Open Thread for Tuesday, December 5, 2017

SlagerShooting5x3.1

Very quickly:

  1. Russian Team Barred From 2018 Winter Olympics — Yeah, OK. Get back to us when they get barred from the real Olympics. But I will say this is a better way of punishing Russia than the last time we did it, when we stayed home instead. Y’all know I like me some Jimmy Carter, but that was a huge disappointment to a friend of mine who was coaching our boxing team.
  2. Trump risks backlash as he prepares to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — Seeing as how it is the capital, it’s hard for me to get worked up about this one. Of course, I don’t have to because millions in the region will get worked up for me….
  3. Justices seem divided in case of baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple — I’m including this for Bud, who may have a point — this guy seems to have a stronger case than most defendants in this are. But in the end, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t eat cake, so what do I know?
  4. Evidence of fight, threats mark defense’s version of Scott shooting case — Can anyone ‘splain to me how the defense thinks any of that adds up to, “It’s OK to shoot a guy running away from you in the back?”

That’s it for now. Gotta run…

81 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, December 5, 2017

  1. bud

    3. The cake story is very difficult. As a liberal I find the baker’s refusal to bake cake for a gay couple’s wedding disturbing. I also find hiding behind religious freedom a convenient way to get away with brazen bigotry. The one important aspect of this story that I haven’t seen reported is EXACTLY what the couple asked Mr. Phillips to do for them. Was it a relatively generic cake that would have been suitable at a heterosexual wedding? Or was it a cake that specifically acknowledges the same sex nature of the wedding with say a rainbow? I’m inclined to side with Mr. Phillips simply because a businessman should have some latitude to refuse service. Refusal for other situations seems settled: inter-racial, blacks, divorcees, a different religion. However, perhaps a Jewish baker may not want to acknowledge, by way of a cake, the notion that only Jesus Christ can grant eternal salvation. Should the Jewish baker be allowed to refuse that service? I’d say yes. But a Jewish baker certainly should be required to bake a traditional cake for a Christian couple that leaves religious doctrine out of the service. This issue is more a matter of principal than any real hardship. I’m sure the couple in question could easily find a baker that would gladly do their cake the way they wanted. But this is an important question with slippery slope implications. If Mr. Phillips wins can he then hang a sign on his door that specifically says he will not make ANY cake for gay couples. Right now I just need a bit more information.

    Reply
    1. Mark Stewart

      The report is that they never got to the point of discussing the actual cake with the baker. Which is, I would guess, what incensed the couple who wanted the cake.

      Reply
    2. Mr. Smith

      Be careful about what you’re letting yourself in for by siding with the baker. Because it won’t be just bakers who get to take an out if the court sides with Phillips. How about the florist who makes arrangements? Or the photographer or videographer who creates a photographic memorial of the event and the couple? Or the graphic designer who fashions the invitations? Or the event planner who creates layouts and decorations? Those and others are all engaged in one form or another of creative expression. Just where does this opt-out argument end — or lead?

      At bottom, though, it’s not really about artistic expression. It’s about religious bigotry. Seriously, a commercial baker who makes a cake for a gay couple isn’t “endorsing homosexuality” any more than a TV repairman is endorsing pornography simply because the person he’s repairing the TV for uses it to watch porn.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m not sure that this is about endorsing or not endorsing homosexuality. I haven’t read extensively about the case, but I heard a couple of things about it on NPR that make me think Bud’s right it saying the guy has a pretty good case: First, that he has no problem serving gay customers — he just doesn’t want to be involved in celebrating a same-sex marriage. And secondly, that’s not all he objects to — he doesn’t make cakes celebrating Halloween or for bachelor parties.

        You and I may think it’s kind of wacky to object so strongly to Halloween, for instance. But what you and I think isn’t at issue. It’s what this guy thinks.

        Which makes it interesting. Which I suppose is why the court took this case, instead of others hanging on similar arguments…

        Reply
        1. bud

          The Halloween thing is different. He refuses to make a Jack-o’-Lantern cake for ANYONE. The bachelor party thing is seriously weird. I think where I come down on this issue is this: If he is unwilling to make certain types of cakes for certain types of ceremonies then he should create a book showing cake designs that he is willing to make. Then he MUST make them for anyone. He can stipulate up front that he does not wish to know the purpose of the cake. He can hang a sign to that effect on his door. Sort of like no shirt, no shoes no business. It could read: If you tell me the purpose for your cake then I can refuse your business. But if it comes from his approved list of cakes then he must make it for anyone who requests it.

