Two Unrelated News Stories, And A Pattern Of Patently Obvious Bias

For the most part it isn’t even noteworthy that supposedly “objective” news organizations like the Associated Press and Reuters, not to mention the New York Times, Washington Post and the alphabet soup networks – and USA Today, which we’ll get to below, are partisan Democrats who inject left-wing bias into all of their reports. People just ingest that bias without even noticing, and believe the things those legacy media outlets are reporting as a matter of course. It’s only when you point out that they’re biased that most people will usually agree, and then perhaps recalibrate whether they believe what they’ve read after all.

And a perfect example of this is the AP’s write-up of the fact President Trump has finally expressed some exasperation with what are pretty obvious delaying tactics by Democrats in the ongoing Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation saga. Trump, on Twitter this morning, more or less said he’d had enough of the crazy pantomine by Christine Ford, whose 36-year old accusation of sexual assault has roiled Kavanaugh’s confirmation process at a time when it seemed assured.

Bear in mind that Trump is hardly alone in losing patience with the Ford allegations and how they’re being treated. The country, while divided, seems pretty turned off by the shamelessness of this entire spectacle – Rasmussen has a poll where only 33 percent actually believe her, while 38 percent believe Kavanaugh’s denial. That’s not an indication the Ford allegations are a political or public-relations winner by any means; and nothing Ford or her attorneys or her Democrat sponsors are doing is very persuasive or likely to change those numbers for the better. Knowing that it’s a matter of time before things come out about Ford which will make her story less believable – it’s almost always the case that those things emerge – a 33-38 underwater poll number might be the best the Democrats can get as this story goes along.

Particularly when it’s pretty obvious that everything about the Ford allegations is calibrated toward delaying a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until after the midterms in hopes the Democrats can get a Senate majority and thus leave the Anthony Kennedy seat on the Supreme Court open until after the 2020 elections, when they think they can get a reliable leftist judge out of a President Cory Booker or Kamala Harris to create the Supreme Court as a left-wing superlegislature. That’s what they’re aiming for here, and the more the public realizes it the less likely the Democrats will build support for what they’re doing.

Trump sees all this. He’s seen it from the start. He took the early position that the Ford allegations should be vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and he’d leave them to it. But then Ford’s attorney put out a list of demands as conditions by which she would agree to testify in front of the committee yesterday which were absurd to the point of bizarre – that Kavanaugh not be allowed in the room while she was testifying, that Kavanaugh be made to testify first, that no lawyers be present to question her, that only the committee members have a role in the hearing and that the media be walled off from her.

Those demands fly in the face of the fundamental concepts which define our judicial system and are spelled out in the Bill of Rights – namely, that the accused has the right to face his accuser, that the judicial process is an adversarial one because that competition is effective in squeezing out the truth, and that the burden of proof falls on the accuser and not the accused, based on the presumption of innocence at the heart of human freedom.

So Trump pops out a tweet this morning which, in a rather clever yet provocative way, summarizes most of the objection to the Ford circus…

It isn’t that Ford didn’t go to the police, per se. It’s that she told absolutely no one about this supposed incident. She’s named two people as witnesses who both have rebuked her claims. It wasn’t until 2012, when Kavanaugh’s name was being tossed around as a potential Supreme Court choice in a Mitt Romney administration, that Ford described this incident in couples therapy. And further, it’s that Ford still hasn’t supplied a date, time and place to support her allegation – which is the most important fact here. Without a date, time and place it’s impossible for Kavanaugh to disprove the allegation. With such information on the table he might well have an alibi, after all.

So how does the Trump tweet get reported by the AP? “Trump Drops Civil Tone, Slams Kavanaugh Accuser Credibility.”

Abandoning his previous restraint, President Donald Trump challenged the credibility of the woman accusing his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault on Friday, declaring that if the alleged attack was so terrible she would have reported it to law enforcement.

Trump’s change in tone — and apparent shift in tactics — came as Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers negotiated with the Senate Judiciary Committee on the terms for her possible testimony next week in a dramatic showdown over her accusation that threatens Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

The accusation has jarred the 53-year-old conservative jurist’s prospects for winning confirmation, which until Ford’s emergence last week had seemed all but certain. It has also bloomed into a broader clash over whether women alleging abuse are taken seriously and how both political parties address such claims with the advent of the #MeToo movement — a theme that could echo in this November’s elections for control of Congress.

With his comment, Trump went against the advice of advisers who had counseled him to stay out of the fray. He has previously defended friends and other men against the claims of women.

Ford has said she didn’t tell anyone at the time about the incident. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, a majority of rapes and other sexual assaults are not reported to police.

Trump’s tweet could affect GOP support among women going into the midterm elections. It could also threaten Kavanaugh’s support with several Republicans — including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona — who have not declared their stances on his nomination. If two Republicans vote against Kavanaugh, his nomination could fail.

And then the AP piece gets into the conditions by which Ford would testify…

Ford is willing to tell her story — but only if agreement can be reached on “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” her lawyer said Thursday. She said Ford needs time to make sure her family is secure, prepare her testimony and travel to Washington.

