Tag Archives: journalism

The James Webb Telescope: a signpost for identifying fake news sources

The news yesterday that NASA will once again have to delay the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope due to a variety of technical issues and management errors not only exemplified the fundamental failure of the federal government, it also illustrated the routine failures of today’s mainstream press.

First, Webb’s new delay epitomizes the systemic incompetence of Washington. Despite being 13 years behind schedule and costing eight times more than originally planned, NASA and its contractors still couldn’t get things right.

Most of the problems have occurred with the spacecraft half of the project, which was built by Northrop Grumman in California and is undergoing testing there. During the teleconference, NASA officials, including acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot, expanded upon technical problems first reported publicly by the agency’s inspector general last month.

These include leaky valves within the spacecraft’s propulsion system and difficulties encountered during deployment tests of the sun shield. Not only did the thin, five-layer sun shield snag during the deployment, but technicians also found seven tears up to 10cm long within the material. NASA and Northrop Grumman have identified fixes for these problems, but their repair has added months of delays to the project, and engineers cannot be sure that more issues will not crop up during further testing.

Such failures, in NASA and in all big federal projects in recent years, are hardly news. Only the willfully blind or those who support wasting tax dollars to distribute pork will deny they exist.

The failures of the federal government however is not the focus of this essay. Instead, the announcement yesterday and the coverage of it by the press provides us a perfect and very obvious signpost for differentiating between the fake news sources that are generally unreliable or too often allow their biases to influence their reporting, and those sources that do a good job.

That signpost is one simple fact: Webb is not a replacement or successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, despite NASA making this false claim for decades. Hubble is an optical telescope. Webb will view the universe in the infrared. These are too entirely different things.

Yet, too many news sources today repeated NASA’s false claim, illustrating how little they know about both telescopes and their design, while revealing their complete inability to do some basic journalistic research. Instead they merely rewrite old press releases, and thus prove clearly by their bad reporting why so many people have so little respect for the modern press.

The worst examples made this false claim right in the headline:
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The Russian-Trump collusion story: a media disinformation campaign

Link here. The author does an excellent job reviewing, in detail, how the mainstream Democratic media reported the Russian-Trump collusion story, from its inception before the election and since, and how all reporters involved, seemingly terrified of a Trump-Putin partnership, had had zero concerns about similar and actual Obama-Putin deal-making — often against the interests of the U.S. — during his entire administration.

The key quote, however, is this:

The reason the media will not report on the scandal now unfolding before the country, how the Obama administration and Clinton campaign used the resources of the federal government to spy on the party out of power, is not because the press is partisan. No, it is because the press has played an active role in the Trump-Russia collusion story since its inception. It helped birth it.

To report how the dossier was made and marketed, and how it was used to violate the privacy rights of an American citizen—Page—would require admitting complicity in manufacturing Russiagate. Against conventional Washington wisdom, the cover-up in this case is not worse than the crime: Both weigh equally in a scandal signaling that the institution where American citizens are supposed to discuss and debate the choices about how we live with each other has been turned against a large part of the public to delegitimize their political choices. [emphasis mine]

Essentially, we have two very bad scandals unfolding here. First and foremost, the previous president abused the power of his office to spy on his party’s opponent during the campaign, and used that information as a weapon during the campaign. Second and almost as significant, the press teamed up with that president to help him spy and attack that opponent, and is now working to squelch any mention of that abuse of power that they participated in.

To put it mildly, the mainstream press has become an American version of the Soviet press when it was required to work for the communists or face prison. Here in the U.S. however there is no fear of prison. The press is doing this voluntarily. It is no longer looking for real scoops. It is only interested in advocating the election of Democrats.

As a journalist this makes me more than ashamed. It completely disgusts me.

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Polar bears are starving! (NOT)

Fake science: Two articles yesterday from the so-called science journals Nature and Science today illustrate once again how pervasive the corruption in the climate field has now spread to almost anything that relates to climate.

Both articles refer to a paper published this week in Science, though the Nature article is far more detailed and longer. Researchers had tracked 9 polar bears during the spring months in three separate years, and had found that 5 of them had lost weight during this time period. From the Nature article:

Polar bear calorie use in spring

On average, the bears needed nearly 12,325 kilocalories per day — 1.6 times more energy than previously thought. To meet such energy demands, a female bear on the spring sea ice should eat either one adult or 19 newborn ringed seals every 10 to 12 days, the scientists concluded.

But nearly half of the bears didn’t catch enough food — and were forced to fast or scavenge carcasses. These animals lost 10% of their body mass over about 10 days. “That’s dramatic,” says physiologist John Whiteman at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. It’s as if a person weighing 80 kilograms shed 8 kilograms in just over a week, he says.

