As I discussed yesterday, I was astonished by the remarks of President Joe Biden on his support for extending the eviction moratorium, which was found to be unconstitutional by lower courts. It was later preserved by a divided Supreme Court despite the view of a majority that it was unconstitutional. It was saved from being struck down merely by the fact that it was expiring. President Biden acknowledged that his legal experts overwhelmingly told him that any extension would violate the Constitution. However, he then said it was worth extending the moratorium because it would take time for a court to intervene and, in the interim, they could rush out money to renters despite the lack of constitutional authority to do so.
Physicist “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” statement captures how science depends upon constant questioning and challenging of assumptions. Yet, what is healthy debate to some is criminal dissent to others. Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine is calling for federal hate-crime protections to be extended to cover criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other scientists. The frequent MSNBC and CNN guest wants Congress to expand hate crimes to “scientists currently targeted by far-right extremism in the United States.” Continue reading “Baylor Professor Calls for Prosecution of Criticism of Fauci and Other Scientists as Hate Crime”
The late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo once famously said “I have no quarrel with people seeing me as a sinner.” Politicians can indeed survive as sinners, particularly repentant sinners. However, his son, Andrew Cuomo, the current New York governor, moved today from presumed sinner but presumed assaulter. He is facing eleven women, including a current staffer, who have accused him of extensive acts of sexual harassment and assault. Andrew Cuomo is looking at years of litigation, including depositions as not just a sinner but a virtual predator. Continue reading “Cuomo Accused of Being Serial Harasser as Cuomo Attacks Accusers as Political Hacks”
Below is my column in the Hill on the shift from reasoned consent to coerced consent in the campaign for vaccinations. The push by the Biden Administration for private companies to enforce mandates and restrictions has increased in the last week. There is a high likelihood of a new round of litigation as pressure builds for new mandates and even lockdowns.
Just before this column ran, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was asked by Fox host Bret Baier “Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level?” She responded “That’s something that I think the administration is looking into.” Later she reversed herself by saying “I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate.” It was a telling response because she was asked about a federal mandate directly. She now says she meant to say a privately enforced mandates is what they are thinking about. The reversal may be a problematic as the original. It would confirm that the Biden Administration is using private companies as a type of direct surrogate for a public mandate.
We have been discussing the long saga over the University of North Carolina’s offering an academic chair to former New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones is one of the most prominent proponents of advocacy journalism and her writings, including as part of the 1619 Project, are highly controversial. Ultimately, Hannah-Jones turned down the UNC offer in favor of Howard University. However, an email triggered a new controversy at UNC after it was disclosed that UNC Journalism and Media Dean Susan King wrote to ABC to expressly ask them to “protect” Hannah-Jones in its coverage. It is an ironic and concerning email. Many of us are critics of advocacy journalism and the growing rejection of objectivity. In this matter, King responded to criticism of Hannah-Jones over advocacy journalism by asking ABC Deputy Political Director Averi Harper to advocate for her in framing the coverage. Continue reading “Advocacy Journalism 101: UNC Dean Asked ABC To “Protect” Hannah-Jones in its Coverage”
I recently gave a speech organized by the office of Sen. Rand Paul on Capitol Hill that addressed the rise of advocacy journalism and other issues impacting our democratic and constitutional values. It was attended by hundreds of staffers from both parties. Afterward Sen. Paul mentioned an example of why he has objected to the role of media framing news stories. I thought that the conflict with the Associated Press offered an interesting follow up to the speech as a useful context to explore the line between accuracy and advocacy. This dispute captures the issues that arise in our heated politics and why interpretative roles in the media can be fraught with difficulties even when done in good faith. Indeed, I believe both Paul and the AP have valid points to raise on these disputes that could be illustrative and instructive for all of us.
Just yesterday, we discussed the censoring of a commentator by Twitter for merely expressing an opinion over the need for a “pause” on any federal mandates on Covid-19 as new research is studied. Now, a former New York Times science reporter, Alex Berenson, has been suspended for simply citing the results from a clinical trial by Pfizer and raising questions over any vaccine mandate. In the meantime, the White House accused both the Washington Post and New York Times of irresponsible reporting on Covid, but surprisingly Twitter has not suspended those accounts. It is the license of the censor. Twitter is unwilling to let people read or discuss viewpoints that it disagrees with as a corporation. Many on the left, however, have embraced the concept of corporate speech and censorship. It turns out that the problem with censorship for many was the failure to censor views that they opposed. With the “right” censors at work, the free speech concerns have been set aside.
