Hans Bader

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Hans Bader was a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke has touted the fact that he is supported by his own mother. He has falsely claimed that she was a “lifelong Republican” before his candidacy. But as CNN points out, his mother has actually “voted in Democratic primaries in 15 of the last 17 primary elections she has participated” in, including Democratic presidential primaries “in 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016.” She also made campaign contributions to Democratic politicians such as Barack Obama and Congressional candidate Veronica Escobar.



Journalists sometimes ignore facts and evidence in order to promote an ideological narrative. For example, journalists peddled the Duke Lacrosse and University of Virginia rape hoaxes even after they were debunked.  They also continue to distort the facts about a 1991 Supreme Court nomination, in which the FBI and members of the U.S. Senate rejected as unfounded claims that Judge Clarence Thomas said sexually offensive things to Anita Hill.



People will believe silly things when it fits their ideological preconceptions. Even when they have been debunked and are contradicted by first-hand information and news reports. A handful of mostly left-leaning publications repeated a British tabloid’s wild claim that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch started a “fascism forever club” in high school. This bizarre smear of Gorsuch was debunked by Snopes.  



Media coverage of protests is so ideologically biased as to deceive the public.  Tea Party protests were law-abiding, and so orderly that they usually left no trash behind (unlike the recent Women’s March in Washington, or attendees of the 2009 Obama inauguration, who left behind lots of trash). 

 



It would be difficult to think of any principle more basic than that criminal defendants can’t be convicted except by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But left-leaning “fact-checker” PolitiFact doesn’t even know it. In an error-filled January 19 “fact-check,” PolitiFact’s Anna Orso writes about “the ‘clear and convincing’ standard used in criminal trials.”  The clear and convincing evidence standard is not used in criminal trials. Even my nine-year old daughter knows that the correct standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”



Channel 27 in Harrisburg reported today that former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison for leaking grand jury materials to the media and then lying about it under oath. Kane was also sentenced to eight years of probation. She was convicted on August 15 of two felonies involving perjury, and seven misdemeanors.

 



“Brazil Coup Complete,” claims the leftist Huffington Post. It reproduces a Reuters article about Brazil’s democratically elected Senate voting today to put the country’s corrupt leader on trial. But there is no coup. Rather, Brazil’s President, leftist Dilma Roussef, is being impeached for abuses of power:

 



The New York Times loves legislation that restricts employment-at-will, and it loves to increase penalties for employers who don’t hire and promote in ways favored by federal and state regulators (such as advocating legislation that imposes unlimited emotional-distress and punitive damages for alleged discrimination). But it itself appears to flout those very same federal employment laws. 



The Tampa Bay Times’s fact-checker site PolitiFact is helping the Obama administration peddle a false claim about the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which said that employees who wish to bring a pay discrimination lawsuit under federal law generally have to do so within 180 days. The Court, however, specifically left open the possibility that such persons could sue later on if they did not discover the discrimination until later.’

In yesterday’s debate, Obama falsely claimed the Supreme Court said Ledbetter could not sue even if she had no way of discovering the discriminatory pay disparity. He said “the Supreme Court said that she couldn’t bring suit because she should have found about it earlier, whereas she had no way of finding out about it. Unfortunately, PolitiFact parroted this false claim (which was also made by Lilly Ledbetter at the Democratic National Convention), in an October 16 post-debate analysis article entitled “Obama: Mitt Romney refused to say whether he supports Lilly Ledbetter Act.”  PolitiFact noted (emphasis mine):



If you restrict the supply of something, the price will go up.  It’s one of the laws of supply and demand.  Thus, cap-and-trade energy rationing schemes drive the price of energy up, by capping the supply.  President Obama has conceded that in his unguarded moments.  In a January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama said thatelectricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” under his cap-and-trade plan to fight global warming.  He also said that under his plan, “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

But journalists are not economists, and often have difficulty understanding the most basic principles of economics.  (Some cannot even do basic math).  What is clear to any economist or any college graduate who has taken Econ 101 seems disputed or unclear to many journalists, who are more familiar with trendy fads in college English Departments, and left-wing critical race theory, than they are with basic economic truths.