Catching enough to eat isn’t the only challenge polar bears face. As rising temperatures thin the sea ice, wind and currents make it drift faster on the ocean surface. “Think about a treadmill,” says Merav Ben-David, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. If the sea ice moves faster under their paws, polar bears have to walk faster — or for longer — to remain in the same spot3, which forces them to expend more energy, she says. [emphasis mine]

Oh my god! The polar bears are dying! And global warming is killing them!

What a joke. A quick look at the graph above, captured from the Science video, reveals that what the researchers really found is that four bears lost weight, four bears gained weight, and one stayed about the same. The bears studied weren’t “starving,” they represented what looks like an ordinary cross-section of population.

Moreover, this study is incredibly uncertain in that it only studied 9 bears, and only during the spring months during three years. What happens during the rest of the year? What would happen if they studied a larger population? While the data here teaches us something about the polar bear’s diet, calorie intake and calorie requirements, it is absolutely insufficient to provide any conclusions about the future of the bear population.

Worse, while both articles were quick to mention the threat from global warming, neither mentioned that the polar bear population continues to thrive, and has been doing so for the past decade, with no declines in almost all Arctic regions.

Further compounding the bad reporting here, while both articles repeated their religious belief in global warming and the impending disappearance of the Arctic icecap, there remains zero evidence in all data gathered of the ice pack by satellites and ground research that the icecap is shrinking significantly. In fact, while it had shown a steady decline through the first decade of the 21st century, in the past few years there has been a marked recovery. While these scientists might want the ice cap to disappear for political reasons, it simply isn’t doing so.

This is junk journalism and fake science. In fact, it is downright pitiful. That the reporting at such important science journals as these has become so slipshod speaks badly for the future of science in general.

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The utter childishness of modern intellectual discourse

The world is faced with threats of nuclear and chemical attacks from North Korea. Iran is hit by protests that might escalate into all out civil war. Islamic terrorist attacks have now become almost routine. And in the U.S. there appears to be corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice, while at the same time the federal government has produced a national debt exceeding $20 trillion, with more debt on the way.

Have any of these significant stories been the primary focus of our American media, from either side of the political spectrum?

An objective look at the culture of today’s press says no. Even as the leftist American mainstream media continues to focus its energies on petty and ineffective attacks of Donald Trump, too many journalists on the right unfortunately appear to be diving right in to join them with their own petty counter-attacks. The result is a press that spends the bulk of its time on irrelevant stories of partisan bickering that have little substance or importance.

In the last week of 2017 we had one particularly acute example of this. First a mainstream liberal news source pushed an absurdly trivial story in a shallow effort to discredit Donald Trump. This was then followed by a frenzied and as-shallow response from the conservative press. I want to showcase both, not merely to illustrate how weak the original story was (which is obvious on its face), but to also point out the childishness of the response.

I must add that everything written in every one of the news sources that I will cite below appears to be 100% accurate. My point here isn’t to highlight examples of error-filled news reporting — which these days mostly comes from left leaning sources overwhelmed by their blind hatred of Trump — but to illustrate reporting from both sides that hardly rises above the level of a five year old, and is thus completely inconsequential.

From CNN: Truck blocks cameras from filming Trump on golf course.

Apparently the day before CNN had managed, by peering through some bushes on the edge of the Trump International Golf Club in Florida, to videotape President Trump playing some golf. When they came back the next day a white truck now blocked their view. This then became a big scandal for CNN, with the cable network then spending gobs of time every hour for the next few days investigating the truck and following up on this terrible act of corruption, obviously part of the evil Trump administration’s effort to cancel the First Amendment and to silence the press! Much of the leftwing media piled on as well. Below are some of CNN’s coverage, as well as a bit of that liberal news pile on.
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Leftists brownshirts stalk and plan violence against conservatives

This post is actually about two stories. The first describes the actions of Berkeley brownshirts as they stalk members of the college Republican club. The second describes the planning of violence against conservatives attending a lecture by conservative Ben Shapiro (whom they call a Nazi despite being an orthodox Jew).

Someone is going to get killed by these masked thugs, merely because those murdered happen to be conservative and believe in freedom.

I have posted below the fold the video of Steven Crowder’s report from the second link. While his evidence shows the violent intent of these leftist thugs, the most damning part of his report is the part where he tries to show this evidence to major news reporters and gets dismissed out of hand. As Crowder notes on the video,

Even being shown the footage in the presence of police officers to confirm its authenticity, they walked away… We were delivering a story to local and national news on a silver platter which included infiltration, violence, and exposing the roots of a national domestic terrorist organization and no one wanted to give it a glimpse, not one person. It didn’t even get mentioned [in later mainstream media reports].

