Let Fox Be Fox Once Again

Today’s post will be tinged with sadness—sadness over some loss of trust in what was, and still can be, the best news organization in the nation.

Two decades ago, I received my news primarily through CNN and MSNBC. Fox was not yet on my cable system. Both CNN and MSNBC leaned left, but there were enough sensible people, at least a hint of balance, that I could reasonably watch them.

Fox News LogoI was delighted when Fox News finally became a staple on every cable system; my first experience with Fox on a regular basis came in 2001 when I moved to the northern Virginia region.

It was truly a breath of fresh news air. For the first time, my beliefs—Christian and conservative—were treated with respect. I never expected a channel that mirrored me precisely, but Fox was a source I could trust better than those other two options, and both CNN and MSNBC shifted even more to the left during this time.

I still make Fox my “go to” network, my default, so to speak. Yet this election cycle has punctured its vaunted image of being fair and balanced. No, it hasn’t become a left-wing clone of those other two channels; it has, though, via a number of its on-air hosts, veered dangerously close to becoming a cheerleader for Donald Trump.

Now, I realize that commentators comment, and they are perfectly free to say what they think, but the obvious bias for Trump appearing on far too many of its programs has made watching Fox much less appealing than before.

I’ve always loved Fox and Friends in the mornings. The hosts are witty, yet serious about the kinds of issues I am serious about. Lately, though, some of the coverage has become cringeworthy, particularly when Trump is allowed to phone in his views nearly every day and is not challenged on anything he says.

Eric BollingThe Five always has been an interesting exchange from hosts with varying angles of thinking, but Eric Bolling, who sits right in the middle, has become such a Trump sycophant that he is now difficult to watch. His Saturday program on the economy used to have a place for Michelle Fields, the reporter manhandled by Trump’s chief of staff, but once that incident occurred, Bolling banned her from returning. The excuse is that now she can’t be objective. If so, why does that standard not apply to Bolling as well?

As an aside, one of The Five‘s co-hosts, Greg Gutfeld, noted on the program how the Trump issue is dividing the network. Someone needs to listen to him.

Sean HannityThe Fox evening lineup has constantly demolished its competition. Now I see Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity practically panting at the opportunity to highlight Trump. Greta gave him a full hour last night; Hannity is doing the same tonight. Two nights in a row? Really?

To be fair, Hannity has also hosted Cruz a couple of times, and he complains that Cruz has not been open to more interviews. Yet his affection is so clearly for Trump that it oozes out of every pore. The Cruz people say they have no real desire to appear on Hannity’s program again because he has resorted to using Trump talking points. I noticed that in the last interview he did with Cruz.

Bill O’Reilly has been more balanced overall than Greta and Hannity, but even he seems to enjoy those Trump visits in a chummy kind of way. Yes, he has been better at challenging Trump on occasion, but he never gets to the bottom of the Trump falseness the way he seeks to do with others.

Megyn KellyThe only bright spot of complete integrity with respect to coverage of Trump is Megyn Kelly, and you know she is being a genuine journalist just by Trump’s obsession with her and his ongoing Twitter war demeaning her publicly.

Kelly is to be commended for not allowing Trump to dictate her coverage. She is now, for me, the only fresh air on the network’s evening lineup, and the only one I trust to bring a fair and balanced perspective. She has shown class by not responding to Trump in kind even while suffering his Twitter barrage of insults. She has shown herself to be the most professional of all the hosts.

Cruz has an hour with Kelly this evening. I can understand why his team chose her for this. She has never refrained from asking him the tough questions, but she has allowed him to answer without being interrupted by another Trump talking point.

Let me add here that when Fox hosted Republican primary debates, I think the network shined. All the candidates were treated equally and all were asked the hard questions they had to know how to answer if they went to the general election. So kudos on that front.

So, where am I on my view of Fox? It’s a mixed bag at the moment. As I said at the top, this commentary is tinged with sadness. I want Fox to be a trusted source. I sincerely hope it can restore its former image. I will continue to watch as much as I can, but the remote control can easily change to something else if Trump adulation becomes more than I can stomach.

