• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Obama Democrats, ABCs Ross and Stephanopoulos, Corrupting the News

With Extreme Prejudice

How ABC News “investigates” a horrific crime.

By JAMES TARANTO      at the Wall Street Journal:

(Best of the tube tonight: Catch us tonight on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” 7 and 10 p.m. ET on Fox Business.)

“An off-duty Los Angeles police officer and three bodybuilder friends have been arrested for allegedly punching and kicking a New York man in an alley near a cafe on West Hollywood’s Restaurant Row,” the Los Angeles Times reported July 30, 1991.

The foursome, including 25-year-old Officer Scott Defoe, “were leaving Pennyfeathers Cafe on La Cienega Boulevard at 3 a.m. Sunday when one of the four kicked a chair occupied by 33-year-old Jianvy Morales, a visitor from the Bronx.” An exchange of “angry words” ensued, whereupon the suspects allegedly chased Morales out of the restaurant.

“When they caught up with him, they ripped off his leather coat, knocked him down and began hitting and kicking him while he was on the ground,” a sheriff’s spokesman told the Times. By the time deputies arrived, the suspects had fled the scene, “skipping out on a $50 tab,” according to the restaurant’s owner.

We’re glad this was only a local story. Had it been a national one, investigative reporter Brian Ross might have blamed us on national television.

“Those arrested along with Defoe were Edward Spencer, 29, Ken Spencer, 27, and James Taranto, 27, all of Staten Island, N.Y.,” the Times report added.

That James Taranto, you will be relieved to learn, was not the one who became your humble columnist. We were, however, also in our mid-20s; we lived not far from Staten Island, in New Jersey; and it would not have been unusual for us to visit the Los Angeles area, where our parents lived. On the other hand, we were not a bodybuilder; it would be many years before we set foot in a gym.

James Taranto is not a common name, but unlike, say, Barack Obama, neither is it unique. Father James Taranto is a pastor at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Independence, Mo. Jimmy Taranto used to play soccer for the University of Virginia; according to his bio at the UVA website, his father is called Jim. Another Jim Taranto “is a certified ‘short sale expert’ with certification from the prestigious ‘Distressed Property Institute’ of South Florida,” according to the ActiveRain Real Estate Network. According to HowManyOfMe.com, there are 36 James Tarantos in the U.S.

Men named James Holmes are much more numerous: HMOM.com puts the count at 2,909. Last night, police say, one of them opened fire in a crowded Aurora, Colo., movie theater, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more. Courtesy of Breitbart.com, here is how Brian Ross, ABC News’s chief investigative correspondent, reported the story this morning on “Good Morning America” with George Stephanopoulos:

Stephanopoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.

Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo., page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo.

Stephanopoulos: OK, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

This would be more understandable–although still outrageous–if the shooter had an uncommon name like James Taranto. With a common name, however, the likelihood is quite high that a match like this one is false.

Breitbart later interviewed the Tea Party Jim Holmes and confirmed that he is not the shooting-suspect James Holmes. The former “is a 52-year-old Hispanic conservative who joined the Tea Party after becoming disillusioned with the Republican party. . . . He disconnected his telephone and says that he is worried about members of his family who might be contacted by the media.”

The shooting suspect, ABC later reported, is a 24-year-old Ph.D. candidate. Other reports say he is white, and he does not appear to be Hispanic. Politico notes that the network has corrected and apologized for the error:

“An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect,” ABC News said in a statement. “ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.”

This strikes us as insufficient. Simply as a matter of journalistic craft, the report was appallingly shoddy. Ross pointed the finger at an innocent man based on nothing but the coincidence of a common name and the man’s residence in the same city of 325,000 where the crime took place.

Let us amend that. There was one other factor, and this is what makes the ABC error not just amateurish but sinister: the innocent Jim Holmes’s involvement with the Tea Party. For more than three years liberal journalists have falsely portrayed the Tea Party as racist and potentially violent. After the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., speculation immediately began that the suspect was a Tea Partier. Even after it was proved that he was not, the New York Times published a despicable editorial blaming conservatives anyway.

Ross and ABC were out on this limb alone. Either other journalists learned their lesson from Tucson, or it didn’t occur to them to look for a political motive this time (it was a more plausible hypothesis in a shooting that targeted a politician).

It is reasonable to interpret Ross’s hasty unsubstantiated report as an expression of hostility–bigotry–toward the Tea Party and those who share its values, which are traditional American ones. ABC’s carelessness here is in sharp contrast with the way the mainstream media treat criminal suspects who are black or Muslim. In those cases they take great pains not to perpetuate stereotypes, sometimes at the cost of withholding or obscuring relevant facts such as the physical description of a suspect who is still at large or the ideological motive for a crime.

