Archives for category: Fake News

It should be common knowledge by now that Trump lost the 2020 election. It was not a close election. He decisively lost both the popular vote and the electoral college. In 2016, he won the electoral college while decisively losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. She could have easily spent four years claiming that she was cheated by an archaic institution (the electoral college), but she had two strong reasons to accept the result and remain silent: one, she has a deep knowledge of and respect for the Constitution; two, I suspect she was genuinely fearful that the impulsive fool who beat her would act on his oft-claimed desire to “lock her up” on Trumped-up charges.

A significant proportion of Republican voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen. Trump says so. More important, FOX “News” said so daily, incessantly. Despite the fact that Trump’s legal team lost more than 60 court cases, two of them in the US Supreme Court, FOX continued to put its spotlight on election deniers. In doing so, FOX undermined the public’s belief in our electoral system.

States conducted recounts and audits, even hand recounts. Arizona engaged an inexperienced firm to conduct its recount, and Biden gained more votes. None of the recounts uncovered fraud or changed the outcomes. Nonetheless FOX fueled doubts where there was no evidence of chicanery.

Dominion Voting Systems sued FOX for $1.6 billion for defaming it, for spreading lawyer Sidney Powell’s claims that Dominion machines had switched Trump votes to Biden votes, that Dominion was somehow connected to the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. The other voting machine company, Smartmatic, has also filed defamation lawsuits.

During the course of the lawsuit, Dominion was able to gain access to internal emails among the hosts and producers at FOX. The emails revealed that the FOX people knew they were broadcasting lies. They did it because they were fearful that their audience would go to farther-right networks that fed their fantasy that Trump was cheated.

The New York Times wrote about the FOX debacle today:

Two days after the 2020 election, Tucker Carlson was furious.

Fox News viewers were abandoning the network for Newsmax and One America News, two conservative rivals, after Fox declared that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Arizona, a crucial swing state.

In a text message with his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, Mr. Carlson appeared livid that viewers were turning against the network. The message was among those released last week as part of a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox. Dominion, an elections technology company, has sued Fox News for defamation.

A graphic shows a text exchange from Carlson to Pfeiffer.

Carlson to Pfeiffer

We worked really hard to build what we have … It enrages me.

At the same time, Mr. Carlson and his broadcasting colleagues expressed grave doubts about an unfounded narrative rapidly gaining momentum among their core audience: that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats through widespread voter fraud. The belief was promoted by then-President Trump and a coalition of lawyers, lawmakers and influencers, though they produced no evidence to support their assertions.

Many hosts, producers and executives privately expressed skepticism about those claims, even as they gave them significant airtime, according to private messages revealed last week by Dominion. What they said in those messages often differed significantly from what Fox hosts said in public, though they weren’t always contradictory.

Two days after the election, Mr. Pfeiffer said that voices on the right were “reckless demagogues,” according to a text message. Mr. Carlson replied that his show was “not going to follow them.”

A graphic shows a text exchange between Pfeiffer and Carlson.

Said privately on Nov. 5, 2020

Pfeiffer to Carlson

It’s a hard needle to thread, but I really think many on ‘our side’ are being reckless demagogues right now.

Carlson to Pfeiffer

Of course they are. We’re not going to follow them.

But he did follow them. The same day, on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Mr. Carlson expressed some doubts about the voter fraud assertions before insisting that at least some of the claims were “credible.”

A graphic of a text exchange, followed by a video clip of Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Said publicly on Nov. 5, 2020

Carlson: “Not all the claims are credible — some are. … Serious questions about the legitimacy of ballots remained unanswered.”

In the days and weeks that followed, Mr. Carlson was one of several Fox News hosts who repeatedly took a different tone when speaking to viewers on air than when they were talking privately.

The private conversations pose a serious legal threat to the nation’s most-watched cable news network. Dominion has obtained thousands of emails and text messages from Fox employees as part of its $1.6 billion suit. The messages, taken as a whole, are at the core of Dominion’s case.

Fox News has argued in court that the First Amendment protects its right to broadcast false claims if they are inherently newsworthy — and in this case that there was nothing more newsworthy at the time than a sitting president’s allegations of widespread voter fraud.

In a statement, the company said that “the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution” and protected by legal precedent. It added, “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”

But if a jury looks at the messages from Fox hosts, guests and executives and concludes that people inside the network knew what they were putting on the air was false, it could find Fox liable and reward Dominion with substantial financial damages.

On Nov. 7, 2020, Mr. Carlson told Mr. Pfeiffer that claims about manipulated software were “absurd.” Mr. Pfeiffer replied later that there was not enough evidence of fraud to swing the election.

A graphic of a text exchange between Pfeiffer and Carlson.

Said privately on Nov. 7, 2020

Carlson to Pfeiffer

The software shit is absurd.

