Posts Tagged ‘media’

By John Ruberry

The latest media controversy in Illinois is the mailing of what the liberals call “pink slime” newspapers. The term was invented a decade ago by Ryan Zickgraf, a Washington Post reporter, to describe newspapers that aren’t “real,” such as the copy of North Cook News which was mailed to my home last week. On the other hand, as you can see in the photo, the North Cook News is printed on paper and it contains, get this concept, news. North Cook News, and similarly named publications (yes, I said it), is published by Local Government Information Services, which is run by Dan Proft, a conservative activist and former Illinois gubernatorial candidate, who is a co-host of a morning talk radio show on WIND-AM Chicago, part of the Salem News Network.

Proft is also the chair of the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, which has run a series of commercials, including “The Scream,” that have drawn much-needed attention to the SAFE-T Act. Among other things, the law eliminates cash bail in Illinois. Riding off of the emotion after the murder of George Floyd, the voluminous SAFE-T Act passed the Illinois state Senate at 5am on the last day of the lame duck session of the General Assembly early in 2021. It passed the state House that same day. Illinois’ Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, signed it into law a month later. Sensing trouble, Dem legislators, or whoever wrote the law, pushed the date that the SAFE-T Act takes effect until January 1, 2023, nearly two months after the 2022 general election. 

Not a single Republican voted for the SAFE-T Act.

As I noted in my Da Tech Guy post last week, in a discussion about the SAFE-T Act, Will County State’s Attorney, James Glasgow, a Democrat, told Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery on his Flannery Fired Up show, “There are forcible felonies that are not detainable: burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, second degree murder, intimidation, aggravated battery, aggravated DUI, [and] drug offenses.” Not detainable means they’ll be set free until their trial date. 

Crime, particularly in the Chicago area, has skyrocketed since 2019. Blame is being given to Cook County’s catch-and-release state’s attorney, Kim Foxx and the anti-police policies of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot. The mayor was sworn into office in 2019, as was Pritzker. Foxx supports the SAFE-T Act, while all but one of the other 101 county prosecutors oppose it.  

The mayhem of Chicago and Cook County will spread statewide. And the Chicago area will suffer even more because of the SAFE-T Act. 

People Who Play By The Rules PAC television ads and the Proft “pink slime” newspapers must be working. Pritzker and Illinois’ attorney general, Kwame Raoul, say they are open to amendments to the SAFE-T Act–but they don’t offer details. My guess is that the Democrats are panicking. I have no sympathy for them, they’ve had nearly two years to make major changes to the SAFE-T Act.

Meanwhile, Pritzker, a billionaire, is pushing back. He cancelled an appearance at a forum with his Republican opponent, Darren Bailey, sponsored by the Daily Herald newspaper. That paper is published by Paddock Publications, which printed Proft’s Local Government Information Services newspapers; LGIS used Paddock’s bulk-mailing permit to distribute them. That infuriated Pritzker. The governor’s campaign manager, among other things, called Proft’s papers, “fake and misleading and newspaper-style mailers.” Tellingly, the Pritzker camp doesn’t specifically attack the content of Proft’s papers. They are committing the ad hominem fallacy. Paddock, in a statement, announced that it cancelled future printings of LGIS papers. The forum is back on.

The headline of my North Cook News is “Former Chicago chief of detectives: Violent offenders given ‘get out of jail free card.'” That’s true.

Not only have Pritzker and the Democrats, who thanks to gerrymandering enjoy supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, been negligent in fixing the SAFE-T Act debacle, so has the local media. With occasional exceptions, the newsrooms of Illinois’ major newspapers are woke echo chambers. They still claim to be the watchdogs for the public, but these so-called journalists are mostly interested in protecting and advancing leftist narratives. Contemporary reporters are a toxic combination of “the cool kids” in high school, with all of their arrogance, and the false ethical superiority of Iran’s morality police. Community newspapers usually only report on petty crime, but if you need to locate the nearest bake sale, well, you know where to find that information. These weekly papers are in fact weakly ones.

