To mangle Jane Austen, when you think of me last night, “Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of [conversation] and sitting down together.” Yes, I did something fun last night, attending a get together of local conservative bloggers and blog readers. Powered by a Coca Cola (not caffeine free), and the joy of being in a child-free room with adults interested in politics, I went into manic mode and talked myself into exhaustion. I should feel guilty about being such a motor mouth, but I had so much fun, I’m giving myself a pass on guilt.
As it is, though, I’m feeling a slight malaise that precludes in-depth blogging. Instead, I’m going to limited myself to giving a rundown, in one big post, of some of the things that piqued my interest this morning. Then, I’m off for dim sum (another sign of debauchery this weekend), possibly followed by a trip to a museum. I’m not sure I can sustain this pace over the long haul…. Thank goodness school starts in a few days, with life resuming its normal rhythm.
First on the list of reading today is Mark Steyn’s column about the savage executions of three young men and women in Newark. Mark Steyn points out what the blogosphere knows and the MSM coyly buries in its stories: at least one of the murderers was not only here illegally, but had huge rap sheet built up during his illegal sojourn here. Steyn, being Steyn, doesn’t stop by pointing out the day-to-day depredations of certain illegal aliens. (And yes, I know most aren’t violent criminals, but all are, by definition, law breakers.) Instead, he reminds us that 9/11 itself was a mass murder by illegal aliens who were able to stay here, both because of bureaucratic inefficiency and a political establishment that fears the catcall of racism if it tries to stem the tide.
From illegal aliens, let me leapfrog to City politics and scam artists. This time, it’s a Muslim school in San Francisco, perched comfortably on San Francisco-owned land, that hasn’t paid rent in 5 years, costing the City $120,000 in lost revenue. Meanwhile, the School is demanding that the City stop renovations in the same area, renovations aimed at turning some blighted land into usable real estate. The story is a great one, not just about one shady school, but about the Byzantine, but always PC politics, at play in San Francisco.
Are you still with me? I’m continuing on the education track, but this time I want to note a surprising development in public schools. More of them, apparently, are teaching the Bible. The story’s focus is on the Bible as history and literature, which is how I studied it 25 years ago at Cal, when no one made a fuss about that kind of stuff. Now people do make a fuss, so it’s newsworthy that the Bible is being recognized as a teachable text. The same article warns, of course, that a lot of sneaky Christians are turning these history and literature classes into religious ones, but I wonder how much of that criticism is in the ear of the auditor. Frankly, you can’t teach the Old Testament without talking about God, nor the new one without talking about Jesus.
And now for something completely different: The New York Times has a surprisingly favorable article about Thor Halvorssen, a 31 year old, half-Venezuelan, half-Norwegian man who is creating a niche for himself supporting conservative films. Halvorssen’s current project, which I’ve mentioned here, is working with Evan Coyne Maloney to get Indoctrine-U into movie theaters. The Times helpfully provides a link to that film, which has to be good for business.
Speaking of The New York Times, it has an article about WikiScanner, which enables one to see the computer source for many changes in Wikipedia entries. The Scanner shows that (a) corporations have modified sites affecting their product; (b) some governments have modified sites regarding their interests; and (c) some Times and BBC employees have engaged in malicious acts against Wikipedia sites profiling prominent conservatives (such as Pres. Bush). From my point of view, point (a) goes without saying. It has all the shock features of a dog bites man story. The same holds true for point (b), governmental manipulation. These are entities that are manifestly driven by self-interest. What ought to have been shocking was point (c), what the New York Times and BBC employees did, not because you and I don’t know they’re biased, but because these same news organizations keep trumpeting their freedom from bias and their complete objectivity, from the top of their organization to the lady who sweeps up at night.
Would you be surprised, though, to learn that the New York Times story is almost completely devoted to the evil corporations that make changes regarding their products? It’s noteworthy but, really, it’s not newsworthy. The newsworthy bit, in a two page (on line) article, got buried in the 7th paragraph from the end, and was phrased as tactfully and discretely as if a Victorian aunt was talking about sex:
And The New York Times Company is among those whose employees have made, among hundreds of innocuous changes, a handful of questionable edits. A change to the page on President Bush, for instance, repeated the word “jerk” 12 times. And in the entry for Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, the word “pianist” was changed to “penis.”
“It’s impossible to determine who did any of these things,” said Craig R. Whitney, the standards editor of The Times. “But you can only shake your head when you see what was done to the George Bush and Condoleezza Rice entries.”
Yessirree. I’m definitely shaking my head.
This story emphasizes my point that the problem with modern media is less about lying (although the lying stories, such as Scott Beauchamp are certainly spectacular), and more about spin. As far as I know, everything in the Times story is true. The emphasis, however, displays a bias that is repetitive and, in a 19th Century Marxist way, quite dated: Evil corporations tout their products! The horror! Meanwhile, the fact that employees at a “paper of record” that continuously boasts of its objectivity are engaged in childish acts of political vandalism exposes the reality behind the myth: These employees, like humans everywhere, have their little biases and agendas, too — and in case of the “paper of record,” their biases are not conservative friendly. In other words, the NYT’s story is accurate, but false.
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