          Reply
        2. Mr. Smith

          Yeah, Phillips claims that by providing the cake he’s “participating” in the event, like an invited guest (and that by participating he’s “endorsing” the rite). So is the guy who takes the money at the station where they gas up the wedding vehicle also “participating” in the wedding? Is the party store that sells them napkins also a “participant”? Or are they all actually just providing services and nothing more significant or participatory than that? Sounds like Phillips exaggerates his role in order to make a point. Besides, some would say you’re drawing a distinction without a difference by claiming that condemning gay marriage is not the same thing as opposing homosexuality. It’s kind of like saying, I ain’t racist, I don’t mind white and black folk mixing, just so long as they don’t want to marry one another.

          What’s more, there’s that little matter of public accommodation law.

          Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Isn’t that what married couples do? Freeze a piece of the cake for a year later?

              I seem to recall that we did that, and that my wife reported it not being too good. I wouldn’t know, since I don’t do cake…

              Reply
              1. Norm Ivey

                We did it, except since we eloped, it wasn’t a wedding cake. It was a cake Mother baked for a reception she had for us. The almost-year-old frozen cake was not good. Very dry. The marriage, however, has held up quite well.

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  And that’s the thing, the marriage.

                  The best thing I’ve heard about this baker is that he does not bake for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Good for him.

                  The pre-marriage rituals I see performed these days are utterly absurd, orgies of conspicuous consumption and bizarre behavior. Just, you know, get MARRIED, people! You don’t need multiple elaborate events leading up to it…

                2. Mr.Smith

                  And what about the marriage ritual itself? Nowadays they can easily run well up into the four, sometimes even five digits. People think nothing of spending $500+ on the cake alone. Aren’t these “orgies of consumption” too?

  2. bud

    2. Why would anyone find a decision with no real tangible benefit but only potential chaos anything but disturbing? I would rate this in the top 5 of Trump’s worst decisions.

    Reply
    1. JesseS

      I can’t blame Trump at this point. I blame Bob Dole for writing the law. I blame Congress for passing it. I blame everyone who came after that for not crafting a better solution than duct tape. Blaming Tump is like blaming a cat for knocking the Waterford off the table weeks after the dinner. The cat is going to do what it is going to do. It can’t resist it. It doesn’t have the self-control or ability to comprehend the consequences. Neither does Trump.

      Reply
  3. Bryan Caskey

    1-3 are all symbolic. Come get me if there are any real arguments worth having.

    Oh, and for #4, what do you expect the defense lawyers to do? It’s their job to advocate on behalf of their client.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, and sometimes that “everybody deserves a defense” thing takes us to some strange places.

      And maybe 4 has the same problem you identify with regard to 1-3. In a commonsense world, in which we didn’t argue about symbols and abstractions, Slager would already be well into his prison sentence for having fatally shot a fleeing man in the back. But we have these principles and values about people getting a fair trial.

      Similarly, who cares whether Russia takes part in some games? I know they were invoking sour grapes, but I liked the Russian response I heard on the radio: Hey, we got through the Great Patriotic War and the collapse of the Soviet Union; we can handle this. Good point.

      The second item is about preserving a diplomatic fiction. Jerusalem IS the capital of Israel. That we and other nations go to the trouble and inconvenience of maintaining our embassies elsewhere doesn’t change the fact that it’s the capital. If it were just a matter of Israel’s neighbors — who don’t want Israel to exist, much less govern itself from Jerusalem — petulantly insisting that it is not, and demanding that we join them in that denial of reality, I’d say ignore them and embrace reality. It’s where we get to the religious importance of the city to Islam that I pause. Still, that seems a bit off as well. As a Christian, it doesn’t bother me that, say, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is held by non-Christians. I’m not going to make like my ancestors and launch a Crusade to take it back. At some point, I want to say this is ridiculous. At the same time, I’m inclined toward the pursuit of peace, and recognizing Israel doesn’t make that easier, so… I dunno…

