Category Archives: media

Press Out

By convention the major news networks and several newspapers and organizations form the White House Press Corps replete with office space in the West Wing and daily press briefings from the “Press Secretary”. This convention goes back to the end of the 19th century and has become more formalized with the passage of time.

Need it continue?

I think it is fair to say that the establishment media in the US has been universally hostile to President Elect Trump. Editorially that would be one thing, but it is pretty clear that the reporters and opinion columnists (and is there really a difference any more?) can’t stand Trump. And Trump cordially returns the favour calling out dishonest reporters and what he sees as biased coverage.

Perhaps it is time for there to be a bit of distance between the President and the Press. Physical distance. Setting up a briefing room and offices for the Press Corps in a basement at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the White House would make clear the Press Corps’ status in a Trump Presidency. And a weekly rather than daily briefing would be more than sufficent to cover the routine matters an Administration has to announce. Yes, the media would howl. But so what?

At the moment Trump can get any coverage he wants or needs when he wants or needs it from any number of non-traditional media outlets. Breitbart, Daily Caller, Drudge…Hell, the Daily Mail does a better and less biased job of covering Trump than the US mainstream media.

“Draining the swamp” means more than kicking the lobbyists out of government, it also means breaking up the media cabal which has enabled the swamp to fill up in the first place. Dumping the Press Corps into a basement half a mile from the center of power will make their actual importance very clear.

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How does Trump still have supporters?

Andrew Coyne summarizes the state of bien-pensant Canadian opinion in a largely fact-free screed on Trump.  (Here, behind the NPs flimsy paywall. Use incognito mode.)

Having entirely bought into the DNC/MSM account of Trump’s many failing poor Andrew just cannot imagine how anyone could be supporting Trump…but they are. How can that be?

If your information comes from the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as CNN, this is a real question and one which is likely perplexing. After all, through that lens Trump is a loud mouthed, know nothing, groping, nogoodnick. And he is running against a tough, experienced, qualified woman who has tirelessly worked for the good of America at home and abroad. A woman who herself wonders “Why am I not 50 points ahead?”. And a woman who enjoys a commanding lead in the polls.

A decade ago Coyne was smart enough that he would have wondered if this black and white story could possibly be true. Now success and laziness have robbed him of the critical capacity he used to have.

A little rooting around would have given Coyne a more balanced perspective and might actually answer his question.

Part of Trump’s support is actual support. People who, for various reasons, simply like Trump and like his policies. There are a lot of Americans who do not like open borders, have lost their jobs to what they see as ill-conceived trade policy, think that police lives matter just as much as black ones and are leery of America assuming the role of “world policeman”. These are not crazy positions, they are not especially right wing and they are racist only if you are willing to rob that word of any serious meaning. Coyne suggests that 2 in 5 Americans inexplicably support Trump. I would think that his explanation is in those basic positions.

However, for Trumpogedan (similar to Brexit) to happen, Trump needs another 5-10% of the vote. Here we have the people who may vote for Trump not because they support him or his policies but rather because they do not want to see a criminal and her co-conspirators/enablers anywhere near the White House. (Were I an American voter this is where I would fall.) Alternatively, there are also a lot of voters who see Hilly as the embodiment of the crony/special interest/pay to play politics which have corroded the American Republic for decades. Here a vote for Trump is, in the fat bastard Michael Moore’s memorable phrase, a Molotov cocktail tossed at the Establishment.

When I look at Trump I see many of the flaws Coyne does but I don’t see contempt for the rule of law or a deep sense of entitlement. I don’t see a person who routinely lies to Congress, the FBI and the American people. I don’t see a person surrounded by layers of flunkies for whom any means are justified in protecting her privilege. And I don’t see in Trump a person who, for whatever reason, has converted a supposedly independent media into a Praetorian guard.

What Coyne might see if he managed to get outside the NYT/WP/CNN bubble for a few minutes is that for all the Red Hat Yahoo fervour for Trump, there is also a growing, “no hat”, contingent of Americans who realize just how dangerous Hilly, and what Hillary privately stands for, actually is.

Frustrating as the MSM’s decision to feature every Democratically connected bimbo who was ever within a hundred feet of Trump for the “Grope of the Day” piece, intelligent people are able to find and read the Wikileaks emails for themselves. These are, so far, not about smoking guns, rather they are about a cast of mind, a deep contempt for ordinary people, a field guide to influence peddling and a revelation of a woman, and the group surrounding her, never once asking what was right, merely asking what would fly, what they could get away with, what they could hide.

