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Islam Journalism Media Truth

Muslims Are Safer In The United States Than In Muslim Countries

Rod Thomson

The brutal, hate-filled slaughter of 50 Muslims in mosques in New Zealand garnered worldwide news coverage for days as the outrage was real and visceral. But the reaction belies a broader issue that is generally buried for ill-fitting the narrative: Muslims are not only extraordinarily safe in the United States, they are thriving.

First, it’s worth noting what some conservative sites have pointed out: While the world was rightly indignant over the New Zealand killings, the world and media seemed largely indifferent to the slaughter of three times that many Christians in one Africa country in a three-week period, or the 23 Christians killed by the Fulani, or the ongoing killing of Christians for being Christians around the globe — particularly by extremist Muslims. Here is an extensive example of that from The New American.

That is all true. Christianity is the most persecuted religion worldwide. Pretty much all agencies agree on that. There just isn’t much outrage as it is largely Islamist extremists doing the killing. Islamists kill even more fellow Muslims.

But there is another element to the difference in the coverage in New Zealand and in Africa, and some ears will not want to hear this: Killing people, particularly over religion or ideology, is wildly unacceptable in Christian and post-Christian countries in the West. It is far more accepted as just part of life in many other cultures, particularly Islamic countries. A lot of violent death can and does create a hardened acceptance.

Dutiful disclaimer: Islamists slaughtering the “wrong” kind of Muslims, along with any Christians and non-Muslims readily available to be killed, are not the majority of Muslims. In the West and particularly in the United States, violent Muslim extremists are a very, very small minority — perhaps the lowest in the world. But in some countries, from the Palestinian territories stretching through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and back to Egypt and Libya, extremists and Islamists are very sizable minorities by their own self-professed opinions.

So in those countries where attacks against civilians are accepted by between 8 percent and 20 percent of the population (and between 90 percent and 100 percent of the population is Muslim) the violence is more common and more accepted, if not actually desired.

That is not the case in the United States or New Zealand or other western Christian or post-Christian countries. And it is far more rare. Despite all the blather about the rise of Islamophobia in the United States, more mass attacks are carried out by Islamists in the name of Islam than against Muslims. Far more.

Further, the United States is one of the safest countries, perhaps the absolute safest country, in the world to be Muslim and practice Islam.

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In a report that came out last September by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change tracking the roots, spread and effects of violent Islamist extremism, researchers found that 121 terrorist groups sharing portions of an ideological form of Islam are now operating around the globe. Their deadly actions in 2017 alone resulted in the deaths of 84,000 people — about 22,000 of them civilians — in 66 countries.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in September that Islamist extremism is “global and growing,” adding that it “didn’t begin with al Qaeda; nor will it end with the defeat of ISIS.”

The “Global Extremist Monitor,” which was produced by Blair’s non-profit, used hundreds of news sources that reported on incidents of violent extremism in 2017. According to a CBS News report from the time:

“There were a total of 7,841 attacks – an average of 21 per day –in 48 countries, it said, with war-torn Syria topping the list of countries most affected by violent extremism. Overall, Muslims were the most frequent victims of deadly attacks. Twenty-nine violent Islamist groups were actively engaged in conflict in Syria in 2017, the report said, with ISIS responsible for 44 percent of all attacks. Half of all civilian fatalities recorded globally were documented in Syria.”

In a National Geographic article by a Muslim who is an NPR correspondent covering race and diversity (politics are more than obvious) we see that despite the best attempts to paint America as bigoted, Muslims that are not activists largely don’t think it is a big problem. The article, “How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America,” talked to a lot of Muslims around the country. Here is a tidbit:

“That’s what Musa loves about being Muslim in America: The rights of expression and worship are protected. Here, he says, he can choose to be the kind of person, the kind of American, the kind of Muslim he wants to be. He points to his shelves at his rustic home on a sheep farm. They’re filled with books written by Shiite and Sunni scholars, reflecting the many schools of thought under those two main Islamic sects. “This is the place to be a Muslim, scholarship without intervention,” he says. “In Malaysia I could go to jail because I have Shiite literature in my house, and in Malaysia that’s the equivalent of being a commie in America.””

So despite the hand-wringing by the media, Democrats and some Muslim activists, such as CAIR, the U.S. is not only one of the safest countries in the world to be a Muslim, but Muslims may also thrive here more than any other place when including overall freedoms and economic opportunities — all of which probably explains why the percentage of Islamists among American Muslims is so low.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Media Truth

Flawed Study, NPR and AOC Create Huge Lie About Uber

Rod Thomson

There are about a thousand lessons to be learned from a flawed MIT study on Uber drivers supposedly making $3.37 per hour; on NPR’s eagerness to run unquestioning a story that raised blaring questions; and of course on AOC’s just boundless font of knee-jerk ignorance.

The lack of common sense and the most basic understandings of economics in the media and in Congress is a sight to behold — if you have a strong stomach.

First, NPR ran a story entitled “Uber, Lyft Drivers Earning A Median Profit Of $3.37 Per Hour, Study Says” in which it explained the study by a trio of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When I first saw the number, it was clear something was amiss. But then NPR led with this:

“The vast majority of Uber and Lyft drivers are earning less than minimum wage and almost a third of them are actually losing money by driving, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

Well that makes no sense. Who would work for half of minimum wage, or even work for a loss? The answer, obviously, is no one. If NPR reporters grasped the free market and voluntary exchange of time and talents for money — capitalism — they would have seen red flags everywhere. But they just ran with the story.