If the Illinois media performed their jobs honestly and capably, there’d be no need for “pink slime.”

Fact-checkers have been unkind to opposition arguments to the SAFE-T Act. The worst of these fact-checks comes from Jeff Cercone at PolitiFact. He deemed such opposition as “false.” Politi-Farce, that is Dan Bongino’s nickname for them, is partially funded by Facebook; the social media giant has used Cercone’s fact-check to blur out a video pointing out the flaws in the SAFE-T Act. Interestingly, Cercone’s Tweets are protected on Twitter. Is he afraid of his readers? I’m not. You can find me on Twitter. Come and get me, I’m not a coward!

Who did Cercone seek out as experts in his fact-check? Cops? No. Prosecutors? Nope. County sheriffs? Uh-uh. He called on Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, and two criminology professors. Oh sure, he included links to articles with opposing opinions. As for Cercone’s experts, I don’t believe their defenses of the SAFE-T Act.

Instead, Cercone should have reached out to John Curran, a suburban Chicago Republican state senator who is a former Cook County assistant Cook County state’s attorney. That, my friends, is what I call an expert.

“You cannot take deterrence out of the system,’ Curran told John Kass last week in the former Chicago Tribune’s columnist’s Chicago Way podcast, “They’ve been doing that for years, the SAFE-T Act is the final straw. Crime is rampant because people don’t fear getting caught. They [the criminals] don’t stop, the police can’t pursue anymore because of insurance issues, coverage issues, and safety issues. They run and then when they do get caught–they know they are going to get processed, booked, and be back out that day. When there is no fear of accountability in the system, what is going to stop someone who sees something and says, ‘I want to take that?'”

Keep in mind, Curran is talking about the current status quo–before the SAFE-T Act kicks in. When that law goes live, Curran warns, what he described will “put that in place permanently.” Only worse, I’d like to add.

For flight risks, apologists for the SAFE-T Act claim, accused criminals can be detained. “The problem with that,” Curran pointed out to Kass, “is to show that someone is a willful flight risk the prosecutor has to prove that they are planning or attempting to intentionally to evade prosecution by concealing oneself. That is never going to happen,” adding, “You literally have to catch them with the plane ticket in their pocket going to the airport.”

So called fact-checker Cercone needs to listen to that Chicago Way podcast with an open mind.

As I mentioned earlier the SAFE-T Act, which is 764 pages long, passed on the last day of the 101st General Assembly. Curran said he was given one hour to read it.

Social media regularly blocks or suppresses stories that the “enlightened ones” deem false. Most notably is the New York Post’s initial report on the information found on the Hunter Biden laptop, which has since been found to be as genuine as today’s sunrise. On a personal note, I’ve been repeatedly warned by Facebook that my blog entries that I’ve posted on Facebook will be pushed lower into the general FB feed, meaning of course that fewer people will see my posts, because my writings have been labeled “false and misleading.” I am fairly certain I am “shadowbanned” by Twitter. I used to oppose setting up alternative social media platforms for conservatives–it’s best that the libs see the truth, was my reasoning.

Only they don’t see it.

Twitter and Facebook used to suspend accounts of users who claimed that COVID-19 was manufactured in a Chinese laboratory. That story, still not debunked, may end up being authenticated. There are numerous similar tales

What to do?

Well, as a resort, to get an alternative message out, conservatives can mail out “pink slime” newspapers. As a last resort there is always the Howard Beale approach. You can open the window and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna to take it anymore!”

Proft is undaunted. In a statement he fired back at the billionaire, “Governor Pritzker believes his money guarantees him control of government and entitles him to make all media subservient to his government. He lords over Illinois through executive orders. He sees the Fourth Estate as no different than his equestrian estate in Wellington, FL. If he doesn’t like a television ad, it must be taken off the air. If he doesn’t like a newspaper, it must not be printed or circulated.”