The Wikileaks emails are unlikely to influence low information voters on either side. And with the full press information suppression job being done by the media, they will probably not reach many of the nice, college educated, ladies supporting Hillary. But they may reach a few.

Andrew Coyne was shocked and appalled by Brexit. The little people, the bigots, the un-educated defeated the sorts of people Coyne is convinced should be running things. If Trump wins, and there is a good chance he will (“weighted” polls notwithstanding), poor Andrew may have to take to his fainting couch. But the hardest thing for Andrew and his ilk to accept is that, for good reasons, Trump will get votes from people who are well educated, intelligent and absolutely convinced that Hilly is a real threat to the Republic.

Update: via Instapundit here is a computer science prof at Yale who has swung round to Trump:

I’ll vote for Mr. Trump—grimly. But there is no alternative, no shadow of a responsible alternative.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a message from the voters. He is the empty gin bottle they have chosen to toss through the window. The message begins with the fact that voters hear what the leaders and pundits don’t: the profound contempt for America and Americans that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama share and their frightening lack of emotional connection to this nation and its people.

David Galernter, WSJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Panic

Andrew Coyne has gone full RINO in todays National Post, “We’re Staring into the Abyss of a Trump Presidency” (use incognito mode to defeat the NP paywall). Coyne points at all of the possible people to blame for this terrible mess and, of course, fails to notice that the American electorate has simply had enough of the current political system. That idea, the idea that people independently of elite opinion have weighed the system and found it wanting is beyond Coyne as it is beyond most of the commetariat.

Trust Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain how people who seem intelligent, as Coyne often does, can misunderstand the basics of the political world.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in most countries, the government’s role is between five and ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and is rarely seen outside specialized outlets, think tanks, the media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many openings for the IYI.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. (medium)

Coyne and his ilk parted company with what one might refer to as “regular” people years ago. From Global Warming to Brexit to mass hidden unemployment to pro-refugee policy they have ceased to hear anything outside their shrinking bubble. The fact they can make assorted, sophisticated, arguments in favour of elite policy, from either the left or the right, proves terrific rhetorical dexterity. But it does not change the actual facts on the ground.

For Intellectuals Yet Idiots words are reality. Which means that it is a knock down argument to yell “Racist” or “Bigot” at someone with whom you disagree. But what happens when that no longer works? When people refuse to accept the labeling, hectoring and judgement of their intellectual “betters”?

In a word: Trump. Or Brexit. Or the collapse of the EU.

Coyne needs to get out more. He is smarter than he sounds in his NP article; but the poor man is entirely isolated. Isolation creates cluelessness.

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Enter the Dragon

001The French language debate – a rite in which each leader demonstrates his or her grasp of French and Quebec issues – turned up something interesting. Mulcair and Trudeau think the niqab is perfectly suitable attire for taking your citizenship oath: Harper and Duceppe don’t.

Neither, it turns out, do 80% of Canadians and 90% of Quebecers. There’s a fine old fight going on at Dawg’s blog in which Dawg himself says,

The niqab, after all, is just synedoche for the Muslim presence in Canada. In the service of hatred and fear, articles of ethnic clothing are completely interchangeable.

The electorate has become a mob. And how easy it was. dr.dawg

While I certainly don’t agree that the electorate has become a mob, I think Dawg is exactly right when he says that the niqab has become “synedoche for the Muslim presence in Canada” (synedoche means a part which represents the whole (yes, I had to look it up too)).

All of a sudden the people of Canada have the opportunity to express their views about Muslim immigration. Perhaps not directly – after all the niqab is not a particularly good proxy for Islam as it is not required religiously and not all Muslim women feel compelled to wear it – but far more overtly than the topic has ever been broached before.

Dawg ascribes all manner of sinister motives to Harper, his Aussie advisor and the CPC in bringing this up at all. For all I know this may very well be an exercise in wedge politics. If it is then it is about time that this wedge be tested.

Immigration policy in Canada has never really been put to any sort of popular test. Nor has the ruling class’s conviction that the only thing which matters about Islam is Islamophobia. Dawg lines up nicely with the ruling class and, in the lively comments, states,

There IS no legitimate debate about the degree a government should be prepared to extend human rights to minorities. Rights should never be up for debate, and frankly I don’t give a damn what Chantal (Hebert) says to the contrary. dr dawg

Apparently, well over 80% of Canadians disagree with this position.

