Friday, July 21, 2017

Why anyone would care about the opinions of a basket of deplorables is beyond me; Clearly, the Huffpost's “Listen to America Tour” never would have happened had Hillary Clinton been elected

Give the mainstream media points for trying, notes Benny Huang — with perhaps a soupçon of sarcasm.
[The Huffington Post] announced last week that it will send a team of journalists on a tour of middle America to “hear concerns from across the nation.” They’re calling it their “Listen to America Tour.” I’ll give them points for trying.

The tour, which will stop in 22 states over a period of seven weeks, is intended to discover “what we share as Americans, rather than what divides us.” The route largely avoids the coasts though it does veer into North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Heavily represented are southern, midwestern, and Rocky Mountain states.

Wow. Just wow.

Conservatives like to complain that the media are too elitist and too focused on a few coastal metropolises.

 … Editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen strongly hinted that the purpose of the project is to meet and engage with Trump voters in order to learn what makes them tick. “For journalists, listening is more important than ever,” she wrote.
“Why? First, trust in the news media is at an all-time low. We want to address that head-on, and build trust in the work we do, by visiting communities that are largely ignored by national media. We’ll listen to what’s most important to them, and help tell those stories to the vast HuffPost audience. Second, political divisions between us seem starker than ever. But at HuffPost, we believe there’s still so much that unites us as citizens.”
Clearly, the “Listen to America Tour” never would have happened if Hillary Clinton had been elected last November. This is Huffpost’s attempt at striking a conciliatory tone with a lot of people who feel alienated by the mainstream media. It’s as if they’re saying, “We hear you, flyover country.”

And that’s a good thing…right?

Sure it is. Yet I can’t imagine this particular leopard changing its spots. We’re talking about a media organization that, in the heat of a presidential campaign, added an editor’s note to the end of all of its Trump-related stories reading:
“Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”
That was 2016. In 2017, Huffpost’s editor-in-chief wants her reporters to meet Trump’s base and to listen to their concerns. Why anyone would care about the opinions of a basket of deplorables is beyond me but perhaps Polgreen is sincere. After all, she has only been editor-in-chief since the grande dame Arianna Huffington stepped down in December. She’s even said that she wants to win over the Trump crowd. Could it be true?

I have my doubts. I can’t see Huffpost finding the pulse of non-coastal America because it has done such a poor job of it in the past. It’s not as if Huffpost and other big media outlets don’t write stories about flyover country. Sometimes they do, though it’s usually to ridicule, to wrinkle their noses at red state backwardness, or to stare with gaping mouths at things that strike them as weird.

 … This is Huffpost after all, and its editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen is a lesbian with closely cropped hair who wears ties and button-down shirts. Judging by Huffpost’s content, I’d say that she’s basically a homosexual activist masquerading as a journalist, much like CNN’s Don Lemon or the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart.

… There will be more of these stories. I predict with a high degree of certainty that Huffpost’s planned bus tour will swoop into towns across America and seek out people to give voice to the narratives that the reporters themselves have already written in their minds. That’s not “listening.” In fact, it’s kind of the opposite of listening. It’s lecturing. Oh sure, they’ll find locals to speak for them. A little downhome twang gives a story a lot of authenticity.

 … I think we can expect a number of what I call “It’s hard being X in Y” stories—that is, stories about members of allegedly marginalized groups who have suffered the misfortune of finding themselves in places that don’t fully accept them.

 … These stories are ubiquitous in the media, so common in fact that they’ve become formulaic—it’s hard being “gay” in the Utah, it’s hard being an atheist in the Bible Belt, it’s hard being a broadminded liberal in a narrowminded small town, etc. I keep waiting for stories about evangelical Christians facing prejudice in Boston or Trump supporters being physically attacked in California but mainstream reporters never seem interested in those. These “It’s hard being X in Y” stories serve as recurring reminders of who ranks where on the victim hierarchy. Some groups—Christians, white people, conservatives—don’t rank anywhere. They aren’t allowed to.

 … Truth be told, I don’t really want Huffpost telling stories from middle America; not if they’re going to filter them through their own biases. If they’re just going to blow into town long enough to shame a local church for its teaching on homosexuality, to support and defend lawbreaking illegal aliens, or to poke fun at people who don’t believe in Darwinian evolution, I would prefer that they just stay home. And no, it doesn’t matter if they throw in a few stories about out-of-work coal miners to give the appearance of balance.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

European nations treat their people like sheep; the USA treats its people more like goats, although the would-be shepherds keep pushing

Kate Paulk explains The Difference Between Citizens And Subjects (obrigado per Sarah Hoyt):
It’s the little things like this that point to the mindset under them. Or as Pratchett memorably put it in Small Gods: “Sheep are stupid and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.” European nations treat their people like sheep. The USA treats its people more like goats, although the would-be shepherds keep pushing. Pratchett did not add that trying to drive goats will often earn the would-be driver a kick in the nadgers, but it’s worth remembering. Because Americans are goats. We can be led by the right people for the right reasons. Try to drive us, and you will find your family jewels suffering.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What the free market solution encourages between employers and employees is trust, cooperation, and mutual accountability


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before
writes Carine Martinez-Gouhier.
Texas makes everybody better off by reducing government intervention in their lives. Because of this success, other states emulate the Lone Star state. Then proponents of big government in Washington, D.C. get nervous and start attacking Texans as impractical ideologues that don’t care about workers, the poor, or people in general.