Oh yeah, television. Two Chicago TV stations pulled a People Who Play By The Rules PAC ad featuring a Pritzker critic, which the governor says is “false and defamatory.”

In that same statement, Proft vowed that his papers “will continue to be printed and distributed even if we have to return to the Gutenberg press and must enlist fair-minded people across Illinois who want the truth, not Pritzker’s ‘truth,’ to hand deliver them door-to-door.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs from suburban Cook County at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Outside of sheer incompetence, a theme has emerged from the Joe Biden administration. When they need help, the White House calls on people they deem to be experts. 

Here’s a dirty secret of politics, or if your prefer, of advancing a preferred narrative. Anyone can find an “expert,” more on them in a bit, to support any opinion. It works in journalism too, the media wing of the Democrat Party.

When the discovery of the Hunter Biden laptop was revealed by the New York Post nearly two years ago–the mainstream media, social media, and of course the Biden campaign immediately moved to denounce it. The casus belli for journalists, Facebook, Twitter, and the like–Biden brought this up in a presidential debate–was that its emergence three weeks before Election Day in 2020 had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” according to 51 former national security experts, led by James Clapper, a director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama. Every one of these “experts” either lied, signed on to something they knew little about, or just simply wanted to do whatever it took to prevent the reelection of Donald J. Trump. 

Eighteen months later, the New York Times admitted Hunter’s laptop, which provided voluminous evidence of his influence peddling centered on his being the son of a powerful politician, was authentic. The 51 experts can expect subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee next year, assuming the Republicans take control of the House. Every one of these “experts” should have their security clearances permanently revoked.

Biden of course won the election. As a result of his policies, such as cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking new permits for drilling on federal land, gasoline prices soared and remain high. Although the economy was well into recovery mode two years ago, Biden signed into law the unfunded American Rescue Plan. Many experts at the time claimed it would not fuel inflation. They were wrong. Just as those national security “experts” were wrong on Hunter’s laptop. 

When inflation began its ascent, the White House cited 15 Nobel laureates in economics who said that Biden’s Build Back Better bill, enacted in late 2021, would not fuel inflation. They were wrong too. Inflation is now at levels not seen since the early 1980s. Last year Biden and other “experts” were saying inflation was “transitory.” Liberals reading this post will blame inflation on the War in Ukraine, you know, “Putin’s price hike.” Sure, the war likely has an effect on inflation, but the scourge was with us before Russia’s invasion Ukraine. 

Build Back Better was originally part of a much larger bill, the green energy stuff was split off and later discarded after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he wouldn’t support it. Well, Build Back Better Part Two is back, laughably renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. And to bolster its support, the Biden White House has–are you ready?–called on experts, this time, four former Democratic Treasury secretaries and one Republican, who claim, among other things, that the Inflation Reduction Act will “fight inflation” One of those ex-Treasury secretaries is Larry Summers, who warned last year the Biden White House, “We’re taking very substantial risks on the inflation side.” 

A good journalist would track down Summers and ask him specifics on why this bill really will fight inflation.

Earlier I mentioned that journalists have a role in advancing political narratives. For example, at Forbes, Rhett Buttle offers a slobbering French kiss of propaganda, which is accompanied by this headline, “Experts Agree: The Inflation Reduction Act Accomplishes A Lot For Small Business And Working Families.” While late in the piece Buttle manages to write about the bill, “some who represent select corporate interests in Washington don’t completely agree” with the hype. But if Buttle was truly a journalist, he would have tracked down opponents of the Inflation Reduction Act and presented a balanced article.

Then again, real journalism is dead. Twenty years ago such a piece as the one written by Buttle would contain the sub-headline, “news analysis,” assuming a magazine like Forbes would even publish it. I took some journalism classes at the University of Illinois. If I turned in such an article for an assignment, a professor would have deservedly given me an “F,” enhanced by this underlined comment written in red ink, “This garbage reads like a press release.”

