bookmark_borderThere is nothing deplorable about calling out wrongdoing

In the latest example of our society treating protests against injustice as the problem as opposed to the injustice itself, FBI Director Christopher Wray recently called criticism of his agency “deplorable and dangerous” after FBI agents ransacked the home of former president Trump. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with,” Wray added.

Actually, Wray has things completely backward with these comments. The actions of the FBI – which involved a group of approximately 30 agents ransacking Trump’s private residence because of concerns that he took home documents that should have been given to the National Archives – were truly deplorable. Therefore, it is 100% correct for people to be angry about these actions and call them out as wrong. Yet Wray opts to completely ignore the wrongness of his own agency’s actions and instead to condemn the people who are (correctly) objecting to these actions! Contrary to what Wray seems to believe, pointing out that someone has done something wrong is not deplorable; doing something wrong is. If someone has done something wrong, as the FBI has in this case, they deserve to be criticized and called out. Neither criticizing, nor calling out, not being angry about wrongdoing is a problem. The wrongdoing itself is the problem, and that is what needs to be condemned, not the people voicing their opposition and anger.

And while I agree that committing and/or threatening violence against anyone is not an ideal way to express one’s anger, Wray in his comment about violence similarly ignores the wrongdoing of his own agency in his haste to condemn his agency’s critics. Instead of scrutinizing and condemning the ways in which people voice their upset, Wray should be scrutinizing and condemning what his agency did to cause people to be upset in the first place. But as usual in our society, the people who actually did something wrong are given a free pass. The FBI is painted as the victim instead of being held accountable for its role in causing the angry and hostile situation.

Making matters worse, the LA Times’s coverage of the FBI raid and the reaction to it demonstrates the same mindless and morally bankrupt belief that expressing anger in response to an injustice is the problem, as opposed to the injustice itself. The article focuses, using a blatantly critical and condescending tone, on the people who have expressed criticism of, and anger with, the FBI raid, while letting the perpetrators of the raid completely off the hook. The article bemoans the “threats and calls to arms in those corners of the internet favored by right-wing extremists” and quotes several alleged examples found on the social media app Gab, which the article describes as “popular with white supremacists and antisemites.” As is the norm among the media establishment, 100% of the scrutiny and criticism falls upon those protesting against injustice, angered by mistreatment, and speaking out against wrongdoing, as opposed to the actual perpetrators of the injustice, mistreatment, and wrongdoing.

Shame on the political and media establishment for treating protesting against wrongdoing as the problem, as opposed to the wrongdoing itself. 

bookmark_borderA protest is not a temper tantrum

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refer to a protest with which they disagree as a “temper tantrum.”

An example of this is a recent opinion piece describing the Freedom Convoy as a “mass temper tantrum” (via Instagram).

First of all, I’m not sure why this columnist decided to point out that the convoy “won’t end the pandemic.” The goal of the protest isn’t to end the pandemic; it’s to end government policies that violate people’s rights. By pointing out that a pro-freedom protest won’t end the pandemic, this columnist is (falsely) presuming the truth of what they are trying to prove, namely that ending the pandemic is the only thing that matters, that no goals other than ending the pandemic might possibly exist, and that anything that does not contribute towards ending the pandemic is purposeless. 

Second and more importantly, how exactly is a protest a “mass temper tantrum”? The fact that a particular person does not agree with a protest does not make that protest a temper tantrum. A temper tantrum is a specific thing, not simply any protest with which someone disagrees. The fact that someone would use this term to characterize a protest against government policies that take away people’s rights to make their own medical decisions is absolutely despicable. It is also hypocritical, because somehow I doubt that any of those calling the Freedom Convoy a “temper tantrum” used the same words to describe the BLM riots during which people violently destroyed irreplaceable works of art because a police officer killed someone who happened to be black (a situation in which the phrase “temper tantrum” would be a lot more appropriate).

The practice of calling a protest with which one disagrees a “temper tantrum” needs to end yesterday. It is completely unacceptable, and anyone who does it should be immediately fired.

(By the way, with regards to the member of the Freedom Convoy who was photographed holding a Confederate flag, I agree with the Virginia Flaggers, who wrote that the flag is “a universal symbol of rebellion against tyranny.”)

bookmark_borderOpposing vaccine mandates is not “anti-vax”

It shouldn’t even need to be stated that being against forcing people to do something is not the same as being against the thing itself. Specifically, opposing forcing people to get vaccines against their will is not the same thing as opposing vaccines themselves. This is a basic and obvious concept that anyone with an IQ over 80 should be able to easily understand. However, far too many members of the media are, infuriatingly, incapable of grasping this basic concept.