Nov. 8, 2020

Pfeiffer to Carlson

I dont think there is evidence of voter fraud that swung the election.

But during his broadcast on Nov. 9, Mr. Carlson devoted time to various theories, suggesting there could be merit to claims about software manipulation. “We don’t know, we have to find out,” he said.

A video clip of Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Said publicly on Nov. 9, 2020

Carlson: “We don’t know anything about the software that many say was rigged. … And you are not crazy for knowing it. You are right.”

Mr. Carlson also privately criticized Sidney Powell, a lawyer and conspiracy theorist who was gaining traction among the far right for her involvement in several lawsuits aimed at challenging the election results, the court filings show. Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, two hosts on Fox Business, a sister channel to Fox News that is also part of Dominion’s lawsuit, repeatedly invited Ms. Powell onto their shows as an expert on voter fraud claims.

A graphic of a text message from Carlson.

Said privately on Nov. 16, 2020

Carlson to Pfeiffer

Sidney Powell is lying

Mr. Pfeiffer told Mr. Carlson over text message that election fraud claims, like those being made by Ms. Powell, “need to be backed up.” He warned that President Biden faced being undermined if he was eventually inaugurated.

Mr. Carlson agreed, the filings show.

A graphic of a text message from Carlson.

Said privately on Nov. 18, 2020

Carlson to Pfeiffer

Yep. It’s bad.

The next day, Mr. Carlson eviscerated Ms. Powell in a brutal 10-minute monologue, dissecting her claims as unreliable and unproven. He said the show had repeatedly asked her for evidence and, “when we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

A video of Carlson from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020

Carlson: “She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one.”

In the same monologue, however, Mr. Carlson also gave some credence to Ms. Powell’s claims, saying that “we don’t dismiss anything anymore” and that he is “hopeful” she will come forward with evidence.

A video of Carlson from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020

Carlson: “We did not dismiss any of it. We don’t dismiss anything anymore.”

Viewers expressed outrage at Mr. Carlson for challenging a prominent Trump ally. And Mr. Trump’s associates quickly jumped to her defense.

Privately, Mr. Carlson continued to criticize Ms. Powell, calling her claims “shockingly reckless.” Mr. Pfeiffer and Mr. Carlson both privately called her a “nut.” Laura Ingraham, who is the host of a 10 p.m. show, and Raj Shah, a senior vice president at the Fox Corporation, the network’s corporate parent, were equally incredulous.

A graphic of several text messages from Raj Shah, Pfeiffer, Carlson and Ingraham.

Said privately on Nov. 22, 2020

Shah to Pfeiffer

so many people openly denying the obvious that Powell is clearly full of it.

Pfeiffer to Shah

She is a [expletive] nutcase.

Carlson to Ingraham

[Powell is] a nut, as you said at the outset. It totally wrecked my weekend. Wow… I had to try to make the WH disavow her, which they obviously should have done long before

Ingraham to Carlson

No serious lawyer could believe what they were saying.

Carlson to Ingraham

But they said nothing in public. Pretty disgusting.

The next day, Mr. Carlson appeared to soften his public stance, suggesting that some of the criticisms about voting machines had merit and concluding, “This is a real issue no matter who raises it.”

The article goes on to demonstrate that FOX hosts Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo continued to feature Powell on their shows and allow her to spread her deep belief that Dominion voting machines were rigged.

The private messages also showed that Ms. Powell was in direct communication with Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Dobbs, and that she revealed one of the sources for her outrageous claims. The court filings showed that Ms. Powell forwarded an email about voter fraud to Ms. Bartiromo from the source, a woman who claimed, among other things, that “the Wind tells me I’m a ghost.”

If Ms. Bartiromo was deterred by the unusual email, it was not evident to Fox News viewers. Ms. Powell was interviewed on the show the next day….

Several Fox News hosts and producers were criticizing Ms. Powell, including John Fawcett, a producer on Mr. Dobbs’s show, who said he believed Ms. Powell was “doing LSD and cocaine and heroin and shrooms.”

A text message from Ingraham.

Said privately on Nov. 15, 2020

Ingraham to Hannity and Carlson

Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is.

But those criticisms never made it to air. Instead, when Ms. Powell appeared again on Mr. Dobbs’s show days later, she was hailed as a “great American” and “one of the country’s leading appellate attorneys.”

Although the producer of the Lou Dobbs show said derogatory things about Powell, Lou Dobbs brought her back as an expert on election security.

The next month, after Smartmatic, a competitor of Dominion Voting Systems, sent a letter to Fox News signaling that litigation was imminent, the network put together a video package of an election expert debunking the conspiracy theories that suggested the company’s technology allowed the presidential vote to be rigged. It aired on the programs hosted by Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro.

On Feb. 5, 2021, one day after Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox, Fox Business canceled “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” At the time, Fox said it regularly reviewed its lineup. “Plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate postelection, including on Fox Business,” the network said.