Partially, I think, the debate turns on whether one sees Muslim immigration as just another instance of immigration or if one sees such immigration, particularly from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, as potentially more problematic than other sorts of immigration.

There are thousands of Muslim immigrants to Canada who lead rich, full integrated lives as Canadians. I am thinking particularly of the several hundred thousand Ismailis who arrived as refugees in the 1970s and have gone on to build vibrant, integrated communities all over Canada.

However, there is a growing minority of Muslims who have moved to Canada but who seem incapable of leaving their old countries, customs and culture behind. The burkas at Walmart are one thing, the demand for segregated swimming times another, the terrorism and support for Sharia law yet another.

Over at Dawg’s the argument seems to be that even noticing that there are Muslim immigrants who do not integrate well into Canadian society is bigoted or racist. Which it may well be; but Canadians have the right to at least discuss how they would like their country to evolve. Should we welcome immigrants from parts of the world where anti-Semitism is matter of fact? Where women are treated as chattels? Where support for the barbarity of Sharia law is a religious duty?

Harper – perhaps by design, perhaps by accident – has given Canadians the opportunity to discuss and, maybe, vote based upon their particular answer to the question of whether, in general, we should accommodate the religious, cultural and political demands of Islam.

I suspect he has won the election by giving Canadians that choice.

[And, as a bonus, I rather doubt that there are any Canadians other than the editorial board of the Globe and Mail, who don’t take a certain satisfaction when convicted terrorists are stripped of their Canadian citizenship. Just as few Canadians lamented when various Nazi war criminals lost their citizenship.]

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Clarkson Gone?

The Telegraph has a leak saying Jeremy Clarkson is getting the boot. Grounds are a verbal and physical assault on a junior producer which the BBC could not tolerate. (Nor should they.)

As with any leak it is wise to wait for the official announcement. And to hear what the actual evidence is. If Clarkson is being sacked I have to guess that there is pretty compelling evidence which goes beyond a “fracas” with a bit of “handbagging”. I have to assume that Clarkson went well beyond an annoyed harangue and was in full on bully mode. But we’ll see what the evidence actually is.

I thoroughly enjoy Top Gear and no question Clarkson makes the show. I find the BBC management as dismally luvie and left wing as most of the commentary suggests it is. But if Clarkson really did throw his not inconsiderable weight around and barracked his subordinate – much less hit him – then Clarkson has to go. If he takes Hammoon and May over to Netflix and puts out a car show I’ll watch it and so will my boys. But he really should have known better. 

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Rebel, Rebel…

Ezra rides again.

http://therebel.media/

Now here’s the thing. Ez has published a magazine and put on a nightly TV show. He apparently has some backing. He has name recognition.

The question is whether he has taken the proper lessons from the fact that neither of these two operations were successful? A good rant once in a while in the style of Rex Murphy is grand;but there needs to a lot more than that.

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Sun TV is dead

Word arrives of Sun TV’s demise.

I don’t watch TV so this is an abstract blow. I watched enough of Sun to know that I didn’t like it any more than I liked the Sun newspapers. It was certainly a dissident voice in the wasteland of Canadian television. But it missed Marshall Mcluhan’s point about television being a cool media. Worse, it lacked the vision which has driven Fox to the top of the cable heap.

Television is dying. Viewership is dropping, ad revenues are down. It’s dying because no one has time and no one wants to be talked at. Talked with, perhaps. My phone offers me a thousand and eleven news sources, raw video of events:the opinions I can develop myself.

Sun’s critical mistake – other than having the production values of community TV, was to miss how mainstream, lefty, media works. The opinion is embedded not overt.

I love Ezra and Brian Lilley. For five minutes at a time max. Which leaves 23 hours and change to do serious reporting, regional coverage, round tables, celebrity bs, culture, media, books and call ins. Plus serious business reporting when the market is open.

None of that happened. Or,if it did, no one knew about it.

Taking several million dollars and running a conservative flag up a pole is a worthy endeavour. Everyone at Sun deserves a heartfelt pat on the back. But the reality is that marketplaces decide what works and Sun TV never did.

It is encouraging that BCF noted that Ezra was sitting with Moses Znaimer at the Mark Steyn event. Znaimer is the smartest guy in Canadian television bar none.

Sun TV was an attempt to change the channel. It failed. The need remains but it has to be smart, slickly produced and Internet aware. Sun TV, whatever its ideological virtue, was ham handed, as slick as Brian’s do, and Internet poison. These are people from the dying newspaper business trying to revive the dying television business and it showed.

