Day: November 15, 2017

The Media That Cried Wolf


In a week in which CNN cried wolf when there was no wolf by falsely condemning Trump for poor fish-feeding habits, is it surprising that decades-old charges of sexual impropriety being leveled against Judge Roy Moore aren’t being unquestioningly accepted  by voters?

We can all remember a number of times when the media has proclaimed a wolf was present when we later discovered they were wrong.

There is Global Warming… err, Climate Change where we were told that by now the world would be doomed but somehow that hasn’t happened.

We were told that the black man shot in Ferguson was holding his hands up to surrender.

In the last century the media informed us that overpopulation would lead to mass starvation. Of course, that was bogus.

We were told that many women had been assaulted by Trump but the fact that they all apparently disappeared after the election makes reasonable people wonder if there was a wolf.

The media can’t stop talking about Russian colluding with Trump even though after months and months of investigation absolutely nothing has been found.

Clearly a reasonable person would hesitate before assuming that salacious charges raised weeks before a contentious election by a highly biased news source is true. The media has cried wolf so often when there was no wolf that sane people reserve judgement until there’s more proof.

That attitude is exacerbated by the fact that when wolves do appear the media often fails to mention them. 

We know that none of the major networks have mentioned the fact that for more than two months a Democratic senator has been on trial for accepting bribes.

We know that the media ignored a credible claim that Bill Clinton raped a woman.

We know that the media ignores the fact that thousands of blacks are shot each year in Democrat-run cities.

We know that the media has refused to cover the clear evidence that Hillary colluded with Russia when she was secretary of state and that her campaign colluded with the Russians to fake dirt on Trump.

We know that the media has defended Roman Polanski, who has admitted to raping a 13-year-old and that the media doesn’t mention that Woody Allen has been accused of raping a child.

A reasonable person would conclude that the media is utterly untrustworthy because it cries wolf when there is no wolf and stays silent when wolves prey on people.

Further the pattern is clear the stories that are pushed are designed to further the political objectives of the mainstream media.  The sins of liberals are ignored and any claim no matter how tenuous of impropriety by a conservative is incessantly repeated.

This is a result of the politicization of the major media outlets in America. Instead of diverse voices whose biases balance out, the major media are a monoculture of left-wing radicalism. Instead of trying to be objective, reporters and their bosses have become “woke” and believe that their job isn’t informing Americans but controlling what Americans think.

In the real world that’s called a propaganda machine, not a free press.

The Moore case shows the cost of this radically biased behavior on American democracy. Most people would probably want Moore to step down if the charges against him are true. But because we can’t trust the media we can’t be sure if the charges are true. That means that the voters can’t make the informed decisions about who to vote for.

Because we know the media has lied about politicians it doesn’t like with enthusiasm, we can’t help but think that they’re lying now because for decades Moore has appeared to be a good person.

But even worse is the fact that the media was perfectly comfortable with Bill Clinton cheating on his wife, sexually harassing subordinates, and being accused of rape. This incentivises Republicans to lower their standards. If it’s okay for Teddy Kennedy to kill a woman and Bill Clinton to be accused of rape, why should we be concerned if Moore did bad things decades ago?

Is it unreasonable for voters to wonder if the Washington Post manages to destroy Moore’s campaign with decades-old claims that every conservative who runs for any office will suddenly be accused of ancient unprovable acts of evil weeks before the election?

That’s the bad thing — unlike liberals, conservatives don’t want sexual predators in office, but without being able to know for sure what the truth is, conservatives may end up supporting deeply flawed candidates. When Clinton was accused, the Democrat response was to smear the accusers. Conservatives aren’t doing that; instead they’re, by and large, desperately trying to find out the truth because unlike liberals we don’t want our politicians to be moral reprobates.

If your liberal friends attack you, ask them if American Thinker posted a story based on decades-old claims about Moore’s opponent if they’d immediately believe those charges and demand that the Democrat leave the race? They’ll of course declare that American Thinker is untrustworthy while the Washington Post is a paragon of virtue. Then explain to them how you see it; namely that nothing the Post publishes can be trusted. Get them to understand that just as they’d reject an unverifiable report from a media source they don’t like you have the right to reject an unverifiable report from a media source you can show is biased.

The Moore story is shining a light on the critical problem caused by the mainstream media turning into the propaganda arm of the Democrats. For democracy to work, the voters have to have the facts so that they can decide. But in today’s America it’s nearly impossible to get facts from media sources that haven’t sold their souls to advance their agenda.

If Moore is guilty and he is elected, it’s because the liberal media has become so untrustworthy that people just assume they’re lying.  An unintended consequence of the media picking sides and intentionally slanting the “news”.

Use this as a teachable moment for your liberal friends. Point out that if the media is willing to lie about how Trump feeds fish in Japan it’s really hard to take the media seriously when it digs up decades-old charges right before an election. Get them to realize that we all benefit from not just a free press but an honest and free press.

There’s also one more lesson to be learned; not reporting sexual harassment will lead to a loss of credibility and more victims. If either of the women accusing Moore had gone to the cops at the time, we’d be living in a different, and presumably better, world. As it stands, it’s really hard to believe that these women were harassed when they said nothing about it for decades and then suddenly came forward just four weeks before a critical election. 

You can read more of tom’s rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious and feel free to follow him on Twitter

In a week in which CNN cried wolf when there was no wolf by falsely condemning Trump for poor fish-feeding habits, is it surprising that decades-old charges of sexual impropriety being leveled against Judge Roy Moore aren’t being unquestioningly accepted  by voters?

We can all remember a number of times when the media has proclaimed a wolf was present when we later discovered they were wrong.

There is Global Warming… err, Climate Change where we were told that by now the world would be doomed but somehow that hasn’t happened.

We were told that the black man shot in Ferguson was holding his hands up to surrender.

In the last century the media informed us that overpopulation would lead to mass starvation. Of course, that was bogus.

We were told that many women had been assaulted by Trump but the fact that they all apparently disappeared after the election makes reasonable people wonder if there was a wolf.

The media can’t stop talking about Russian colluding with Trump even though after months and months of investigation absolutely nothing has been found.

Clearly a reasonable person would hesitate before assuming that salacious charges raised weeks before a contentious election by a highly biased news source is true. The media has cried wolf so often when there was no wolf that sane people reserve judgement until there’s more proof.

That attitude is exacerbated by the fact that when wolves do appear the media often fails to mention them. 

We know that none of the major networks have mentioned the fact that for more than two months a Democratic senator has been on trial for accepting bribes.

We know that the media ignored a credible claim that Bill Clinton raped a woman.

We know that the media ignores the fact that thousands of blacks are shot each year in Democrat-run cities.

We know that the media has refused to cover the clear evidence that Hillary colluded with Russia when she was secretary of state and that her campaign colluded with the Russians to fake dirt on Trump.

We know that the media has defended Roman Polanski, who has admitted to raping a 13-year-old and that the media doesn’t mention that Woody Allen has been accused of raping a child.

A reasonable person would conclude that the media is utterly untrustworthy because it cries wolf when there is no wolf and stays silent when wolves prey on people.

