Washington Post Admits Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Was Dismissed Because it was Supported by Trump

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Photo Credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

At a Jan. 30, 2020 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican told colleagues: “This coronavirus is a catastrophe on the scale of Chernobyl for China. But actually, it’s probably worse than Chernobyl, which was localized in its effect. The coronavirus could result in a global pandemic. I would note that Wuhan has China’s only biosafety level-four super laboratory that works with the world’s most deadly pathogens to include, yes, coronavirus.”

Cotton was widely mocked by the liberal media over those remarks and similar ones to follow.

Looking back to the early days of the coronavirus, anyone who mentioned that the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan was labeled a conspiracy theorist. Saying the virus may have been created in that lab was even worse.

In recent weeks, however, journalists who once scoffed at such a notion are opening to the possibility.

The Washington Post’s “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, who was himself the subject of a fact-check involving remarks about Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, actually admits that the legacy media’s anti-Trump bias may have been behind their rejection of the lab leak theory.

Kessler excuses both himself and his colleagues from performing their due diligence by saying that the lab leak theory “often got mixed up with speculation that the virus was deliberately created as a bioweapon,” which he finds preposterous. (When the truth finally comes out, he may be proven wrong about that as well. But I digress.) Surely any journalist worth his or her salt would be able to separate the two, and investigate both theories. Did the virus escape accidentally from the lab that was tied to the CCP’s military or was it intentionally released?

It was China’s “lack of transparency” and “renewed attention to the activities of the Wuhan lab” that finally opened their eyes to the possibility that the virus may have leaked from the lab, the only lab in China that is known to work with this specific pathogen.

He finally gets around to the real reason: former President Donald Trump. Here too, Kessler tries hard to absolve himself and the rest of the media. He writes: “The Trump administration also sought to highlight the lab scenario but generally could only point to vague intelligence. The Trump administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.”

I’m sure by now, nearly a year and a half after the coronavirus reached our shores, U.S. intelligence agencies have more solid information about its origins. But in those early days, all Trump had to go on was vague intelligence.

As for his anti-Chinese rhetoric making it easier to ignore his claims, wouldn’t a serious investigative journalist be able to put the President’s comments aside and look at the facts? Isn’t that a journalist’s job?

Isn’t Kessler essentially saying that the theory was dismissed mostly because of its connection to Trump?

Kessler takes readers through a COVID-19 timeline. Most of the early reactions were based on the lab leak theory and left the door open to the possibility that it could have been intentional.

Later in January, The Daily Mail and The Washington Times published articles making the connection between the virus and the Wuhan lab.

On Feb. 6, “Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, posts a paper stating that ‘the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.’ He pointed to the previous safety mishaps and the kind of research undertaken at the lab. He withdrew the paper a few weeks later after Chinese authorities insisted no accident had taken place,” according to The Post.

Did any journalists wonder why Xiao withdrew the paper? That researchers who didn’t acquiesce to the CCP’s version of events had a way of disappearing?

On Feb. 9, Cotton struck back via Twitter against China’s ambassador who had said his remarks were “absolutely crazy.”

Following more criticism from The Washington Post, Cotton responded with the following Twitter thread:

The hypotheses include: “1. Natural (still the most likely, but almost certainly not from the Wuhan food market); 2. Good science, bad safety (eg, they were researching things like diagnostic testing and vaccines, but an accidental breach occurred); 3. Bad science, bad safety (this is the engineered-bioweapon hypothesis, with an accidental breach); 4. Deliberate release (very unlikely, but shouldn’t rule out till the evidence is in); Again, none of these are ‘theories’ and certainly not ‘conspiracy theories.’ They are hypotheses that ought to be studied in light of the evidence.”

The turning point in the debate over COVID’s origins came on Feb. 19 when a group of public health scientists published a joint statement, which was scolding in its nature, in the elite medical journal Lancet.

It read: “The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),1 and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.”

According to The Post, “the statement was drafted and organized by Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance,which funded research at WIV with U.S. government grants. (Three of the signers have since said a laboratory accident is plausible enough to merit consideration.)”

These so-called “experts” did the world a great disservice by signing on to this statement. They provided China with an excuse to escape blame for the virus. It was this letter that did more than anything else to turn the tide away from the lab leak theory.

The media would point to this letter from the “experts” and ridicule anyone who mentioned the lab leak theory.

So, why now are they changing their tune? Why did PolitiFact retract their earlier fact check (which debunked the lab leak theory) last week? Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing. Perhaps they’re privy to something that hasn’t been made public yet. Or maybe it’s because there is growing circumstantial evidence that points to the lab leak theory.

Whatever the reason, Kessler’s article was a feeble attempt to explain why the vast majority of journalists, once again, failed to do their jobs.

A version of this article was posted in The Western Journal.

Stunning New Video Shows US Capitol Police Allowing Jan. 6 Protestors to ‘Peacefully Assemble’ Inside Capitol

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Photo Credit: Image by David Mark from Pixabay

American Greatness‘ Julie Kelly published an amazing video on Sunday showing Jan. 6 protestors speaking with U.S. Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol building. One officer is heard telling them, “We’re not against . . . you need to show us . . . here’s what you need to show … you understand … no attacking, no assault, remain calm.” This blows a rather large hole in the Democrats’ Capitol insurrection story and makes the U.S. media look like Pravda.

The officer, “identified in the video and confirmed by charging documents as Officer Keith Robishaw, appears to tell Chansely’s group they won’t stop them from entering the building,” according to Kelly.

Kelly reports:

The video directly contradicts what government prosecutors allege in a complaint filed January 8 against Chansley: “Robishaw and other officers calmed the protestors somewhat and directed them to leave the area from the same way they had entered. Chansley approached Officer Robishaw and screamed, among other things, that this was their house, and that they were there to take the Capitol, and to get Congressional leaders.”

Chansley later is seen entering the Senate chambers with a police officer behind him; he led several protesters in prayer and sat in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair. (The man in the yellow sweatshirt is William Watson, a drug dealer out on bond. He was arrested in January.)

Chansley is not charged with assaulting an officer; he faces several counts for trespassing and disorderly conduct. He has been incarcerated since January, denied bail awaiting trial. He has no criminal record.

Watson takes a microphone and tells protestors, “Listen up. The police here are willing to work with us and cooperate peacefully like our First Amendment allows. Gather more Americans under the condition that they will come and gather peacefully to discuss what needs to be done to save our country. … We’re going to be heard. This must be peaceful.”

Jacob Chansley, better known as the man wearing the Viking horns, or the “QAnon Shaman,” shouts to the others, “This has to be peaceful. We have the right to peacefully assemble.”

Kelly writes that she obtained the video from RMG News and that it is alleged to be a portion “of a much longer video that has yet to be released.”

I’ll post additional video as I find it.

Truth-Teller in Chief?

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Photo Credit: Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

How often do you read or listen to the radio, television or an internet news publication and then almost immediately stop and think to yourself, “What the heck, are they serious?” In my case, it’s usually ‘Whaaaa?,’ followed by my internal monolog of ‘I’ll take ‘Things that Didn’t Happen for $200, Alex’.

This surprise at the facts seems to be happening to me with ever increasing velocity. Lately, I read about untrue race hoaxers with increasing regularity, those graduates of the Al Sharpton School of Inflammatory Lies; people like Twanna Brawley, Jussie Smollet, Dauntarius Williams (as reported by the Wichita Eagle) or the yet-to-be-named idiot who single-handedly shut down the Albion campus, reported in the American Crisis. I just shake my head in disbelief. Why, how, who benefits?

Nasty stuff and it turns out its even nastier when false. Even if we find out it didn’t happen, it’s always investigated and reported as a hoax way too late; the lie about what didn’t happen is already embedded into the lexicon of popular culture and could be fueling the next round of those ‘mostly peaceful’ protests.  Damage done.

The ‘news’ organizations?  They seem to pass on as much uninvestigated dreck as those who start the falsehoods. Two plus years of Russian/Trump campaign collusion sound familiar? Good little lad Treyvon Martin vs. that awful white-Hispanic George Zimmerman, anyone?

Government spokespersons? Ever force yourself to sit through a White House press briefing? Hard to tell what’s worse; the implied narrative ‘question’ that rambles on longer than a broken Biden synapse or the dog’s breakfast of tangentially related factoids of an answer from the spokesperson at the podium.

I think to myself, where is that unvarnished source of truth that we so desperately need? Where can we go to get the facts, and nothing but the facts, about the events of the day? Didn’t we used to have a place like this?

Mr. Narrator (interrupts): “Richard Edward, you know who you are missing. Think a little harder about it and the name will come to you.”

Richard Edward: “Well, I usually say, when I see something that I think is bogus, ‘I’ll take things that didn’t happen for $200, Alex’…..”

Yes! I remember now. George Alexander Trebek, the greatest source of correct answers in the world. You knew in your knower that when Alex gave you the correct answer, there was no way on God’s earth that he was mistaken. Mr. Trebek and his merry band of fact gatherers were the best on the planet. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, FBI, NSA, CIA – you guys don’t have nutin’ on Alex and his gang.

Mr. Narrator:  “I knew it would come to you, Richard Edward. Mr. Trebek was always one of your heroes. His intelligence obvious, his personality engaging and maybe most importantly, his ability to deliver the correct answer to the contestants who got it wrong was always gracious, without condescension.”

Richard Edward: “Mr. Narrator, we really need Mr. Trebek, or someone like him, in our world … especially in the world of news reporting. I need someone whom I can trust when I hear them speak. I want to listen to someone who can deliver good and bad news, without any bias. I want to listen to someone who will raise his or her own eyebrows when they read the news, especially when they themselves find the story suspect. I want someone who can admit that they didn’t know the answer or need more facts before they can give an answer.”

“Mr. Narrator, as I search the net and change channels on my LCD display, I feel like Diogenes, casting about in the world of news anchors and reporters, hoping for success before my candle burns out.”

