The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Children's Story

Once upon a time there was a boy named Jimmy Acosta [rabidly partisan CNN "journalist" Jim Acosta]. He didn't play nicely with his playmates [other mostly partisan journalists from other media sources] and often was disruptive and obnoxious [there are dozens of examples]. But every adult who knew him shrugged their shoulders and let it go. Then one day little Jimmy met an adult who wouldn't let it go. Here's the story:

Acting like a three year old in Kindergarten class [a press briefing at the White House], little Jimmy said impolite things to his teachers [administration spokesperson Sarah Sanders and President Donald Trump]; he made long partisan speeches that advocated one political narrative instead of asking questions;* he disrupted the class repeatedly, and wouldn't share with his little classmates. He didn't know how to take turns with other classmates [who wanted to ask questions]. Finally, he acted aggressively with a little girl [a female White House intern] and pushed her hand as she reached for a toy [microphone] as instructed by the teacher [Donald Trump] who later scolded little Jimmy publicly.

As a consequence of all of this, little Jimmy was treated like the any little boy who misbehaves repeatedly. He was given a time-out [lost his White House credentials].

Little Jimmy pouted and began whining "not fair" [making the ridiculous claim that his timeout was a first amendment threat] as all little children who are punished seem to do. He went home to his mommy and daddy [CNN executives] and cried. His mommy and daddy, like all unthinking helicopter parents] thought their little Jimmy was beyond reproach and decided to intercede. They sued the school demanding that the time out end. Jimmy's playmates, many who privately thought Jimmy was an obnoxious boy, decided to back mommy and daddy, because after all, it could happen to them, couldn't it?

Would little Jimmy emerge from his time out? Would his parents prevail in their lawsuit? Is the teacher allowed to control the behavior of the children in classroom or not? Is little Jimmy required to follow the school rules that every other child seems to follow. Maybe there should be no rules? Maybe little Jimmy is someone who is special?

Or maybe little Jimmy is a narcissistic spoiled brat who would be better served, not with a time out, but with an old-school spanking?


* Progressive spokespeople like Jim Acosta are fond of parsing every word uttered by Donald Trump, interpreting his words in the most negative connotation possible. In the event that got little Jimmy a time out, he argued that Trump's characterization of the immigrant caravan as an "invasion" was somehow dishonest. James Freeman parses that argument:
Mr. Acosta mentioned Mr. Trump’s characterization of the immigrant caravan making its way through Mexico as an “invasion.” At this point Mr. Acosta did not ask a question but simply issued a declaration. “As you know Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.,” said the CNN correspondent.

So instead of simply serving as a reporter Mr. Acosta chose to offer commentary—and according to standard dictionaries he was wrong. The large group of immigrants had crossed illegally into Mexico and plainly intended to illegally enter the U.S.

Mr. Acosta may think that an invasion must include a military force but Mr. Trump’s use of the word is common. Merriam-Webster defines invade as “to enter for conquest or plunder,” but also “to encroach upon” or “infringe.” Other dictionaries have similar definitions, such as “to intrude” or “violate.”

Having wrongly asserted that the caravan could not be called an invasion and wrongly asserted that Mr. Trump knew he was saying something untrue, Mr. Acosta then asked why Mr. Trump had done so and if he had “demonized” immigrants. Yes, Mr. Acosta was now asking a question, but doing so while demanding that the President accept a false premise.

Mr. Acosta then interrupted the President as he tried to answer. Then Mr. Acosta editorialized again:
“Your campaign had an ad showing migrants climbing over walls and so on. But they’re not going to be doing that.”
Is Mr. Acosta now a spokesman for the caravan? After another interruption, Mr. Acosta insisted on continuing to talk after the President called on a reporter. Then Mr. Acosta fended off a White House intern as she attempted to retrieve the microphone to allow others to ask questions.
Little Jimmy exemplified what it is to be a trained hamster—biased, unprofessional, and not very smart. He views himself as a champion of the progressive narrative, and in so doing, sullies the reputation of those journalists who still believe that reporting the facts in an objective manner means something. I suspect he'll prevail in his lawsuit, and that's a shame. The press corps and the public would suffer no ill-effect if little Jimmy's time out was extended for six months or so.