It's almost fun to anticipate the next Clarence Thomas hit piece. Almost.
By Gary Abernathy
It’s pile-on time for Clarence Thomas & Supreme Court
There’s an obvious pile-on happening in the targeting of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. It’s not a coincidence that in an era when the high court’s conservative opinions on abortion and other hot-button issues are greatly upsetting to the left, Thomas finds himself in the mainstream media’s bullseye.
A news organization called ProPublica has led the way. ProPublica bills itself as a nonpartisan investigative news source, but a look at its highest profile stories over the last few years reveals the usual left-leaning focus found in most mainstream media outlets — tracking and documenting “hate crimes,” raising alarms of how much (or little) wealthy Americans pay in taxes, examining evictions in New York City, and so on.
For some balance and perspective, I found a satirical piece by Rich Lowry in National Review, headlined “BREAKING: Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas Once Conspired to Aid a Penniless Widow.”
It reads in part:
A ProPublica investigation has revealed that billionaire real-estate developer Harlan Crow paid the bills of a personal acquaintance of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas in an arrangement that has set off alarm bells for experts in government ethics.
In an undisclosed meeting between Crow and Thomas on Easter weekend in 2005, Thomas mentioned that, through family friends, he had learned of a widowed elderly woman living near Pin Point, Ga., in a leaky tar-paper shack.
Claiming that he was moved by her plight from his own experience with childhood poverty, Thomas had begun sending her food deliveries and paying a home health aide to check in on her. Then, Crow wielded his massive fortune to take the arrangement to another level.
At Crow’s own suggestion, people familiar with the deal say, they moved the woman to an apartment for three months until a local charity could be found to help her get better, more permanent housing.
Crow paid the rent for all three months.
You can read it in its entirety here.
If the GOP is radical now, it’s hardly the only one
The left is doing its best to convince as many media outlets as possible to treat the Republican Party as a threat to democracy, or even a terrorist organization. In the Washington Post, I argued that the Democratic Party could be considered at least as worrisome.
Americans who see a threat from Biden and his party aren’t taken very seriously in the mainstream media. But many of us believe that the Democratic Party’s socialist-style tilt is arguably a more enduring danger than the Republican Party’s shift, even considering the disgraceful events of Jan. 6, 2021, and the foolishness of election deniers.
Almost impossible to reverse will be the over-regulating, big-government actions of progressivism and “democratic socialism,” manifested by costly “green new deal”-style environmental regulations that threaten our energy independence, migrants illegally crossing our borders in record numbers, forgiving tens of billions of dollars in student loans by presidential fiat, and many more progressive wish-list programs.
I pointed out that traditional conservative positions are now being portrayed as dangerous or radical.
In response to the GOP’s populist incarnation, the left is working to instill the notion that traditional conservatism, infused with Trumpist authoritarianism, presents a radical danger to democracy. For example, opposition to abortion is portrayed as “forced birth.” Conservative opposition to men dressing as women for “story hours” aimed at children is compared to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan. Establishing rules under which voters prove their identity is likened to the Jim Crow era. The spin goes on.
The endgame, I suggest, is to pave the way for liberal ideology to be the only acceptable philosophy.
If there’s a threat to democracy, it’s in the fact that both parties have grown more extreme, and that may well be cause for concern. But by singling out the modern GOP, the real objective appears to be demonizing patriotic Americans who happen to support Trump or his issues and clearing the way for unchallenged progressive ideology. Is that how we’re defining the preservation of democracy these days?
You can read it here.
Discussing Trump and the Tennessee legislature on PBS
I enjoyed being in-studio last month with Amna Nawaz and Jonathan Capehart to discuss Donald Trump’s standing with the GOP in the wake of the New York indictment, as well as the events at the Tennessee legislature. As occasionally happens, Jonathan and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on every topic. Check it out.
I also discussed the Trump indictment with Hoppy Kercheval on “Talkline” on WVMetroNews. You can find it at the link below.
Getting real about our society and our guns
In the wake of more mass shootings across the U.S., I argued in the Washington Post that it’s time to put aside the usual finger-pointing arguments and instead do what’s necessary to protect people — including children.
Soft targets exist wherever people, young or old, gather in large numbers without trained armed security ready to respond to attackers. Such highly publicized security is the best detriment to mass carnage. Indeed, the perpetrator of the recent mass shooting at a Christian school in Nashville was discouraged from attacking another location after determining there was “too much security,” according to the city’s police chief.
Gun-control advocates fear inviting guns into schools will only result in more injuries and death. But human nature suggests a dramatic and highly publicized expansion of armed security forces is much more likely to lead to diminishing attacks in the first place. Getting there will be a difficult adjustment for the segment of Americans wedded to the notion that guns are more to blame than the people who pull the trigger. But there comes a time when everyone must accept things as they are, rather than as they wish them to be.
I also pointed out that demonizing guns is a misleading approach. We need to recognize that the problem is a growing number of violent people.
Being precise in how we talk about guns could help persuade more Americans to be less resistant to their increased use as a deterrent. For instance, a recent story in the New York Times about the mass shooting at a birthday party in Alabama included this misleading line, typical in mainstream media: “Guns are the leading killer of children in the United States, making it an extreme outlier compared with similarly large and wealthy nations.”
Guns, of course, are not the leading killer of children or any other population. People firing guns are the leading killers of children. And the United States is not an outlier, because no other country can be fairly compared in its historic devotion to and protection of individual liberties. By their very nature, our unmatched freedoms — including gun manufacture and ownership — result in more risks, including, sadly, injury and death.
Do we want to score political points, or do we want to protect people? That’s the real question. You can read the whole piece here.
Remembering the serious side of Jerry Springer
Jerry Springer died last week, and for most of America he’ll be remembered as the ringmaster and instigator of one of the most lowbrow talk shows in television history.
But in a column for the Washington Post, I remembered a Jerry Springer who was a serious politician and hardworking news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, where he got his television start.
But he found his true calling in the early 1980s when he was hired as a news commentator by the local NBC television affiliate, WLWT. His nightly opinions were thoughtful and provocative, and helped build an audience for the then low-rated station. Over time, they also won him several regional Emmy awards.
Eventually, Springer took over as news anchor, continuing his commentaries and leading Channel 5 to the top of the ratings race. Like many viewers in the Cincinnati market, I watched Springer with a mix of emotions — but I watched. His politics were on the opposite end of the spectrum from mine (and those of most southern Ohioans), but his likability factor was off the charts. His bold takes on the issues of the day were delivered with a quiet dignity and even shyness. It was easy for conservatives like me to be aghast at what Springer was saying on any given subject but impossible to dislike him personally or to doubt his sincerity.
I noted some warm remembrances from friends and coworkers, and how Springer was viewed more affectionately in the Cincinnati TV market than in other areas of the country. You can read it here.
‘Genius’ at work? Far be it for me to disagree.
Finally, I couldn’t help but be amused when I came across a story on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle with the headline, “Steve Kerr’s genius on display in Warriors’ dismantling of Lakers in Game 2.”
I didn’t feel that the picture, above, accompanying the story exactly reflected genius. In fact, Kerr and his staff look like three bored, tuned-out guys sitting on a bench waiting for a late-arriving bus. The looks on the faces of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels throughout a certain movie we all know and love came to mind.
Hey, Kerr and his staff really are excellent coaches, obviously. Just having some fun. It’s only sports.
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