For example, when actress Evangeline Lilly revealed that she attended last weekend’s anti-vaccine mandate rally in Washington, D.C., much of the media coverage was neutral, appropriate, and professional.

However, as can be seen above, the Daily Beast decided to characterize the rally as an “anti-vax protest.” This is factually incorrect and unacceptable, because being anti-vaccine mandates is not the same as being anti-vax.

Rolling Stone did an even worse job, describing the rally as not only “anti-vax” but “insane,” and adopting a shocked and outraged tone at the fact that Lilly would “brag” about having attended the event. This is beyond unacceptable. Not only is it factually incorrect to describe the rally as anti-vax, but it is morally abhorrent that someone would consider it insane to oppose forcing people to undergo medical procedures against their will. In reality, it is insane not to oppose such a thing. As for Lilly “bragging” about attending the rally, she is 100% correct in doing so, as attending a rally for medical freedom is courageous, honorable, and exactly the type of thing a person is justified in bragging about. There is no reason for Rolling Stone to find this strange or bad in any way. Rolling Stone’s actions become even more abhorrent when one considers the fact that neither news articles nor their headlines are appropriate places in which to express opinions at all.

Another example of a factually incorrect and unprofessional headline is that of The Independent, in which the Washington, D.C. rally is again described as “anti-vaxx.” The Independent’s coverage is also an example of a disturbing trend, in which the media focuses its scrutiny and negative attention on those speaking out against authoritarian policies, as opposed to the authoritarian policies themselves. It is appalling that members of the media would consider Robert J. Kennedy Jr.’s comments at an anti-mandate rally to be more worthy of “outrage” than the fact that mandates exist in the first place. The targets of outrage, scrutiny, and criticism should be policies forcing people to undergo medical procedures against their will, not the brave people speaking out against such policies.

In conclusion, any headline that uses the term “anti-vax” (or worse, “anti-vaxx” with two X’s) to describe opposition to vaccine mandates is factually incorrect, unprofessional, and inappropriate. Anyone who chooses to publish such a headline is choosing to take the side of authoritarianism and to defame heroes who are bravely fighting for freedom. Therefore, anyone responsible for such a headline deserves, at the very least, to be fired immediately.

bookmark_borderThe protesters are not the problem

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s decision to require covid vaccination as a condition of entering restaurants, gyms, concerts, and sporting events is truly despicable. What is equally despicable is the fact that many in the media treat the people with the audacity to protest against this totalitarian policy as the problem, as opposed to the policy itself.

For example, the Boston Globe put out an article entitled, “Racist, misogynist vitriol continues against Wu after vaccination policy announcement.” The fact that the Globe would choose to do an article dissecting and scrutinizing opponents of the mandate, as opposed to dissecting and scrutinizing the mandate itself, is disturbing. The article, by Danny McDonald, details the allegedly racist and/or sexist content of protesters’ signs, calls to the city’s 311 system, and online comments. The article criticizes the fact that non-racist and non-sexist people who oppose the mandate have not spoken out against their allegedly racist and sexist compatriots. And the article provides examples of other female politicians of color who have allegedly received racist and/or sexist comments, including U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, who calls criticism of both herself and Wu “exhausting” and “distressing.” You know what is exhausting and distressing? Being subjected to a government policy that requires you to undergo a medical procedure in order to exist in public, and then being treated as if you are the problem for expressing your dissent. Opponents of the vaccine mandate are not perfect. There may indeed be some racist and sexist people among our ranks. But that is true of people on every side of every issue. By focusing so much negative attention on the opponents of the mandate, and the fact that some of them have expressed their opposition in non-ideal ways, the Globe completely ignores the entirely legitimate underlying grievance: the fact that the mandate is morally wrong. It is twisted and backwards that the Globe considers a few discriminatory comments (and the failure to actively condemn these comments) to be a bigger problem than a policy barring people from public life because of their personal medical decisions.