Let’s see what the jury decides in Dominion’s and Smartmatic’s lawsuits against FOX and against specific individuals.

Heather Cox Richardson picks out the money quotes from the legal filing in the case of Dominion Voting Systems against the Fox Bew Coroiration. The pundits at Fox gave hours and hours of air time to election deniers, yet none of the Fox hosts believed the nonsense they broadcast to millions of people. Fox gave their viewers support for their misguided belief that the 2020 election was stolen. Yet, all of them said in emails that they were broadcasting lies.

A legal filing today in the case of Dominion Voting Systems against the Fox News Corporation provides a window into the role of disinformation and money in the movement to deny that President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion Voting Systems is suing FNC for defamation after FNC personalities repeatedly claimed that the company’s voting machines had corrupted the final tallies in the 2020 election. The filing today shows that those same personalities didn’t believe what they were telling their viewers, and suggests that they made those groundless accusations because they worried their viewers were abandoning them to go to channels that told them what they wanted to hear: that Trump had won the election.

The quotes in the filing are eye-popping:

On November 10, 2020, Trump advisor Steven Bannon wrote to FNC personality Maria Bartiromo: “71 million voters will never accept Biden. This process is to destroy his presidency before it even starts; IF it even starts…. We either close on Trumps [sic] victory or del[e]gitimize Biden…. THE PLAN.”

FNC’s internal fact checks on November 13 and November 20 called accusations of irregularities in the voting “Incorrect” and said there was “not evidence of widespread fraud.”

On November 15, Laura Ingraham wrote to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity: “Sidney Power is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.”

On November 16, Carlson wrote to his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, “Sidney Powell is lying.”

On November 19, FNC chair Rupert Murdoch wrote: “Really crazy stuff.”

Hannity later testified: “[T]hat whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I did not believe it for one second.”

Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt later testified, “[N]o reasonable person would have thought that,” when asked if it was true that Dominion rigged the election.

The filing claims that FNC peddled a false narrative of election fraud to its viewers because its pro-Trump audience had jumped ship after the network had been the first to call Arizona for Biden, and its ratings were plummeting as Trump loyalists jumped to Newsmax. “I’ve never seen a reaction like this, to any media company,” Carlson wrote to Suzanne Scott, chief executive officer of Fox News, on November 9. “Kills me to watch it.” On November 12, Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham, “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.”

They went to “war footing” to “protect the brand.” For example, when FNC reporter Jacqui Heinrich accurately fact checked a Trump tweet, correcting him by saying that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously…. What the f*ck? I’m actually shocked…. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”

Heinrich deleted her tweet.

The filing says that not a single witness from FNC testified they believed any of the allegations they were making about Dominion. An FNC spokesperson today said, “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”

Today, part of the report of the special purpose grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in the 2020 election in Georgia was released under court order. It explained that 26 Fulton County, Georgia, residents, three of whom were alternates, made up the grand jury, and 16 of them made up a quorum, enabling the jury to conduct business. Beginning on June 1, 2022, the grand jury heard testimony from or involving 75 witnesses, almost all of it in person and under oath. It also heard testimony from investigators and got digital and physical media.

The grand jury found “by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2022 presidential election.” It also reported that “[a] majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” and it asked the district attorney to “seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

Also today, in the wake of the inauspicious first hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on November 9, a bipartisan group of 28 former officials who were part of the Church Committee wrote an open letter to Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH). Republicans have claimed Jordan’s new subcommittee is a modern version of the 1975–1976 committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID), that discovered illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens, CIA operations to assassinate foreign leaders, drug testing on government personnel, discrediting of civil rights and anti-war activists, and so on.

The letter’s authors reminded Jordan that while the chair of the committee had been a Democrat, its work had been carefully bipartisan, and its members investigated both Republican and Democratic administrations. They had rigorously reported facts in context, “resisting political temptations to assemble misleading mosaics from isolated tidbits.” They had also protected ongoing intelligence and law enforcement operations.

The committee’s 2,700 pages of exhaustive research were also bipartisan and resulted in the creation of Senate and House intelligence committees to provide congressional oversight of intelligence, as well as the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The former staffers of the Church Committee advised Jordan to follow the model he claimed, remaining objective, grounding the committee’s findings in relevant evidence and applicable laws.” They urged the subcommittee to “consider in good faith whether [Trump attorney general William] Barr and [John] Durham,” whom Barr appointed to discredit the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian operatives, “themselves may have strayed into such weaponization.”

The Church Committee staffers warned Jordan that if he wanted to claim the mantle of that committee, he would need to move forward with the “same spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship.”

To see the sources, open the link.

Anyone who believes that Jim Jordan might run a bipartisan investigation believes in unicorns. He is one of the nastiest partisans in Congress.