A working paper by Stephen M. Zoepf, Stella Chen, Paa Adu and Gonzalo Pozo at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research says the median pretax profit earned from driving is $3.37 per hour after taking expenses into account. Seventy-four percent of drivers earn less than their state’s minimum wage, the researchers say. Thirty percent of drivers “are actually losing money once vehicle expenses are included,” the authors found.”

That’s just so declaratory. “The authors found,” as though it is fact. But read it again if you didn’t catch it. These MIT researchers are from the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. Alas, that makes the error clearer. Understand that they almost certainly align with NPR reporters and the Fresh Face Caucus in Congress when it comes to worldview.

Uber’s Chief Economist Jonathan Hall, who apparently actually does understand economics, responded with about the most gracious Medium post possible considering his company had just been slimed with false data. After all, previous studies had found wildly different numbers. He wrote:

“…a study we conducted with Alan Krueger of Princeton found that drivers across 20 of Uber’s largest US markets earned an average of $19.04 per hour, in October 2015. A more recent study with Stanford professors estimated gross hourly earnings of $21.07¹ for all US drivers between January 2015 and March 2017.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the earnings figures suggested in the paper are less than half the hourly earnings numbers reported in the very survey the paper derives its data from. That survey, conducted by The Rideshare Guy in 2017, reports average hourly earnings of $15.68.”

How could this be? Without going into details, you can read his post, Hall found a gigantic flaw in the methodology of the study. So big in fact, that the MIT researchers realized it and they are now redoing their study. NPR now has a large Editor’s Note at the top of their story with a link to Hall’s post — which is something. They should have been much more cautious and less credulous in the first place.

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Because alas, it is all too late. By this time, the enormous ignoramus floating through social media unscathed by the adoring mainstream media that created her, had tweeted the NPR story on the flawed MIT study.

Yup, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez struck with this insipidly imbecilic tweet:

“Uber has taken in $12 billion in investment and had revenues of $1.7 billion in Q4 of 2016.

Yet their drivers only take home $3.37 an hour.

Does that sound right to you?

We must update our laws to stand up for workers in an increasingly exploitative tech-based economy.”

I would dearly love for someone to explain what the investment and revenue numbers have to do with what they pay contractors — which was wrong, and obviously wrong. I don’t know why she used 2016 numbers; 2018 figures are available. Maybe that was the first thing that came up in a poorly worded Google search?

In 2018, Uber lost $1.8 billion on $11.3 billion in revenues. So she used revenues from 2016 when the only possible case you can make on employee pay, and it is an exceedingly weak case, is based on profits. Uber is still hemorrhaging money. And investment? No idea what relevance that has either. A big number, I guess?

At any rate, a deeply flawed study, a credulous media and a media darling with a now huge social media following means that a large percentage of the population believes that Uber drivers are losing money or making far less than minimum wage. It will become accepted wisdom — and AOC and others like her will push to fix the grave injustice that does not exist with more government regulation.

And they will instead break it.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Journalism Leftists Liberalism Media Truth

How The Media Can Fix Itself. And…CNN Is?

Rod Thomson

I can’t even pretend to know what CNN is really thinking by hiring as political editor for their 2020 election coverage Sarah Isgur Flores, a former spokeswoman for the Trump Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and campaign operative for Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.

Of course, the DoJ has been one of the leakier Deep State departments undermining Trump. There is that. So for the conspiracists, she might already have a close relationship there. And if you like your conspiracies really toasty warm, you might suspect that she’s told CNN that she just has a lot of dirt from her time in connection with the Mueller investigation and knows how to get information out of the DoJ.

But I can say that if the media were serious about actually fixing itself, it would be doing a lot more hiring of conservatives. A LOT.

While recently seeing some modest increases, CNN suffered serious, almost debilitating ratings declines in the two years following President Trump’s election. They fell well behind known liberal network MSNBC and out-of-sight behind well-known conservative network Fox News. They had long wanted themselves to be seen as the most trusted name in news, but consistently ranked below Fox News and sometimes behind MSNBC.

Of course, they jettisoned all that talk of being trusted in the age of Trump and went full-bore partisan hack, often sprinting over to outright propaganda machine.

But if they really want to regain broad-based trust, CNN like every other mainstream media organization, needs to trash diversity based on skin color and gender — which leads to a rainbow of RightThink liberals and horribly partisan content — and seek a diversity of worldview.

Here’s how it could work.

First and foremost, approach it at the start like an addiction — in this case, an addiction to one worldview that supposes it is the one really true truth and all others are fake news.

Admit you have a problem.

Between 85-90 percent of the working media admit to being registered Democrat. I suspect the number of left-of-center journalists is actually higher than based on my own 25 years of experience in newspaper newsrooms.

Admit that because of human nature, that reality causes a deep leftist bias in the resulting product. No waving around the magic wand of “we’re professionals” makes that bias go away. Everyone has these biases, which is why diversity of worldview is critical.

Admit also that since Trump’s presidency, the bias has become blatant and damaging to credibility and driven many Americans to turn off the media for good.

