CNN Panel Discussion on Sex Assault on Campus

While there are infuriating episodes of disgusting, inexcusable male behavior on college campuses,  some shown in CNN’s film “The Hunting Ground,” the film as a whole was not an honest documentary but rather slick propaganda. It gravely distorts the facts of some of the cases it discusses; falsely suggests that there is a campus rape “epidemic” by promoting alarmist statistics that had been amply discredited before the firm aired; and hypes a campus “rape culture” that does not exist. It also ignores how the disciplinary process in American colleges and universities has been  pervasively slanted, under Obama Administration pressure, to presume the […]

A Smoking-Gun E-mail Exposes the Bias of ‘The Hunting Ground’

National Review

A so-called documentary about campus rape, The Hunting Ground, is set to air Thursday on CNN, which co-produced it. But a newly available e-mail from an investigative producer of the film spectacularly belies its pretensions to be honest, balanced journalism. Instead, the e-mail adds to the large body of evidence that that the film is highly misleading if not dishonest.

More College Rape Hype — This Time from the Washington Post

The Weekly Standard

Since 2012, the New York Times has led the way in systematically biased coverage of on-campus sexual assault allegations and how colleges are responding. The paper has relentlessly hyped the issue, has smeared quite possibly innocent students while omitting evidence that they were innocent, and has cheered efforts to presume guilt and deny due process for the accused. It has also parroted egregiously misleading statistical claims used by the Obama administration and others to portray the campus rape problem, which is clearly serious, as an out-of-control “epidemic,” which it clearly is not. (In fact, the campus rate rape has plunged […]

The Times’s response to my critique: learning to lower my expectations

Below is my Feb. 20, 2015 email to New York Times Deputy Executive Editor Matthew Purdy. Dear Mr. Purdy: For the record, here’s my point by point response to your response to my article in Real Clear Sports: I expected that some might dismiss my credibility as a journalist because I acknowledged the help of a first-rate reporter for a Florida State fan site who pointed me to information in the public record. I did not expect that the Times would resort to such a transparent evasion of the facts. I am learning to lower my expectations. I did point […]

Is The New York Times Smearing Jameis Winston?

Real Clear Sports

Over the past year The New York Times has published thousands of words about the rape allegation against Heisman Trophy-winning Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, all pointing to a single conclusion: He is guilty, and the state of Florida and his school have excused his crime because of his football prowess. But there is a large body of evidence that The Times has kept from its readers that would lead a discerning reader to another conclusion: that Winston has been cleared by three separate investigations because the evidence […]

Sheriff says Dem prosecutor is on a ‘witch-hunt’ against Wis. Gov. Walker

Legal Newsline

MILWAUKEE (Legal Newsline) – Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has accused District Attorney John Chisholm, a fellow Democrat, of “abuse of prosecutorial power” in the relentless criminal investigation of Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 29 conservative groups. Clarke’s forceful public criticism is of Chisholm and the so-called “John Doe” investigation that Chisholm has pursued since 2010 against Walker, his staff and virtually every conservative advocacy group in the state. Clarke, who has been sheriff since 2002 and is running for re-election on Tuesday as the Democratic nominee, has been elected and re-elected with heavy support both from […]

Brutal, Yes ‘Torture,’ Probably Not

National Journal

Is waterboarding torture? Of course it is, say Attorney General Eric Holder and many others who have confidently declared that the Bush administration’s lawyers were clearly wrong to approve as legal the CIA’s proposed use of waterboarding and nine other brutal interrogation methods.

I agree that waterboarding is torture as colloquially understood by many of us and that it should be banned.

But that does not mean that the CIA’s proposal — eventually endorsed by officials up to and including Present Bush — was illegal under the extremely narrow definition of "torture" that Congress wrote in 1994 when it made the practice a federal crime.

Indeed, the recently released report by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, the senior Justice Department expert on legal ethics, implicitly contradicts the strikingly superficial analysis underlying Holder’s assertions that waterboarding is illegal torture.

And while Margolis did not directly rule on the legality of the CIA’s interrogation methods, his 69-page analysis more strongly supports the view that the kind of waterboarding that the agency proposed in 2002 was not illegal torture.

You would hardly guess this from the media coverage after Justice released the Margolis report and related documents on February 19.

The report’s central conclusion absolved Jay Bybee and John Yoo — the Bush-appointed Justice Department lawyers who prepared two key "torture memos," both dated August 1, 2002 — of unethical conduct. Margolis firmly rejected a pervasively slanted, and unethically leaked, effort by Holder protégés in the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to subject Bybee and Yoo to discipline from the bar. (The OPR is not to be confused with the Office of Legal Counsel, known as the OLC, which Bybee headed in 2002 with Yoo as a deputy.)

Big Issues That Got Short Shrift – The Ninth Justice

National Journal

The media consensus about the recently completed hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination seems to be that it was a waste of everybody’s time, with Republican senators asking "gotcha" questions and the nominee sticking to cautious bromides of the I-just-apply-the-law variety.

"While her confirmation hearings drew plenty of coverage last week," wrote Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post, "the level of media excitement hardly matched that surrounding Mark Sanford’s Argentine affair, Sarah Palin’s Alaskan exit or Michael Jackson’s untimely departure."

True enough. But it’s also true that most of the media missed a major opportunity to use the hearings as a peg for background pieces and news analyses explaining to readers and listeners some of the big issues on which so little light was shed by the senators and the nominee.

The media know how to do that sort of thing in other contexts. Consider the way in which the New York Times and others have used the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing for fascinating explorations of the past, present and future of space travel, including everything from the lunar lander’s technology to the astronauts’ subsequent lives.

But how much insight did the media offer on the complex but important issues that came up during the Sotomayor hearing? Issues such as these:

• Are judicial confirmation hearings so empty because of Judge Robert Bork’s defeat in 1987, as some suggest? Is it really true that when Bork was rebuffed after candidly discussing his conservative, "originalist" judicial philosophy, his fate proved that candor would be fatal for any nominee, thus dooming all future hearings to vacuity?

Court More Liberal Than Public Opinion – The Ninth Justice

National Journal

(This analysis updates my July 12, 2008, column.)

We in the media habitually describe the Supreme Court as made up of four conservatives, four liberals and one swing-voting centrist, Anthony Kennedy. These labels serve reasonably well to situate the justices on the ideological spectrum compared with one another.

But while the court is sometimes called "conservative," it looks pretty liberal if we chart the justices’ rulings and individual views against general public opinion, as measured by poll results on issues including abortion, race, national security, religion, gay rights, gun rights and the death penalty.

The four more liberal justices — John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — all fall markedly to the left of public opinion on every one of the abovementioned issues. So does Kennedy, when it comes to national security, religion, gay rights, the death penalty and to some extent abortion. Judge Sonia Sotomayor is widely expected to be at least as liberal as Souter, whom she would replace.

If President Obama gets an opportunity to replace one of the five more conservative justices, the new majority will be quite dramatically to the left of public opinion. And voters will, of course, remain powerless to overturn the justices’ constitutional interpretations.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas fall markedly to the right of center. But the same does not appear to be true — not yet, at least — of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.