Mr. Narrator: “Ain’t gonna happen Richard Edward. Nowadays, good news is considered to be fast news, truth aside. If you aren’t first, you lose.”

“No bias? Don’t you know everyone who isn’t a POC is racist? Yep, heard it on the news just last week. Can’t trust a racist, can we?”

“Solid sources? C’mon man, anonymous sources close to the _____ are so much easier to create and quote. You really think anyone is going to go on record in this day of cancel culture, anyway?”

“You want honesty, Richard Edward?  Marry a lie detector operator. You want nothing but the truth? Well, even if a story isn’t completely true, ask any reporter why it’s better to be ‘directionally’ correct, to give the impetus to the narrative – they can always make adjustments for the facts as they appear, weave them into the narrative, at a later date.”

In my ‘knower’, I believe that Mr. Narrator is correct. Facts and truth have become causalities of speed and agenda. Is there any candidate in our culture who can wear the mantle of unvarnished truth giver? (I’ve got two people in mind, but the jury is still out on both and besides that, one of them is a lawyer).

Is that why Mr. Trebek was so popular? I mean, it was just a game show, right? Was it just his pleasing, engaging personality or was it something more? Did he become, albeit in our collective subconscious, our speaker of truth, our trusted voice, the source of fact? Who would you trust more back in the day, Mr. Trebek, Mr. Politician or Mr. Newscaster?

If, like Richard Edward and Mr. Narrator, you feel America needs a new, truth-teller-in-chief, please leave us a comment.  Feel free to nominate someone in your comment and give old Diogenes a hand.

— Richard Edward Tracy

Arizona Tracy and the Virus of Doom

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Photo Credit: Image by Ed Zilch from Pixabay

I am sitting at my work station, contemplating the state of my State and more largely, my beautiful America. Did we have a real State of the Union address this year? Does it matter, either way? Where are we when we contemplate the matter of the health of the American culture? So many aspects of my life seem so different than they did a mere 18 months ago. But not just slightly different, they feel irreparably changed. Will I ever be able to go outside without a mask? Will I ever be able to walk the streets of my hometown without being an assumed racist, simply because of my gender, ethnicity and skin color? Will I have to continue to live with the new, woke concepts of intersectionality and diversity, along with the word salad that is used to define them? Will it ever again be morning in America?

I am on a quest to find hard news, not just some radical left-wing interpretation of events accompanied by a screed telling me how I should feel about said interpretation. In that process, I’m continually confronted by ledes, headlines and proclamations from the elected (and non-elected) elite that remind me just how precarious my life situation really is.

President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. Chip Bergh said Friday on CNN’s “Newsroom” that his company is advocating for so-called gun control because “gun violence is ripping this country apart.”

Wow, an internationally known jean-maker who thinks guns are evil and that America is being ripped apart because of them. Is there anything guns can’t do?

CDC Director Declares Racism a Serious Public Health Threat; Actually Wokeness is a Bigger Threat

I thought COVID (or maybe morbid obesity from the lockdown) was supposed to be my worst health fear?

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Mexican Cartels Control the U.S. Border, Says Rep. Chip Roy

The ongoing immigration crisis is caused by Mexican cartels and the federal government is turning a blind eye, Texas Congressman Chip Roy argues. “The most important thing for the American people to understand is that cartels control the border,” Congressman Roy said.

Lawless gangs/cartel thugs in charge of the US southern border? What in blazes? Now what?

Wait, is that a song I hear, low down in the place where my memories are supposed to reside?

Mr. Narrator (interrupts): “Richard Edward, you’re just hearing things again. There is no one here but me.”

Richard Edward: “No, no Mr. Narrator, I hear something. It sounds like country music. Listen, you’ll recognize it sooner or later, just like I will. Reach way, way back in your memory to the days when television was still popular.”

There it is again, but this time it’s louder, a catchy little tune:

Gloom, despair and agony on me.

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

 Gloom, despair and agony on me.

Ah ha, I remember it now. This was a skit, a funny poke at all the ‘sad sacks’ of the day, moaning about their fate in life when as things weren’t going their way.

Then I think about this memory a little more. Why does this not feel very funny? Funny? This little ditty is now a downer. Why do I feel like this is the prevailing mood over much of the country? Are things really this bad, or am I just being told that my world is garbage by a media that competes for eyeballs with ledes that bleed?

Mr. Narrator: “Richard Edward, you’ve been reading too much news. Just because President Biden signed some meaningless EO’s about firearms and some CEO of a large successful American corporation said that gun violence is ripping the country apart doesn’t mean it is. Look at the actual FBI stats. … Not true.”

“Just because a high-ranking CDC official is purporting that racism is a serious public health threat doesn’t mean you will catch it and die a horrible death, attached to a anti-racist ventilator and diversity IV drip….”

“Just because a US Congressman is telling us that the illegal immigrant surge at the southern U.S. border is being controlled and leveraged by Mexican gangs…well, okay, maybe they have one side of the border under control. It’s just too bad that we can’t seem to do the same for our side, but it’s not a permanent condition. Remember how it was under President Trump?”

Richard Edward: “Mr. Narrator, still, isn’t this all horrible? I feel like America is reeling like a prize fighter in the 10th round, one who has been pummeled unmercifully during the previous nine. How can we continue on when we can’t even enjoy life without the fear of guns appearing out of nowhere, the racism health risk hovering about, just waiting to pounce on us when we demask and — ”

Mr. Narrator (interrupts, again): “Richard Edward, full stop. If anything is infecting you, it’s the woke radical left’s virus of doom. This virus is spread by media’s inaccurate reporting, by radical left’s woke talking points that haven’t been scrubbed by the light of truth and by the ignorance of those who believe that they will find comfort in the arms of socialists and their authoritarian governments.”

“Richard Edward, think! Who controls your ultimate destiny?  Who created the heavens above and the earth on which you stand?  Who knows the count of the hairs on your head even as in your case, Richard Edward, His job being a little more difficult as you lose more and more of them every day?  Who has the power to deliver you from the lion’s den, from the Pharaohs in DC and from this proposed hell-on-earth, a socialist democrat work-in-process?”

Richard Edward: “You are so right. Why do I despair? I know my eternal future and I know that He can deliver me from circumstances that seem overwhelming. I need to quit being afraid. I need to stop focusing on the negative and I need to start being positive, spreading truth. Encouraging lawful and civil behavior. I need to stop believing that everything I read in the media is fact-based. To paraphrase one of my favorite presidents, Don’t Trust, Always Verify.”

Our world hasn’t been perfect since we left the Garden. I sometimes (too often) forget that a fallen state is our normal state. In my desire to have and see things better than they are, I forget that we are supposed to be salt, here to preserve the good as we find it. If we are here to be salt, goodness must need preserving. If you agree that our beautiful America is worth preserving, please leave us a comment.

—  Richard Edward Tracy

Joe Biden and the ‘One Note Samba’

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Photo Credit: Image by David Stephanus from Pixabay

Ah, the week is coming to an end, and what a week it has been. Our AWOL president showed his face for an hour or so yesterday, carrying a binder full of reporters (no worries, Senator Romney, those binders of women still belong to you) and the weight of the free world on his shoulders.

Since that blessed event which featured the “moral and decent man,” I’ve been waiting for the long line of press releases articulating the forthcoming activities for the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the battle plan to Build Back Better has been little more than a repudiation and reversal of the policies and programs of the Trump Administration.

Donald Trump’s presidency was a symphony of activity. In four short years, he accomplished so much that even his most ardent supporters might miss an achievement or two in recall. The list is so long, Richard Edward cannot recount the entire four years of activity. Just the highlights of Mr. Trump’s tenure would make a swamp creature politician proud to include them on their resume.

Since I have turtle recall, I searched the internet and found the “score sheet” for every instrument in the Trump administration orchestra. The list of accomplishments during President Trump’s tenure requires hundreds of individual bullet points and over 10,000 words of information. There isn’t time or space to annotate each one. It’s well worth your time to review Trump Administration Accomplishments. I guarantee you will be amazed at how much was achieved, and how much you never heard about – looking at you mainstream media.

In contrast, the new Biden-Harris Administration appears to be preoccupied with tearing down existing rules, methods and processes, without regard to efficacy. I am still not sure if that means building back better or just trying to eradicate all reminders of their predecessor.

Cue Narrator: “Richard Edward, were you looking for the list of goals that the Biden Administration was going to pursue?”

Richard Edward: “You bet. I have been anxiously waiting to see how much further the Biden Administration can take America, building upon the successful programs of the Trump Administration. I mean, c’mon man, what a foundation from which to build your new presidency, right?”

Narrator: “Well, Richard Edward, it looks like the Biden list you seek may be shorter than you anticipated.”

Richard Edward: “That can’t be right. … Biden has served in the federal government for what, 47 years? He must have a laundry list of ideas and policies that will continue to make America great. President Trump did literally hundreds of positive things for America so President Biden, with all of his prior experience, should have even more cool stuff. See, CNN’s got a list of orders signed in his first few months. … I’ll bet it’s really detailed and long and ….”

Mr. Narrator:  “Okay Richard Edward, lets take a look.”

He presents a list compiled by six CNN writers of Biden’s “achievements” through 8 March 2021 (emphasis mine):

President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders, actions and memorandums aimed at rapidly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many of former President Donald Trump’s policies.

The executive actions Biden has taken in the first days of his administration include halting funding for the construction of Trump’s border wall, reversingTrump’s travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries, imposing a mask mandate on federal property, ramping up vaccination supplies and requiring international travelers to provide proof of negative Covid-19 tests prior to traveling to the United States.

So far, Biden has signed more than 50 executive actions, 22 of which are direct reversals of Trump’s policies. Most of these actions have addressed the novel coronavirus, immigration and equity.

Biden defends the number of executive actions he has issued as necessary to undo what he considers “bad policy” inherited from Trump, especially on immigration.