But Biden’s new batch of experts have spoken: The Inflation Reduction Act, which the Senate will vote on Sunday afternoon, will “fight inflation.”

Watch your wallet. Watch the cash in it lose its value.

Disclosure: This blog post should be classified as “news analysis.”

UPDATE 5:15pm EDT: The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“The fliparoo theory of PolitiFact is now confirmed,” Dan Bongino said early in his July 28 podcast, “The fliparoo theory is this: If a fact-checker, airquotes, PolitiFact, says something is true it is probably false. If PolitiFact says something is false it’s probably true.”

Which means, of course, that we are now in a recession. PolitiFact, in a piece written by propagandist Louis Jacobson entitled, “No, the White House didn’t change the definition of ‘recession,'” he fact-checked a claim that originally came from an Instagram post. In seemingly 10,000 words, meant to overwhelm low-information voters, Jacobson ruled that statement false.

Jacobson is wrong, he’s gaslighting us. We are in a recession.

And Jacobson is not alone.

The Biden White House, led by the embarrassment of a press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has been redefining “recession” for at least a week. For decades, the generally accepted definition of a recession has been two successive months of negative GDP growth. In the first quarter of 2022, the American economy shrank by 1.4 percent, and it contracted by 0.9 percent in the second quarter. These are facts. 

“However, the two-quarter threshold cited in the Instagram post has never been official,” Jacobson said in his so-called fact-check. “It’s more like a rough guide,” he continued, “one piece of a complicated puzzle.” Translation: the wise and oh-so-brilliant Jacobson is right, and you are a semi-literate yokel for accepting the commonly agreed upon description of a recession. 

In another overly long fact-check, Newsweek’s Tom Norton, another hack apologist, also ruled “false” the claim that the Biden White House is redefining what a recession is. “Furthermore, the White House website doesn’t have a dictionary or catalog of all political terminology and jargon it uses (that is the case for other governments, such as those of the UK and Canada, too),” Norton offered. 

Wow. I’m convinced. Not.

In Norton’s Newsweak–or is it Newspeak?— fact-check, Norton quotes Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, who, by the way, was wrong about inflation being “transitory,” that it is really up to a secretive private organization to determine a recession. Who knew? “There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession,” she revealed.

Another fact-check fabulist, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, appears to be on vacation so he hasn’t weighed in on the leftist-induced recession debate. Three years ago, while fact-checking Donald Trump, Kessler wrote, “A recession is two quarters of negative economic growth.” But Joe Biden wasn’t president then.

Another prominent (along the lines of someone having an ugly prominent nose) fact-checker, USA Today, also hasn’t recently given its opinion on what a recession really is. Oh, what’s this? In a 2020 fact-check USA Today informed us, “A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of declining GDP, or gross domestic product, a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced during a specific time period.”

But on the other hand, Snopes is bowing to the Democrat Party mantra about recessions. Referring to a couple of social media messages, “The tweets quoted above may give readers the misleading impression that the Biden administration literally tried to revise the criteria economists use to determine when a recession has occurred. But that was not the case,” Bethania Palma chimes in for Snopes.

It is the case. Snopes is lying.

Here are some media talking heads talking not too long ago, based on who I see here and the chyrons, using the classical definition of a recession, in a montage compiled by the Media Research Center. You know the, you know the thing, as Biden likes to say, two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth. C’mon man!

But, assuming briefly we are not in a recession when will we be in one? The Biden administration won’t say. Is it a recession when we have three successive quarters of declining growth? Four? Five-and-a-half?

Or will it be a recession only when there is a Republican president?

Dan Bongino is right. The fliparoo theory of “fact-checkers” is now confirmed. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

On occasion I get accused of living in a right-wing silo, or if you prefer, bubble.

But it’s left-wingers who are more likely to dwell in their own political silo. And it’s hurting their side. 

Good.

And because many people, particularly leftists, are terrible listeners, I have to repeat myself yet again.

Here we go.

