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Saturday, April 07, 2018

News Weakly - 4/7/18

Upset Over Promising the Truth
So, I assume you've heard the story about Sinclair Broadcast Group. This organization owns something like 173 stations. The company required their news outlets to read a script verbatim. It includes stuff like this:
The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control "exactly what people think" ... This is extremely dangerous to our democracy ... We understand truth is neither politically "left or right." ... Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
The media is outraged. Sinclair is "weaponizing the media", making them Trump's dupes. The script praises "quality, balanced journalism" and makes them promise to do the best they can to bring you the truth and to correct themselves when they fail. They ask for feedback for when they get it wrong.

And the crowd goes wild. Boycotts are called for. "No!" they cry. "We will not offer quality, balanced journalism! No media outlet has ever offered fake news or failed to check the story before airing it! We will not admit to it. We will not allow it. The owners of our stations have no right to hold us to such standards! We will not aim for the truth!! Asking the media for the truth is extremely dangerous to our democracy!1"

Got it. We understand. Thanks.

Upset Over Offering the Truth
In the same vein, the Supreme Court refused to take up the case of the releasing of the Center for Medical Progress abortion videos. You know the ones; it's where all those people admit to killing babies and selling their components for profit. The Supreme Court left it as it stood by the lower court. The lower court "concluded there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the abortion providers captured in the videos."

Again, "No! We will not release the truth! We won't admit that the video shows anything criminal and we won't let you release that information to the public. What? Do you think you have the right to free speech?? This is America, buddy! We decide what part of your speech is free."

Too Much Government
Or not enough? Or is it just that Trump is speaking, so it's wrong? So, on one hand we have things like tax cuts and deregulation and this whole "trade war" going on where Trump is talking tariffs and other countries are responding in kind. People, both here and abroad, are unhappy. Now Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, is praising Trump for his deregulation. And others are saying he's right on his trade war thing.

On the other hand we have a president who is removing control, first by removing some federal land from the protection of National Park status, and now the possibility of removing protection of threatened animals. Is this too much government or too little?

We, of course, have lost sight of a simple fact. The amount of government a free society needs is directly related to the self-control of the society. A society with personal self-restraint and high moral values needs less government than one (like ours) with little self-control. Less governmental influence on life presupposes a moral society. That's not what we have today.

Problem Solved
The city of Deerfield, Illinois, has managed to do what no one else in this country has been able to do. They've solved the problem of mass school shootings from assault weapons. As of June 13, they've banned assault weapons to include semiautomatic rifles with a fixed magazine and a capacity of more than 10 rounds as well as a list of specific weapons. There ya go; problem solved.

Of course, we need to be careful not to think. For instance, the Sandy Hook killings were perpetrated by a kid that murdered his mother and stole her guns. Pretty sure "No rifles" wouldn't have changed that outcome. Most schools I know of are "no gun zones"; pretty sure that hasn't changed the outcome, either. And given the fact that hands and feet have killed more than twice as many people as rifles have for the past several years suggests there might be more work to be done. (Maybe ban hands and feet?) We should at least ban cutlery, right?

China Increases Control of Religion
CNN reports that China's government is seeking to increase its control of religion in China. They have claimed that citizens are free to practice religion, but even when they eased up on their anti-Christian position they maintained control, requiring churches to be state-sanctioned. In their latest move, they have eliminated Bibles from online sources.

Now, isn't that odd? In America many self-professed Christians think of Bibles as secondary, "nice to have but not essential," and certainly not the primary source for Christian truth. It appears as if the atheist Chinese government has a higher view of the Bible than some here do.

Seen on the Internet
A team of Harvard mathematicians have crunched the numbers and have calculated that, based on the rate of exits -- both firing and resigning -- of White House personnel, President Trump will be the sole remaining person in the White House by 2 p.m. tomorrow.

It must be true; I saw it on the Internet.
1 That last line -- that it is "extremely dangerous to our democracy" -- is a quote from Jimmy Fallon.

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