To date, nine of his 11 actions regarding immigration are reversals of Trump’s policies.

And straight from the horse’s mouth as he signed a stack of executive orders on immigration in the Oval Office on Feb. 2. (via CNN):

And I want to make it clear — there’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders that I have signed — I’m not making new law; I’m eliminating bad policy. What I’m doing is taking on the issues that — 99% of them — that the president, the last president of the United States, issued executive orders I felt were very counterproductive to our security, counterproductive to who we are as a country, particularly in the area of immigration.

After reading the CNN article, I sit back from my laptop, somewhat stunned. I ask myself, “What is this all about? Why is Biden undoing everything that 75 million American citizens thought were moving our country in the proper direction? Even during the pandemic, we were overall winning.”

Low unemployment, increased opportunity for minorities, energy independence, new Middle East peace prospects; my favorites on the Trump “win list” swirl in my brain. There are hundreds more.

Richard Edward: “Weren’t we told that Biden is a moderate Democrat who will consider the well-being of Americans, our laws, our economy, our health and safety, and doing what’s best for America regardless of politics? Now I am learning that Biden’s really only knows how to tear down. He’s taken a wrecking ball to Trump’s accomplishments.”

Narrator:  Cue the music.

Faintly, the upbeat melody of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s One Note Samba wafts out of my stereo speakers. The English lyrics, written by Jon Hendricks, seem so appropriate for the situation.

This is just a little samba
built upon a single note
Other notes are bound to follow but the root is still that note
Now this new one is the consequence
of the one we’ve just been through
As I’m bound to be the unavoidable consequence of you

There’s so many people who can talk and talk and talk
And just say nothing or nearly nothing
I have used up all the scale I know and at the end I’ve come
To nothing, or nearly nothing

Richard Edward:  “Mr. Narrator, I hate the music you chose to make your point. Unfortunately, I get it. Mr. Biden only knows how to play one song, using one note, a discordant note of destruction. Why didn’t Biden learn to play something new over 47 years? If only we had a president who really knew how to play more than one note on one instrument, who had a repertoire of music and the ability to improvise during his performance. Biden has used up all of the scale and truly, come to nothing.”

If you think a president’s inability to do nothing but tear down what has come before him is an American Crisis, please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

—  Richard Edward Tracy

The Introduction of Race as a Central Issue in American Politics Can Be Traced to an Aug 2019 Staff Meeting at The NY Times

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Photo Credit: Image by UnratedStudio from Pixabay

Much ink has been spilled about the systemic racism that exists in America. This, of course, became front and center following the death of George Floyd last May. That event, which it turns out was grotesquely misreported, served as the green light for an all-out war against the evil white man who continues to oppress blacks to this day.

It gave license to domestic terrorist groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa to burn and loot American cities without consequence. Contrast the anemic efforts by law enforcement to pursue those responsible for what became billions of dollars of property damage and injury to police officers and civilians, with the FBI’s robust campaign to chase down citizens who attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally. We’ve heard reports of FBI SWAT teams conducting pre-dawn raids, similar to the Roger Stone raid, at the homes of these “dangerous criminals.”

Where the %&$# was the FBI when former President Donald Trump was being targeted for colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election? Oh yeah, they were in on it. They were busy preparing their fraudulent applications to the FISA Court for a warrant and three renewals to spy on members of the Trump campaign. And wracking their brains to find a way to set a perjury trap for Gen. Michael Flynn so they could turn his life into a living hell for the next four years.

The riots that spread like wildfire throughout the U.S. last summer thrust the issue of systemic racism to the fore. In the midst of a pandemic and a deep recession, systemic racism became the most pressing issue of the day. The country needed to find a way – and fast – to atone for the heinous behavior of nineteenth century southern plantation owners even though hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting a war to abolish slavery.

The mainstream media has been moving away from the practice of journalism for years. With the arrival of candidate Donald Trump, it was abandoned altogether. The media collectively embraced activism. They operate as a unit.

Unlikely as it may sound, the adoption of “race” as a top issue in American discourse was actually a deliberate decision made by The New York Times, which is arguably the most influential newspaper in America.

It happened in August 2019, long before Americans ever heard of George Floyd. The manner of Floyd’s death, as it was represented in the viral video of then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, merely served as a catalyst.

The occasion was a “crisis employee town-hall,” a staff meeting held by The Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet. A recording of his remarks was leaked to and published by Slate. (The full transcript of the meeting, via Slate, is reprinted at the bottom of the page.)

At the time, Trump had just delivered a positive and widely praised speech on two mass shootings that had taken place nearly simultaneously in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The President had denounced racism in the strongest possible terms.

The headline in The Times read, ““TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.” Following harsh criticism from the left for their positive take on the speech, the newspaper changed its headline to “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.”

The Times’ title change became a huge story, as it should have.

Baquet opened the meeting with a discussion of the “significant missteps” they had made in handling the “crisis.” But, he told employees, “there’s something larger at play here and that was their coverage of Trump.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had given his disastrous testimony several weeks earlier which pretty much ended the Trump/Russia collusion story they had spent years covering. “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well,” Baquet said. “Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”

The story that would dominate the news over the next two years, he said, would be race.

He told his staff:

Race in the next year and I think, to be frank, what I hope you come away from this discussion with – race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration.

Baquet offered his “vision” of what this meant for them.

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.

So Baquet had two goals. The first was to paint President Trump as a racist. The second goal was to reshape American history putting slavery at the center of the story. This was the introduction of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 project, for which she has subsequently won a Pulitzer Prize.

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote that The Times hopes to “reframe America’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

“The basic thrust of the 1619 project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race.”

York explains:

The essays go on to cover the economy (“If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.”), the food we eat (“The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery.”), the nation’s physical health (“Why doesn’t the United States have universal healthcare? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War.”), politics (“America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.”), daily life (“What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot.”), and much more.

Newt Gingrich appeared on “Fox and Friends” to weigh in on this travesty. He told viewers:

The whole project is a lie. Look, I think slavery is a terrible thing. I think putting slavery in context is important. We still have slavery in places around the world today, so we need to recognize this is an ongoing story. I think certainly if you’re an African-American, slavery is at the center of what you see as the American experience. But for most Americans, most of the time, there were a lot of other things going on. There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves.

I saw one reference that the New York Times claims that the American Revolution was caused, in part, to defend slavery. That is such historically, factually false nonsense that it is embarrassing the New York Times is doing this.

But, if you saw the recent leaked interview town hall meeting with the New York Times editor, he basically said, look, “We blew it on Russian collusion, now we’re going to go to racism, that’s our new model, the next two years will be Trump and racism.” This is a tragic decline of the New York Times into a propaganda paper worthy of Pravda.

Baquet, in his wildest dreams, couldn’t have envisioned how perfectly his vision would be executed. This is an illustration of the enormous power the major media outlets wield over us. They not only influence events, they shape events.

Just as they perpetuated the Russian collusion hoax, they’ve methodically worked to create the systemic racism hoax.

Of course, the death of George Floyd handed them an extraordinary opportunity which they seized upon and ran with. Additionally, they worked in tandem with the like-minded leaders of Big Tech and the Democratic Party.

Their efforts have inflicted deep wounds upon our once great country.

Liberals writers and politicians will continue to rail against the systemic racism inherent in America.

But it’s not really about race. It’s about power.

 

Full transcript of Dean Baquet’s staff meeting: (Via Slate)

Dean Baquet: If we’re really going to be a transparent newsroom that debates these issues among ourselves and not on Twitter, I figured I should talk to the whole newsroom, and hear from the whole newsroom. We had a couple of significant missteps, and I know you’re concerned about them, and I am, too. But there’s something larger at play here. This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s. It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story. I’d love your help with that. As Audra Burch said when I talked to her this weekend, this one is a story about what it means to be an American in 2019. It is a story that requires deep investigation into people who peddle hatred, but it is also a story that requires imaginative use of all our muscles to write about race and class in a deeper way than we have in years. In the coming weeks, we’ll be assigning some new people to politics who can offer different ways of looking at the world. We’ll also ask reporters to write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions. I really want your help in navigating this story.

But I also want to [inaudible] this as a forum to say something about who we are and what we stand for. We are an independent news organization, one of the few remaining. And that means there will be stories and journalism of all kinds that will upset our readers and even some of you. I’m not talking about true errors. In those cases, we should listen, own up to them, admit them, show some humility—but not wallow in them—and move on. What I’m saying is that our readers and some of our staff cheer us when we take on Donald Trump, but they jeer at us when we take on Joe Biden. They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president. And our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do. The same newspaper that this week will publish the 1619 Project, the most ambitious examination of the legacy of slavery ever undertaken in [inaudible] newspaper, to try to understand the forces that led to the election of Donald Trump. And that means trying to understand the segment of America that probably does not read us. The same newspaper that can publish a major story on Fox News, and how some of its commentators purvey anti-immigrant conspiracies, also has to talk to people who think immigration may cost them jobs and who oppose abortion on religious grounds. Being independent also means not editing the New York Times for Twitter, which can be unforgiving and toxic. And actually, as Amanda Cox reminds me, doesn’t really represent the left or the right. [inaudible] who care deeply about the Times and who want us to do better, we should listen to those people. But it is also filled with people who flat out don’t like us or who, as Jack Shafer put it, want us to be something we are not going to be.

By the way, let’s catch our breath before tweeting stupid stuff or stuff that hurts the paper—or treats our own colleagues in a way that we would never treat them in person. It is painful to me personally, and it destabilizes the newsroom when our own staff tweets things they could never write in our own pages or when we attack each other on Twitter. But let me end where I began: This is hard stuff. We’re covering a president who lies and says outlandish things. It should summon all of our resources and call upon all of our efforts to build a newsroom where diversity and open discussion is valued. We will make mistakes, and we will talk about them openly. We’ll do things that cause us to disagree with each other, but hopefully we’ll talk about them openly and wrestle with them. I want your help figuring out how to cover this world. I want the input—I need it. So now I’m going to open the floor to questions.

