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Conservatism Media Truth

Ben Shapiro Is Reshaping Media As Rush Did 30 Years Ago

Rod Thomson

When working in newsrooms in the 1990s, my journalism colleagues often asked me why Rush Limbaugh was so popular. They could not fathom it.  I explained it was basic supply meeting pent-up demand; that is, conservatives had felt under attack in every area of media and here came a guy with a microphone giving voice to their worldview, and providing analysis and twists that were done no where else.

Limbaugh ushered in a revolution of talk radio hosts, creating an entire industry known as conservative talk radio and probably saving the AM dial. Before Fox News, conservative talk radio stood alone in the flood of liberal media. And spawned Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Laura Ingraham and more. Most of these hosts are Baby Boomers and have a fairly set way of thinking and doing. (Notably, Beck the least in that regard, via both worldview and business model, and Prager with Prager U.) A lot of conservatism has reflected that old set way — at least in the Republican base.

But now we have something new in Ben Shapiro, who is arguably the most popular conservative in the country, although Rush and Sean fans may dispute that. Shapiro’s been on the scene for awhile, starting with a nationally syndicated column at 17 years old. But he’s exploded in recent years with the largest conservative podcast, a newly minted national radio show and best-selling books, while still writing for the Daily Wire and acting as Editor.

He’s simply sprinted past all of the much older and more established radio commentators.

Why? What makes Shapiro different?

Yes, he is smart, fast-talking, aggressive yet reasonable and has a quantum hard-drive for a memory. His worldview as a Christian-friendly, Orthodox Jew millennial conservative is almost hilariously unique. He’s fearless taking on the Left and usually acquits himself with a good pummelling. People eat up his “Ben Shapiro destroys…” Youtube videos usually answering questions at college campuses. He’s just a fresh voice in so many ways.

But there’s something else going on, and why people like me also gravitate to Shapiro. He simply puts more meat on the bone than the talk radio predecessors, throws far fewer bombs, rants less and more frequently explains what the other side is thinking or strategizing — fairly or not dependent on your worldview.

For too long, many of our talk radio hosts have spit out the same name-calling invectives and one-sided rants that have felt good but have not prepped any listener for dealing with an informed liberal. I can always tell my conservative friends who spend a lot of time listening to conservative talk radio. The vernacular is well-repeated. It too often boils down to: liberals are evil, they’re idiots, they hate America, and they think we’re all “racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes.” OK. Fair enough. Got it. But now what?

This is not a shot at these guys. I remember hearing Rush for the first time around 1989 or 1990 driving on U.S. 67 north of the Quad-Cities along the Mississippi River on the way home from my newspaper job in Davenport, flipping through stations when I came across this guy saying what I believe. I listened for a few minutes and was drop-jawed. This was no where else! I pulled into a dirt driveway, put it in park and just listened.

Supply was just beginning to meet demand and Rush was the pioneer.

But the supply of good red-meat conservative insights and rants (which I like as much as the next guy) is exceeding demand and has for awhile as everyone seeks to get in on the schtick. The typical pendulum of supply and demand seeking equilibrium and rarely finding it.

I’ve long wanted more, and sought it out in books and podcasts. Particularly podcasts in recent years where I can get long-form interviews and more in-depth information than what feels like the same old, same old on radio.

Shapiro goes at least part way toward meeting that demand. He provides reams more data and context on issues. While standard talk radio tells you X is a terrible idea. Shapiro frequently tells you why X is a terrible idea. That is a big step forward and one that obviously conservative millennials are attracted to — and there are growing numbers of those — but also that older conservatives are drawn to.

If Shapiro is roughly Rush 2.0 30 years later — William F. Buckley without the pretensions — then what we’re likely to see is a lot of people following his footsteps, just as we saw an entire industry follow Rush’s. We’re already seeing that with young conservative personalities. But young ranters a la old ranters is not the future. Depth, context, data and fearlessness with opponents (Rush never debates a liberal) may well be — and that does not have an age requirement attached.

Further, Shapiro’s radio program is utilizing his podcast format on radio, which has the potential to revolutionize a somewhat ossified radio industry facing stiffening competition from podcasts and new media.

Shapiro’s style and altered format — if it works — could be one of the healthier trends long-term for conservatism by creating a new breed of conservative-thought influencers, building on the first generation with a new and updated model that leaves conservatives more informed and armed than the 1.0 version.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Media Truth Twitter

AOC’s Fundamental Ignorance Vs The Alternate Twitter Universe

Rod Thomson

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is by now well-known for getting facts wrong and displaying jaw-dropping ignorance from economics to trains to laws.

But only well-known in one universe, the one reported by right-of-center news and commentary outlets and their consumers. Too often, consumers in this universe, in which The Revolutionary Act exists, think that once something is reported at Fox News, the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, Breitbart News, or others, it is known to the American people.

But this is wrong.

Because in the other universe, one populated by the mainstream media largely ignoring or downplaying her gaffes and on social media where she is gigantic and her followers only get news there or from the MSM, she remains this colossus of righteousness bestriding a racist, bigoted, unfair America.

Seriously. Many, many Americans who believe they keep up somewhat on the news and check their Twitter feed have little to no information on just how embarrassing she is. They either think Republicans are attacking her (the pounce narrative) or that Republicans are afraid of this truth-to-power-teller.

Nowhere was this on better display than during Tuesday’s House hearing on terrorism efforts, the conservative reporting on it, and AOC’s Twitter response.

Ryan Saavedra, of the Daily Wire, tweeted out a full story’s worth of tweets Friday, starting with:

“FBI Asst. Director of Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity has to repeatedly explain to Ocasio-Cortez that domestic terrorists are not charged with domestic terrorism because no domestic terrorist statute exists”

Fox News did a story on it Saturday. The timing is telling. The mainstream media ignored her embarrassing ignorance/dishonesty, much like they do other Democrats. If not for the conservative media, this would be essentially unknown.

