Category: Media

An Educational Tonkin Gulf? The NSBA Apologies for the Letter that Triggered the Controversial Federal Operation

Engagement in the Gulf of Tonkin

We recently discussed the controversy following the letter of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) asking the Justice Department to investigate parents causing disruptions or making threats at school board meetings. The letter included a reference to using the Patriot Act against possible domestic terrorism. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded a few days later with an order to the entire Department of Justice to monitor school board meetings around the country and coordinate a response with local officials. Now the NSBA has issued an apology.  The question is whether Garland will now rescind or amend his much criticized memo. It has the feel of an educational version of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Should we reconsider our deployment in light of the false premise that triggered the escalation of hostilities? Continue reading “An Educational Tonkin Gulf? The NSBA Apologies for the Letter that Triggered the Controversial Federal Operation”

Berkeley Physicist Resigns After Colleagues Block UChicago Professor from Speaking at Science Event

We recently discussed the cancelling of Dorian Abbot, an associate professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, who was prevented from speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The reason was not the merits of his scientific work but his opposition to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs. Now, a climate physicist at Berkeley has resigned in protest of his colleagues also blocking Abbot from speaking. Professor  David Romps said in a Twitter thread that he resigned as director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center rather than participate in such censorship of a fellow academic. With many academics fearful of the backlash over supporting free speech or academic freedom, Romps’ resignation was an increasingly rare profile in courage. Continue reading “Berkeley Physicist Resigns After Colleagues Block UChicago Professor from Speaking at Science Event”

“What Should We Be Doing Differently?”: CNN Conducts Bizarre Interview with Former Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias

Lawyer Marc Elias has been much in the news lately for his role in funding the Steele dossier, which is a subject of the investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. That investigation just resulted in the indictment of Elias’ former partner at Perkins Coie, Michael Sussman, for lying to federal officials in spreading the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. Sussman worked with Elias in representing the Clinton campaign. Yet, CNN’s Brian Stelter did a long interview with Elias on how to improve the media without asking him about the investigation or public accusations by reporters that Elias and the Clinton campaign lied to them about their funding of the dossier. It appears that improving the election coverage does not include telling the truth to the media. Instead, Elias objected that the media was not slanted enough toward his work, which he described as “pro-democracy.”

Continue reading ““What Should We Be Doing Differently?”: CNN Conducts Bizarre Interview with Former Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias”

“Youthful Folly”: Katie Couric Under Fire For Deleting Ginsburg Quotes Against NFL Kneelers

We have been discussing the implications of the rising advocacy journalism movement where reporters actively frame or omit facts to achieve social or political agendas. This week there is an astonishing story about the suppression of newsworthy facts by a leading journalist, Katie Couric. Notably, Couric outed herself in her new memoir by recounting how she cut out a quote from the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a 2016 interview concerning the kneelers at NFL games. What is even more troubling is that journalists like New York Times columnist David Brooks allegedly encouraged her to do so. Continue reading ““Youthful Folly”: Katie Couric Under Fire For Deleting Ginsburg Quotes Against NFL Kneelers”

Is it Time for a Special Counsel on the Hunter Biden Scandal?

“Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account.” Those nine words from a retired Secret Service agent to Hunter Biden in recently released emails may prove a nasty complication for some in Washington who have struggled to contain the blowback from the still-unfolding scandal linked to Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop. Continue reading “Is it Time for a Special Counsel on the Hunter Biden Scandal?”

Learning To Fear Free Speech: How Politicians Are Moving To Protect Us From Our Unhealthy Reading Choices

Below is my column in the Hill on the increasing calls for censorship and speech regulation on the Internet.  The most recent push on Capitol Hill surrounds the testimony of former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen who alleges that Facebook has been knowingly harming children through promotion and access to certain sites. For some, the testimony follows a type of Trojan Horse pattern where anti-free speech measures are packaged as public safety measures.  Before embracing the proposals of these senators, the public needs to think long and hard over what is being lost in these “reforms.”

Here is the column: Continue reading “Learning To Fear Free Speech: How Politicians Are Moving To Protect Us From Our Unhealthy Reading Choices”

China Arrests Former Journalist for Criticizing Film on Korean War

There’s an old comedy skit of a haughty art expert giving a museum tour and explaining the meaning of an abstract painting. When he finishes, a woman in front says, “I don’t like it” to which the expert responds “well you’re wrong.” The skit is funny, of course, because art is in the eye of the beholder . . . unless you are in China apparently.  This week, former journalist (and businessman) Luo Changping was arrested. Unfortunately, that is not uncommon in the authoritarian state. However, his crime was saying that he did not like “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” a $200 million film about the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. In China, it is a crime to defame “political martyrs.”

This story combines two of my favorite subjects: free speech and military history. Unfortunately, neither survives unscathed.

