About Those Ongoing Investigations

I have studiously avoided saying much about the ongoing Russia probe and the accusations of spying by the FBI on the Trump team. Why? Because it’s all so up in the air when it comes to actually knowing what happened and whether any of it makes any difference.

To be sure, there were contacts made by some of Trump’s people with Russians. Trump Jr. is a solid example. He went to a meeting expecting to get dirt on Hillary and was disappointed when nothing came of it. So, is he guilty or not? Trump supporters say that since nothing happened, it’s a moot point. Others will note the intent—after all, God looks at the heart.

Some people see the Russia probe as just an attempt to get Trump by whatever means possible, especially Democrats who continue to play with the idea that somehow Russia determined the outcome of the election. This particular probe seems to be going on forever.

After a while, the public loses interest, but congressional leaders, even Republicans, after viewing some of the evidence at a closed hearing, believe it should go on. I agree. Let’s find out the truth, wherever that may lead.

Then there’s that spy thing. There is certainly evidence that some FBI people hated Trump and wanted Hillary to win. Yet, on the other side of the argument, Trump kept hiring shady advisors, particularly Paul Manafort (who ran his campaign for a while), who has made his living being paid by Russian entities.

At the very least, I can understand why the FBI might want to know more. Yet we now know the name of the so-called “spy,” a respected academic from Cambridge who never had access to anyone high up in the campaign.

Is this really spying? Of course, it would be nice to see an evenhanded approach to fact-gathering.

And by the way, wasn’t it James Comey’s reopening of the Hillary investigation right before the election that drew attention once more to her underhanded activities? While I have little to no respect for Comey, if he had been “all in” for Hillary, why would he have done that?

You can’t watch CNN or MSNBC if you want a balanced understanding of what is real or imagined in these investigations. As far as those outlets are concerned, Hillary was cheated and Trump was the cheat.

Neither, though, can you get a fair and balanced presentation on some of the Fox News programs. There are some that are so pro-Trump that you never hear a negative word. We have dueling networks, each with an agenda of its own.

So I’m still withholding judgment on what is true and what isn’t. I would advise others to do the same. Conservatives, don’t just accept anything Trump says as being lily-white truth. He’s not usually comfortable offering that; it goes against his entire personal history and character.

Yet, liberals (assuming there are any who read my posts), you have to be willing to accept that all these investigations may not go where you want, simply because there may be no foundation to the main accusations.

Democrats thought they had a winning approach for the upcoming congressional elections. Now, some aren’t so sure.

There was all this happy talk among Democrats about a Blue Wave this November. Polls are now indicating that might not be in the cards for them after all.

If Republicans do manage to maintain control of both houses of Congress, they should breathe a huge sigh of relief and then get down to business. If they can ever figure out what their business is.

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.

The Media & Our Perceptions

A short commentary today on how the media picks out what’s important to cover and how it may actually shape the perceptions of its audience. Take, for instance, this picture the Associated Press put out the other day:

Ted Cruz & Gun

Oh, said the AP, that was totally accidental. Right.

Negative Light

Meanwhile, if you depend on the mainstream news for your information, whether in print, on TV, or the Internet, you might be excused for thinking the whole flap over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails is no longer an issue. That would be a misleading perception, at odds with reality:

Meaning of All

Then there’s the Brian Williams saga. Dropped from NBC’s Nightly News because of his penchant for . . . well, bald-faced lying . . . he is now back. He’s been relegated to that joke of a news network known as MSNBC, but just the fact he’s going to be on the air again after what he has done is, frankly, unbelievable. They may yet regret this decision:

Reminds Me

Confidence in the mainstream media ought to be at an all-time low. I’m praying that more of the general public gets the message.

Trusting Untrustworthy Sources

I don’t read the New York Times. I guess that makes me unsophisticated. It also keeps me from being misled. According to recent accounts, if you were to make the Times your only source of news, you wouldn’t know much of anything about Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, DOJ overreach against reporters [come on, Times, those are your kind of people], or the real problems with Obamacare. You might know there is controversy on each of these issues, but you wouldn’t be getting all the facts because there is a full-scale attempt to shield President Obama from his foibles/lies/deliberate plans to “transform” America.

Pruning Service

Of course, the Times gets a lot of help. MSNBC and CNN have lost all credibility as genuine sources of news. They are now little more than apologists for the president. Sometimes it seems as if there is no limit to the lengths to which they will go to spin a story in his favor. The Mallard Fillmore comic strip recently showcased the effort. While exaggeration is used to make the point, humor only works when there is an element of truth in it:

Magic Pres

Best Media Ever

Getting Embarrassing

We are in need of great discernment. You can’t simply accept everything you read. I would also note here that I am cautious about relaying some accounts from conservative websites, especially if something is almost too good to be true. I wait a while to ensure that whatever is being said can be confirmed. Even on my side of the political spectrum there can be a tendency to jump on a story that doesn’t have enough evidence. One doesn’t help one’s cause by transmitting falsehoods.