 … [And yet] the benefits of Texas’ approach are undeniable. The solution encourages trust, cooperation, and mutual accountability between employers and employees. Employers that choose to offer a private benefit plan are not relieved from their liability for possible negligence as they would be under the state system. The exposure creates an incentive for the employer to proactively make the workplace safer to prevent as many work-related injuries or illnesses as possible. In exchange, employees are often expected to quickly report injuries so that medical care can start early, as well as facilitate employees’ recoveries and timely returns to work. 

 … The more businesses can compete for employees, the more workers benefit.

Of course, employers benefit too. When employers are free to shop for benefit plans, insurance companies have to compete for employers’ business, which tends to drive prices down. Insurance companies can also offer solutions tailored to an employer’s specific activity, instead of offering an expensive one-size-fits-all solution. Lower costs mean employers can focus on better care for injured workers too and also provide a strong incentive for them to keep workers away from harm. Overall, employers and employees interact far more in nonsubscription than in the state system.
Carine Martinez-Gouhier is a policy analyst and the managing editor of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What the Two Rules of Modern Journalism Seem to Be These Days

    In the New York Times, Joshua Green complains about the (alleged) fact that No One Cares About Russia in the World Breitbart Made (thanks to Instapundit):
Look to the right now and you’re apt to find an alternative reality in which the same set of facts is rearranged to compose an entirely different narrative.

… There have been mileposts along the way: the populist revolt on the right that killed bipartisan immigration reform in 2013, the toppling of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. And, of course, the rise of Mr. Trump, whose attacks on the mainstream media have conditioned his supporters to dismiss as “fake news” any reporting that is critical of him or his administration — Mr. Trump has even criticized the coverage of his son’s Russia liaison, where the basic facts aren’t in dispute, as coming from the “fake media.”

 … One reason that an alternative view of reality has taken such deep root among Republicans is that they seem to be focusing more on the broader culture. … If you’re not a Republican, watching Republicans react to the news can feel a bit like witnessing a mass hallucination. Even more so when some emissary from the alternate Republican universe like Kellyanne Conway teleports onto CNN or another mainstream outlet to state her case.
    What test will it take, asks the author of the forthcoming “Devil’s Bargain” (Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency), in order to measure "just what it takes to snap out of a mass hallucination"?

    In response to Joshua Green's column bemoaning Republicans' "mass hallucination" ("No One Cares About Russia in the World Breitbart Made," July 15, aka The World Through Breitbart-Vision, July 16), I have a few questions:

    If the New York Times is concerned about American statesmen colluding with, and being stooges for, the Russians, why did you not raise an uproar about the U.S. president who whispered to the Russian leader that he would have "more flexibility" toward Moscow after the next election?

    If you are concerned with American politicians who sell out national security for money, how about the secretary of state involved in a uranium deal with the Kremlin, after which the pol's spouse and/or foundation became the recipients of hundreds of thousands of rubles?

    If you are concerned with elected officials creating shady back channels to foreign countries (indeed, to adversaries), how about the time the White House gave not $1.7 million, not $170 million, but $1.7 billion (all or most of it in cash) to the ayatollahs of a country of terrorism supporters who regularly whip up rallies with shouts of "Death to America"?

    What accounts for the difference?

    Isn't it that Trump and the Bushes et al are rightists and Republicans — who therefore must be demonized and countered at every step of the way — while the likes of Barack Obama and the Clintons are leftists and Democrats, who, as demi-Gods, are unworthy of investigations and, indeed, hardly any negative coverage whatsoever?

    Unless Republicans are hallucinating, the two rules for modern journalism seem to be:

    Rule 1:  The words and deeds of politicians, leaders, and the powerful must be duly met with skepticism, put into doubt, fact-checked, countered, and opposed.

    Rule 2:  Rule 1 only applies to people on the right and to Republicans.

    (With Democrats, the attitude seems to be more in the vein of "Kindly tell us your glorious plans for fundamentally transforming the United States of America and taking our country to a radiant new future.")

    My final question to you is: 

    What is it about double standards that they do not teach at the Columbia School of Journalism?