Further the pattern is clear the stories that are pushed are designed to further the political objectives of the mainstream media.  The sins of liberals are ignored and any claim no matter how tenuous of impropriety by a conservative is incessantly repeated.

This is a result of the politicization of the major media outlets in America. Instead of diverse voices whose biases balance out, the major media are a monoculture of left-wing radicalism. Instead of trying to be objective, reporters and their bosses have become “woke” and believe that their job isn’t informing Americans but controlling what Americans think.

In the real world that’s called a propaganda machine, not a free press.

The Moore case shows the cost of this radically biased behavior on American democracy. Most people would probably want Moore to step down if the charges against him are true. But because we can’t trust the media we can’t be sure if the charges are true. That means that the voters can’t make the informed decisions about who to vote for.

Because we know the media has lied about politicians it doesn’t like with enthusiasm, we can’t help but think that they’re lying now because for decades Moore has appeared to be a good person.

But even worse is the fact that the media was perfectly comfortable with Bill Clinton cheating on his wife, sexually harassing subordinates, and being accused of rape. This incentivises Republicans to lower their standards. If it’s okay for Teddy Kennedy to kill a woman and Bill Clinton to be accused of rape, why should we be concerned if Moore did bad things decades ago?

Is it unreasonable for voters to wonder if the Washington Post manages to destroy Moore’s campaign with decades-old claims that every conservative who runs for any office will suddenly be accused of ancient unprovable acts of evil weeks before the election?

That’s the bad thing — unlike liberals, conservatives don’t want sexual predators in office, but without being able to know for sure what the truth is, conservatives may end up supporting deeply flawed candidates. When Clinton was accused, the Democrat response was to smear the accusers. Conservatives aren’t doing that; instead they’re, by and large, desperately trying to find out the truth because unlike liberals we don’t want our politicians to be moral reprobates.

If your liberal friends attack you, ask them if American Thinker posted a story based on decades-old claims about Moore’s opponent if they’d immediately believe those charges and demand that the Democrat leave the race? They’ll of course declare that American Thinker is untrustworthy while the Washington Post is a paragon of virtue. Then explain to them how you see it; namely that nothing the Post publishes can be trusted. Get them to understand that just as they’d reject an unverifiable report from a media source they don’t like you have the right to reject an unverifiable report from a media source you can show is biased.

The Moore story is shining a light on the critical problem caused by the mainstream media turning into the propaganda arm of the Democrats. For democracy to work, the voters have to have the facts so that they can decide. But in today’s America it’s nearly impossible to get facts from media sources that haven’t sold their souls to advance their agenda.

If Moore is guilty and he is elected, it’s because the liberal media has become so untrustworthy that people just assume they’re lying.  An unintended consequence of the media picking sides and intentionally slanting the “news”.

Use this as a teachable moment for your liberal friends. Point out that if the media is willing to lie about how Trump feeds fish in Japan it’s really hard to take the media seriously when it digs up decades-old charges right before an election. Get them to realize that we all benefit from not just a free press but an honest and free press.

There’s also one more lesson to be learned; not reporting sexual harassment will lead to a loss of credibility and more victims. If either of the women accusing Moore had gone to the cops at the time, we’d be living in a different, and presumably better, world. As it stands, it’s really hard to believe that these women were harassed when they said nothing about it for decades and then suddenly came forward just four weeks before a critical election. 

You can read more of tom’s rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious and feel free to follow him on Twitter



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In Defense of Football


Last week at a roundtable discussion, Bob Costas opened another front by making the provocative prediction that parents will not allow their sons to play football because it “destroys people’s brains” and that “if I had an athletically gifted twelve-year-old son, I would certainly not allow him to play football.”

Is football truly destroying the brains of boys across America?  The gauntlet has been thrown.

Many articles reporting Mr. Costas’s comments cite the high-profile study conducted by Boston University published in July 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  See examples here, here, here, here, and here.  This is Exhibit A in the mainstream media’s spin machine.  The B.U. JAMA study reports that 177 of 202 brains of former players at all levels exhibited some form of trauma known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).  This article will examine this study, unpack Costas’s and the other media distortions, and make a case in defense of football.

Full disclosure: your author played four years of Division 1-A football at Miami (OH) and suffered a major concussion while playing on kickoff against Michigan State in 1989.  Subsequently, he went on to have a successful career in industrial sales and marketing taking him across the world and back again.  The lessons learned on the gridiron were crucial to him both as a businessman and as a father.

The first problem with the B.U. JAMA study is that the sample is skewed.  The fact that the donors expressed interest in the program indicates self-selection bias in favor of those people who may have already exhibited symptoms related to CTE.  This is not a proper sampling methodology according the scientific method and certainly cannot be used as the basis for predictive claims.

In the “Conclusions and Relevance” section of the abstract, the researchers write: “In a convenience sample of deceased football players who donated their brains for research, a high proportion had neuropathological evidence of CTE, suggesting that CTE may be related to prior participation in football.”  “Suggests” and “may” are legalistic, CYA weasel words that protect the researchers from accusations of scientific malpractice while implying the desired result that advances the left’s narrative: “football destroys brains.”

A different Boston University study from some of the same researchers published in Sept. 2017 in the journal Nature was cited by Time magazine with the explosive headline, “New study links playing youth football to later brain injury.”  This B.U. study from Nature explicitly admits to self-selection bias while also burying in second-to-last paragraph that “[w]e found no association between AFE (Age of Exposure) to football and cognition” in the only objective cognition tests they performed.  All other results were subjectively self-reported by the participants.  Do note that 68 of the 214 participants were former NFL players and did not exhibit significant cognitive impairment on these objective tests.

Second, the BU JAMA study’s abstract and Costas’s and the media’s reporting distort and conflate the results reported on the former NFL players (101 out of 110 NFL players’ brains exhibited severe CTE) as pertaining to all players to justify the claim that “parents won’t let their kids play because their brains are getting destroyed.”  There were, however, significant CTE differences between the brains of former NFL versus college versus high school players in this study.  Neither Costas nor any of the other media outlets reported these facts.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  And yet the proof is just the opposite.

Per the B.U. JAMA reported results, of the self-selected 14 people studied who never played higher than high school, only three exhibited mild CTE.  This is the critical finding.  The results from the most relevant group of this (biased) study indicate that there is only a 21% that American boys who will never play college or pro football will develop any CTE injury whatsoever, and that this injury has a 100% chance of being mild.  These results align with the results of a different study also published in July 2017 by Dr. Dylan Small in JAMA Neurology.  It found that a group of men who played high school football in 1957 (and no higher) suffered no loss of cognition later in life.  Yes, indeed: the truth has only one side, and it does not comport with boys destroying their brains playing football.

This is significant because USA Football reports that 3.42 million children aged 6-18 played tackle football in 2015.  The NCAA reports that 73,660 men played college football in 2016, and 251 were drafted in the NFL.  Therefore, around 97.8% of all football players will never play at the college or NFL level.  

This puts the lie to Costas’s commentary as blatant, anti-football fear-mongering.  The left’s faux concern about children’s concussions is also belied by studies that indicate that high school female athletes suffer higher rates of concussion than high school male athletes.  Where is the outrage?

