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July 11, 2018 - 10:28am

Today's Poll: Do you support nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Randy Sliker
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Finally a Justice who understands - Rights of the People to keep and bear and - Shall Not Be Infringed !!!!

Rich Richmond
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It is great to have this originalist Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, nominated to the Supreme Court.
Hopefully, President Trump will have the opportunity to nominate another to replace Justice Ginsburg.

Kyle Slocum
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I'm gravely concerned.

The Washington Post did an in depth investigation of his financial disclosures and found out that Kavanaugh buys MLB season tickets on his credit card and then PAYS the bill!

I mean, that's scandalous. WHO does that?

Howard B. Owens
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Thank God we have journalists who research such things and a First Amendment that protects them. We should know these things about high office holders. Just because it's reported doesn't mean it's reported as a scandal. It's something we should know.

Billie Owens
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Kyle, the journalists at The Washington Post were doing their jobs, what they are supposed to do. You should be glad that all they could dig up is the MLB season tickets that were paid back within a year. It is what it is, nothing more or less.

Theoretically, that's possibly a 'molehill' to climb to confirmation, certainly not a mountain.

Kyle Slocum
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Guys, I'm not really twisting the Post's tail in this, much. I am making fun of others, including alleged "journalists", that have tweeted out and posted these findings in a manner that implies that the revelations are suspicious and "concerning".

I assume some of the postings are just our friendly neighborhood Russian bots, but some are actual known, corporeal activists cranking the spin-o-matic at ludicrous speed. Shannon Watts called this set of facts "off" and needing of greater investigation, for example.

Billie Owens
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I sincerely hope that people keep a keen BS detector at the ready in an Internet age swamped with 'bots and spinners and self-serving liars.

The difficult, often tedious but important work of journalism is intended to inform the citizenry in a democracy.

It's good to take a hard look at all the stakeholders, journalists included, but we ought to be able to distinguish between legitimate news gathering and pandering to ideologues of any stripe.

Put your antenna up and keep it up; this is key for the self-guided tour that is life today.

Kyle Slocum
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The national news media have been lying to me and about me all my life. That is fact. The same is true of my neighbors. I have a real disdain for them and I am not alone, judging by the positive effect Trump's pushing back at the media has on his approval ratings.

The national media don't get this at all. They are baffled that the "ignorant", "racist", "xenophobic", "sexist", "islamophobic", "homophobic" "in-bred", "war mongering", "uneducated", "unenlightened", "little people" "who threw a temper tantrum" out here in "fly-over country" aren't exactly brimming with love and adoration for them.

When I was a kid, these tools in the press were holding the Democrat's jackets while the Democrats maligned and insulted us. The press then nodded seriously and echoed and promoted the wisdom of the Democrat's libelous pronunciations while they handed them back their jackets. Never was there a question as to the veracity of the Democrat's screed.

Today, there is no attempt on most of the national media's part to not appear like they are the opposition party. No rumor is too stupid or outlandish to be rushed out to the country without a moment's research as to its veracity. A named source is something that is beyond the pale.

Is it all the national press? No. Is it a majority? It seems that way. Especially when the media all jump on the unsubstantiated stories like a pack of lemmings and then bury the corrections and retractions that inevitably follow. It almost seems like the damage is the point and more important than the truth...

So, while I have respect for most local news people and operations, my opinion of the national and metropolitan media is very, very low. They are partisan hacks who can't be trusted until proven otherwise.

And, you know what? They worked very, very hard building that.

Howard B. Owens
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Trump's approval rating is roughly 40 percent. His disapproval rating is 50 percent.

Trump doesn't "push back" against the media. Nixon pushed back against the media. Trump actively tries to delegitimize the free press.

Kyle, you're analysis is complete fact free. You offer no solid evidence for any assertion and I reject every claim you make.

