Archives for April 2013

Worst-Timed Articles of the Year?

Here are two candidates for the worst-timed articles of the year:

Supremacist Terror Rising, Islamic Extremism on the Decline
– Huffington Post, April 9, 2013, by SpearIt, assistant professor at St. Louis University School of Law

It ran just six days before the April 15 Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, carried out by two Islamic Extremists. Not only does the article downplay the threat by Islamic extremism, but it based its white supremacist thesis on a Texas murder case in which supremacist allegations were pure speculation. Sure enough, the culprits were a former justice of the peace and his wife, who held a grudge against the victim.

Another candidate is:

New Study Shows 3 Year Decline In Muslim-American Terrorist Attacks

–, March 8, 2013, by Owen

May have to revisit that one as well.

Unleaded Gasoline May Reduce Crime

Who would have thought that getting lead out of gasoline would have had such an apparently positive impact on reducing crime?

According to a WSJ article, rising levels of lead in the environment from the 1950s through 1970s, in large part due to leaded gasoline, was correlated with rising crime 20 years later. This is because toddlers, who often put their fingers in their mouths, ingested dirt contaminated by air pollution. By the time they were in their late teens and early twenties – the age when violence tends to peak – crime had risen.

Then in the 1970s came the prohibition of leaded gasoline. The article states, “As lead in the environment fell in the ’70s and ’80s—thanks in large part to the regulation of gasoline—violence fell correspondingly. No other single factor can account for both the inexplicable rise in violence in the U.S. until 1993 and the precipitous drop since then.”

It would be interesting to find out if the scientists and policymakers back then knew of the correlation between lead and crime. Probably not. Little did they know of the unintended positive effects of their actions.

The Left Abhors Fox News’ Constructive Criticism of Them

The vitriol on the left against Fox News is astonishing. What’s going on here is the natural human tendency to not like hearing constructive criticism. Just as people don’t like to hear pitfalls pointed out to them about their behavior or their actions, those on the left don’t like to hear pitfalls pointed out to them about their political worldview or that of people they admire. It’s a natural human trait the world over.

And that’s why in the majority of countries of the world, like in Venezuela  – where the last opposition television station is finally throwing in the towel after tremendous harassment from the government – Fox News would be shut down in a heartbeat by the powers that be who don’t like hearing constructive criticism. Fortunately we in this country have freedom of the press.

It and other right-leaning news outlets run stories that left-leaning news outlets would never run because those stories may be critical of or embarrassing to the left. That’s galling to the left, which is why the invective against Fox News is so intense.

Certainly, as in all news outlets, one could find areas of legitimate criticism, such as lack of coverage of a certain something, biased coverage of something, or what not. But the broad-based name-calling and efforts to try to pass it off as a “faux” news or “propaganda” organization is rampant. To the left, such “propaganda” is simply legitimate news that they would rather not hear.

I got into a Facebook back-and-forth on this topic. After expressing my disapproval of a Facebook friend (whose identity has been withheld to protect the innocent) “liking” a foul-mouthed, hate-filled Jim Carrey press release directed against Fox News, he acknowledged my point and “unliked” the press release, but then went off into a tirade against Fox News, calling it “faux” news, a propaganda outfit, and – this was a new one on me – even a cult.

I asked him to jump to and tell me now the dozens stories posted on its website aren’t legitimate news. (True, even I would take issue with some of its gossip/celebrity coverage as being legitimate news, but that certainly isn’t part of the left’s gripe with it.)

The only thing he offered up was a story on the big controversy surrounding Google’s decision to highlight in its logo the leftist labor leader Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday. I pointed out to him that that wasn’t faux news or propaganda, but rather legitimate news. When Google, which usually dresses up its logo with a theme relating to the particular big holiday, instead highlights something totally unrelated to that holiday, then that’s big news. It didn’t even show an Easter bunny.

My Facebook friend didn’t provide a counter-argument. Conclusion? That the Google story, and the dozens of other stories (except perhaps some of the gossip coverage) were not propaganda, not faux, not a cult, but legitimate news.