Steve Hinnefeld reports on a recent Gallup Poll that shows high patent satisfaction with public schools. Parents are not seeking “choice,” yet the legislature keeps enhancing legislation to create more school choice.

He reports:

  • Indiana parents are happy with their children’s schools. A remarkable 88% said they were satisfied with the quality of their child’s school. Figures were even higher for some groups: 90% for parents of elementary children and 96% in rural areas and small towns.
  • Parents know what schools are teaching and support it: 81% say they know what their children are learning in school, and 78% say they agree with it.
  • Those who disagree with what schools are teaching are a tiny minority of parents. Only 7% don’t approve of what the schools teach, and two-thirds of those admit they don’t know what that is. In other words, “I don’t know what they’re teaching but, whatever it is, I don’t like it.”

Yet a tiny and uninformed minority – much of it unconnected to schools — seems to have the ear of Republicans, who keep pushing legislation to restrict what schools can teach about race, gender, sexuality and other made-up controversies. They’ve also promoted “curriculum transparency” bills, apparently in the idea that schools are keeping parents in the dark.

Joshua Q. Nelson wrote a story for FOX News, saying that I was a hypocrite for sending my sons to private schools (more than 50 years ago) and ignoring the fact that I turned against school choice publicly in 2010. His source was Corey DeAngelis, who works for Betsy DeVos. He has attacked me so often on Twitter that I blocked him.

A little bit of research would have shown that I supported school choice from the late 1980s (when charters first emerged) until 2008 (when I started writing a book about my disavowal of conservative education ideology—charters, vouchers, standardized testing, merit pay, and high-stakes accountability).

My change of mind and heart was well covered, not only in The New York Times, but in The Wall Street Journal and other publications). And the book became a national bestseller.

Christina Pushaw, a close aide to Ron DeSantis, amplified the story in her Twitter account, as did the notorious Chris Rufo.

Since the story came out, I have received numerous death threats. Yesterday, I got another one, a long and garbled message with religious allusions, which ended by saying “Yes, we will be ‘slaying Goliath.’ You are Goliath.”

I think Joshua Q. Nelson should be aware that he was played by DeAngelis and correct his story.

Meanwhile, I am flattered that Ron DeSantis and Betsy DeVos and their minions read my tweets and perhaps my blog. I would like to recommend that they read my last three books, where I demonstrate the importance of public schools and the hoax of school choice, which originated as the battle cry of segregationists after the Brown decision.

In a diverse society like ours, public schools bring children from different backgrounds together. They are essential for our democracy. They are the best choice.

Of course, parents are free to make private choices but they should not expect taxpayers to pay for their choice to send their child to a private school that discriminates against others.

Meanwhile, here is a reading assignment for Corey DeAngelis, Christina Pushaw, Chris Rufo, Ron DeSantis, and Betsy DeVos:

And three books:

The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010)

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (2013)

Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools (2020)

On a personal note: I am 84. I do not fear your threats. I write what I choose. I will not be intimidated.

Think of the most extreme, most vitriolic, least responsible members of the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives. Think of the ones who defended the insurrection. Think of those who encouraged the effort to overturn our government. Speaker Kevin McCarthy just put them on the most important committee in the House, the one that will conduct investigations for the next two years.

Hunter Biden’s laptop! Hunter Biden’s Laptop! Jewish space lasers! QAnon! Pedophiles! The entire Biden family (unlike the Trump family) enriching themselves on your dime (please don’t bring up the $2 billion that the Saudis gave Jared Kushner after Biden took office!) Hunter Biden’s laptop! The hundreds of classified documents that Trump fought to hold onto for over a year, first claiming they were planted by the FBI, then claiming they were his personal property, and the small number of documents that Biden immediately turned over! Trump good, Biden bad! Laptop!

The New York Times reported:

WASHINGTON — They were deeply involved in President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. They have come to the defense of people being prosecuted for participating in the deadly storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Some have called for violence against their political enemies online, embraced conspiracy theories or associated with white supremacists.

Several of the most extreme Republicans in Congress and those most closely allied with Mr. Trump have landed seats on the Oversight and Accountability Committee, the main investigative organ in the House. From that perch, they are poised to shape inquiries into the Biden administration and to serve as agents of Mr. Trump in litigating his grievances as he plots his re-election campaign.

Their appointments are the latest evidence that the new Republican majority is driven by a hard-right faction that has modeled itself in Mr. Trump’s image, shares his penchant for dealing in incendiary statements and misinformation, and is bent on using its newfound power to exact revenge on Democrats and President Biden.

Many of the panel’s new Republican members — including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania — are among Mr. Trump’s most devoted allies in Congress. Their appointments underscore that, while the former president may be a shrunken presence in the current political landscape, he still exerts much control over the base of his party.