In President Trump’s recent State of the Union speech, there was an amazing diversity of coverage and headlines — but one hundred percent predictable if you align them with worldviews and politics. Here are a few next day headlines of the speech that garnered 76 percent positive response from those who watched it:

➔ (conservative reporters) Washington Examiner: With pitch for unity, Trump urges Congress to ‘choose greatness’

➔ (conservative reporters) NY Post: Congresswomen clad in ‘suffragette white’ give Trump a standing ovation

➔ (“mainstream” reporters) Washington Post: In dissonant speech, Trump seeks unity while depicting ruin

➔ (“mainstream reporters) New York Times head: Trump Presses Hard Line on Immigration in State of the Union Speech

So the mainstream media, filled with leftists reporters and editors puts out leftist content and everyone not a leftist distrusts them — and they think it is because they get facts wrong, or conservatives just don’t like the truth. This is what they tell themselves.

This is not a new development under Trump; it’s been going on for decades. CNN was referred to as the Clinton News Network in the 1990s because of course its reporters were sympathetic to the Democrat President — because virtually all of them voted for him and supported his agenda.

That completely explains what opened the door for Fox News, which when it launched tapped into the biases obvious by the 1990s. Fox News started with the slogan Fair and Balanced and then moved on to We Report You Decide. Now it runs with Most Watched, Most Trusted — because it is both in many polls.

Meanwhile, oblivious to what they were openly communicating 64 million American who voted Trump into office and saw hope for a brighter America without the Clinton corruption machine in power again, the Washington Post changed their slogan to the dark, ominous and utterly self-absorbed “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Well, they are totally in the dark about their problems, sitting right there in their newsroom. About 90 percent of all news coverage regarding President Trump has been negative. No wonder they are mostly only getting anti-Trump and liberal consumers — and losing everyone else.

But WaPo and CNN are simply representative of virtually all newspapers aside from a few small, newer conservative ones, and all networks except Fox News.

If the media actually wants to reform itself, it must admit to the problem and the solution: fill newsrooms with reporters and editors that mirror the worldview of Americans. This is easily the biggest key to their trustworthiness is journalists, and why so many of us don’t trust them.

They cannot have every shade of only one worldview and expect balance and fairness — or expect that Americans will turn back to them. They will remain discredited and end up just being shrunken leftist silo media organs while the right has its own silo of media organs.

It might be too late. I’ve been blowing this horn for decades to no avail. But it might not be. And if it is not, then what CNN has done by hiring the conservative Flores — not just as a commentator people can ignore but as a news decision-maker — is the only way out of the silo.

It just needs to be repeated dozens, and then hundreds of times, until there is balance among those creating the content.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Democrats Journalism Media Truth

It’s Really Not AOC, Amazon Or The Green New Deal; It’s Democrats And Their Media

Rod Thomson

The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez phenomenon in the Democratic Party is both scrumptious and terrifying to watch because it either destroys the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future or it cripples America for good.

It cannot be emphasized enough up front: The media has created the pretty AOC monster with endless lavish and uncritical cover stories, Sunday morning interviews and daily coverage verging on adoration. Talk about a Messiah complex — not AOC’s, but the media and sycophantic Democratic Presidential candidates, which are really the problems.

The Amazon fiasco, which I talked about a week ago on my Salem radio show, displays both her inordinately outsized influence, power, destruction and ongoing, astonishing ignorance. It’s important to keep writing and reminding about her train wrecks of bad ideas because again, you virtually cannot find her almost daily knuckle-headed comments in the MSM. Covering as per usual.

So Amazon pulls out of its New York City deal along with its 25,000 pretty good jobs and all the surrounding development and rollover effect, because of the AOC-led charge opposing giant giveaways to corporations. I’m pretty sympathetic to that in principle. But you have to have a modicum of understanding of how these deals are typically structured nowadays (as opposed to the outright gifts given to, say, major league sports teams. That’s not how Amazon or others work.)

In this case, the generally superficial reporting on Amazon said that NYC was providing $3 billion in “incentives.” Apparently, AOC took that to mean the city was giving Amazon $3 billion from the city’s coffers. Now the projections were that Amazon would have created about $26 billion of economic impact and the taxed portion of that would have more than paid back the incentives in just a few years.

But even that was not the deal. These were only tax breaks provided once Amazon had created those 25,000 jobs. So this was tax revenue — and tax break — that would only be realized if Amazon relocated and if they create all 25,000 jobs. But AOC, in her junior high way, thinks that money is just sitting somewhere. Here’s what she said while virtually dancing a jig in the halls of Congress at the news that Amazon will take their development and 25,000 jobs elsewhere, in response to a reporter’s question:

“The district is now going to lose thousands of jobs that would have come there,” a reporter quietly noted in the middle of Ocasio-Cortez’s celebratory dance. “Well one of those things is, A) we were subsidizing those jobs,” she said. “The city was paying for those jobs so frankly if we were willing to give Amazon, so if we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers, we can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to.”

Good golly Miss Molly. The money does not exist without Amazon moving to New York City. Those taxes are not being paid by others. It would have been the taxes due because Amazon was there. Ignorance really does kill — in this case, good jobs and economic development for her own district — but she’s going to totally remake the American economy. Riiiight. She does this almost daily. I won’t regale you with the litany. They are everywhere in the non-MSM sphere, where again her daily ignorance is largely swept away.

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But the terrifying part is that because she has been propped up as the fresh new face of the Democratic Party and its future by the utterly compromised, irresponsible and untrustworthy American media, she is dragging the Party in her ignorant, socialist direction. (She is a self-proclaimed Socialist Democrat.)