Third, of the self-selected 53 in the B.U. JAMA study who never played higher than college football, 48 indicated signs of CTE, but 21 of those 48 exhibited mild pathology.  So about 50% of the people in this sample did not develop severe symptoms of CTE.  This implies that your odds are 50-50 of developing CTE with “severe pathology” if you play college football.

What is not described is the definition of “severe pathology.”  Are there no differences in the level of “severity” of pathology between NFL players and college players?  No explanation is attempted in the abstract or identified as a topic requiring greater research.  I have former teammates who played in the NFL, and they tell me the intensity of hitting in the NFL compared to college is comparable to the ratio of college to high school.  In short, the hitting is much more intense.

How to overcome adversity by testing myself to my limits playing college football and graduating cum laude was a critical life lesson.  It is a tough sport and is not for everybody (only 2.1% of all players).  If you surveyed thousands of middle-aged ex-college football players and asked if they would do it all over again, I bet they would respond with an overwhelming “yes!”  College football may need more research on its effects, but the massive disparity in intensity of play between college and high school suggests that this research will have little or no bearing on youth football.

Finally, NFL players know what they’re signing up for.  It’s a brutally tough game, and they know it.  They are also rewarded with potentially millions of dollars of income.  Some of them come from extremely poor backgrounds.  Hall-of-Famer Shannon Sharpe has often spoken about growing up dirt-poor in rural Georgia.  Should he have been denied the opportunity to earn tens of millions of dollars?  On average, only 251 people per year are invited to play in the NFL.  They have the free choice to weigh those costs and benefits.  The consequences of their choices also have absolutely nothing to do with youth football.

In a book being published this month called The Secrets of Resilience, Dr. Meg Jay documents how the will to fight and overcome adversity was found to be healthy and has been the key to success and emotional and psychological happiness and stability for thousands of people.  Playing football is a great way for boys to learn to fight adversity and win.  It is also healthy.

Youth football can be done wrong.  I coached my own son for years.  The first league was poorly designed.  We switched to Pop Warner and had great experiences.  Today, he is a freshman at a high-caliber university where he isn’t playing football and has straight As.  Football helped teach him how to prepare to win.

As the largest high school sport by participation, high school and youth football is an important, effective, traditional way to teach young men self-discipline, teamwork, mental toughness, and the controlled use of aggression to fight and win.  This is healthy for young men and for the American Republic.

If you stand for traditional, healthy American values, you should stand for traditional football (as opposed to Roger Goodell’s kneeling version), because it is good for American boys and American culture.

Last week at a roundtable discussion, Bob Costas opened another front by making the provocative prediction that parents will not allow their sons to play football because it “destroys people’s brains” and that “if I had an athletically gifted twelve-year-old son, I would certainly not allow him to play football.”

Is football truly destroying the brains of boys across America?  The gauntlet has been thrown.

Many articles reporting Mr. Costas’s comments cite the high-profile study conducted by Boston University published in July 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  See examples here, here, here, here, and here.  This is Exhibit A in the mainstream media’s spin machine.  The B.U. JAMA study reports that 177 of 202 brains of former players at all levels exhibited some form of trauma known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).  This article will examine this study, unpack Costas’s and the other media distortions, and make a case in defense of football.

Full disclosure: your author played four years of Division 1-A football at Miami (OH) and suffered a major concussion while playing on kickoff against Michigan State in 1989.  Subsequently, he went on to have a successful career in industrial sales and marketing taking him across the world and back again.  The lessons learned on the gridiron were crucial to him both as a businessman and as a father.

The first problem with the B.U. JAMA study is that the sample is skewed.  The fact that the donors expressed interest in the program indicates self-selection bias in favor of those people who may have already exhibited symptoms related to CTE.  This is not a proper sampling methodology according the scientific method and certainly cannot be used as the basis for predictive claims.

In the “Conclusions and Relevance” section of the abstract, the researchers write: “In a convenience sample of deceased football players who donated their brains for research, a high proportion had neuropathological evidence of CTE, suggesting that CTE may be related to prior participation in football.”  “Suggests” and “may” are legalistic, CYA weasel words that protect the researchers from accusations of scientific malpractice while implying the desired result that advances the left’s narrative: “football destroys brains.”

A different Boston University study from some of the same researchers published in Sept. 2017 in the journal Nature was cited by Time magazine with the explosive headline, “New study links playing youth football to later brain injury.”  This B.U. study from Nature explicitly admits to self-selection bias while also burying in second-to-last paragraph that “[w]e found no association between AFE (Age of Exposure) to football and cognition” in the only objective cognition tests they performed.  All other results were subjectively self-reported by the participants.  Do note that 68 of the 214 participants were former NFL players and did not exhibit significant cognitive impairment on these objective tests.

Second, the BU JAMA study’s abstract and Costas’s and the media’s reporting distort and conflate the results reported on the former NFL players (101 out of 110 NFL players’ brains exhibited severe CTE) as pertaining to all players to justify the claim that “parents won’t let their kids play because their brains are getting destroyed.”  There were, however, significant CTE differences between the brains of former NFL versus college versus high school players in this study.  Neither Costas nor any of the other media outlets reported these facts.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  And yet the proof is just the opposite.

Per the B.U. JAMA reported results, of the self-selected 14 people studied who never played higher than high school, only three exhibited mild CTE.  This is the critical finding.  The results from the most relevant group of this (biased) study indicate that there is only a 21% that American boys who will never play college or pro football will develop any CTE injury whatsoever, and that this injury has a 100% chance of being mild.  These results align with the results of a different study also published in July 2017 by Dr. Dylan Small in JAMA Neurology.  It found that a group of men who played high school football in 1957 (and no higher) suffered no loss of cognition later in life.  Yes, indeed: the truth has only one side, and it does not comport with boys destroying their brains playing football.

This is significant because USA Football reports that 3.42 million children aged 6-18 played tackle football in 2015.  The NCAA reports that 73,660 men played college football in 2016, and 251 were drafted in the NFL.  Therefore, around 97.8% of all football players will never play at the college or NFL level.  

This puts the lie to Costas’s commentary as blatant, anti-football fear-mongering.  The left’s faux concern about children’s concussions is also belied by studies that indicate that high school female athletes suffer higher rates of concussion than high school male athletes.  Where is the outrage?

Third, of the self-selected 53 in the B.U. JAMA study who never played higher than college football, 48 indicated signs of CTE, but 21 of those 48 exhibited mild pathology.  So about 50% of the people in this sample did not develop severe symptoms of CTE.  This implies that your odds are 50-50 of developing CTE with “severe pathology” if you play college football.

What is not described is the definition of “severe pathology.”  Are there no differences in the level of “severity” of pathology between NFL players and college players?  No explanation is attempted in the abstract or identified as a topic requiring greater research.  I have former teammates who played in the NFL, and they tell me the intensity of hitting in the NFL compared to college is comparable to the ratio of college to high school.  In short, the hitting is much more intense.

