Friday, May 18, 2018

Cruising the Web

The media and their allies on the left are harming their own causes by their deceptions and exaggerations. Just in the past few days, the media and the left have come out on the side of Hamas through dishonest reporting of what has been going in Gaza. Today, using deceptive editing, the media put out the story that Donald Trump had called immigrants "animals." That would have been appalling and not so surprising given how he referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists. So it wouldn't seem all that out of character for Trump to have used that sort of language. However, that isn't what happened. He was responding to a question from a sheriff about the murderous gang MS-13 when he used the word "animals." Here is the transcript.
Sheriff Margaret Mims: There can be an MS-13 gang member I know about. If they don’t reach a certain threshold I cannot tell ICE about them.

President Trump: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.
Yes, Trump could have been clearer that the antecedent for his remarks were the MS-13 gang, but that does seem to be the context. And John Hinderaker points out that Trump had started off the meeting talking about MS-13 and the importance of ICE being able to deport them. Trump wants to portray his position on immigration as his saving the country from violent and predatory immigrants such as MS-13. You may or may not support his position on immigration, but it is dishonest to take what he said and twist it to be a blanket insult aimed at all immigrants. But that is what the media decided to do.

As soon as a couple of outlets such as the New York Times reported their take on what the President said by making it seem that he called "some unathorized immigrants 'animals' in a rant,that take got repeated throughout the media and all over Twitter

There is enough odious and obnoxious stuff that Trump says, almost on a daily basis, that it isn't necessary to make stuff up. The media seem to be taking the approach that, since Trump is so despicable and says appalling stuff, it doesn't matter if they slant their coverage. But that just helps Trump out. Every time one of these episodes happens that demonstrates dishonest from the media, those who support Trump just feel stronger in their support. Even Republicans who don't particularly like Trump defend him. If the clash is seen as Trump versus the media, Trump is the winner. As Charles C. W. Cooke, no fan of Trump writes,
What these outlets are doing here is lying. There is no more accurate way of putting it. One can forgive the thousands of people who see this false information and reflexively believe it to be true — unless they look into the matter, they will know no better. But one cannot forgive those who are deliberately spreading falsehoods. Trump himself is a habitual liar — to the point at which he lies about things about which there is no obvious incentive to lie. If the press thinks they can change that by spreading lies themselves, it’s going to be sorely disappointed.
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 17, 2018">he Associated Press retracted their tweet mischaracterizing what Trump said and CNN reported on the media's false takes, but the New York Times is sticking to its take on the story. It would be so easy just to retract what they said, but they just want to double down. ANd now Democrats are jumping on the dishonesty train.

Nancy Pelosi also hurried to capitalize on the opportunity to paint Trump as a racist.
At her weekly press conference today, Pelosi declared that "calling people animals is not a good thing."

"We believe the -- some of us who are attracted to the political arena, to government and public service -- that we're all God's children, there's a spark of divinity in every person on Earth, and that we all have to recognize that, as we respect the dignity and worth of every person, and as we recognize our responsibilities with that spark of divinity within us," Pelosi said.

"And so when the president of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, 'These aren't people. These are animals,' you have to wonder, does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? 'These are not people. These are animals.' The president of the United States."

Pelosi added that "every day that you think you've seen it all, along comes another manifestation of why their policies are so inhumane, and why we have to continue to debate, striving for bipartisanship with openness about what is at stake and what the choices are, and to be unifying in every way possible."
I understand the desire to win over Hispanic votes, but the Democrats run the risk of being seen as defending MS-13 who are truly animalistic. Jim Geraghty summarizes their actions.
But let’s have no illusions about MS-13. Their motto is “Kill, Rape, Control.” They’re heavily involved in sex trafficking and forcing underage girls into prostitution. They don’t merely kill those who cross them; they do so in particularly gruesome ways to intimidate others, such as stabbing a teenager 153 times in a public park. They leave bodies of victims near elementary schools.

Advancement within the gang requires murdering members of rival gangs. Some members are literally Satanists, justifying their murders with the claim that the Devil “wanted a soul.”

If there’s any group of human beings that you can label “animals,” and deserve the absolute minimum rebuke for dehumanizing rhetoric . . . it’s MS-13 members. (I might throw terrorists, the Iranian Mullahs, Russia’s FSB, North Korean thugs, and the Taliban in there, too. If not literal animals, those who make the deliberate infliction of pain and suffering upon others their life’s work don’t get to play the “hey, we’re all just flawed human beings, right?” card later on.) They’re human, but the worst of humanity. And the standard objections to “eliminationist rhetoric” don’t seem as applicable when we’re talking about a group that we would genuinely like to eliminate — if not fatally, then through incarceration.

Donald Trump says a lot of crude, obnoxious, inappropriate, incendiary, and disgusting things, but this . . . really isn’t one of them.
The media could have avoided all of this by just doing a couple of minutes of research by, you know, actually reporting what was said and what the context was. but in this hot-take Twitterverse of politics, everyone just jumps on some journalist's tweet without reading the background. Then some reporters, such as CNBC's John Harwood double down by defending MS-13 members.

The head of Planned Parenthood also defends the importance of not calling people who use rape as one of their preferred methods of terror and brag about dismembering opponents "animals" because that dehumanizes them.

All this mini brouhaha comes after a week of the media and the left defending Hamas. A few months ago at the Olympics, they were slavering over Kim Jung Un's sister giving the side-eye to Mike Pence and how great she seemed with her mysterious smile. It's as if they will embrace any villainous person or entity out there simply under the idea of embracing the enemy of their enemy (Trump, Israel).

Matt Friedman, a journalist who has reported on Israel and Hamas and now has written his memoir of that reporting, tells of how Hamas threatened reporters to get the coverage they wanted.
Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film.
He exposes how the media used the split screen coverage of the Hamas efforts to invade Israel juxtaposed with the celebration of opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. As he says, the press coverage was a Hamas propaganda victory without any real analysis of what the Israeli soldiers are confrontng.
Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?

These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.

For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.
David French comments,
Let’s put this as plainly as possible. Media distortions provided Hamas with further incentives to use human shields. And when Hamas uses human shields, people die. Not only do people die, but international activists and foreign governments use their deaths to discredit Israel and discredit its efforts at self-defense.
And, as long as Hamas feels that they are having success with their propaganda efforts, they'll keep sacrificing young people's lives in efforts to score points with the international press. By letting Hamas get away with this manipulation, the media are almost guaranteeing the deaths of more Palestinians. If they ignored the propaganda of corpses, perhaps this sort of death by rioting would end.

I'm still amazed at the number of women whom Larry Nassar abused while at Michigan State. The man was clearly a monster. Why was the university protecting him when they received complaints? Why was he considered so valuable? I can somehow get my mind around prominent men who were the faces, if not owners, of their companies like Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer, but this guy wasn't so special. Aren't there other people who could have been doctors for their athletes? Didn't anyone notice that he was seeing young females without a nurse in the room? At least the nurses should have noticed. Didn't they say anything? Who was protecting him over those 20 years and why?

I'm glad that his victims will get some some monetary compensation from the university in the $500 million settlement that MSU just agreed to for the 332 identified victims. Think of that number - 332! The mind boggles at such predatory depravity.

As Ed Morrissey did, I started wondering where that money would come from. It could come from the school's $2.7 billion endowment, but how do you get alumni to donate ever again to the university? Will it come from the state? It's not as if Michigan has a spare half a billion dollars lying around. And why should taxpayers have to cover this sum? If they raise tuition at the school, future students will be paying for Nassar's depravity and the university's willful blindness. What a mess.