Kyle Slocum
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Howard, I don't really feel like going to the trouble of writing the book that would be necessary to document the constant and repetitious lies and slanders of the national media, and of the Democrats, over five decades. Lies aimed at normal, every day American citizens who didn't happen to be liberal democrats living in urban anthills. The people who didn't count and didn't matter to them.

You can claim that my analysis is fact free, if you wish. The fact is that Donald Trump, as flawed as he is, won the presidency by appealing to the angst and discontent of somebody.

The Democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) lie and claim that there are tens of millions of white supremacists to blame for his election. That is a slander. That is an evil slander that deserves a rude and abrupt response.

When Trump disrespects, and demeans, the press it does feel like he is giving voice to those who have been maligned by the press for decades. You know, normal, every day people the press calls "ignorant" and "backwards" and "ist" and "ic" and "ism" for voting Republican. That is a fact.

I did not vote for Trump. I DO understand why so many people did. And the asinine behavior of the media has convinced me to vote for him in 2020.

The national media has called me, and my neighbors, every vile and offensive and dehumanizing thing they could think of for all my life. That is a fact. If you can't acknowledge that, you are in denial of the reality around you.

The national press sold their legitimacy a long, long time ago. That is a fact and a significant reason why you have a successful news website. Have you really not figured out that the reason there was a gap in news coverage that you could fill had something to do with us icky people not mattering to the real people in the cities? Really?

Howard B. Owens
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" Donald Trump, as flawed as he is, won the presidency by appealing to the angst and discontent of somebody."

That doesn't mean the angst is justified. Trump ran on Make America Great Again. That was the biggest lie of his campaign and an unpatriotic one at that. America has never ceased to be great and it gets better every decade. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other populist pundits have been spreading lies about America for decades. That feeds a lot of the misinformation that led to Trump's election. To blame the angst on "the media" (however you are defining it) is itself misinformation.

"the press (but I repeat myself) lie and claim that there are tens of millions of white supremacists"

Simply not factually true.

"asinine behavior of the media "

What asinine behavior -- unless you're confusing pundits with reporters. Sure there's a lot of pundits out there spouting a lot of rhetoric but that has nothing to do with straight news reporting.

"The national media has called me, and my neighbors, every vile and offensive and dehumanizing thing they could think of for all my life."

Pundits will pontificate. I really think you're conflating here pundits with straight news reporters. When talking about journalism, you're talking about news reporting. And there is no way you can substantiate this remark when talking about news reporting, the main thing we need to protect our democracy, the thing that continues to work very well, and the very thing Trump is trying to delegitimize, which is dangerous for democracy and does NOTHING to MAGA. In fact, the exact opposite.

I don't consider what I do any different than what reporters do at the New York Times or the Washington Post. I'll let others judge whether my quality of reporting is better or worse but as a matter of fairness and accuracy, I believe we all hold ourselves to the same high standards, and being human, don't always meet them, but as a matter of professional practice and aspirations, there isn't any difference between what I do and what any professional reporter does at any other major news outlet. We're all professionals and do the best we can to be fair, honest, and accurate.

Howard B. Owens
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As a reminder -- the supposed pro-Democrat media kept Benghazi and the email server on its front pages for months, with the email server right up to election day.

Many of my Democratic friends I follow on social media continue to complain about this and have expressed frustration that NYT Editor Dean Baquet hasn't apologized for this coverage.

With examples like this, it's rather hard to fathom criticism of the NYT and similar outlets as biased against conservatives.

National news outlets have consistently covered Bill and Hillary scandals aggressively.

One of the great failures of news reportage in my lifetime is one that favors the Republican narrative -- the widespread practice of news outlets in the runup to the Iraq invasion to report everything that came out of the Bush White House without any further investigation. Everybody seemed to have forgotten the lessons of Vietnam that our government is capable of lying its way into a war. NYT reporter Judith Miller was particularly credulous and her career was ruined as a result.