Below is my column on academic work claiming that the Second Amendment is a relic of slavery. The reframing of the debate follows a familiar pattern in academia. Indeed, the same type of sweeping (and unchallenged) generalities was used recently to declare Olympic surfing a relic of American imperialism. The framing of such claims often precede any search for the facts. However, academics know that there is an eager and unquestioning audience for such publications. Conversely, those academics challenging such claims risk isolation and shunning in today’s intolerant environment. What is most striking about this latest claim is that it is directly and comprehensively contradicted by historical sources. Yet, there are relatively few academics who have publicly challenged the claims as media heralds the theory as a type of breakthrough publication. As discussed earlier, the theory is neither new nor well-founded.
Here is the column: Continue reading “The Second Amendment Is About Rifles Not Racism”
I recently discussed how the Biden Administration was actively encouraging corporations to limit speech and impose vaccine mandates as a type of shadow state. Rather than take such actions directly ( and face both legal and political challenges), the Administration is relying on its close alliance with Big Tech and other companies to carry out such tasks. That surrogate relationship is particularly clear in the expanding censorship program carried out by Twitter, Facebook and other companies. Twitter’s action against political commentator Dave Rubin is an example of how these companies are now dispensing with any pretense in actively barring criticism of government policies and viewpoints.
We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. The New York Times has been at the forefront of this shift away from traditional reporting but has increasingly found that the fluidity of advocacy journalism leaves it without any clear framework or standards. Consider the latest scandal at the Times. Justice Department reporter and MSNBC contributor Katie Benner went on a rave about Republicans and called Trump supporters “enemies of the state.” She also made a not-so-veiled call for readers to vote against them. The Times has been in total radio silence over what, just a few years ago, would have been viewed as an outrageous violation of journalistic standards. Yet, just recently, it fired another reporter for a comparatively mild tweet supporting Biden. Professional ethics, it seems, has become entirely impressionistic in the age of advocacy journalism. Continue reading ““The Enemies of the State”: The New York Times and The Fluidity of Advocacy Journalism”
According to a new Gallup poll, the Supreme Court has fallen to the lowest point in four years in approval despite a term marked by a long list of unanimous and non-ideological decisions. In perhaps the best evidence that the Court is getting it right, all sides seem equally frustrated with the Court.
There is a new ruling out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that could be headed for a major showdown in the Supreme Court. The decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis could force a hitherto evasive Court to rule directly on the conflict between anti-discrimination laws and the religious clauses. I have previously written that I view these controversies as best addressed as free speech rather than free exercise cases. The Tenth Circuit decision reaffirms a growing conflict among the circuits and offers an especially strong case for the Court to consider such a major reframing of such conflicts. Continue reading “Tenth Circuit Rules Web Designer Must Create Site For Same-Sex Marriage”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the renewed calls for the investigation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The often over-heated coverage however omits key factual and legal context for a new report.
Here is the column:
A few weeks ago, I testified in the House Judiciary Committee on the surveillance of journalists in a long series of scandals from the Bush to the Obama to the Trump to the Biden Administrations. These scandals have occurred with almost seasonal regularity. There was a rare sense of bipartisanship in the hearing as both parties called for investigation and new legislation to address this ongoing problem. However, there has been a notable silence among members and the media after Tucker Carlson went public with an allegation that his emails were not just intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) but that they were shared with members of the press by intelligence officials. Now, there appears confirmation that the communications were mentioned on intercepts and, as some of us assumed early in the coverage, Carlson was “unmasked” by Biden Administration officials. Yet, the response continues to be crickets from the media and members of Congress. Continue reading “Report: Biden Administration Officials “Unmasked” Tucker Carlson”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the sudden announcement from President Joe Biden that he does not support the elimination of the filibuster. It only took six months.
Here is the column: