Media Mashup: June 9, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 6.28.19 AMALL THE NEWS THAT FITS

The Washington Free Beacon has been hitting some nerves from the Clinton Foundation to The New York Times. In the latest brouhaha, The Free Beacon reported that the world’s “paper of record” had received a donation of $100,000 from the Clinton Foundation for needy families at roughly the same time in 2008 as the news organization endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

When The Free Beacon asked The Times for comment, the gray lady went to to bear her soul. The same thing happened when The Free Beacon scolded The Times for its reportage on Sen. Marco Rubio and his wife’s driving violations. Then there’s last month’s episode where The Beacon uncovered the huge donation of ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos to the Clinton Foundation. ABC leaked the story to another news outlet.

“ABC News and The New York Times have behaved in such petty and underhanded ways when we ask questions about their own conflicts that they’ve ended up ceding the high ground to the Free Beacon,” editor Matthew Continetti said. “It’s not a place where we would’ve expected to find ourselves—yet somehow these august news outlets find ways of putting us there.”

The lesson? The media are just as devious and evasive as politicians when asked about troubling departures from acceptable behavior. We’re glad a conservative, online news organization is stirring up some dust that other news organization would like to be settled. For more details, see


The New York Times got its clock cleaned for its “reporting” about the driving “errors” of the Rubios.

In a front-page story, The Times said that the Rubios had received 17 tickets for moving violations. Sen. Rubio got only four of those during nearly 20 years, but it apparently was more dramatic to add the couple’s collective total.

The Twitter hashtag, #Rubiocrimespree, apparently got all political sides involved in a jolly attack on the news organization. People jokingly referred to other potential Rubio crimes: drinking red wine with fish, tearing the do-not-remove tags off pillows and ordering French bread in a Cuban restaurant.

Erik Wemple of The Washington Post offered: “The Rubio’s-wife-can’t-drive piece, after all, may force the paper to undertake an ungodly amount of candidate scrutiny: If reporters are going to bust out one candidate for drawing traffic citations once every 54 months, then they’ll have to hold other candidates to a comparable level of propriety.” See more details at


Remember Brian Williams, the suspended anchor at NBC News who told lies? The New York Post reports that Mr. Williams may be on the way out of the anchor chair permanently, but NBC, apparently adverse to dealing with serious ethical breaches, wants to have him do something for the Peacock Network.

We think that NBC executives, seeing how ABC News stonewalled the critics of ABC main man Mr. Stephanopoulos, might have decided that their suspension of Mr. Williams was a bit over the top.

As we head toward the 2016 presidential campaign, we think it’s useful to see how two television news operations can be so devoid of any ethical backbone. See details at


Victor Davis Hanson has a brutal and wonderful analysis of academia. “We can all but write off today’s university as a place of free expression. In the age of Obama, zealots in the university have clamped down on any thought deemed reactionary. ‘Trigger warning’ is a euphemism for trying either to censure literature or to denigrate it. ‘Safe space’ is another term for the segregation of campus areas by race, class or ideology. ‘Hate speech’ has become a pejorative for uncomfortable truth.”

Some of our fellow academics may consider Mr. Hanson’s analysis a trigger; some might call hate speech. But they could retreat to their safe space. Read on at

Editors’ note: We tried to untangle Charles Blow’s column in defense of unmarried black men who live with at least one of their girlfriends and allegedly do better than all other fathers in raising their children. We failed, but we have space in our research methods course, which starts in two weeks.

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