The media bias in favor of this president, however—and all things progressive—is too well documented to fear misstatement. Indeed, the greater error lies on the side of those who ignore the bias and continue to trust untrustworthy sources.

Unfair & Unbalanced

As regulars readers of this blog know, one of my principal concerns is the manner in which the news media present—or fail to present—stories. A twin concern is the entertainment media, with its subtle undermining of Biblical morality in its programming. There are also times when the mainstream news media act almost like entertainment media. When it’s hard to tell the difference, you know we’re in deep trouble.

The events of last week with the Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent chase and investigation of the bombers gave the media an opportunity to redeem itself. With the exception of Fox News, it failed miserably. If you followed closely what was proclaimed on many of the networks, you heard a variety of commentators practically falling over themselves in hopes that the bombers would prove to be angry Tea Partiers. The worst offender, naturally, was MSNBC, with Chris Matthews, as usual, leading the way. Disappointment reigned supreme when the bombers were revealed to be Muslims with ties to radical groups, perhaps even Al Qaeda. The networks’ theme was destroyed.

They also were adept at their other primary tasks:

Sometimes it could get rather comical, despite the seriousness of the story:

Meanwhile, the other massacre that should have held our attention remained in the deep background:

After all, in the view of the mainstream press, some stories really aren’t stories at all, particularly when they challenge their ideology:

If you still expect fair and balanced reporting from any of the major networks besides Fox, you’re living in a fantasy world.

The All-Out Assault on the Family

Confession time. Until a couple days ago, I had never heard of Melissa Harris-Perry. That’s because I don’t watch MSNBC. I have better things to do with my time than spend it on a network that has been shown, via reputable studies, to be little more than a shill for the Obama administration. Yet my attention was drawn to comments made by Ms. Harris-Perry, who apparently is a weekend host for one of MSNBC’s programs.

According to Rich Lowry of National Review, “MSNBC runs sermonettes from its anchors during commercial breaks. They are like public-service announcements illuminating the progressive mind.” In this case, Harris-Perry devoted 30 seconds to berating our society for not spending enough on public education. In the process of her remarks, she stated,

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.

I see. Does anyone hear the echo of “it takes a village”? We’ve been down this road before with Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry, Ms. Harris-Perry, but children are the responsibility of their parents, not the whole community. The whole community did not give birth to them; they came into this world via their parents. To me, it’s amazing how brazen the Left has become; they can say nearly anything publicly now and expect no backlash. Well, they got one this time. Back to Rich Lowry, who wonders how this slipped past those who decide what airs on this channel:

Her statement wasn’t an aside on live television. She didn’t misspeak. The spot was shot, produced, and aired without, apparently, raising any alarm bells. No one with influence raised his or her hand and said, “Should we really broadcast something that sounds so outlandish?”

The problem, of course, is that compared to what’s already in the public sphere—same-sex marriage is a prime example—statements like this don’t appear so outlandish anymore.  Some on the Left now seem to be competing for the title of “most shocking idea of the week.” Lowry again, exposing the progressive mindset, puts it this way:

As the ultimate private institution, the family is a stubborn obstacle to the great collective effort. Insofar as people invest in their own families, they are holding out on the state and unacceptably privileging their own kids over the children of others. These parents are selfish, small-minded, and backward.

What we are witnessing, be it via abortion, same-sex marriage, or the “it takes a village” mentality, is an all-out assault on the family. If they get their way, family, as defined Biblically and traditionally in our culture, will be no more. The word will lose all meaning since it can mean anything. This is one of those battles that must be fought; we cannot plead weariness or bow to the trend because it seems inevitable. Victories come by the hands of those who remain firm and strong, and we are called to be both.

Deciding Newsworthiness

Perhaps because my first degree was in radio, television, and film production, I’ve remained more than casually interested in how the media covers the news. Each news organization decides what is newsworthy and what isn’t. For instance, very few have considered the investigation into New Jersey senator Robert Menendez’s activities, which include granting favors to a very large donor and having sexual relations with prostitutes, as worth their notice. Marco Rubio’s sip of water, though, has garnered major attention. MSNBC ran the clip of the sip more than 150 times in a day. CNN pondered whether the sip spells the end of Rubio’s political ambitions. CNN, of course, is totally in the tank in the ratings race.

This is CNN—focusing on the trivial. What’s worse, Rubio’s sip of water or CNN’s wholesale gulping of the kool-aid?

The worst offense, however, has been the fawning over Obama. Honest liberals have to admit the networks were on his side. To what lengths will they go?

Anyone who thinks this is fanciful has not watched MSNBC.

President Obama, meanwhile, simply cannot abide any dissent from his media acolytes:

I don’t expect a drone strike on Fox News, but I think the cartoon does capture Obama’s feelings quite well. Fox seems to be the only news outlet unwilling to let Benghazi rest. May they not let go of that story. May real journalism revive and prosper.