The short of it is that AOC doesn’t understand the law on this issue, the difference between foreign actors and domestic, or how counterterrorism works. She was intent on pursuing her pre-arranged line of questioning that American counterterrorism officials were unfairly targeting Muslims, and not white supremcists, with terrorism charges. She continued to question why they did not charge white supremcists with domestic terrorism when they charged Muslims in a couple of cases with terrorism.

The answer, which McGarrity patiently explained over and over was that there is no such thing as domestic terrorism in law, and you cannot charge people with something that is not illegal in law.

Further, the two examples she cited — the San Bernardino shootings and the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando — involved people with documented links to ISIS, which is a foreign terrorist organization. That triggers the terrorism charge. But white supremacists attacks, such as at the Pittsburg synagogue shootings, had no foreign links, so the shooter acting alone was charged instead with multiple counts of murder.

No matter how much McGarrity explained that there are no statutes on domestic terrorism and so there can be no domestic terrorism charges, AOC kept going from her notes. She was pursuing a narrative, not facts or laws.

Read Saavedra’s thread or the Fox story or just watch the link on C-Span. It’s cringe-worthy. Almost hard to watch.

Except not for the rest of the universe outside of the conservosphere. In that one, the entire embarrassment never happened. Or, if you follow AOC’s huge Twitter following (created for her by the astonishing level of media coverage that primary victory attained) you get this parallel universe telling of what happened.

“This hearing was wild.

First the FBI witness tried to say I was wrong. I tried to be generous + give benefit of doubt, but then we checked. I wasn’t.

Violence by Muslims is routinely treated as “terrorism,” White Supremacist violence isn’t.

Neo-Nazis are getting off the hook.”

Note, she doesn’t say what her staff checked and was right about, or what McGarrity was wrong about. Because she was obviously wrong. They are only different if there is a link to foreign terrorist organizations. Other Muslim attacks were not treated as terrorism because there was no documented links.

It’s really very, very difficult to give her the benefit of the doubt that this is just a misrepresentation or misunderstanding. So, if she was listening to McGarrity at all, she knows why some Muslims were charged with terrorism (and others were not) while white supremacists so far have not been. The sad and likely explanation is that she is just that comfortable with this level of…dissembling.

The reality, however, is that her tweet got 128,000 likes and 41,000 retweets — probably totalling more eyeballs than most of the conservosphere combined on this issue.

She is aided by the lack of MSM coverage and by Twitter outlets such as Now This News, which tweeted this doozie out:

“Rep. @AOC confronted this official about why the FBI doesn’t treat white supremacists the way it treats other terrorists”

Technically, yes, she did. And the answer was explained statutorily to her. Now This News must know this. But partisan narrative. Also, FYI, fake news coverage.

She could have come out on Twitter and called for a change in laws. That actually would have been both reasonable and even productive. After all, she is a “lawmaker.” Congress can pass a domestic terrorism law if they want. But making laws is hard work, even when staff does most everything. Grandstanding to the adulation of your only half-informed followers is easier and provides immediate gratification. Plus, this way she can still not admit to being wrong. Again.

Conservatives who think that Americans know AOC is a pretty, enthusiastic, bumbling doofus who is an American embarrassment are sadly mistaken. Most do not. And likely never will. It is our battle. And why The Revolutionary Act and so many others exist.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.


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Journalism Media Trump Truth

Polls: Trump Popularity Soars to Highest Level, Trust In Media Tanks To Lowest

Rod Thomson

The events in the above headline are not unrelated.

Once the literally “no news” two-year news cycle of Trump-Russia collusion ended with the thump of the Mueller report finding no collusion and not recommending any obstruction of justice charges, it turns out Americans are OK with President Trump. More than OK.

The Zogby Poll has Trump’s job approval at 51%, 3 points above Obama’s in the same poll at the same point in his first term.

Again, it cannot be said enough, this is after two years of media hyperventilating over something that did not happen.

Maybe more interesting: A majority of Millennials approve of Trump’s performance as President, which has been a huge GOP fear — that Trump would turn off young voters to conservatism for a generation. This may not end that worry, but it sure tamps it down. Further, Trump is winning back Hispanic, Independent, college educated and urban voters.

Rasmussen polls have already placed Trump above Obama at the same time in his term for awhile now.

This is astonishing considering the very friendly, to put it mildly, coverage of President Obama and the nakedly partisan coverage of Trump.

On that point, Trump’s approval ratings are giant leaps ahead of the media’s trust ratings. Maybe not apples to apples, but close. The Columbia Journalism Review, the most prestigious publication for and about the media, reports with surprisingly little verbiage (I think we know why) just how bad the problem is through a commissioned Reuters poll.

Here’s what they found: The media led all institutions for which the public has the lowest confidence. Nobody’s lower. And of all demographic groups, only Democrats expressed a positive confidence in the press. Gosh, I wonder why?

Here are the numbers, which an honest media look at and admit they have a severe bias problem: 42 percent of Democrats believe the media isn’t biased. But only 10 percent of Republicans said the same.

Reagan used to talk about going over the head of the media and talking directly to the American people. Because even then, the media bias was pronounced, albeit nothing like today. Now, it looks like the American people are going over the head of the media directly to reality.

All of this means that the attempt to bring down Trump through what is now demonstrably “fake news” has backfired magnificently. The media as constituted probably cannot recover legitimacy from it’s past 10 years combined of covering for Obama and making it up over Trump. Which is a shame, and shame on them, because the Fourth Estate is an important part of America.

Rod Thomson is an author, radio and 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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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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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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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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Journalism Media Truth

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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