Discrimination and equality

Byron York: In Trump media coverage, audiences left and right get what they want – that’s one way to rationalize it: pandering to their audience. The problem is that issues of Fake News™ and misperception are glossed over. The predominance of various outlets in the discussion is glossed over. One item did get note:

Pew discovered that one recipe for bias, in both directions, is focusing news stories not on policy but on the single person of Donald Trump. All the outlets, no matter their orientation, did that, Pew discovered.

Pew discovered that one recipe for bias, in both directions, is focusing news stories not on policy but on the single person of Donald Trump. All the outlets, no matter their orientation, did that, Pew discovered.

York provides an example of a destructive bias in his essay in that he is rationalizing to try to get to a ‘both sides do it’ equality rather than expose the differences and contrasts.

IBD: Do The Media Hate Trump? Yes, And From The Very Start Of His Presidency, New Survey Shows – “The mainstream media don’t like Trump, but it’s not really anything he did as president, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows.”

Some 62% of the media coverage of Trump was negative, Pew found. For Obama it, was just 20%; for Bush, 28%; for Clinton, also 28%. In other words, the media from the get-go had decided Trump was a bad president — before any of his policies had a chance to take hold.

“And it’s not a case of overwhelmingly negative coverage on one subject drowning out some moderately positive coverage on other matters,” noted the political blog Hot Air. “It was resoundingly negative across the board.”

Or, as Pew put it, “Compared with past administrations, coverage of Trump’s early days focused less on policy and was more negative overall.”

Same report, different takes. That’s how bias works. Whether it is constructive or destructive depends upon whether you can learn anything or not about the underlying reality.

Sadly, there’s no solution for this. In the digital age, we can all self-segregate on the web by tuning out discordant voices. Increasingly, that’s happening across the country, leading to a kind of ideological Balkanization. There’s more shouting, and less conversation. And we’re all poorer for it.

For all this, the media deserve much of the blame. They have abandoned all pretense of fairness or objectivity in their reporting, in favor of rank politicization of the news and even basic facts. The Pew report on their biased coverage of Trump’s initial months in office, unfortunately, confirms this.

Peter J. Boyer: How Donald Trump Has Disrupted the Media – “Pew study shows not just expected biases but also that publications have become strikingly self-referential.” Yet a third take to consider.

The Pew researchers found that only 11 percent of the content about Trump and his presidency could be considered positive. Four times that number of stories, 44 percent, offered a negative assessment.

That will not surprise anyone who has paid any attention to the news since inauguration day. What might be surprising is the way Trump—to whom the news media constitute “the opposition party”—has disrupted the media’s rule book.

One of traditional journalism’s basic tenets was the need to maintain a distanced objectivity (or, at the very least, the appearance of it). Dan Rather’s 1974 confrontation with President Richard Nixon made a lasting impression precisely because it was a stark departure from the norm. But the Pew study found that, in the age of Trump, journalists increasingly consider themselves at liberty to directly refute the president or representatives of his administration. This happened in 10 percent of the stories studied.

“One of the things that was interesting to see was that, while the topic of the news media was not a huge percentage of overall coverage, journalists were both the second most common source type as well as the second most common ‘trigger’ of the stories,” says Amy Mitchell, director of the Pew Research Center.*

Betsy Newmark got away from her Trump hate problem in today’s Cruising the Web – for some clarification of the gerrymandering court case, the gun control arguments, California’s attempt to legislate nirvana, and Michelle Obama’s tribalism.

Jazz Shaw: Some possible gun legislation to consider – he had not been aware of the devices that enabled rapid fire from semi-automatic rifles. Allahpundit has the other half: Statistician: After researching gun violence, I no longer believe in gun control – “Alternate headline: “Statistician obviously never wants a job in media again.”

Her name is Leah Libresco, formerly of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, where she crunched the numbers in a study of all 33,000 gun homicides in the United States annually. She went in thinking that the usual liberal menu of anti-gun policies would reduce that number dramatically. She came out concluding that “the only selling point [of those policies] is that gun owners hate them.” That’s an interesting way to phrase leftist conventional wisdom in an era when the right’s tribalism draws so much scrutiny. Often in the age of Trump it really does feel as though conservatism is defined as “whatever makes liberals cry.” Libresco’s takeaway on the efficacy of mainstream gun-control policies is that they’re appealing to the people who support them mainly to the extent they make gun aficionados cry.