Remember, if you depend on mainstream news sources for your news, you are not simply being uninformed, you are being willfully misinformed.

» Read more

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Space hype versus reality

Three stories today illustrate the importance of maintaining some skepticism when reading the claims of rocket companies.

I could probably also include the story earlier today about the model rocket test launch that was hyped absurdly by the company and the British newspapers that reported it.

The first story reports the comments of a local politician claiming that SpaceX will be launching from its Boca Chica Texas spaceport by the end of 2018. Interesting, but I’d rather go by what the company itself says, and what SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell says today is “Our Texas site still doing landscaping, could be avail in ~ 2 yrs; no rush given our capacity at two Fla pads.”

In other words, the local official’s prediction was a bit overstated, and therefore should not be taken too seriously.

The second story however can be taken a bit more seriously, since it is a report from an actual company official, Clay Mowry, Blue Origin’s vice president of sales, marketing and customer experience. He explains that they hope to resume New Shepard suborbital test flights before the end of the year, with manned test flights occurring in 2018. However, he says little about why there was such a long gap in New Shepard launches after they completed their last test flight in October 2016. At that time they said they would be doing more test flights in early 2017, but by the spring of 2017 had back tracked.

The claim that they might be flying again before the end of the year, however, still carries weight, in that it matches earlier statements. In other words, Blue Origin has been very careful not to make promises it cannot meet. In rocket science this care cannot always be met, but they clearly have tried hard. This is why I take Mowry’s statement that they hope to fly humans on New Shepard in 2018 with some trust.

The third story is a perfect example of how a company loses trust. Virgin Orbit is part of the Virgin set of companies run by Richard Branson, and used to be part of Virgin Galactic. Branson and Virgin Galactic have been making promises now for more than a decade, none of which have born fruit. This unreliability has made me very skeptical about anything they say, which is also why I do not report their claims much anymore. When they actually fly something I will write about it.

For awhile I thought Virgin Orbit was a different bird, as the executives there have been more careful, only making cautious promises and then more or less fulfilling them. The story above however gives me pause. Even as they admit they have had to delay their test program their president still insists that they will be able to ramp up to two launches per month by 2020. Considering the fact that no single private company has yet managed to do such a thing, in the more than half century since the beginnings of the space age, I think it is a little dangerous for this guy to make this claim, even before the company has even launched its first rocket. Virgin Orbit might do it, but such wild claims make me very suspicious of them.

And then there was today’s earlier story about Starchaser Industries. They launch a model rocket 4000 feet in the air, and from this they claim that they will be putting humans on a suborbital rocket in only two years. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you, cheap.

The bottom line here is to use some common sense and thoughtful judgment in reading stories about future space achievements. The first three stories above are actually all well written, well researched, and very careful in how they report their stories. It however is not necessarily their job to tell you whether the claims are trustworthy, especially if the claims seem reasonable based upon the available information. The last however is an example of bad journalism, rewriting a press release without doing any research at all.

In all cases, it is important to distinguish between stories about what is going to happen versus what is happening. I always prefer the latter, since a real achievement will always trump a mere prediction. And when it comes to the space industry and rocket science, predictions surely must take a back seat to reality.

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Indicted Democratic IT staffers suspected of selling sensitive info to hostile foreign governments

Update on Democratic IT scandal: Investigators now suspect that the computer staffers, hired by numerous Democratic legislators (most notably former party head Debbie Wasserman Schultz) and already indicted for bank fraud, might have stolen and sold sensitive data to hostile foreign governments.

Investigators now suspect that sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress or even put their lives at risk. “This is a massive, massive scandal,” a senior US official familiar with the widening probe told The Post.

Alarm bells went off in April 2016 when computer security officials in the House reported “irregularities” in computer equipment purchasing. An internal investigation revealed the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in government property, and evidence pointed to five IT staffers and the Democratic Congress members’ offices that employed them. The evidence was turned over to the House inspector general, who found so much “smoke” that she recommended a criminal probe, sources say. The case was turned over to Capitol Police in October.

When the suspected IT workers couldn’t produce the missing invoiced equipment, sources say, they were removed from working on the computer network in early February.

During the probe, investigators found valuable government data that is believed to have been taken from the network and placed on offsite servers, setting off more alarms. Some 80 offices were potentially compromised.

Wasserman Schultz is especially suspect here. While every other Democratic lawmaker fired these IT staffers months ago, Wasserman Schultz kept them on her payroll (though they had lost security clearance and could do no work for her) and has gone out of her way to hinder the investigations.