Continue reading “China Arrests Former Journalist for Criticizing Film on Korean War”

Chicago Journalist Cancels Appearance With Blistering Response to DePaul’s Student Editors and Faculty Advisor

Chicago Tribune journalist Eric Zorn is not going to speak at DePaul University after the student newspaper condemned him for “racism.” The students wrote that Zorn should not participate in a “Tough Times for Local Journalism” panel because he warned against making snap judgments on the controversial shooting of Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer. Zorn however wrote (below) a blistering response to the school and its editors over the cancel campaign. Continue reading “Chicago Journalist Cancels Appearance With Blistering Response to DePaul’s Student Editors and Faculty Advisor”

United States Supreme Court Affirms Denial of Voting Rights For D.C.

The United States Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (and the later denial of a motion for consideration) in rejecting the much touted lawsuit to give residents a vote in Congress. Some of us have repeatedly said that the lawsuit would not succeed despite various law professors filing a brief supporting the underlying claims. What is most striking however is the coverage in the Washington Post, which reported on the summary affirmance but only quoted supporters for the challenge, including a strikingly misleading take on the lower court ruling upheld by the Supreme Court.

Continue reading “United States Supreme Court Affirms Denial of Voting Rights For D.C.”

Oklahoma State Editor Reportedly Forced Out Due To Anti-Mask Mandate Editorial

We have been discussing how student publications are firing writers and editors who write columns espousing dissenting views on police abuse or other subjects. This pattern has repeatedly itself at Wisconsin, Syracuse, and other schools. Student columnists have been formally condemned at schools like Georgetown and both faculty and students have sought to eliminate whole publications at schools like Dartmouth as “incubators of hate.” Now, the editor-in-chief at a student newspaper at Oklahoma State University, Maddison Farris, says that she was forced out due to her writing a column criticizing a mask mandate on campus. Continue reading “Oklahoma State Editor Reportedly Forced Out Due To Anti-Mask Mandate Editorial”

YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship

We have been discussing the rising support for corporate censorship among leading Democratic politicians, academics, and writers. Social media and Internet companies now actively respond to calls from government officials to silence those with opposing views. The latest such example is Google-owned YouTube removing videos of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny before Russia’s parliamentary elections.  Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. also pulled a voting app from Navalny ahead of the election. Nevertheless, CEO Susan Wojcicki bizarrely claimed in a Bloomberg interview Bloomberg Television that free speech remains a “core value” for the company. Continue reading “YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship”

“Those People Will Pay”: Did Biden Just Prejudice the Border Investigation?

The comments of President Joe Biden on Friday left many of us surprised, if not stunned, when he appeared to announce a finding to the ongoing investigation into allegations that mounted Border patrol officers whipped or “strapped” Haitian migrants trying to enter the country. During the Trump Administration, many of us correctly chastised the President for crossing the line in discussing ongoing Justice Department investigations and calling for particular resolutions. The response to this inappropriate statement is more muted from the media but it should be no less concerning. Biden’s statements are clearly prejudicial to the investigation of the incident and should be corrected in the interests of a fair process for all involved.

Continue reading ““Those People Will Pay”: Did Biden Just Prejudice the Border Investigation?”

The Ultimate Disinfectant: The Only Thing Worse Than The “Transhuman” Videos Would Be Banning Them

Even in this age of rage and delirium, a claim being made on the Internet is breathtaking. Videos are circulating on social media that claim that taking the Covid-19 vaccines makes you legally “transhuman” and therefore you have no rights guaranteed under the Constitution. What is impressive about this demonstrably false claim is that it is based on a purported holding of the Supreme Court. The viral story has been cited as an example of “disinformation” that supports calls for greater governmental or corporate censorship. However, it is a prime example to prove the opposite: how free speech can correct bad speech. There is no need to censor rather than expose such lunacy.  Vaccines will clearly not make you transhuman but censorship will certainly make you less free. Continue reading “The Ultimate Disinfectant: The Only Thing Worse Than The “Transhuman” Videos Would Be Banning Them”

Clinton Lawyer’s Indictment Reveals “Bag of Tricks”

Below is my column in the Hill on the Sussmann indictment by Special Counsel John Durham. The single charge under 18 U.S.C. 1001 is not as significant as the supporting narrative and facts disclosed by Durham in this prosecution. The indictment fills in a number of blanks in how the Clinton campaign pushed a false Russian collusion narrative despite the objections of its own researchers.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Clinton Lawyer’s Indictment Reveals “Bag of Tricks””

Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges

In Washington, there is no greater indication of wrongdoing than the number of people denouncing efforts to investigate it. The “nothing to see here” crowd went into hyperventilation this week when Special Counsel John Durham indicted a former Clinton campaign lawyer, Michael Sussmann. Legal experts who spent years validating every possible criminal charge against Trump and his associates are now insisting that Durham needs to end his investigation. The Washington Post heaped ridicule on Durham despite an indictment detailing an effort to hide the connection to the Clinton campaign and a concerted effort to push false Russian collusion claims. Continue reading “Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges”