About Face... Spin!

It’s always amusing to watch the pundits and spinners turn on a dime. It used to be harder before the internet made it easy to retrieve what they said in the past. This week, with a tsunami of developments, the spinning is at full force.


Let’s start with the spinning of the news and how media poisons the well in favor of their loved ones.

A. In 2014 CNN honored a Der Spiegel writer, Claus Relotius as “Journalist of the Year”. He could be reliably counted on to flatter the readers' anti-American biases, so he was a natural winner for the network. Unfortunately for him, he ran up against some Americans in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, who cared about the truth. They scoured his report on the town, interviewed the people he said he had and exposed him as an utter fraud. That persuaded his bosses to take a second look at the nonsense he had been peddling and they fired him for fabricating his accounts

Claas Relotius "falsified articles on a grand scale and even invented characters", Der Spiegel said.

Among the articles in question are major features that had been nominated for or won awards, the magazine added.

Relotius, 33, admitted deceiving readers in some 14 stories published in Der Spiegel, the magazine said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the German publication said it was working to establish the full extent of Relotius' "fabrications" after a colleague who worked with him on a story raised suspicions about his reporting.

After initially denying the allegations, Relotius confessed last week to inventing entire passages of text in several instances, Der Spiegel says.

In some articles, he is said to have included individuals he had never met or spoken to, "telling their stories or quoting them". 

If you’re a creative writer who hates America and craves getting journalism awards for it, there’s now a job opening at Der Spiegel.

B. Of course, that’s not the only way to slant the news. You can do it more subtly. Take Tom Bevan’s comparison of the NY Post and NY Times reportage on the President’s lifting Russian sanctions: 

If you want a perfect example of how screwed up the news business is, take a look at these two stories today on Russia sanctions, one from the New York Post and the other from the New York Times.

Tom Bevan‏Verified account @TomBevanRCP 1h1 hour ago

2. It's all about emphasis. The NY Post wrote up a small 200-word blurb on the news, focusing on the new sanctions on hacking, and relegating the lifting of sanctions on Deripaska to a final, 25-word paragraph.

Tom Bevan‏Verified account @TomBevanRCP 1h1 hour ago

3. The NY Times went to the other extreme, writing 1,200 words almost exclusively about the lifting of sanctions on Deripaska w/ominous quotes from Dems implying this all fits into the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. [snip]

It's the same story: the WH levied some new sanctions on Russia & lifted others. But because of the emphasis, the framing, and headlines, readers of the Post and the Times will come away believing two completely different things about the news -- and you can't blame them. 

Unless you read both versions or seek out official documents and transcripts of matters, you do not understand what happened. This may explain why American opinion has become so polarized.

Fake news works tirelessly to glorify the left and denigrate the right in everything -- including appearance and fashion to frame your views as Motus so devastatingly reveals.

About Faces

You can be sure that whatever the left praised Obama for they will criticize Trump for. Equally so, whatever policies they advocated for or against they will take the opposite view once Trump does what they advocated for.

A. General Mattis’ Retirement and Syria

To be sure, the general is in all respects an exemplary military officer. His leaving is nothing unusual, and reflects yet another policy disagreement with the President -- this time over the decision to withdraw 2,000 troops from Syria.

Little was heard from the left when Obama fired Mattis without even calling him, nor was there any disagreement  from that quarter that I can recall when Obama purged the military officer corps.

Mattis has taken positions on a number of things from global climate change and the Paris Accord to transgenders in the military without feeling it necessary to tender his resignation. The issue to him seems to be the troop withdrawal. His resignation letter was petulant and self-serving. Roger Kimball argues that the so-called “adults” in the administration are “childish”.

"You do not need an advance degree in hermeneutics to unpack the implications of such statements. ‘I, Jim Mattis, am the adult in the room. I want to foster our partnerships with our allies -- unlike some people -- and I want to be tough with respect to opponents like Russia and China’ -- again, not stated but clearly implied, unlike some.

The implication is made all-but-explicit in the next paragraph which begins ‘Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects…’ Well, because of all this, I quit. In other words, I am the good guy who wants to reward our friends and stand up to our enemies, whereas you, Donald Trump, do not."

There are honorable people who take positions on both sides of the question of our continuing to remain in Syria with the present force of 2,000 men. Most involve the humanitarian concerns for the Kurds who remain there, a people who certainly deserve concern. Some involve concerns over Israel’s safety.

Kevin Gutzman on Facebook supports Trump’s actions:

All over the media, we see people saying that Pres. Trump's decision to keep his campaign promise to withdraw from Syria means Russia will control Syria. Grant it arguendo. So what? When was Syria last not in the Soviet or Russian orbit? What injury did that do the USA, exactly? As I tell my students, "Please be specific."

Since the Cold War ended, American politicians like John McCain and Lindsey Graham and intellectuals like Bill Kristol have had the idea that a good foreign policy rule is "Intervene wherever Russia might have influence -- preferably with 'boots on the ground.'" They tried selling that in 2016. They lost. Likely they'll try again in 2020. If they succeed, we can return to borrowing trillions to contest every Godforsaken desert and valley on earth, and for what? Please be specific.

David Goldman, whom I respect, reviews the present state of affairs upon our decision to withdraw troops on Facebook.

Erdogan announces that he "will wait a while" before launching his military offensive vs. the Kurds in northern Syria, citing a telephone conversation with President Trump. That's clearly part of the deal under which Trump ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 US troops. That leaves Russia as the arbiter of the region. Iran's President Rouhani turned up in Ankara yesterday to meet Erdogan, and informed observers say that the purpose of the meeting was a modus vivendi between Turkey and Iran in Syria -- with Russia as the de facto mediator. This also means that Israel has to deal with Russia regarding security matters on its northern border. Russia has in effect said it will contain Iran's presence in Syria. That appears to be the arrangement that President Trump has bought into, presumably because he doesn't want the US to be burdened with the Middle East. I'm not pleased about this, by any means. I'm just trying to understand what just happened.

The Wall

In the meantime, the President called in Republican House leaders, lit a fire under them and got a last-minute continuing resolution which includes a $5 billion appropriation to fund the wall. It was an embarrassment for Nancy Pelosi, who had claimed the wall funding would never get through the House and who had been dancing and singing at a D.C. bar in glee the night before in anticipation of victory. (She who dances last dances best, to paraphrase my mother.) 

The dance floor emptied still further when Schumer chose to defy the President, insisting that he "give up the wall". That torpedoed any further negotiations, and the government went into partial shutdown at midnight on Friday. Since the Senate will not return until next Thursday, this means that the government will remain shut down until then. This being Christmas week, it's unlikely anyone will notice.  The Democrats really strategized this one well, didn't they? 

In the meantime, a triple war amputee started a Go Fund Me page for the wall which within six days had surpassed $15 million dollars. I regard this as the most effective grassroots show of support ever. Let the Democrats march with pussy hats and encourage the Antifa rampages to no avail. Real people kicked in to show what they want. So, the not-warmongering-warmonger once again trumps the geniuses on the left. If they shut down the government on Christmas, it’s the Schumer shutdown, not the Trump shutdown.

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