Note that this is real scandal, involving actual indictments, the misuse of sensitive government data by foreign nationals of countries not friendly to the United States, and the possibly blackmailing of elected officials. Too bad our insane media today is trapped in a bubble and can no longer see a scoop, even when it is forced down their throats.

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Palin wins first battle with NYTimes in her libel lawsuit

This should be entertaining: A federal judge has ruled that the New York Times editorial writer who smeared Sarah Palin in an editorial will have to testify under oath about that editorial.

The editorial tried to blame Palin for the 2011 Tucson mass shooting by an insane man, even though the New York Times’ own reporting had previously shown without doubt that no such link existed. In order to avoid losing their case, the editorial writer is going to have to claim that he doesn’t read his own newspaper, and thus did not know about the Times own reporting on this story. Otherwise, it will appear that the editorial was malicious and a lie, and thus libelous.

Like I said, this should be entertaining. Either Palin wins the lawsuit hands down, or the New York Times will have to make itself look like a piece of junk. Which, by the way, it has mostly been for the past three decades.

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Time/PBS video documentary nominated for Emmy despite factual error in title

Fake news: The Time/PBS video documentary A Year in Space has been nominated for an Emmy award, despite a blatant factual error in the show’s title.

I haven’t seen the documentary, and so it might a great achievement. Nonetheless, this mission only lasted 340 days, not a year, and to call it “a year in space” is not only false, but an outright lie. For a news organization to start out this wrong, in the title, and then for it to get an Emmy nomination, tells us a great deal about the standards of accuracy in television news.

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CNN Lists Job Opening For Head Fiction Writer

Link here. Key quote:

The network is reportedly looking for a seasoned author of thrilling fiction novels to fabricate news stories for its online and televised news coverage.

“Must have a penchant for weaving complex narratives and fabricating intricate storylines out of thin air for the sake of ratings. Experience in Cold War-era spy novels preferred, in the style of Tom Clancy, etc.,” the listing states. “Author will be responsible for making stuff up out of the blue to form the basis of 5-6 news stories per day. Full salary & benefits.”

The listing also states that “no journalism background is required.”

It seems to me that this listing is the most honest I’ve ever seen. Though I’m not sure what difference it makes whether any applicants have a modern “journalism background” or not. Considering what they teach students about journalism in today’s modern colleges, there really isn’t much difference between journalism and fiction anyway.

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White House decision on embassy move only after Trump’s Middle East trip

The White House has denied reports that they have decided not to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and have instead said that the decision on whether to move the embassy will only be made after Trump’s Middle East trip.

Since neither story identified the White House official making the claims, either for or against the move, I suppose we should file this whole thing under fake news. These are unsubstantiated leaks, and should not be taken seriously.

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Pan Am Boeing 707 – 1965 Emergency Landing

An evening pause: This television news report about a 1965 near disaster where a Pan American passenger jet’s engine and wing fall off and the captain brings everything down safely is fascinating to watch, partly because of the live action footage taken by one passenger, but also at how television news has evolved since then, for the worse. This 1965 report has no shots a newsperson standing in front of the camera telling us what happened, as is typical today. Instead, the filming focuses on the events and the witnesses themselves, and lets them tell the story in as straight-forward a manner as possible.

Hat tip Mike Nelson.

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Heart risks from secondhand smoke completely bogus

The uncertainty of science: New more carefully done research now proves that secondhand smoke from smoking does almost nothing to increase the risk of heart disease.

In the early 2000s, as jurisdictions across the country fought over expanding smoking bans to bars and restaurants, anti-smoking advocates seized on the Helena study and related research showing that secondhand smoke exposure can affect coronary functions to promote fear of secondhand smoke. Groups across the country stated that “even half an hour of secondhand smoke exposure causes heart damage similar to that of habitual smokers.” Not to be outdone, the Association for Nonsmokers in Minnesota wrote in a press release that just 30 seconds of exposure could “make coronary artery function of non-smokers indistinguishable from smokers.” The message to nonsmokers was clear: The briefest exposure to secondhand smoke can kill you.

A decade later, comprehensive smoking bans have proliferated globally. And now that the evidence has had time to accumulate, it’s also become clear that the extravagant promises made by anti-smoking groups—that implementing bans would bring about extraordinary improvements in cardiac health—never materialized. Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed in Helena. The updated science debunks the alarmist fantasies that were used to sell smoking bans to the public, allowing for a more sober analysis suggesting that current restrictions on smoking are extreme from a risk-reduction standpoint.

