Media Research Center

Number 5 in a series

I’ve mentioned Media Research Center before. I’m going to mention them some more. They are a hoot. Their running theme is that mainstream media outlets have a liberal bias. Surprise! The real world swims in liberal concepts, one such being straight-up telling things like they happened. Anyhow, the MRC is committed to providing a counterweight to  liberal bias, and they have an interesting way of going about it. I receive their daily mailings, today’s which I figure to unload on my readers.

Let’s start with the item numbered 1:

1. Networks Stuff Shows With Over 2 Hours of Wolff Gossip Book Insults

The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks engaged in a feeding frenzy over Michael Wolff’s gossip-filled book, as they ate up the salacious details in Fire and Fury. From January 3 through January 9, the networks stuffed their evening and morning programs with over two hours of coverage of the Wolff book and the subsequent fallout for former Donald Trump aide Stephen Bannon.

“The networks stuffed their evening and morning programs with over two hours of coverage of the Wolff book?” Really? Only two hours. Geeze, people. I logged onto  Amazon and purchased the Kindle the minute it became available. And the nets only allocated two hours? Wimps.

“The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” said an astonished and derisive Bannon, not long after the meeting was revealed. “The three senior guys in the campaign,” an incredulous Bannon went on, “thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor—with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.

Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (p. 255). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, this is the language that got Bannon on the outs with the Trump administration and subsequently on the outs with the rich and powerful Mercers and out the door at Breitbart News. And the nets only gave it two hours? And MRC is calling them out? Let that sink in.

2. ‘Morning Joe’ Portrays Trump as Doddering Old Schizophrenic Who Listens to ‘Voices in His Head’

On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, reacting to President Trump’s comments during an open door meeting with top members of Congress about DACA and immigration reform, co-host Joe Scarborough argued that Trump’s performance was indicative of his supposedly deteriorating mental state and even stooped to mocking Trump as a doddering, forgetful, and schizophrenic old man who listens to “voices in his head” for political advice.

Wait. Wait! President Trump really is a doddering old schizo who listens to voices in his head. Anybody who has not noticed should come in for a head check.

3. ‘Be an Apple, Don’t Be a Banana’: Conway Schools Cuomo on Drug Trafficking

Sparks flew during Wednesday’s edition of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time when White House adviser Kellyanne Conway sparred with rude and demeaning host Chris Cuomo as they discussed the news of the day. But during one section, in particular, Conway took Cuomo to task for twisting the facts about the administration’s response to the opioid crisis and the border wall’s effectiveness on drug trafficking.

“Conway took Conway to task for twisting the facts?” That is a twist.

On CNN, though, her phrasing was a bit more fraught. “I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she said. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”

“However,” she continued, “I’m not in the job of having evidence…”

[Emphasis added]

And she said more. Over the past year and more Conway has established the benchmark for “fact-deprived.”

4. Sour Grapes: MSNBC Upset Trump Only Called on ‘Conservative Outlets’ for Questions

MSNBC flashed some bitterness on Wednesday afternoon following President Trump’s first joint press conference of 2018, complaining that Trump only called on “conservative outlets”Washington Examiner and the Fox News Channel with only the latter one offering “a challenging question.”

In this case MRC is dead on. What were those clowns at MSNBC thinking? That Donald Trump was going to  call on an actual for-business news outlet” And this all the while Fox News was standing by with the tough questions of the day? Tough questions such as, “What wonderful things have you accomplished since nine this morning, Mr. President?”

This, people, is why I check my MRC feed first thing each morning. There’s more to come. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

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Breitbart Mentality

The Beginning of an Infinite Series

Full disclosure: I signed up for a subscription to the Breitbart News email back in July, and I now receive daily (sometimes more) missives from the right-leaning news group. Did I forget to put “news” in quotes? I meant to do it, but it doesn’t matter. Breitbart’s position in the world of reality speaks for itself.

