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Much has been written recently by conservatives about narrative-driven reporting. That’s the latest nickname for something I started talking about in March, 2006. Back then, I coined the phrase Agenda Media. Glenn Reynolds’ USA Today column is just a newer way of talking about the same thing. Here’s how Reynolds breaks things down:

Why did Rolling Stone make such a colossal — and, potentially, very expensive — mistake? Like The Times editors, the editors at Rolling Stone had bought thoroughly into a narrative. For The Times, it was the hypocritical NRA. For Rolling Stone, it was sexually predatory fraternity members. In both cases, excitement about this narrative led to the reporting of things that weren’t true, and humiliation for the reporters and editors.

Ultimately, Rolling Stone and the NYTimes published those articles for this reason:

The other thing these stories have in common is that they all served Democratic Party talking points, whether based on anti-gun thinking, “war on women” sloganeering, or pro-Hillary sentiment. For whom journalists are rooting, of course, is no mystery to most news media consumers, but it’s telling that the errors so often point in the same direction. (As columnist Kurt Schlichter tweeted, the corrections to news stories never seem to make conservatives look worse than the original.) That’s a diversity problem, too, of course: When everyone in the newsroom shares the same political leaning, groupthink and outright propagandizing get a lot easier.

That’s just a more polished way of saying what I’ve written about since 2006. The Agenda Media isn’t interested in reporting the truth. They have to oppose the truth if they want to stay on the Democratic Party’s good side. The Agenda Media isn’t about old-fashioned reporting of facts. It’s about advancing the hardline progressives’ agenda. If that requires lying, then that’s what they’ll do without hesitation.

The secret to being an accepted member of the Agenda Media just requires a few things. First, you can’t have a conscience. Next, you have to love the hardline progressives’ political agenda more than you love the truth. Third, you have to follow the hardline progressives’ chanting points without question. Finally, you must enthusiastically deny that you have an agenda even if a conservative exposes your agenda.

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Think of Scott Walker’s op-ed as his way of telling the Gotcha Media that he isn’t playing by their rules:

There has been much discussion about a media double standard where Republicans are covered differently than Democrats, asked to weigh in on issues the Democrats don’t face. As a result, when we refuse to take the media’s bait, we suffer.

I felt it this week when I was asked to weigh in on what other people said and did and what others’ beliefs are. If you are looking for answers to those questions, ask those people. I will always choose to focus on what matters to the American people, not what matters to the media.

Various right-leaning pundits have said that Gov. Walker needs to deal with the Gotcha Media’s tactics. Those pundits are wrong. In fact, I think that part of Gov. Walker’s strengthening poll ratings are directly attributable to Gov. Walker’s refusal to play the Gotcha Media’s games.

This is the stuff that Americans want to hear about:

Americans believe our nation is facing some substantial challenges. Government spending is out of control. Terrorists seek to destroy our way of life. Our economic recovery has been slow. Our borders aren’t secure. The federal government has usurped powers that rightly belong to our states.

And every day across Wisconsin, and as I travel the nation, I hear from people who share with me their worries about, and their hopes for, our country. They worry about whether their children in college will be able to find a good job after graduation. And as a dad with two sons in college, I worry right along with them.

They talk to me about the rise of terrorist attacks and ISIS, and what it means for our security at home, and for Americans and our allies abroad. We all pray for American sons and daughters in the military and their safe return home.

We’re living in dangerous times in terms of the threat posed by ISIS and al-Qa’ida, both of which get stronger with each week. We aren’t living in prosperous times, thanks to President Obama’s failed policies, starting with the Affordable Care Act.

It’s time conservatives to unite around Scott Walker. We need an inspirational leader who’s gotten great things done and who hasn’t played the Gotcha Media’s games. Only Scott Walker fits that description. Jeb Bush did some conservative things as Florida’s governor. Now that he’s playing on the national stage, however, he’s supporting things like Common Core and President Obama’s executive amnesty.

What Americans need now is an unapologetic conservative who’s listened to the people and did what they told him to do. We don’t need someone who’s listened to political consultants and the special interests.

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Scott Walker’s media strategy has confounded the Gotcha Media thus far. Gov. Walker’s unconventional answers have exposed these Gotcha Bandits’ political agenda. Recently, Gov. Walker threw the Gotcha Media into a hissy fit with this answer:

Walker notably delivered a critique of the media over the weekend, after being asked whether he believed President Obama is a Christian.

