Killing Journalism

“It’s almost as if the effort to undo Trump has had an unexpected effect — that Trump has somehow broken the news media.”

That is a quote from a long essay at Esquire last month by Peter Boyer.   Boyer wrote about changes to news coverage of the President of the United States because of Donald J. Trump.   He, of course, blames Trump.   But he is clearly distressed at the current state of affairs.   His essay concentrates on the New York Times, with a long section about the Washington Post and a couple of asides about CNN.  I bookmarked the link to Boyer’s essay.   It is an interesting read.   I think it will make a helpful addition to the obituary for the national press.

Elite newsrooms jettisoned everything they learned in that required Sophomore class “Ethics of Journalism.”   They tossed the New York Times Manual of Style right out with the trash, at least the parts about “neutral voice” and “counterbalance” and context and completeness and anonymous sources and several other picky matters that used to be important to them.

Further from Boyer:

Back in the early months of the Trump presidency, I had asked Liz Spayd, the public editor, if the  Times’s new business model was to become a sort of high-end Huffington Post.

“I hope that is not the case,” she said. “I think that would be a sad place for this country to find itself, that one of the strongest and most powerful and well-financed newsrooms in the country would speak and have an audience only on one side of the political aisle. It’s very, very dangerous, I think.” Spayd had become the voice of the old traditions at the  Times, a position that earned her the opprobrium of progressive critics outside the paper (“This editor appears to be from 1987 or earlier,” Keith Olbermann tweeted. “Sorry—get in the game or get out”) as well as inside the newsroom. Five months into the Trump presidency, her job was eliminated; she now consults for Facebook.

The very thing Ms. Spayd warned about had come to pass.   The New York Times subscriber base consists entirely of Leftists and hotels and libraries.   Nobody reads the New York Times except the white woke Leftist elites who control the Democrat Party, and then the rest of us read the things that make the top of the Google News feed, or we read them if they are cited for some particular outrage in the conservative niche media.   They have become profitable again as the Opposition Party.   Nobody expects the NYT to be anything else besides the PR of the far Left.

How sad.   This is what prompted P. Boyer to write that essay.   The theme is despondency over the death of the old “American model of Journalism.”

We have now fully transformed America into the “European model of Journalism.”   The Europeans have parliamentary governments.   This led to a multiplicity of parties.   The newspapers generally all serve as the PR mouthpiece of one or another of the dozens of parties.   With the legacy media now champions of open borders, Communism, and hostile to traditionalist religions, we can comfortably call them the “Enemy of the People.”

We have been a long time in making this transformation.   Looking back, it is easy to see how the press always leaned left, how the leftward tilt got a huge push when the universities started up degree programs in journalism in the late 50s and 1960s.   Mass media news in America slid further and further leftward until they went into full-on campaign mode in 1992 to boost Bill Clinton past G.H.W. Bush.   It was the campaign of 1992 that turned Rush Limbaugh into a household name.   He single-handedly saved AM radio by turning it into the media refuge for conservative thought.

The internet completed the transformation.   Now the NYT is just a bigger, badder HuffPo.   But the demise of mass media journalism is not because of President Trump.   It is only partly because they lurched even further Left than they previously were during the Obama Administration.   The internet brought them down.   More on that in my next post.   First, another couple of points about Boyer’s essay.

My favorite media critics are liberals (pro-life Democrats).   They noticed P. Boyer’s essay.   They have been saying the same thing pretty much ever since the campaign of 1996, which is when they became frightened at the excesses of supposedly ethical journalists at elite publications.   They connected the adoption of full Leftist advocacy “journalism” to the decades-old tradition in elite media for full Leftist advocacy “journalism” in culture war issues.

As a Social Conservative, I have noticed that elite newsrooms think that people who share my views on matters such as abortion, sex, sin, privacy and personal responsibility are people who are not worth covering accurately.   This was revealed anew earlier this month by the fawning coverage that Mayor Pete Buttigieg received when he launched a religious attack on Mike Pence.

Terry Mattingly of GetReligion concluded:

Thus, elite newsrooms were no longer interested in doing accurate, fair, objective coverage of about half of the United States of America.

I am actually happy to see the obituaries begin.   Leftist mass media helped put Obama in office and keep him there.   They nearly delivered the White House to Hillary.   They have opposed President Trump in every particular, revealing that they only care about scoring political points.   They do not care about what is good for America or the American people, nor do they particularly care about the accuracy of the information that they sell as “news.”   As Leftists, they are anti-American and anti-Christian.   They oppose everything I value.   They are the Opposition Party.

They needed killin’.

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Changing their tune

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation held their annual awards dinner. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not there. Instead, he was the interviewee at Fox and Friends, where he revealed that he had been notified that he would be the recipient of their signature award and had been invited to the Foundation’s annual banquet, but then he was notified that they were rescinding the award and he was dis-invited.

The return of hostages isn’t partisan. It’s not political. This is an American activity,” he said.

We worked with Democrat members of Congress on this. This is not partisan.

And yet, it sounds like some in the media, who were underwriting this event – sponsors for the event said ‘if Pompeo is there, we won’t be.’”

In January, he had received an apologetic note from Mr. Foley’s widow, who was sorry that the Foundation had decided to make the change. The change they had made was that they decided to give their premier award to someone else instead of Secretary Pompeo, after they had originally sent him a notice that he would be the recipient. Evidently she revealed that it was pressure from the keynote speaker and some of her friends that caused the Foundation to drop Secretary Pompeo.

The keynote speaker was Christiane Amanpour of CNN, and her pals were all media people.