As almost always happens, the people pushing for the ban really weren’t that interested in protecting people’s health. They might have thought so, but in reality what they were really interested in was exerting their power over others, banning smoking and telling everyone else how to live their lives.

Read the whole article. It is very damning, and illustrates again why it is very important to not pass laws quickly based on some preliminary scientific results. Care must be taken, and patience is required. The science is never clear right from the beginning, especially on complex issues like climate and the health effects involving large numbers of people.

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The ships of Hanjin six months after it went bankrupt

Real news: Six months ago the shipping company Hanjin went bankrupt, stranding its 96 container ships worldwide. This article takes a detailed look not only on what happened to those ships since, but also at the state of the entire shipping industry.

There was a time when Hanjin’s collapse in August and this follow-up story would have been major news stories, covered by all the leading mainstream press outlets. No more. Even though it indicates significant financial and economic trends that should concern anyone who is serious about being an educated citizen, the press doesn’t cover it, and the public today really doesn’t care.

Just another indicator that a new dark age is looming.

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Trump “clamp down” no different than past transitions

It seems that the so-called clamp down on press releases and announcement by the Trump administration is not that unusual and is actually comparable to what was done when Obama took power.

The memo at the USDA was especially routine, despite the reports.

Similar news came out about a “gag order” for a small branch of the Department of Agriculture, which led to Buzzfeed to report “USDA Scientists Have Been Put On Lockdown Under Trump.” “Starting immediately and until further notice” the Agricultural Research Service “will not release any public-facing documents,” reads the memo obtained by Buzzfeed. The memo was rescinded Tuesday after a media firestorm.

But Trump never ordered the “lockdown.” In fact, the memo to USDA researches was sent by Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, President Obama’s appointee. “This memo is not some sort of creative writing exercise,” Michael Young, acting deputy secretary of the Agriculture Department, told NYT. “This is almost exactly what was issued eight years ago. I just updated it a bit.”

As much as I want such a clamp down, especially for those agencies that have become badly politicized, it does appear that the only thing happening here is a bit of panic by the left, by the media (I repeat myself), and by some federal workers. Essentially, they are squealing like pigs out of fear that they will no longer have their way, and the press is picking up the oinks and running with it.

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Giant networks of fake twitter users discovered

Why I don’t use Twitter: Researchers have discovered the existence of large networks of fake twitter accounts, some numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger. UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it. Some of the accounts have been used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

What this story tells me is that almost everything you read from Twitter is not to be trusted.

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Utah climate scientists whine about possible NASA cuts

The squealing of pigs: In the kind of journalistic pro-government spending propaganda that I despise, the Salt Lake Tribune today published this article giving climate scientists in their local area a platform to lobby the public in favor of their NASA funding.

The article provides a quick quote from a Trump campaign official noting their strong hostility to the politicization of climate research, and then spends the rest of the article allowing scientist after scientist to condemn that position and to defend that spending, repeatedly implying that should the NASA cuts go through, the research will end and even possibly that access to the data from NASA climate satellites will be denied to the public and to the scientists. At no time does the article provide any thoughtful information to explain that Trump administration perspective, which is based on some reasonable and very justifiable concerns.

I note this article as a warning. Expect more of this very bad journalism. Most of the press are blindly liberal and Democratic Party partisans. They are going to work blindly with the climate community to help them defend their funding, without the slightest effort at objective reporting. The public should be aware of this, and see this political lobbying for what it is.

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The real margin of error for polls

In my daily scanning of the news, looking for stories that are both educational as well as entertaining, I came across this particular post: “WATCH – This Viral Video Perfectly Illustrates Why Americans Don’t Trust the Lamestream Media”.

The title is typical click-bait, hinting at something truly revealing that nine times out of ten turns out to be immensely disappointing. This time, however, I found that the post revealed a lie about political polls, almost as an aside, that is simply never noted.

The video itself is entertaining. It shows one particularly bad performance by a MSNBC political reporter, where in only about five minutes he used NBC polls to make a string of predictions about the presidential election, every single one of which turned out to be spectacularly wrong. I’ve embedded the video below the fold for your enjoyment.

What the post however noted that I found revealing was something else:

After all, these were NBC polls that Kornacki cited time and time again. Polls that showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in places like North Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio. The polls were terribly off-base. In some cases, the NBC numbers showed Clinton with a double-digit lead in states that she went on to lose. In other words, the polls were not by any means scientific, fair, or truthful.