The AFT commissioned a highly reputable polling form to find out how voters think about the big education issues. The poll was conducted after the election last November. Bottom line: Voters want better, well/resourced public schools; few are interested in the Republican agenda of fighting “wokeness,” censoring books, and choice.

New Polling Reveals GOP/McCarthy Schools Agenda Is Unpopular and at Odds with Parents’ Priorities

Latest Data Show Parents, Voters Reject Culture War Agenda, Support Academic Focus and Safe Schools Instead

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers today released new national polling that shows voters overwhelmingly reject House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s anti-school, culture war agenda. Instead, voters want to see political leaders prioritize what kids need to succeed in school: strong fundamental academic skills and safe and welcoming school environments. 

“The latest education poll tells us loud and clear: Voters, including parents, oppose McCarthy’s agenda to prioritize political fights in schools and instead support real solutions, like getting our kids and teachers what they need to recover and thrive,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. 

“Rather than reacting to MAGA-driven culture wars, voters overwhelmingly say they want lawmakers to get back to basics: to invest in public schools and get educators the resources they need to create safe and welcoming environments, boost academic skills and pave pathways to career, college and beyond.”

According to Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates: “One key weakness of the culture war agenda is that voters and parents reject the idea that teachers today are pushing a ‘woke’ political agenda in the schools. Most have high confidence in teachers. Voters see the ‘culture war’ as a distraction from what’s important and believe that politicians who are pushing these issues are doing so for their own political benefit.”

Polling conducted by Hart Research Associates from Dec. 12-17, 2022, among 1,502 registered voters nationwide, including 558 public school parents, shows that support for and trust in public schools and teachers remains incredibly strong: 

  • 93 percent of respondents said improving public education is an important priority for government officials.
  • 66 percent said the government spends too little on education; 69 percent want to see more spending.
  • By 29 points, voters said their schools teach appropriate content, with an even greater trust in teachers.
  • Voters who prioritized education supported Democrats by 8 points.
  • Top education priorities for voters include providing:
    • students with strong fundamental academic skills; 
    • opportunities for all children to succeed, including through career and technical education and greater mental health supports, as examples; and 
    • a safe and welcoming environment for kids to learn.
  • According to voters, the most serious problems facing schools include:
    • teacher shortages;
    • inadequate funding; 
    • unsafe schools; and 
    • pandemic learning loss. (And, critically, voters and parents are looking forward to find solutions: by 85 percent to 15 percent, they want Congress to focus on improving schools through greater support, rather than through McCarthy’s investigation agenda.)

“COVID was terrible for everyone,” added Weingarten. “Educators and parents took on the challenges of teaching, learning and reconnecting and are now asking elected officials to focus on the building blocks of student success. Instead, legislators in 45 states have proposed hundreds of laws making that harder—laws seeking to ban books from school libraries; restrict what teachers can say about race, racism, LGBTQIA+ issues and American history; and limit the school activities in which transgender students can participate. Voters are saying that not only are these laws bad policy—they’re also bad politics.”

In state after state in the November midterms, voters elected pro-public education governors and school board candidates and rejected far-right attacks on teachers and vulnerable LGBTQIA+ students. 

The survey’s confidence interval is ±3.0 percentage points.

Click here for toplines, here for the poll memo and here for the poll slides.

Our reader, who signs in as Joel, has frequently noted the bias in the media towards negativity and “worst case scenario.” How many stories were published predicting a Red Wave, lamenting the dozens of seats that Democrats would lose, predicting doom and gloom. There is also its problem of “both-sides-ism,” as though the scientist who says the sun rises in the west is as equal in credibility as the one who says it rises in the East. I leave his own sentence structure unchanged.

I asked Joel to describe himself. He wrote:

I am a retired Trade Union activist who sees the attacks on America’s teachers as an attack on the most visible and the largest of Americas unions.
It is no accident that whether the Billionaire oligarchs / plutocrats / politicians who attack public schools and their teachers consider themselves socially progressive or are religio fascist , they abhor Unions.

He writes:

So for two years now I have been pointing out crime statistics on Diane’s blog and on Union Facebook page’s. Knowing that the American Public is always a sucker for the big bad Black man coming to get you; or simply the Willie Horton story . Which actually predates Willie Horton going back to Goldwater and his Nation of Moral decay and Nixon’s war on drugs. Which targeted minorities disproportionately.

Both on crime and inflation the supposed “Liberal Media” did its best to prove Trump correct in his charges against them. Whether it was intentional or not, the hype was far greater than the reality. For a group of people who profess to despise Trump and his merry band of seditious Neo Nazi White Christian Nationalists, they did their best to bring them back to power. Crime sells advertising .

They say, Inflation is the worst it has ever been— except at its peak, it was half the rate of the 1980s and accompanied by 3.5% unemployment now, not 8%. Endless stories of the terrible economy.