Staffer: Could you explain your decision not to more regularly use the word racist in reference to the president’s actions?

Baquet: Yeah, I’m actually almost practiced at this one now. Look, my own view is that the best way to capture a remark, like the kinds of remarks the president makes, is to use them, to lay it out in perspective. That is much more powerful than the use of a word.

The weekend when some news organizations used the word racist, and I chose not to, we ran what I think is the most powerful story anybody ran that weekend. [inaudible] [chief White House correspondent] Peter Baker, who stepped back and took Trump’s remarks, looked at his whole history of using remarks like that, and I think it was more powerful than any one word. My own view? You quote the remarks. I’m not saying we would never use the word racist. I’m talking about that weekend. You quote the remarks. The most powerful journalism I have ever read, and that I’ve ever witnessed, was when writers actually just described what they heard and put them in some perspective. I just think that’s more powerful.

Staffer: But what is [inaudible] the use of a very clear word most people [inaudible]?

Baquet: I think that that word it loses its power by the second or third time. I do. I think that these words—can I talk about the use of the word lie for one second?

Staffer: As long as you come back to my original question.

Baquet: I will, I will. I’m not running away from you, you know me.

I used the word lie once during the presidential campaign, used it a couple times after that. And it was pretty clear it was a lie, and we were the first ones to use it. But I fear that if we used it 20 times, 10 times, first, it would lose its power. And secondly, I thought we would find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of deciding which comment by which politician fit the word lie. I feel the same way about the word racist.

I think that a bizarre sort of litmus test has been created: If you don’t use the word racist, you’re not quite capturing what the president said. I’m going to argue that, first off, if you go back and look at what Peter Baker wrote that weekend, it was more powerful than the news organizations that just tossed the word out lightly as the first thing. Secondly, I’m going to ask you to go back and read the most powerful journalism of the civil rights movement. The most powerful journalism of the civil rights movement—for instance Joe Lelyveld’s portrait of Philadelphia, Mississippi, after the murders of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman—were vivid descriptions of what people in Philadelphia, Mississippi, said and how they behaved. The lead of the story described an old white man sitting on his front porch, saying that the town wasn’t racist, saying that everybody lived peacefully in the town. And as he was saying that, a much older black man walked by, and the guy called him “boy.” That is 20 times more powerful, by my lights, than to use the word racist. If the lead of that story had been “Philadelphia, Mississippi, is a racist town,” it would have been true, but it wouldn’t have been as powerful. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me. In fact, some of the people who were in the discussion that weekend don’t agree with me, but that’s how I feel, strongly.

Staffer: Hi. Thank you so much for doing this. I guess I have a two-part question. The first part is: Would it be fair to say that, if [contributing op-ed writer] Roxane Gay hadn’t tweeted out what she tweeted out, that we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now? And if that is true—or, regardless of whether it’s true—I think that something that some people have been wondering is: Do you feel that there is a person in a high position of power who can be as explicitly self-critical of this organization as Roxane Gay has, and is in a position to be, because she’s on the outside? Do you think that we would benefit from that?

Baquet: I know what you’re getting at—this is a roundabout public editor question, right?

Staffer: No, it’s not. It’s just true. I mean, I don’t know if Roxane hadn’t shared those tweets or those emails, whether we’d be having this conversation.

Baquet: Well, all I can say is, long before that happened I was out in the world meeting with groups of people, having one on one discussions with people. Meeting with, like, large groups of people who wanted to talk about using the words. I gave three interviews in one day. I mean, it’s possible, but I guess I think that—maybe I’m kidding myself, and tell me if I am—I guess I think that we have been having self-critical discussions before that. Do you all think we haven’t had enough of them? Let me turn it to you all, to the room.

Staffer: I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s that much comfort with having certain kinds of discussions. And I think understanding that certain people’s jobs weren’t at risk, and that it was explicitly their job to be critical, is something that some people might relish or appreciate.

Baquet: Well, let me say something I would relish and appreciate. I would relish and appreciate anybody who wants to come to my office. And some of you have—a lot of people have—to tell me when there are things you don’t like about the New York Times. I get the question about having an outside critic, and it’s an interesting one. But to be frank, the best thing we can do is have a newsroom where, if you don’t like something the newsroom is doing, you can come to me and talk about it. I hope some people feel that way. Some people don’t, but I think that’s more important. And I promise you, if anybody wants to come talk to me or members of the masthead about anything involving coverage—and I’ve had 20 conversations in the last two weeks with people who disagree with me about coverage, or disagree with me about using the word racist, who disagree with me about a lot of stuff—we only get through this if we get to the point where we can have those kind of conversations.

Staffer: Hi. You mentioned that there could be situations when we would use the word racist. What is that standard?

Baquet: You know, we actually should have a written standard. I wasn’t expecting two weeks ago—and [associate managing editor for standards] Phil [Corbett] is working with me and the masthead to come up with it. I can think of examples, like, you know, the governor—was it the governor of Virginia with the costume? I mean, it’s hard for me to answer, but yes, I do think there are instances when we would use it. It’s hard for me to articulate an example of it.

A.G. Sulzberger: So I’m no longer in the newsroom, but Dean tends to bring me in on some of these conversations. And I think it’s useful sometimes to show the journey a little bit of how we reach these decisions. Because otherwise it can feel a little bit like this is a single case in which we’re deciding whether something is or is not racist. The conversation that I heard was really a conversation about labels and about whether we’re going to use labels as shorthand for something that we can convey through words and actions and with greater color and detail. And the moment that, for me, really hammered home the risk of some of these labels was actually when someone passed along to me a headline that we had run six months before the “Trump Makes Comments Condemned as Racist” headline. And the headline we had used six months before was, “Omar Makes Comments Condemned as Anti-Semitic.” And the amount of pushback that that I and others received in that moment from leaders in the Jewish community was really considerable. People wanted us to call this phrase, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” an anti-Semitic phrase. They pointed out that this is actually an historically anti-Semitic trope. Though that it was an anti-Semitic trope was actually referred to in the body of the story, which I pointed out.

But we’re really cautious with labels, because labels tend to slip. They tend to stick to each other. And I think that the conversation I heard Dean and other members of the leadership have was about whether or not those types of shortcuts actually end up doing the exact thing that we don’t want, which is keep people from reading, would keep people from actually understanding, by giving folks who are inclined to be skeptical that that label is fairly applied—whether it’s anti-Semitic or racist or anything else—to keep those people from having an easy out not to look at what actually just occurred, and what happened, and what the implications are, and what the effects are on the community. And I think this is a really tricky moment right now. You know, someone did a study of Twitter shares that showed that 70 percent of all stories shared on Twitter were never opened. And to me, that’s just a reminder that so much of the world is judging before they’re actually engaging. And I don’t think any of us would defend the headline from last week. Not only would you not defend it, we changed it. But I do think that if you take a step further back, and you look at the entire front page, or the entire body of coverage, I actually think that you saw in unmistakable clarity all the themes that we rightfully should be addressing. I just wanted to say that.

Staffer: I wanted to ask about the Atlantic interview from last week, where you were talking about how the headline happened, and you said that the copy editors had written [inaudible] I believe that was a slip of the tongue. I do. But I think it raises important issues, because the copy desk was in fact [inaudible] frequently flagged things like this. It was the place that wrote a lot of headlines. I can recall, personally, numerous times on the copy desk when I and my fellow copy editors flagged and got changed problematic headlines or phrasings before they went into print. And I’m just wondering if there has been any discussion of the extent to which streamlined editing system increases the risk of errors like this.

Baquet: I don’t think this one was the streamlined editing system. I mean we are having conversations about the streamlined editing system and whether some desks need more help, but I don’t think that’s what happened here.

Staffer: I’m not talking specifically about, you know, was this headline attributable to it. I’m talking about, in general, there are fewer eyes on stories and the copy editors would normally have been—

Baquet: I know. I honestly don’t think there are fewer eyes on that kind of story. There were a lot of eyes on that particular story. The eyes didn’t come in all at the right time. I know. I get what you’re saying. I don’t think this was a copy desk issue. I really don’t.

Staffer: To come back to the discussion of the word racist for a second, I’m sensitive to how charged a word it is. I’m sensitive to not using labels. But I was struck a couple of years ago. I went to Little Rock for the 60th anniversary of Central High School. And I went back and I reread Homer Bigart’s story, you know, the day it happened, and it was a triple banner headline across the front page. And Homer Bigart, who was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, his lead was, “An impressive array of federal force cowed racist agitators outside Central High School.” And I was thinking, wow, that’s blunt, it’s powerful, it’s simple, it’s direct. And I was thinking, I wonder if that would ever be the way we would do it today.

Baquet: Oh, sure. The scene he described is—I mean, I’ve actually read this, I’ve gone back and looked at those stories. I don’t think anybody would avoid using the “racist” in a scene like that. It was only Charlottesville times 100, in a historic moment. I think that headline would appear in the New York Times. And I can say, because—.

Staffer: The flipside that I worked out—

Baquet: But I think you’d also… In a weird way, I would argue that proves my point. That was such a powerful moment in American history. It still resonates in American history. It was such a powerful scene of the American South at that moment, that in that instance, to have not used the word would have been weak. And I think, to me, I would argue that that proves my point.

Staffer: But the part that got me a little bit worried about is, if you compare it to how we would cover Charlottesville, which is different, sometimes we use these other words that sound like euphemisms or like—

Baquet: Agree.

Staffer: —you know, “white nationalists who are racially tinged” or we use things that seem to normalize and clean up and sanitize an ugly reality.

Baquet: Yeah, I hate racially tinged, racially charged, too. I think those are worse. If you’re going to do what I said, if you’re gonna put your money where your mouth is and actually just describe it, you shouldn’t use sort of half-assed words like racially charged or racially tinged either. You should either say it when the moment comes or you should describe the scene. I agree with that.