Many of Libresco’s arguments will be familiar to right-wingers, but it’s one thing to endorse them as a matter of ideology and another to endorse them as a matter of hard data.

Her advice? Instead of focusing on feelgood policies that won’t do much of anything to reduce gun violence or on massively heavy-handed policies like confiscation, which have zero chance of passing, instead consider policies that will address the social pathologies that drive the three most common forms of gun homicides

Knee jerk gun control has a sister example: Houston Chronicle: Preaching Climate Alarmism Post Harvey – “What is physically possible can beat the odds, from time to time. It does not have to be God’s hand, the Devil’s paw, or fossil-fueled climate change.” But reality doesn’t make much difference for those who want to ‘feel good’ by passing a law or engaging in moral preening or whatnot.

In the days and weeks after, the Houston Chronicle inundated Houstonians with biased–even angry–news reports, unsigned editorials, guest editorials, (chosen) letters-to-the-editor, and cartoons blaming man-made climate change for the severity of this event. Even the headline editors have gotten into the spew.

Houstonian Charles Battig, a diligent student of the climate debate, documented the bias in the hometown paper in a September 6 post at MasterResource: “Politicizing Harvey in the Houston Chronicle.”

The Houston Chronicle can be surnamed The New York Times of Houston. The editors (Progressive all; there are no known conservative or libertarian members of the editorial board) had such arrogant editorials as this one (lead editorial, September 14): “Climate Change: Let’s Talk Openly and Honestly,” subtitled A warmer planet threatens wetter storms, higher surges and more Harveys. The verbiage miscited climate facts and got preachy:

Dr. Joy Bliss at Maggies Farm noticed an interesting poll result that suggested Conflicted: Women in medicine – “At the obvious risk of being assaulted for stereotyping and demeaning females in my profession, I will share some of my observations.”

When I was sent this article, Majority of U.S. Physicians Now Support Single-Payer, I thought “That’s the women!” Then I felt conflicted.

For better or worse, the coming dominance of American medicine by women will be changing the culture of the profession. Other influences, like the emergence of large group practices, and of hospital-owned practices, are changing the character of American medicine too.

Elise Cooper: ‘You Have Gone Too Far’: Vets Respond to the NFL – “The players are making a sham of the National Anthem by insulting the flag, the nation, those serving, and those who have served, as well as the police, who run into a crisis instead of away from one.

“We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right. But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.”

Taya Kyle, the widow of legendary Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, issued a bold challenge to the NFL via Facebook on Tuesday in response to the national anthem protests sweeping the league. Like many other NFL fans, she is tired of seeing the sport focus on “division and anger” instead of the message of unity that it once represented. “If you ever want to get off your knees and get to work on building bridges, let me know.

Another tragedy out of the Las Vegas massacre is that is illustrates so vividly just how corrupt and cowardly the NFL player protests really are.

Mike Konrad: Confusing the Evolution Debate – “Most Americans would not object to all sides of the evolution debate being taught to their children, and that is what should be allowed.” This is another example of the equality fallacy. There is also the binary positions fallacy. Konrad also engages in other disingenuous arguments.

Confusing the debate is what exactly is meant by evolution. To scientists, what is usually meant is the process of change, directed by natural selection and natural law, apart from any non-natural input. At the other side, are literal six-day creationists who feel the earth is only a few thousand years old, and everything was created by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through the second Person of the Trinity,

To the academy, Evolution must be defined as 100% naturalistic. There must be no appeal to any divine input. To six-day creationists, one must accept the literal understanding of a Biblical six-day creation, roughly six thousand years ago, with a world-wide flood, et al. There is no room for compromise.

The fact is that evolution is a critical part of biology while creationism and its relations are a part of religion and philosophy. Evolution is an interpretation of the record that God has laid out in front of us in the real world and that puts it in the realm of science. Creationism is the word of God as expressed by prophets in the Bible and interpreted by believers. To conflate the two as Konrad does is false witness.

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