Last Fall when they started blasting away, it was under 5% . With gas lower than it had been from 2011-14 . Wage inflation was already moderating. Tough to have a wage price spiral without the wage component. The media frenzy did allow Corporations with virtual monopoly power to take the Public’s expectation of inflation and deliver it to them, tacking on record profits far above increased costs.

But Crime is the issue that may have cost Democrats 4-5 seats in NY and with it the House. All in Down State districts formally represented by Democrats . Far more harm done to Democrats on MSNBC , CNN, WaPo and the NY Times than on Fox News, the NY Post and the Wall Street Journal”’…. No one who follows the Murdoch rags is voting Democratic to begin with.

On top of a redistricting enabled by Cuomo appointed Judges as part of bone thrown to Republicans when they controlled the State Senate with the help of Cuomo’s turncoat IDC caucus. On top of Adams and Suozzi running around like they were Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels, there were 800 stories a month in 2022 about crime in the NYC Media Market vs 130 a month in deBlasio’s last term ending in 2021. Talk about manufactured consent.

What was the reality. Last year there were fewer murders than 2011 a year Bloomberg was running around calling NYC the safest big City in the Nation . This year with a 13% reduction there will be fewer murders than 2012 the next to last year he was in office when he was taking bows for how safe the City was .

But not only lower than 2012; significantly lower than every year between 2012 all the way till when America was GREAT in 1960.

Your odds of being injured on a 2 mile ride in your car are greater than being injured in a violent crime in the NYC Subway. The murder rate in NYC truly does make it one of the safest cities in America with bail reform having little or no impact on recidivism.

Of course that is not the narrative from CNN, MSNBC, nor the local mass media. The Press made it sound that murders were like the terrible 60s when there were 1000 murders a year by mid decade . The 70s when there 1500 , the 80s when there were 1800 to 2000 and the early 90s when there were 2400 murders . There were 468 in 2021 and 379 as of last week in 2022 with only 6 weeks to go.

So here is the thing . Excluding the Garbage dump in the Harbor (Staten Island) that should be turned over to NJ. 82 % of Manhattan residents voted for Democrats. Ah but they are just woke liberals . 79% of Bronx Residents voted for Democrats not so woke , 73% of Brooklyn and 67% of Queens residents. So where all this supposed crime was happening it was not a concern enough to sway voters .

Yet in the NYC suburbs (all six counties) where all the seats were lost. Crime was lower in almost every major category recorded. 2021 Lower than not just 2020 but most years back to 2017 the last year listed in the state crime registry. The 100 million dollar Republican Willie Horton Campaign supplement by the ” Liberal Media ” and their 800 stories a month.

Heck of a Job Joe Scarborough, mission accomplished. And I know he is a Conservative Republican but he also claims to be a never Trump-er. Perhaps they will give him an extra hour to cover Hunter Biden’s Laptop.

Like Robert Hubbell, I have been perplexed about the statements on news stories that police are trying to identify the motive of the man who broke into the Pelosi home, shouting “Where’s Nancy?” and attacked her husband.

Rightwing media and prominent figures such as Don Trump Jr. have spread lies (amplified by Elon Musk), but the law authorities know what happened and they are charging the assailant with a long list of felonies.

I’m not putting the quote into italics so that you can see Hubbell’s use of italics.

Hubbell writes:

The attempted assassination of Speaker Nancy Pelosi has struck at the heart of America’s political dysfunction and mass delusion. Major media outlets are going out of their way to caution that “the assailant’s motives are unknown” and limiting their description of what occurred to “an attack on Paul Pelosi” without acknowledging that the intended target was the person third-in-line for the presidency of the US. Right-wing media is in full conspiracy mode, trafficking in wild and baseless claims that are insulting, defamatory, and offensive to a grieving family and a severely wounded victim. Elon Musk inflamed the situation by tweeting and deleting a bogus “opinion” article from a media outlet known for peddling bizarre conspiracy theories, e.g., that Hillary Clinton died before the 2016 election and her “body double” debated Trump.

          At a time when the focus should be on the recovery of the victim, the safety of Speaker Pelosi, and the hate speech that provoked the attack, the media seems to be talking about nearly everything and anything else. It is maddening and sickening.

          First, as to the attack on Paul Pelosi: The assailant illegally entered the Pelosi home armed with a hammer, zip ties, duct tape, and a “list of people he wanted to target.” The assailant, David Depape, found Paul Pelosi asleep in an upstairs bedroom and confronted him, demanding to know “Where’s Nancy?”  Paul Pelosi engaged the unknown intruder in conversation and managed to surreptitiously dial 9-1-1. Pelosi kept the line open so an operator could hear the exchange in which Paul Pelosi signaled that the was in peril without saying those words—to avoid provoking Depape. Pelosi’s strategy worked, giving police enough time to arrive and capture Depape as he and Pelosi were struggling to gain control over Depape’s hammer.  