Her Green New Deal is embarrassingly junior high in its thinking and reality, but it had 60 Democratic members of Congress sign on and most of the front-runners in the Democratic presidential campaign also jumped onboard. Sure it was craven politics without probably vetting it first, but that is part of the problem. There really is no substance in the Democratic Party, and far from enough in the Republican Party.

She cannot just be mocked, easy and fun as that is. See, it’s not just that she released a plan to eliminate all fossil fuel use in 10 years, eliminate all air travel and originally cow emissions. It’s that because of her now gigantic platform — a monstrous creation of the media — she has lured a lot of wet-finger Democrats to her. It’s not just that she led the charge against Amazon with the envy card (rich corporation!) it’s that she managed to destroy a demonstrable increase in prosperity for that part of New York through sheer ignorance.

What she did for New York, she would like to do for the country.

If this is the direction of the Democratic Party, if she is the future, the Party is either doomed to self-immolation, leaving us with one-party rule for a season that will go badly, or the Party is actually successful in taking power with this radical agenda, the nation itself is under grave threat of self-immolation.

You see, there is virtually no check. With craven Democrats and dishonest media colluding against Republicans and President Trump, willing to build up AOC and other radicals in Congress while covering up their idiocy and bigotry (Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib) the American people can be too easily misled.

That makes the threat real.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Craigslist Progressive Founder Pours Millions Into Journalism “Ethics”

Rod Thomson

Craiglist’s Founder Craig Newmark has donated $15 million to the two premier journalism institutions in the nation to teach ethics and improve trust among Americans.

Columbia School of Journalism in Missouri, with probably the leading graduate journalism program in the country, will get $10 million to establish the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida will get $5 million for the creation of an ethics center to teach practicing mainstream journalists proper ethics, and to teach media consumers about journalistic ethics, in hopes of regaining trust.

Alas, in the realm of rebuilding trust, it is doomed from the beginning by the ongoing unwillingness to admit the largest driving cause of the distrust.

Newmark said in a statement: “the Poynter Institute has been a leader in journalism ethics for decades now, so they’re well-poised to become one of the go-to resources for solutions to the challenges journalists face in this digital age.”

The new entity will be called the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter, which owns The Tampa Bay Times, the largest newspaper in Florida. Newmark is also a member of Poynter’s board of directors.

“The idea behind (the center) is more than just reaching out to practitioners, but also reaching out to consumers of journalism who I think are more and more interested in how our stories get told, who’s telling them, who’s paying for them, whether there’s bias or not,” said Poynter President Neil Brown. “So I think it’s become part of the cultural conversation right now. We felt this was a moment in time to expand our traditional work.”

The problem Brown is specifically not saying — in somewhat the same way the media chooses not to report some things, for example, a litany of scandals during the Obama Administration — is that public trust in the media is in the cellar and stuck there. Most Americans simply do not trust mainstream journalists, and virtually all conservative Americans do not. A cursory glance at coverage between Trump’s two years and Obama’s eight years should explain it pretty clearly.

A 2016 Gallup Poll put trust in the media at an all-time low since the poll began in 1972, with only 32 percent having even just “some” trust in the media. Among Republicans, it was only 14 percent. Gallup wrote: “After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.”

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Of course hitting the bottom in 2016 was directly linked to the horrendously biased coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Newmark told the Associated Press that he’s “been concerned since the 2016 election about attacks on the press and the trust of citizens in the institution.” So among his journalistic largesse, he gave $20 million to establish a graduate school for journalism at the City University of New York, an extremely leftist school. Well, to no one’s surprise, Newmark is a progressive Democrat.

“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” Newmark said. Yup. And he’s flushing his money down the hole because as we will see, none of this will even begin to restore trust.

Just a few months ago, the Columbia Journalism Review — the premier publication for working journalists as part of the Columbia School of Journalism — wrote an article on a Knight Foundation study under the headline: “Most Americans say they have lost trust in the media.” Roughly a similar number of Americans don’t trust the media as the earlier Gallup Poll (but it’s now up to 90 percent now among Republicans) and about a third of those said they expect that to be a permanent state.

From the CJR (which, remember, is written to journalists):

“Is this decline in trust related to the repeated attacks on “the lying media” by President Trump and his supporters, who like to describe the press as “the enemy of the people?” That kind of analysis is beyond the scope of the latest Knight/Gallup study, but it has to be part of the backdrop.”

This is just head-in-the-sand stuff. This entire article is written by a journalist for journalists and never raises even the possibility of the elephant in the (news)room: Americans may perceive the media as being untrustworthy because the media is untrustworthy. And they are untrustworthy because at every level they are dominated by liberals/progressives with no check or balance on their biases.

The trust numbers were falling steadily through the 2000s, and picked up speed during the Obama administration, all long before Trump came on the scene. Head in sand.

According to Gallup, only Congress has a lower confidence rating among the American people than the media. Ambulance-chasing lawyers do better. But the problem is Trump saying mean things about the media.

This is a totally self-inflicted wound, and not one that Craig Newmark’s millions for a center for journalism ethics is bound to change — because they won’t admit the actual problem. Like an alcoholic who refuses to admit his problem, nothing will change. He could spend $5 billion, and it wouldn’t matter if this dynamic remains in place.