      And on some level, the idea of a dispute over a wedding cake being before the Supreme Court reminds me a little of a Mad Magazine feature when I was a kid. The premise was, “What if the Supreme Court dealt with everyday-life disputes?” The example I recall was a panel showing a baseball manager and an umpire standing before the bench and hollering “He was safe!” and “He was out!” Yeah, I understand that to folks on the left — particularly gay people — and to religious conservatives and civil libertarians, the principles involved are a big deal. But you have a point in saying it’s symbolic. It’s about abstractions on both sides. It’s not the Dred Scott case. No one will be enslaved or not depending on the outcome.

      Reply
      1. bud

        Ya think? The whole idea of a nation state that has a national religion should be repugnant to all Americans. Why we continue to support this bully, bigoted nation is beyond me. I’d immediately stop all military support for Israel until they end the practice of second class status for non-Jews.

        Reply
        1. bud

          When the Soviet Union was officially an atheist state the right was horrified. But for the Jewish religion that is ok somehow. We can be such hypocrites.

          Reply
      2. Lynn Teague

        First, diplomacy routinely deals with symbolic positions and actions that have important implications, so I am unwilling to use the “only symbolic” argument to dismiss concerns in this case. Second, where does Lindsay Graham get the information (tweeted this morning) that Jerusalem as the capital has been “the reality on the ground for 3000 years?” On the ground, this has been one of the most contested pieces of real estate in the world for a very long time, and the current incumbents weren’t even a significant part of the equation “on the ground” for most of that time. Effective diplomacy should be built on a full appreciation of the potential of symbolic interpretations to affect very real events, and should also reflect current “on the ground” realities without distortion. I’m not seeing either here. The complexity of those factors is why previous presidents of both parties have found the problems associated with this region intractable, decade after decade.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Lindsey got the 3,000-year thing from Bibi, who’s been going around saying it.

          As for “only symbolic”… Ultimately, to me that’s kind of like Doug saying Trump hasn’t done anything bad yet, because it’s all “only words.”

          As if there were anything to being president beyond using words. Even if a president wages war, he does it with words, in the form of orders. He doesn’t draw a sword and lead the troops into the fray. Unless he’s Harrison Ford in “Air Force One.”

          That’s pretty much the job — words. If you’re bad with the words, you’re bad at the job….

          air-force-one_harrison-ford

          Reply
          1. Lynn Teague

            We are on really solid ground here. We can be very sure that Donald Trump is not Harrison Ford in Air Force One.

            Reply
          2. Doug Ross

            No, no, no. A President doesn’t just use words. It’s the actions that go along with the words that matter far more than the words themselves.

            When Obama said there was “red line” in Syria. Strong words if you believed them. When George Bush said “Read my lips, no new taxes” he set himself up for failure by not following through. When Trump says he’s going to build a wall, he has to actually do it in order to be considered effective.

            Anyone can say anything any time. I can say I can fly. Doesn’t mean anything until I start flapping my arms and leave the ground.

            Unfortunately, you focus more on what is said than what is done. You pushed for the Penny Tax for Richland County based on a bunch of words extolling over hyped benefits. Now when we judge the actual results, those words were pretty hollow.

            Reply
    2. bud

      It’s their job to advocate on behalf of their client.

      Of course it is. But the point is whether these arguments have any merit. I say no.

      Reply
    3. bud

      I guess if your own personal ox is not gored then you can claim it as symbolic. But perhaps if say a gun dealer refused to sell you a rifle because you wore glasses the issue might be a bit more concrete.

      Reply
  4. Bill

    “Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ”

    Reply
  5. Doug Ross

    Can an atheist baker refuse to make a cake in the shape of a cross?

    This is where we are in our country today – a decision by a baker to give up business based on his personal beliefs is worthy of going all the way to the Supreme Court. There won’t be any victory regardless of who “wins”. We’re working our way backwards from what are true cases of discrimination to cakes. Cakes.

    Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I’m watching this… and waiting for Pavarotti to drop to the stage on his knees, and get led away with a cape over his shoulders. Then and only then will he be the hardest-working man in opera, the godfather of the Met….