Let Fox be Fox once again.

Lewis & Righteous Indignation

C. S. Lewis 4C. S. Lewis, writing in Reflections on the Psalms, contrasts the anger displayed toward evil men in some of the psalms with the apparent lack of vindictiveness found in some pagan writings. Does this reveal a better spirit among the pagans? Not so, he says.

He gives a personal example to illustrate how lack of anger can often be the worst response. During WWII, he was taking the train one night (as he often did, traveling to speak and then returning home late) and found himself in a compartment with a number of young soldiers. He was more than a little dismayed by the comments he heard:

Their conversation made it perfectly clear that they totally disbelieved all that they had read in the papers about the wholesale cruelties of the Nazi régime. They took it for granted, without argument, that this was all lies, all propaganda put out by our own government to “pep up” our troops. And the shattering thing was, that, believing this, they expressed not the slightest anger.

It’s worth noting that Lewis himself rarely read the newspapers because he considered most of what was contained therein to be lies, yet he certainly had no reason to doubt what the papers were saying about Hitler and his horde. The attitude of the soldiers stunned him:

That our rulers should falsely attribute the worst of crimes to some of their fellow-men in order to induce others of the fellow-men to shed their blood seemed to them a matter of course. They weren’t even particularly interested. They saw nothing wrong in it.

If you were being asked to go to war and possibly lose your life, and you were convinced that the rationale for doing so was based on a fabric of lies told by your government, wouldn’t that bother you more than a little? Apparently not in this case. Lewis then compares these apathetic soldiers to psalmists who didn’t hide their anger:

Now it seemed to me that the most violent of the Psalmists—or, for that matter any child wailing out “But it’s not fair”—was in a more hopeful condition than these young men. If they had perceived, and felt as a man should feel, the diabolical wickedness which they believed our rulers to be committing, and then forgiven them, they would have been saints.

But not to perceive it at all—not even to be tempted to resentment—to accept it as the most ordinary thing in the world—argues a terrifying insensibility. Clearly these young men had (on that subject anyway) no conception of good and evil whatsoever.

Good & EvilLoss of the entire concept of good and evil betrays a society wandering in a fog of moral apathy. “Thus the absence of anger, especially that sort of anger which we call indignation,” Lewis concludes, “can, in my opinion, be a most alarming symptom. And the presence of indignation may be a good one.”

It’s perfectly fine to feel righteous indignation toward evil. In fact, if we feel nothing at all when confronted with the evils of our day, there is something terribly wrong with us.

God’s Foolishness vs. Man’s Wisdom

I love learning. I’d better love it, seeing as how I live in an academic environment. Reading, studying, going deeper into a knowledge of history and government naturally draws me. Yet that plunge into knowledge can never be divorced from the proper heart motive—love of God and His ways.

The temptation for people like me is to think that we have become experts, which can then border on arrogance, which is decidedly opposed to God’s will for our lives.

Apostle PaulIt’s always good to come back to a certain passage in I Corinthians, where the apostle Paul offers this timely reminder:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

If we ever begin to think that God’s way—the way of the cross—is just too simplistic or beneath us, we are straying from the path. Paul continues with this stark message:

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Wait a minute. Am I not to strive for wisdom? Am I not to be a dedicated student/scribe? Shouldn’t I sharpen my skills of debate? I don’t think this passage means we are to put away those aims. What it does do, though, is remind us to keep our priorities straight. He concludes,

For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

God has called me to be one of His in the academic world. I will fulfill that calling only if I put first things first. I intend to continue doing that.

In this blog, I comment constantly on the ways of the world, whether in politics, education, morality, or the culture in general. As long as I do so with the proper perspective, recognizing the highest message of all—Christ crucified for sinners—I will be carrying out His will for my life.

I just thought that was a reminder worth sharing today, no matter what your calling may be. Jesus Christ and His overwhelming love for sinful men is the cornerstone for everything we say or do.