Even if I wanted to, I can’t remain in a right-wing silo. Besides–broadcast and cable media, as well as streaming services, are dripping wet with liberal and woke bias. And I can’t always avoid them. Last year, Mrs. Marathon Pundit underwent a minor medical procedure. In the waiting room I had to sit through ABC’s Good Morning America, hosted by Clintonista George Stephanopoulos, and then, on the same network, The View. 

Earlier this year I had some complicated dental work done. My dentist has TVs in front of each chair. What was on? The View. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was one of the show’s guests. 

“John,” my dentist calmly said to me as she drilled, “tell me if you experience pain.”

Conservatives–and if you are a regular viewer of MSNBC or CNN this will shock you–are more tolerant of people who hold opposing views.

It’s an old study, but Pew Research found that liberals were more likely to block or unfriend a conservative than the other way around. 

The mainstream media, the Biden White House, and big-city governments are leftist monocultures. Big tech too, but I’ll attack them again, I am sure, in a future blog post.

When you live in an echo chamber, you are bound to inadvertently come up with ideas that outsiders will mock. Or even, like a lit stick of dynamite with a long fuse, have them thrown back at you. 

Last month, a contender–and oh my, is the competition steep–for worst Biden cabinet member, Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, revealed the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board. Conservatives immediately pounced, and almost in unison, called the group “Orwellian” and labeled it “the Ministry of Truth,” which is where reluctant liar Winston Smith toiled in George Orwell’s novel, 1984. When it was revealed that a disinformationist, who had cast doubts on the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop, Nina Jankowicz, was the head of that panel, the Orwell analogy was complete. 

One rule of politics, one that the woke ignores because of what Ben Shapiro calls the left’s “unearned sense of moral superiority,” is that when (not if, because the right errs too) you make a whopper of a mistake, you must immediately correct it. So rather than eliminating the Disinformation Governance Board as soon as Mayorkas acknowledged its existence, “the Ministry of Truth” and Jankowicz dangled for three weeks. During that time the Orwellian memes of Jankowicz flooded social media, and an embarrassing TikTok video of Jankowicz, singing to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” emerged, which gained her the nickname Scary Poppins.

Anita Dunn, who in 2009 cited the genocidal Mao Tse-Tung as one of her favorite philosophers, which led to her departure from the Obama White House, worked on the 2020 Biden campaign. She was briefly a senior White House advisor to Biden. Dunn is said to have been behind the president’s recent use of not only MAGA as a pejorative, but the heretofore unheard moniker “Ultra MAGA.” Conservatives on social media immediately and proudly declared themselves as “Ultra MAGA,” mirroring the response in 2016 when Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump supporters “deplorables.” During a speech earlier this month, Biden referred to his predecessor as “the great MAGA king.” On Truth Social, Trump struck back with a Lord of the Rings-themed meme as he gleefully adopted the nickname.

If Dunn didn’t live in a left-wing bubble, she would have seen all of those snarky responses coming.   

On the local level, last month Chicago’s inept leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, declared that the summer of 2022 will be “the Summer of Joy.” John Kass has derisively referred to the Summer of Joy in several of his columns and he poked fun at it in his most recent podcast. Hey Jackass, the sarcastic yet accurate tabulator of Chicago murders and shootings, is selling Summer of Joy T-shirts and coffee cups. Now that Memorial Day weekend has arrived, every time there is a mass shooting in Chicago–and we only have to look back a few hours to find the most recent one–bloggers and right-leaning social media users will quip something along the lines of “Wow, here is more ‘Summer of Love’ Chicago carnage for you.”

All Lightfoot would have needed to prevent this mockery is to have a politically moderate advisor–she would never hire a conservative–who would be bold enough to say, “I don’t think ‘Summer of Love’ is a wise idea, and here’s why.”

As Mary Poppins, not Biden’s Scary Poppins, said in that classic movie, “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.”

Such is the status of liberalism in 2022.

Which is why it will be a glorious election season for the right this year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.