                Reply
    1. Claus2

      Baker: You’re forcing me to bake you a cake? I’ll bake you a cake. Hope you enjoy it.

      I hope the baker doesn’t accidentally use a cup of salt in the place of sugar when making the cake.

      Reply
  6. Karen Pearson

    Well, many southern Christian clergymen taught that the enslavement of African Americans was supported by the Bible. Maurice Bessinger of BBQ fame believed that segregation was God approved, and that therefore he shouldn’t have to serve black people in his restaurant. As I see it, the moment you make it legal to refuse to allow a set of people to avail themselves of your business, you create a second class of citizenry. If cake baking is what your business does then you should not refuse a certain group of customers your services.

    Reply
    1. Claus2

      ” If cake baking is what your business does then you should not refuse a certain group of customers your services.”

      So you’re saying the government should be able to tell you how to run your business. Should they also be able to tell you what vendors to use, what prices you should set, etc…?

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I believe she’s referring to existing law regarding public accommodations. The question here before the court, I think, is whether such law applies in this case. The tricky part here, if I’m understanding it correctly, is that he’s not refusing service to any class of people; he’s refusing to provide a certain class of product — a same-sex wedding cake — to anyone…

        Reply
        1. Mr. Smith

          “to anyone”

          And who, other than gay couples, would want a same-sex wedding cake??

          As for the public accommodation issue, the fact is gays WERE a protected “class of people” at the time the event in question occurred. So it’s not about a “class of product.”

          Try this article for the legal arguments — from someone actually involved in the case:

          http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/12/07/let-them-buy-gay-wedding-cakes/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NYR%20Trump%20Peres%20May&utm_content=NYR%20Trump%20Peres%20May+CID_584efa14a1859b76989b3d77b6b19a31&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=Let%20Them%20Buy%20Cake

          Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Again — and I could be wrong about this; I just heard it in passing on the radio — I don’t think this guy refused to do business with gay people. What he declined to do was make a same-sex wedding cake. But as I say, I stand ready to be corrected if I heard wrong…

      Reply
      1. Norm Ivey

        Asking with some trepidation as to what the answer might be, but how exactly does a same sex wedding cake differ from a mixed gender wedding cake?

        Reply
  7. Dave Crockett

    I am not not a lawyer nor do I play one one television. I generally don’t second-guess jury findings, as I’m not privvy to everything jurors receive in court. But I was appalled that the Slager case ended in a hung jury and the state didn’t seek to pursue it further. If the feds hadn’t stepped in, Slager would still be on the beat.

    Without the video, we would have had to accept his contention that Scott threatened him and/or was a threat to the community if he were allowed to flee. But Scott was pulled for a taillight violation. Period. It wasn’t until later that we (and Slager) learned of a minor outstanding warrant against him. But the raw video clearly shows Slager pumping five shots into the back of a man 50 feet away (not a threat to Slager)…we later see Slager apparently pick up his taser and casually toss it at the feet of the dying Scott (routine procedure, he testified)…we clearly see no attempt anywhere along the line to provide any kind of aid to Scott after-the-fact (despite contrary testimony). Yeah, I think Scott’s civil rights were violated…

    This case bothers me as much as the case a couple of years ago here in Seneca where a teenaged boy was shot twice in the back through the window of his car by a local cop who claimed he feared for his life. The threat was from a creeping car that that he stepped close to in a Hardee’s parking lot during a marijuana drug bust. The kid had no business trying to flee, even at low speed, but he didn’t shouldn’t have forfeited his life for the stupidity. The solicitor didn’t think it even warranted grand jury consideration, despite the video evidence that the threat to the cop was minimal and the kid wasn’t even the reason for the bust. The city ended up paying the family a million bucks to avoid a lawsuit and the cop eventually resigned and, I suppose, is working in law enforcement somewhere else.

    I was a cop shop reporter years ago and I have tremendous respect for the difficult job law enforcement officers face every day. I understand the siege mentality that many of them work under. But the handling of both of these two cases really turns my stomach.