Staffer: Hello, I have another question about racism. I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know? Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country. And I think particularly as we are launching a 1619 Project, I feel like that’s going to open us up to even more criticism from people who are like, “OK, well you’re saying this, and you’re producing this big project about this. But are you guys actually considering this in your daily reporting?”

Baquet: You know, it’s interesting, the argument you just made, to go back to the use of the word racist. I didn’t agree with all of this from Keith Woods, who I know from New Orleans and who’s the ombudsman for NPR. He wrote a piece about why he wouldn’t have used the word racist, and his argument, which is pretty provocative, boils down to this: Pretty much everything is racist. His view is that a huge percentage of American conversation is racist, so why isolate this one comment from Donald Trump? His argument is that he could cite things that people say in their everyday lives that we don’t characterize that way, which is always interesting. You know, I don’t know how to answer that, other than I do think that that race has always played a huge part in the American story.

And I do think that race and understanding of race should be a part of how we cover the American story. Sometimes news organizations sort of forget that in the moment. But of course it should be. I mean, one reason we all signed off on the 1619 Project and made it so ambitious and expansive was to teach our readers to think a little bit more like that. Race in the next year—and I think this is, to be frank, what I would hope you come away from this discussion with—race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration. And I think that one of the things I would love to come out of this with is for people to feel very comfortable coming to me and saying, here’s how I would like you to consider telling that story. Because the reason you have a diverse newsroom, to be frank, is so that you can have people pull together to try to tell that story. I think that’s the closest answer I can come.

Staffer: Yeah, I want to follow up and disentangle a couple of things that I’ve often seen conflated in these meetings. You have questions like “should we call Donald Trump a racist” and these broader discussions of our coverage getting flattened with the reason that I think we’re here today, which is really narrowly the question of how we present the work that we do and the headlines that end up on our work. Because this is sort of the thing that a lot of us who are, in some capacity, public representatives of the Times feel ourselves called to answer for. Because there are these patterns of getting headlines wrong in a very specific way that recur repeatedly and in a way that makes me think that it’s a process issue. And to me, the question of whether you put a phrase like “racial fires” in a headline is not actually about whether we think it’s OK to call Donald Trump racist. It’s whether we think it’s OK to use euphemisms instead of direct, clear speech in a headline. Which I think is a question you would ask of any administration.

And the issue with last week’s headline was not really about Trump per se. It was really more broadly about what kind of credulousness we want to reflect in terms of an administration—any administration. Or about other cases where we’re sort of shying away from the real content of the story to put a milder spin on it in the headline, which is sometimes actively misleading. And the process by which these headlines end up on stories is often kind of opaque, and it’s not always clear whether we’re taking on board the criticism that I think is very valid of a lot of these headlines. It is a real storyline about the Times out there now, that we are kind of repeatedly making mistakes that other people aren’t making so much. And it is something that’s kind of baffling to me from where I sit, and I guess I’m curious what is our process? How are we thinking about it? Do we perceive ourselves making the same errors repeatedly, or do we see these as sort of isolated episodes?

Baquet: I’m going to be really honest. I actually don’t think we make a whole lot more mistakes. I think I’ve made clear I’m going to own up to my mistakes. I don’t think we make a whole lot more mistakes than the Washington Post or anywhere else. After the headline issue came up, I think I heard from 10 executive editors, pretty much every major news organization. My favorite one was from somebody—I guess I shouldn’t use their names—was somebody who said, “I wish people cared about my headlines as much as they care about yours.”

Look, we are scrutinized. I ran another newspaper. I’ve never seen anything like this. We are scrutinized more than any other news organization in the country, in the world probably. To be frank, some of that comes with being the biggest and, I would argue, the best. And as hard as it is to do this, I think we have to accept it. We have to accept that maybe what goes along with being the New York Times is that we get scrutinized more. Maybe we should even say we deserve it more. You know? That’s the position I’m going to take. I mean, it’s almost funny when I read all of the attacks on the New York Times for not having a public editor. Nobody has a public editor! We’re not the only ones that made the decision to not have a public editor.

My main point is, yeah, we do get beat up more. And I think we just have to own up to [inaudible] in the process. Should I, do you want me to walk through what happened in this headline again, or is that—

Staffer: I would like to know. I mean I think in this specific case that’s now been made public. But in general, kind of, how does this happen?

Baquet: I mean, I think that if I had to (and I will) engage in a little bit of self-criticism, I made a decision. So we’re talking about print headlines here for a second. I made a decision that I still think was the right decision for the New York Times. We’re not just a print newspaper anymore. We have a television show. We have a podcast. We have a daily website that reaches tens of millions people. I thought that the days when the executive editor sat and sort of picked the stories, fly spec-ed the headlines … I just thought that that was sending the wrong signal to the room. What does that say to our video team if executive editor only cares about the print front page? I also, by the way, assembled a remarkable group of people who worry over the print front page. I’m going to also say that nobody puts out a print front page like the New York Times. Don’t let getting whacked the last couple of weeks make you forget that. But I think I should probably spend a little more time thinking about it. You know, again, I’ve said half of the big decisions I’ve had to make as executive editor I’ve made in my bathrobe at home.

You know, I didn’t look closely enough at it. I should make sure that the front page of the New York Times, which is still our glory, gets more scrutiny than it does, and we should all look at it. In this case, I’ve said it before, I think the layout boxed in the print hub in a way that probably made it impossible to put a great headline on it. But I think I should probably spend a little more stewing on the front page. Does that answer your question?

Staffer: Kind of. I mean, I think—

Baquet: Push! Push, man. They’ve never been shy.

Staffer: I do think, I mean, I guess I see it as not a matter of like getting beat up over the past couple weeks. I feel like there’s a sort of weariness with the share of the criticism directed towards us that is about the headlines that detracts from the discussion that we’d like to be having about the actual [inaudible].

Baquet: I agree, but I’m going to say one thing. And then [associate managing editor and Metro editor] Cliff [Levy] wants to say something. We let it distract us, if you don’t mind my saying. You know, there’s a little bit of … there are HR people in the room? There’s a little bit of a wallowing gene in the New York Times. Look, I don’t think any executive editor has owned up to more mistakes than I have. I don’t know if that means I’ve made more mistakes. Maybe it does. Or if it means I just believe in transparently owning up to your mistakes. But the last few months of the New York Times, we have produced some remarkable reports. Before I came in here, somebody from the national desk sent me a note pointing out just how amazing our coverage of El Paso was and how much it happened to have been driven by Latino reporters who felt powerfully about that story and wanted to surface it. We’ve got to move away from the position where we want to just beat ourselves up and not think about that stuff a little bit, too.

Cliff wanted to say something.

Cliff Levy: I just want to kind of delicately push back a little bit on this question of headlines. Headlines are very, very hard, as you well know. I spent a lot of time thinking about headlines. My colleagues on Metro might tell you that I’m kind of obsessed with them in an unhealthy way. A lot of the pushback that we often receive about headlines, particularly on social media is from people who have never written a headline, don’t have an understanding of how hard it is, the burdens on a headline. Particularly the burdens on a headline in print space where you are really limited. But the burden’s in digital, as well. We are limited by length and SEO and all these other factors. People who criticize our headlines—particularly people who are not in this newsroom—you’ll say to them, “Well, what would you want this headline to be?” And they repeat back something to you that’s like 15 lines or 15 words. You know, people want headlines that blitz out any nuance. They want headlines that say, “Donald Trump Is a Racist,” or “Donald Trump Is a Liar” or things that really take out all the texture and fabric of the article itself. And I will just say, you know, they’re extremely hard to do well, and I think in general we do them extremely well. And I think Phil would probably want to add something to that.

Philip Corbett: I did want to push back just a little bit more. Sorry, we’re all pushing back on you. This might not be a widely held view, but I would dispute the idea that when we have made mistakes about headlines in the last months or couple of years that they have always been in the same direction, which I think is how you put it. In other words, that the mistakes you’re seeing are when we’re going, shall we say, too easy on Donald Trump. There certainly have been headlines where I feel like that has been a failing. But I will say, honestly, there have been headlines that many of us have been concerned about or asked to have changed or have had discussion about where I felt the problem was the opposite. Where we were showing what could be read as bias against Trump, and were perhaps going too far in the opposite direction. So this goes to Cliff’s point that headlines are hard to write anyway, and we’re going to get them wrong sometimes. But I would not accept the criticism that the ones we get wrong necessarily show that we’re bending over backwards in one direction, because I’ve definitely seen headlines that I’ve been uncomfortable with that have fallen too far on both sides of the line.

Staffer: So I share the concerns about how coverage can be done aggressively, but not from a default point of view, which can feed into outcomes that repeatedly read to a number of people across the newsroom—and then outside as well—being too cautious or winding up in a zone that fails to accurately represent the situation to the readers. Which is, of course, the mission that we all do believe in. And I have had conversations and exchanges with a number of colleagues in different roles, from different backgrounds across the newsroom in the past week. And one of the things that I’ve brought up—and I know, Dean, you and I have talked about this a bit, too, is that some people, despite your welcoming stance as far as bringing feedback to you, are hesitant to speak up. Or don’t necessarily feel like they can do that safely, or have the standing to do that. Or some may not even have the access to do that. I wondered if it would be OK for me to share some of the feedback that I got that people asked for to be anonymous, but that I thought was thoughtful and could be useful.

Baquet: Sure.

Staffer: OK, so here’s just a selection that I thought was thoughtful.

“Saying something like divisive or racially charged is so euphemistic. Our stylebook would never allow it in other circumstances. I am concerned that the Times is failing to rise to the challenge of a historical moment. What I have heard from top leadership is a conservative approach that I don’t think honors the Times’ powerful history of adversarial journalism. I think that the NYT’s leadership, perhaps in an effort to preserve the institution of the Times, is allowing itself to be boxed in and hamstrung. This obviously applies to the race coverage. The headline represented utter denial, unawareness of what we can all observe with our eyes and ears. It was pure face value. I think this actually ends up doing the opposite of what the leadership claims it does. A headline like that simply amplifies without critique the desired narrative of the most powerful figure in the country. If the Times’ mission is now to take at face value and simply repeat the claims of the powerful, that’s news to me. I’m not sure the Times’ leadership appreciates the damage it does to our reputation and standing when we fail to call things like they are.”