Oikophobia is no less invidious than other forms of bigotry. ABC and Ross have apologized for their irresponsible reporting, but they have something more to answer for here. Their careless and inadvertent falsehood was in the service of a big lie.

‘Press the Mute Button’
A tweet from CBS News’s Mark Knoller called our attention to this passage from a campaign speech President Obama gave last night in West Palm Beach, Fla.:

And so, over the next four months, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen. (Laughter.) And they’ll have a bunch of ads with scary voices. (Laughter.) And most of what you hear, you can pretty much just go mute–(laughter)–just press the mute button. That’s the good thing about the remote. Or you can use the DVR and fast forward. (Laughter.)

It’s funny because it’s true. The advice Obama is half-jokingly giving his supporters–close your mind to opposing arguments–is, we noted last Wednesday, essentially the advice George Lakoff offers to Democrats in his new book. It’s advice more suited to a cult leader, whose goal is to maintain his hold on his followers, than to a leader in a democracy, who needs to broaden his appeal.

A confident leader in a democracy would want his supporters to pay attention to the opposition’s ads. It would fire them up and prepare them to make the case for their guy. If Obama is afraid people who attend his fund-raisers will abandon him if they see Romney ads, imagine the effect on independent voters.

The Obama campaign truly seems to be out of touch with reality. Yesterday it issued an ad that can only be describe as bizarre. Titled “Mitt Romney: Saying Anything to Get Elected,” it begins with words on the screen: “Mitt Romney is launching a false attack.” Then it shows a clip of Romney quoting Obama: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

“The only problem?” reads the onscreen caption “That’s not what he said.” The ad then shows a lengthy clip of Obama in which he says exactly the words Romney attributed to him! Making the point more dramatically, someone with the YouTube account NotBarackObama.com did a shortened version of the Obama ad, cutting out a bunch of other Obama quotes. In the context of this ad, “That’s not what he said” is either a brazen lie or an act of dissociation, a psychological term meaning a severe detachment from reality.

Perhaps the Taranto Principle is finally catching up to Obama. Liberal journalists have twisted themselves into pretzels justifying the “You didn’t build that” comment. At The New Yorker, for instance, Alex Koppelman says Obama was right because Steve Jobs went to a government school, and Adam Gopnik claims Obama was really just expounding the views of Adam Smith, the 18th-century philosopher of capitalism.

Brian Ross’s colleagues at ABC News “reported” yesterday that “Mitt Romney went to a Massachusetts truck repair shop today to refute President Obama’s point that businesses are built only with the help of roads and other government services,” making Romney out, quite preposterously, as an enemy of roads.

As Charles Murray notes in a blog post:

There’s a standard way for Americans to celebrate accomplishment. First, we call an individual onto the stage and say what great things that person has done. Then that person gives a thank-you speech that begins “I couldn’t have done this without…” and a list of people who helped along the way. That’s the way we’ve always done it. Everyone knows we all get help in life (and sometimes just get lucky). But we have always started with the individual and then worked out. It is not part of the American mindset to begin with the collective and admonish individuals for thinking too highly of their contribution.

In his September 2008 post-mortem on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Joshua Green of The Atlantic quoted from a memo from Clinton adviser Mark Penn:

All of these articles about [Obama’s] boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light.

Save it for 2050.

It also exposes a very strong weakness for him–his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values. He told the people of NH yesterday he has a Kansas accent because his mother was from there. His mother lived in many states as far as we can tell–but this is an example of the nonsense he uses to cover this up.

How we could give some life to this contrast without turning negative:

Every speech should contain the line you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century. And talk about the basic bargain as about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child and that drive you today. Values of fairness, compassion, responsibility, giving back.

Let’s explicitly own “American” in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t. Make this a new American Century, the American Strategic Energy Fund. Let’s use our logo to make some flags we can give out. Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds.

Green wrote that Mrs. Clinton “wisely chose not to go this route.” It’s not clear if he meant “wisely” in a moral or a strategic sense. One assumes that Green found the Penn advice distasteful, but it’s also possible that it would have been ineffective in a Democratic electorate. Then again, not following the advice wasn’t a winning strategy either.

Obama’s hostility to American individualism suggests, however, that Penn had pegged him correctly. His allies in the media are now egging him on as he expresses these unattractive attitudes. We have yet to see a prominent lefty so much as admit that “You didn’t build that” was a serious rhetorical blunder. Anytime one speaks this obvious truth, the Obama campaign hits the mute button. The president will probably show up to the fall debates wearing earplugs.

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