    Reply
  8. Doug Ross

    In the rush to be first and in their attempt to bring down Trump, CNN has shot itself in the foot again with news about an email to the Trump campaign about the WikiLeaks DNC emails. By getting the date wrong on the email, they turned nothing into what they thought was a major breakthrough. Oops.. guess someone should teach the crack staff at CNN that September 4 and September 14 are two different dates… Especially when the WikiLeaks release was on September 13.

    They are playing right into Trump’s message of fake news.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s going to happen sometimes, Doug. It just is. I used to think I was infallible, when I was very young, but it didn’t take too long of doing daily journalism at a breakneck pace to realize I wasn’t.

      And back then, we had all day to get it right before deadline arrived. Now, the deadline is always right NOW. The remarkable thing to me is that serious mistakes such as this are as rare as they are.

      And let me be absolutely clear: Nothing, but NOTHING that happens in the real world justifies Donald J. Trump complaining that professional journalism — all professional journalism — is “fake news.”

      As you know, if you are not blind, that is his term for truth that he does not like.

      And there is NO way, to a fair mind, that one mistake justifies Trump in labeling the next 10,000 true reports about him “fake news.” To think it does is to be completely disconnected from reality itself…

      This man’s campaign of total war on all this nation’s institutions, from the press to the FBI, is bringing about a great mental illness in this country, and it is a tragedy of immense proportion.

      But it’s all “just words,” right?…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        They reported the news without ever seeing the email in question. They relied on “sources” and then the other networks jumped in hoping they wouldn’t get scooped. It was either incompetence or bias. It was a mistake borne from trying to get the big story. When you have to retract a major news story within hours of breaking it, it means you aren’t doing your job. They screwed up royally and inexcusably… They deserve all the ridicule they are getting now.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “When you have to retract a major news story within hours of breaking it, it means you aren’t doing your job.”

          Actually, you have it backwards. When you correct an error as soon as humanly possible, you ARE doing your job.

          When you lie, lie, lie all day and never, ever admit that you’re wrong, you’re Donald Trump. Just for the sake of contrast…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            By the way, I’m not terribly interested in defending cable TV “news.” I take a dim view of people getting their news there.

            I was just reacting to what you said about it.

            Reply
          2. Doug Ross

            Doing sloppy, biased “journalism” that is 100% false is never “doing your job” no matter when you correct it. They showed their true colors and looked stupid in the process.

            Reply
  9. bud

    The LAST thing a journalist intent on taking Trump down wants to do is run an erroneous story. These guys are not THAT stupid. They understand that hyper-cynical people like Doug will latch onto stuff like this with a sort of blood lust and wave it in the face of mainstream journalism. This was simply a mistake on the timeline. Stuff really does happen. The mountain of typos showing up on this Blog should be proof of that.

    What I find interesting about the Trump presidency is how terrible his job approval numbers are even in the face of a generally strong economy. (Except notably for the tepid wage growth numbers.) You’d think some erstwhile Hillary voters would come around simply on that. That tells you something about just how miserable a human being is Donald Grab-em-by-the-P Trump. Once the economy heads into recession, and it certainly will as it always does, his approval numbers will likely drop into the teens. If unemployment hits 6% by the summer of 2020 Trump’s opponent likely wins 400 electoral voters. We won’t be wringing our hands over the injustice of a popular vote win/electoral loss then.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      They are that stupid. Looking for glory and ratings instead of the truth. They won’t even reveal how they screwed up so badly. They got duped.

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Let’s see… there are reputable news organizations on one side of this equation, and Glenn Greenwald on the other. And you accept Glenn Greenwald as the unvarnished truth, as the guy with the unbiased perspective on everything.

          Yeah, OK. Whatever…

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Did you read the article? Your bias against journalists who reveal the truth about the government is showing. You can only shoot the messenger since the article was the truth.

            Greenwald is an actual journalist as opposed to the lunatics on CNN and MSNBC.

            Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Which are what? All journalists bring some ideological baggage to their work… including you.

                And I’ll repeat – what factual errors did Greenwald present in his piece that went into explicit detail about the timeline of the botched CNN story?

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  OK, can you hang on a minute? First I need to read it, then I have to go out and duplicate his reporting so I can tell you precisely what is right and what is wrong. Oh, and I guess before any of that, I’ll need to go look at the original reporting he’s on about, which doesn’t interest me in the slightest….

