We have another addition to our series “Perils of the Press.” There are Freudian Slips and then there are Freudian falls from a high cliff. The later seems of a more apt description of MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski mistake this morning. After interviewing Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, Brzezinski said “keep it right here on Morning Jew.”
Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
Below is my column this morning in USA Today on the rivaling health care rulings in Washington, D.C. and Virginia. I have been struck on this and other blogs with how quickly people criticize the opinions by attacking the motives and backgrounds of the respective judges. It is a signature of our times that we no longer debate the issue and try instead to discredit those with whom we disagree. We have learned to hate like the Queen Mother counseled in Shakespeare’s Richard III: to “Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were; And he that slew them fouler than he is.” The fact is that the ACA was a deeply flawed piece of legislation that was passed with insufficient review and editing. It was pushed through on a muscle vote when it was in subpar condition. There have been hundreds of serious drafting errors found in the law. Courts have been struggling with those errors as has the White House. Yet, such good faith questions have no place in today’s politics where every issue must be personified and treated as some low-grade political stunt despite long opinions detailing rationales in the two courts. To dismiss these decisions as the result of judicial hacks ignores those extensive problems in the law. This piece looks at that response and how we have lost the ability to engage in civil or substantive discussion on such issues. From a legisprudence standpoint, the two opinions are classic difference in how courts approach statutory interpretation. I would not call either opinion as strictly “textualist” or “intentionalist” but they certainly reflect these different views of the role of the courts and agencies in the interpretation of legislative text. While I agree with the merits of the change ordered by the Administration, I am highly uncomfortable with treating language in a statute as a “typo” or some oversight. Indeed, as we recently discussed, even key players who are now calling the D.C. Circuit interpretation “nutty” previously appeared to subscribe to that interpretation. For that reason, I favor the D.C. Circuit opinion out of concern over limiting the role of the courts and reinforcing the separation of powers. Here is the column.
A woman identified as Ekaterina Parkhomenko from Torez has become the very face of inhumanity and greed around the Malaysian Air crash site in the Ukraine. People around the world have been disgusted by stories of the Russian-backed militia stealing credit cards and cellphones from the crash site as well as preventing investigators from detailing the facts about the crash. However, pro-Russian local Parkhomenko allegedly went further and actually posted pictures on social media sites bragging about how she was able to snatch looted mascara from a dead woman and then took selfies showing how the mascara looked on her.
Think Progress has become the latest victim of a juvenile faux news hoax. Think Progress ran a story about how Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed “Americanization” labor camps for Central American unaccompanied children. It quickly spread from Think Progress to other liberal sites, precisely what the “source” KCTV 7 had hoped. KCTV 7 is one of a number of fake news sites run by adolescent tricksters who relish spreading false stories. I have previously written about these sites and the type of low-grade “gotcha” pranks that motivate such people. It hardly takes a genius to set up a site that looks like a real news outfit and run stories to trick anyone who stumbles by on the Internet. I don’t find these pranks funny or impressive. I cannot understand how companies like WordPress give them a platform for such hoaxes or why the creators have not faced personal liability over their false stories.
Yesterday, we discussed a controversy involving Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who played a major role the ACA, or “Obamacare.” He told MSNBC recently that “It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it`s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states.” However, a libertarian group uncovered a video showing Gruber saying quite clearly after the passage of the law that this provision was a quid pro quo device: state exchanges for tax credits. Conservative sites have lit up over the video below showing Gruber essentially describing the very tradeoff identified in Halbig. He told MSNBC recently that “It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it`s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states.” However, a libertarian group just uncovered a video showing Gruber saying quite clearly after the passage of the law that this provision was a quid pro quo device: state exchanges for tax credits. Conservative sites have lit up over the video below showing Gruber essentially describing the very tradeoff identified in Halbig. Indeed, Gruber later signed on amicus briefs supporting the White House interpretation and even joined the counter spin from the White House and denouncing that very interpretation as “nutty.” Gruber responded to critics showing the video below by that “I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake.” However, now another response has been raised in which Gruber gave the same interpretation during this presentation. In my view, the point is again to ask why both sides have to denounce each other as nuts or extremists when there are good-faith arguments can be made on both sides.
Republican state Sen. Alan Hays really really liked the film “America.” So much so that he wants to make viewing the film by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza required viewing for all students. Hays seems entirely unaware of the inherent conflict in responding to what he views as the dangerous influence of liberal views by seeking the mandatory viewing of conservative views.