Mike Pompeo wrote a gracious response to Mrs. Foley and did not say anything in public about the disinvitation until the week of the dinner.

Since James W. Foley had been a journalist, and since the Foundation has promoted journalism about Americans that are held as political prisoners around the world, the Foundation has a lot of connections to media and gets a lot of support from media. James W. Foley had been held hostage and ultimately was the subject of an ISIS beheading video.

Rather than honor the Trump Administration for diligent work to free political prisoners and hostages, the Foundation instead slammed the Trump Administration.  The Foundation denied Secretary Pompeo’s account. They are saying that they rescinded the award because of Administration indifference to the murder of Jamal Kashoggi:

The decision with respect to the James W. Foley Hostage Advocate award is being mischaracterized by some media outlets. While it is accurate that our foundation intended to present our hostage freedom award to Secretary Pompeo, and we extended the invitation to him on November 19, we ultimately decided we could not present the award as planned due to the dramatic change in circumstances when the Administration did not press for genuine accountability from the Saudi government for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

We communicated the reason for this decision to the Secretary’s team on January 11. Our decision had nothing to do with whether we received media pressure. In addition to advocating for the safe return of American hostages abroad, the protection of free speech and promotion of journalists’ safety is a key pillar of our foundation and this award would have been in conflict with that key principle.

We thank Secretary Pompeo for his extraordinary efforts to bring Americans home and are grateful for all that he and this administration have accomplished to prioritize the return of our citizens. In particular we are thankful for the time he recently dedicated to meeting with families of American hostages. We look forward to working closely with Secretary Pompeo and this administration on these efforts to bring Americans safely home.

Of course, it is not “some media outlets” that characterized the rescission as due to media pressure. That was what Secretary Pompeo said.

Secretary Pompeo is entirely deserving of the award. Kashoggi is just an excuse. Kashoggi was employed by the Washington Post, but he was being paid for by a grant from Qatar and had been putting out a series of hit pieces against the Saudi ruling family. Now it is sort of a complicated mess that Prince Salman chose to go full Bond Villain and commission the gruesome assassination on Turkish soil. He managed to poke Turkey, Qatar, the Trump Administration and western journalism all at the same time, plus put all his enemies on notice to lie low.

Kashoggi is just an excuse, however. Consider the record that prompted the Foundation to select Pompeo in the first place. The Trump Administration has obtained releases for as many political prisoners in two years as the Obama Administration managed in eight years, and without paying huge ransoms or releasing terrorists from Guantanamo. The Washington Examiner provided a copy of Secretary Pompeo’s letter to Mrs. Foley, with this excerpt:

This work has been accomplished without the concessions that only encourage more hostage taking by the kidnappers and terrorists.”

Here is another quote from Secretary Pompeo’s letter, via the Washington Examiner:

I understand that the Foundation decided to rescind the Freedom Award and my invitation to attend the 2019 James W. Foley Freedom Awards due to pressure from its media partners and your fear, stated in your letter, that some guests at the dinner would not show my office proper respect if I attended,” wrote Pompeo.

How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity? The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans. I regret that pressure of such a cynical and abominable nature was brought to bear on you and John,” he added in a reference also to James Foley’s father.

I absolutely expect “cynical and abominable” from CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times. They are the Enemy of the People.

Secretary Pompeo and President Trump deserve accolades for their work on this front.   The Washington Examiner reports that President Trump takes an active interest and gets twice-weekly updates on political prisoners.   We saw President Trump looking fresh and excited at 1:00 am when he went to greet the plane arriving with hostages released from North Korea.

MAGA

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Born Rich

Apropos 10 Cent’s post about people bribing their way into school, the 2001 film Born Rich is a fascinating look at some of the people who grew up in the richest families in America.

It started as a school project by Jamie Johnson, an heir to the J&J fortune and was eventually released at Sundance and shown on HBO.

It’s conveniently online, so I won’t say a lot about it except for a few takeaways I had from watching it.

  • I felt a surprising amount of sympathy for Jamie Johnson.  He talked about how hard it was to get credit for anything he did:  If he succeeded, people would say “obviously, with your family money” and if he failed, “how can you be so stupid to lose even with your family money?”  The scene where his uncle(?) sends him to a antique map dealer(!!) so that he can consider a career as a “map collector” borders on the surreal.
  • Ivanka Trump is featured.  One reason I was an early Trump supporter was seeing how amazing his 19 year old (at the time)  daughter was.
  • There were one or two characters who might be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, and nobody’s going to feel very bad about it.

Here’s the video on Youtube; there’s interesting background on Wiki, but I would read that after viewing for best effect.

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USA Today cheerleading for impeachment

They have got nuthin’.   This is a long feature, prominently highlighted at the default Google News aggregator, purporting to list a bill of particulars.   None of this is concerning; it is all old news, with the case for corruption resting on a house of cards of innuendo, guilt by association, and denigrating land development business as somehow inherently evil.

Six years ago I was thinking of USA Today as one of the least unreliable of the major mass media news organizations.   But in the Age of Trump they have energetically leapfrogged their competition in a rush to Leftist advocacy exclusively.   They are Fake News.   The Enemy of the People.

I don’t think I need to refute all this mess for the Ratburghers.   Every charge in this article has been discussed, and we generally agreed that there was no evidence of collusion between Team Trump and Russian government hackers.   We observed that the members of Team Trump who have been indicted, and who have spent time in jail, and slapped with large fines, and threatened with ruin, were being squeezed in order to get them to flip on President Trump.   One of the prominent bits cited in this long feature is Michael Cohen.   We have previously observed that he pled guilty to an act that is not a crime.   It is clear that the prosecutors were more interested in tainting President Trump than in any issues of justice or ethics.   Which, I think, indicates that the prosecutors themselves ought to be brought up on ethics charges.

