American Elephants


The American Media Remains Unbiased and Truthful by The Elephant's Child

Don’t know who came up with this, but it kinda makes further discussion unnecessary.



Are You Missing the Elephant in the Room? by The Elephant's Child

The left-wing media is frantically busy fact-checking every word of the State of the Union Speech, defiantly positive that it was all a pack of lies. Yet the American people not only approved of the speech, they really liked it. Trump’s approval rating is up significantly, and that will not do.

Interest in the Super Bowl was way down, many people simply turned it off, extending their rejection of professional football throughout the season. At the Emmys, host Stephen Colbert promised an all-out assault on Trump, and the ratings came in at an all time low. The Grammys took an all-time 24% nosedive to 10 million fewer viewers. CNN, the noted fake news network, has had a ratings disaster, not one program  ranked in the top 23. Movie attendance for Hollywood movies has reached a 24 year low.

Is it possible that there is a message here in all these collapsing ratings? What could it be? How come everything seems to be going down just as things are looking so decisively up? Taxes are way down, and the incomes of ordinary people are way up. Businesses are hiring, employment is up, unemployment is way down. Business is busy passing out bonuses, which on top of a tax cut is very good news for a lot of families.

The left-wing media is apparently so busy fact-checking the State of the Union speech and the Nunes memo, and their general fury at all things Trump, that they simply  haven’t noticed these statistical details in the news.



No News Is Good News by The Elephant's Child

Late getting to the computer yesterday, so I was anxious to find out what had happened during the day.  Apparently nothing. Nothing happened at all. There was an enormous amount of nit-picking, nattering and he-said she -said. If you paid the slightest attention to the news, your life has been diminished, your understanding of the world has shrunk and you know significantly less. The headlines:

“College Plans to Fire Professor who taught a ‘Men in Literature’ Course”

“It Took Three People Two Months  to Create Hillary’s Campaign Logo”

“Cuba Reforms Are Stalling”

“How The Melting Pot Became Cultural Appropriation”

“Swarthmore Students Upset They Actually Got in Trouble for Office Sit-In Protest”

“Auschwitz Demonstrators Who Killed Sheep Weren’t Neo-Nazis.”

“Ashley Judd Embarrasses Herself On Women’s Rights”

“Ten Human Body Modifications You Can Expect In Next Decade”

“AP Reporter Says Sensational WaPo Claim on Tillerson Not True”
(Career diplomats say have not met him and have been instructed not to speak to him directly or make eye-contact)

These are all quite real and typical. There wasn’t anything at all that was actually what we would normally call news. I include no links, because if you read the articles you would know less than you do now. This may simply be a matter of not seeing the elephant in the room, or being more interested in nit-picking, perhaps  it is really a comment on the current state of journalism.

 



President Trump, The Press, The Profession of Journalism, and Sean Spicer. This is Going to be Fun! by The Elephant's Child

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There is a tentative war going on between the press and the new Trump administration. The Washington press corps has been remarkably partisan during the entire campaign season, and they never imagined a Trump presidency.

We have a new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, beginning to set new rules for how White House press conferences are going to go. He didn’t call on the front row first, but gave the first question to the New York Post, seated toward the back. He called early on reporters from the Christian Broadcasting network, Fox, and Univision. He even announced four “Skype seats” for reporters not in the Washington area. This is very scary stuff for the Washington media.

He noted that the  press routinely publish corrections, and said the administration “should be afforded the same opportunity.”

Press behavior during this political campaign left a great deal to be desired. We had reporters publishing unverified leaks, giving their stories to the candidates for approval before publication, warning candidates of upcoming stories. And in one case, the New York Post noted “the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.” “The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America,” wrote Michael Goodwin.

The largest broadcast networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have jettisoned all pretense of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent. By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards. No future producer, editor, reporter or anchor can be expected to meet a test of fairness when that standard has been trashed in such willful and blatant fashion.

“The University of Georgia does an Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates which surveys J-School grads, their habits, salaries and the jobs they take.” They don’t read print media. Just one third had read a newspaper the day before taking the survey. That’s down from 81% in 1994. Three quarters read news off the internet and many watched TV. Almost all went on a social media website the day before taking the survey.

Which draws the automatic query: if they don’t read their own writing, why should they expect us to?

Newspaper ad revenue is way down. Ads are reaching fewer customers. Magazines with which I am familiar are thinner, with fewer ads. But for the most part I only see magazines at the hair salon or the doctor’s office.  Two local bookstores are closing. It’s not that people are reading less, they are reading online. More and more online sources are creating a subscription barrier, and there are more and more ways to avoid that wall. There is so much information available for free, that people are reluctant to pay. I don’t know where this is all going, but everything is fluid and changing.

I don’t know what journalism schools are teaching their students besides social justice, nor what their requirements are, but journalists seem remarkably lacking in the history department, and just general world knowledge—reflecting wide reading. Starting salaries are worse than for most other professions, and there are more and more clumsy errors that are not caught by editors.

Computers are changing the world. Our sources of information are changing. Social media is becoming more important than  we understand. Occupations are changing. We are always slow to understand the changes and how to adapt, and those who do understand and adapt quickly are probably the millionaires and billionaires of the future.

An article by Stefan Kanfer in City Journal last February mourned the decline of Time magazine and the shrinking readership of newspapers and magazines. He wrote:

Contemporary tendencies—from know-nothing reportage to grade inflation—can be corrected. But the blackboard is large, and the erasers grow fewer by the year. When once-formidable newspapers like the New York Times print regular, lengthy columns of misattributions and misinformation, and when a newsmagazine cannot identify the sex of an author, much less his/her significance, Americans can no longer depend on periodicals to set things straight. That job, ironically, has been ceded to the freewheeling and often irresponsible Internet. Thus by default the solution must come, as it did long ago, from diligent instruction—private, parochial, and public. It had better. For as Abraham Lincoln observed, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” (A former Illinois congressman, Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States.)



Tucker Carlson Grills Journalist Nathan Allen by The Elephant's Child

We need a little more of this. The media is not doing right by us, and they should be told that we are aware of what they are doing. Good for Tucker Carlson.



Economist Donald Boudreaux Takes On The New York Times and Wins. s by The Elephant's Child

Professor of Economics Donald J. Boudreaux of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University wrote a letter to the New York Times, which he posted at Cafe Hayek:

Your headline today reads “Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies.”

More accurate wording would be “Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible to Free Ride at Other People’s Expense.”  That the people actually paying for all this “free” health insurance are faceless does not make them unreal – only invisible.  And being invisible, the people footing the bill are ignored by Pres. Obama and other politicians preening publicly over their faux-generosity in spending other people’s money to bribe voters with promises of “free” health insurance.

The ethics of this situation are abominable, and the economics are no better.  Hippopotamuses will fly before reams of rococo regulations, taxes, and sanctions will prevent recipients of “free” policies from over-consuming and inefficiently using health-care resources – and, hence, from driving health-care costs to astronomical heights or health-care availability to dangerous lows.

Sincerely, 

Donald J. Boudreaux

I loved his phrasing, particularly the “politicians preening publicly over their faux-generosity in spending other people’s money to bribe voters with promises of “free” health insurance.” Delicious.




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