No MAGA Hats in the Opinion Workers Union Hall

This week there was a rare celestial convergence: A Super Moon, a Blood Wolf Moon, and a Lunar Eclipse. On earth there were also some noteworthy events: 1000 reporters lost their jobs, Mueller jumped the shark in arresting Roger Stone in the middle of the night, and the President moved on to another stage of the long Build the Wall battle.

The Opinion Workers Union Hall

Riffing on the loss of jobs by 1000 reporters, most especially those who’d been tapping away at Huffington Post and Buzz Feed spewing hateful, ill-informed nonsense, Iowahawk, had fun in a three-part tweet:

I was havin' beers with the fellas down at the Opinion Workers Union hall, and they're all itchin' for a strike. Let's see how long these management bastards last when the hot take warehouse goes empty.

But Al the union steward said it was only "temporary" and that we shouldn't rile up nothin' less'n they start bussin' in a bunch of damn Twitter scabs. Sometimes I think that sumbitch is in management's pocket, and it's time for a wildcat vote.

I spent the best 2 years of my life dragging randos and chasing hashtags, and what do I get? Carpal tunnel and goddamn pink slip. Brooklyn used to be filled with clickbait factories, now it's just busted dreams, UHauls, and opioid addicts.

The news of the discharges came after days of coverage respecting the confrontation between a make-believe Vietnam veteran and some Catholic school boys who did not take the bait to respond to his aggressive moves and were nevertheless falsely accused of the left’s favorite sin -- racism.

After a series of hoaxes in which white males were proven to have been unfairly accused of racism and sexism and such we were naturally skeptical. There was the Trayvon Martin (“white Hispanic”) nonsense, the Ferguson (“hands up, don’t shoot’) lies, the Duke Lacrosse Team hoax, the UVA fraternity debacle and the Judge Kavanaugh hokum, to name some of the publicized libels and defamations in the left’s quiver against straight white males.

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute laid out the game, It’s all worth reading. Here’s a sample: 

To belabor the obvious, how will the media come out in a showdown between Evil White Christian Trump-loving Anti-Abortions Sons of the Oppressive Patriarchy and a beloved minority? My goodness, those high schoolers might even include a young Brett Kavanaugh!

The narrative writes itself (aided by Nathan Phillips, the Native Elder, activist and provocateur), as anyone familiar with the Duke lacrosse or UVA rape fantasies has learned.

Well. Just to pick out one "journalist" as an example, Sarah Mervosh of the flailing NY Times had a choice to throw in with the Feel Great, Feel the Hate viral mob, or actually dig for some facts and perspective. Her choice was utterly predictable; her original fan fiction submission was headlined "Viral Video Shows Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native Elder". 

That was walked back slightly to "Viral Video Shows Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Surrounding Native Elder". Closer! Even the original video suggested something that longer video makes obvious -- these students "surrounded" Phillips by the clever tactic of standing around while he pushed into the center of their group. We all know corrections are emotionally challenging at the Times so there were a few hours of suspense while we wondered if Times would fly even closer to reality or simply Move On. Somewhat surprisingly, cooler heads prevailed.

The Walkback of Shame continued with this follow-up piece:

Fuller Picture Emerges of Viral Video Between Native American Man and Catholic Students

A fuller and more complicated picture emerged on Sunday of the videotaped encounter between a Native American man and a throng of high school boys wearing “Make America Great Again” gear outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Interviews and additional video footage suggest that an explosive convergence of race, religion and ideological beliefs -- against a national backdrop of political tension -- set the stage for the viral moment. Early video excerpts from the encounter obscured the larger context, inflaming outrage.

So actual reporting, fact-gathering and interviewing led to a new perspective? Looking at two minutes of video and asking a longtime activist for his take on events is not reliable? Who could have guessed?

Robby Soave of Reason stared at the replays and delivered an invaluable booth review (Spoiler: the ruling on the field was overturned). CNN and USA Today are rethinking their reflexive response. As to Truth and Justice? We'll have to wait and see.

As to Lessons Learned, it's hardly news that certain stories, especially with Trump bashing, male-bashing, and Christian bashing themes, are catnip to the media and, like cats, they lose their minds. Sometimes they manage to sober up in a day or two, so giving these outrages time to breathe is a good idea. Of course, sometimes they simply move on without owning up to their deplorable instincts. Will any "journalist" lose their job over this? Don't be silly.

As Maguire notes, it’s all about money. With print subscriptions and ad dollars shrinking, there’s money in peddling hate.

The genesis of this hatefest, now being backstroked, as the libeled students have engaged counsel who promises to sue everyone who published these calumnies without retraction or apology, is also interesting. Who started this obviously coordinated media hatefest? A fake account on Twitter from Brazil, now suspended, did, and I want to know from whom this propaganda was generated. Don’t you? 

Rob McDonagh, assistant editor of an online content vetting service called Storyful, noted several suspicious characteristics about @2020fight, including its “high follower count, highly polarized and yet inconsistent political messaging, the unusually high rate of tweets, and the use of someone else’s image in the profile photo.”

More suspicious still was the fact that, according to information warfare researcher Molly McKew, a network of anonymous accounts was amplifying @2020fight’s post of the video across social media.

The account’s video did not show what preceded the encounter between Phillips and the students, and therefore did not reveal that a black supremacist group called the Black Hebrew Israelites initially accosted the students with profanity and racial slurs before Phillips and his colleagues also approached and confronted the high school students, who tried to drown out the two other groups’ insults with school cheers.