          Second, erroneous reporting by a local Fox News affiliate in San Francisco included details that were later retracted—but not before the falsehoods spread like wildfire on Twitter. A right-wing website in Santa Monica that frequently publishes falsehoods ran an “opinion” piece on Saturday that was clearly labeled as opinion (using the abbreviation IMHO—”in my humble opinion”). The author “opined” a wild scenario that I won’t describe (although Washington Post and New York Timesrepeated it in detail). Key details of the “opinion” piece were later explicitly refuted by prosecutors in San Francisco. For clarity, Depape illegally entered the Pelosi home with a list of “targets” and a hammer, duct tape, and zip ties. Depape was not previously known to Paul Pelosi, who was asleep in an upstairs room when Depape broke into the house. And reporting by the Fox affiliate about the state of dress of the assailant was later retracted.

          Third, many right-wing disinformation specialists immediately began claiming that the attack was a “false flag” operation designed to affect the midterms.

          Finally, Elon Musk then tweeted a link to the baseless “opinion” piece that speculated about what “might” have happened preceding the break-in. Musk deleted the tweet shortly thereafter, but not before it was exposed to his 120 million followers. The damage was done. No amount of truth-telling or retractions by reckless Fox affiliates will overcome the momentum created by Musk’s tweet. See NYTimesElon Musk, in a Tweet, Shares Link From Site Known to Publish False News and WaPoPaul Pelosi attack prompts Elon Musk and political right to spread misinformation.

          In short order, Elon Musk and a reckless Fox affiliate converted a near-miss national tragedy into a cesspool of disinformation and delusion. In the process, the Pelosi family is being subjected to a second trauma that may be greater than the original assassination attempt and injuries suffered by Paul Pelosi.

           It is vital that we speak the truth about the cause and nature of the attack.

          As to the cause, there is a direct line between the hate speech and coded incitement to violence that has become accepted in the Republican Party. Marjorie Taylor Greene said that Speaker Pelosi had committed a crime “punishable by death”—a tweet greeted by a collective yawn by GOP leadership in the House. But the dog whistle attacks on Speaker Pelosi have been occurring for decades. See VoxRepublicans demonized Nancy Pelosi long before the attack on her husband.

          Max Boot has it right in this essay in WaPoDon’t blame ‘both sides.’ The right is driving political violence. Boot writes,

There is little doubt about what is driving political violence: the ascendance of Trump. The former president and his followers use violent rhetoric of extremes: Trump calls President Biden an “enemy of the state,” attacks the FBI as “monsters,” refers to the “now Communist USA” and even wrote that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a “DEATH WISH” for disagreeing with him. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has expressed support for executing Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats.

          As to the nature of the attack, major media outlets are missing the point. In the main, the incident is being described as “an assault on Paul Pelosi.” That description is true, but misleading. Depape was not looking for Paul Pelosi, but for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The fact that Nancy Pelosi was not home at the time does not change the essential nature of the attack or its intended victim, which makes it an attempted assassination. Why major media outlets seem to be minimizing the true nature of the crime is puzzling. Indeed, as many readers noted, the NYTimes reported the incident “below the fold” in its Saturday edition. Would the same low-key coverage have been given if the intended victim was a former president whose spouse was savagely beaten when the assailant could not find the former president after breaking into their home?

Also puzzling is the extraordinary caution of media outlets that make the point that Depape’s “motives are unknown.” Really? Journalists spend all day every day speculating about the outcome of the 2022 election, but they are unable to make a reasonable inference that Depape was looking to assassinate Nancy Pelosi given that he broke into her home, was calling “Where’s Nancy?”, and was armed with a hammer, duct tape, and zip ties? Oh, and there’s the fact that he posted conspiracy theories about 2020 election and the January 6thattack.

The Los Angeles Times meticulously debunked the conspiracy theories circulated by MAGA-nuts about the attack on Paul Pelosi in the family home in San Francisco.

Extremists spun a tale in which Paul Pelosi met his attacker in a gay bar, came home drunk, and quarreled with a male prostitute. The perpetrator was not a rightwing extremist, they said, but a follower of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

The L.A. Times patiently explains that none of these claims are factual.

The Break-in:

DePape told officers in a recorded interview last week that he broke through a glass door in the home using a hammer, according to the criminal complaint. He said Paul Pelosi was in bed at the time and “appeared surprised” by him. DePape allegedly told Paul Pelosi to wake up and that he was “looking for Nancy,” to which Paul Pelosi responded that she wasn’t there.

Police body cameras showed that a glass door in the back of the house was broken.

Paul Pelosi called 911 and said there was an intruder in the house, and the man was waiting for Nancy Pelosi.