Other crimes by members of Team Trump predated their involvement with Trump by several years.   They also were clearly prosecuted in order to squeeze them for testimony damaging to President Trump.

Michael Flynn lying to the FBI is a real curiosity to me.   Why did he lie?   He had done nothing wrong, nor had Trump.   Nevertheless, Flynn’s lie is a much lesser crime than many crimes that this same team of prosecutors chose not to pursue.

Fake News

I expect that all y’all will see similar instances this week of Leftist mass media cheerleading for impeachment.   This is going to be a very popular theme from Big Media for the next little while.   This feature from USA Today is attributed to three staff reporters, even though it is entirely a rehash of stuff from weeks or months ago.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/30/forces-threaten-donald-trumps-presidency-robert-mueller/2347032002/

May God bless and keep President Trump in His care, and grant wisdom and health and safety as he leads America even while under the “assault of the ten thousand lawyers.”

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The Immorality of Trump

Is there a difference between political morals and personal morals?

When the ramping up and campaigning began in 2015, I was dismayed to see Donald Trump in the top half of the candidates who announced.   I perceived him as a bombastic arrogant New Yorker of low morals.   Is that an unfair characterization?

Well, bombastic and arrogant seem undebated; even his fans acknowledge that, and New Yorker seems not to be considered a drawback; he won lots of Southern votes.   What I want to address in this post is related to the way his fans call him an “honorable man” and a “principled man.”   Well, perhaps, but with qualifications.

Sexual Morality

Remember the “Access Hollywood” tape?   Journalists thought it would be an “October Surprise,” but in fear that they would be scooped (they had been holding it back for many months) they rolled it out in mid-September of 2016.   It made no difference to the polling numbers.   This puzzled journalists who knew that Evangelicals’ support was key to Trump’s base.   They had expected the Trump campaign to wilt.   The NeverTrump pundits were even more distressed than Leftist journalists.   They faulted the journalists who broke the story for not waiting until mid-October to drop their October Surprise.

We remarked at the time that it was old news.   Evangelical voters had already absorbed the understanding of Trump’s sexual immorality, and had decided to support his candidacy anyhow.   When the Nevers railed at “rationalizing” and said it was “immoral” to support such an immoral man, we brushed them off.   Our response was “but Hillary.”   The choice was clear.

And there was no question about the immorality of Donald Trump.   He had famously bragged about adulterous affairs with “top women” who were wives of “A-list” men whose names you would recognize.   He clearly had been planning to take up a wife number three at the very time he was planning the wedding with wife number two.   There were rumors of other affairs besides the ones he bragged about.   He said rude things.   He implied in the “Access Hollywood” tape that he was willing to take advantage of his star status to treat women badly.   He was uncouth.   He made reckless accusations in obvious bad faith.

Nevertheless, we chose to support Donald Trump.   He won the Republican nomination on the strength of support among Evangelical voters.   By the time the fall campaign season neared the debates, the revelation of the Access Hollywood tape was only one additional piece of evidence for an aspect of Mr. Trump that was already well known.   And the emotional distress of the Nevers over that issue was revealing of their true position.   Their failure to see that other issues were more important and more relevant was indicative that their moral values did not match our moral values.   Though they are mostly not Christian, they clamored about Trump’s sexual immorality.   They invoked Biblical teachings.

Though we are Christians and promote conservative teachings about sexual morality, we brushed aside their histrionics and continued to support Donald Trump, the unapologetic serial adulterer who famously opined that he felt no need to seek forgiveness.

Does this mean, as the Nevers say, that we have “jettisoned morality”?

No.  It only means that we made a different political calculation than they did.

Political calculus

I don’t care how many times the Nevers stamp their feet and shout that the choice in November of 2016 “was not binary,” that election was a choice between only two outcomes.   But it does beg the question:  why were Evangelicals determined to keep Hillary out of the White House?   Even if that left only one choice, to vote for an immoral man?

With the choice set before us, we chose to support immoral Trump over “moral” Hillary.

So now to explain.   Many of us would question that Hillary Clinton is “more moral” than D.J. Trump.   We are considering the entire range of personal morality, and not just sexual morality.   There are many aspects to the human moral condition.   Perhaps it is appropriate to weigh different vices and virtues differently when making political decisions.

Morals

One of the reasons that western civilization always prized Socrates, Plato and Aristotle was because they were exploring what makes something a virtue and what makes something a vice.   They were looking for a way to make distinctions between good and bad human behaviors, and this became the foundation of western philosophy.

It would have been far better to have grounded western philosophy in Solomon, for the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.   This may not be commonly recognized as it once was in America, but this is common to us Evangelical voters.   We use the Bible as our source for moral learning.   (As the universities embraced modern post-Enlightenment thinking, there was a deliberate shift of philosophy away from the Bible and to a line of thinking that is more directly descended from the Pagan philosophers.   Ethics for business and journalists is a field that draws on the language of philosophy and not on religious language.   When journalists hear terms they think are religious, they think “dog whistle.”)

We Evangelical voters recognize all sorts of aspects to human morality.   Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility were the classical “Seven Virtues” of Christian antiquity.   To those can be added Courage, Justice, Prudence, Faith, and Hope.   They come down to us through the generations.