Proverbs 9

Cruz & Trump: The Obvious Contrast

I sincerely hope tomorrow’s blog can be on a different topic, but since there was a townhall last night on CNN, I feel I must make a few comments on that. It was a three-hour event with the first hour a Q&A with Ted Cruz, the second with Donald Trump, and the third with John Kasich. I watched the first two hours, frankly because I considered the Kasich hour to be unnecessary. I don’t mean that as anything mean-spirited, but simply as a matter of fact. He has no viable road to the nomination.

Regular readers are already more than aware of my views on those other two candidates. Last night only strengthened those views. Cruz was sharp, clear on the issues with real specificity, and presidential in tone and manner.

Trump was his usual self—brash, accusing, blustery, non-responsive to most questions because he has little depth of understanding of the issues, and generally boorish and unpresidential.

I thought the contrast between the two was so obvious that I cannot fathom how any thinking person could possibly opt for the latter.

CNN TownhallI also watched the people in the background, sitting behind the candidates. Their reactions to Cruz seemed to indicate appreciation and agreement with his comments; reactions to Trump were the shaking of heads (back and forth, not up and down), rolling of eyes, sour looks, and lack of enthusiasm for most of what he had to offer.

When one questioner asked Trump if he had ever had to apologize for something, he couldn’t think of anything. Amazing.

Scott WalkerThe Wisconsin primary is next Tuesday. Cruz now has the endorsement of Gov. Scott Walker, who will be campaigning with him until then. He has the support of the popular radio hosts. If you have followed the campaign closely, you know that when Trump was interviewed by two of them, it didn’t go well with him. He actually hung up on one of them.

This looks like a Cruz victory in the making. What with Trump’s ongoing antics and now the arrest of his chief campaign operative for battery toward a woman reporter, I’m hoping that we are now seeing the beginning of the end for this woebegone candidacy, a candidacy that never should have been attempted in the first place.

But wait, you say, what about all the delegates he has won? How can Cruz overcome that? If Cruz takes Wisconsin, it could be a harbinger of bad times for Trump, bad enough to eventually deny him the needed delegates for the nomination.

I’m all for a contested convention; in that atmosphere, after the first ballot, if Trump doesn’t get the nod, everything shifts in favor of Cruz after that. Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. But perhaps a successful one.

Trump in the Gutter

This past week, the Trump campaign, and the candidate himself, hit new lows morally. It all began with an anti-Trump Super Pac running an ad (I understand it was primarily on Facebook) with a revealing photo of his current wife, asking voters if this is really what they want in a First Lady.

Let’s be clear about one thing: Trump has never minded showing off his various wives in any manner of dress or undress. This photo was already out there in public as part of one of her modeling poses. Yet he feigns outrage over it and immediately accuses Cruz of being responsible for the ad. In a tweet, he also then promised to come after Cruz’s wife with some revelation from her past.

Cruz repudiated the ad that very day (despite what some would have you believe) and informed the press—some of whom still don’t get it—that the Super Pac behind it has no connections with his campaign.

Trump then upped the ante by tweeting again. The Tweeter-in-Chief juxtaposed two pictures, one of his wife in a glamor shot, and the other of Heidi Cruz in a not-so-flattering pose (one wonders if that one was photoshopped), declaring that the pictures themselves should resolve any outstanding issues, as if outward beauty is the standard for everything.

Tweet

Then the coup de grace: a National Enquirer story about Ted Cruz’s five mistresses. Really? Two of the women named have already pronounced the story false, one of whom is Trump’s chief spokeswoman. Cruz has called the story “garbage,” and those who know Cruz well say this would be entirely out of character for him.

Trump, for his part, denies any advance knowledge of that story. He may be telling the truth this time because he wants plausible deniability. You see, the editor of the Enquirer is a personal friend and that rag has officially endorsed Trump for president.

Let me ask this in all seriousness: would you want the National Enquirer endorsing you for anything?

The timing is highly suspicious anyway. Other news organizations have been investigating this rumor for months and have found nothing to substantiate it. That’s why they never reported it. Leave that to the National Enquirer, the source of all the news that’s fit to print (sarcasm alert!).