“I’ve never asked him that,” Walker told the Washington Post. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian? To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”

The Gotcha Media immediately flew into faux outrage mode, hinting that Gov. Walker thought President Obama was a Muslim. That isn’t what Gov. Walker said. He simply said that he didn’t know because he’d never talked with President Obama about the subject.

It wouldn’t be difficult to call members of the Gotcha Media and other progressives the ‘Dog Whistle Media’ because they’re experts at hearing things that other people haven’t said.

This is an important point. When the Gotcha Media asks a question about President Obama’s religious beliefs or about the candidate’s theory on evolution or other questions, there’s just one goal in mind: to try and entice the candidate into sounding like a Neanderthal. The best way to deflect those types of questions is with a reply of “I don’t answer gotcha questions. Next.”

UPDATE: This Hill article shows how adept the Walker campaign is:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is fundraising off what he describes as “gotcha” questions from the media.

Then there’s this:

Some are questioning whether Walker’s moves have been beneficial — but his campaign is looking to frame it as a moral stand.

“He refuses to be drawn into the sideshow of answering pointless questions about whether and how much President Obama loves our country. To Governor Walker, what matters are ideas, issues, his record, and results,” the email from Friends of Scott Walker continued. “Now is the time to stand up against the publicity hounds and the journalistic pack, and help Governor Walker fight back. Your support will show the clueless and mindless journalistic herd that you know what matters most and that it is not the pointless minutiae that they are pushing.”

It’s outstanding that Gov. Walker is setting the terms of his coverage:

“To Governor Walker, what matters are ideas, issues, his record, and results.”

That’s the battlefield Gov. Walker will fight on. If journalists are upset that he isn’t playing their gotcha games, he’s saying, that’s their problem. The American people, I’m betting, are looking for a positive, upbeat, politician who focuses on them instead of the Gotcha Media’s games. Further, I’m betting they’ll find Scott Walker’s rules refreshing.

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God bless John McCormack for highlighting the lie in Gail Collins’ column. Check this out from Collins’ column:

Mainly, though, The Speech was about waging war on public employee unions, particularly the ones for teachers. “In 2010, there was a young woman named Megan Sampson who was honored as the outstanding teacher of the year in my state. And not long after she got that distinction, she was laid off by her school district,” said Walker, lacing into teacher contracts that require layoffs be done by seniority.

All of that came as a distinct surprise to Claudia Felske, a member of the faculty at East Troy High School who actually was named a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year in 2010. In a phone interview, Felske said she still remembers when she got the news at a “surprise pep assembly at my school.” As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.

The title of Collins’ article is “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser”. I’d argue that it’s Ms. Collins that needs either an eraser or an editor. Ms. Sampson didn’t lose her job in 2010 because Gov. Walker “cut state aid to education.”

The reason McCormack highlighted that part of the paragraph is because Scott Walker didn’t take the oath of office as Wisconsin’s 45th governor until January, 2011, which means that Ms. Sampson lost her job because of Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget cuts to education.

McCormack’s article actually highlights this:

Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.

“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”

On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill?—?delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court?—?was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.

With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan?—?such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)?—?saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

Here’s the difference between Jim Doyle, who supposedly supports teachers, and Scott Walker, who supposedly hates union workers: Scott Walker’s reforms saved jobs, Jim Doyle’s status quo policies would’ve led to teacher layoffs or major property tax increases.

Gail Collins’ editors either don’t give a shit about the truth or Gail Collins doesn’t give a shit about the truth. Either that or liberal ‘journalists’ are only interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda. Either that or it’s all of the above.

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During his recent trip to England to promote international investment in Wisconsin, a moderator asked Scott Walker what his view of evolution was. Gov. Walker quickly responded that he would “punt” rather than answer the question. Immediately, journalists and other Democrats pounced on Gov. Walker’s question. Ron Fournier wrote this article criticizing Gov. Walker’s response. Here’s the opening of Mr. Fournier’s article:

Gov. Scott Walker wants to be president and is a serious contender for the job. But nobody who wants to be taken seriously for the presidency can duck a question like, “Do you believe in evolution.”

“I’m going to punt on that as well,” the Wisconsin Republican said in response to a question in London about whether he was comfortable with the idea of evolution. “That’s a question that a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another.”

Asking a potential presidential candidate about his views on evolution aren’t relevant. That’s like asking a city council candidate what their view is of Roe v. Wade. It’s like asking a gubernatorial candidate what they think about changing zoning laws.