While we may commonly recognize President Trump as lacking in chastity, prudence, temperance, humility and faith, we also thought he had shown a solid core when it comes to courage, diligence, and justice.   We see this in opposition to his 2016 opponent, Ms. Hillary Clinton.   We think of her as lacking in courage (triangulation and focus-group testing and scapegoating provide the evidence there).   We think of her as lacking a sense of justice (her attacks on Bill’s bimbos is recalled).   She showed a lack of both faith and courage, plus a lack of trustworthiness (which is an aspect of justice), when she disallowed a military response to Benghazi.   Her e-mail scandal, plus the baggage of many scandals from the Obama Administration, counted against her as moral failings.

This sort of evaluation did not necessarily leave us with a sense of balance, but it did leave us with a sense that there were other factors in the political decision that could outweigh Mr. Trump’s moral failings.

Fear

I posted this past weekend about the fears of Evangelical voters.   These have been very badly mischaracterized by Leftists in journalism, religion and politics.   The fear that a Hillary Administration would crush individual liberties was paramount in the consideration of many Evangelical voters.

We did not look to Donald Trump as some sort of spiritual savior.   We did see in Candidate Trump a clear alternative to the Party of Death and Mrs. Clinton.   We were far more concerned with fears that a renewed Democrat Administration could kick the final props out from under western civilization.   That would not endanger our salvation, but it would deprive our grandchildren of liberty.

We made the right choice.

President Trump has exceeded our expectations.   And, every day when I get up in the morning, Hillary is not my president.

Progress

I had been thinking about this when I stumbled across a post at R>.   (I was browsing there in the wake of their banning of our friend Ms. Hypatia.)   The interesting post was by one of their popular Catholic ladies.

She posted to describe how she has turned 180 degrees around in her thinking, just in the past year.   She was an ardent NeverTrumper all through the campaign, and for the first half of 2017.   In the past year she has experienced a complete change of thinking.   She posted to describe her thoughts, and to say that, though reluctantly, she now supports President Trump, and, in fact, strongly supports President Trump.

Her reasoning is that the ascendency of the Left is endangering western civilization to a far greater extent than she had previously realized.   The revelations of how deeply entrenched the Deep State is in the Department of Justice, the FBI and other agencies shocked her into looking more carefully at the threat within, and the hysterical groupthink swarming of Leftist mass media, with their transparent lies, confirmed for her that the pro-Trump conservatives were actually on the right track.

Here are delightful excerpts:

I’ve had to revise practically all my opinions. Maybe the outward civility and personal rectitude of people like George W., Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio actually were a liability. Maybe “principled politicians” like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz really are insufferable and out of touch. Maybe we needed a crude, narcissistic president to make headway in a crude, narcissistic culture. And maybe Trump’s not as bad a person as I’d thought. Maybe he does have some core principles and values down there somewhere, under all the bluster and mess. In any case, he’s getting stuff done, and his media-baiting has served the good purpose of exposing their extreme bias, thank God.

His enemies have proven to be far worse than I’d imagined. I knew Obama was a covert narcissist and a leftist ideologue, a Marxist even. I knew he was governed by an evil worldview that saw America as needing to be taken down some pegs, while peoples marginalized by colonialism were given a leg up. I knew he’d set out to be the great un-Reagan and un-Churchill. He had a Saul Alinskite political MO: ends justify whatever means; isolate a target (like marriage) and destroy it. Pose as high-minded, even-keeled, and above the fray, while really being deeply nasty and harboring contempt for American institutions and the rule of law. And oppose all things Judeo-Christian and conservative, except insofar as they provide a handy cover for a leftist social justice agenda. I knew his appointees were bad guys — either ideologues like him, corrupt opportunists, or both.

But even I couldn’t have believed it was  this bad — that the Justice Department and the FBI would shamelessly deploy the awesome tools of their trade to destroy Trump and elect Clinton, that the mainstream media would openly abandon even the pretense of objectivity to become flagrant propagandists while demanding the deference due to true reporters, that it would become almost impossible to have a conversation with an anti-Trumper (since to defend him is to be instantly shunned as a racist and a fascist), that so many of our institutions would be so decimated so fast.

It’s weird and ironic, but true: our best hope for national salvation lies in rallying round Trump.

I’m back with Rush and Drudge and Ricochet. I’m practically stalking Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hansen. Now it’s David French and Jonah Goldberg I can hardly stand to read. Forget about  Commentary and  The Weekly Standard. How can they not see what’s really going on here?  Who  cares how sleazy and corrupt Trump and his inner circle have been over the years? It’s nothing, just nothing, in comparison with the depth and extent of the corrosion at the heart of things in Washington DC. If we care about our country, we’ll make electing Republicans this November our top priority.

And then the capper came in the comments:

Why is Donald Trump the only person capable of saving the Republic?

Because he happens to be the President right now, and if he’s impeached, the corrupt DoJ and FBI plus their media sycophants will be vindicated and strengthened. Pence will be horribly weakened. The already divided Republicans will be more demoralized and divided, plus alienated from the voters. If he’s strengthened, on the other hand, he will be in a great position to clean house, plus do lots of other good stuff. Weak-kneed Republicans will be more likely to come on board, etc.  I’ll have hope that America can actually be turned back around.

With good moral devout Catholic married white female Nevers like her coming around to a full-throated energetic support for President Trump, I am taking heart and renewing hope that we can forestall the collapse of western civilization for a few more years.

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In-kind Campaign Contributions

There is ‘Impeachment!’ on the lips of Democrats, on account of a lawyer who works for President Trump pled guilty to a charge of a felony violation of campaign finance law.   The violation was a technicality of the sort that Democrats routinely avoid by simply re-filing their campaign finance forms.   A lot of words have been spilled about this issue.   I thought this bit was worth sharing:

“Let’s face it, every network newscast, every fake poll, every George Clooney rant, is an unreported contribution to the Democratic Party, a front organization for in-kind contributions from media, academia, and pop culture that trick people into supporting it.”