Does the phrase “margin of error” ring a bell? Typically, it is between three and four percent, in order to be deemed usable, anyway. But NBC’s margin of error in Pennsylvania was 11 percent. [emphasis mine]

In the past decade or so political polls have routinely included what they call their “margin of error,” which generally for most polls ranges, as noted above, about three to four percent. This number is, and has always been a lie, however, as shown by the highlighted text. The real margin of error is the difference between what the poll predicted and what the actual results were. And for all of these NBC polls, the margin of error was not 3 to 4 percent, but anywhere from 11 to 30 percent!

In other words, these polls were worthless. Worse, they suggest some intentional manipulation, as they all made their error in only one direction (against Trump and for Clinton), much like the tampered global temperature data that we see coming from NASA and NOAA. It could be that there is confirmation bias going on here, producing results these liberal news outlets wish, but I do not think so. NBC, and its sister station MSNBC, have repeatedly in the past five years committed some egregious journalist frauds, all of which designed to make conservatives and Republicans look bad and to promote the interests of the Democratic Party. The network has made no moves to correct the problems. Nor has it fired anyone.

I think it very reasonable to suspect intentional fraud here, specifically aimed at helping the Democrats.

More important, this story illustrates why we should all laugh uproariously the next time we see a mainstream media journalist note pompously that the poll he or she is citing has a margin of error of 3%. He or she either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they know very well and think you are too stupid to notice.
» Read more

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Why we have Trump

Link here. The post provides an excellent selection of some of the more memorable and egregious performances by the arrogant press, insulting and attacking and making fun of the tea party protesters. As the author notes,

Dear Media. Psst. Pay deadly-close attention here, for this is nearly the whole game that lost it for you:

1) pols made statements about a new policy to help it pass.
2) policy passed.
3) public discovered the policy was not as described. In a really bad way.
4) pols laughed at the public for believing them in the first place.
5) public learned its lesson, and acted accordingly.

Media: remember who was cheerleading and protecting the politicians who were enacting ACA? Remember who was vilifying those making good faith arguments against it? Defaming them as racists? It was you. And we all remember being lied to by you, too.

When you weren’t simply mocking us.

And this is how you got Trump.

The post ends with a few links to just a few of the Obama administration’s worst power grabs and fascist attacks on citizens, including the Gibson guitar raid and the IRS harassment, both of which the mainstream press either ignored or worked to embargo so that no one would know they happened.

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The science lobby looks at Trump’s pick for Health Secretary

Link here. The Nature article clearly takes a partisan and opposition view of Trump’s pick, Congressman Tom Price (R-Georgia). Nonetheless, it does give good insight into Price himself. I especially like this quote, used by Nature to imply that Price is somehow hostile to science:

But Price’s stance on biomedical research issues is harder to parse. He has taken few public positions on science, but has consistently pushed to cut overall federal spending. Last year, he voted against a bill that would overhaul FDA regulations and provide US$8.75 billion in mandatory funding to the NIH over five years.

Price also opposes President Barack Obama’s proposed $755-million Cancer Moonshot, which seeks to double the pace of cancer research over the next decade. “We’re all in favour of increasing funding for cancer research,” Price told STAT News in January. “The problem that the administration has is that they always want to add funding on, they never want to decrease funding somewhere else. That’s what needs to happen.” [emphasis mine]

There was once a time where Price’s approach would have been considered plain common sense. In today’s mad leftwing world however the idea that resources are not unlimited and that people have to make careful choices is considered evil and anti-science.

Expect these kinds of attacks to continue nonstop throughout the entire Trump administration, especially if that administration and Congress continue to push for a bit of restraint on budget issues. This is what happened during Reagan’s first term in the 1980s. The result was that eventually Reagan was never able to trim costs or eliminate any federal agencies, as the attacks caused many of his more radical cabinet picks to resign and the Republicans in Congress to eventually back down.

Today, however, things are different in one major way. Then, there was no alternative to the liberal press. Today, there are such alternatives. Moreover, the bias of the liberal press today is much more evident. Many more people recognize it, and do not take their howls of indignation as seriously. If Trump and the Republicans have some courage and do not back down, they can win this battle. All it will take is some courage. We shall see if they have it.

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The worst fake news stories in the past few decades

And these faked stories are all from the mainstream leftwing press, CBS, NBC, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Washington Post, New Republic, and MSNBC.

The NBC corporation is an especially bad player here. Worse, their behavior has been specifically aimed at fueling a race war. In one case, they claimed that the Tea Party movement was made up of white racists and thus dangerous to blacks, and to prove it they showed an image of the rifle slung over the back of a Tea Party protester. The trouble was that they specifically framed the image to hide the fact that the protester was black. Then NBC deliberately edited the recording of George Zimmerman’s conversation with 911 to make him sound racist. It was a lie, as were all these stories.

What makes NBC the worst is that they have made no effort to fix the problem. They not only haven’t punished or fired anyone, they keep doing it again and again.