When I was a working member of the mainstream media, I attended seminars at Poynter, which is in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was difficult because virtually everyone attending and everyone teaching was between left of center and far left of center. This is unchanged, and presents the obvious and still insurmountable hurdle in media regarding tanking public trust.

Poynter’s new ethics center will not consider that the media should pursue a diversity of worldview, but will surely preach on the importance of inclusivity based on skin, gender, and LGBTQI+ status. The assumption, defying everything we know about human nature, is that journalists are professionals and therefore can report fairly aside from their personal biases.

Americans have made clear the result of that mindset. Yet, I expect it is totally unchanged at Poynter.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Fox News Media

Growing Problems Dragging Down Fox News

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

In a mainstream media landscape dominated by the left and its take on world events, Fox News has been a lone bastion of conservatism and conservative reporting. It has traditionally been the place where right-of-center Americans go to seek truth devoid of the biased slant from socialists and anti-Trump activists. But lately, Fox News has not been living up to its charter.

Unquestionably what we have in the United States is not a “free and unencumbered” press. Yes, the First Amendment does protect the press from governmental interference, but “free and unencumbered” requires much more than the absence of governmental interference. For the press to be truly “free and unencumbered,” it must also be devoid of private sector pressures slanting its reporting in one direction or another.

CNN has become nothing more than a trumpet for anti-Trumpists. MSNBC will not deliver a story without availing itself of the opportunity to slam conservatives and defend the validity of the liberal agenda. The New York Times‘ reporting pieces read like opinions than news reports, and The Washington Post will rarely acknowledge the validity of conservative pundits and newsmakers.

To be clear, reporting is not opining. Good, fair journalism requires much more than news analysis. To truly engage in journalism, an outlet must have a fleet of reporters ready to engage newsmakers. They need to stand at the ready to go on location and sleuth out the stories of importance to their readership and deliver them fairly and accurately. It is an endeavor requiring money and assets, and one that cannot be achieved by bloggers, pundits, and opinionators.

Virtually every journalistic organization in the United States in a position to engage in this level of intense journalistic scrutiny is left of center t far left of center. Until recently, the only notable exception has been Fox News.

Since Roger Ailes’ departure and passing, however, Fox News’ conservative slant has waned. In recent years, Shepard Smith has been open about his less than conservative slant. Neil Cavuto has been hostile to President Trump and his agenda, and the evolution of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s legal views from staunch conservative arbiter and strict constitutionalist to slanted advocate has been noticeable.

But an increasingly leftist slant is not the greatest issue affecting Fox News.

The bigger problem is its lack of sophistication in reporting. Almost by definition, a televised news report will be more superficial than its written companion. Time limitations imposed on any televised news article imparts significant challenges to the delivery of in-depth analysis or reports. For that, a news journal program where a story is thoroughly developed is required. No such program exists on Fox.

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What’s more, the Fox News lineup has pretty much devolved into a Fox and Friends variety show in the morning followed by a series of fight sessions loosely calling themselves “debates.” The Five offers no substantive insight in its entertainment-based discussions, and the All-Star Panel on Special Report with Bret Baier is a shell of itself since the sad and premature loss of Charles Krauthammer and the disappearances of Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes. With the notable exception of Chris Wallace, who is no conservative but appears to try to deliver objective interviews from his subjects, and the occasional and invaluable appearances of Britt Hume, there is no grounded, objective voice of Fox.

Despite the limitations in televised reporting, twenty-first-century journalism can make up for them by supplementing the inherent shortcomings of its televised programming with a strong online presence. Fox News fails here as well.

It’s not merely because of the unacceptably high incidence of grammatical errors and sloppiness. Over the past two years, the website has taken on an increasingly tabloid feel. For example, on Saturday morning, the two top stories (appropriately) dealt with the government shutdown and Justice Ginsburg’s lung cancer. But these were immediately followed by a slew of stupid and worthless stories regarding the colors of the interior of the house in Home Alone, Arian Grande’s lampshading fashions, crazy campus breakdowns, an adopted pastor embracing and forgiving his biological father, and Sandra Bullock’s revelation of her crush on Keanu Reeves while filming Speed.

Conservatives are definitely engaged in an existential fight for their country’s future. Inherent to that battle is the thoughtful delivery of views and developments supportive of conservative philosophies and viewpoints. Sadly, Fox News has abandoned that role.

Either Fox News retakes its position as the leader in conservative news, or someone else will need to carry the baton.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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Elections Media Trump Truth

Mueller No Closer To Case Against Trump Than A Year Ago

By Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

On Friday afternoon, the Mueller team and the Special Prosecutors Office for the Southern District of New York submitted a series of memos dealing with their investigation on Russian collusion, obstruction, and campaign illegalities. In response, the left wing media went abuzz citing the damning implications of the release.

One article by Erica Orden and Marshall Cohen of CNN claimed that “Federal prosecutors said for the first time Friday that Michael Cohen acted at the direction of Donald Trump when the former fixer committed two election-related crimes. . . ” It also claimed that the memos “exposed deeper entanglements than previously known between Trump, his campaign apparatus and the Russian government, . . .” including a claim of “‘political synergy'” between Moscow and Cohen.  Meanwhile, The New York Times headlined a prosecutorial charge that “Trump Directed Illegal Payments During Campaign.”