                  I hope you’re not in a hurry…

                  In the meantime, why don’t you just go read this post and get mad at me about that

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I DID read the top of the item earlier when you first brought it up. It struck me how… excitable… Greenwald is:

                  FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, and countless pundits, commentators, and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

                  The spectacle began Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News™ spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report…

                  Wow. All that about a story on TV (of all places) that didn’t register on my radar at all, near as I can recall. Yet too Greenwald, it’s the most stupendous story ever!

                  Anyone that given to purple prose shouldn’t be named GREENwald…

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “humiliation orgy!… explosive!…spectacle!…flamboyantly!… exclusive bombshell!…” And he’s just barely into his second graf!

                  Take a breath, Glenn. Sit down. You’ll get apoplexy at this rate…

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  If you’d like to read something a tad calmer on the same subject, check out Columbia Journalism Review. It is more damning, in that it covers all of the several (mostly broadcast) media errors last week, not just to the one involving Greenwald’s soulmates over at Wikileaks.

                  It includes Greenwald’s take, as well as CNN’s analysis of their error. (No doubt the existence of the latter will SHOCK Greenwald.)

                  You know what all of these incidents have in common? No, it’s not that the stories were anti-Trump. Fox had to walk back its erroneous report that one of Roy Moore’s accusers had “forged” part of her evidence.

                  No, the thing they have in common is that you know about them because they were corrected.

                  Which illustrates an understanding of facts and reality that stands in stark contrast to the approach of Trump, Moore, et al….

                  And if you don’t like that take on the screwups, check out The NYT’s.

                  Oh, by the way… perhaps by now you’re picking up on the fact that Greenwald’s claim that the media “refuses all transparency” about errors is a crock…

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Oh, and something you won’t care about but I, as a journalist, do… that hed should say “The U.S. Media Suffered Their Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages and Now Refuse All Transparency Over What Happened” instead of “The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages and Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened.”

                  Because “media” is a plural noun. If you’re speaking of one, it’s “medium.”…

                6. Doug Ross

                  You keep talking about the correction when the issue was presenting it in the first place. When you screw up due to incompetence or worse, whether you offer a correction later is trivial. They screwed up due to bias and bad reporting. If I tell you 2+2=5 and I correct it later, it doesn’t make me look any less stupid.

                7. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Journalists always look stupid when they have to correct a story, which is why they try with all their might not to make mistakes to begin with. But they correct the mistakes anyway, even though it’s excruciatingly painful to do so.

                  I know you don’t understand what I’m saying, but try thinking of it this way: What journalist on the planet would want to have to make a correction, knowing they will have to suffer the derision and contempt of the Dougs of the world, not one of whom will make the slightest concession to how difficult a journalist’s job is? I doubt you’d want to take that garbage; they like it less than you would…

                8. Doug Ross

                  Meanwhile, we also have major media outlets devoting significant resources to determine how many Diet Cokes Trump drinks and how many hours of television he watches. An editor for the New York Times defended the accuracy of the reporting, stating that the story involved 60 (SIXTY!) sources.

                  I don’t recall there being as much concern over Obama smoking or his penchant for watching sports on TV. But I’m sure that didn’t have anything to do with the ideology of the New York Times.

                9. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Doug, if you can’t see why it might be good for Americans to know what goes on in this White House under a grossly dysfunctional president, I don’t know what to say for you. The man watches cable TV “news” between four and eight hours a day! If you don’t find that a cause for concern, again, I cannot explain it to you.

                  And your comparison to Obama is utterly absurd. We were told that Obama considered seven — not six, not eight — almonds to be a snack. And Reagan liked jelly beans. And H.W. Bush liked pork rinds. I think that compares pretty damned well to the 12 Diet Cokes (and two Big Macs and two fish sandwiches in one meal, with a shake), and that you are straining to find something to gripe about.

                  That’s what I think….

