" would indeed be contemptible. But that's not what Baker did. In fact, many of the people so infuriated about the quote were misled by Rupar's edit of the video.

    The full video (the relevant section starts at about 13:50) makes clear that Baker was not providing his own commentary, but rather summarizing what Long had told the investigators. The "bad day" line was proceeded by a clarification that this was Long's own explanation, as related to the police. Baker did not endorse it.

    Morals: don't trust agenda-pushing "journalists" from the Washington Post or Vox. And don't trust anyone who uses (let alone "invented") the term "intersectionality".

    And if you think Twitter is doing a good job of combatting "misinformation": Rupar's tweet is still up. So is Crenshaw's. Twitter loved to stick disclaimers on Trump tweets; they are silent here.


  • What Could Go Wrong? Jonah Goldberg has mixed feelings: Earmarks Are Back. The GOP’s Enthusiasm Is Worrying..

    A decade ago, one of the first things Republicans did after taking back the House of Representatives was get rid of earmarks. For those of you who don’t recall, “earmark” is the term of art for when members of Congress bring home the bacon to their district. The GOP was in a Tea Party-ish mood back then, and getting rid of “bridges to nowhere,” etc., was all the rage. 

    At the time, I thought the earmark ban was an encouraging sign of reform. But in recent years, I’ve changed my mind somewhat. Yes, the practice had gotten out of control, and it drove some corrupt practices. But if the issue was runaway spending and debt, getting rid of earmarks was always more symbolic than serious. The main drivers of our national debt have always been entitlements, not road projects or ice skating rinks. 

    If the price of getting Congress to implement serious entitlement reforms was a gold-plated monorail in every congressional district, it would be well worth it. Besides, who’s to say that a politician in constant contact with his district’s voters and civic leaders won’t have a better understanding of what his or her community needs than some bureaucrat a thousand miles away?

    But the GOP's current "logic" is: looks like the Democrats are going to do it, so we want in.

    That's bad. But Jonah ignores the real problem with earmarks. They are relatively minor noise in terms of the overall budget, true. But they are often corrupt funnelling of cash to politically well-connected constituents.


  • Mean Girls Graduate From High School, Get Meaner at Teen Vogue. Emily Jashinsky at the Federalist observes the latest brouhaha: Merciless Teen Vogue Staffers Are Not An Outlier, They're The Future Of Newsrooms.

    Make no mistake, the journalists at Teen Vogue will soon be in charge of every legacy newsroom. The shortsighted media establishment haplessly fueled its own destruction and there’s little recourse.

    This week, Alexi McCammond lost her job as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because the outlet’s staff couldn’t get over tweets she sent as a teenager which, as the New York Times put it, “included comments on the appearance of Asian features, derogatory stereotypes about Asians and slurs for gay people.” McCammond apologized for the tweets in 2019 and went on to cover the 2020 election for Axios, earning acclaim from her peers.

    Well, maybe she'll get a Substack. Like Matt Taibbi, who is busy…


  • Showing That Government Officials Lie Too. Taibbi's recent document dump: Aaugh! A Brief List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus.

    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released a much-hyped, much-cited new report on “Foreign Threats to the 2020 Elections.” The key conclusion:

    We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, [and] undermining public confidence in the electoral process…

    The report added Ukrainian legislator Andrey Derkach, described as having “ties” to “Russia’s intelligence services,” and Konstantin Kilimnik, a “Russian influence agent” (whatever that means), used “prominent U.S. persons” and “media conduits” to “launder their narratives” to American audiences. The “narratives” included “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden” (note they didn’t use the word “false”). They added a small caveat at the end: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

    Taibbi goes on to provide the "brief" (ten-item) list of "official takes" widely reported in the media that (a) just happened to reflect poorly on Trump and his administration; and (b) turned out to be false, to much less hoopla.


  • Since We Can't Go To Actual Theaters, This Will Have To Do. John Hinderaker reports on Mask Theater In the Senate. Starring Rand Paul and Anthony Fauci:

    In a Senate hearing earlier today, Rand Paul took Dr. Fauci to task for wearing a mask (or two) in public when he has already been vaccinated. Paul, who has been a stalwart throughout the covid fiasco, pointed out that there is virtually no chance of a person who has been vaccinated getting the Wuhan bug, so why the mask? Further, if people have to continue wearing masks for years after being vaccinated, as Fauci yearns for, what is the incentive to be vaccinated? The exchange is brief but telling:

    … and available in a recent Tweet:

    Fauci wants to treat Americans as children who can't handle the truth. That is, as I've been saying for years, a self-fulfilling policy: treat 'em that way, you'll get an ever-increasing fraction acting that way.