For this network or any of these mainstream leftist outlets to now complain about “fake news” is the height of absurdity. What they are really doing is trying to discredit alternative news sources that have actually been reporting the news better than them. They don’t like the competition, both financially and politically.

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A list of potential Trump cabinet picks

Link here.

As is usual, the bankrupt press didn’t do this work before the election, when it might have helped voters make their decisions. I tried to dig out some of this beforehand, and was somewhat successful, but I wish I could have seen lists like this prior to election day.

The list is interesting in that it includes an incredible range of political positions. For example, the three names touted for Secretary of State, John Bolton, Senator Bob Corker, and Newt Gingrich, cover the full political range. Bolton would be a solid conservative hawk, as would Gingrich. Corker however was instrumental in making Obama’s bad Iran nuclear deal possible, and would end up more or less continuing Obama’s foreign policy at State. All three, however, have previously been mentioned as possible choices, so as of this moment we still do not know where Trump will be going in this area.

I see the same political range in other positions as well. Even though the list leans heavily to the right, until Trump announces some appointments, we will not really know the direction his administration will take.

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Jury rules against Rolling Stone in gang rape story

A jury today declared Rolling Stone magazine guilty of defamation in its retracted and debunked University of Virginia gang rape story.

The 10 member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its publisher responsible for defaming Eramo.

The $7.5 million lawsuit centered on Erdely’s 9,000-word article titled “A Rape on Campus.” The article appeared online in late Nov. 2014 and on newsstands in the magazine’s December 2014 issue. The story opened with a graphic depiction of a fraternity gang rape that went viral online and sent shock waves across the U-Va. campus community. But within days of the article’s publication, key elements of the account fell apart under scrutiny. The magazine eventually retracted the story in April 2015.

The magazine and the reporter had a leftwing feminist agenda, centered on confirming the false leftwing narrative that rapes were rampant on college campuses and that oppressive anti-female male-dominated administrations were doing nothing about it. This narrative is entirely false, a lie created to provide a platform for the left to gain power. The magazine though bought into it, publishing a vicious story that was a complete lie and that defamed a lot of innocent people. As a result it now faces the strong possibility that this decision will bring about its bankruptcy, a bankruptcy well deserved.

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Clinton put State Department up for sale

New emails reveal that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to pass out favors in exchange for donations to her foundation.

The facts are very welled documented here. Hillary Clinton wasn’t interested in acting as Secretary of State. She was interested in garnering cash donations for herself and Bill Clinton, and used her position of power to hand out favors for those donations.

But don’t worry! Our valiant press is on the ball, screaming about petty miscues by Donald Trump that mean nothing, are taken badly out of context, and are largely irrelevant to the kind of President he might be. That the Democrat running against him is a proven liar, law-breaker, and incredibly corrupt is just not important to them. All that matters is that she is a Democrat, and part of their team!

Which by the way should give us all a bit of a pause to consider how dishonest, illegal, and corrupt the entire elite culture of the U.S. has likely become. As I said, Clinton is part of their team.

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“News Media Now Giving Trump the ‘Full Palin.’”

Working for the Democratic Party: The expected full-media assault on the Republican Party candidate has begun. As the author at the link notes,

There have been few conservatives who have been more critical of Trump since the start of this insane campaign than me, and he deserves every bit of condemnation he has gotten for needlessly mishandling the Khan situation. However, there is also no doubt that the media became obsessed with the story because they want Trump to lose, got a bit freaked out about his very temporary convention bounce, and smelled blood.

Hillary, while she is less likely to be stupid enough to so publicly take on the parents of a fallen war hero, would also never have been lured by the media into the conflict to the extent Trump was. If she had somehow stepped in it, the news media would have let it go far sooner than they did for Trump (for instance, how many voters are even aware of the controversy over her basically calling some family members of Benghazi victims liars?).

This story has seemed to open the floodgates now on Trump in much the same way that the infamous Katie Couric interview did with regards to Sarah Palin in 2008. Now, everything Trump says seems to be instant fodder for the media’s intensified “gaffe watch.”

It is very important to recognize one more additional fact: Any Republican candidate would have been treated this way by the now openly partisan and decidedly bankrupt mainstream media. The question now is whether the low-information public has finally become aware of this game.

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More Junk Science and Journalism

I can’t stand it. I just can’t stand it. It keeps happening and I just can’t stand it.

Yesterday there was this absurd short news piece posted on the website of the so-called journal Science, “Apollo astronauts much more likely to die from heart disease”. describing a research paper published by one of Nature’s side journals, Scientific Reports. Before I even looked at the story I said to myself, “How can they possibly come to that conclusion considering the tiny number of humans who have ever traveled beyond Earth orbit? The sample will simply be too small to allow for any such finding.”