Yesterday I came across an article written by a woman who used to work on the communications end of the Trump campaign. It was quite an eye-opening inside look at how the campaign developed. She says Trump never really expected to win, and is as surprised as anyone else at his quick rise to the top. Now, she says, ego has taken over.

She also now says that she no longer can support Trump because she saw that he has no real answers for anything. I could have told her that. For those interested in her whole story, go here for the full treatment. It’s a good read.

I cannot support Donald Trump on any count, whether we’re talking about his personal character or his supposed political convictions that change according to what he thinks will help him win:

Former Self

More than ever, I am NeverTrump.

Obama’s Terrorism Legacy

President Obama’s South-of-the-Border tour continues. After going to a baseball game with Raul Castro and having his picture taken in front of a building honoring brutal executioner Che Guevara, and after saying that the only real difference between capitalism and communism is that you simply have to choose what you think will “work” for you, he tripped on down to Argentina.

There his most newsworthy event was being filmed dancing the tango. Along the way, he commented on the Brussels terrorist attack—sort of. Part of his astute commentary is that the attack, which was highly successful, only showed that we are winning and ISIS is losing.

Huh?

Cartoonists were quick to pick up on the tango theme and weave it into our president’s apparent lack of understanding of the terror threat:

Cut In

Dance While Burning

Ignore It

It’s normally at this point in a presidency when the lame duck becomes very concerned for his legacy. No problem. Obama’s is clear, when it comes to his terrorism policy:

My Legacy

Of course, he hasn’t accomplished this alone. The entire Western world has followed the path of least resistance, grounded as it is in a false philosophy of peaceful coexistence with those whose only goal is to kill and destroy:

Suicide Vest

We have become a foolish people. The terror attacks will not abate. They will be coming with even more force and regularity. Will we now choose the path of wisdom in dealing with an enemy?

That “Historic” Cuba Visit

Che & FidelCuba underwent a communist revolution in 1959, spearheaded by Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and Che Guevara. At the time, many didn’t realize the ideology behind the revolution and saw it only as the rightful deposing of a dictator who had ruled for many years.

It didn’t take long for the truth to come to light. Those who disagreed with the drift of this new government were either executed or became political prisoners. Cuba became an outpost from which the Soviet Union could operate in the western hemisphere.

An attempt to overthrow the Castro government, the Bay of Pigs, was a disaster, largely due to indecision by President Kennedy. A year later, we discovered that the Soviets were building missile bases on the island with the intent of aiming nuclear missiles at most of mainland America. This Cuban Missile Crisis, which included a naval blockade of Cuba and the eventual removal of those missiles, again showed the Castro regime’s true colors.

Although the Soviet Union is no more, the ideology and practices of the Cuban government have not changed after all these years despite our economic boycott of the island. Cubans live the lives of those in all Third-World nations.

So what does President Obama do? He decides to normalize relations with a government that has never changed its ideology or practices. Then he becomes the first American president to visit since Calvin Coolidge back in the 1920s.

That would be fine if he had negotiated some real changes in that regime, but all continues as before. We are now to become good friends with those who still throw political opponents in prison and who execute those who are considered dangerous to the revolution.

Handshake

Just prior to Obama’s plane touching down in Havana, peaceful protesters were arrested. People have no voice even today. Nothing has changed.

Cuban Prison

Neither has Obama sought to show any support for those who suffer for their opposition to tyranny. But he did go to a baseball game. He celebrates while others languish:

Celebration

Then there was this photo:

Obama-Che

That’s the image of Che Guevara in the background, the arm of Castro in those early days who had no problem personally overseeing the torture and execution of political opponents.

Say Che

College students think it’s cool to wear Che t-shirts. I wonder how many of them really know who he was? Obama knows. He doesn’t care. In fact, he seemed quite at home in Cuba. Could it be because he views that government as more in line with his ideology? For Obama, America is always the problem.

I like the suggestion I heard while he was making his “historic” visit: if he likes it so much, why not encourage him to stay until January 20, 2017? That might be a great benefit to the nation he supposedly leads.

As for t-shirts, how about this one, which makes the point rather well?

Communism T-Shirt