How to overcome adversity by testing myself to my limits playing college football and graduating cum laude was a critical life lesson.  It is a tough sport and is not for everybody (only 2.1% of all players).  If you surveyed thousands of middle-aged ex-college football players and asked if they would do it all over again, I bet they would respond with an overwhelming “yes!”  College football may need more research on its effects, but the massive disparity in intensity of play between college and high school suggests that this research will have little or no bearing on youth football.

Finally, NFL players know what they’re signing up for.  It’s a brutally tough game, and they know it.  They are also rewarded with potentially millions of dollars of income.  Some of them come from extremely poor backgrounds.  Hall-of-Famer Shannon Sharpe has often spoken about growing up dirt-poor in rural Georgia.  Should he have been denied the opportunity to earn tens of millions of dollars?  On average, only 251 people per year are invited to play in the NFL.  They have the free choice to weigh those costs and benefits.  The consequences of their choices also have absolutely nothing to do with youth football.

In a book being published this month called The Secrets of Resilience, Dr. Meg Jay documents how the will to fight and overcome adversity was found to be healthy and has been the key to success and emotional and psychological happiness and stability for thousands of people.  Playing football is a great way for boys to learn to fight adversity and win.  It is also healthy.

Youth football can be done wrong.  I coached my own son for years.  The first league was poorly designed.  We switched to Pop Warner and had great experiences.  Today, he is a freshman at a high-caliber university where he isn’t playing football and has straight As.  Football helped teach him how to prepare to win.

As the largest high school sport by participation, high school and youth football is an important, effective, traditional way to teach young men self-discipline, teamwork, mental toughness, and the controlled use of aggression to fight and win.  This is healthy for young men and for the American Republic.

If you stand for traditional, healthy American values, you should stand for traditional football (as opposed to Roger Goodell’s kneeling version), because it is good for American boys and American culture.



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Advertisers Shoot Themselves in the Foot When They Take Sides


Like it or not, America is locked in an ongoing culture war between those who support the country and the Constitution on the one side and those who want to tear America down and create a new, single-viewpoint nation in their image on the other side.  This culture war seems to be pushed by an increasingly hostile and domineering far left.  Instead of eagerly embracing debate, which is both the American Way and enshrined in the Constitution, elements of the progressive side are actively trying to shut that debate down.

Oddly, considering their progressive, Bernie Sanders-like pro-socialism position in the political debate, these opponents of the Constitution’s free press guarantees are using free-market capitalism as a weapon.  They are calling on advertisers to boycott certain networks (Fox) and certain shows (Hannity, at least this week – stay tuned for a different boycott target next week).  The George Soros-funded Media Matters, set up specifically to attack Fox News on a daily basis, is leading the charge, prodding advertisers to boycott the show.  In what seems like an example of groupthink, many other mostly online far-left (and some not so far left, like Forbes) “publications” are also demanding that advertisers boycott Hannity and Fox.

This is just wrong. 

America has enshrined the idea of vigorous political debate in the First Amendment, and in an environment where there are far more left-leaning news media outlets than conservative ones, opposition should be cherished.  At least since the disputed 2000 presidential election, there has been a rough balance among 24/7 cable news outlets, with CNN and MSNBC lined up on one side and Fox News on the other, each outlet providing a balance against those on the other side.  This gives Americans the chance to either enter the echo chamber of their choice and have their position reinforced or take a walk on the wild side and discover what the other side is proclaiming, which is pretty much what the framers of our constitution had in mind.

If the goal is to offer dissent instead of shutting down the opposition (or at least punishing them financially), there is an alternative to boycott, one that preserves the intent of the founders.  If you don’t want a show to prosper because you don’t like its content, just don’t watch the damned thing. 

Before we go farther, I need to point out that I have been in advertising for 40-plus years.  I did my master’s work in the field, I’ve written books about it, I’ve won a few ADDY awards, I’ve taught it at the college level, and I’ve even been an expert witness in a court case.  So when I say this is a bad economic idea for the advertisers – the reasons that far outweigh any chest-thumping ego-tripping that comes from climbing on a politically correct bandwagon – please understand that this is not just an opinion.  It’s the opinion of someone who has bought advertising on FOX News for clients and who understands the professional risks and rewards.

With that said, this boycott approach is wrong from another perspective as well.  And that comes from the economic backlash any company faces when it starts taking sides in acrimonious political debates.  Here’s how it works.  When an advertiser makes a big deal out of joining an ad boycott, that advertiser is, in effect, passing judgment on each of the target’s audience members, saying, “You are no longer good enough to be our customer.”  Obviously, that never sits well with the audience members.  In this case, Hannity’s 3.2-plus million nightly viewers and his 13 million daily listeners (Hannity is currently ranked #1 in cable news and #2 in talk radio) are being insulted.  Even given some overlap, that is a lot of potential customers to cast judgments upon.

Politically motivated boycotts have a long tradition, but almost all of that tradition can be found on the side of progressives, socialists, communists, and fascists.  On the right, the typical boycott is more along the lines of “I don’t like Louis CK, so I’m not going to watch him.”  Sure, there have been some limited-success boycotts offered by pastors of typically small flocks of activist Christians, but even here, the pressure isn’t so much about dollars as it is eyeballs.  The politically activist media groups calling for Sean Hannity’s advertisers to boycott him, and to therefore punish him and Fox News financially, are made up of a growing knee-jerk crowd of other me-too leftists following Media Matters’ lead.

This is bad business for advertisers for one more reason as well.  As Ad Age said, “as TV ratings continue to dwindle, Fox News continues to be one of the few places pulling large live audiences on a nightly basis. For his part, Hannity averages 3.2 million viewers on any given night in October, according to Nielsen.”  On the other side, reflecting a healthy balance between opposing sides in this constitutionally protected debate, “[i]n comparison, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pulled in about 2.5 million.”  So viewers who want political opinion have a strong and vibrant choice, one that will fade if a culture-war boycott prospers.

The boycott began with this tweet, apparently sent to Hannity’s advertisers by Angelo Carusone at Media Matters: “Good afternoon [advertiser]. You are currently sponsoring Sean Hannity’s show.  He defends child molester Roy Moore and attacks women who speak out against sexual harassment. Please reconsider.”

Though I just recently wrote an American Thinker blog post encouraging Roy Moore to pull out of the race until he can clear his name (and I personally was no fan of Moore even before the latest charge surfaced), I know that Carusone’s tweet is factually inaccurate (which is a nice way of saying “a pack of lies”) in two ways.  Moore’s not a child-molester until he’s proved to be a child-molester by admission or in court, and Hannity does not attack women who speak out against sexual harassment.  The closest he comes to that is to do what a reasonable person might ask: “Can you substantiate this charge, or do we just have to take your word for it?”  That’s a far cry from attacking women who speak out against sexual harassment.

Those advertisers who are caving in to the pressure, despite Hannity’s continued strong ratings, which reflect a loyal fan base, include coffee-maker Keurig, which is now facing a strong backlash (NYT story here).  They started the ball rolling with this tweet: “Angelo, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention.  We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show.”

