Fake News

March 12th, 2017 19 Comments

Why should I, why should you, believe any news report you read, see, or hear? From anywhere? It makes no difference whether it’s the New York Times or any other left-wing news source, or whether it’s Fox News or any other right-wing news source, or whether it’s any online source that purports to be a news source. They are all driven by bias, dishonesty, ignorance, or all three.

Taking a break yesterday (Saturday, March 11) I decided to catch up on the world’s turning and clicked on Fox News. It was about eleven-thirty on the west coast, which would make it about two-thirty back east, so I believe the host was Julie Banderas, but don’t hold me to that. I don’t watch enough news during the middle of the day to be able to identify any of the so-called reporters. In any case, what caught my attention was that, during an interview about the attempts to repeal or repair Obamacare, the host suddenly switched topics, and with indignation flashing out from under her false eyelashes, demanded to get her guest’s opinion about Trump’s overturning of the Obama executive action requiring the Social Security Administration to turn over to the National Instant Criminal Background Check the names of anyone receiving benefits who required help managing his or her affairs. The way the reporter phrased the question, however, was (basically) as follows: “What do you think of Donald Trump allowing the mentally ill to have guns?” (That’s a paraphrase, but it’s pretty close.) The guest declined to answer.

Obama did indeed sell that executive action as keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, but consider that the ACLU, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Arc of the United States (an organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities), the Association of Mature American Citizens, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council on Disability, the Nation Council of Independent Living, the… Oh, let’s just say an extremely lengthy alphabet soup of organizations which, yes, also included the NRA and Safari Club International, all opposed Obama’s overreaching measure and urged it be thrown out.

I could go through that executive action from soup to nuts and show you precisely why it was an embarrassingly bad measure on many levels, even by the embarrassing standards of an anti-gun president who distinguished himself with numerous embarrassingly bad excesses of authority, but the bottom line is that it required nameless bureaucrats in the Social Security Administration, which is already overworked and severely underfunded, to make determinations about the mental health of senior citizens without any of said bureaucrats having any medical credentials or psychiatric expertise, and without any consideration of due process, without even a face-to-face meeting. It would have helped perpetuate false stereotypes, false assumptions about a correlation between financial acuity and mental illness, and made a mockery of both the second and fourth Amendments, but an ignorant or dishonest newscaster couldn’t be bothered to do her homework and simply accused Donald Trump of making it easier for the mentally ill to get their hands on guns. So when you hear this moronic meme perpetuated—and you will, gentle reader, you will—please remember that regardless of your personal feelings about firearms, we have a Constitution and we have laws, and remember too that no so-called journalist who declines to do even the most rudimentary investigative homework is worth watching. Also, tell me when you last heard of the ACLU, the AAPD, a host of other civil rights organizations, including the NRA, and much of the medical community, all joining hands to overturn an executive action?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The news today is filled with so much emotion and very little logic. As a teacher in an elementary school, I can attest to the fact that the children are being indoctrinated in this way. I haven’t had cable news in over a year and a half now, and I do not miss it. Though I do watch Miller Time after Dennis Miller posts it on Facebook, and I do wish I could watch Tucker, since he seems to be one of the few voices of reason and logic on television.

    Side bar: Rush will always be king, and radio is free! 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I also happened to be watching Fox when Julie Banderas went nutso over the Social Security ban repeal. With the exception of a handful of hosts on both Fox News and Fox Biz these are liberal channels now. I find myself watching One America and Newsmax now for current events. Of course I supplement this with large amounts of old TV shows ….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cable news it pretty bad. Everybody has an opinion and shares their opinion based on their best guess and speculation. Then they bring on guests to share opinions and make speculations. Then the president gives a speech and somebody from the news has to come and ‘tell us what he meant’… really… I need you to translate what the President just said?

    I wish they would just report the news. Don’t speculate. Don’t guess and draw conclusions. Don’t bring on a round table of so called experts to tear into each other. That starts to create the fake news. People watch that and draw false conclusions and then the truth starts to spiral out of control.

