Monthly Archives: June, 2017

Fake news is easier to digest when it’s paired with a nice fake headline.

Did the Tennessean’s Joel Ebert get punked by Marsha Blackburn?

Just minutes after the Tennessee Star announced it had polling numbers on Sen. Bob Corker’s re-elect (that would shoe he would be in big trouble if he was challenged by Rep. Marsha Blackburn), the intrepid hacks at the Tennessean were hard at work with a slapped-together “exclusive” story that was an apparent attempt to preemptively slap down any rumored challenge to Corker.  Here is the Tennessean headline and the link:

“Marsha Blackburn won’t challenge Sen. Corker, will seek re-election.”

So Marsha said she was not going to run against Bob Corker.  Stop the presses!  Just one problem, though — that’s not what she said.

Blackburn’s only quote in the story was: “I am running for re-election to the House of Representatives.  That is my focus.”

Nary a word by blackburn about Corker or a senate race.  But that did not keep Ebert extrapolating Blackburn’s brief quote and turned it into a blaring headline and blanket withdrawal from any consideration of running against Bob Corker.

As anyone who has more than ten minutes of experience advising incumbent congressmen on how to answer calls like the one Ebert had with Blackburn, the rules on how to answer such questions about future ambitions from the news media are well-defined.  Ebert probably told Blackburn that he had heard she might challenge Bob Corker. Blackburn could have answered in any of the following ways:

  1. “Why thank you for asking.  I have been secretly plotting to challenge an incumbent senator from my own party for some time now, and I had planned to announce in the fall.  But just because you asked, I am going to throw away my entire strategy and timetable, violate multiple confidences with supporters, compromise my current position as chairman of a major sub-committee, and spill my guts to you, just because you asked, Joel.”
  2. “I haven’t made up my mind.” (which of course would incite rampant speculation, generating more stories for the Tennessean).
  3. “I’m from the planet Mongo, and I have been inhabiting Marsha Blackburn’s body, which of course, makes me an ‘illegal alien.’” To which Ebert undoubtedly would have written the headline: “Blackburn is undocumented citizen.  Opposes Trump in building the wall.”

Or, Marsha might have answered exactly the way she did – preserving her options and her timetable despite the Tennessean’s desire for her to blurt out something else.

If Ebert has a recording or typed Shermanesque statement from Blackburn saying she is definitively not running or even considering running for the senate in 2018, then send it to us and we will reprint it and congratulate Ebert on his “scoop.”  Until then, Ebert and others would be well-advised to note:

Blackburn’s not running for the senate.

Until she is.

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No news? Let’s make something up!

The Bearded Ones and their manufactured articles.

Clearly the staff cutbacks and merger of the Tennessean into the bowels of the Gannett corporation (USA Today Network – Anywhere) is starting to take its toll on the dynamic duo Boucher & Ebert (not to be confused with Siskel & Ebert).

First they positioned themselves as newly minted foreign policy experts, writing an article asserting the controversies (real and imagine) surrounding Trump somehow gives Sen. Bob Corker additional influence in foreign affairs.

Right.

When we stopped laughing at their hypothesis, a couple of the RTP crew sent the article to friends in DC who, you know, actually have foreign policy experience and the hilarity ensued all over again.

It is true that before Trump was elected, Corker was arguably the highest ranking elected Republican voice in foreign affairs as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  But then Trump came along, and Corker was quickly demoted to about 5th place on the foreign affairs pecking order – below the president, the vice-president, the Secretary of State, the head of the National Security Council, the NSA, the CIA, etc.  All of these people get to weigh in before anyone even thinks about calling Bob and asking him to bring them pizza.

So when Booger & Ebert write a story with such an absurd premise, then round up a couple of obscure pundits to confirm their inane premise, somehow that’s news?  Yeah, fake news.

But not satisfied with their foray into reporting on subject matter for which they are singularly unqualified, Doucher & Ebert returned to something for which they are renowned:  manufacturing local political controversy where there is none.

Apparently no longer content to searching through Jeremy Durham’s trash to recover DNA specimens from his discarded boxer shorts, the Bearded Ones ran with a story that alleges Brian Kelsey was laundering state campaign contributions into his failed congressional race.  We say “alleged’ because they wrote their story with more “qualifiers” than a regional NCAA track meet.  Here are just some of the weasel-word accusations delivered by the Tennessean reporters:

May have broken the law”

possible issues”

hint at”

If….then”

“don’t necessarily imply wrongdoing”

seemingly coordinate”

“Investigators may be interested”

Whew!  It “appears likely” these “reporters” “may have seemingly” pulled this story right out of their “possible” asses.  For good measure they trotted out a liberal “expert” who use to work for the far-left Center for Media and Democracy – an outfit whose default agenda is to find vast right-wing conspiracies under every rock.

All they left out of the story was that the Russians were somehow involved.

They start their story with $106,000 that Kelsey donated to a PAC.  Of course, when you do the math, they could only account for $66,000 that they said “might” have been routed through other PACs to benefit Kelsey’s congressional bid.  What happened to the other $40,000, geniuses?  Or did that not fit your narrative?  Apparently, if Kelsey gave money to a PAC, which gave it to another PAC, who gave to an independent expenditure committee who then took out mailings and ads to benefit a candidate, that that is somehow wrong.

Funny, we didn’t see these paragons of public virtue get their panties all bunched up and condemn Bill Haslam for DOING THE SAME DAMN THING with the Advance TN PAC a couple of years ago.  But then doing so would have been real reporting – as opposed to contrived reporting meant to promote or protect their liberal agenda.

This calls for another investigation!  Somebody call James Comey.  We hear he’s looking for work these days.  And the Bearded Ones could write – or “more likely” — concoct another another manufactured story.

More problems with the Vandy “poll”

Garbage in — Garbage out.

 The Tennessee Star did an outstanding analysis of a recent Vanderbilt poll last week, listing all the reasons it was flawed, biased and political useless.

 But they missed one.  An RTP tipster with way too much free time brought to our attention the following question:

 Q27. How much do you support or oppose a temporary ban on all Muslims traveling to the United States?

 Did you see what they did there?   First they called the Trump executive order a “ban on all Muslims.”  That is a provable and rather obvious lie meant to elicit the response the pointy-headed professors desired.  How can you “ban all Muslims” when nearly 90% of the world’s Muslims are totally unaffected by the temporary travel ban?

And, of course, the profs failed to mention that 6 of the 7 terrorist countries in the ban were identified as such, not by Trump but by Obama.

It costs over $50,000 a year to attend Vanderbilt.  With the intelligentsia producing bogus research like this, a degree from there seems way over-priced.