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Beyond the tragedy

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted October 22, 2018

Last week saw a striking U-turn, as well as a test of common sense. On Monday, Elizabeth Warren released a DNA test which showed that one of her ancestors six to ten generations ago was some kind of Native American. The fine print in the test said that “Native American? corresponded to the DNA of folks in that category from Peru, Mexico and Columbia; none were from North America. The tester explained that the DNA samples from North American tribes, like the Cherokee, were too sparse to make for a reliable baseline. So, the test showed no direct connection between Warren and North American natives.

But that didn’t stop the liberal media from crowing that she had ‘proved’ her claim. This spin rested on two points of vagueness. First of all, “proved? fuzzied up the fact that 1/64 to 1/1024 is minuscule. It’s way below the criterion that the Cherokee Nation uses to evaluate claimants who, like Elizabeth Warren, say they’re Cherokee. Secondly, it counted on the target audience being unable or unwilling to grasp that “Native American? didn’t even refer to North Americans. It’s these two points that made for the common-sense test.

And lots of people passed! It didn’t take long for the MSM campaign to be met with jokes on Twitter. After Warren unveiled the results with a demand for a million dollars from President Trump to a charity she chose, with the same flourish of a student who waves around an A+ after marking his own paper, lots of Twitter wags said that Trump should pay 1/1024 million. Trump did in fact make a million-dollar bet with her, but he made it clear that 1/64 to 1/1024 didn’t make the bar. So did everyone else who wasn’t befuddled or in the tank for Warren.

Then, the plot twisted. Only two days later, the same media was retreating from their Monday blitz. Not because they had snapped out of spin mode, no. Several tribal organizations, including the Cherokee Nation, objected strenuously to the claim that she was Native American. The Cherokees said that she did not qualify, period. Others objected to the notion that DNA testing can trump tribal law. It’s these protests which prompted the scramble-back lovingly detailed by John Nolte.

This scramble-back is unusual for media distortion; it’s more common for fake news to remain uncorrected. In the 1930s, pro-Communist reporter Walter Duranty covered up the Holodomor planned famines. The New York Times still displays his Pulitzer Prize for that reporting.

After the horrific mass suicide of the Jim Jones cult, the MSM covered up his left-wing past – so much so that a heavily-documented disclosure of it constitutes revisionist history. The new book Cult City shows very clearly that Jones was buddy-buddies with a long list of San Francisco lefties, including Harvey Milk, Willie Brown, Angela Davis, Huey Newton and, yes, Jane Fonda. They and more heaped fulsome praise on his head. Not because of any bewitching personal magnetism, but because of his openly left-wing ideology and People’-Temple programs purporting to help the poor and marginalized. As Daniel J. Flynn explains:

The supposed religious fanatics of Jonestown had hosted a Soviet delegation, taught Russian to residents in preparation for a mass pilgrimage to the place Jim Jones dubbed the group’s “spiritual motherland,? and willed millions of dollars to the Soviet Union. Peoples Temple goons confiscated Bibles reaching Jonestown from the United States. Jonestown celebrated December 25 as Revolution Day.... “If anything,? Julia Scheeres maintains in 2011’s A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown, “the people who moved to Jonestown should be remembered as noble idealists. They wanted to create a better, more equitable, society. They wanted their kids to be free of violence and racism. They rejected sexist gender roles. They believed in a dream.?
And yet:
A New York Timesarticle alleged that “Mr. Jones had preached a blend of fundamentalist Christianity and social activism.? The Associated Press called the people of Peoples Temple “religious zealots.? Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, described Jim Jones as “a power-hungry fascist.? Comedian Mort Sahl explained on his radio show days after the massacre, “The exercise in Guyana was a fascist exercise, no matter what the label on the can. Socialists don’t do that.?...

There’s more to this than a bunch of progs covering up for their buddies. As shown by James Burnham in his Suicide of the West, managerial liberals have a deep emotional need to believe that no harm can be done by the Left. When yet another left-wing horror erupts, they have to distort reality to see it as horrific. There were lots of Cold War liberals who saw Communism as evil, with sincerity from the gut. But their ideology impelled them to redefine Communism as somehow of the ‘Right’, as did Mort Sahl with Jim Jones. That’s why liberal anti-Communism didn’t last long.

The third example is revealing in a different way. Have you heard of the Bystander Effect? It was inspired by a 1964 write-up on the murder of Kitty Genovese by A.N. Rosenthal in the New York Times. It claimed that 37 [later 38] eyewitnesses saw or heard Miss Genovese being murdered but did nothing about it. This story was galvanizing, and pleasing to the progs who believed that the masses were too passive for those old-fashioned ideals of self-governance. It appealed most to the folks who loved those 1970s-ish disaster movies in which ordinary folks inevitably panic and make things worse.