    Cable news can go suck an egg.

    TD Bauer
    Wisconsin

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    it seems you and I and hopefully many more people still have a totally different opinion about reputable journalism than some responsible program director here. All is well as far as the audience is well entertained. That workes excellently if the messages become so very much simplified that the original essence is gone. Who cares about the truth content? It’s just entertainment. Only if the news are emotionally charged keeps the audience from switching the channel. Sometimes it’s of advantage that people forget so fast…..
    My credo is: Don’t expect integrity, never stop conceiving your own opinion due to facts and use your common sense. One can’t trust in only one source today.
    Present company excepted 😉

    Best wishes
    NW

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a Social Security disability lawyer I can report that the problem is not that “nameless bureaucrats” with no medical credentials or psychiatric expertise need to make mental health determinations about senior citizens. The issue concerns disability claimants, not retirees. The determination is made either on an initial application, based on the claimant’s statement that he or she is mentally disabled, or by a hearing officer or judge (if the initial claim is denied and the benefits are awarded on appeal).
    The trigger is that some people who receive disability benefits are assigned a Representative Payee to handle their finances. So what Social Security was to report is those persons who received benefits for a mental impairment and who were assigned a Rep Payee.
    The bottom line, using your phrase, is that not everyone with a mental impairment and a Rep Payee is dangerous. Some of them are; think about the paranoid schizophrenic who refuses to take meds and hears voices instructing him to do violence to others. But some are not; think the about the autistic person who can’t maintain employment, but who is as sweet and peaceable as they come. For the groups tied to disability rights, that was the problem.
    On balance, the constitutional issues are not as black and white as you suggest. (And wasn’t that the point of your post; that we don’t get straight talk from people, it is always slanted?) To get on this list a person would have to apply for benefits, claim disability, provide medical proof of disability, be found disabled because of mental impairments and be assigned a Rep Payee. On the other hand, whenever we have a mass shooting we hear that keeping guns out of the hands of the “mentally ill” is a societal failure. So reasonable efforts to do so should be applauded.
    Was this a reasonable rule? That is certainly debatable. But to denigrate the hardworking public servants at the Social Security Administration or to create a false specter of seniors being denied their rights or to opine without doing “even the most rudimentary investigation” does not advance the discussion.

    • I think you missed the point of my primary observation, which was about a complete misrepresentation by the reporter (who appears to have been Julie Banderas) of the potential results of overturning Obama’s executive action. She characterized it as allowing the mentally ill to have guns, which is not the case at all. Her characterization of the overturn amounts to nothing more than a fulsome iteration of Obama’s attempt to paint his action as a step to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, a claim refuted and opposed by, as I said in my blog, a virtual who’s who of medical organizations, disability rights organizations, senior citizens organizations, the NRA, SCI, and the ACLU. Not your normal bedfellows.
      Obama’s order would have allowed violations of the Second Amendment (obviously) and the Fourth Amendment (because it would allow for the seizure of privately owned guns from people who were not charged with any crime, who had not been evaluated by any qualified medical person, and who had not been professionally adjudicated unstable by any court), as well as both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (because both contain due process clauses). Like the no-fly list, it would have given legal precedent to a reversal of the doctrine of presumed innocence, and required an individual to prove a negative, in this case that he or she was not a danger to society. There may also have been other Constitutional issues I’m not smart enough to know about, but hence my evocation of the Constitution.
      Medical expert after medical expert have all stated that there is no correlation between mental illness and violence, nor is there a correlation between financial acumen and violence. A good friend of mine, now in his early eighties, has, for a variety of reasons, hired a young lady to help him pay his bills. He still goes out every day to help run a local ranch, and he has all his marbles and some to spare, yet under Obama’s proposed rule, as I understand it, my friend could be arbitrarily determined to be mentally unfit to own a firearm. I would argue that a man in his eighties, working frequently alone on an extremely isolated ranch, has a very real and greater than average need of a firearm. Beyond that, he has a God-given and Constitutionally affirmed right to have one.
      You use the phrase “the false specter of seniors being denied their rights.” I admit that I have not read the executive order or any of the subsequent decisions within the Social Security Administration as to how to carry out the order, but the “specter” of senior citizens being denied rights came from the statement of one of the parties that joined the ACLU, NRA, NCIL, and all the rest. Unfortunately, I can no longer find either the site where I found the reference, or possibly the reference on the correct site (I’m not sure which) and since the past forty-eight hours have been devoted to working with my website manager to try and solve a variety of issues on this (expletive deleted) computer, I have lost both my patience and my sense of humor when it comes to tracking down information I didn’t think it necessary to save. So if you say I’m wrong on that one, I’ll let you have the last word, but I didn’t just make that up out of either whole cloth or an arbitrary fake news headline. Unlike the Fox reporter.
      You say that I, “…[denigrated] the hardworking public servants at the Social Security administration.” Not so. Emphatically not so. My argument is with a Fox news reporter, not the ladies and men I have dealt with on the phone, back when I was having some difficulties with both Social Security and Medicare, all of whom were professional, competent, and helpful. I characterized the Social Security Administration as overworked and underfunded and I stand by that. But I was not attacking the Social Security Administration I was attacking the dishonesty and/or ignorance of a reporter, and as I said originally, if you can’t trust her, why should you or I or anyone else watch her? Think of it as “Fight Dishonesty with Your Remote Control.”
      JP (a very frustrated JP)

