Journalism vs. free expression

First, Cal Thomas:

Which of the following would you consider the most unusual and least likely to occur?
1. President Donald Trump calls Speaker Nancy Pelosi to invite her to lunch.
2. Rioters and looters agree to pay for the damage they caused to businesses and individuals.
3. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh appears on “The Breakfast Club,” a nationally syndicated radio program that features discussions on progressive politics and black culture.
No. 3 is the correct answer and it was a fascinating moment.

While it appeared that the hosts and Limbaugh were occasionally talking over each other, the conservative had to earn at least some respect with his forceful denunciation of the killing of George Floyd and his belief that the police officer who killed him should be charged with first-degree, not third-degree, murder.
“The Breakfast Club” hosts, DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Lenard Larry McKelvey, known professionally as Charlamagne tha God, focused mainly on what they called “white privilege” as the source of misery in much of the African American community. Limbaugh countered that the three were examples of how one can overcome obstacles, including discrimination.
Charlamagne reiterated his accusation of white privilege and added “white supremacy.”
What is important in this continuing debate is not each “side” getting in its talking points but listening to how the other reached the conclusions that created their worldview.
Saying things that only reinforce one’s stereotypes and ideology doesn’t solve the problem, and who doubts there is a problem?
I have written this before, even recently, but the main problem is not only racism. It is that we don’t know each other.

The late Republican Congressman Jack Kemp used to say that as a professional football player he had showered with more African Americans than attend the Republican National Convention. Black people who knew him called him a friend.
Growing up in a virtually all-white Washington, D.C., suburb (a city that practiced segregation well into the 1960s), I didn’t know anyone of a different race, other than a family maid, until I began playing college basketball.

Showering and eating meals with people who were “different” from me bridged a gap that no legislation could span. I came to see them as teammates, friends, equals, and better players than me.
White people have enjoyed privilege from the beginning of the country in almost every category. This includes professional sports, which are now dominated by African Americans, but for many years were not.

I recently again watched the Ken Burns series “Baseball” on PBS and was reminded of how that sport (and others) banned black players from fields and courts simply because they were black.

It is important for white people to acknowledge white privilege and this history of white supremacy before helpful and healing conversations can begin and race relations improved.
Limbaugh also made a political point the hosts were unable or unwilling to answer. He wondered why so many African Americans continue to vote for Democrats when that party, he said, had done little to help them.

Yee responded with the stock answer that she votes for the person, not the party. She should have been asked, “When was the last time you voted for a Republican?”
After “The Breakfast Club” segment was played on Limbaugh’s program, a woman caller offered her definition of white privilege. She said it came from how the country was founded, reserving economic and political power for white, land-owning men.
Some will be surprised that Limbaugh seemed to agree with her. He called her summation “brilliant.” More of us need to have these conversations and not be so eager to get in our talking points. We should speak less and listen more.
“The Breakfast Club” exchange was a good first step toward achieving that goal.

Seeing a political conservative laud another conservative for starting a dialogue with political opposites, you might think that should apply for liberals as well.

You would be wrong, as ¡No Pasarán! reports:

On Fox News, always mocked and demonized by the rest of the mainstream media as faux newsHoward Kurtz notes that

We are getting a great insight into the culture of the New York Times.

The paper struck a blow for honest journalism–and that greatly upset many of its staffers.

At stake is whether the op-ed pages of a newspaper should be a forum for debate, or just a vehicle for reinforcing what its top editors and a majority of its readers already believe. To choose the latter course is to reduce that precious real estate to predictable propaganda, which is not just one-sided but boring.

The Times did the right thing–well, until it didn’t. The paper’s editors chose to publish a piece by Tom Cotton, a Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, titled “Send In The Military.” Cotton argues that it’s perfectly appropriate for President Trump to use the military to restore order in cities wracked by violent protests after the brutal killing of George Floyd.

Well, there was an open revolt at the paper, led by black journalists who were offended.

Nikole Hannah-Jones of the Times Magazine, who worked on the paper’s Pulitzer-winning “1619” slavery project, said: “As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this.”
To their credit, the editors [decided to stick] to their guns. … The Arkansas senator praised the editors … telling Fox: “They’ve stood up to the ‘woke progressive mob’ in their own newsroom. So, I commend them for that.”

But he spoke too soon. About two hours after I checked in with the Times PR office, the paper caved.…The paper said it would make changes, expand its fact-checking operation and publish fewer op-ed pieces.

Fewer op-eds? No explanation of supposed factual shortcomings? The internal pressure must have been overwhelming.

In THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE VANGUARD OF THE INCOGNIZANT, Noah Rothman retells the story inside Commentary:

“One thing above all else will restore order to our streets,” wrote Sen. Tom Cotton, “an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain, and ultimately deter lawbreakers.” The senator has advocated extraordinary measures involving the domestic deployment of uniformed soldiers for several days—as we’ve witnessed mass protests in American cities during the day and wanton violence, rioting, and looting by night. This exhortation is not new for him, but the venue in which it was placed—the New York Times opinion page—inspired a frenzied revolt from within the journalistic institution that published him. More remarkable, the aggrieved staffers and writers at the Times generally declined to issue a counterargument. They simply declared Cotton’s arguments anathema and sought to wield whatever power they could muster to see them banished.

Regarding the 1619 ProjectEd Driscoll (who I thank for being behind most of the hyperlinks in this post) takes the opportunity to step back and make a broader remark about the “newspaper of record” and, beyond, the mainstream media:

As a result of their staff’s meltdown over the Cotton op-ed, the New York Times, already drowning in a fantasy-land of alternately running pro-Soviet Union apologia and their anti-American founding “1619 Project” series, promises to narrow what they view as acceptable opinion even more. Or as Tiana Lowe writes at the Washington Examiner, “New York Times employees can bully their bosses into submission — just don’t criticize a celebrity:”

As you may recall from a long day ago, after the opinion page published a fairly straightforward op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton, arguing to utilize the military in quelling protests — a position shared by the majority of Americans and 46% of people who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, mind you — several staff members instigated a civil war, all sharing the same copypasta bullying their bosses: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.”

… Publishing the opinions of the Taliban wasn’t a bridge too far for the staff, and employees claiming that destroying property isn’t violence on national television isn’t a bridge too far for the management. But a sitting United States senator’s opinion that’s shared by the majority of the electorate is, and as a result, journalism will suffer in the future.

The bitter babies at the New York Times wanted less speech, and they got it. They’ll now publish fewer op-eds overall. There is a wholly illiberal war on the free press, and its primary aggressors aren’t in the White House or corrupt police stations. It’s being waged from within the inside.

Which brings Ed Driscoll to allow William F. Buckley to have the final word:

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

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