What I want to know from potential presidential candidates is what they’d do to stop the terrorists in southwest Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Will we need boots on the ground? Should we arm the Jordanians and the Peshmerga? Should we increase the bombing runs into Iraq and Syria?

Why can’t journalists stop practicing gotcha journalism? Asking a potential presidential candidate about evolution, especially at a time when US embassies are being overrun and President Putin is sending troops into Ukraine, isn’t serious journalism. Here’s Fournier’s response to why it’s important:

I can think of at least two reasons why the question relates to Walker’s unofficial bid for the GOP nomination. First, there are virtually no questions that are out of bounds for a presidential candidate. Think of a campaign as a lengthy interview for a job with 300 million bosses, each with a singular set of standards for making a decision. What might be a stupid question to 99 percent of votes (“Boxers or briefs?”) might matter to somebody.

That’s one of the flimsiest excuses I’ve ever heard. Essentially, Fournier said ‘because it might be important to someone.’ It’s telling that Gov. Walker has the courage to tell voters that he’s perfectly comfortable not playing the media’s gotcha games. I don’t want another president that’ll tell me whether he wears boxers or briefs. If that question never gets asked again, I’ll be a happy camper.

Walker tried the weasel route, telling Twitter followers, “It’s unfortunate the media chose to politicize this issue during our trade mission to foster investment in Wi.”

Here’s Fournier’s snotty reply:

No, sir. It’s unfortunate that a man who had the political courage to defy public employee unions is afraid to answer a simple question. Or maybe you’re not so courageous. Your attempt to clean up the flap on Twitter didn’t work because your tweet doesn’t answer the question.

Essentially telling an unserious journalist to take a hike on asking an unserious question is definitely a sign of confidence.

Wow. What a concession:

Republicans have convinced themselves that Obama got preferential treatment from the mainstream media in 2008. I will concede the point for the sake of argument.

It isn’t that Republicans “have convinced themselves that [President] Obama got preferential treatment” from the MSM in 2008. It’s that they’ve repeatedly proven that the MSM treated President Obama with kid gloves throughout his 2008 campaign.

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Truth Revolt’s article will undoubtedly cause lots of consternation with senior management of NBC’s news division. This might sink Brian Williams’ career:

“I want to apologize. I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”

Truth Revolt cited Stars and Stripes article that accurately reported what happened:

The admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.

My advice to Williams is to buy a dog because that dog will be his only friend for the next few months. Williams’ clean-cut image just took a major hit. This headline is worth 1,000 articles:

This won’t just blow over in a couple of days, especially when you consider this story:

NBC News anchor Brian Williams told actor Alec Baldwin in March 2013 that he was afraid he was going to die when a Chinook helicopter he was riding in during the Iraq War was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

“I guess I do say to myself and to others — ‘I’ve got this’ — and I don’t know where that unbridled confidence comes from,” Williams told Baldwin, trying to describe where he gets his thirst for action and challenge.

“And I’ve done some ridiculously stupid things under that banner, like being in a helicopter I had no business being in in Iraq with rounds coming into the airframe,” Williams said.

This picture says it all:

It’s all over except the announcement. When will that shoe drop?

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There was a time when Gloria Borger was a serious journalist. After this week’s lovefest, it’s clear that she should be shipped to MSNBC, where undisciplined progressive hacks go for their final acts. Check out this slobbering Obama lovefest:

In case you haven’t noticed, President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately. On paper, it’s a head-scratcher. After all, he lost control of the Senate in the last election. His popularity is hovering near an all-time low. And, of course, he’s a lame duck.

Only no one seems to have told him. It’s as if he has shed his Clark Kent-ish demeanor for the more flamboyant cape. He’s no Superman, to be sure, but he’s spending an awful lot of time lately trying to get off the ground.

If Ms. Borger lavishes more praise on President Obama, she’ll be in danger of reminding people of the Obama rallies of 2008 where people fainted from excitement while listening to him. She’s acting like a giddy schoolgirl when she’s around her first crush.

With an introduction like that, it isn’t wise to think we’ll get anything useful from the rest of her article. After reading this crap, it’s safe to say that she lived down to my expectations:

And all that pent-up energy, ambition and action, barely two months after losing control of the Senate. Can this be no-drama Obama? “Anyone would become annoyed and frustrated if you were accused of being a wuss,” says a senior Democratic policy adviser. “And it’s always better to be on offense than defense.”

Everyone knows the old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Actually, there is such a thing as bad publicity. Similarly, it isn’t always better to be on offense. President Obama’s actions have been exceptionally stupid from a political standpoint.