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sorry, but I have to pile on. I too work in a capacity orbitally related to the SS Administration, and we were briefed on this very subject, and the scope of this was very much much in the realm of the applicant’s own admissions, and documentation of mental illness as it relates to benefits. I lurk here quite a lot, and agree with much of your rational judgement and opinions, but I wholly believe you are blinded because of your very (stated quite often) strong stance on guns ownership and anything even remotely smacking of “control”. Even your reaction to the statement by the Fox reporter shows your intense bias, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. Your worldview and opinion on guns certainly colors the filter with which you heard this reporter make the statement. It is absolutely, and technically -true- what the reporter said, that it will give easier access to guns for the mentally ill. Was it used in a sensational and purposefully way to provoke a certain reaction, indeed yes.

        You very much filter the intent of the order through your distrust of the last administration, and attach the perceived intent firmly to your conclusion that seniors who use caregivers can now be labeled mentally ill or similar. This silly claim is just as sensational as the Fox reporter’s inflammatory remark. These arguments do nothing to help when sometimes unfortunately we do need to do something about guns and specific issues. Was it not the NRA who said we don’t have a gun problem, we have a mental illness problem? Then when some sort of measure is attempted, we get these responses. How do we fix a damned thing, if the reaction on either side is so detrimental to actually trying to solve a problem? If someone has willfully submitted themselves to a SS claim as a mental health risk, we should not take that as a starting point that perhaps they should not have and AK-47? I find that a pretty reasonable starting point to address a very specific issue. I can already write your response for you. “The nefarious powers that be will use that as a way to start accusing citizens without due process of mental illness and take their guns”. Or something more eloquent than I just wrote, but in that vein.

