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Tuesday
February 18, 2020


Now Playing

Juliet Naked
(Reviewed September 21, 2018)

An amusing but slight adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel which can laugh at its characters without precluding the possibility that they may laugh at themselves

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
(Reviewed September 20, 2018)

Did Mr Rogers’s extraordinary capacity for love end up producing a generation of haters?

Lady Bird
(Reviewed March 6, 2018)

A delightful and not entirely politically correct movie about growing up as a Catholic schoolgirl in 2002-2003

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(Reviewed February 22, 2018)

An occasionally amusing parable of guilt and forgiveness whose setting in small-town America, like the prejudices of its author, does it no favors

Diary
ENTRY from February 13, 2020

Everything that’s wrong with our media can be summed up in a headline from today’s Politico: "‘Really shocking’: Trump's meddling in Stone case stuns Washington: Alarmed veterans of the Justice Department said the legal system was entering uncharted territory." The headline, to an article by Natasha Bertrand and Daniel Lippman, refers, of course, to the resignation of four justice department lawyers from the team prosecuting Roger Stone after their recommendation for a seven to nine year sentence for relatively trivial process crimes was over-ruled by their superiors. President Trump’s outraged tweet against such a draconian punishment of a 67-year-old first offender was thought by the President’s enemies, long accustomed to thinking the worst of him on every conceivable occasion, improperly to have influenced the Attorney General’s rebuke of his subordinates.

But let us count the ways in which Politico is engaged in dishonest reporting. First, no one in Washington can have been "stunned" or "shocked" by Trump’s "meddling," any more than Captain Renault was by the gambling at Rick’s in Casablanca. Take the media’s own word for it. Everywhere they have been saying for months — to be precise, since Attorney General Barr’s entirely accurate summary of the Mueller report was sent to Congress — that the Justice Department under his leadership was acting like Mr Trump’s personal attorney rather than working on behalf of the American people (by which, of course, they mean the media-Democrat alliance). The New York Times editorial today repeats the charge. Similarly, today’s Washington Post editorial reads: "The degradation of William Barr’s Justice Department is nearly complete" — in other words, we’ve been telling you all along that something like this would happen.

In other words, nobody at Politico’s mother church appears to be either "shocked" or "stunned." Or even surprised. Moreover, neither Politico nor the Washington Post nor anyone else in the city or out of it who has been paying attention could have any excuse for not knowing that Mr Trump’s intervention had to have been courted by the anti-Trump Justice Department (and Mueller-team) lawyers, who themselves cannot not have known what would be his (and Mr Barr’s) response to their asking for such an outrageously and patently unjust sentence for Mr Stone. That’s why they did it: so that they could pretend to be indignant at his "meddling" and resign from the case in an attempt to drum up yet more scandal against the President. Of course, Politico was just one of numerous media outlets which immediately obliged them by printing headlines like this one.
  Full Entry

Media MadnessBefore there was Howard Kurtz’s Media Madness, there was mine — now, alas, out of print but still available while supplies last for the cost of shipping and handling. Send $5.99 to me in care of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1730 M Street, Suite 910, Washington, D.C. 20036


Honor, A HistoryAlso available, now in paperback and Kindle version, is Honor, A History, which was first published in 2006. A study of Western cultural artifacts, from the epics of Homer to the movies and TV shows of today, it is focused on explaining why Western ideas of honor developed so differently from those elsewhere — and especially from the savage honor cultures of the Islamic world. The book then goes on to trace the collapse and ultimate rejection of the old Western honor culture from World War I until the present day and to suggest the conditions that would have to prevail for its revival.


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Just “politics” December 31, 2019.
The revolution demands to be televised (or it can’t be revolutionary) — From The New Criterion of December, 2019 ... Full Article

Revolutionism redux, Part III November 30, 2019.
The C.I.A. is revealed (again) as the revolutionary vanguard urging Nancy Pelosi on to impeachment — From The New Criterion of November, 2019 ... Full Article

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