This series is going to display for public view select items from the Breitbart mail feed. What is critical about what you will be seeing is not so much what Breitbart reports, true or not, but what Breitbart readers perceive as newsworthy. It’s an interesting introspective into the American conservative mindset. Here it the first item. In some quarters the trivial shakes the earth:

Poll: First Lady Melania Trump More Popular Than First Lady Hillary Clinton

As the American public gets to know First Lady Melania Trump her popularity has almost doubled — from 28 percent one year ago to 51 percent in a Fox News poll.

The poll also shows that Trump is more popular than First Lady Hillary Clinton around this time during her tenure in the White House when Clinton’s approval rating was at 49 percent.

The First Lady enjoys a surge in favorability across the board; Republicans (+24), Democrats (+12), men (+17), women (+15), voters under age 45 (+18) and ages 45 and over (+16) all view her more positively than a year ago.

And that’s what matters. While we are on the subject:

Michelle Obama Far Outranks Melania Trump in Poll for ‘Most Admired’ Woman

In a new poll of 2017’s most admired women in the U.S., First Lady Melania Trump didn’t hold a candle to her predecessor.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama placed second in the poll released by Gallup on Wednesday, while Trump earned the No. 8 spot on the list.

Former first lady, secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton narrowly edged out Obama to win first place as the nation’s most admired woman.

The fun has just began. Keep it coming, Breitbart. Your bounty is much appreciated. The rest of you, keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

A Source Not So Bright

politics-conservativessabinabreitbart-01

I see some of this on Facebook. Conservative thinkers posting references to Breitbart as an authority. I figure it’s time for a reality check. First, about the source:

Breitbart News Network (known commonly as Breitbart News, Breitbart or Breitbart.com) is a politically conservative American news, opinion and commentary website founded in 2007 by conservative commentator and entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart. It also has a daily radio program on the Sirius XM Patriot channel called Breitbart News Daily.

In short, Breitbart is a conservative propaganda outlet, confused by some with straight news. This type of thing is not limited to conservative politics, liberals have them, as well. My own history is that conservative America has trouble with some basic facts:

  • Endorse religious dogma (biblical story of Genesis) as fact.
  • Promote the idea that proliferation of guns makes society safer.
  • Deny biological evolution.
  • Deny modern cosmology.
  • Deny facts behind anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

This last is an exemplar that popped up recently. I have no record of who posted it, but a link showed up on Facebook:

Scientists at two of the world’s leading climate centres – NASA and NOAA – have been caught out manipulating temperature data to overstate the extent of the 20th century “global warming”.

The evidence of their tinkering can clearly be seen at Real Science, where blogger Steven Goddard has posted a series of graphs which show “climate change” before and after the adjustments.

When the raw data is used, there is little if any evidence of global warming and some evidence of global cooling. However, once the data has been adjusted – ie fabricated by computer models –  20th century ‘global warming’ suddenly looks much more dramatic.

This is especially noticeable on the US temperature records. Before 2000, it was generally accepted – even by climate activists like NASA’s James Hansen – that the hottest decade in the US was the 1930s.

This is interesting. Government agencies, NASA (National Aviation and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), have been tweaking scientific measurements to give the false impression that global temperatures are rising. That would be scientific misconduct at best and criminal misuse of governmental authority at worst. If only it were true.

Besides already knowing the background, I picked up on an obvious clue in the last paragraph above. “[T]he hottest decade in the US was in the 1930s.” Taking first that the statement is true, how does this bear on average global  temperatures over the past hundred years or more? The world wonders.

From that point forward this item from Breitbart needs additional scrutiny. The facts may not be as interesting as Breitbart, but they have the advantage of being facts. The NOAA has posted an explanation of the process so recently assailed by that reputable scientific source, Breitbart. Here is an excerpt:

Monitoring Global and U.S. Temperatures at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

There are several factors that are important in monitoring global or U.S. temperature: quality of raw observations, length of record of observations, and the analysis methods used to transform raw data into reliable climate data records by removing existing biases from the data. An additional process takes the multiple climate data records and creates U.S. or global average temperatures.