        Jacob M. – Orange County

        • Well, yes, to a certain extent you are right about my immediate reaction to your comments: I am extremely distrustful of most of the elected officials in almost every level of our government, and I will give you a good example of why.
          Just yesterday, California Senator Dianne Feinstein stated (I have to paraphrase a little, but I’ve got the essence of it): “Our founding fathers clearly wanted the Constitution to be a living, evolving document, able to evolve to suit our needs.”
          That statement is, very simply, a lie. She may believe that the Constitution SHOULD be a living and evolving document–you may believe that–but I challenge you or anyone else to show me where in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, or anywhere else, any Founding Father ever expressed the belief that the Constitution should “evolve” to suit current modes of thinking. The first time that concept was ever expressed was by Woodrow Wilson over one hundred years after the last Founding Father had died. If Ms. Feinstein believes in a flexible and evolving Constitution, that is her right, but she does not have the right to lie to push her point of view, and you know as well as I that once the lie has been expressed, it will be picked up, repeated, and believed by ignorant people who have never bothered to read the Constitution, let alone the Federalist Papers.
          Having said that, I freely admit that I have not read the order, and I took some of my reaction from the statement of a senior citizen’s group that was party to the suit to overthrow the order. Of course we have an issue with mental illness and the rights of the mentally ill, but as I pointed out, the order would have (at least potentially) violated several Constitutional Amendments above and beyond the Second. There is, after all, a reason why the ACLU and NRA joined hands on this.
          Yes, I am very mistrustful of government, all governments, largely because I read a lot of history. The great strength of America is that I (and you and everyone else) have the right to express my distrust and, when circumstances merit it, the right to seek redress.
          Finally, I take issue with your statement that we need to “do something about guns.” Guns are not, nor do they cause, the problem. If you removed the top four drug/gang cities from the equation (the list changes slightly from year to year, but it basically consists of Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New Orleans) America would have a lower murder rate than any European nation. So I would argue that we have a drug and gang problem, one that echoes the ones that arose during Prohibition. Yet none of those cities do anything serious about drugs or gangs, and worse, both Chicago in particular and the federal government have long and shameful records of not prosecuting gun crimes with any of the many laws we already have on the books. Why pass yet more laws that will not be enforced or even obeyed, except by law-abiding guys like me?
          JP

          • Anonymous says:

            I have to call you out again, because you pulled a similar trick on me that the insipid Fox reporter pulled on you. I did not say “do something about guns.” I stated “do something about guns and specific issues.” The “and” being very important to my statement, because the inclusion of the “and” is the issue of mental health. I wasn’t making that argument, and it goes to my point that your bias means you are always looking for that argument, would you not agree? Being the reasonable man you show yourself to be in all your words here, would you allow an exercise here with me? I often use this in my life, and it has served me well in debate, arguments, or my wife’s various quibbles with me. In this specific case you cited, the order: it was automatically, and vehemently rejected by you based on your core beliefs, and certainly colored by the source (Obama). What I do when I find myself in such a place where my instant reaction is “(expletive of choice) NO!”, I stop myself and do this to weigh my reaction, and I want you to do this now. In this specific scenario after one of our nation’s tragedies of a mass killing, when Democrat’s were screaming “gun control” and Republicans were screaming “mental health problem”, had the Republicans brought forth this order, not the Democrats, saying, “we want to try to address the mental health aspect of this with a measured response, limiting gun access to those deemed mentally ill by health professionals and/or their own admissions ect…”. Would you allow that maybe, just maybe you might have thought, “hmm, that seems like an measured response to this insanity”. Maybe still arriving at, “no I cannot abide that”. But maybe just a possibility there would be a compromise in there somehow? It’s an empathy exercise, plain and simple, and we are all guilty of just reacting based on our beliefs and long held biases and not on facts or even good sense sometimes. We cannot reasonably ascribe intentions to every single issue, good or bad. And when you add your own admitted distrust when assessing intention, do you not limit yourself as a thinking, and obviously caring man? This way of thinking has become the poison of our society, and the failing of our leaders on both sides.

            Jacob

          • Anonymous says:

            I must also quibble with your Feinstein statement. Prefaced by the fact that I find her lacking and wrong in about 4000 ways, your statement about the constitution not being malleable. You do realize the things you hold very dear are examples of an evolution? They are called “amendments”. 27 of which our fore-fathers agreed made some good sense. So you can pick and choose which of those you agree with, but your premise that it’s not precisely what the dimwit Feinstein called it falls flat. Now should we debate and qualify the how and why? Absolutely, but I’d say the constitution has in fact evolved, and I am open to it evolving further if it has a clear and justified purpose to require amending. But history tells us that 33 times it’s been attempted, and 27 times succeeded. In all the years of our democracy, I’d say that seems reasonable. We are an evolving society, and our laws have, and should reflect that, I don’t think that a very dangerous way to operate if we exercise extreme caution, and use the tools of democracy to keep it in check. But as a hard line supporter of the 2nd amendment, you absolutely support an evolution of our constitution JP!