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Fraidy Cat Evangelicals

There is a Liberal strain of Evangelicalism that gets a lot of favorable coverage in Leftist Mass Media.   They are both political liberals and theological liberals.   The thing that makes them popular with Big Media is the way their spokespersons use credentials as “Christians” to bash American Christianity.   In particular, these are the liberal Evangelicals who are Democrats who oppose President Trump, and they oppose Christians who support President Trump.   So we are at the intersection of religion and politics and the culture war.   Lamestream media promote Leftist Christians as a way to drive a wedge between President Trump and his base.

I am writing to address one particular thing that gets said by liberal “Christians.”   I saw it recently on several Leftist blogs, where they were riffing on coverage of the release of a new book.   It did not generate much in the way of media coverage, primarily because Big Media was chasing Mueller investigation squirrels and Charlottesville anniversary racism squirrels.   However, I thought it worth addressing because we have seen it before and we will see it again.

Fear

The topic was “Fear.”   It was said that 81 percent of ‘Evangelical Voters’ had been motivated to vote for Donald Trump by fear.

Well, I agree, but, I strongly disagree with the things that were said.   Some of the things that were said are that the Evangelicals who support President Trump are “mean” “selfish” “racist;” you know, all the usual Leftist blather.   But stick with me and eventually I will get around to a theological point.

The book this time is Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, by John Fea, who is a liberal Evangelical and a history professor.   Last month The Atlantic ran a long feature by Fea.   Near the top, the professor gets to spiritual issues:

Moses told the Israelites to “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.” The Hebrew God told Job: “At the destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.” The Psalmist wrote: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

The Gospel of John teaches Christians that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” St. Luke writes: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Despite all these scriptural passages, it is still possible to write an entire history of American evangelicalism as the story of a people failing miserably at overcoming fear with hope, trust, and faith in their God. But it is also possible to find evangelicals, drawing deeply from Christian theological resources, who sought to forge an alternative history.

Fea then launches into a diatribe, reviewing historical points to trash American Evangelicals of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.   He grinds the ax of how American Evangelicals were fearful anti-intellectual xenophobic racists.   After too many words, he wrapped that up with remarks about racist fear of Obama, and homophobic opposition to SSM.   He pivots to current times with this:

After a recent lecture on Trump and his evangelical supporters, a woman approached me at the lectern and identified herself as an evangelical who voted for Trump. “I am part of the 81 percent,” she said, “but what choice did I have?” I have heard something similar many times from evangelicals who voted for Trump.

He gives a brief review of the Hillary campaign, and then brings out the big trope:

Ironically, some evangelicals have found a savior. They sought after Trump, he answered them, and he delivered them from all their fears.

But other evangelical options are available. Evangelicals are people of hope, not fear. The practice of Christian hope points us to a life beyond this world, but it also requires us to act in such a way that models God’s coming kingdom. The Kingdom of God is characterized by the love of enemies, the welcoming of strangers, the belief in the human dignity of all people, a humble and self-sacrificial posture toward public life, and a trust in the sovereign God of the universe. Fear is a natural human response to social change, but evangelicals betray their deepest spiritual convictions when they choose to dwell in it.

This is a conflation of fears.   Throughout this essay he does what we have seen so often before.   He is mixing up spiritual fear with worldly fear.

Spiritual fear is fear of eternity.   In death there are two directions for your soul to take.   Eternal rest with Jesus, or else eternity in the place that is without God.   Christians can look forward to eternity in the full confidence that the spiritual debt they owe has been paid in full because they have been adopted into the family of God.   There is hope in the blood of Jesus there, and no spiritual fear.

Worldly fear is the fear of bad outcomes in this life.   For most white American Christians this does not mean fear of bad guys in the neighborhood.   That may be a real fear for some, but, politically, that is a law-and-order, justice system issue.   There was a great deal of fearmongering over this issue, but little of the Trump vote in 2016 was manifested as votes for personal safety.

Rather, these votes were for a secure future for children and grandchildren.   The fear was that America would descend into chaos.   First, in rough neighborhoods in blue cities that foolishly degrade and impede their own police forces.   But, later, nationally, as our overextended economy collapses into a new Depression.   These are thoroughly worldly fears.   They are genuine fears, and they are not much related to spiritual matters.

Further to the worldly fears of Evangelical Voters, we feared that the Democrat Party will transform America in an ugly way that will dismantle our free exercise of our traditionalist Christian religion.   We remembered that Hillary said that traditionalist religion “will have to change.”   She was running to become the theologian in chief.

Evangelical Vote for a Sinner

We preferred to vote for a flawed man with the baggage of a past history of sexual sins.   He was pledging to preserve religious liberty.   Our concern was not for our salvation, but for the ability of our grandchildren to live openly as Christians.   They may be saved by the blood of Jesus, but they may find themselves enjoying their spiritual freedom from the confines of a gulag.

It is Democrats who have made Christian business owners in blue states into second-class citizens.   It is Democrats who have threatened Christian colleges and high schools with a loss of accreditation.   It is Democrats who have forced the promotion of sin and forced our children to celebrate sexual sin in public schools.   It is Democrats who have said that traditionalist Christians should not be allowed to hold public office.   It is Democrats who have demonized any personality who has publicly lobbied for limits on abortion.   It is Democrats who promote euthanasia.   It is Democrats who pressed federal meddling into state and local bathrooms.   It is Democrats who deny real data-based science about the climate.   It is Democrats who deny the science of embryology as they promote abortion.   It is Democrats who corrupted the social sciences and humanities with anti-Western and anti-Christian activism.