Trump uses the term "fake news" not to call out inaccurate reporting -- everything he calls "fake news" is accurate and true. He uses the term to delegitimatize reporting he doesn't like, that is unfavorable to him. This is unprecedented in the history of presidential propaganda. A recent example: He gave an interview with a British tabloid. The interview was RECORDED. There is no question he said what the paper reported, which was critical of PM May and her handling of Brexit. After this caused a stink in the UK he called it "fake news." Again -- he is on a recording saying it. There's no doubt it is true, yet he calls it "fake news."

Trump's attacks on the media have no basis in reality. It a tactic to confuse the public and divert the truth.

Kyle Slocum
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Howard, I don't need your approval or acceptance to know what I have seen and heard and lived.

What you seem to miss is that the reporters are from the same places, went to the same schools, live in the same places, share the same social circles, share the same politics and have the same biases and parochial viewpoints as the pundits who freely spew their bigotry for a living.

They adopt the same slanders in the wordings and framings of the stories they write and present. They use the same narratives with the same baked-in bigotry and the same naked disdain for anyone not like them.

If you don't see it, it is likely because it never occurred to you that they would blithely insult half of their audience. Some do it in ignorance and some in malice. But it is there and has been noted.

I have told you before and I tell you again: You appear to me to do the very best you can to live up to the standards of your profession. You take your profession seriously and I commend you for your hard work and dedication. I am proud to know you.

But that does not change the fact that the national media is not, in my estimation, fulfilling it's obligation to truth and professional conduct. And it has not for a long, long time. I am not alone in this estimation and the national media is doing nothing to change anyone's mind about that.

I leave it here: We disagree. I respect you and I appreciate your hard work and fidelity to the high standards of your profession.

And, you are not going to argue away my life experience with the national media. Only they can do that by being more like you.

Howard B. Owens
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I'm not trying to win approval. I'm trying to paint an accurate picture. One thing I determined to do some time ago is not to allow misinformation about media bias to go unchallenged. It's bad for democracy. It's bad for the country.

And thanks for the kind words about my work.

"What you seem to miss is that the reporters are from the same places, went to the same schools, live in the same places, share the same social circles, share the same politics and have the same biases and parochial viewpoints as the pundits who freely spew their bigotry for a living."

What you describe is a basis of confirmation bias. A human failing we all share. That is not the same thing as a systematic bias or some sort of conspiratorial bias. In other words, it is no reason to distrust national news sources as a matter of course, to act as if they are some sort of evil cabal. Nothing you describe in any way justifies the attacks on the press by the president or his followers.

While there is confirmation bias in all media -- it's impossible to escape and I find myself falling prey to it as well -- it is not uniform and it does not mean that news stories are inaccurate or untrue. It may mean some sources get quoted more than others, or a reporter may choose to lead with this fact or that fact, not out of a desire to be untruthful or inaccurate but because the reporter is trying damn hard to be truthful and accurate.

This kind of bias is well documented (whereas the kind of bias Trump and his ilk promote is without substantiation in fact).

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/media-bias-real-perceived-rise-partisan-...

Which brings me back to the vital and important point: Trump trying to delegitimize the press through his own disinformation campaigns is bad for the country. It's anti-First Amendment.

That isn't the same as being a fair critic of the media, which is necessary.

BTW: the point that everybody goes to the same schools -- not entirely accurate. Dean Baquet, for example, has no college degree. I've come across other national reporters over the years with very diverse backgrounds, including small town backgrounds. The bigger issue is they all tend, eventually, to go to the same cocktail parties.

Tim Miller
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"Howard, I don't really feel like going to the trouble of writing the book that would be necessary to document the constant and repetitious lies and slanders of the national media, and of the Democrats, over five decades."

in other words, "I have no actual verifiable facts to base my outlandish statement on. Well, maybe I could find some, but it is sooooo much easier to spew some ignorant BS and hope it sticks with some folks as equally lazy as I am."

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