The market is never wrong… On to the next thing.

UPDATE:Lots of smart commentary floating around the Canadian net. Thanks to Blazingcatfur, Five Feet and Mark Steyn for linking.

Creating conservative media one needs to keep a couple of things in mind. Toronto is not Canada. No, really. The Internet is here to stay and it has changed everything. Real news leads, opinion follows. Conservatives are busy people. They will watch smartly packaged news and business reporting. The success of BNN demonstrates this. Television is dying so don’t be television…look to VICE as a model. Fixed costs are your enemy, freelancers your friend. There is a lot of underutilised studio space all over Canada. Slick production is about style, the 70’s are over. Technology let’s you shoot studio quality on a DSLR and edit on your phone. Use it or find someone who can.

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Lefty litmus test

Assorted lefties are falling all over themselves to support the freedom of the press.

Warren Kinsella has had a come to Jesus conversion and is in full support of Charlie Hebdo. I commented that he might want to apologise to his Sun colleague Ezra Levant for failing to stand with the Western Standard when it published the Motoons and that he might want to strike hate sniffer general Richard Warman off his Christmas list. The coward Kinsella deleted the comment a few hours later. The Jackal we know and love.

Over at Dawg’s one of his regular commenter took exception to my suggestion that mosques be closed. I responded at length. Two things:first, my comment and several responses are still up and there is a reasonable conversation occurring. I don’t think the lefties at Dawg’s are going to agree with me but, unlike the Jackal, they are prepared to engage.

Poor Warren is still trying to get the hang of this free speech thing. He might ask Ezra or Mark Steyn how it’s done.

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Taking Islamic Terror Seriously

The Daily Mail, whose coverage of the Paris atrocity has been outstanding, reports that there have been at least three incidents of “revenge” attacks overnight. The attacks have focused on mosques and a kebab shop rather than on actual Muslims.

The desire to lash out at the symbols of Islam (and a kebab shop) makes sense in the wake of the atrocity; but it actually reflects the correct perception that the political class is incapable of anything beyond in the moment police work and platitudes as to how the Charlie Hebdo attack had nothing to do with Islam. All of which is an indication that the political classes don’t have a clue what to do about terrorism and it roots in Islam.

This is largely because the political classes are in a state of deep denial as to what might be termed the root causes of Islamic terror. Here’s a hint – it is Islam and at its very root, the Koran.

Assorted “far right” commentators have taken the time to read the Koran and have been shocked at what it contains. Understanding the texture of the Koran requires a bit of knowledge of Mohammed’s story and how that influenced the early Mecca portion of the Koran and the later, much more violent, Medina surah. (A quick guide can be found here.) The “death to the unbelievers” portions are generally from the later period.

I argued yesterday that Islam is not a religion. It is, however, a political cult based upon a willingness to spread its power by the sword. Jihad is not a peaceful inner struggle, it is a tactic with the strategic goal of converting or killing unbelievers. (And for all those ahistorical dimwits out there moaning about how Christians have killed for their faith, find a single gospel story where Jesus exhorted the faithful to murder “unbelievers”. You won’t.)

Against this view are arrayed a good deal of scholarship which suggest the admonitions of Allah through his prophet were situation specific and the Juden haus of the Koran was directed at specific tribes of obstinate Jews who got in the way of the spread of Islam. Which may very well be true, but the first thing a serious approach to Islamic terror needs to recognize is that this liberal interpretation of Islam is not what drives the terrorists.

One would think that would be obvious, but listening to the great and good exonerate Islam at large for the Paris atrocity it becomes obvious they are willfully blind to the interpretation of the Koran which fuels Islamic terror. So long as the political class takes this Pollyanna approach there is not the slightest chance Islamic terror will be taken seriously enough to be defeated.

Rather than taking the mildest, most liberal, construction of the Koran, politicians and opinion leaders need to look at the darkest, nastiest, most brutal interpretation which, in fact, drives the lone wolves, the wolf packs and outfits like IS and Hamas. It is that dark version of Islam which implies a never ending war, mandated by God, until the Peace of Submission encompasses the entire world.

Armed with that understanding, the political class will be able to intellectually, and eventually tactically, separate the sheep from the goats. Understanding the dark, violent, side of Islam is the only way to beat Islamic terrorists. And to reach that understanding, the political class will have to actually learn some history and read within the Wahabbi and Safalist traditions. When they do they will discover that Islam is not, by the lights of its terrorist theologians, a religion so much as a complete tactical guide for the forceful conversion of all non-Muslims.