So, yes, we fear the Party of Death.   They are anti-police, anti-law, anti-justice, anti-religious, anti-Christian and anti-American.   They are the Party that booed God.

We did not elect Donald Trump because we see him as some kind of spiritual savior.   We elected Donald Trump to postpone the day when the Left triumphs and dismantles Western Civilization.   That will be a dark day for everyone, not just for Christians.   Our concerns that led us to vote for Donald Trump were temporal, not eternal.

But they are very real and valid concerns.   Though they are not spiritual fears, the fears are well-founded.   That does not make us “fearful;” it means we have grave concerns that we express as “fears.”   There is a big difference.

Conflating theological concerns with worldly concerns is a deliberate attack on weak-minded Christians, intended to sew confusion and doubt among believers.   They impute to our support for our flawed champion a support of his past sins.   They called us “immoral” for voting for “immoral Trump.”

They are not being honest, which is their habit.   Leftists have always been liars.

Trust Jesus, and trust your instincts.   You knew you could not vote for Hillary.   However much they harangue you with President Trump’s personal faults, just remember that we are not putting our faith in President Trump for spiritual guidance.   The trust we place in President Trump is strictly worldly.   And he has proved to be surprisingly worthy of our trust, far exceeding our expectations.   President Trump should be rewarded with our full support.   He has worked hard to deliver on his campaign promises, rewarding our votes with a political delivery that is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes.

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TOTD 2018-06-22: Cultural Sadomasochism

I’ve always been infuriated by people whining about the US and how oppressive it is.  There’s this constant moaning about how victimized they are and oh the humanity think of the children it’s like Donald Trump is raping us all.   This is coming from people who are in secure, well-paying jobs or people going to school on other people’s money.  It’s like bragging about how victimized you are. Continue reading “TOTD 2018-06-22: Cultural Sadomasochism”

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Christopher Wray — Nothing to see here

The IG report is out and the issue of intent is on the table again. When Wray says that the IG didn’t find any political bias, he’s basically saying that nothing extraordinary happened, that nobody intended to do anything wrong. Why? Because they didn’t operate from bias. So, all of these minor missteps were not intended, they were inadvertent but always going against the president or for Hillary. Every one of the unintentional mistakes. Here’s ABC:

“[It’s] important to note what the Inspector General did not find,” Wray told reporters inside the FBI, marking one of the first times he’s taken questions from media representatives since becoming the agency’s director. “This report did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations actually impacting the investigation under review,” namely the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Yet it seems like they are intentional to me — these people all did these things using very non-standard methods —  and exculpatory methods for Hillary — rather than how Mueller is acting against Trump and how Comey acted against Martha Stewart and how Patrick Fitzgerald acted against Scooter Libby. These mistakes were all intentional and they were all biased. And the IG is a liar to say otherwise.

But, the mistakes that were made were going to be addressed with new training. The report is hours old and he’s already started to fix things — so that’s good to know. And what’s something he mentioned that they are going to do:

“There are some sobering lessons in there. We’re going to learn those lessons,” including “the importance of trying to make sure that we avoid even the appearance of bias in all of our work,” Wray vowed. “Objectivity and the appearance of objectivity matter.”

Why is bias being brought up now? That’s the one mistake that wasn’t made according to the IG. Why? Because Wray knows that this is a lie and he’s so happy that the IG sold out that he made this big mistake. This is what is known as a “tell” at the poker table.

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TOTD 31 May 2018: Longest Loser Tantrums Ever Continue

Hope you all enjoy the following as much as I did.  It reminds one of the perpetual arrogance of ignorance saluted by the Progressives, and at the same time, is educational.   A two-fer Thursday!  I have included the entire article for your reading pleasure.

Teacher Who Corrected Trump’s Grammar In Viral CNN, NYT Story Got Lots of Stuff Wrong

by Aaron Keller | 5:00 pm, May 29th, 2018

The retired English teacher who “corrected” a now-viral letter from President Donald J. Trump and who then returned the “corrected” letter to the White House could perhaps use some schooling on the way the law works. In correcting Trump’s letter, the teacher marked something incorrect which was actually correct — legally speaking. (While we’re at it, the grammatical errors weren’t really errors, either; indeed, the letter was more correct than the teacher thinks.)

The teacher, Yvonne Mason, received the letter from the Trump White House in response to a letter she sent to President Trump. Her original letter raised concerns about the Parkland, Florida school shooting and asked President Trump to visit the families of those who died in the massacre. Perturbed by what she claimed was sloppy grammar in the rare return letter from the president, she posted her “corrected” letter to Facebook. It initially made the pages of her local paper, then the New York Times. She appeared on CNN on Monday to continue her jabs. There, she said the letter deserved a grade of “D.” She also opined that while the letter was probably written by staffers, the president signed it. (Has she ever heard of Autopen?) (WATCH the interview here.)

Here is the legal issue we noticed:  in his letter to the teacher, President Trump references a number of laws which he seeks to change or which he did change in response to the Parkland shooting. He also references a “rule.” Confused, the teacher circled “rule,” put a question mark in the margin, and said, “explain ‘rule.’”

That sound you just heard is me slamming my head against the desk at which I’m sitting.

There is a hierarchy of laws under the American system of government. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It sets forth three branches of government:  executive (which enforces the laws); legislative (which writes the laws); and judicial (which interprets the laws). Here’s the thing:  the branches each basically write their own “laws” which play off of one another. So, really, there is more than one type of “law.” The president’s letter accurately notes this. The teacher appears to be confused by it.