In the latest Fox News poll, 60% of registered voters surveyed disapproved of his handling of immigration, compared with 36% who approved. Apparently, the people polled didn’t get Ms. Borger’s gushy memo that President Obama is Superman. Further, it’s worth questioning whether doing things the people don’t like is helping the Democratic Party for 2016.

At this point, Republicans should pray that President Obama should continue acting this obnoxious. If he continues acting like a spoiled brat who thinks that this nation’s laws don’t apply to him, he’ll sink the Democratic Party for 2016.

It wasn’t exactly a state secret that Obama had a lot on his to-do list after the election. The thinking, according to a knowledgeable source: He felt constrained and frustrated by his tactical responsibilities to Democrats in trouble. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t make Democrats take hard votes. Don’t even campaign in red states. So he didn’t. And, as it turns out, the restraint helped not one whit.

So now, with the clock ticking, he’s moved from party cheerleader to the head of the executive branch. It’s Katie-bar-the-door, with or without the Congress. ‘Tis the season for a presidential list, and he’s checking it twice — as his legacy looms. Everything he is doing redefines the very notion of a lame duck.

The things President Obama is doing through executive orders will be immediately undone by executive orders when Republicans retake the White House in 2017. That’s if they last that long. It’s quite possible the courts will put a thumping on his most exotic executive actions long before then.

It isn’t like President Obama hasn’t gotten thumped repeatedly by the Supreme Court. At last count, they’ve ruled unanimously his executive power grabs 13 straight times and counting.

President Obama is making the 2016 election about him, mostly because he’s a narcissist. He can’t help himself. Little Ms. Borger apparently hasn’t figured it out that he’s toxic. People want him to exit the stage. It’s apparent that, in most people’s minds, the 2016 election can’t get here soon enough. It’s time for President Obama to go. While he’s leaving, I’d appreciate it if he took Ms. Borger with him. We need real journalists, not over-the-hill cheerleaders.

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This Our View editorial in the Times isn’t surprising considering their disgust with conviction politicians. It isn’t surprising that the Times is running interference for St. Cloud State again.

Councilman Johnson’s understanding of the airline industry has caused him to ask a number of pointed questions about daily flight service to Chicago. Being an expert on that issue isn’t a liability, though the Times apparently think it’s a liability. It’s a strength. Councilman Johnson isn’t afraid to ask tough questions while the Times and other politicians try sweeping things under the rug.

Further, it’s beyond galling to see the Times write about conflicts of interest, especially with regards to St. Cloud State. The Times has played multiple roles in its relationship with St. Cloud State and President Potter. They’ve been SCSU’s PR agency. They’ve been Potter’s stenographer, too. Unfortunately, the thing they haven’t been are unbiased reporters of fact.

If you weren’t reading LFR, you likely don’t know that SCSU has hidden, with the Times’ help, the fact that administrators have erased students’ participation in classes from the University’s official transcripts. If you haven’t read LFR, you certainly wouldn’t know that St. Cloud State’s tuition revenues have dropped dramatically thanks to a precipitous drop in enrollment. One Times article even said that enrollment for a semester was only down 1.3%, which is technically accurate if you’re going by headcount enrollment.

Had the Times reported that FYE enrollment, which is the only enrollment that’s predictive of tuition revenues, that semester was down close to 5%, they might’ve seen this year’s $9,542,000 budget deficit. Unfortunately, they didn’t report it, then were surprised when President Potter was forced to announce that SCSU’s operating deficit for FY2015 will be at least $9,542,000. It’s still possible, unfortunately, that it might reach higher.

If you haven’t read LFR, you wouldn’t know that President Potter’s trust rating with the faculty was terrible. The best that the Times has done is admit that there’s a problem and that both sides need to work together to solve the problem. The Times hasn’t said anything critical of President Potter with respect to the Great Place to Work Institute’s Trust Index Survey. When the Institute asked if the administration didn’t play politics, only 17% of faculty agreed with that statement.

Not surprisingly, the Times didn’t report that. Instead, they talked about the need for both sides to work together.

LFR is calling on the Times to abandon their SCSU cheerleader uniforms and to become a serious news organization. Their unwavering support for President Potter, frankly, is disgusting. If they won’t stop being President Potter’s off-campus PR firm, then people shouldn’t take their Our View editorials seriously.