Attorney Debra Katz said anew that Ford, 51, a psychology professor in California, has received death threats and for safety reasons has relocated her family.

Ford’s preference is to testify to the Senate committee next Thursday, and she doesn’t want Kavanaugh in the same room, her attorney told the panel’s staff in a 30-minute call that also touched on security concerns and others issues, according to a Senate aide. That aide wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In addition to security, expected to be provided by Capitol Police, Ford has asked for press coverage of her testimony to be the same as for Kavanaugh. Reporters had assigned seating and were kept separated from the nominee, who was whisked to and from the room.

Ford’s attorney said Ford would like to testify first, but that might be complicated because Kavanaugh has already agreed to Monday’s scheduled hearing.

Ford has told the panel she would prefer the committee not use outside counsel to question her because that would make it seem too much like a trial, the attorney told the panel. All of the Republicans on the panel are men, and the committee is known to be concerned about the optics of having questions from the GOP side come only from men.

We have no idea what the AP is even talking about in saying Ford wants to testify first. That is clearly not what Ford is demanding. Kavanaugh has said he wants to testify on Monday, and the committee scheduled the hearing for Monday. That’s her opportunity to testify, and she’s not taking it. She’s demanding an opportunity to testify AFTER Kavanaugh does. To say otherwise is not to tell the truth, and that’s what the AP is doing in misreporting the controversy and Trump’s reaction to it.

On a more local note, the USA Today farm team in Shreveport gets into the Mike Johnson-Bossier Parish School Board case in which there were new developments this week…

The congressman who represents northwest Louisiana said Tuesday that California atheists are trying to spy on Christian student groups at a Bossier Parish high school.

U.S Rep. Mike Johnson, the first-term Republican representing Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District, claimed that what he described as “atheist litigation groups” in California were trying to get hidden video of Christian student activities at Benton High School.

What happened here was that Johnson put out a Facebook post passing along information to folks in Bossier Parish concerned with a lawsuit the left-wing group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has filed against the Bossier Parish School Board. There is an all-out effort by Americans United and a number of other out-of-state atheist and anti-Christian groups to get Bossier’s schools under some sort of consent decree which would put them in control, and as you might imagine that has people up in arms there. Given that context, here was Johnson’s Facebook post…

It should be remembered that Johnson was the one earlier who had written a guest post her at The Hayride outlining the necessity for taking down a paid advertisement for Christ Fit, a Christian-oriented fitness facility, in the end zone of the football field at Benton High School as a strategic measure related to keeping Bossier schools on the right side of the Americans United lawsuit. It’s not like he’s some mindless partisan Christianist on the far fringes of the controversy, or anything of the kind.

But Nick Wooten, the USA Today farm team reporter covering the story, depicts him as a kook.

Through a spokeswoman, Johnson declined to answer questions about the alleged spying, including about the identity of the groups and the source of the information.

“In order to protect the confidentiality of private citizens, the congressman will not comment regarding the firsthand accounts relayed to him on this matter,” said Ainsley Holyfield, his communications director.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are identified only as the parents of students currently attending Bossier Parish schools. The organization assisting the plaintiffs, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, has said the parents have declined to be named to avoid difficulties for themselves and their children.

“We absolutely have not” hired private investigators to spy on Bossier Parish students, Rob Boston, communications director for the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said Tuesday.

The organization is based in Washington, D.C.

Anybody who knows Mike Johnson can tell you he’s not one to fly off the handle. He’s one of the most measured, civil people in politics. If he had information he thought was worth passing along to the effect that efforts are being made to create “hidden video” of illicit religious activity in Bossier public schools, it’s a lot more than likely the information is credible as he says.

Wooten’s characterization of Johnson’s Facebook post as a conspiracy theory aside, what’s really going on here is that settlement talks on the Americans United-Bossier public schools case have broken down, and because of that the plaintiffs are doing everything they can to pressure the school board into caving. And the fact is, the plaintiffs are likely to win the case – they pray all the time in the Bossier public schools and teachers and coaches are involved all the time. Ninety-five percent of everyone there thinks it’s a good thing, and the rest are the ones cheering for this lawsuit.

So of course the plaintiff side is out there trying to get video proof of Establishment Clause violations. It’s ludicrous for them to deny it, though as a technical matter it might be right that Americans United hasn’t hired any private dicks to record people. What might be closer to the truth is groups supporting the plaintiffs have hired someone to recruit the atheist kids at the schools to use their phones to get proof of Christian indoctrination in those schools, and maybe Johnson could have phrased his warning more along those lines. But that’s a matter of technicalities – most people can see what’s happening here and it’s disingenuous to characterize Johnson as Alex Jones for warning people about expected tactics surrounding that lawsuit and informing them of their rights.

But that’s just what we get these days out of the legacy media. The challenge is to remember that just because it’s in a news report from an “objective” media outlet, that doesn’t mean it’s an accurate portrayal of the facts. More often than not, it isn’t.

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