                10. Doug Ross

                  You keep talking like CNN put a lot of work into their “breaking news”. They didn’t. It was shoddy journalism exposed for exactly what it was. Key point: THEY NEVER SAW THE EMAIL THEY CLAIMED WAS SENT ON SEPTEMBER 4! They reported based on “allegedly” two sources (who they won’t name — and they SHOULD if they are that bad at providing information.). Did they ask the Trump administration for comment prior to running the story — like a good journalist would? Nope. They went for the full on BREAKING NEWS in hopes of generating views and clicks.

                11. Doug Ross

                  If you don’t like Greenwald, how about the editor in chief emeritus of the Washington Times, Wesley Pruden:

                  “Reporters and editors, like everyone else, make mistakes and when the best ones make them they’re obliged to correct them, explain what happened if they can, and move on. But sometimes the mistakes are not really mistakes, but failed attempts to get away with fudging the facts to make a point. The public, which is not as thick as some reporters imagine, notices when mistakes always seem to run to the left. A large part of the public has been persuaded that the media, which is what was once called the press, just can’t get over the results of the 2016 election, and is out to get Donald Trump by any means necessary. The corrections, reflections, and over-the-top hand-wringing are set out now in everyone’s eye, thanks to a media dishing it out to everyone with a smartphone or a laptop. It’s often not very pretty.”

                12. Brad Warthen Post author

                  He’s full of something that we would name in a newsroom, but not on this blog. I refer to his second and third sentences.

                  I’ve had a lot of experience with running corrections. I’ve never noticed a political trend to them. Stupid mistakes are stupid mistakes, and lack politics.

                  You do understand, of course, that the Washington Times exists to expound the viewpoint he just expressed, right? Which makes it ironic that he’s accusing everyone else of some sort of bias.

                  The one thing he’s right about is that things get ugly with the social-media environment in which everybody’s deadline is always RIGHT NOW instead of once a day at a specific time — which allowed news organizations to report things far more thoroughly before publishing them.

                  In the rush, more mistakes are made than in the old days. As I’m sure Mr. Pruden knows from the corrections he’s had to run over the years…

                13. Doug Ross

                  I guess if I were going to publish a story that was going to potentially bring down a sitting President of the United States, I’d want to be 10000% sure it was correct before I did it. Not something that had to be retracted almost immediately because it was based on hearsay based on a misreading of one character in an email. But I’m not an experienced journalist, so what do I know?

                14. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Do you know of a story that has actual potential to bring down THIS president, whose supporters are immune to facts? If there is one, I wish someone would go ahead and write it.

                  Seriously, though…

                  You almost get it in that paragraph. Every journalist WOULD “want to be 10000% sure” he gets things right, on a bring-down-the-president story or any other. You know why? You don’t want to run “something that had to be retracted almost immediately because it was based on hearsay based on a misreading of one character in an email” or for any other reason.

                  The last thing on Earth a journalist wants is for Doug Ross and everyone else to be jeering at him because he got it wrong. The horror of that is a thing journalists live with 24 hours a day, often keeping them from sleeping at night. You don’t get that because as you say, you’ve never a professional journalist, and don’t know what its like to have your reputation, your livelihood, your self-esteem, your career hang on getting it right, day after day.

                  But people screw up anyway. It’s absolutely going to happen. And if you WERE a professional journalist, it would have happened to you, in spite of your absolute confidence that you would be the only reporter in the history of the world never to make a mistake…

                15. Brad Warthen Post author

                  And when that happened to you, it would be interesting to see how you take it when hordes of people INSIST that you had a nefarious MOTIVE for getting it wrong, and won’t listen to the truth for a second. Injury exponentially increased by insult…

  10. Doug Ross

    Journalists and media types are dropping like flies thanks to the #metoo movement. It’s hard to keep track of how many there are. Half dozen ex-NFL players on the NFL network also got their walking papers today.

    I’m not shocked by any of the stories yet — except for Garrison Keillor. And I may not be keeping track of all of Trump’s past indiscretions but some of them fall into the Al Franken zone. I don’t think he should have resigned over what we’ve heard so far (including one woman who was traumatized apparently by him squeezing her waist during a photoshoot).

    One of Trump’s “accusers” claims he ogled her while she was in the Miss Universe pageant. Okay… I’m probably guilty of that as well. I forgot it was a “scholarship” program.

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