And then this is a question that is more specifically about the process that you are also addressing: “Why are we passing off the biggest, most important part of the stories that we know very well”—this is from a writer—“that we know very well to this strangely anonymized print hub I am often completely unaware of who is even writing the headlines for my stories. Why can’t I or one of the editors who actually worked on the story just write it?”

Staffer: You know, I hurt the print hub in this case because I didn’t think sufficiently about. … We had created a front page, because we had two big stories, one of which had a two-column headline. One had a single line, four-column headline. It was designed with the print hub, but I don’t think I sat and thought about, what can you really say in four words. Right? Now, I do not scrutinize the print hub headlines before it goes to press. I happen to think that many of the people on the print hub are some of our best editors and are extremely talented. The second I saw that headline—I always get the front page that night—I kind of put my head in the hands. And I called in before I knew there was a Twitter storm and said, you know, this is off. We’ve really got to fix this. But I think in some ways, you know, those of us involved that day did a disservice to our colleagues, because it was a very hard thing to write. They were writing it on deadline. And because the headline had seemed fine on the web all day, it didn’t occur to me it would be problematic. But on the web they had a very large banner, and I think one of the things we’ve learned is that, if we’re going to do something that’s a banner, more of us should be involved. But I think I should’ve thought more about, if you have just four words, what can you write? I had been envisioning something like “A Day of Reckoning.”

Staffer: Hi, I actually wanted to raise a different issue, not to stop the discussion about language. About the push for social media and audience engagement, it’s very clear that the direction of the paper and of management is to incentivize and reward more engagement on social media. But then you have the things that get the most traffic on social media or something like people’s Twitter accounts, where it might push them to write inflammatory or stupid or ill-thought-out things. So we’re kind of incentivizing people to get eyes, but that also incentivizes people to say stupid things on social media.

Baquet: You know, other people can jump in here, I’m sort of unconvinced that the tweets that have made me uncomfortable happened because people wanted to get eyes. I mean, I don’t think the tweet that sparked part of this discussion, from an editor in the Washington bureau, was because he wanted to get eyes. I think he just. … We somehow have convinced ourselves that Twitter is not the real world, and that you can say things on Twitter that you wouldn’t be able to say in a newspaper story. And we need to just convince ourselves that that is not true. I mean, others should jump in, but I’m not sure that the tweets that have made me uncomfortable are tweets that were just done to attract attention. But others?

Staffer: I’m wondering what is the overall strategy here for getting us through this administration and the way we cover it. Because I think one of the reasons people have such a problem with a headline like this—or some things that the New York Times reports on—is because they care so much. And they depend on the New York Times. They are depending on us to keep kicking down the doors and getting through, because they need that right now. It’s a very scary time. And when something like this happens, or we have opinion columnists—because people really can’t tell the difference between op-eds and news anymore—but when we have people who post and tweet incendiary things, like Bret Stephens, people don’t understand. I think they get confused as to what we’re trying to do.

Baquet: Yeah.

Staffer: And I’m just wondering, how can we tighten that up?

Baquet: Are you talking about coverage, or are you talking about social media?

Staffer: I’m talking about all of it.

Baquet: OK. I mean, let me go back a little bit for one second to just repeat what I said in my in my short preamble about coverage. Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.

The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.

This is no longer a story where the Washington bureau every week nails some giant story by [Washington correspondent] Mike Schmidt that says that Donald Trump or Don McGahn did this. That will remain part of the story, but this is a different story now. This is a story that’s going to call on different muscles for us. The next few weeks, we’re gonna have to figure out what those muscles are.

In terms of how to keep people from having these discussions on social media, I’m not 100 percent sure. I think we should tighten the rules a little, which always upsets people a little bit. I mean, there were tweets that people at the New York Times retweeted or liked last week that were really painful for this newsroom and for me personally. So I’m gonna keep saying that, and maybe we should talk about the rules, too.

Staffer: It appears to be that the public narrative around the headline is different from the internal narrative that I’ve been hearing. So for example, I know that the copy desk thing was a slip. But I have also heard that someone actually raised concerns about the headline and was overruled. So, I’m just trying to reconcile what I’m hearing from my co-workers internally and what I’m hearing from my other co-workers in the public.

Baquet: I reached out to the person who raised questions about the coverage that day, who works on the print hub, and it’s a little more complicated than that. She was leaving town, and I was leaving town. She thought it was a bad headline, but mainly she thought that particular story shouldn’t led the paper. Her complaint was different than the narrative that has developed, which is that one person on the print hub threw their body in front of the headline. In my exchanges with her, that wasn’t the case. She thought that that story should not have led the paper. And she thought the headline was bad, but mainly she thought the whole package, the whole architecture—but mainly the story—is what was wrong. And I told her frankly, in my exchange with her, which was good and helpful, I said look I disagree with you on this one. I’m happy to sit down and talk to you in person. I thought that was the right lead of the paper. I would not have minded, by the way, if she’d wandered into my office, knocked on the door, which I told her and which I will keep telling her when I talk to her in person. If she had come in and said, I think you picked the wrong lead of the paper, that’s a little bit of a different narrative from the headline narratives. That make sense?

Staffer: Hi. I just kind of wanted to return to the internal debate before the headline went to print. Do you think there was a breakdown there other than space pressure or time pressure? And if so, I wonder what you think that that breakdown was?

Baquet: Again, I had this exchange with an editor as she was going away and I was going away. I’m not sure that was a breakdown. I think the breakdown was that we drew a page that was really, really, really hard to put a thoughtful headline on. This was a really complicated story. It was not a story that said, Trump said X. In fact, what was wrong with the story is that the “Trump said X” headline wasn’t enough to capture the hypocrisy and all the kind of nuance we’re talking about. So I think we built a page on deadline that made it really hard to put a headline on it. So we set it up for a bad headline, and the people who were in a position to judge it quickly and change it, like me, did not look at it until too late. So I guess this is a system breakdown. We didn’t have a system in place where the people who would recognize it and then change it—And maybe, by the way, the right change—if you want me to tell you—the perfect scenario for this headline would have been like this: The print hub—I’m not blaming the print hub, I’m blaming me, because I set up this system—the print hub comes in and says, “We tried, we cannot put a headline on that story with this layout. You need to redraw the page.” We would have redrawn the page in a way that allowed us to put a more nuanced headline on it. That would have been, in retrospect, the ideal situation.

Staffer: But the editors were looking at it, do you have the impression that they felt that that was necessary, or there was a recognition that there was a problem?

Baquet: I should ask [associate masthead editor] Tom [Jolly] and others on the print hub. I mean, there was a recognition among the masthead when it got sent around. As soon as the mockup of the front page got passed around, I looked at it. Matt looked at it. Everybody looked at and said, “Oh shit.” The first edition had already closed, so that was a system breakdown. Does that answer it? I’m trying to walk you through the process a little bit. Go ahead.

Staffer: It just seems like the people who could have recognized that, perhaps, did not or were not on the team to look at the first edition.

Baquet: Tom, do you have a thought about that? Tom runs the print hub.

Tom Jolly: Well, I think, a) the problem was that the editor felt like that difficult headline had to tie directly into the lead story. If we had made it a broader headline that addressed the package of four different stories, “the day of reckoning” or something along those lines, it would have solved it. In terms of a system problem, print hub had a meeting Thursday, and one of the things that we’ve realized is, we need to be looking at the front page. First of all, we need to be talking to the editors who are going to be writing the headlines that come in in late afternoon. They’re not a part of the discussion during the day. We need to talk to them, give them a sense of what the storyline is. And then we need to review the page before it comes out. One of the problems here was that the page was already published, and that page goes to half of our print readers. So at that point, there was no bringing it back. Right? So yes we’ve addressed system issues that we’ve identified, and I’ve also talked with the editor from the stories going around. And she doesn’t feel that she was rebuffed. Obviously, we would never want that to happen. And I think as Dean explained that was a little bit of a bigger issue. But I think the biggest thing is discussing the storyline at a time in the late afternoon or early evening when the editors who are just coming in have an opportunity to think it out one more time.

Baquet: Can I say something in support of the print hub? Because just for the record, I’m not sure I love this narrative of these sort of anonymous editors you know sitting on another floor fucking up the New York Times. The print hub builds the front page of the New York Times every day. Pick up today’s front page. It is it is a thing of beauty. They do it every day. They’re not some anonymous nobodies. They’re fine journalists, assembled from across the newsroom, assembled from other news organizations. The original sin, I can say since I’m a Catholic and a former altar boy, the original sin was ours. Was setting up a front page that was really, really difficult to build a headline around. But don’t, do not… Go visit the print hub. I mean these are journalists just like us. I talked to the editor who wrote the headline. He’s sick, you know. I mean he feels terrible. He feels more terrible than he should, to be frank. But it feels terrible, and I don’t want to walk away from this with all of us thinking that they’re a group of fumble fingers on another floor of the New York Times secretly fucking up the New York Times. They’re not.

One more.

Staffer: When it came to actually changing that headline, how much influence did the reader input have? I mean, OK, all you guys didn’t like it. You were unhappy. But was a change in the works, or was it the response?

Baquet: We were all—it was a fucking mess—we were all over the headline. Me. Matt. The print hub. Probably [assistant managing editor] Alison [Mitchell]. We were all over it, and then in the middle of it, [deputy managing editor] Rebecca Blumenstein sent an email—but we were already messing with it —saying, “You should know, there’s a social media firestorm over the headline.” My reaction [inaudible] was not polite. My reaction was to essentially say, “Fuck ’em, we’re already working on it.” And we were working on it, on deadline. We had already lost half of the papers, and it was too late to redraw the whole page. We would’ve lost the whole thing.