Others embracing the boycott based on Media Matters’ factually inaccurate tweet include:

  • Genetic testing firm 23andMe, which tweeted: “We’ve received inquiries RE: advertising on Hannity. We are not running TV advertising on Hannity.”
  • Plus-size fashion firm Eloquii, which tweeted: “Hi there! Hannity is blocked from our advertising list.”
  • Natural health products maker Nature’s Bounty, which tweeted, “We can confirm that we do not have advertisements running on this program.” 

Realtor.com, which had initially tweeted that it was joining the boycott, has announced that it will not join the boycott after all.  Reator.com realized that Hannity’s ratings are too strong, and his fans are passionate enough to individually act against those who pick sides in today’s cultural war by pulling ads from his show.  

When it comes to political coverage on cable news, there is room for everybody across the political spectrum.  Smart advertisers who want to reach committed “fans” who loyally support those who support their programs should buy across the board: Hannity and Maddow and whoever is straggling behind at ratings-challenged CNN.  Even CNN has loyal fans worth courting.

Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN together reach seven to ten million individual viewers in a given week.  In a world where even such old reliables as the NFL are seeing ratings slough off dramatically, reliable media outlets are an advertiser’s dream.  However, these are controversial (as is the NFL, if advertiser Papa John’s is any indicator).  Having decided to advertise on political commentary programs, advertisers should know this – they will generate far more controversies if they pull out to make a political statement than if they just ride out the controversy du jour.  It is controversy, after all, which brings those eyeballs to Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, and it makes little sense to punish those networks for their success in doing what advertisers want: live and engaged audiences.

Ned Barnett is a communications professional who has worked in advertising for 40-plus years.  He’s taught advertising at the university level, published books on advertising, and won a few ADDY awards for TV and print ads.  He is also a historian who has, among other things, appeared as an on camera historian on nine History Channel programs.  He brings these disparate experiences together to offer these insights into the fallacy of advertisers participating in boycotts.  He owns Barnett Marketing Communications (www.barnettmarcom.com) in Nevada.

Like it or not, America is locked in an ongoing culture war between those who support the country and the Constitution on the one side and those who want to tear America down and create a new, single-viewpoint nation in their image on the other side.  This culture war seems to be pushed by an increasingly hostile and domineering far left.  Instead of eagerly embracing debate, which is both the American Way and enshrined in the Constitution, elements of the progressive side are actively trying to shut that debate down.

Oddly, considering their progressive, Bernie Sanders-like pro-socialism position in the political debate, these opponents of the Constitution’s free press guarantees are using free-market capitalism as a weapon.  They are calling on advertisers to boycott certain networks (Fox) and certain shows (Hannity, at least this week – stay tuned for a different boycott target next week).  The George Soros-funded Media Matters, set up specifically to attack Fox News on a daily basis, is leading the charge, prodding advertisers to boycott the show.  In what seems like an example of groupthink, many other mostly online far-left (and some not so far left, like Forbes) “publications” are also demanding that advertisers boycott Hannity and Fox.

This is just wrong. 

America has enshrined the idea of vigorous political debate in the First Amendment, and in an environment where there are far more left-leaning news media outlets than conservative ones, opposition should be cherished.  At least since the disputed 2000 presidential election, there has been a rough balance among 24/7 cable news outlets, with CNN and MSNBC lined up on one side and Fox News on the other, each outlet providing a balance against those on the other side.  This gives Americans the chance to either enter the echo chamber of their choice and have their position reinforced or take a walk on the wild side and discover what the other side is proclaiming, which is pretty much what the framers of our constitution had in mind.

If the goal is to offer dissent instead of shutting down the opposition (or at least punishing them financially), there is an alternative to boycott, one that preserves the intent of the founders.  If you don’t want a show to prosper because you don’t like its content, just don’t watch the damned thing. 

Before we go farther, I need to point out that I have been in advertising for 40-plus years.  I did my master’s work in the field, I’ve written books about it, I’ve won a few ADDY awards, I’ve taught it at the college level, and I’ve even been an expert witness in a court case.  So when I say this is a bad economic idea for the advertisers – the reasons that far outweigh any chest-thumping ego-tripping that comes from climbing on a politically correct bandwagon – please understand that this is not just an opinion.  It’s the opinion of someone who has bought advertising on FOX News for clients and who understands the professional risks and rewards.

With that said, this boycott approach is wrong from another perspective as well.  And that comes from the economic backlash any company faces when it starts taking sides in acrimonious political debates.  Here’s how it works.  When an advertiser makes a big deal out of joining an ad boycott, that advertiser is, in effect, passing judgment on each of the target’s audience members, saying, “You are no longer good enough to be our customer.”  Obviously, that never sits well with the audience members.  In this case, Hannity’s 3.2-plus million nightly viewers and his 13 million daily listeners (Hannity is currently ranked #1 in cable news and #2 in talk radio) are being insulted.  Even given some overlap, that is a lot of potential customers to cast judgments upon.

Politically motivated boycotts have a long tradition, but almost all of that tradition can be found on the side of progressives, socialists, communists, and fascists.  On the right, the typical boycott is more along the lines of “I don’t like Louis CK, so I’m not going to watch him.”  Sure, there have been some limited-success boycotts offered by pastors of typically small flocks of activist Christians, but even here, the pressure isn’t so much about dollars as it is eyeballs.  The politically activist media groups calling for Sean Hannity’s advertisers to boycott him, and to therefore punish him and Fox News financially, are made up of a growing knee-jerk crowd of other me-too leftists following Media Matters’ lead.

This is bad business for advertisers for one more reason as well.  As Ad Age said, “as TV ratings continue to dwindle, Fox News continues to be one of the few places pulling large live audiences on a nightly basis. For his part, Hannity averages 3.2 million viewers on any given night in October, according to Nielsen.”  On the other side, reflecting a healthy balance between opposing sides in this constitutionally protected debate, “[i]n comparison, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pulled in about 2.5 million.”  So viewers who want political opinion have a strong and vibrant choice, one that will fade if a culture-war boycott prospers.

The boycott began with this tweet, apparently sent to Hannity’s advertisers by Angelo Carusone at Media Matters: “Good afternoon [advertiser]. You are currently sponsoring Sean Hannity’s show.  He defends child molester Roy Moore and attacks women who speak out against sexual harassment. Please reconsider.”

Though I just recently wrote an American Thinker blog post encouraging Roy Moore to pull out of the race until he can clear his name (and I personally was no fan of Moore even before the latest charge surfaced), I know that Carusone’s tweet is factually inaccurate (which is a nice way of saying “a pack of lies”) in two ways.  Moore’s not a child-molester until he’s proved to be a child-molester by admission or in court, and Hannity does not attack women who speak out against sexual harassment.  The closest he comes to that is to do what a reasonable person might ask: “Can you substantiate this charge, or do we just have to take your word for it?”  That’s a far cry from attacking women who speak out against sexual harassment.

Those advertisers who are caving in to the pressure, despite Hannity’s continued strong ratings, which reflect a loyal fan base, include coffee-maker Keurig, which is now facing a strong backlash (NYT story here).  They started the ball rolling with this tweet: “Angelo, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention.  We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show.”