In fact, the memos contained little by way of new material, and some of the cited comments were actually mere corollary references to the President with little indication of illegality on his part.

The memos, available at The Federalist Pages Library, are part of the ongoing prosecutorial wrangling against Trump through his one-time associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. In Cohen’s case, the two memos represent sentencing recommendations by the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and Robert Mueller.

The federal prosecutors recommended “a substantial term of imprisonment” for Cohen while Mueller was much more cryptic stating only that the sentence should “reflect the fact that lying to federal investigators has real consequences, especially where the defendant lied to investigators about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance.”

But of more interest to the media were the comments implicating Cohen in Russian collusion or campaign finance violations on behalf of, or in coordination with, the President of the United States. And although the press is doing its best to spin the published comments, in point of fact, no such allegations were made.  

First, any objective analysis of these memos must acknowledge that neither refers to the actions of President Trump. They specifically discuss and detail the actions of Michael Cohen. In those instances where Trump is mentioned, the references are made solely with regard to the Cohen’s actions.

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The prosecutor’s memo spends some time discussing potential campaign financing violations by Candidate Trump from the standpoint of Michael Cohen. The allegations made regarding the President, if any, are actually those made by Cohen. In other words, there is no independent evidence presented that President Trump actually did anything wrong. There are contemporaneous comments made by Cohen where he claimed he was acting on behalf of candidate Trump and that he was facilitating Trump’s campaign, but these are hearsay comments made by a discredited party sounding like nothing more than boastful and hollow fluffery.

The references to potential Cohen participation in illegal campaign activity present no new insights or information regarding any potential violations on the part of Candidate Trump.

The memos spend a considerable time detailing the previously disclosed events surrounding alleged payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. But the narrative provides no new details on the events nor does it provide any information regarding any orders from Candidate Trump. More importantly, the memo does nothing to address the issue of intent on the part of Candidate Trump, a necessary element in any case regarding campaign-finance violations.  Specifically, the memo does nothing to clarify whether Candidate Trump desired to silence the women to keep him from falling into a negative light with his wife and in his business dealings, or whether this was primarily a campaign concern as would be required in a successful prosecution of Trump.

The second issue discussed in the Mueller memo is Cohen’s involvement in Trump’s dealings with the Russians and the possibility of cooperation between the two in influencing the outcome of the presidential election. Here, the memos offered no evidence that such activities took place. As a matter of fact, they dealt only with Trump’s legal real estate dealings with Russian nationals.  

The Manafort memorandum is even less helpful to a potential case against President Trump because it is so heavily redacted. Just as in the Cohen memos, it does not provide allegations against Trump. Specifically, the memo makes the case that Manafort engaged in numerous lies after his plea agreement in 2018.

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Despite the paucity of information regarding the President and any wrongdoing on his part, the media are doing everything in their power to divine implications that simply do not exist.

CNN’s and The New York Times’ comments regarding the President having directed Cohen to commit election related crimes is simply not true. The claim comes from a sentence in the prosecutors’ memo detailing an admission by Cohen. Specifically, the memo says, “In Particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination and at the direction of Individual 1.” (Individual 1 in the memo is Candidate Trump.)  

As is clearly evident, this sentence provides no independent evidence that President Trump actually directed the payments in question. Rather, it is merely a recitation of the claim made by the already discredited Michael Cohen. And even if Candidate Trump did direct the payments in question, one cannot conclude based on the information gathered, that the payments were illegal as CNN prematurely asserts.

The comment of “political synergy” alluded to by CNN is even more deceitful. This one comes from the Mueller memo describing a Russian national repeatedly offering Cohen the opportunity to arrange for “‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level,'” an invitation that Mueller specifies Cohen “never follow[ed] up on.”

In the end, the media’s enthusiasm over the contents of these memos is overplayed, once again demonstrating their zeal to go after the President no matter how fictitious an allegation may be. Although Friday’s claim by the President that he had been completely vindicated by the contents of the memos is overly enthusiastic, to say the least, the media’s claim that these memos contained anything threatening against the President is downright unfounded.

Once again, we will have to wait for the production of further documents on the part of federal prosecutors before a definitive conclusion can be made. But this much can be gleaned. With the information available, Mueller is no closer to establishing a case against Trump today, than he was one year ago.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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Trump Must Appeal Acosta Ruling Based On Separation Of Powers

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, verbally ordered the President of the United States to reinstate CCN Reporter Jim Acosta’s hard pass to access the White House on Friday. The judge, who sits in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, has not actually posted his ruling yet, forcing us, at least temporarily, to rely on press reports for details.

Predictably, CNN has called the ruling a huge victory for the First Amendment. However, according to numerous press reports, Judge Kelly took issue, not with any alleged affronts upon the First Amendment, but rather, the process used to revoke Acosta’s hard pass. According to one news outlet, the judge said that Sarah Huckabee Sander’s “belated efforts at [answering Acosta’s concerns] were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process.” Additionally, according to Breitbart, the judge found that in creating press conferences, the President created a public forum to which limited due process rights attach.

I disagree.

Contrary to Judge Kelly’s view, the White House press conference is an internal working of the executive branch done solely for a public relations and communications purpose and at the pleasure of the President of the United States. As such, and as reported previously by The Federalist Pageswhen the Court interferes with how the President conducts his press conferences, it is essentially intruding into the rightful powers of the President of the United States, as Chief Executive, in conducting the internal dealings of the executive branch.