That story was also fake news. As with Jim Jones, it took decades for ‘revisionist’ history to correct the record. The so-called ‘witnesses’ had not seen the crime and what they heard was too ambiguous to make a reasonably sure judgment. The “I don’t want to get involved? narrative was fake, just as fake as the “panic? narrative. As we’ve seen from real disasters, ordinary folks tend to pitch in and help. The Cajun Navy is one famous example, but this public-spiritedness is in no way confined to them.

The Times did correct the record, but only in 2016. With all three examples, we see fake news lasting decades – so much so that the Elizabeth Warren retreat is unusual.

Tragedy and Commons

Except in one area: financial journalism. In 1984, a scandal erupted in the Wall Street Journal. R. Foster Winans, the fellow then writing the “Heard On The Street? column, has been slipping the names of the stocks he was puffing to a Kidder, Peabody stockbroker named Peter N. Brant – doing so before his column was published. Not being quite like Walter Duranty, whose cumshaw came in the form of a nice apartment and access to Stalin, Winans scarfed $31,000. When the scandal broke, the Journal unceremoniously fired him and handed him off to Rudy Giuliani.

It didn’t end there. In finance, the Man of the ‘80s was junk-bond maven Michael Milken. Lionized as the liberator of corporate America from postwar managerial corpocracy, he had lots of detractors who insisted that he was a crook. One of his most strident detractors was James B. Stewart of the Wall Street Journal. Stewart had come to fame for excoriating – you guessed it – the rise of insider trading.

What a contrast from the liberal media! Not only did WSJ management fire the miscreant but it also bent over backwards to state that the miscreacy was a plague all over Wall Street. How Bizarro would the World have to be for the New York Times to have fired Duranty or Rosenthal and then pivot to a campaign against fake news?

Back when the Swedes had common sense, a Swedish law mandated that a factory beside a river that used the river water had to locate its intake pipe downstream from its outflow pipe. If the factory were fouling the nest, they’d find out quickly: they’d find that they were fouling their own nest. It was an ingenious solution to the tragedy of the commons problem.

The Wall Street Journal acted like that Swedish factory, and it’s easy too see why. It was a tool used by people deploying capital, including people investing their lives’ savings. If they see corrupted journalism, they’ll react swiftly. “What other shenanigans are there?? “What else are they distorting?? “How much money am I going to lose if I trust these clowns??

No wonder that WSJmanagement saw the scandal as a code-red injury to their brand. That feedback, plus the people who were just plain angry as seeing their trust betrayed, meant that WSJ management got a hard taste of their own polluted water. Even those who had philosophical doubts about insider-trading laws were very glad that Winans was charged and convicted. In stark contrast to the progs in the MSM who flipped off Jim Jones, the WSJ took firm steps to make sure it never happened again. They not only washed their hands of the fellow, they held themselves accountable and mended their ways. There hasn’t been a corruption scandal since.

The liberal media, on the other hand, is like the stereotypical factory-on-a-river managers. You can almost hear the excuses: “Don’t worry, it’s diluted.? “Think of all the good we do.? “What difference, at this point, does it make??

Bulge of Blowback

Given the tragedy-of-the-commons dynamic for non-financial news, it is exciting to see the MSM reverse itself in only two days. Although the impelling blowback came from groups that the prog ideology deems good guys – the MSM did not backtrack due to blowback from Normals – it was still energizing to see a possibly-colluded press campaign blow up in their faces. Given that the First Amendment flatly rules out one proffered solution to tragedies of the commons, it’s encouraging to see that Normals weren’t buying it even before the Wednesday U-turn. Flat on the heels of the Kavanaugh futility, and foreshadowing the fizzling campaign for Jamal Khashoggi, it made the MSM look like Buster Keaton or Sideshow Bob in a slapstick scene.

It’s common to think that the upcoming election is like the Battle of Britain, but this election looks different. Consider this video from Tim Pool, a self-described social liberal who has his ear to the ground as well as his feet on the ground. The aggressively hysterical partisanship of the SJW types is covering up a field in which “Liberals Are Passive, Exhausted, and Not Politically Active.? Although it’s well worth watching in full, its two takeaways are: a) strident progs are only a small minority of mostly-affluent folks who are as overwhelmingly white as Elizabeth Warren; b) “traditional liberals, passive liberals,and...the politically disengaged? are worn down.

As the pollsters are slowly recognizing, the midterm is not like the Battle of Britain – it’s more like the Battle of the Bulge. The strident wave of attack is covering up the fact that the progs have lost a lot of ground.

The Elizabeth Warren rout shows with clarity that common sense wins: living in a gated-community-multiculturalist bubble is politically fatal. Real historians are dismantling bygone fake news. Twitter, hobbled by corporate censorship though it is, still allows the Normals to prevail in the public square. Street liberals like Tim Pool is becoming more and more alienated from the prog-media bubble.

The Normals are winning. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is spinning his wheels at Steemit.

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