Happy clappy, kumbaya approaches to Islam which have so far characterized the Western elite’s limited engagement with the problem, rest on the presumption that only a tiny minority of Muslims accept the dark vision of Islam triumphant by the sword. To address Islamic terror that presumption needs to be tested against reality.

There is a fair bit of survey research which suggests that Muslims in Middle Eastern and European countries are broadly supportive of sharia law. A significant minority indicate support for the bloodier forms of jihad including IS and Hamas. Digging into this support will identify the sources of these profoundly anti-democratic views.

A root cause is just that: a cause to which specific acts of terror and support for terror can be traced. For example, it may well turn out that the Paris murderers were influenced by a specific imam, or a specific book or website. And there is where the pushback needs to happen.

Randomly bombing kabab shops will do nothing to address the roots of Islamic terrorism. Deporting radical imams, closing Islamic bookshops which sell hate literature and shutting down Islamic websites which support violent jihad are all easily justified and potentially effective ways of countering radical Islam.

As importantly, creating a chilly climate for Islamists is the least Western societies can do to protect themselves. Ending immigration from Muslim nations without positive security and cultural vetting – which will, because of the resources required, slow immigration to a trickle – is a necessary first step. Prohibiting the construction of mosques on the basis that they are political rather than religious buildings is another useful step. Cancelling the so called “reasonable accommodation” provisions which create gender segregation and allow self ghettoization should make Western countries less attractive.

Creating a hostile environment for Islamic terrorists will, necessarily, create a somewhat unpleasant environment for non-terrorist Muslims. Tough. There is no reason to accord a political movement’s members any privileges which are not enjoyed by the rest of the society. If someone shows up for a job interview wearing Nazi regalia we expect that fact to be taken into account. The political dress adopted by Muslims in the West should have exactly the same status.

A serious, measured, approach grounded in an understanding of Islam as a political movement with totalitarian aims will begin the process of defeating Islamic terror. The time to start was twenty years ago, but today will have to do.

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Useful Horror

Islamic terror

But it is Islam

The murder of a dozen people is, simply, horrible. It does not matter why they were murdered, the fact of their massacre is the horror in itself.

Even as the terrorists are still on the loose there are things which are clear about these murders. They were committed by Muslims in the name of Islam to shut up people who mocked Islam.

There is no room for Western liberal spin about lone wolves and metal illness. This was murder by and for Islam.

It was, if further demonstration was needed, proof that Islam is not compatible with liberal democracy. There may be individual Muslims who can meet the demands for tolerance and non-violent liberal democracy imposes;but Islam the religion/cult/ideology as it is presently constituted cannot. A fact underscored by President Sisi’s recent speech to the religious in Egypt.

Collective punishment is also contrary to the tenents of democracy;but that does not mean France or any other civilised nation needs to allow Islam to continue to undermine our Enlightenment values.

The first thing to do in the wake of these murders is to strip Islam of its status as a religion. Recognize that in its unreformed state Islam is a political cult and treat it that way.

Close the mosques. Once Islam is recognised as an essentially political cult there is no reason to allow it to preach it’s hateful doctrines which rely on the Koran which is, itself, a manual of incitement and justification for murder. Closing the mosques would send a clear message to the Muslims that their brand of hatred and violence was not welcome in France or anywhere else in the West.

Prohibit all immigration from Muslim nations by Muslims. Of course the poor Christians and others should be allowed to come but for a decade or two Muslim immigration to the West needs to end.

Third, systematically look at every recent Muslim immigrant and, if citizenship has not been granted, send them back to where ever they came from on the basis that the danger of Islam increases as it’s numbers increase. Once the non-citizens have been deported, look at the recent citizens and determine if their pledge of loyalty to their new country was honest or if loyalty to the political cult of Islam made taking such a pledge sincerely impossible. Look for evidence of conduct. Participation in radical activities, keeping women in bags, evidence of female genital mutilation would all suggest that loyalty to the cult made taking the citizenship oath honestly impossible.

The faint hearted will object that this program would deny Muslims the right of free speech and the right to freedom of religion. Even the most passionate advocate of free speech will draw the line at incitement and treason or sedition. At its core Islam incites murder, advocates treason and promotes sedition – silencing it does no damage to free speech. Recognising that Islam is a political cult puts it outside the protection extended to religions so the issue of religious freedom does not come up.

The murder of a dozen people by Islamic terrorists is a horror but it is the sort of atrocity which reminds people of how dangerous Islam actually is.

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