Continuing with the theme of criticizing mandate opponents for not actively condemning alleged prejudice in their ranks, WGBH also did an article about the alleged racist and sexist comments that Wu has received. Wu made some truly objectionable comments in the article, which I will discuss in detail in another blog post, but it is also notable that the article condemns “abusive” anti-Wu comments containing “slurs and threats” that people made on gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl’s facebook page. WGBH reporter Adam Reilly apparently interrogated Diehl about these comments despite the fact that the people who made them are private citizens who have nothing to do with the Diehl campaign. “The standard that a politician should denounce public commentary on social media by people not connected to his campaign is not a standard that you, or most in the media, would apply to any other politician, and, as such, we are expecting that it not be applied to the Diehl campaign either,” his campaign manager correctly pointed out. Like the Globe, WGBH fails to acknowledge that the vaccine mandate itself is the bigger issue here, not the manner in which its opponents express their views. Forcing people to undergo a medical procedure in order to participate in public life is far more abusive than a few politically incorrect social media comments. 

Another example of treating mandate opponents as the problem is the article and accompanying tweets by Boston news website Universal Hub about the press conference at which Wu announced the authoritarian vaccine requirement. 

As you can see, Adam Gaffin, the author of Universal Hub, refers to protesters against Wu’s policy as “yahoos” and “screamers.” It is unprofessional for what is supposed to be an objective news website to refer to anyone in such blatantly derogatory and insulting terms, particularly protesters speaking out against a totalitarian and immoral policy. 

In both the article and the tweets, Gaffin comes across as annoyed, irritated, and perturbed at the fact that anyone would protest against a policy that violates people’s rights. The possibility of being annoyed, irritated, and perturbed at the actual policy itself, which would make a lot more sense, apparently does not occur to him. Gaffin tweets about his desire to visit the humorous website zombo.com to take a break from his stressful day, as if the existence of people with dissenting views is something to be exasperated about. This is infuriating and demonstrates a lack of empathy. The mayor of Boston enacted an unjust and immoral policy that Gaffin obviously supports, and he is stressed and exasperated that people had the audacity to express dissent? How about the people who are being harmed by Wu’s authoritarian policy? How about the people whose rights are being violated? How does he think we feel? How does he think the protesters feel about the fact that the mayor enacted a policy that violates their rights, and the media are personally insulting them and treating them as the problem? We are the ones who have a right to be upset, not those who support the policy that was just enacted.

This tweet is, frankly, beyond the pale. An immoral policy that violates people’s rights was just enacted, and Gaffin again decides that the best thing to do in this situation is to personally insult and ridicule those who are protesting against said policy. God forbid that he actually, you know, criticize the immoral policy. That would be too right and make too much sense. Instead, he insults and ridicules those who are (correctly) opposed to the policy and also makes completely unsupported and bizarre generalizations about their gender, family status, and living arrangements. 

He does the same thing in this article at Universal Hub in which he refers to opponents of Wu’s policy as “dregs of the suburban earth” and accuses them of having “stubby little fingers” and “spittle-flecked keyboards.”

This brings me to my next point, which is that many in the media seem to hold the belief that, somehow, living in a suburb of Boston disqualifies one from having an opinion about the fact that the mayor of Boston decided to violate people’s fundamental rights. I wasn’t aware of any rule requiring one to live in the city of Boston in order to be allowed to have an opinion about what is happening there. Why is it relevant that Geoff Diehl and Tony Federico, whom Gaffin names as being among the protesters at City Hall, live in the suburbs as opposed to the city itself? Why does Adam Balsam, another alleged journalist, mention that people who called/emailed the city’s 311 number to criticize the mandate are not residents of Boston? People who live in suburbs near Boston and who work there, eat at restaurants there, visit museums there, attend Bruins, Celtics, or Sox games, or go into the city for any reason, are directly and substantively harmed by the mandate. More importantly, if something is unjust, then criticizing it is always the correct thing to do, regardless of whether or not one is personally affected by the injustice.

Also lost on Balsam is the fact that a policy specifically intended to keep people out of a city because of their personal medical decisions is cruel, discriminatory, reprehensible, and despicable. He is so busy criticizing those who intend to stop visiting Boston because of the mandate that he apparently doesn’t think to criticize the policy that is “SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO KEEP THEM OUT” in the first place.

In conclusion, it is infuriating that the media reacts to a totalitarian, unjust, and immoral decision not by criticizing the decision itself but by criticizing those who oppose it. When a policy is implemented that requires people to undergo a medical procedure in order to exist in public spaces, everyone on earth should join forces in doing whatever they possibly can to fight against the policy and get it repealed. Yet many “journalists” not only openly support such a policy but also ridicule and personally insult the few brave people who voice dissent. It says a lot about today’s society that protests against a totalitarian policy are seen as the problem, as opposed to the policy itself.

bookmark_borderNY Times criticized for not being biased enough against Rittenhouse

This article by the Daily Dot details the ridiculous reactions by people on the internet to a New York Times article profiling Kyle Rittenhouse. Essentially, people are outraged that the article is only slightly biased against Rittenhouse, as opposed to extremely biased against Rittenhouse. “Its tweet and the article have been resoundingly panned,” the Daily Dot article gloats, while falsely characterizing the riots during which Rittenhouse was attacked as “civil rights protests.” 