DePape told police in a separate interview that once he was inside the home, he wanted to tie up Paul Pelosi so he could sleep because he was “tired from having had to carry a backpack.” DePape allegedly took out zip ties from his pocket so he could restrain Paul Pelosi, but Pelosi moved to another part of the house. DePape allegedly stopped him and they went back into the bedroom.

Paul Pelosi went into the bathroom while they were talking and called 911 on his phone, DePape told police. DePape said he “felt like Pelosi’s actions compelled him to respond” and that there was “no way the police were going to forget about the call.” DePape said he stayed after the 911 call because “like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender.”

When police arrived within minutes, they encountered the two men struggling over a hammer.

DePape allegedly pulled the hammer from Paul Pelosi and swung it, hitting him in the head, authorities said. Police restrained DePape; Paul Pelosi appeared to be unconscious.

What was the attacker’s motivations?

DePape allegedly revealed in an interview with police that he “was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her,” according to complaint. He would “let her go” if she told the “truth” but if she “lied,” he would break “her kneecaps.” DePape told authorities that he saw Nancy as the “leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party” and that by breaking her kneecaps, she would have to be wheeled into Congress.

Conspiracy theorists assert that Pelosi and his attacker knew one another, and that when the police arrived, the attacker was wearing only his undershorts.

On Sunday night, former President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., retweeted an image of men’s underwear and a hammer, a nod to the unfounded conspiracy.

In their investigation, however, police interviewed a witness who was working as a private security guard at a nearby address, and said that they saw someone in “all black, carrying a large black bag on his back” walking towards the Pelosis’ home. The witness also said they heard banging on the door or the car and then sirens a minute or two later.

On Monday morning, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested in a tweet the attacker knew Pelosi, calling him, “Paul Pelosi’s friend.”

But the indictment directly contradicts several portions of this conspiracy theory.

Paul Pelosi told police while he was being transported to the San Francisco General Hospital that he had never seen DePape before that night and he was asleep when DePape broke into his bedroom, according to the complaint. He also told the dispatcher during the 911 call that he didn’t know the identity of the man who broke into his home, but that the man said his name is David.

DePape also confirmed Pelosi’s account, telling them he broke through a glass door to get access to the house.

Right wingers claim that DePape was actually tied to left wing groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, but the reality is that he has posted racist, anti-Semitic, QAnon rants.

DePape is unhinged, like the guy who brought an assault weapon to a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., believing that Hillary Clinton was a pedophile and had hidden children in the basement. Pure QAnon. Loony Tunes.

But most Republicans believe that Trump won the election in 2020, ignoring the fact that Biden decisively won the electoral college and had seven million votes more than Trump. They believe this even though Trump’s Attorney General told him he lost, as did his White House Counsel.

Where did all these people come from who trash democracy and scoff at free and fair elections?

Peter Greene wants to save time for all organizations that react to the latest NAEP scores. His press release works whether scores are up, down, or flat.

He writes:

It’s time once again to greet the release of another set of data from the NAEP testing machine, which means everyone is warming up their Hot Take generator. But if, like me, you’re getting tired of writing a response to the latest NAEPery, here’s a handy news release that will let you mad lib your way to NAEPy wisdom.

The new scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), known as The Nation’s Report Card, have been released, providing important data about [insert your preferred education policy area]. The recent crisis in [select your favorite policy-adjacent crisis] has clearly created a burgeoning issue of [select whatever Bad Thing you feel will most scare your audience in the direction of your preferred policy].

Says [head of your organization], “The new scores provide important evidence that now is the time for [insert whatever policy action your group always supports]. Clearly the [rise/drop/stagnation] in scores among [whichever subgroup cherry picking best suits your point] proves exactly what we have been arguing for [however long you’ve been at this.]”

[Insert paragraph of data carefully selected and crunched for your purposes. Add a graph if you like. People really dig graphs.]

“This is a clear indication,” says [your favorite go-to education expert], “that it is long past time to [do that thing your organization has been trying to get people to do for years]. Clearly [our preferred solution] is needed.” [Insert further sales pitch here as needed.]

You can expand on this if you wish, but make sure that you definitely do not–

* provide context for the data that you include

* offer perspective from NAEP’s many critics

* absolutely never ever reference the fact that the NAEP folks are extraordinarily clear that folks should not try to suggest a causal relationship between scores and anything else.

As always, the main lesson of NAEP is that contrary to the expectations of so many policy wonks, cold hard data does not actually solve a thing.

The NAEP remains a data-rich Rorschach test that tells us far more about the people interpreting the data than it does about the people from whom the data was collected. Button up your overcoat, prepare for greater-than-usual pearl-clutching and solution-pitching from all the folks who still think the pandemic shutdown is a great opportunity to do [whatever it is they have already been trying to do].