What the NOAA report explains is why and how historical data have been adjusted to account for systemic bias in the measuring process. For example, see the following plots from the NOAA report:

science-agw-smith-and-reynolds-2002-001

The figure shows that the impact of the adjustment to remove the cold bias from bucket sea surface temperature measurements warms the historical data, decreasing the amount of global warming the data indicate. From Smith and Reynolds, 2002

Oceans make up more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and NOAA is increasing its attention to sea surface temperatures. In years past temperatures were measured by pulling a bucket of water from the sea and measuring its temperature. Sea surface temperatures are now routinely obtained by measuring water at ships’ engine coolant intake. What was found when the two measurements were compared was that the bucket method produces lower temperatures than the intake method. In years past temperatures had been measured with a bias toward cooler rather than warmer. The plots show what happened when the measurement bias was removed. The heavy-line plot, showing a greater temperature rise, was replaced by the lighter-line plot, showing less warming with time. The plots are linked to a paper published by Smith and Reynolds, for those interested in reading the complete background.

If Breitbart is to believed, the NOAA has been caught fixing the data to make a warming trend apparent. In this case, the opposite has occurred. None of this is mentioned in the Breitbart news item. We can imagine Breitbart felt it unwieldy to burden its unsophisticated readers with a load of fact.

If these were the only data corrections, the evidence for global warming would be undercut. There is more. The NOAA also adjusted for bias caused by a shift from measuring temperatures in the afternoon to measuring temperatures in the morning. Obviously, temperature measurements are going to be higher in the afternoon than in the morning. The plots show a shift in the percentage of stations from afternoon to morning. See the following plots.

science-agw-vose-et-al-2003-image002

The figure shows the change in observing times at U.S. weather observing stations using two different methodologies, both of which indicate a shift from afternoon observing times to morning which impart a bias in the data, a bias which needs to be removed. From Vose et al., 2003

These plots are linked to research published by Vose et al. Here is the link.

Some explanation is required. The heavy solid line shows the percentage of stations taking measurements in the morning. The thin solid line shows the percentage of stations taking measurements in the afternoon. The percentages shift in the interval from  1970 to 2000. The broken line plots correspond to the inferred temperatures resulting from the solid line plots. As stations shifted from afternoon to morning the cooling bias increased. This cooling bias has been accounted for in new NOAA reporting. The NOAA report includes links to two additional research papers:

The NOAA report is additionally revealing:

The two plots below are of global temperature time series, the top one uses the adjusted version of GHCN [Global Historical Climatology Network] and the bottom one uses the raw GHCN data. Both time series reveal that the earth is warming. This indicates that the observed warming cannot be an artifact of the adjustment process as the unadjusted GHCN version shows similar amounts of warming and the adjustments applied to raw ocean data decrease the amount of indicated warming.

And here are the two plots:

science-agw-mntp-90s-90n-jan-dec-adj

science-agw-mntp-90s-90n-jan-dec-raw

Of course, this is for those who read.

What brings this matter to the front today is the announcement that Steve Bannon, former president of Breitbart News, is being promoted as president elect Donald Trump’s “chief strategist and senior counselor.” This is not a party function. Bannon will be a government employee, working in the White House and advising President Trump on critical matters. What makes this interesting is what makes Steve Bannon interesting:

For the last six months, Republican leaders walked a careful line supporting Donald Trump. They supported his campaign and loved his running mate, Mike Pence, but they didn’t agree with his positions on banning Muslims or mass deportations, or with the far-right figures who backed them.

That line was easy enough to maintain when it was just campaign rhetoric. But now Trump is signaling that the far right wing of the party will be going with him to the White House, where it will have a chance to influence policy, as well.

Steve Bannon, former president of the incendiary Breitbart News and more recently chief executive of Trump’s campaign, is taking on a role as “chief strategist and senior counselor.” Bannon’s ascension is the clearest sign yet that Trump will maintain his ties to the populist white nationalism that helped propel him to the White House against overwhelming opposition from party leaders and traditional media.

From all appearances, president elect Donald Trump is bringing Breitbart to the White house. We can hope the White House Bannon is not going to be the fact-deprived Breitbart. We have been wrong before.