Others embracing the boycott based on Media Matters’ factually inaccurate tweet include:

  • Genetic testing firm 23andMe, which tweeted: “We’ve received inquiries RE: advertising on Hannity. We are not running TV advertising on Hannity.”
  • Plus-size fashion firm Eloquii, which tweeted: “Hi there! Hannity is blocked from our advertising list.”
  • Natural health products maker Nature’s Bounty, which tweeted, “We can confirm that we do not have advertisements running on this program.” 

Realtor.com, which had initially tweeted that it was joining the boycott, has announced that it will not join the boycott after all.  Reator.com realized that Hannity’s ratings are too strong, and his fans are passionate enough to individually act against those who pick sides in today’s cultural war by pulling ads from his show.  

When it comes to political coverage on cable news, there is room for everybody across the political spectrum.  Smart advertisers who want to reach committed “fans” who loyally support those who support their programs should buy across the board: Hannity and Maddow and whoever is straggling behind at ratings-challenged CNN.  Even CNN has loyal fans worth courting.

Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN together reach seven to ten million individual viewers in a given week.  In a world where even such old reliables as the NFL are seeing ratings slough off dramatically, reliable media outlets are an advertiser’s dream.  However, these are controversial (as is the NFL, if advertiser Papa John’s is any indicator).  Having decided to advertise on political commentary programs, advertisers should know this – they will generate far more controversies if they pull out to make a political statement than if they just ride out the controversy du jour.  It is controversy, after all, which brings those eyeballs to Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, and it makes little sense to punish those networks for their success in doing what advertisers want: live and engaged audiences.

Ned Barnett is a communications professional who has worked in advertising for 40-plus years.  He’s taught advertising at the university level, published books on advertising, and won a few ADDY awards for TV and print ads.  He is also a historian who has, among other things, appeared as an on camera historian on nine History Channel programs.  He brings these disparate experiences together to offer these insights into the fallacy of advertisers participating in boycotts.  He owns Barnett Marketing Communications (www.barnettmarcom.com) in Nevada.



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The Middle East's Problems Are Really Our Problems


It’s our problem, actually, and we’ve made it theirs.

It is the West that simultaneously wants “the Arab Spring” and “stability.”  Democracy and strong government control.  Honest government and stable kleptocrats.

Check out our split-brain reaction to the Palestinian Authority.  By rights, the U.S. should have nothing to do with people who venerate and pay for terror against civilians; teach their children that their country is “from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea; rob donors and international agencies blind; jail people for their Facebook posts; hold office eight years after the end of a single elected term; refuse to seat an elected parliament; and refuse to acknowledge the permanence and legitimacy of America’s ally, Israel.  And yet the U.S. treats Palestinian leaders as if they were diplomats, declines to close the PLO “embassy” in Washington, trains their police, maintains the functional equivalent of an embassy in eastern Jerusalem for them – while declining to do the same for the State of Israel in western Jerusalem, and gives priority to the so-called “peace process” over security for our democratic ally.

In the name of “stability.”

We’re not much better in the rest of the Arab world.  Knocking off the Taliban in 2002 and Saddam Hussein in 2003, the U.S. installed governments presumed to be based on American-style democratic norms.  The Taliban is thoroughly resurgent, while American casualties rise.  Iraq ended up with ISIS, Iranian and Iranian-sponsored militias, and a Baghdad government beating on our Kurdish allies.  The 2011 “Arab Spring” was supposed to be the harbinger of Arab governments that honored Western education, free speech, civil society, women’s rights, regular elections, and tolerance of minorities and minority opinion.  That was supposed to be Libya after we ousted Gaddafi in 2012 and how it was going to be when the CIA-armed “moderate Syrians” ousted Bashar Assad.  How’s that working out?

Over the weekend, in a joint statement, President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump agreed that “[t]here is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.”  In the official communiqué produced on the margins of the conference in Da Nang, the two presidents “[c]onfirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Asad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254.”

Assad wins with our blessing.  Never mind the 500,000-plus Syrian casualties, the 4.8 million Syrians who fled to camps in the region, the 6.6 million internally displaced, and the million who have requested asylum in Europe.  Maybe it was just an effort to show increasing “stability” in the region, but it is an example of how willing countries – including Russia – are to dissemble so as not to admit that Iran and its militias have no intention of leaving Syria and are, in fact, building a permanent base less than 30 miles from Israel’s border.  There will be no stability.

Now we’re dissembling on Lebanon – and on Saudi Arabia – neither of which was stable when the media suddenly discovered them.

In Lebanon, Hezb’allah has been running the show with the military and financial assistance of Iran for decades; the 1983 Marine barracks bombing should be a clue.  Despite U.N. Resolution 1701 of 2006, which forbids Hezb’allah arms south of the Litani River, there are an estimated 110,000 missiles and rockets there, most underneath or inside what appear to be civilian dwellings and schools.  If that isn’t enough missiles for you, the IDF has confirmed that Iran’s IRGC has been building missile production facilities in Lebanon more than 150 feet below ground.  In exchange, Hezb’allah supplies men and arms for the fight in Syria, contributing to carnage on a scale unseen in this century, including the use of chemical weapons.

The American response has been to arm and train the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), insisting and pretending that the LAF is not actually controlled by the actual government of Lebanon, that it is a force for stability – or maybe insisting and pretending that it is controlled by the government.  “The United States expects an orderly political process in Lebanon and will remain supportive of the legitimate institutions of the Lebanese state,” said Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway – including the Hezb’allah-controlled LAF.

We expected an “orderly process” in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria as well, and we found American weapons in the hands of hostile forces in each case.  The administration has admitted that Iranian-backed forces in Iraq have American-supplied equipment, and a number of recent American casualties in Afghanistan have come from Afghans undergoing training with our forces.

And so to Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan (MbS) is shaking up the country both domestically and internationally.

But Saudi Arabia was far from stable before him, with a huge young population with few career choices, women under siege, a Wahhabi religious authority wedded to Sunni jihad, corruption among the princely class (there are 15,000 princes plus families), a single-commodity economy, and Iran stirring up Shiite minority communities both in Saudi itself and in other Gulf countries.  MbS appears to have strong support from various quarters of the kingdom as he makes his choices and sets the country on a path to royal succession from a single branch of the Saudi family tree.  He may succeed, and he may not.  He may create more instability with no redeeming forward progress, and he may set the stage for a country better able to find its way in the 21st century.

One thing is for sure.  The U.S. and its Western allies have wanted the impossible from the Middle East: stability and progress, the firm hand of government control, and free institutions.  That is our problem, and we’ve helped to make it theirs.

It’s our problem, actually, and we’ve made it theirs.

It is the West that simultaneously wants “the Arab Spring” and “stability.”  Democracy and strong government control.  Honest government and stable kleptocrats.

Check out our split-brain reaction to the Palestinian Authority.  By rights, the U.S. should have nothing to do with people who venerate and pay for terror against civilians; teach their children that their country is “from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea; rob donors and international agencies blind; jail people for their Facebook posts; hold office eight years after the end of a single elected term; refuse to seat an elected parliament; and refuse to acknowledge the permanence and legitimacy of America’s ally, Israel.  And yet the U.S. treats Palestinian leaders as if they were diplomats, declines to close the PLO “embassy” in Washington, trains their police, maintains the functional equivalent of an embassy in eastern Jerusalem for them – while declining to do the same for the State of Israel in western Jerusalem, and gives priority to the so-called “peace process” over security for our democratic ally.