An Egyptian court this week sentenced three al-Jazeera journalists to long jail terms despite international outcry over the attack on the freedom of the press. To further guarantee that nobody would mistake this for a real court, the judge further accused them of being guided by the devil in their work as reporters. Australian journalist Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were convicted in June of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood by covering the “civil war” in Egypt. The court gave Greste and Fahmy seven-year terms and Mohamed a 10-year term. It also tried eleven defendants in absentia, including one Dutch and two British journalists. They were given 10-year sentences.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor
I have been watching the water crisis in Detroit for some time now and I have been amazed that it is not a bigger story. If you haven’t heard, the new city Administrator of the City of Detroit that was appointed by the Governor and his Water Department have been turning off the water of needy citizens in Detroit when their past due bills are as little as $150.00. In a city with over 20% unemployment and countless vacant buildings, it seems like Detroit is slowly being destroyed. (more…)
Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
We previously reported of an outrageous lawsuit by the owners of the Il Giardino Restaurant in Cap Ferret, France who sued a blogger critical of the dining experience, HERE. Essentially Caroline Doudet was sued by the restaurant’s owners because her allegedly disparaging blog post ranked highly on Google searches for the restaurant–fourth in a Google search return the lawsuit claimed. The title of her critique was in the English, “The place to avoid in Cap Ferret, Il Giardino” and was the cause leading to the lawsuit, according to paperwork filed.
“I was really stunned and disgusted, and of course I will worry now [whenever I] write a negative review,” Doudet said of the effect of the case in an e-mail to Wired.co.uk. “I regret the article, because it’s so much noise for nothing.”
Nevertheless a French Court handed down an emergency ruling blocking the article’s title and awarding Il Giardino €2,500 in fines and court costs.
The restaurant’s owners claimed the title defamed them, causing great damage to a business they worked fifteen years, seven days a week to build and the Google ranking was causing them increasing harm. But in what became a new definition of “Damage Award” the internet came alive and rendered a harsh judgment in its court of appeals. Fame became infâme. And the repercussions were magnifique.
The situation in Israel and Palestine continues to grow worse on both sides. First you had the savage murder of three Israeli teens. Then you had the retaliation burning of a Palestinian teenager. Now protests are erupting all over Israel and the world on both sides. Some of the coverage is focusing on statements made by Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked on Facebook that day before three Israeli men went out and picked up Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, at random and burned him alive. Shaked’s post calls Palestinians “little snakes” and declares that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy.” Now comments by Israeli Knesset member Ayelet Shaked has caused an international outcry including contributing to a continuing rift with Turkey. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the remarks and denounced Israel in an analogy to the Nazi regime. The situation is clearly getting worse by the day in the region.
This morning I will be testifying as the lead witness before the House Rules Committee on the authorization of litigation by the House of Representatives to challenge the unilateral actions of President Obama. The authorization makes it clear that the House will focus on the ACA changes. The hearing will begin at 10 am in H-313 in The Capitol building. It will be aired live on C-Span 3.
We have previously discussed the attacks by the Obama Administration on civil liberties and privacy. Obama has also been accused of attacks on press freedoms — resulting in a sharp decline in the standing of the United States on press rights. Now 38 journalism groups have denounced the Obama Administration for censoring media coverage, limiting access to top officials and overall “politically-driven suppression of the news.”
We have been following the bizarre struggle of Hillary Clinton to claim that she and Bill were “dead broke” after leaving the White House. Independent reviewers like Politifact have shredded the claim and the Clintons have become the fodder for commentators and comedians over the controversy. The Clintons made over $12 million in the first year after leaving the White House and they have made over $100 million from speaking fees and different events. CNN documented that Clinton earned $106 million by making speeches from the end of his presidency through January 2013. Hillary Clinton has pulled in $200,000 a speech and was criticized for receiving $500,000 in one week from Goldman Sachs . Yet, the Clintons have been doubling down on the claim like a bad gambler. Bill Clinton was brought out to vouch for Hillary that the statement is “factually true.” That resulted in a new round of mockery. We have discussed the controversy in terms of the interesting dynamic of American politics where exceptionally wealthy candidates struggle to identify with Americans struggling financially. The Clintons however will not accept that the pitch is simply not working. This week Hillary is again claiming to have been impoverished in a new interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel – a claim that even Germans find just as hard to swallow.
Below is my column today in USA Today on the Obama Administration’s decision to cut off water to legal marijuana growers. Notably, the business concern today for the rollout of legal pot sales in Washington is greater demand than supply. I previously wrote about how a little known board had effectively moved to end the debate over the Redskins name, an example of agencies increasingly intervening in social and political disputes. This move by the Bureau of Reclamation is a prime example of such intervention into political disputes and a troubling precedent for the future.