The reactions detailed in the article range from people canceling their NY Times subscriptions to calling the article “BS” to derisively putting the words “news” and “journalists” in quotation marks to suggesting that the paper change its name to the “New York Enquirer” to accusing the paper of “lionizing a predator.” 

“Kyle Rittenhouse was just a little boy playing cops & robbers when a whoopsie happened,” read one tweet.

“Kyle Rittenhouse breaks down his most iconic racist murders with the New York Times,” read another.

All of these sentiments are false, logically unsound, and offensive. The article about Rittenhouse is actually a news article by journalists; there is no reason to put those words in derisive quotation marks. It is not “BS” and does not “lionize a predator,” as it is not even biased towards Rittenhouse, let alone lionizing him, plus Rittenhouse is not a predator. 

To refer to Rittenhouse as “a little boy playing cops & robbers when a whoopsie happened” is moronic.

Additionally, Rittenhouse’s actions were neither murders, as he acted in self-defense, nor racist, as it was the people who attacked him who were rioting in support of a racist ideology.

What makes the reactions to the Rittenhouse article even more inappropriate is the fact that these same people have demonstrated no outrage whatsoever in response to actual bias from the New York Times. Over the past two years, the Times has demonstrated egregious bias, more times than one could possibly count, against Donald Trump, against people who oppose totalitarian Covid restrictions, against people who value history and heritage, against people who support the Second Amendment, against people who protested at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and generally against anyone who holds dissenting, non-conventional, anti-establishment, or right-of-center political views. The fact that people are in an uproar and are canceling their subscriptions, not because of the Times’s repeated, blatant bias, but instead because the Times had the audacity to actually not be horrendously biased in one instance, is appalling and demonstrates the ridiculous amount of prejudice, intolerance, and lack of logic present in our society today.

bookmark_border“Covid politics walloping red America”

Yesterday I was perusing the newsstand at my local supermarket, and a headline on the front page of the New York Times caught my eye.

“Covid politics walloping red America,” it read. The article was about high rates of Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in conservative-leaning states.

This headline is biased for a couple of reasons:

First of all, Covid politics are not walloping anyone… Covid is. It is clear from the article that by “Covid politics,” the Times means people’s decisions to refrain from protective measures such as vaccines, mask-wearing, and social distancing, or governments’ decisions to refrain from making these measures mandatory. Such measures do, to some extent, prevent people from catching the virus and/or getting sick. But that doesn’t mean that refraining from these things causes people to catch the virus and get sick. The virus itself causes this. Failing to prevent something does not equal causing it.

Second, it makes no more sense to characterize a lack of Covid restrictions as “Covid politics” than it does to characterize the enactment of restrictions as “Covid politics.” Several different definitions of “politics” are listed on Dicionary.com, but they pretty much all have to do with the science and art of government, or beliefs and opinions about government. Debates about which actions, if any, governments should take in response to the Covid pandemic are inherently a political topic. Some people hold political beliefs that emphasize safety and the common good; these people generally support the imposition of restrictions and mandates with the aim of combatting the pandemic. Other people hold political beliefs that emphasize individual rights and liberty; these people generally oppose restrictions and mandates because they believe that respecting rights and allowing people the maximum amount of freedom is more important than combatting the pandemic. So why is the Times equating the latter type of ideology with “politics” but not the former? Refraining from getting the Covid vaccine is not “politics” any more than getting the vaccine is politics. Respecting individual rights, and refraining from forcing people to get the vaccine, is not “politics” any more than forcing people to get the vaccine is politics. If anything, it is more appropriate to characterize the decision to impose restrictions and mandates as “politics,” because this is a decision that actively interferes with people’s lives, as opposed to simply leaving people alone. 

In short, this headline is just another example of the New York Times presuming that its belief in a powerful government that controls people’s lives and tramples on individual liberty for the sake of the common good is the only possible legitimate belief. The Times does not even appear to consider the possibility that people might genuinely hold alternative views. Anyone who thinks or acts differently from them, the Times assumes, is just playing politics.