In the name of “stability.”

We’re not much better in the rest of the Arab world.  Knocking off the Taliban in 2002 and Saddam Hussein in 2003, the U.S. installed governments presumed to be based on American-style democratic norms.  The Taliban is thoroughly resurgent, while American casualties rise.  Iraq ended up with ISIS, Iranian and Iranian-sponsored militias, and a Baghdad government beating on our Kurdish allies.  The 2011 “Arab Spring” was supposed to be the harbinger of Arab governments that honored Western education, free speech, civil society, women’s rights, regular elections, and tolerance of minorities and minority opinion.  That was supposed to be Libya after we ousted Gaddafi in 2012 and how it was going to be when the CIA-armed “moderate Syrians” ousted Bashar Assad.  How’s that working out?

Over the weekend, in a joint statement, President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump agreed that “[t]here is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.”  In the official communiqué produced on the margins of the conference in Da Nang, the two presidents “[c]onfirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Asad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254.”

Assad wins with our blessing.  Never mind the 500,000-plus Syrian casualties, the 4.8 million Syrians who fled to camps in the region, the 6.6 million internally displaced, and the million who have requested asylum in Europe.  Maybe it was just an effort to show increasing “stability” in the region, but it is an example of how willing countries – including Russia – are to dissemble so as not to admit that Iran and its militias have no intention of leaving Syria and are, in fact, building a permanent base less than 30 miles from Israel’s border.  There will be no stability.

Now we’re dissembling on Lebanon – and on Saudi Arabia – neither of which was stable when the media suddenly discovered them.

In Lebanon, Hezb’allah has been running the show with the military and financial assistance of Iran for decades; the 1983 Marine barracks bombing should be a clue.  Despite U.N. Resolution 1701 of 2006, which forbids Hezb’allah arms south of the Litani River, there are an estimated 110,000 missiles and rockets there, most underneath or inside what appear to be civilian dwellings and schools.  If that isn’t enough missiles for you, the IDF has confirmed that Iran’s IRGC has been building missile production facilities in Lebanon more than 150 feet below ground.  In exchange, Hezb’allah supplies men and arms for the fight in Syria, contributing to carnage on a scale unseen in this century, including the use of chemical weapons.

The American response has been to arm and train the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), insisting and pretending that the LAF is not actually controlled by the actual government of Lebanon, that it is a force for stability – or maybe insisting and pretending that it is controlled by the government.  “The United States expects an orderly political process in Lebanon and will remain supportive of the legitimate institutions of the Lebanese state,” said Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway – including the Hezb’allah-controlled LAF.

We expected an “orderly process” in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria as well, and we found American weapons in the hands of hostile forces in each case.  The administration has admitted that Iranian-backed forces in Iraq have American-supplied equipment, and a number of recent American casualties in Afghanistan have come from Afghans undergoing training with our forces.

And so to Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan (MbS) is shaking up the country both domestically and internationally.

But Saudi Arabia was far from stable before him, with a huge young population with few career choices, women under siege, a Wahhabi religious authority wedded to Sunni jihad, corruption among the princely class (there are 15,000 princes plus families), a single-commodity economy, and Iran stirring up Shiite minority communities both in Saudi itself and in other Gulf countries.  MbS appears to have strong support from various quarters of the kingdom as he makes his choices and sets the country on a path to royal succession from a single branch of the Saudi family tree.  He may succeed, and he may not.  He may create more instability with no redeeming forward progress, and he may set the stage for a country better able to find its way in the 21st century.

One thing is for sure.  The U.S. and its Western allies have wanted the impossible from the Middle East: stability and progress, the firm hand of government control, and free institutions.  That is our problem, and we’ve helped to make it theirs.



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The Moore Affair Is in the Hands of Alabama


The allegations of sexual improprieties with minors against GOP senatorial nominee Roy Moore have created tumult in Republicans circles. Several sitting U.S. senators have opined that Mr. Moore is unfit to serve. We’ve even heard some wonder whether Moore, if elected, should be seated.

The issue of whether the Senate can refuse to seat a new senator was explored back in January of 2009 in a scholarly paper by Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation: “The Constitutional Requirement to Seat the Senator from Illinois: Upholding the Rule of Law.” It’s so scholarly that it has 22 endnotes, but it’s eminently readable. You might want to read the pristine PDF version, as the main page has suffered some formatting problems, but the print version might be more to your liking as its endnote numbers are clickable. What Spakovsky addressed was the seating of Sen. Obama’s replacement:

The refusal of the United States Senate led by Harry Reid to seat Roland W. Burris fails that test. Burris was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich under the authority of the 17th Amendment to replace outgoing Senator Barack Obama.[1] It is clear from a review of the applicable constitutional provisions, Supreme Court case law, and the history of the Constitutional Convention and the Constitution’s subsequent ratification that the Senate does not have the constitutional authority to exclude Burris. There are no political or other objectives that the Senators opposing his seating could possibly have that would in any way justify such a stark and direct violation of the Constitution.

Mr. von Spakovsky made a solid case that the Senate does not have the authority to deny any duly elected senator his rightful seat. He also asserted that “certain Senators are not even questioning the ‘qualifications’ of the designee but the qualifications (and actions) of the executive who appointed him as a Senator”; the Illinois governor was having a mess of legal problems. In any event, Sen. Burris was sworn in on Jan. 15, 2009, Mark Kirk succeeded Burris on Nov. 29, 2010, and Gov. Blago was convicted in 2009 and remains imprisoned to this day.

If the U.S. Senate were to not seat Moore, it would surely set off a constitutional contretemps between the feds and a state, and the Senate would ultimately lose. However, the Senate does have the authority to expel its members, and expulsions are final, not appealable.

Of course, Congress rarely expels its corrupt members. For instance, if Sen. Bob Menendez is found guilty of his current corruption charges, you can be sure that few Democrat members would vote to expel him. (Even if Menendez is acquitted, the Senate should make its own judgment about the senator’s guilt and then decide whether he really should be in Congress, as an acquittal could be another case of jury nullification or some other miscarriage of justice.)

If I were an Alabaman and Roy Moore were the GOP nominee, I’d vote for Moore and hope the Senate would seat and then expel him. But expelling Moore would require Democrat votes, and Democrats might not want to cooperate. Dems might want to hang Moore around the necks of Republicans. After all, if they voted to expel, Democrat senators would be fairly certain that a more suitable Republican would soon show up without the baggage of Roy Moore.

Alabama Republicans shouldn’t beat themselves up about their “mistake,” as voters in other states have done the same thing. GOP voters in Nevada erred in 2010 when they chose Sharron Angle, which gave Harry Reid another term. Primary voters in my state of Missouri messed up with Todd Akin, whose comment about “legitimate rape” led to Claire McCaskill, who’s out of step with most Missourians. There are many other examples of primary voters choosing badly, so Alabamans shouldn’t fixate on Moore. (Republican voters in all the states could benefit from a Nov. 10 National Review article by Jonah Goldberg.)