Stan Hubbard’s response to the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists’ denunciation of KSTP highlights Mr. Hubbard’s substantive criticism of MNSPJ. First, here’s the reason behind Mr. Hubbard’s response:

On November 19, 2014, the Minnesota SPJ asked KSTP-TV to “disavow” its reporting, saying that our story was “fundamentally flawed and based on a faulty premise.” This, because you decided the image in the report showed Mayor Hodges making what the Chapter called a “silly gesture.” KSTP-TV reported that gesture as a known gang sign. We were informed of that fact by several law enforcement agencies. You even went so far as to suggest that we would try to mislead. To suggest that KSTP-TV would ever deliberately distort any fact in any story is totally out of line. We have never done so and we never will do so.

Thanks to Mr. Hubbard’s response, the SPJ has exposed itself as a leading voice of the Agenda Media:

Perhaps most disappointing of all is the fact that most, if not all, serious news organizations that addressed our coverage, including the board of the Minnesota SPJ, simply “followed the herd” and tracked the trend on Twitter in their derision of our coverage. Rather than responsibly questioning law enforcement’s motivation in bringing this story forward, and digging deep into whether it truly represented a public safety issue, they instead chose to simply ignore that which was reported, and go with the much easier and much more popular “silly gesture” angle.

Twittersphere journalism isn’t journalism. It’s shortcut journalism, which isn’t real journalism. The question that SPJ hasn’t answered is the question that SPJ won’t answer. Why didn’t SPJ’s news organizations do the research that KSTP did? Why didn’t SPJ member organizations check into law enforcement’s claims that Mayor Hodges’ actions presented a public safety issue?

Clearly it is disturbing to many that otherwise playful gestures presumably innocently made by a public official can have a totally unintended meaning in a different context. Nonetheless, that is exactly what our reporters were told by numerous law enforcement sources. Namely, that while a “gun” gesture may be funny and innocent in many contexts, it is neither funny nor innocent in a neighborhood plagued by gun violence and a “foothold of area gangs.” The recent announcement by federal officials that the indictment of 11 high profile individuals from two warring gangs, allegedly involved in the North Minneapolis drug and weapon trade, underscores the seriousness of the current gang situation.

Why isn’t SPJ interested in this? Is it because they aren’t interested in the seriousness of the issue? Or is it that this information doesn’t fit their script? Whatever the reason for their disdain, their willingness to ignore the seriousness of gun and gang violence is disturbing at minimum. This is something that’s troubling, too:

Public records reflect that Mr. Gordon had been arrested for aggravated armed robbery on August 2, 2014, two months before the picture in question was taken.

That’s disturbing on steroids. Why would Mayor Hodges campaign with a thug facing charges for aggravated armed robbery? Further, why is the DFL reaching out to criminals in their campaigns? Why aren’t SPJ organizations interested in this story angle? Finally, why didn’t SPJ admit that a mayor campaigning with a thug who’s been arrested on aggravated armed robbery charges is a big deal?

Simply put, the SPJ’s disinterest in these substantive angles verifies the fact that the SPJ isn’t that interested in substantive reporting. It verifies that they’re more interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda.

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This article presents this year’s vulnerable Democrats as hawkish:

Democrat Kay Hagan didn’t mince words about the Iraq War during her 2008 Senate campaign against Republican Elizabeth Dole. “We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way,” Hagan declared in May of that year. “We need to elect leaders who don’t invade countries without planning and stay there without an end.”

Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she’s more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she’s been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.

“This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation,” she said this month.

What’s interesting (noteworthy?) is that the terrorists haven’t changed their belief that the infidels must be killed or put into servitude. I’m confident that these doves haven’t changed their opinion of war, either. I’m certain that they’re acting hawkish now…to an extent.

Al Franken still doesn’t want boots on the ground, though he wants ISIL defeated. That’s what a focus grouped response sounds like. That isn’t a substantive answer. It’s a political answer aimed at getting him through this election. Without angry men with rifles, ground can’t be take and terrorists can’t be defeated.

We don’t need idiots in the Senate fulfilling faux advise and consent responsibilities. That’s what the Democrats are providing and it’s disgraceful. I’m betting that Sen. Hagan couldn’t have explained the definition of getting out of Iraq “in a responsible way” meant then. I’m positive that Sen. Franken can’t explain how to decapitate ISIL without putting boots on the ground. Sen. Franken is a policy lightweight and a political rubberstamp.

The only thing more frightening than getting lectured about national security by President Obama is the thought that Al Franken and Kay Hagan are giving President Obama advice on how to decapitate ISIL.

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