Perhaps the English teacher could benefit by calling up her social studies buddies for a primer. When most people reference federal “law,” what they really mean are the statutes written by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Executive branch agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, etc., etc., etc., which are constitutionally attached to the president, have “rulemaking authority” to write “rules” which expound upon the more rough parameters set forth by the legislature in statutes. Lest we forget, the hierarchy, in descending order, contains all sorts of laws: the Constitution, statutes, administrative rules (which have the “force of law”), and judicial opinions (which — oh no! — have their own hierarchy, too!). What about the opinions of administrative law judges who work for executive branch agencies authorized by congress but constitutionally attached to the president? Gosh, this gets complicated, and we haven’t even gotten into city ordinances or state statutes.

Trump’s letter accurately differentiates between “rules” and “laws.” The teacher’s question mark response suggests either (1) she just doesn’t get the concepts I just painstakingly explained; or (2) if she does get it, she wants her “student” — President Trump — to explain it to her solely to prove that he knows it as well. The second tactic is ridiculous given the Trump letter’s careful differentiation between the two. He gets it. My guess is that she does not.

Thus concludes the lesson about legal hierarchy. There’s more, which I’ll address briefly.

The teacher told CNN she was most “appalled” by the “random capitalization of words that typically aren’t capitalized.” In the letter, the word “Nation” is frequently capitalized. When CNN pointed Ms. Mason to the fact that the government has its own stylebook, Ms. Mason botched the answer by flipping the script and pretty much claiming she was the authority: “My philosophy as a teacher is if we aren’t teaching this in the classroom, then why are we using it in a stylebook.” She then went on to entirely misinterpret the rule being applied.

Under the Government Printing Office’s stylebook, available here, Rule 3.20 on page 32 and the example on page 68 clearly state that “Nation” is capitalized in federal publications where the word is used as a replacement for the proper name of the country.

Rather than take the time to pull out her own stylebook(s), Ms. Mason confused that rule with the one for proper nouns, which in the stylebook is a totally different rule, and accused Trump of engaging in a “grammatical tragedy of the commons” where people start “randomly deciding which words are proper nouns and which aren’t.”

The teacher said her dream was “clear communication.”

“Communicate clearly what you want, and you’re more likely to get it because language is the currency of power.” (That’s a grammatically-incorrect sentence, Ms. Mason; plus, the stylebook clearly communicates what it wants.)

Hopefully, Ms. Mason taught her students that the rules change depending on the intended vehicle of publication:  the MLA, APA, and Chicago Manuals of Style are not the end of the stylebook world. The legal profession uses the Bluebook for citations, the Chicago Manual of Style where the Bluebook is silent, and the Redbook for other grammatical guidance. Reporters use the Associated Press Stylebook. The Government Printing Office has its own stylebook. Guess what? President Barack Obama followed it when he also capitalized words like “Nation” in his own letters (examples are hereherehere, and here). So did Michelle Obama (here). We are not certain whether Ms. Mason plans to spend her retirement correcting the Obamas, too.

Having been schooled by and having worked with both good and bad educators over the years, I am well versed in the sorts of histrionic fits some educators can get themselves into while defending their perceived entitlements to paychecks. If Ms. Mason gives President Trump a “D” on grammar and communication, I give her an “F” on defending her rationale for her judgment.

Aaron Keller is a live, streaming trial host for the Law&Crime Network. He is licensed to practice law in two states and served as a professor of English and communications for several years before joining Law&Crime. Follow him on Twitter:  @AKellerLawCrime.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

https://lawandcrime.com/crazy/teacher-who-corrected-trumps-grammar-in-viral-cnn-nyt-story-got-lots-of-stuff-wrong/

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Presidential Libraries: Locations and Ephemera

I’ve had the opportunity to visit several Presidential libraries, homes and historic places.  Most of the ones I have visited are centered around a home. Visiting Spiegel Grove, Rutherford B. Hayes’s home in Fremont, Ohio, is a quiet affair…a lovely home, a library for research, his final resting place.  Mount Vernon, the magnificent home and final resting place of George Washington, has a sprawling museum and estate and has been lovingly cared for by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association since the 1850s.  Other homes include those of Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and FDR.

Some Presidential libraries lack a home, but have outstanding museums and artifacts.  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL tends toward the Disney-esque, with life-size dioramas and high-tech holographics along with a rotating display of artifacts in a more traditional portion of the museum.  The outstanding Library is across the street from the museum; Lincoln’s home, operated by the National Park Service, is across town and his tomb is also nearby.

The newest Presidential center will apparently be Obama’s. There is some controversy regarding the location, appearance and function of the center.  John Kass, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, calls the proposed Presidential center, to be built on public land near the golf course in Jackson Park, “The Barack Obama Temple of Adoration and Fealty.” The center won’t house any Presidential papers, nor will it be a center for research.  Kass even has a couple of suggestions for the inevitable shop at the center, “Presidential golf clubs or a Michelle Obama vegetable peeler for nutritious school lunches would be nice.”

Regardless of what ends up in the Obama center, I would like to suggest that there only be one item in the future Donald J. Trump Library:

This document captures everything about the current President…all anyone needs to know.  American can-do bravado, shades of General McAuliffe’s memo to the German command “NUTS!”, captured in a letter so clearly dictated by Trump that I can imagine the hand of a nice Katie Gibbs secretary flying across the page in perfect Gregg shorthand.  Presented on the finest Crane Presidential stationery, he signs it with a graffiti-esque Sharpie. Permanent. Bold.  Yes–this is all we need, in so very many ways.

I guarantee his feet weren’t on the surface of the Resolute desk when he signed it.