Seen from this angle, which is the dominant issue in this matter, it becomes clear that the President must zealously pursue this case for the sake of the preservation of the autonomy of the executive branch.

Let’s be clear. There is no finality to Friday’s ruling.

The judge’s order was the implementation of a temporary restraining order against the President until such time that the case actually goes to trial. Strategically, the President now has a couple of opportunities available to him.

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First, he can let the case play it out at the District Court, and if the judge should rule against him at the trial, he can appeal. Alternatively, the President may appeal the temporary injunction as a matter of law, right now. Either way, it is imperative that the President take the case to the next level. If he does so, it is likely that a higher court would not accept the invitation for the judiciary to intrude into the inner workings of another branch of government.

If argued as a matter of separation of powers and the comity between the branches of government, it is likely the district court’s position will not be upheld. If it does, I am equally confident the Supreme Court will take this case because of the constitutional implications it carries to the inner workings of government, and will reverse it.

Make no mistake, although this case is being painted with a brush held by Acosta and the media, it actually represents yet another small but significant intrusion onto the proper balance of powers; an intrusion with which the Framers would be in total disagreement.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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One Last Election Surprise: Pre-Planned Media Hit Piece On Rick Scott

Rod Thomson

With the U.S. Senate in the balance, Florida’s largest newspaper chain published a last-minute hit piece on Gov. Rick Scott, an apparent attempt to undermine his campaign to unseat 46-year Washington politician Sen. Bill Nelson — the man Forbes magazine once famously depicted on their cover with, literally, an empty suit.

The pre-planned package of stories was published by GateHouse Media, which owns 21 newspapers in the state, including dailies in Jacksonville, Palm Beach, Sarasota, Daytona Beach, Panama City, Gainesville, St. Augustine and many more.

The newspapers ran an astonishingly bad piece of journalism out of the Palm Beach newsroom entitled “Florida felon voting rights: Who got theirs back under Scott” with the subhead reading “The governor restored rights to the lowest percentage of blacks, highest percentage of Republicans in 50 years.”

This came just days before Tuesday’s huge election, early enough to influence voting underway and election day, but not enough time to mount much of a pushback by the Scott campaign. It also tied in with Amendment 4, which would amend the Florida Constitution to automatically restore the voting rights of felons once they completed all of the conditions of their convictions.

It’s pretty clear from the “reporting” where the media stands on Gov. Scott and Amendment 4. The days of even pretending to hide partisanship are fading into a distant memory.

The long piece, essentially an agenda-driven package, is truly painful to read through if you are not an ardent Democrat. The reporting team draws conclusions of motivational fact on the part of Scott from nothing more than a correlation or one set of numbers significantly lacking context and the rest of the data.

For instance, one conclusion the piece draws is: “Scott’s system of restoring voting rights has for years discriminated against black felons, boosting his own political prospects and those of other Republicans throughout the state, a Palm Beach Post analysis has found.” [emphasis added]

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Don’t be fooled by the word “analysis,” as though it means some green eye-shade look at the numbers. It’s not an analysis in any honest sense.

Reporters playing with statistics frequently mistake correlation with causation, sometimes out of ignorance, but often because even minor correlation can be enough for them to build their predetermined storyline.

In this case, the logic is as follows: A higher percentage of blacks than whites are arrested, so cops are racist. A higher percentage of blacks than whites are incarcerated, so the courts are racist. A higher percentage of blacks than whites are denied the restoration of voting rights, so specifically Gov. Scott is racist.

But the numbers do not show “discrimination,” which would be causal, they just show resulting numbers. Never truly asked or delved into in any of those numbers-conclusions scenarios is the bottom line question: Are a higher percentage of blacks committing crimes? That is the golden data point to be mined that the media has very little stomach for even looking at. Further in the data underlying this sentence, how many blacks requested restoration of voting rights?

The story is just riddled with truisms from Will Rogers’ observation, “There are three types of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics.” This story is chockaful of just such “statistics.”

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Let’s bullet point some of their bullet points:

Story: “During his nearly eight years as governor, Scott restored the voting rights of twice as many whites as blacks and three times as many white men as black men.”

Leaving aside what the felond did in the years after release — jobs, marriage, family, church, community involvement, that would suggest lifestyle stability — this bullet point sounds terrible until you read way down into the story and comb through one of the charts. Because the context for this is just during his term, and just between blacks and whites. But it turns out Scott had a higher ratio of blacks to whites than the last Democratic governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles, in the 1990s.

But that does not fit the agenda, so there was no real truthfulness of conclusions.

Story: Scott restored rights to a higher percentage of Republicans and a lower percentage of Democrats than any of his predecessors since 1971.”

By a little. And, by the way, he still restored a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans. Again, you have to find the data box to discover this. It’s not in the narrative “analysis.”

Story: Blacks accounted for 27 percent of those who had their voting rights restored despite the fact that 43 percent of those released from state prisons over the past two decades were black.”

This tells us nothing of causation. Again, as in the first bullet point above, what is causal is not the percentages but what each felon did in the years after their prison release — jobs, marriage, family, church, community, etc., that would suggest the sort of stability that a clemency board would be looking for in order to return full rights.

There is simply a lot of bad journalism in this story.