Nevertheless, Twitter users retweeted @2020fight’s truncated video and its caption at least 14,400 times and viewed the video at least 2.5 million times. So influential was @2020fight’s post that members of the media reached out directly to the owner of the profile in the course of reporting on the incident. McDonagh said that @2020fight’s post was the primary version of events shared on social media.

The post was so successful in helping to shape the narrative that scores of journalists, public officials, priests, bishops, nuns, dioceses, and even the students’ own school publicly denounced the children without reaching out to them for their version of events or waiting for further information about the incident.

“This is the new landscape: where bad actors monitor us and appropriate content that fits their needs. They know how to get it where they need to go so it amplifies naturally. And at this point, we are all conditioned to react and engage or deny in specific ways. And we all did,” McKew said.

Looks a lot like the old Journolist where leftist writers coordinated their tales -- this time with extra national impetus.

In my view, Caitlin Flanagan of the Atlantic provided the best and most accurate genesis of the smear. In contrast to the short clip video from Brazil that ignited the tweet storm, there was a much longer video taped by the truly racist group there, the Black Hebrew Israelite kooks, which showed an entirely different story, making hash of the lefts’ “narrative”.

Now we may look at the viral video -- or, as a CNN chyron called it, the “heartbreaking viral video” -- as well as the many others that have since emerged, none of which has so far revealed the boys to be chanting anything about a wall or about making America great again. Phillips keeps walking into the group, they make room for him, and then -- the smiling boy. One of the videos shows him doing something unusual. At one point he turns away from Phillips, stops smiling, and locks eyes with another kid, shaking his head, seeming to say the word no. This is consistent with the long, harrowing statement that the smiling boy would release at the end of the weekend, in which he offered an explanation for his actions that is consistent with the video footage that has so far emerged, and revealed what happened to him in the 48 hours after Americans set to work doxing him and threatening his family with violence. As of this writing, it seems that the smiling boy, Nick Sandmann, is the one person who tried to be respectful of Phillips and who encouraged the other boys to do the same. And for this, he has been by far the most harshly treated of any of the people involved in the afternoon’s mess at the Lincoln Memorial. 

To their eternal shame, the Bishop of Covington and the National Review bit the bait, too, and tardily were forced to walk back their intemperate accusations. They will certainly learn that jumping to conclusions on flimsy, ginned up “evidence” costs a great deal.

Don’t lay the blame entirely on social media like Twitter, though. As Sharyl Attkisson notes, there have been 68 major media fails on Trump. In the old days when reporters came up through the ranks covering local crime stories, they smoked, drank, automatically trusted no one, and knew the difference between opinion and fact. Reflecting on those days, my online friend Matt observes, “They are supposed to report on disasters, not be them.”

Maybe the media ought to lure some old timers out of retirement, if only to school the present staffers.

Mueller Jumps the Shark

To date, the “Russian Collusion” that Robert Mueller was selected to investigate has come up with only process crimes -- that is crimes created by the investigators who ignore the far greater crimes by Brennan, Clapper, Hillary, the Obama FBI/CIA gang, for which seemingly they all got get out of jail free cards -- and this week it was no different with the indictment and arrest of Roger Stone.

Once again, the anti-Trumpers gleefully contend that this time they got the President. No, actually. The indictment makes clear that senior Trump officials did not know wikileaks had "’stolen DNC emails’ or when they would release them, and did NOT know what other information they had on the Clinton campaign,” accurately tweets Paul Sperry. The middle of the night raid on his home and his arrest captured by CNN cameras involved far more agents than were necessary and was part of the Mueller show. In any other such circumstance, his counsel would just have been informed that he was to show up in their offices to receive the arrest warrant. That this is overblown theater is evident by the relatively low bail requested. Some people spent too much time listening to old “The FBI in Peace and War” radio shows and thinking they could restore the agency’s fabled glory days with nonsense like this.

Building the Wall

The President for good reason has insisted we need a physical barrier on the Southern border. Doubtless constrained by the far-left nutters just elected to Congress and the congressional delegations whose jobs depend on a steady stream of illegal alien voters, Speaker Pelosi dug in her heels and refused to negotiate, leading to a shutdown. Democrats refused to vote for a bill, which would have allowed the government to pay the furloughed federal workers, and air traffic controllers in NY stayed home tying up air traffic in the Northeast. At the same time a number of Democrats, including the influential House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, expressed a willingness to negotiate the issue. Doubtless, he was influenced by the increasing support among voters for a wall. and the complaints of his constituents which include thousands of federal workers.

On the other hand, the air traffic tie-ups and concern for unpaid federal workers were blurring the message. Doubtless to save face for Pelosi -- the only way to undo the logjam -- the president agreed to a continuing resolution for 21 days until this could be worked out. The issue -- border security, not the shutdown, is the focus as another large caravan of illegals approaches our border again, and once again the focus will be on the far-left Democrats who do not believe in the USA as a sovereign nation entitled to defend its borders.

Should the 21-day funding fail to result in a workable agreement, the president has other options, including using the military to build barriers in those areas which have become drug highways and use of other funds to build the rest. Should the opposition then run to some numbskull judge in the 9thCircuit to stop him, he will have made his record that no other avenue was available to protect America’s defense. Ignore the claims that the Democrats won this battle. I don’t think they did.