Fresh BS! Today’s Stinkiest Political Pieces

The Atlantic conflates due process with disregarding rule of law; Left and right news sources mess up the Borderline Bar Shooting story

The Atlantic conflates due process with disregarding rule of law

Today’s freshest, stinkiest, top-notchiest BS goes to The Atlantic. The headline:

Republicans Must Choose Between Trump and the Rule of Law

Staff writer Conor Friedersdorf asserts that Trump is calling for his party members and base to follow him even if it means ignoring rule of a law, a famously bipartisan issue. Regardless of where you and I stand politically neither of us wants our mothers murdered for their pearls. Rule of law is commonly held as good. Conor loses sight of this in a sudden fit of TDS, asserting that

elected officials in the Republican Party should have no doubt that Donald Trump will force them to choose in coming days, weeks, and months between loyalty to him and loyalty to the rule of law, between the public’s right to the truth and Trump’s efforts to hide it.

…because…

There’s little question that the resignation was forced for the most illegitimate reason: Trump’s repeatedly, explicitly expressed desire to undermine Robert Mueller’s incomplete investigation, and his open frustration at Sessions’s refusal to help.

Well, that depends. Is Mueller’s investigation legitimate? Mueller has been investigating for quite some time now and the US public hasn’t had a wiff of evidence of collusion. The barrage of distracting accusations by the media is the only thing keeping Mueller’s name in print these days, as opposed to actual findings. Conor reports in this article that Trump’s son expects to indicted as well. Trump is understandably frustrated.

Conor’s second reason Trump is throwing away rule of law is that he forced Sessions’s resignation. This is textbook Trump (if there is such a thing). Parallels between Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre and Trump’s PEZ-like ejection of his own employees is incongruent. There’s nothing slow-moving or sneaky about Trump. He’s open and brash. To his base he is dazzlingly entertaining. He’s a bull in a Tiffany’s outlet store.

It is true that there are clear conflicts of interest here and I won’t pretend Trump doesn’t clearly take actions that imply his guilt. But implication isn’t evidence of anything. Equally importantly, neither are inferences.


Borderline Bar & Grill: News Sources From Both Sides Miss The Mark

Wednesday night, a yet-to-be-identified shooter killed at least 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA. The reporting of the shooting is, at this early stage, pretty similar across news outlets. This is good. Reporting should be similar from multiple sources because facts don’t change based on who is reporting them. It’s nice to be reminded of that these days. However, this otherwise good reporting is tarnished with some pretty frustrating errors on both sides.

First, the conservative Daily Wire. Despite editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro being a self-described gun owner, he’s demonstrated barely rudimentary knowledge of firearms on past podcasts. But today’s gun gaffe comes from staff writer Amanda Prestigiacomo who quotes a witness (my emphasis)

Two things could be happening here. Either the female witness confused the word “rounds” with “magazines,” the correct term, and the Daily Wire is reporting the quote accurately. Or Amanda is confused, wrote the quote which is probably pulled from another report somewhere, and used the wrong word. Either way, I’m displeased with the Daily Wire’s reporting here. There is no [sic] denotation to let us know that the quote is genuine but uses improper language. Or, again, it could be that Amanda doesn’t know gun lingo. In either case I expect a conservative news source in particular to have better command over firearm terminology and to more carefully report on mass shooting stories.

The second, and more serious hunk of BS coming from this event’s reporting is its spin by CNN and NBC. The shooter had not yet been identified, but he was confirmed dead by police. So why did both CNN and NBC bother mentioning his “black beard” and that he is “heavily tattooed?”

I’ve been to gun ranges. Tattoos and black beards are a pretty regular sight there. If there is a caricature of a “tacticool” gun hobbyist, he would be a big bearded guy with tattoos. In fact I’m basically describing James Yeager. A former gun YouTuber and firearms instructor famously banned from YouTube for making inflammatory remarks about gun owners fighting anti-gun legislation and its supporters.

Apparently, generalizing is okay when it comes to 2nd Amendment supporters, but is otherwise racist or bigoted. I can only infer that tying this generic description to a mass shooter is an intentional effort to tie mass shootings to legal gun owners. This is sneaky, dishonest, and wrong of CNN and NBC. I’ll remind any reader that there are over 270 million firearms in the US. Let’s rhetorically say that 1 million are acquired illegally. That’s 0.37% of all firearms. That’s working with a rhetorical figure I chose to maximize the advantage of the anti-gun argument. Given that number, I think we can say that a gun owner’s sex, tattoos, and facial hair are not what make someone a menace to society, although CNN and NBC are trying to force that connection.

Fresh BS! Is a new thing I’m doing to stretch my atrophying writing muscles and review the news. Because what we need now more than ever is opinionated, cursory coverage of US media and politics. Fake News is another term for spun news. And it is so prevalent that I realized I could throw a dart at the internet and hit a news story with an agenda. Today, the dart struck the above.