Baquet: Can I just say one thing? This is a hard story. This is larger than the headline. This is larger than the other stuff. This is a really hard story. This is a story that’s going to call on like all of our muscles, all of our resources, all of our creativity, all of our empathy. Including all of our empathy for each other. It’s going to call on us to be maybe a little less harsh with each other, because we’re gonna make other mistakes. It’s going to call on us to listen to each other more, including me listening to you all more. If you ask me how we end up getting through this with the best coverage, it’s by having honest conversations. It’s by inviting people into the Trump story who ordinarily might not have played on stories like this and making sure they get to participate in the coverage. But I hope this is a start, and I hope people take me at my word when I say you may come into me and tell me something you don’t like. I may not agree with you. I will be direct, and I will say I don’t agree with you. But I promise you I will listen and I promise you that in the end all of this influences the coverage. So thank you. Thank you.

Black Lives Matter Group Marches to Rochester Store Shouting ‘We’re shutting s— down,’ Traps 100 Customers Inside

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Photo Credit: Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay

On March 23, 2020, police in Rochester, NY, received a report that a naked man under the influence of PCP was running through town, shouting that he had the coronavirus. When police tried to subdue him, he spit on them which caused them to place a mesh hood, otherwise known as a “spit sock” over his head. The man, Daniel Prude, was placed on the pavement and subdued for two minutes by police.

Prude, who had a history of mental illness, was black.

After Prude became unresponsive, he was resuscitated and brought to a hospital where he died one week later.

“The Monroe County Office of the Medical Examiner ruled Mr. Prude’s death a homicide. The autopsy report concluded he died of asphyxiation ‘in the setting of physical restraint’ and acute intoxication with the hallucinogenic drug PCP,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

In February, a New York grand jury voted against indictment of any of the police officers involved in the case.

Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of this incident, and a group of approximately 200 members of Black Lives Matter gathered for a protest. As they marched toward Wegmans, a popular Rochester grocery store, they shouted, “We have a long walk today. We’re shutting s— down.”

The Washington Examiner reported that, as the group approached the store, the owner locked it down, trapping around 100 customers inside.

The group banged on the glass doors and repeatedly chanted, “Black Lives Matter.”

In a tweet, Rochester journalist and radio host Bob Lonsberry wrote, “Hundreds of people trapped in the East Avenue #ROC Wegmans by this mob, The Rochester Police Department is just watching and letting it happen. I guess fire codes and trespassing aren’t things in Rochester anymore. What an embarrassing day for the city and the PD.”

He continued in a second tweet. “Allowing the mob to shut down the East Ave [Wegmans], trapping at least a hundred people, is an immoral failing by the mayor at @CityRochesterNY and the @RochesterNYPD. To kiss the a– of the mob, the rights of others are trodden, and the city dies even more.”

Rochester based journalist Justin Murphy spoke to one of the BLM protestors who said, “We’re more than just taxpayers in their capitalist system; we’re human beings, and we demand to be treated as such.”

They’re taxpayers? I’ll bet most of them pay little or no taxes. They’re human beings, and they demand to be treated as such? Need I even respond to the irony in that remark?

In the tweet below, Monroe County legislator Rachel Barnhart makes an equally stupid comment. “Reasonable people can debate tactics and messaging. It’s normal to be annoyed or inconvenienced if the grocery store is blocked off by protesters. But I care more about Black lives than Wegmans. The protest will end. The store will reopen. The injustice will go on.”

Barnhart’s comment is even more egregious than Carson’s, if possible. One would expect such an inane remark from a member of BLM. I am not a lawyer, but here’s a county legislator who overlooks the obvious crimes being committed, entrapment and threatening, for starters.

And she views the shoppers trapped inside as being “annoyed or inconvenienced” rather than frightened. BLM has a long history of violence. Any reasonable person in that situation would feel some degree of fear.

America defeated Nazi Germany and Japan’s Imperial Army. How do we fight the enemy from within? Especially now that they control the presidency and both chambers of Congress. The Democratic Party is fast becoming the greatest foe this nation has ever faced.

The Democrats are trying to destroy America. It’s as if they’re in command of our ship and they’re aiming it right for an iceberg at flank speed.

Tell me again how Jan. 6 was the most shameful day in America’s history..

Top Chinese Diplomat Who Humiliated Blinken in Alaska Treated Mike Pompeo Far Differently [Photos, Video]

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Photo Credit: Image by Arlekim from Pixabay

In two previous posts, here and here, I discussed the failure of the meeting between top U.S. and Chinese diplomats held in Anchorage, Alaska last week. Specifically, it was made immediately and abundantly clear that Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi had neither fear, nor respect, for the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The situation with former President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was 180 degrees different. In the photographs below, the same Yang who displayed such contempt for Blinken and to the United States of America, is shown smiling and bowing before Pompeo.

At one point during the contentious talks, the press was inexplicably dismissed from the room. This move was not lost on the combative Yang, who immediately pounced on his American counterpart. In the clip below, Yang asks Blinken, “Why is the U.S. afraid of the presence of reporters?  You don’t need to be afraid of the presence of reporters, do you? Didn’t you believe in democracy? You should give China the right to make two rounds of speeches just as the United States did. History will prove that if you use cutthroat competition to suppress China, you will be the one to suffer in the end.”

Yang was right. Unlike many Republicans who fold in the face of the left’s attempts at suppression, Yang was not about to let this slide. We would do well to take notice.

It must have stunned Biden officials to find that the obvious tactics they employ so liberally back in Washington were instantly detected by the Chinese.

Yang’s remarks were not reported by the U.S. media. The National Pulse’s Raheem Kassam posted a clip he’d found on China’s state-run media.

Here is a report of the incident from The South China Morning Post. (Emphasis added.)

“Because, Mr Secretary and NSA Sullivan, you have delivered some quite different opening remarks, mine will be slightly different as well,” Yang said.
The meeting was supposed to kick off with two minutes for opening remarks, agreed to by both sides. But Blinken and Sullivan spoke for about 10 minutes.

The Chinese delegation did not take well to Blinken and Sullivan’s opening salvo and hit back with a lengthy address almost 20 minutes long.

Yang’s address was so long he joked it was a test for the interpreter, to which Blinken countered that the interpreter should get a pay rise.

“I think we thought too well of the US. We thought the US side would follow the necessary diplomatic protocols. So for China it was necessary that we make our position clear,” Yang said at one point.

A tussle over the presence of journalists then ensued, turning what is usually a few minutes of opening remarks into an event lasting over an hour, according to press pool reports.

Handlers started to usher journalists out when Yang finished speaking but Blinken and Sullivan waved them back in to say more.

Blinken said he took from the Chinese comments satisfaction that the US was back and engaging in the world, but also deep concern. The United States “is not perfect” but has throughout its history dealt with its challenges openly, he said.

Sullivan added that America’s “secret sauce” was that it had looked hard at its own shortcomings and then worked to improve.

Once Blinken and Sullivan finished their comments, handlers again ushered reporters out but Yang told the press to “wait”, and raised a finger of admonishment. The Chinese diplomat accused the Americans of speaking to them in a condescending tone. He said the efforts to nudge the press out of the room was an example of how the US did not support democracy.

Afterwards, a senior US official speaking on background also accused the Chinese side of “violating protocol”, arriving intent on grandstanding and focusing on theatrics.

The public sparring followed days of posturing from the two countries, with Washington announcing this week it was imposing sanctions against Chinese officials because of Beijing’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system.

In the last high-level meeting between China and the US, occurring during the Trump administration in June last year, then-secretary of state Mike Pompeo spoke with Yang behind closed doors in Hawaii for around seven hours without showing the back and forth seen in Anchorage on Thursday.

Here are some of the replies from Twitter users to Kassam’s post:

  • Dems discover that manipulating other governments to sell their narrative is not as easy as manipulating our media to do the same.
  • Sounds like a man who knows he’s on the winning side.
  • People don’t realize how bad things are truly because of all the distractions in the media but this is very concerning what’s playing out between the US and China.
  • China says it will win at cut-throat competition. Is that a threat or challenge? A Great America would accept this challenge.
  • Can you imagine if Trump was in the room?
  • Somewhat of a disaster for us. Maybe Biden fell on purpose to take focus off the meeting.
  • Will the morons in this admin finally wake up when a delegate from China confronts them? What’s the over/under?
  • America has never been as weak as they are now against China & the Chinese know it.
  • Human Rights violator China instantly dog walking America under weak Biden Admin thanks to our very own vilifying our country everyday. Thanks big Media. Thanks big Tech. Thanks big Govt. Thanks big Corporations. Thanks Hollywood. Thanks woke liberal soldiers. Thank you.
  • The once country of might is slipping before are eyes.
  • Blinken and his team had initiated exchange by arrogant and out-of-protocol public hectoring of Chinese diplomats. It was irresponsible and invited retaliation. US diplomats could accomplish more by being, uh, diplomatic.
  • The Chinese pulled off a huge beat down on Winken and Blinken.
  • It’s embarrassing and disturbing at the same time.
  • The US Secretary of State started off by basically insulting China in front of reporters. This is our chief diplomat?
  • This is embarrassing AF. What the hell have liberals done to this country?
  • I’ve never felt embarrassed of how my country handled itself on the world stage until the Biden admin.
  • Wow brutal, We need new leadership… like yesterday!
  • They would not have done that to Mike Pompeo or he would have walked out.
  • Never in a million years would they have spoken to @mikepompeo like that. Weakness invites aggression.
  • This is getting real folks!
  • With this meeting, China just confirmed that they can now roll through Taiwan with no resistance from an impotent American leadership.
  • Utterly owned.
  • Sec of state and his team tried to get the press to bounce? Why, cause they didn’t want to be on film kneeling like bitches?
  • You had a good run America.