Of course, it was probably never intended to be groundbreaking investigative journalism digging into the truth. The consistently slanted “statistics” suggest the real intent was to sway votes in the midterm elections toward Sen. Bill Nelson. Between Gillum’s nomination and this story blasted across the state, it seems like that succeeded.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

 

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The Press As The Enemy Of The People

By Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

During the past few days, I have heard some of the most unpalatable utterances from renowned, national news outlets.

Following a week where a foolish and hateful idiot sent more than 10 bombs to various Democrat leaders; where a demonic lunatic in Pittsburgh mowed down some of the most peaceful, loving people in our society; and where a man with a gun prevented another massacre from being perpetrated by an armed gunman, some in the press are making the case that these acts, unlinkable as they may be, are primarily due to the political utterances of the President of the United States.  

To these people facts have no bearing in the formulation of their opinion. To them, if the perpetrator of the injustice worships the President, his actions are the fault of the President of the United States. If, on the other hand, the perpetrator hates the President of the United States, his actions are still the President’s fault. And if there is no identifiable political slant to the perpetrator, the defender, or the victims — the President is still to blame.

Make no mistake, the President of the United States can no more be blamed for the illegal and violent acts of a crazed lunatic than can my dog’s mere existence.  

The President has fired back by once again calling the fake press the enemy of the people. I, for one, think the President has a point, as does a substantial portion of the electorate.

Let’s start by acknowledging that calling out the press’s hypocritical and reckless conduct is just as valid a political observation, when true, as any other; and perhaps even more necessary. (The press does not call out their own.)

In a panel discussion on CNN, Julia Ioffe of GQ Magazine actually said, “This President has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.” ISIS: the evil, vial, and murderous organization that almost radicalized a continent. ISIS: the organization that owes its success at radicalizing hundreds of thousands of individuals to the passive and permissive posture of President Barack Obama. ISIS: the organization whose radicalization consisted of justifying the decapitation of thousands and the capture and rape of countless women. And ISIS: the organization whose existence was essentially terminated by the actions of President Trump.

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That such patently and absurdly unjustifiable comments are allowed to fly without admonition from CNN nor sanction from GQ is utterly atrocious, yet the comments flow through the airwaves and the internet, decorated with stamps of authenticity from CNN, GQ and most of the rest of the media.

During the same weekend, Joe Scarborough said that for the President to have tweeted comments about baseball and his hair “was done intentionally to send a message to white nationalists; ‘this doesn’t bug me that much.'” Again the comment represented a despicable, open, and wholly unsubstantiated attack, not just on the President’s actions, but also on his intent. What scintilla of evidence does Scarborough have that the President was sending a signal to anyone, much less white nationalists? Of course, he has none. The allegation was completely fabricated by one whose animus against the President of the United States is so intense he can’t see straight. And predictably, there was no correction from MSNBC — because this irresponsbility is now simply an accepted part of the mainstream media.

And on Sunday, on MSNBC, Malcolm Nance said about the President, “He uses megaphones to tell these tribes that they belong to him, and this is leading to violence,” a purely hysterical, hateful, and wholly unsubstantiated comment that was once again allowed to persist by a network without retort or correction.  

Then there’s John Heilemann, who charged during an appearance on MSNBC, “The President is obviously a racist. He’s obviously a demagogue. He obviously condones anti-Semitism. Stokes up nationalist hatred.” Yet no president has shown greater support for Israel nor has done more to support Jewish rights and the Jewish Community than President Donald J. Trump — his own daughter and son-in-law are Jewish.

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When outlandish charges such as these are recurrently allowed entry into the national forum under the guise of serious political discussion by news outlets that neither provide substantiation, reprimand, or correction, the presence of an underlying biased, political agenda is revealed. And when such a bias commands a greater priority than truth in reporting, the reporters or networks stop serving the needs of the people and start working against the people.

Clearly, the press as an institution has an immeasurably important role to play in a democracy, and in particular, in the United States of America. That role is centered upon the delivery of information regarding the events of the day, inclusive of thoughtful, substantiated, and well-researched analysis. Yes, the news is biased, but that is to be expected, as we are all biased. But we expect the press to attempt to be responsible and fair.

Make no mistake, when the press is delivering stories and opinions on a national level with the primary purpose of undermining the President of the United States regardless of the truth of the matter asserted, it is acting against the interests of the people who elected the President. When it spreads lies, or paints stories in a deceitful light so as to forward an institutionalized political agenda at the expense of the truth, it is acting against the interests of the people. When it purposefully conflates hyperbolic political rhetoric delivered during a campaign despite the office holder’s actual performance demonstrating the contrary, it is acting against the interests of the people.

When the press stops acting as an objective deliverer of facts and instead acts as a propaganda machine, it acts against the interest of the people. When the press allows its news programs to be used as platforms by political hacks to foment vitriol and lies without retort or correction from the network, it acts against the interests of the people. And when a person or institution consistently and recurrently acts against the interest of the American people, it becomes the enemy of the people.

In either case, as demonstrated by its disgraceful performance this week, the disservice the press is presently providing our Republic and our democracy vastly outweighs its benefit. It is clearly time for the press, as an institution, to reassess the job it is doing on behalf of the people of the United States. If it does, and if it were to provide more objective and substantiated coverage of the day’s events, I am certain it would stop being viewed as an enemy of the people by nearly half the country and will reassert its position as the indispensible ally to our republic that it needs to be — cut currently constituted is not.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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