Then I looked at the article and found my instincts confirmed. As Steve Milloy noted on his very aptly named website, Junk Science,

Yes, the result is based on a total of three (3) cases of heart disease deaths of out seven (7) Apollo astronauts. Past the vanishingly small sample size and even smaller number of cases, heart disease is a natural disease of aging and the Apollo lunar astronauts were 10 years older than the other comparison groups.

To put it more bluntly, this was a garbage piece of very bad science. While it was somewhat embarrassing for a Nature journal to publish it, it was far more disgraceful for the journal Science to highlight it. I, however, don’t have to join these two peer-review journals and participate in their stupidity, and thus I made no mention of the story on Behind the Black, because it is my policy to not waste much time on bad science, unless I think that bad science is going to have bad repercussions.

Well the bad repercussions have arrived. Since yesterday, the following so-called news organizations have run with this story, without the slightest indication that they have faintest understanding of science, statistics, or plain common sense:
» Read more

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The pro-Clinton mainstream media, challenged by one guy with a camera

The video I have posted below the fold, posted at this link, was taken outside the convention after Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton.

[O]nce Bernie Sanders endorsed Secretary Clinton via a rules change request throwing all delegate votes to Hillary, the vast majority of movement democrats left the arena. Immediately following the roll call vote, the DNC quickly moved to bar any pro-Sanders signage from the venue. Anyone holding Sanders signs was warned they were subject to forced removal and loss of convention credentials. Outside the arena the Bernie Sanders supporters gathered to voice their protest to the strong arm tactics. [emphasis in original]

The video shows a pro-Clinton (and former Sanders) delegate talking to the press about how wrong the Sanders protesters are. As he talks he is challenged by one of those protesters, who loudly disagrees with him.

What the video shows clearly is that the mainstream press is only interested in recording and interviewing the pro-Clinton guy. In fact, when the guy taking this video begins to note loudly this obvious bias to everyone (beginning at around 1:50), the press suddenly realizes how biased they look and some make a half-hearted effort to make believe they are interested in talking to the Sanders protester.

What I find most significant about this video, and quite entertaining, is how it demonstrates how completely useless today’s mainstream press is, and how that press is increasingly losing all influence because the general public has access to many other lone guys with a camera, videotaping events and showing us what is really happening.

In other words, don’t depend on just television news for your information. You will not only be uninformed, you will be misinformed.

» Read more

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A good summary of the Wikileaks DNC emails

Link here. This Reddit post essential lists several dozen links to specific DNC emails at the Wikileaks site, all illustrating some pretty unsavory behavior by Democratic Party officials and politicians as well as a number of so-called journalists.

Many of these stories are simply the ordinary dirty business of politics, laid bare to see. Others though reveal the significant levels of corruption that permeate the Democratic Party, levels I think that far worse than anything one could find among the Republicans, bad as that party’s leadership happens to be.

Above all, the emails that document the close teamwork between the press and the Democratic Party are probably the most important. It is not that this is surprising. The emails merely prove it beyond a shadow of doubt. MSNBC and its head Phil Griffin especially are revealed to be nothing more than Democratic operatives, working closely with the DNC to push its agenda.

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The American Revolution, as reported by modern reporters

To better understand how the teaching of American history is being distorted by modern leftist historians, one need only read this description of the beginnings of the American Revolution, written as it almost certainly would be by today’s ignorant and leftwing anti-American journalists:

Boston – National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed by elements of a Para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.

Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.

Read it all. It will sound sadly very familiar.

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Space reporter banned from space news website

Petty fascism: Doug Messier, who runs the excellent space news website Parabolic Arc, which I link to periodically, has been banned from posting comments on another generally excellent space news website, NASASpaceflight.com

To quote his website:

I just got banned from the NasaSpaceflight forums with this little message from little Andy.

“Sorry parabolicarc, you are banned from using this forum! Please use your own site to post what your “sources” are telling you. Too many people are sick of you using this site to spread rumors. Andy.

This ban is not set to expire.”

Doug is also the reporter with whom I and many other commenters at Behind the Black had a long, passioned but intelligent debate about global warming. As much as I might disagree with him on that subject, I find it baffling that any space website would ban him from commenting, especially since his reporting on space has been impeccably accurate and hard-hitting.

In a sense, this ban is just another example of how too many Americans can no longer deal with debate and opposing points of view. Very sad. Doug of course is always welcome to comment here, even when he strongly disagrees with what I’ve written.

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