Recently, American Thinker ran “Repairing the U.S. Senate” by yours truly. For you states’ rights folks, the article also appeared at the Tenth Amendment Center under a more provocative headline. The good citizens of Alabama might take a look at my short piece. You see, the Senate is not what it was intended to be.

And that’s because of the dang 17th Amendment, which established the popular election of U.S. senators. With popular elections, a candidate “owns” his nomination. Moore refuses to step aside because he won the primary; the nomination “belongs” to him. And if elected in the general, Moore will “own” his senatorial seat, not the people of Alabama.

If state legislatures still chose U.S. senators, as they did for most of our history, Alabama might not be having her Moore problems. America should repeal the 17th Amendment and go back to having state legislatures choose U.S. senators. Not only that, the repeal should stipulate that senators hold their jobs only at the pleasure of their state legislatures. In other words, state legislatures could sack senators at any time. U.S. senators should be seen as ambassadors of states to the central government in D.C. But with the 17th, they’ve gone rogue, and have forgotten why they’re in D.C., which is to represent the states.

The great state of Alabama is one of the reddest of red states. It would be a pity if she were represented by someone as out of step with Alabama’s culture as Doug Jones, who would immediately become a lackey of “Cryin’ Chuck” Schumer. It is now left to the government of Alabama to fix this problem. That might mean getting “creative.”

Alabamans should take a cue from someone Roy Moore has derided: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Conservatives were grateful to McConnell when he sat on Obama’s third nomination to the Supreme Court, which resulted in America getting a strong conservative justice, Neil Gorsuch. I suggest that Alabamans “pull a McConnell” and sit on this thing. Postpone the general election, repeatedly if need be, refuse to sign papers, pass new laws, do whatever you have to do to stretch things out, be” creative” in delay. With Luther Strange, Alabama already has a decent man in the U.S. Senate who’s supporting President Trump’s agenda. Let him stay there, Alabama.

Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. 

The allegations of sexual improprieties with minors against GOP senatorial nominee Roy Moore have created tumult in Republicans circles. Several sitting U.S. senators have opined that Mr. Moore is unfit to serve. We’ve even heard some wonder whether Moore, if elected, should be seated.

The issue of whether the Senate can refuse to seat a new senator was explored back in January of 2009 in a scholarly paper by Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation: “The Constitutional Requirement to Seat the Senator from Illinois: Upholding the Rule of Law.” It’s so scholarly that it has 22 endnotes, but it’s eminently readable. You might want to read the pristine PDF version, as the main page has suffered some formatting problems, but the print version might be more to your liking as its endnote numbers are clickable. What Spakovsky addressed was the seating of Sen. Obama’s replacement:

The refusal of the United States Senate led by Harry Reid to seat Roland W. Burris fails that test. Burris was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich under the authority of the 17th Amendment to replace outgoing Senator Barack Obama.[1] It is clear from a review of the applicable constitutional provisions, Supreme Court case law, and the history of the Constitutional Convention and the Constitution’s subsequent ratification that the Senate does not have the constitutional authority to exclude Burris. There are no political or other objectives that the Senators opposing his seating could possibly have that would in any way justify such a stark and direct violation of the Constitution.

Mr. von Spakovsky made a solid case that the Senate does not have the authority to deny any duly elected senator his rightful seat. He also asserted that “certain Senators are not even questioning the ‘qualifications’ of the designee but the qualifications (and actions) of the executive who appointed him as a Senator”; the Illinois governor was having a mess of legal problems. In any event, Sen. Burris was sworn in on Jan. 15, 2009, Mark Kirk succeeded Burris on Nov. 29, 2010, and Gov. Blago was convicted in 2009 and remains imprisoned to this day.

If the U.S. Senate were to not seat Moore, it would surely set off a constitutional contretemps between the feds and a state, and the Senate would ultimately lose. However, the Senate does have the authority to expel its members, and expulsions are final, not appealable.

Of course, Congress rarely expels its corrupt members. For instance, if Sen. Bob Menendez is found guilty of his current corruption charges, you can be sure that few Democrat members would vote to expel him. (Even if Menendez is acquitted, the Senate should make its own judgment about the senator’s guilt and then decide whether he really should be in Congress, as an acquittal could be another case of jury nullification or some other miscarriage of justice.)

If I were an Alabaman and Roy Moore were the GOP nominee, I’d vote for Moore and hope the Senate would seat and then expel him. But expelling Moore would require Democrat votes, and Democrats might not want to cooperate. Dems might want to hang Moore around the necks of Republicans. After all, if they voted to expel, Democrat senators would be fairly certain that a more suitable Republican would soon show up without the baggage of Roy Moore.

Alabama Republicans shouldn’t beat themselves up about their “mistake,” as voters in other states have done the same thing. GOP voters in Nevada erred in 2010 when they chose Sharron Angle, which gave Harry Reid another term. Primary voters in my state of Missouri messed up with Todd Akin, whose comment about “legitimate rape” led to Claire McCaskill, who’s out of step with most Missourians. There are many other examples of primary voters choosing badly, so Alabamans shouldn’t fixate on Moore. (Republican voters in all the states could benefit from a Nov. 10 National Review article by Jonah Goldberg.)

Recently, American Thinker ran “Repairing the U.S. Senate” by yours truly. For you states’ rights folks, the article also appeared at the Tenth Amendment Center under a more provocative headline. The good citizens of Alabama might take a look at my short piece. You see, the Senate is not what it was intended to be.

And that’s because of the dang 17th Amendment, which established the popular election of U.S. senators. With popular elections, a candidate “owns” his nomination. Moore refuses to step aside because he won the primary; the nomination “belongs” to him. And if elected in the general, Moore will “own” his senatorial seat, not the people of Alabama.

If state legislatures still chose U.S. senators, as they did for most of our history, Alabama might not be having her Moore problems. America should repeal the 17th Amendment and go back to having state legislatures choose U.S. senators. Not only that, the repeal should stipulate that senators hold their jobs only at the pleasure of their state legislatures. In other words, state legislatures could sack senators at any time. U.S. senators should be seen as ambassadors of states to the central government in D.C. But with the 17th, they’ve gone rogue, and have forgotten why they’re in D.C., which is to represent the states.

The great state of Alabama is one of the reddest of red states. It would be a pity if she were represented by someone as out of step with Alabama’s culture as Doug Jones, who would immediately become a lackey of “Cryin’ Chuck” Schumer. It is now left to the government of Alabama to fix this problem. That might mean getting “creative.”

Alabamans should take a cue from someone Roy Moore has derided: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Conservatives were grateful to McConnell when he sat on Obama’s third nomination to the Supreme Court, which resulted in America getting a strong conservative justice, Neil Gorsuch. I suggest that Alabamans “pull a McConnell” and sit on this thing. Postpone the general election, repeatedly if need be, refuse to sign papers, pass new laws, do whatever you have to do to stretch things out, be” creative” in delay. With Luther Strange, Alabama already has a decent man in the U.S. Senate who’s supporting President Trump’s agenda. Let him stay there, Alabama.

Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. 



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