            Jacob

  6. Anonymous says:

    I refuse to watch the 6:30 pm news or any talk shows. They make no effort to show any fairness. Newspapers are no better. They spin news the way they want it to be, not what it is.
    I agree with a previous post about Rush, I couldn’t have made it through the pre-election months without him to listen to.
    I have an annual checkup coming up and my doctor’s office sent a questionnaire to fill out. One asks if I keep my guns locked up. Has to be the government wanting that information.

    Heather in Michigan

  7. Anonymous says:

    Father O’Connor – Irish Tale from Cork

    …(videVfl2)
    Father O’Connor walks into a pub and says to the first man he meets, ‘Do you want go to heaven?’
    The man replies, ‘Yes, Father.’

    Father O’Connor then says, ‘Leave this bar right now, and go outside’.
    O’Connor proceeds to another man, and asks him the same thing. The chap also answers, ‘Yes’.
    Father O’Connor asks him too to go out.

    The Reverend Father goes the third man and asks, ‘Would you like to go to heaven? ‘
    This time the reply is, ‘No thank-you Father.’
    Surprised, Father O’Connor asks, ‘Why not?’
    The man opines, ‘I mean I do, but only after I die.’

    The Father O’Connor explains, ‘That’s what I am talking about.’
    The man says, ‘Oh, I thought you are getting a group ready right now.

    Happy St. Patrick’s day.

  8. For reasons I do not understand, my “Reply” button has gone missing, so this is in reply to Jacob’s two posts.
    I have to be brief because I have commitments to honor and fires to put out, but I apologize for dropping part of your sentence. I was not my intention to take anything out context. As for the mental health issues, no, I wouldn’t care which party introduced it, I would still be very, very reluctant to sign on to anything like that because, as always, the devil is in the details. Who would determine mental health? What would the criteria be? Who would determine the criteria? You see where this is going. Veterans with PTSD have been labelled mentally ill. As someone who has twice lived through two discrete episodes of PTSD, for two different types of trauma, (you can read about one in “An Accidental Cowboy”) I would argue that PTSD sufferers cover as wide a swath of tendencies toward violence as any random sampling of, oh, plumbers, or school teachers, or bankers. Anyone who tells you that all PTSD suffers are dangerous is himself dangerous and misinformed.
    As for other forms of mental illness, you would be hard pressed to find any responsible mental health expert who would ever say there is a correlation between mental illness and violence–it just isn’t so–and with that in mind, again, who is to be the judge? The government? I don’t think so.
    In regard to the Constitution and the Amendments: we could split semantic hairs about evolution here, but I wasn’t referring to the Amendments as used to undo compromises or rectify errors, but rather to Woodrow Wilson’s stated belief in the ever more rapid Darwinian evolution of man (he specifically referred to Darwin) requiring an equally fast evolution of the Constitution to match the family of man’s future perfected state of, (this is a direct quote) “a single community, cooperative as in a perfected, coordinated beehive.” Apart from the sheer nonsense of that belief (evolutionary scientists will tell you that among all the world’s species, only the dog has the genetic capability to change quickly, in a few generations, as opposed to man, whose fundamental genetic impulses for survival haven’t changed an iota in a million years) if Wilson’s vision of his future utopia doesn’t scare you to death, then you’ve never read “1984,” or seen any documentaries about North Korea, or… You get the picture. Beyond that, the primary point I was trying to make, that seems to have gotten lost here, is that Dianne Feinstein is either too historically ignorant to be a US Senator, or she deliberately lied when she said the founding father’s made it clear, etc. Either way, she is typical of the most despicable kind of elected official, the kind personified by Harry Reid, who willfully tell lies on the Senate floor, knowing they cannot be prosecuted for those lies, and then laugh about it afterward. I believe Joe McCarthy was roundly despised for that very thing, among others.
    JP

  9. Anonymous says:

    JP,

    You might find this item in Ammoland interesting: Fake News Is Main Stream News & Owned by the Deep State

    Cheers,
    WB

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