Media Blatantly Misreported the Atlanta Mass Murder Story; FBI Director Admits Race Wasn’t a Factor

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Photo Credit: Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

On Tuesday, a clearly disturbed 21-year-old white male killed eight women at three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Because six of those women were of Asian ethnicity, the media collectively and immediately began reporting this mass murder as the latest “hate crime” to be committed by a white supremacist against Asian Americans.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who were to make a stop in Atlanta on Friday on their “Help is here” tour to promote their boondoggle of COVID relief package, abandoned their original purpose and instead devoted the visit to lecture the American people about racism.

Biden allowed “President Harris” to do the talking. “These facts are clear,” she said. “Six out of the eight people killed on Tuesday night were of Asian descent. Seven were women. The shootings took place in businesses owned by Asian Americans. The shootings took place as violent hate crimes and discriminations against Asian Americans has [sic] risen dramatically over the last year…”

She couldn’t resist taking a shot at former President Donald Trump for what she wants us to believe is his role in this crime.

“Racism is a real in America. And it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America and always has been…The last year we’ve had people in positions of incredible power scapegoating Asian Americans. People with the biggest pulpits spreading this kind of hate,” Harris said.

For the repellent Nicolle Wallace over at MSNBC, there was no doubt this was a hate crime against Asian Americans. “I just keep thinking of that domestic terror alert warning we got shortly after the insurrection. It warned us that until the end of April, we’d be living under the threat of domestic violence extremism from a combination of White supremacists, militias and extremists who are angry about both the election results because of Donald Trump’s big lie and the COVID restrictions. I wonder if you can speak to the intersection of that group we were warned about publicly [Trump supporters] and the targeting of Asian Americans.”

On Thursday night, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson devoted his opening monolog to the left’s campaign to make this a hate crime. (Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to view.)

David Leebron, the president of Rice University in Texas, Carlson told viewers, “immediately issued a statement that got key facts about the killings completely wrong, not that facts were the point of the statement. The point was making that sure everyone understood the political lesson.”

Leebron declared that, “The deliberate use of such terms as ‘the China virus’ to foster bigotry has played a significant role. … Sadly and predictably, this escalation of racially-based hatred has led to violence.”

“Leebron is telling us it was all entirely predictable,” Carlson explained, “because once you describe a Chinese virus as Chinese, people are naturally going to start murdering Korean women. You could have seen that coming.”

Next, it was Harvard’s turn to get involved. Harvard administrators issued a statement which said, “For the past year, Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been blamed for the pandemic.”

“Once again,” Carlson notes, “if you dare note that the novel coronavirus came from Wuhan, a mentally ill sex addict is certain to shoot up a brothel in Atlanta.”

He reminded us that Harvard has “publicly admitted” denying “admission to Asian students precisely because they are Asian.” They were forced to do so after they’d been caught.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hopped on board the freight train. She told reporters, “You know, I think there’s no question that some of the damaging rhetoric that we saw during the prior administration, blaming — you know, calling COVID, you know, the ‘Wuhan virus’ or other things led to, you know, perceptions of the Asian-American community that are inaccurate, unfair…”

After the shooter, Robert Long, was caught, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference. Captain Jay Baker told reporters, “The suspect did take responsibility for the shootings. He said that early on, once we began the interviews with him. He claims that these, and as the chief said, this is still early, but he does claim that it was not racially motivated. He apparently has an issue, what he considers sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”

Carlson reviews the facts:

So the police took a long and detailed statement from Robert Long, and to restate, here’s what they found: Long immediately confessed to the crimes. But while he admitted to committing multiple murders — a death penalty offense in the state of Georgia — Long denied having any racial motivation. Instead, he told police he had a sex addiction and an “issue with porn,” and that he shot up massage parlors in an effort to eliminate his own temptation to visit them.

Police arrested Long as he was heading to Florida, where he said he’d planned to kill more people in the sex industry. So, Robert Long was fixated on prostitution and pornography, and that’s why he said he committed the murders.

The next day, information came to light that seemed to confirm his story. A man called Tyler Bayless said he shared a room with Long in a Georgia rehab facility last year. Bayless was there for drugs, but Long was there for sex addiction.

“It was something that absolutely would torture him,” Bayless said. While at the facility, Long frequently relapsed and went “to massage parlors explicitly to engage in sex acts.”

Moreover, in the following audio clip, FBI Director Christopher Wray tells NPR in a Thursday interview: “And while the motive remains still under investigation at the moment, it does not appear that the motive was racially motivated.”

So how did this story immediately become about race? Because the left decided it should and would be about race.

Substack’s Andrew Sullivan wrote an especially good column on Friday about the media’s manipulation of this story headlined, “When The Narrative Replaces The News: How the media grotesquely distorted the Atlanta massacres.”

We have yet to find any credible evidence of anti-Asian hatred or bigotry in [the killer’s] history. Maybe we will. We can’t rule it out. But we do know that his roommates say they once asked him if he picked the spas for sex because the women were Asian. And they say he denied it, saying he thought those spas were just the safest way to have quick sex. That needs to be checked out more. But the only piece of evidence about possible anti-Asian bias points away, not toward it.

And yet. Well, you know what’s coming. Accompanying one original piece on the known facts, the NYT ran nine — nine! — separate stories about the incident as part of the narrative that this was an anti-Asian hate crime, fueled by white supremacy and/or misogyny. Not to be outdone, the WaPo ran sixteen separate stories on the incident as an anti-Asian white supremacist hate crime. Sixteen! One story for the facts; sixteen stories on how critical race theory would interpret the event regardless of the facts. For good measure, one of their columnists denounced reporting of law enforcement’s version of events in the newspaper, because it distracted attention from the “real” motives. Today, the NYT ran yet another full-on critical theory piece disguised as news on how these murders are proof of structural racism and sexism — because some activists say they are.

This is how it happens. It becomes a group effort. Every major mainstream media outlet reports the same story based on an agreed upon set of talking points and it gets repeated over and over again until most Americans believe it. ‘But I read it in the New York Times!’

Once a story reaches that point, it becomes nearly impossible to establish the truth, although we do try. And we won’t stop trying.

Trump: WaPo Was Courageous to Admit Their ‘Mistake’ in Story about Call to Georgia Election Investigator

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Former President Donald Trump was incredibly generous, uncharacteristically so, to The Washington Post in a Tuesday night interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. When asked about their correction of a very pivotal story about his December 23 telephone call with Frances Watson, the chief investigator for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, he replied:

It probably affected the Senate race. But it was a terrible thing.

I will say this. I was very happy that the Washington Post had the courage or whatever you want to call it to at least admit their mistake. I hope it was a mistake. But I think probably it came from the people in Georgia that run an election process that frankly is just absolutely terrible. … They were told something that didn’t exist and it made me sound bad and when I heard it, I said, ‘That’s ridiculous. I never said that.’

The Washington Post did a correction. A lot of pressure was put on them but they did a correction because they realized what they did was wrong.

Actually, they printed a correction because The Wall Street Journal had published an audio recording of the call which revealed the actual words that had been said. A recording, I might add, that had been deleted by someone who knew what would happen if it were found and later discovered in a “junk folder” .

The Post published the following correction to the story:

Correction: Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find ‘dishonesty’ there. He also told her that she had ‘the most important job in the country right now.’ A story about the recording can be found here. The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.

On Tuesday, the Post published an article to explain how this ‘error’ may have occurred. It was written by their media critic, Erik Wemple, He wrote that the “individual familiar with the call … spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation.”

The original story had been “based on an account from Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, whom Watson had briefed on [Trump’s] comments.”

Wemple spoke to Fuchs before writing his piece. She told him, “I believe the story accurately reflected the investigator’s interpretation of the call. The only mistake here was in the direct quotes, and they should have been more of a summary.”

“I think it’s pretty absurd for anybody to suggest that the president wasn’t urging the investigator to ‘find the fraud. These are quotes that [Watson] told me at the time.”

Is it the job of Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, to interpret the President’s intent? Especially when she had not directly spoken to him. Certainly not. As a public official, people expect the facts from her office, rather than her interpretation of the facts.

“Misreporting the words of the highest elected official in the land is a serious lapse — and one that, in this case, seems so unnecessary,” Wemple wrote.

“The existence of the call itself is a towering exclusive. When it comes to phone calls, the only good sources are the ones who are dialed in,” Wemple explained. “The former president’s partisans will attempt to memorialize The Post’s story as a fabrication or ‘fake news.’ But a central fact remains: As the Journal’s recording attests, Trump behaved with all the crooked intent and suggestion that he brought to every other crisis of his presidency.”

And with that comment, journalist extraordinaire Erik Wemple interprets the President’s intent as well. Suddenly, we understand why Fox News’ Tucker Carlson used to distribute “Erik Wemple” coffee mugs as a joke during a now-discontinued feature of his program called “Final Exam.”

After Wemple’s article had run, the Post stated, “We corrected the story and published a separate news story last week — at the top of our site and on the front page — after we learned that our source had not been precise in relaying then President Trump’s words. We are not retracting our January story because it conveyed the substance of Trump’s attempt to influence the work of Georgia’s elections investigators.”

And with that, we’ve hit the trifecta. The media outlet whose slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” became the third party to interpret the President’s intent.

First, Watson injects her bias against Trump into her recap of the call to Fuchs. Fuchs embellishes the call further in her conversation with Washington Post writer Amy Gardner, who adds her own highly partisan views to what she’s been told.

Next, the other major networks jump on the bandwagon. They all run the story claiming that they had independently confirmed it. Oh really? With whom? Did they speak to Fuchs as well? And she felt it was okay to do so because, after all, that’s what the President had intended?

And what about Watson herself? She knew the quotes attributed to the President were false. Yet she didn’t feel the need to correct the record?

This little story perfectly illustrates the anatomy of a smear. Really it’s no more complicated than a game of “Telephone” among like-minded adults.

And it happens every day.