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Media v Evangelicals, 2018 part 5

In my previous post in this series I concluded by noting anti-traditionalist media coverage of a gathering at Wheaton University.  It was a group of “concerned” “Evangelical leaders.”  It included some theological conservatives, though most of the attendees tilted theologically liberal.  Since then, some sound bites by liberal Evangelicals made the rounds, mostly because they were bitterly critical of Christians who support President Trump.  Media continues to love quotes from NeverTrump clerics and pundits who have Christian or conservative credentials.

 

The continuing coverage of last month’s gathering of Evangelicals can be best represented by reading this long feature from the New Yorker, since it summarizes everything that I have seen elsewhere in mass media:

https://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/on-religion/at-a-private-meeting-in-illinois-a-group-of-evangelicals-tried-to-save-their-movement-from-trumpism

But I highlight it here because it talks about the debates, letting us know that President Trump was not the focus of that gathering, though he was obviously on everyone’s mind.  From other media accounts you would have thought that the meeting had been all about Trump.  In fact, as I had suspected all along, they talked about a host of culture war issues, with the primary issue being racism.

 

Racism got a lot of media chatter over the past few weeks (as it has ever since the Democrat Party enacted quotas for minority representation in their Party structure five decades ago).  In the past two years we have grown tired of the tedious way they slander all Christians who support President Trump as racists, which they do with complete disregard for the way Trump got more support from blacks and Hispanics than did Mitt Romney.  In my last report I linked to the Washington Post blathering about “white Evangelicals’” support for President Trump.  This trend continued.

PRRI released new poll results, and The Atlantic mined it for data to spin the racist angle, breathlessly reporting:  “…white evangelical support for Trump remains strikingly high, with 75 percent holding a favorable view of the president….”   Of course they isolated white Evangelicals.  They are still horrified that Trump showed surprising strength among blacks and Hispanics, but they say as little about that as possible.

 

Leftists were horrified at PBS, who went to the National Day of Prayer event in Washington, and got an interview with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.  It is clear from the follow-up questions that the reporter was put on his back foot by some remarks by Rev. Rodriguez (a Pentecostalist pastor):

William Brangham:

There’s many things on that one side of the ledger that would seem to alienate him from the evangelical community, three marriages, accusations of adultery, bragging about sexual assaults.

You’re arguing that the policy side of the ledger is enough to make people think that things don’t matter as much?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

No, I don’t think it’s ever to a point where it doesn’t matter.

I think it comes to the point where we don’t want to write anyone off. You don’t want to write off access to a president who can impact religious liberty, who can impact the sanctity of life. So it’s a matter of balancing these narratives in a way where we never sacrifice truth on the altar of expediency, but we likewise support policies that reflect our Judeo-Christian value system.

William Brangham:

So, it was something much more fundamental to evangelicals? When they looked at this last election, President Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, they just felt much more fundamental was at stake that made them want to support him?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

Some would argue the future of American Christianity. Some argued…

William Brangham:

Is that right?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

Absolutely.

 

Mass media bias was also clear from the lack of coverage of a story that got lots of attention in Christian media, which was the saga of Alfie Evans in England.  It was eerily similar to last year’s enforced death of Charlie Gard.  An English hospital decided that, in the “best interests” of the child, that they would seize him from his parents and sentence him to death, to “put him out of his misery.”  A British court upheld the hospital’s right to keep Alfie’s death on schedule.  American mass media pretended not to notice.  Three-sentence blurbs were all that consumers of mass media news got, except that Fox News provided a little bit of coverage.  This item is not an attack on Evangelicals; it is simply another indicator (as if any were needed) that mass media does not care about matters that concern Christians, except to the extent that matters of concern to Christians can be used to wedge Christians apart from each other.  They seek to divide us in order to conquer us.

 

There were continuing blasts in the ongoing #metoo sexual harassment media excitement.  Whenever a pastor is alleged to have engaged in philandery it gets special notice.  After a decade spent focused on violators in the Catholic ranks, now mass media is actively seeking out bad boy Evangelical pastors to be pilloried in the press.

 

The New York Times got all distressed about Betsy DeVos relaxing some strangling regulations related to religious colleges.  They focused on how theologically conservative Christian colleges would benefit.  They ignored the way the changes can also help theologically liberal colleges.  My favorite media critics noticed:

There are some important voices and points of view missing in the New York Times story that ran with this headline: “DeVos Moves to Loosen Restrictions on Federal Aid to Religious Colleges.” In addition to its focus on evangelical schools, this story really needed input from educational leaders on liberal religious campuses and even secular private campuses.

 

Aside from news coverage, there were the usual editorials.  One in particular may be classified as “friendly fire.”  It was a sermon by David French at National Review.  It was so awful that Bryan G. Stephens posted about it here for us Ratburghers.  D. French has a confused sense of Christian morals.  His sort of moralizing is something that irreligious mass media outlets love to spread around, as a way to drive another wedge to divide Christians.

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Wake-up Call?

For some reason, reading the following paragraph from an article titled:  President Trump is fulfilling Prophecies made me feel optimistic today.   I am hoping the italicized [my emphasis] sentence in the paragraph will have the effect of being a wake-up call.

“Credit also goes to the current Evangelical Christian community and its leaders and to many non-liberal Jewish individuals and organizations. Unfortunately, too many liberal Jews have traded in their Judaism for multiculturalism and left-wing intersectionality. They have detached themselves from their historic identity with the Promised Land and currently find their promise in hedonistic and anti-Trump causes. They have chosen faddishness over eternity. For them, Israel is but a yawn.”

 

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/rabbi-aryeh-spero/trump-making-history-fulfilling-prophecy-moving-american-embassy

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